There's a lot of information out there about breastfeeding. Honestly, it's overwhelming and hard to determine which sources you can trust. That's why we are so thankful to RN/CLC Molly from Breastmilk Academy for taking time to answer our Momful Mom's biggest breastfeeding questions.
Q: What are the main benefits of breastfeeding that are backed by science?
A: There are so many! Some of the highlights include:
- For baby:
- Decreased rates of obesity
- Increased IQ rates
- Lower rates of diabetes
- Decreased rates of ear and viral infections
- For mom: Decreased rate of postpartum depression, ovarian cancer, and breast cancer.
Q: Do you prefer duck bills or valves and membranes?
A: I personally prefer duckbill valves but here are some differences to consider. You can also check out my Instagram post on this topic here.
- Duck bills:
- Last 3 months when only pumping while away and 1 month when exclusively pumping
- One piece to wash
- Moms report stronger suction
- Valves and Membranes:
- Last 2 months when only pumping while away and 2 weeks when exclusively pumping
- Two pieces to wash
- Specific position for optimal milk removal
Q: What are signs that your flange is too big or too small?
A: There’s a lot to cover when it comes to flange sizing so let’s dig in!
Pumps typically come with 2 sizes, usually a 24mm and a 27 or 28mm flange. These sizes don’t fit the majority of moms. When sizing, you want the flange to fit just the nipple without pulling the areola into the flange when pumping (too big) or the nipple rubbing the side of the flange (too small). You also don’t want the nipple to go farther than halfway down the flange tube when pumping. Flanges come as narrow as 14mm and as wide as 41mm.
If you are unsure, consult a lactation expert. You can also schedule an appointment with me at Breastmilk Academy and I can help.
Q: What is a milk bleb and how can I treat it?
A: A milk bleb appears as a little white dot on your nipple. They happen when a milk pore is closed off or clogged. They might go away on their own but they also might turn painful or infected if they stay. To remove a bleb, fill your silicone pump with warm water and add a tablespoon of Epsom salts. Flip the flange back, raise to your breast, and squeeze the pump so that the water rises to meet your nipple as you insert your breast. Flip the flange back to its normal position and allow your nipple to soak in the water for several minutes. This will hopefully release the bleb. Repeat as needed.
Q: What are the most common breastfeeding positions?
A: There are six common positions. Check out my breastfeeding positions guide over on my Breastmilk Academy Instagram account which features more information about all of them!
Q: How much breastmilk do I feed to my baby when I am exclusively pumping?
A: Every baby is different but typically babies usually take about a half to one ounce of milk for every hour since the last feeding. Monitor your baby’s reaction after feeding and increase or decrease accordingly.
Q: Does my diet affect my milk?
A: Yes, there are some nutrients in your breastmilk that are directly related to your consuming them within your diet, including:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin d
Research shows that when moms miss out on these nutrients, your breast milk takes a hit too. In fact, an estimated 41% of the population is deficient in Vitamin D therefor your baby is not going to get a sufficient amount of Vitamin D.
Fat levels in breastmilk also vary depending on the types of fats you are consuming, not the amount. Unsaturated fats like DHA, are essential to making the appropriate amount of fat in your breastmilk.
There are some nutrients in breastmilk that are not affected by your diet like:
- Folic Acid
See my full post on this topic here.