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breastfeeding complications

You may experience some bumps along your breastfeeding path. Don't worry; these can often be overcome. And remember, you don't have to go it alone. The moment you suspect a problem, you can call your nurse or provider, baby's provider, or a lactation counselor or consultant.


Engorgement

After about 3 days, your milk will, as they say, "come in." This means that your colostrum has transitioned into breast milk, and chances are good that you'll know when it's happened. Your breasts will be larger and feel much fuller, and there is a good chance you will become engorged. Engorged breasts are full of milk. They can feel heavy and swollen, may be a bit bumpy, and may start to leak milk.

Mama, this is uncomfortable. Not exactly painful, but definitely not "normal" feeling.

The best thing to do with engorged breasts is to nurse your baby or use a breast pump, which many hospitals will rent out to patients if you don't have your own. International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) Sharen Medrano recommends trying manually expressing before using the pump because pumping "tends to take longer to get the milk out because it can't get as deep behind the areola or do the work that your hand can." Reminder: We'll get into pumping and all of the related information in the next chapter (see "Pumping and Bottle-Feeding" on page 405).

Medrano also advises that you alternate applying cold and warm compresses to your breasts when they are engorged, using mainly warm ones if you're having trouble getting the milk out.

Plugged or Clogged Duct 

Sometimes milk can get obstructed in one of the ducts (the highways that transport the milk from the lobes to the nipple). When this happens, it is usually on one side and can cause a painful, hard, warm, red lump.

To relieve it, try taking a warm shower or applying a warm compress and massaging it. And nurse your baby—a lot. While it may take some acrobatics, I have seen success when women position the baby so that their chin is pointing toward the clog because that is where they are most efficient at removing milk. You can also try "the dangle," where you place baby flat on their back on the floor and then position yourself on all fours over them, dangling the breast with the clog for them to nurse from. If these tricks don't work, call a lactation consultant or your provider.

Mastitis

If bacteria enter the breast where there is unmoving milk, an infection called mastitis can occur, and mama, it stinks. In addition to the symptoms of a clogged duct, you will usu- ally feel generally sick, much like you have the flu, with chills, body aches, and a fever. These symptoms warrant an immediate call to your provider (yes, even at 2:00 a.m.). They can sometimes even diagnose you over the phone.

Mastitis is treated using oral antibiotics, and it is almost always safe to continue breast- feeding (your provider will guide you here). It's actually the best thing to do, as it will help prevent the condition from worsening.

To prevent clogged ducts and mastitis, try not to skip a feeding or suddenly go much longer between feeds, as this can lead to a buildup of milk that can cause a problem. A study also found that stress and lack of sleep (both common for new mamas!) may make you more prone to mastitis because they can weaken your immune system. And sometimes it just happens despite your best efforts, so don't be hard on yourself if it does.

Thrush (Candida or Yeast Infection) 

Thrush can develop in your breasts, in the baby's mouth, or both. Babies naturally get a white tongue when they breastfeed. If you can scrape the white off with your fingernail, it's likely milk, but if you can't, it could be thrush. The baby may also develop a bumpy diaper rash.

You might know that you have thrush if your nipples burn, or when the baby latches, you get a sharp, shooting pain in your breast. Thrush is usually treated with an antifungal medication for you (often a cream for your nipples) and the baby (often a gel that is applied in their mouth).

Some women choose to avoid prescription medications by using traditional remedies instead. Historically, gentian violet (a blue dye) was applied to the mouth and breast to treat thrush, but it can cause ulcers and should not be swallowed, so speak with your provider before trying this. Some women have had success applying a combination of vinegar and baking soda, yogurt, or probiotics to the breasts and baby's mouth, but these have not been studied well.

To prevent thrush, wash your hands well before breastfeeding. Try to minimize sugar in your diet, and up your intake of foods with healthy bacteria, such as yogurt, sauerkraut, and kombucha (which contains a small amount of alcohol, so discuss with your provider first). And just like mastitis, sometimes thrush is simply unavoidable.


By its very nature, motherhood requires some lifestyle adjustments: Instead of staying up late with friends, you get up early for snuggles with your baby. Instead of spontaneous date nights with your honey, you take afternoon family strolls with your little love. Instead of running out of the house with just your keys and phone, you only leave with a fully loaded diaper bag.

For breastfeeding or pumping mamas, there is an additional layer of consideration around when, how and how much your baby will eat. Thankfully, when it comes to effective solutions for nursing or bottle-feeding your baby, Dr. Brown's puts the considerations of mamas and their babies first with products that help with every step of the process—from comfortably adjusting to nursing your newborn to introducing a bottle to efficiently pumping.

With countless hours spent breastfeeding, pumping and bottle-feeding, the editors at Motherly know the secret to success is having dependable supplies that can help you feed your baby in a way that matches lifestyle.

Here are 9 breastfeeding and pumping products to help you no matter what the day holds.

Customflow™ Double Electric Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's electric pump

For efficient, productive pumping sessions, a double electric breast pump will help you get the job done as quickly as possible. Quiet for nighttime pumping sessions and compact for bringing along to work, this double pump puts you in control with fully adjustable settings.

$159.99

Hands-Free Pumping Bra

Dr. Brown''s hands free pumping bra

Especially in the early days, feeding your baby can feel like a pretty consuming task. A hands-free pumping bra will help you reclaim some of your precious time while pumping—and all mamas will know just how valuable more time can be!

$29.99

Manual Breast Pump with SoftShape™ Silicone Shield

Dr. Brown's manual breast pump

If you live a life that sometimes takes you away from electrical outlets (that's most of us!), then you'll absolutely want a manual breast pump in your arsenal. With two pumping modes to promote efficient milk expression and a comfort-fitted shield, a manual pump is simply the most convenient pump to take along and use. Although it may not get as much glory as an electric pump, we really appreciate how quick and easy this manual pump is to use—and how liberating it is not to stress about finding a power supply.

$29.99

Nipple Shields and Sterilization Case

Dr. Brown's nipple shields

There is a bit of a learning curve to breastfeeding—for both mamas and babies. Thankfully, even if there are some physical challenges (like inverted nipples or a baby's tongue tie) or nursing doesn't click right away, silicone nipple shields can be a huge help. With a convenient carry case that can be sterilized in the microwave, you don't have to worry about germs or bacteria either. 🙌

$9.99

Silicone One-Piece Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's silicone pump

When you are feeding your baby on one breast, the other can still experience milk letdown—which means it's a golden opportunity to save some additional milk. With a silent, hands-free silicone pump, you can easily collect milk while nursing.

$14.99

Breast to Bottle Pump & Store Feeding Set

After a lifetime of nursing from the breast, introducing a bottle can be a bit of a strange experience for babies. Dr. Brown's Options+™ and slow flow bottle nipples were designed with this in mind to make the introduction to bottles smooth and pleasant for parents and babies. As a set that seamlessly works together from pumping to storing milk to bottle feeding, you don't have to stress about having everything you need to keep your baby fed and happy either.

$24.99

Washable Breast Pads

washable breast pads

Mamas' bodies are amazingly made to help breast milk flow when it's in demand—but occasionally also at other times. Especially as your supply is establishing or your breasts are fuller as the length between feeding sessions increase, it's helpful to use washable nursing pads to prevent breast milk from leaking through your bra.

$8.99

Breast Milk Storage Bags

Dr. Brown's milk storage bags

The essential for mamas who do any pumping, breast milk storage bags allow you to easily and safely seal expressed milk in the refrigerator or freezer. Dr. Brown's™ Breast Milk Storage Bags take it even further with extra thick walls that block out scents from other food items and feature an ultra secure lock to prevent leaking.

$7.99


Watch one mama's review of the new Dr. Brown's breastfeeding line here:

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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Time-saving formula tips our editors swear by

Less time making bottles, more time snuggling.

As a new parent, it can feel like feeding your baby is a full-time job—with a very demanding nightshift. Add in the additional steps it takes to prepare a bottle of formula and, well… we don't blame you if you're eager to save some time when you can. After all, that means more time for snuggling your baby or practicing your own well-deserved self-care.

Here's the upside: Many, many formula-feeding mamas before you have experienced the same thing, and they've developed some excellent tricks that can help you mix up a bottle in record time. Here are the best time-saving formula tips from editors here at Motherly.

1. Use room temperature water

The top suggestion that came up time and time again was to introduce bottles with room temperature water from the beginning. That way, you can make a bottle whenever you need it without worrying about warming up water—which is a total lifesaver when you have to make a bottle on the go or in the middle of the night.

2. Buy online to save shopping time

You'll need a lot of formula throughout the first year and beyond—so finding a brand like Comforts, which offers high-quality infant formula at lower prices, will help you save a substantial amount of money. Not to mention, you can order online or find the formula on shelves during your standard shopping trip—and that'll save you so much time and effort as well.

3. Pre-measure nighttime bottles

The middle of the night is the last time you'll want to spend precious minutes mixing up a bottle. Instead, our editors suggest measuring out the correct amount of powder formula into a bottle and putting the necessary portion of water on your bedside table. That way, all you have to do is roll over and combine the water and formula in the bottle before feeding your baby. Sounds so much better than hiking all the way to the kitchen and back at 3 am, right?

4. Divide serving sizes for outings

Before leaving the house with your baby, divvy up any portions of formula and water that you may need during your outing. Then, when your baby is hungry, just combine the pre-measured water and powder serving in the bottle. Our editors confirm this is much easier than trying to portion out the right amount of water or formula while riding in the car.

5. Memorize the mental math

Soon enough, you'll be able to prepare a bottle in your sleep. But, especially in the beginning or when increasing your baby's serving, the mental math can take a bit of time. If #mombrain makes it tough to commit the measurements to memory, write up a cheat sheet for yourself or anyone else who will prepare your baby's bottle.

6. Warm up chilled formula with water

If you're the savvy kind of mom who prepares and refrigerates bottles for the day in advance, you'll probably want to bring it up to room temperature before serving. Rather than purchase a bottle warmer, our editors say the old-fashioned method works incredibly well: Just plunge the sealed bottle in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes and—voila!—it's ready to serve.



Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on Comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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The American Academy of Pediatrics says that newborns, especially, do not need a bath every day. While parents should make sure the diaper region of a baby is clean, until a baby learns how to crawl around and truly get messy, a daily bath is unnecessary.

So, why do we feel like kids should bathe every day?

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