We’ve got the fabulous and incredibly knowledgeable Katy Linda on the blog today asking her all things breastfeeding. With her wealth of knowledge, this is sure to be a treat for all. She is an IBCLC and a mom of 4 amazing kids. She’s the founder of The Breastfeeding Den and has three students working to assist her. The Breastfeeding Den provides personalized 1:1 support in your own home. Katy truly believes that seeing you in your comfortable space will provide the most tailored and supportive care for your individual needs. Katy and her team stay focused on the big picture of breastfeeding and help families work through unique circumstances to create a goal that works well for all.
*What is one piece of advice you would give soon-to-be new moms about their breastfeeding journey?
This is such a hard question, one piece of advice isn’t much! But, I always tell families that many generations ago, lactation consultants didn’t exist because our families were closer together physically, and we had better support systems. If there is one thing a family needs, it’s a quality support system. Find your team who will lift you up and encourage you and embrace that. Support will get you through the hard days of parenting.
*What are effective ways to build milk supply?
The best way to increase supply is to demand more. The more frequently the breasts are emptied the more milk the majority of parents will make. For many families this is through direct breastfeeding. For families whose babies are not efficient at emptying the breast, pumping with a quality (typically hospital grade) pump will likely be necessary.
There are many herbs and foods that may help with milk supply, however which herbs and foods will work for each family is very individual. Having a full health history is an important piece of recommending these galactagogues to families.
*What are ways to reduce milk supply?
There are many reasons families might feel that they should work to decrease supply. My first question would always be WHY. I want to see the parent and baby and be sure that they aren’t misreading signs from their baby. True oversupply is very rare.
If they have to wean quickly for medical reasons, we will want to look at the underlying concerns and make a plan tailor-made to their situation.
For those who are trying to wean because it’s the right time for their family, removing the feeding that the baby is least attached to, and getting into a new normal, and then removing another.
*Can pumping more than needed become a problem?
Absolutely. Pumping more than you need could increase difficulties if the milk supply becomes too much. Some babies struggle with too much milk. Sometimes the pumping parent can experience challenges such as plugged ducts or even mastitis if there is too much milk that isn't moving through the breasts.
*What pump do you recommend? Why?
There is no right pump for every person, if you will be separated from your baby for extended periods of time, or your baby has health complications, you may need a hospital grade (typically rental) pump, if you are going to be working full time away from your baby, you'll want a double electric pump, and if you just need to pump occasionally you may be fine with a hand pump. Which brand and features you need are variant upon circumstances. Feel free to reach out, I'm happy to help with pump selection.
*Should foremilk/ hindmilk be a consideration when nursing?
In most circumstances, no. Your baby is smart, and they will typically let you know what they need. We actually just posted this blog on this topic.
*Is timing breastfeeding sessions necessary?
In the early days it can be helpful to make sure feedings are lasting at least 5 minutes, and to make sure they aren't lasting 45+minutes on a regular basis. If there are concerns around your baby's feedings it can be helpful to keep track of things until all is going well. Most babies need to eat 8 - 12 times a day, and typically feedings last 10 - 30 minutes. A few feedings outside of the normal range is reasonable, if every feeding is lasting a long time, it would be wise to seek the support of an IBCLC to assess the situation.
*For new moms, what is the greatest mental/emotional challenge to overcome when it comes to breastfeeding?
Everyone has different challenges. For many moms, one of the big challenges of breastfeeding is the fact that most human breasts don't contain ounce markers, and many families find it challenging to trust that their baby is getting enough to eat. Story after story talks about those who struggled to make enough milk, and it can induce a lot of fear into new parents who just want to ensure that their baby is doing well. Rest assured, the vast majority of women make enough milk for their baby. A baby who is well fed will be content after feedings, pooping regularly, and growing as expected. If your baby is doing all of those things, you are just fine.
*For new moms, what is the greatest physical challenge to overcome when it comes to breastfeeding?
For many new parents, being needed as much as babies need their parents can be challenging. Babies are pretty helpless creatures and they depend on their adults for everything that they need. They also need to eat frequently to stay alive, which means new parents aren't getting big chunks of sleep. Being needed 24/7, and not getting the sleep you are used to can be exhausting. But, parenting is also an amazing experience, so it is all worth it in the end!