Engaging in Mindful Breastfeeding

I am so pleased to have completed my Mindful Breastfeeding Certification! This means I have training in intentionally adding mindfulness, emotional support, relaxation, and visualization into my lactation support practice. I have been doing some of these as your lactation consultant already. You know those times when I tell you to take a deep breath, feel your body in the chair, feel your love for your baby, feel confident in your body? That is part of mindful breastfeeding.

In our efforts to offer breastfeeding help and encourage clients on their breastfeeding journey, we want to address more than getting a good latch or flange fitting. What is exciting is that science backs up this mindful breastfeeding practice! Breastfeeding is controlled by an abundance of hormones, and if we can get more oxytocin and less cortisol by decreasing stress and increasing relaxation, it benefits your milk supply, as well as feeding and bonding with your baby! I will continue to incorporate more of these methods into our appointments and recommendations as well as practicing them myself!

Another way we provide support, in addition to lactation care, is through groups and classes. Our New Mom Circle will be a place to learn how to implement some of these techniques, so I hope you will join in to meet some new friends and have a chance to experience some relaxation!

-Elizabeth

Migraine Triggers During Lactation

It’s migraine month!  Thankfully pregnancy and breastfeeding can be protective against migraines, but some things in lactation can also trigger headaches.  Some people experience headaches with oxytocin surges during letdown, overfull breasts (relieved by feeding/pumping), or baby sleeping through the night (which causes overfull breasts and decreases hormones for lactation.)  

If you are struggling with headaches, try to make time for self care, including eating, drinking enough water, exercise, and getting enough sleep. All of these things are challenging with a new baby, so call in your support people and do your best!

Bodywork can often be helpful, so schedule a visit for yourself when your baby is getting work. (Cranial sacral therapy for moms coming soon!) Check with your doctor or midwife about medications; in general the normal ones you take are compatible with breastfeeding but I am happy to check for your specific medication so you can make good decisions on your care. Also, see our Resources page for the link to Infant Risk Center to check medications.

I hope you don’t struggle with headaches, but please don’t suffer alone if you do! Your lactation consultants are here to support you in your journey to health and feeling good!

-Elizabeth

(Reference: Breastfeeding and Human Lactation by Wambach and Spencer)

Surviving, and Thriving, through the Formula Shortage

Families are struggling to find formula to feed their babies.  This puts a huge burden on families that are already stressed in so many ways.  Many babies that breastfeed also get some (or a lot) of formula, so the families that I see are included among those with this added stress. 

Here are some ways we can help:

Helping families meet their goals.  While I would love for all babies to exclusively breastfeed, there are so many reasons why that doesn’t happen.  It can be a baby struggling to latch, a mom with low supply, a poor or late start with lactation in the hospital, or a family’s choice not to breastfeed.  We work with where a family is when they get to us and help them meet their goals.  This can mean moving from no supply to a little supply, increasing supply, decreasing supply, moving to breast, moving off the breast.  We are here to help YOU meet YOUR goals, whatever they are.

Helping educate families on what is possible.  If you are currently formula feeding and want to start or increase your milk supply, we can help! Relactation or increasing lactation is a process and you will still need something to feed your baby while working through the process, but it is usually possible to do a number of things to increase milk.  (Low suppliers, we see you and your struggles.  We know how MUCH EFFORT you put forth and will help you with all the support you need for your unique journey.)

Helping families find milk.  

  • The Milk Bank provides screened, pasteurized human milk. 
  • Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine has a protocol for community sourced milk sharing.
  • Eats on Feets connects babies with donor milk and has a great page on how to screen donors if you are looking at milk sharing.
  • Human milk 4 Human Babies has local resources on facebook for milk sharing.
  • For formula, please contact your pediatrician or WIC office for resources.  Please do not feed your baby watered down formula or goat milk or cows milk.  Alternate animal milk is not nutritionally complete for human babies.  Babies need the right balance of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, and minerals to stay healthy.  Human milk or formula properly prepared is what babies need.

Helping provide early support for successful breastfeeding.  We LOVE to do prenatal visits to discuss how to get off to the best start possible with breastfeeding.  Then we love seeing babies early (squishy fresh newborns are my favorite!) and making sure the latch is good, baby is transferring, mom is comfortable, and everyone is off to a good start.  Of course we are available to help throughout the breastfeeding journey.  I saw a 7 month old baby this week- it was our first visit and mom needed some tips for how to navigate their current stage. 

Helping with encouragement.  We celebrate all victories!  Often in a visit, we will stop for a moment and remember how far along the journey a family has travelled.  Or sometimes mom needs a nap or a massage or a moment to relax.  We have space for that as well.  Check out our social media for weekly affirmations to help remind you that YOU are the PERFECT PARENT for YOUR BABY.  

Please don’t struggle though your feeding journey alone.  We are here to support you with breastfeeding help, lactation support, and encouragement on this journey.

-Elizabeth

Why Richmond (Madison Co.), Kentucky?

Why am I adding a location to see clients in Richmond, KY? Madison County is my home and I see families struggle to reach their lactation goals. It’s such a blessing to be able to expand lactation services in the area I live in!

Fortunately, Lactation Care with Elizabeth cares about families, even those of our consultants and staff. Not only is it more convenient for myself and my family, but it helps bring expert lactation support to families in an area that has previously had next to nothing.

Access to lactation support, particularly to expert IBCLC care, is a big platform for me. An important first step is having a space available to reach those families outside Lexington, to make access to care easier and closer. Having someone in the community easily accessible will help facilitate meeting breastfeeding goals as well as ease some of their burdens.  

Getting help early is so crucial for overall supply, bonding, and goals.  Please don’t wait!  

I will have office hours available in Richmond and Lexington each week.  I can’t wait to help support your family.  

Follow us on Facebook or Instagram at Lactation Care with Elizabeth and Ashley Kester RN, MSN, IBCLC. 

Thanks,

Ashley Kester RN, MSN, IBCLC

Making Milk Memories

While each breastfeeding journey varies, most are full of hard work, commitment, snuggles, and sacrifices. Find below one mom’s experience and development through the journey, and the beauty that came out of it.

My name is Anna and I am a wife and stay-at-home mom to three wonderful kids! I have struggled in different ways with feeding my kids. With my first baby, I felt like I needed to breastfeed and was determined to do so! Ultimately, I just wasn’t able to produce enough to sustain her and ended up needing to do formula only. The thought of breastfeeding my second baby made me break out into tears because I was so afraid of “failing”… I fed her until she was two years old. My newest baby is 5 months old and had to be bottle fed for the first two weeks. Of course it was emotional and there were a lot of tears, but I was determined to not give up and he will be 6 months old this month, breastfed. I learned so much in my breastfeeding journey… you can’t allow yourself to feel like a failure but to be proud of what you’ve accomplished so far, because every day is an achievement.

To commemorate this journey, I so badly wanted a piece of breastmilk jewelry to hold onto. Unfortunately, they are so expensive that it wasn’t something I would be able to ever have…The fact that something so sentimental was out of reach for so many people infuriated me! So after a lot research I started making jewelry for family, friends, and myself. Once I realized how much it meant to everyone and even more so that it was affordable, I branched out. I am located in Nicholasville, KY but I have shipped all over the US, Canada, and UK. 

Each piece takes around 72 hours to create. I start with collecting and preserving the breastmilk. I heat the milk to kill off any bacteria inside, mix it with a special powder, and allow it to dry for 48 hours. Once the milk is dry, I crush it into a powder and mix it with resin and any other additives to make it 100% custom to how the mom would like the stone to look. I pour it into a mold and allow it to set completely. The process is long but worth it in the end and hearing the stories and seeing the reactions is why I donate so much time into the process! My rings, earrings, pendants and bracelets are sterling silver, rose gold plated silver, and gold plated silver. I also have wood plaques and desktop pyramids I can make. My jewelry starts from $50-$85 and each piece is unique and special in its own way. I’m not running a business; I’m just a mom of three wanting to use what I’ve learned to give back to other moms, because everyone deserves something so sentimental to hold onto.

Thanks to Anna for spreading the breastfeeding love! For more information about Anna’s beautiful pieces, check out the group on Facebook called TimelessTreasures, or via email at Annajlewis95@gmail.com