The internet is buzzing this week with articles about toxic chemicals in breastmilk following the release of research done by the Harvard T H Chan School of Public Health which looked at the levels of perfluorinated alkylate substances (PFAS) in breastmilk.
The most common questions La Leche League Leaders hear on phone calls, e-mails and at meetings are about milk supply and generally they are about the mother’s perception that she doesn’t have enough milk for her baby(ies). There are a lot of reasons that mothers may think they don’t have enough breastmilk which are not a low supply problem at all.
Here are some tips to help you sort out what is going on:
With the hot weather in the forecast for many parts of the country, we have gone back in our blog archives to bring you some hot weather tips from previous years.
- Breast milk is all your baby needs during the warm summer weather, even on very hot, humid days. Teresa Pitman, co-author of La Leche League's The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, shares this information, "The composition of your breast milk will change in response to the need of your baby - a higher water content in the hot weather and a higher fat content in the colder months."
New mothers can feel incredible pressure to get back to their pre-pregnancy weight and shape. The natural inclination to wish you could fit into your favourite clothes is exacerbated by all of the magazine photos showing celebrities who have recently had babies wearing lovely, form-fitting clothing. As you stand in the grocery store checkout lineup with a squawking baby in your arms, baby spit on your shoulder, your clothing wrinkled and without your make-up on, seeing them beautifully made up and looking polished and shiny can make you feel like you should be “doing better”.
Engorgement is the tender, full, larger feeling that many women get in their breasts between day 2 and day 6 after giving birth. Some women describe it as feeling like they have Barbie Doll breasts. The change in size and sensation is caused by increasing milk volume and increased blood and lymph flow to the breasts. The increase blood and lymph flow supports milk production.
La Leche League Canada is proud to share our newest information sheet Amazing Milk: Made Exclusively for Babies
This compilation, which shares some of the reasons why breastfeeding is the natural choice for babies, is available in both English and Chinese. It is a good overview of the advantages of breastfeeding for expectant parents, a morale booster for a nursing mother having a rough day and a great resource to share with family or friends who don’t know much about breastfeeding.
This is a chicken and egg kind of story; did the kind of breastmilk produced by different mammals influence the mothering style they evolved as a species or did the mothering style needed for their situation influence the kind of breastmilk that gave the greatest evolutionary advantage to that species?
If you have ever cared for someone else’s hungry breastfed baby the thought that things would be easier if only you could nurse the baby has probably crossed your mind. If you are lactating at the time you may have seriously debated the ethics of latching the baby on to your breast. Complete/full time nursing of another's infant, often for pay, is called wet-nursing. Cross-nursing is the occasional nursing of an infant whose own mother continues to breastfeed him/her on a regular basis.
(Editor’s Note: This Tip is written using the words “father” and “man” but the information applies to anyone who is the primary supporter of a breastfeeding parent regardless of gender or relationship to the baby. Please take from this what fits your situation and leave the rest.)
Breastfeeding is the natural way of feeding babies for humans of every ethnic and cultural background. Canada’s First Nations peoples traditionally breastfed their babies. The period of breastfeeding usually lasted until the mother became pregnant with another child or the child was able to fill all of its nutritional needs by eating adult foods. Three to five years would have been the norm for breastfeeding duration.