Take medication while breastfeeding?
During pregnancy, you may have been told to be wary of any medication use since it will go through to the baby. This is true, in most incidences. However, the breast actually filters more of the medications than the placenta does, allowing more medications to be used during breastfeeding. Have you been prescribed a medication or been told you cannot continue to nurse while taking a medication, whether prescribed or over the counter? IBCLCs maintain very up-to-date resources to research whatever medication you may have a question regarding.
Store breast milk?
The answer is yes! You will find a wide variety of times online and through various lactation resources. The IBCLC at Breastfeeding Perspectives has taken all those recommendations and come up with an average, which she calls the “Rule of Sixes.” These apply to full term, healthy breastfeeding babies:
- Fresh breast milk can stay SIX hours at normal room temperature.
- Breast milk that has been pumped or expressed by hand can stay in the refrigerator for SIX days
- Milk can be frozen (in a side-by-side or top/bottom) for SIX months
- And in a deep freeze without frequent opening of the door, for ONE year
Nurse my baby in a public place?
Forty-nine states have laws to protect your right to breastfeed your baby anywhere you have a right to be. It is no longer recommended that you use a blanket to “cover up” when breastfeeding. Why? Doing so increases the heat level and decreases the oxygen level under that blanket, and both are increased risks for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). If you feel the need to cover yourself and your baby, International Board Certified Lactation Consultants can teach you safe ways to prevent others from seeing your breast while feeding your baby.
Absolutely, you can! Even if they arrive early. Don’t worry about trying to begin with nursing them at the same time; that will come later. Take the first week or two to really get to know each baby as an individual, learn how each one latches best, which position works for each, and get your milk supply well established. Bring in help for your arrival back home, and seek the assistance of an IBCLC if you have any problems.
Use a pacifier?
During the first three to four weeks following birth, your baby is learning how to latch to the breast well; how to suck, swallow, and breathe; and how to tell you when he or she is hungry or full. Babies have a lot of practice sucking during the pregnancy, but it is on their tiny fingers or thumbs. That produces a tiny mouth movement which does not work at the breast. These babies are having to relearn sucking. Pacifiers and bottles reinforce that tiny mouth and may cause some biting behaviors, as well as masking feeding cues which could impact their milk intake, their growth, and your milk supply. Once breastfeeding is well-established, you can use a pacifier if you so desire. But do your research, since there are multiple schools of thought in the dentistry world!
Share my milk or use someone else’s milk?
Yes, if that milk is from an accredited milk bank who is a member of the Human Milk Banking Association of North America. However, it isn’t a good idea to use breast milk in casual milk sharing arrangements. The potential always exists for HIV, AIDS, hepatitis, human papilloma virus (HPV), tuberculosis, and human T lymphotropic virus. Additionally, the shared milk may contain medications taken by the pumping mother, as well as alcohol, nicotine, illegal drugs, and other contaminants that can have an effect on your baby. Issues exist, too, about taking away from the donor model, making human milk donations to an HMBANA Milk Bank decrease and putting very premature and very ill infants at risk. In the future, there exists a potential to see predatory practices targeting lactating women.
There are often other ways we can look at increasing your own milk supply. If you are looking for breast milk from other mothers, never purchase it, especially from an internet source. Several years ago, studies showed adulterated breast milk purchased online, with water, dairy, medications, and even illegal drugs present in some samples. Always be safe.
By Kathy Parkes