cap_container-leftTop
Online Chat - Questions About Breastfeeding? Get Answers.

Online Chat - Questions About Breastfeeding? Get Answers.

Wednesday January 26, 2011

Spectrum Health:
Whether you are thinking of breastfeeding or are a breastfeeding mom, questions always seem to come up. Here’s your opportunity to get expert advice and have your breastfeeding questions answered by a prenatal educator and certified lactation consultant.

Spectrum Health:
Mary Oleniczak, BSN, RN, LCCE, IBCLC, has been a childbirth educator for 34 years and a certified lactation consultant since 2007. She has taught breastfeeding classes and facilitated breastfeeding support groups offered by Spectrum Health for 12 years.

Mary Oleniczak:
Good evening. I’m glad you can join us for this online chat. We’re excited to offer you the opportunity to get expert advice and have your breastfeeding questions answered online.

Comment From Meg:
What cold medications are safe to take while breastfeeding?

Mary Oleniczak:
Good question. There are many medications that are safe, however, every mother should check with their health care provider before taking any medication. You should stay away from antihistamines because it may decrease your milk supply.

Mary Oleniczak:
Just remember, if a mom does have a cold, her body is making antibodies in her milk that will help her baby.

Comment From Melanie:
Hello.. My name is Melanie...I have been breastfeeding for a number of weeks now but am having some discomfort due to cracked and sore nipples. Is there something I can do or use for relief. - Thanks

Mary Oleniczak:
Melanie, yes, there are things you can do for cracked and sore nipples. There are two things you can use: Lansinoh nipple cream or if there is a crack or blister, you should ask your health care provider for a prescription for all purpose nipple cream.

Mary Oleniczak:
Breastfeeding should not be painful. The reason why you may have cracked and sore nipples may be due to a poor latch on the breast.

Mary Oleniczak:
You may want to be evaluated by a breastfeeding consultant or counselor.

Comment From Sarah:
I have a tender area on the underside of my breast, is this a clogged duct and if so, how do I get rid of it or will I have to stop breastfeeding?

Mary Oleniczak:
Sarah, this is a clogged duct. You should not have to stop breastfeeding, but you do need to get the duct unplugged. That is done by positioning the baby's nose and chin towards the painful area during feeding.

Mary Oleniczak:
Heat and massage can be helpful with the clogged duct. Also, continue to frequently nurse on that breast until the clogged duct is feels more comfortable or the pain is gone.

Mary Oleniczak:
If your condition does not improve, you may want to see a lactation consultant or counselor as it may become a breast infection.

Spectrum Health:
FACT: The American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP) recommends exclusive breastfeeding for approximately the first six months and support for breastfeeding for the first year and beyond as long as mutually desired by mother and child.

Comment From Julie:
I'm a breastfeeding mother with twins. One child is breastfeeding fine the other not so well. I want to be successful with breastfeeding both, but I'm concerned I'm pushing too hard and may end up having problems with breastfeeding both. Any suggestions?

Mary Oleniczak:
Any amount of breastfeeding is helpful for the twins. The twin that is not nursing well may become more effective at breastfeeding as he grows. It would be helpful to know if you are supplementing and the weight gain of the twin that is not breastfeeding well. If you are supplementing, make sure you are using wide based bottles with a slow flow which more closely mimics breastfeeding.

Mary Oleniczak:
We would love to see you at the breastfeeding support group that Spectrum Health offers. We have other mothers of twins attend.

Mary Oleniczak:
For information about breastfeeding services - please visit our website.

Comment From Pat:
My baby is 6 months old and no longer seems interested in breastfeeding. what can I do?

Mary Oleniczak:
If you are giving food and supplemental bottles, make sure you breastfeed first. Other reasons may include teething and increased awareness of people which can be distracting to the baby.

Comment From Toni:
I'm breastfeeding my 1 month old son and want to start taking birth control again. Are all forms of birth control safe while breastfeeding? Are there any types that you recommend not using?

Mary Oleniczak:
You need to check with your health care provider about birth control. Many health care providers are prescribing the "mini pill", some women have seen a decrease in their milk supply. There are other options available depending on your personal preference.

Comment From Julie:
Even after breastfeeding my twins, my breasts feel very full. Does this mean my babies are not getting enough breast milk or do I need to consider using a breast pump after feedings?

Mary Oleniczak:
Due to supply and demand, having lots of milk in the breast for a mother nursing twins would be expected.

Mary Oleniczak:
You would only use the pump for comfort to remove a small amount of milk. Remember the more milk you take out, the more milk you produce. However, depending on their age and whether they were preterm...other things that we would need to observe are whether they are sucking effectively and transferring milk, if they have 6-8 wet diapers and 3 yellow bowel movements the size of a quarter in 24 hours and weight gain. Pumping every 3 hours would be necessary to keep your milk supply if these things are not happening.

Comment From Kelli:
Should I buy a breast pump or rent one?

Mary Oleniczak:
Renting or buying depends on your needs and how long you want to pump. If you will be working full time, you would need a double electric breast pump, but a hand pump would be fine for occasional bottles. If you are planning to pump for a long time, you may want to consider purchasing a pump. If it is for a short period of time, rentals may make sense.

Comment From Pat:
How do I know when my baby is ready for weaning?

Mary Oleniczak:
Babies need breast milk or formula for one year.

Mary Oleniczak:
Baby may be ready for weaning if they are less interested in nursing.

Mary Oleniczak:
Remember, sometimes as they become more interested in their surroundings, they may appear less interested, but they really are not necessarily ready to wean.

Comment From Jenny:
Is using a pacifier while breastfeeding okay? When my baby is fussy, a pacifier calms him down quickly. I fear this may impact the success of breastfeeding.

Mary Oleniczak:
It is okay to use the pacifier after one month to ensure that breastfeeding is firmly established.

Mary Oleniczak:
Pacifiers should not affect your breastfeeding success if it is introduced after one month. This is the recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatrics. You want to have your milk supply well established. For some babies sucking on pacifiers may reduce their sucking time at the breast.

Comment From Meg:
When is it okay for a baby to sleep 5-6 hours in length?

Mary Oleniczak:
It depends on the baby, if the baby is gaining weight and has 6 to 8 wet diapers and 3 yellow bowel movements in 24 hours, then 5 to 6 hours of sleep is great.

Comment From Chris:
I will be having a scheduled c-section in a few weeks; my son will be 36 weeks and 3 days when delivered. Are babies able to breastfeed this early? I really want to be able to nurse him as soon as possible after delivery.

Mary Oleniczak:
Yes, babies are able to breastfeeding right after a Cesarean Section, but it may depend on the baby.

Mary Oleniczak:
In recovery, have your nurse put the baby skin to skin and allow baby to latch as they are able. Even nuzzling at the breast is helpful to initiate breastfeeding.

Mary Oleniczak:
Ask for assistance from a lactation consultant while in the hospital.

Comment From Heather:
My baby is 11 months old, do I have to wait for his 1st birthday to introduce cow’s milk if he has been fed breast milk and no formula or do I have to give him formula? How do we transition to cow’s milk?

Mary Oleniczak:
Yes, you do have to wait until baby's 1st birthday to introduce cow's milk.

Mary Oleniczak:
You can transition to cow's milk by offering a cup with half breast milk and half cow's milk.

Comment From Jillian:
How do I nurse my sleepy baby?

Mary Oleniczak:
You need to strip the baby down to their diaper. Then place the baby skin to skin on your chest. Watch for feeding cues such as sucking motions, rooting towards the breast, rapid eye movement and fisting.

Mary Oleniczak:
You can use a cold wash cloth on baby's forehead. Place your baby on a hard surface such as the floor on a receiving blanket.

Comment From Melissa:
When will babies sleep through the night that are breastfed without middle of the night feedings? My daughter is 10 months and wakes every night around 3am, I breastfeed and then she will sleep until 7am.

Mary Oleniczak:
All babies are different as far as when they will sleep through the night.

Mary Oleniczak:
Depending on baby's weight and baby's gestational age, a night feeding may be needed.

Comment From Sam:
Ready for a question from a new dad? While I want what's best for our baby and I know breastfeeding is the best, can you provide advice on how to make breastfeeding and bottle feeding work so I can enjoy special time with our baby too?

Mary Oleniczak:
 Sam, there are many things dad can do to bond with baby!

Mary Oleniczak:
The first few weeks you can help mom by changing baby and bringing baby to mom to be fed.

Mary Oleniczak:
 Dads can be involved by helping with baby's bath, burping and soothing baby and if breast milk is pumped, you can offer the baby a bottle of breast milk after three to four weeks.

Mary Oleniczak:
Sam, thanks for your question! A supportive dad is critical for breastfeeding success!

Spectrum Health:
FACT: Exclusive breastfeeding decreases a woman’s risk of developing certain breast and ovarian cancers.

Comment From Nicole:
How do I let my family know that it is okay to breastfeed? I really want to, however I am not getting the support and fear that I will not be able to breastfeed because of their lack of knowledge. What do I do?

Mary Oleniczak:
I would encourage your family to read about the benefits of breastfeeding and check out the websites by clicking on the links to the right of the screen.

Comment From Sam:
Another question from dad. Actually it's a question from mom but she's busy breastfeeding.

Comment From Sam:
Sorry - I pushed send before I asked the question. Mom wants to know how long you can store breast milk in the fridge or freezer.

Mary Oleniczak:
Breast milk can be kept in a refrigerator-freezer (not the door) for 3 to 4 months, in a chest (deep) freezer for up to 12 months. In the refrigerator breast milk can be kept for 5 to 7 days, preferably in the back of the fridge.

Comment From Tara:
I'm a new mother. How long should I breastfeed my baby at each sitting? Will I need to stop my baby from nursing after a certain amount of time even if she still seems interested?

Mary Oleniczak:
Each baby is different. Instead of watching the clock, watch the baby. Early weeks are challenging, but as baby becomes more effective at breastfeeding, the time will decrease.

Spectrum Health:
 FACT: Breastfed babies have a decreased risk of developing upper respiratory and ear infections.

Mary Oleniczak:
We often get asked in our breastfeeding support group about babies eating frequently and if this is normal behavior. This is almost always a universal experience in breastfeeding and is called cluster feeding. Typically it happens in the evening between 6 pm and midnight, but can happen at any time of the day.

Mary Oleniczak:
Cluster feeding is also seen during growth spurts and may last for several days. It is best to let the baby feed on demand to help increase the mom's milk supply.

Comment From Rick - Sarah’s husband:
Since Sam is representing the dad's, I would like to know what I can do for her and encourage her to breastfeed longer as I know she is in a lot of pain when she is feeding. Thank You!

Mary Oleniczak:
 Breastfeeding should not be painful. Consider attending the breastfeeding support group so that we can help the baby latch correctly.

Mary Oleniczak:
Dads are welcome to come to the support group.

Mary Oleniczak:
It will be helpful if your wife is evaluated by a breastfeeding professional.

Spectrum Health:
FACT: There are less sick days taken by parents of breastfed babies due to a decrease in infant illness.

Comment From Tara:
Thanks for answering my question. Before I was pregnant, I liked to enjoy a glass of wine on occasion. Can I still drink wine or other alcoholic beverages while breastfeeding?

Mary Oleniczak:
Yes, one glass of wine or beer would be okay. A better time for you to have that beverage would be after you feed the baby. Remember, alcohol is dehydrating. Any more than that, a mom should pump and dump.

Comment From Jillian:
My six week old baby often spits up after breastfeeding. This is happening more and more frequently. I'm wondering if it's possible she may be allergic to my milk?

Mary Oleniczak:
Spitting up is very common in babies. Make sure you are burping the baby 5 to 10 minutes after you are breastfeeding the baby. Is your baby a happy spitter or a fussy spitter? And is the baby still gaining weight?

Spectrum Health:
FACT: A formula fed baby is at risk of developing childhood obesity.

Spectrum Health:
 FACT: Healthcare costs and insurance claims due to illness of the baby are decreased by breastfeeding.

Comment From Jillian:
I'm not sure how to define her "spit up". All I can say is it seems like a lot. She cries a great deal before she spits up and then seems fine after she has spit up.

Mary Oleniczak:
Jillian, I would encourage you to try burping more. We encourage you to come to the breastfeeding support group to learn some techniques to help with burping and gas.

Mary Oleniczak:
Wow, the past hour went quick! Great questions everyone. It has been my pleasure answering your questions and sharing information about breastfeeding your baby. Enjoy the rest of your evening.

Spectrum Health:
 If you or someone you know would like more information on breastfeeding, visit our website www.spectrumhealth.org/breastfeeding

Spectrum Health:
Spectrum Health breastfeeding classes are led by a certified lactation counselor or consultant to help you prepare for successful breastfeeding.

Spectrum Health:
The Spectrum Health Breastfeeding Information and Support Group gives breastfeeding mothers a chance to share questions and concerns, and work with certified lactation counselors and consultants. You also can contact your health care provider or your baby's health care provider for help and support. Call (616) 391-5000 for more information.

cap_container-rightTop
Print Email
  Decrease (-) Restore Default Increase (+) Adjust Text Size
tile_container-left
About Spectrum Health Social Media Site Map iGive
tile_container-right