We’ve all read the studies and know, when possible, that breastfeeding is a great thing for our babies. But it is also a personal choice and many women have lifestyle questions they might be afraid to ask for fear of seeming shallow to those solidly in favor of breastfeeding at all costs.
We’ll clear up a few of those questions with the help of lactation pros.
Q: When I got my implants, nursing was the last thing on my mind. The more I read, the more I think it is an important thing to at least try. Are we out of luck?
A: While any form of breast surgery carries some risk of damage to milk ducts and nerves, many women with breast implants experience happy and successful breastfeeding. Some parents worry that implants affect the quality of the milk. Current research considers breastfeeding to be safe even if a leak in the implant packet occurs.
The location of the implant incision may affect breastfeeding. Implants inserted under the fold of the breast or under the arm are least likely to damage important nerves and milk ducts. Implants inserted at the edge of the areola may affect nipple sensation, reducing both milk release and milk supply. Scar tissue from implant surgery may occasionally block milk ducts. Breast drainage may be affected, especially during periods of unusual breast fullness. Women with implants sometimes need extra help during the engorgement phase, and may be more prone to mastitis (breast infection).
Response by Barbara Wilson-Clay, BS, IBCLC
Q:I just spent nine months being an angel. I love my newborn…but I miss wine! Waiting another six month or a year to have a cocktail doesn’t sound too fun.
A: Although an occasional celebratory single, small alcoholic drink is acceptable, the AAP and other experts suggest that mothers wait about 2 hours until resuming breastfeeding. The official AAP rating states that alcohol is a maternal medication “usually compatible with breastfeeding.” Alcohol is rapidly absorbed into milk. While it also rapidly clears from milk, research suggests it can alter the taste of the milk and temporarily inhibit milk production. [Many moms plan carefully to enjoy the occasional happy hour, “pumping and dumping” if they feel they have over-imbibed.] Here are some tips from the pros.Breastfeed your baby before taking alcoholic beverages. Avoid breastfeeding during and for 2-3 hours after drinking alcohol.
- Breastfeed your baby before taking alcoholic beverages. Avoid breastfeeding during and for 2-3 hours after drinking alcohol.
- Pumping does not get rid of the alcohol in breast milk quicker.
- If you drink enough to feel “high,” experts advise waiting several hours before nursing the baby. You can pump during this time if you feel uncomfortably full.
- Consult your doctor about the need for discarding milk for 2 hours after drinking alcohol. It may not be necessary.
Response based on AAP reports
Q:I embraced my growing body during pregnancy. But now I want to ditch that baby weight! Can I diet and breastfeed at the same time?
A: Breastfeeding actually helps mothers to lose the weight gained during pregnancy. If the baby takes only breastmilk for the first 6 months of life, mom loses more weight than if solids or formula are given.
Studies show that overweight moms can safely lose up to 2 pounds a week without making less milk. Most diets are safe during lactation, as long as mothers include foods rich in calcium, zinc, magnesium, vitamin B6 and folate. Very low calorie diets (under 1500 -1800 calories a day), liquid diets and weight loss medications are not recommended. Fasts lasting less than 1 day have not been shown to decrease milk quantity.
Response by Mary Bibb, BA, IBCLC
Q:After muddling through pregnancy groggy as heck, I am over the half-caf/decaf thing. This mama needs her fully-leaded Starbucks fix to make it through mornings, especially after baby had me pull an all-nighter. Is that okay?
A: The American Academy of Pediatrics lists caffeine as an approved substance for use by breastfeeding mothers. This means that an occasional cup of coffee or caffeinated soft drink will not harm your baby. But it is important to understand that babies under 6 months of age have trouble metabolizing caffeine. (Infant metabolism of caffeine improves over time, especially after 6 months.) If mom drinks too much caffeine it can cause a build up in the baby’s body. This may make your newborn baby irritable or interfere with sleep. Peak levels of caffeine are found in milk 60-120 minutes after ingestion. [Timing is everything, feed that baby and then hit the neighborhood ‘Bucks!]
Response by Barbara Wilson-Clay, BS, IBCLC
Thanks to the pros at Medela for helping educate us on the less talked about aspects of nursing, for more tips and solutions visit www.medelabreastfeedingus.com/tips-and-solutions
Infinity Breastfeeding Scarf
Stylish enough for even non-nursing moms to sport, this chevron’d bit of flair keeps mom and baby covered in sensitive situations without a lot of fuss or needlessly covering baby with a bulky blanket.
Medela Freestyle Breastpump
Freestyle is a double electric breastpump for moms who pump several times a day. The compact, lightweight system fits in a black tote and comes with a rechargeable battery for mobile pumping.
Milkies Milk-Saver and Milk Tray
These genius products solve two problems — losing liquid gold from the non-feeding side (not to mention embarrassing leak marks!) and freezing milk to fit into a bottle without endless slow thaw.