Does feeding at night cause dental issues?

Parents are often told nursing at night may cause cavities. Our lactation consultants continue their education as they practice to maintain up-to-date information in their arsenal for helping families.

The full story is there are a combination of factors that contribute to dental caries (i.e. rotten teeth), including genetics, prematurity, oral flora/acidity (which may be genetic or may be shared in a family), dental hygiene, and diet.

Know that breastfeeding by itself is NOT considered a risk for dental caries, even breastfeeding at night.

Practices that will help promote healthy habits, with the potential to minimize the risk of dental caries include:

Wipe or brush teeth at least before bedtime, if not twice per day, starting AS SOON AS they have those sharp little teeth poking through gums.

Preventative dental checkups are recommended to start at age 1.

Limit juices and sticky foods (our recent educational presenter doesn’t like corn flakes or teething biscuits), and encourage fruits and veggies that rub against the teeth once they are ready for them.

We encourage you to consider the source of your information. Even studies should receive critical evaluation of the source of the study, the funding source for it, and the size of the pool of participants. It is our goal to provide families with accurate information rather than undo pressure from “they say” statements or dated information.

If you are have additional questions about dental care in infants or feeding/foods, your lactation consultant will be happy to guide you.

Over the River & Through the Woods…tips to survive the holiday with a breastfeeding baby

Tips to survive the holiday with a breastfeeding baby:

-Let someone else be in charge of the holiday!  You have a new baby, let other people host and cook, it is your year (or years) to sit back and enjoy.

-If you don’t want to “pass the baby”, don’t. Tell people that you are good with holding the baby or the baby is due to eat or poop soon. Or that you are still afraid of germs. This is your baby, you can share or not.

-Try babywearing. It is much easier to keep holding your baby if you are wearing them.

-If you feel comfortable breastfeeding in public, go for it.  If you aren’t, or you need an excuse to get away, find a place where you and the baby can have a quiet moment.  And if that moment extends for an hour, it is nobody’s business how long the baby actually takes to eat.

-Set your alarm for about the normal interval that your baby eats so you don’t miss feedings. It is easy to get distracted and not realize the passage of time when you are away from your normal routine. Babies also will sleep longer with more noise or different people holding them, so setting a reminder will help avoid skipping meals.

-It is okay to have a drink.  Alcohol metabolizes out of breastmilk and your bloodstream at the same rate.  If you are cautious, feed the baby, then have a drink; you should be ready to feed again in a few hours.  In general, if you can drive, you can feed. 

-Some holiday foods, like sage and peppermint, can affect supply if eaten in LARGE quantities. Your supply is more likely to be affected by decreased frequency of feeding than what you eat. Do things to support your supply, like frequent, effective emptying, and staying rested and hydrated.

-Feel the love: the oxytocin boost you get from being around people who love and care for you is great for you, your baby, and your milk supply!

-Relax and enjoy the season, take the time you need away from the people and celebrations, & as always, call for help if something is off with breastfeeding.

Happy travels,

The Milk Bank

We are now a Milk Depot (we accept milk donations from approved donors) and a Milk Express (we dispense purchased milk to approved customers) in Lexington, Kentucky!

Through The Milk Bank, we are partnering with families with surplus & families with need to provide the logistics needed to facilitate milk supply & usage. The Milk Bank coordinates the safe exchange and processing of human milk.

Donated human milk helps support mother’s who cannot provide milk as they planned, to supplement, for medical necessity, for NICU babies, and many other planned and unplanned circumstances. Donating milk is rewarding for those with extra supply, extra stored, extra during weaning, or especially significant is in memory in the case of infant loss.

We will be posting more information for how to get involved – to donate and to purchase – but wanted to just get the information out there for now. Please email us at lactationcarewithelizabeth@gmail.com or call us at 859.832.0203. Visit The Milk Bank website as well.

Warming Breast Milk on the Go

While you aren’t required to warm breast milk before using it, some little ones seem to prefer it au natural-like. Doing this while traveling, whether for school kid field trips or upcoming holidays, requires a little thought but is totally doable.

Frozen milk should be thawed in the refrigerator; easiest is overnight. Once you have started feeding your baby a bottle of milk, use and discard within about an hour. You can also travel with a bottle of milk using an insulated bag & ice pack, which can store it safely for 4-5 hours.

These are general tips, of course. For specific situations or questions pertaining to your child, ask your IBCLC.

Is your Lactation Consultant a Registered Nurse?

October is renewal month for Registered Nurses in Kentucky. Ashley and I both started our journeys to become IBCLCs as nurses. Why is this background helpful to us in our lactation practice and why should someone seeking lactation support want someone who is also a nurse to support them?

I graduated from Texas Woman’s University in 1995 with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.  After graduation, I worked at Parkland Hospital in Dallas in both the Medicine Clinic and on a Medicine/infectious disease/telemetry floor.  There I took care of 7-8 total care patients every shift (yes, it was crazy.)  That was where I learned all about advocating for patients, time management, diabetes, blood pressure issues, heart disease, and wound care.  (Also about AIDS and TB.)  My next job was in home health.  This is where I discovered that I love teaching people about how to care for themselves.  I did lots of wound care (which I really do love) and again, patient advocacy and case management.  

My next position was a combination of many of the things I loved: teaching childbirth and breastfeeding classes and working in the hospital as a lactation consultant.  When we moved to Lexington, I worked on the mother/baby unit, and did lactation support on the floor and in the NICU, as well as continuing to teach breastfeeding classes outside of the hospital. What I learned during those 15+ years has been key to how I practice now, both in what I do and what I don’t do.

What skills and knowledge do I bring to every lactation visit?  Years of clinical experience, assessing moms and babies, looking at the big picture as well as the small details.  Teaching, case management, advocation.  Wound care, medications, blood pressures.  How what happens prenatally and during labor, delivery, and post partum affects families and their breastfeeding experience. 

My nursing background has been a starting platform and solid base for lactation support- caring for moms and babies, not only in feeding, but by looking at the entire picture.  It also has shown me how a solely medical approach can be detrimental to a breastfeeding relationship, and I have worked to expand my education and practice to incorporate the natural instincts of mothers and babies in their nursing relationship, learning about herbal and other alternative support, the role of mindfulness in my practice and how to support families in that, and training in bodywork.  

If you are looking for expert breastfeeding support that appreciates and understands both the medical side and expands beyond that to comprehensive care, I would love to bring all my skills and knowledge and compassion to our visits!