Current Facebook Links – February

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Helpful Links:

CDC/WHO Growth Charts for Breastfed Children

US National Library of Medicine LactMed -A peer-reviewed and fully referenced database of drugs to which breastfeeding mothers may be exposed. Among the data included are maternal and infant levels of drugs, possible effects on breastfed infants and on lactation, and alternate drugs to consider.


57 Medicinal, Cosmetic, and Other Alternative Uses for Breastmilk

Why Doesn’t Baby Formula List Sugar Content?

Hand expression, pumping, and proper storage

Pumping and Proper storage

The first few weeks after your baby is born, your milk supply is all over the place. You will/have probably experience ‘engorgement‘. This is a painful and unpleasant experience. While your milk is being sorted out by ‘supply and demand’ bargaining between your body and your baby, you might want to relieve your swollen, full breasts by either pumping or hand expressing. You can store this extra milk in your fridge or freeze for later use.


Hand Expression

The Marmet Technique of Manual Expression*

This technique has been developed by Chele Marmet, a La Leche League Leader and lactation consultant who is the Director of the Lactation Institute in West Los Angeles, USA. As with any manual skill, practice is important.

  1. Position the thumb and first two fingers about 1 ” to 1 1/2″ behind the nipple. Use this measurement, which is not necessarily the outer edge of the areola, as a guide. The areola varies in size from one woman to another. Place the thumb pad above the nipple and the finger pads below to form a “C.” Avoid cupping the breast.
  2. Push straight into the chest wall. Avoid spreading the fingers apart. For large breasts, first lift and then push into the chest wall.
  3. Roll thumb and fingers forward as if making thumb and fingerprints at the same time. The rolling motion of the thumb and fingers compresses and empties the milk reservoirs without hurting sensitive breast tissue.
  4. Repeat rhythmically to drain the reservoirs. Position, push, roll; position, push, roll.
  5. Rotate the thumb and finger position to milk the other reservoirs. Use both hands on each breast.

*1978, 1979, 1981,1988 Chele Marmet. (

To begin, find a comfortable, quiet spot and relax as much as possible to encourage letdown. A quick breast massage or leaning over and gently shaking your breasts can launch letdown, as can warm compresses. If your baby is close by, try cuddling with her (as long as she doesn’t mind being thisclose to milk she can’t have). Away from home? Look at her cute mug in a photo, or close your eyes and imagine her face, her smell, and her blissfully nursing away.

If you’re using an electric pump, use the lowest suction at first and then increase the juice when things get moving. Do be patient. It may take a few minutes (or a few days or even weeks) for you to get into a comfortable rhythm. Pump until the milk starts slowing down and your breasts feel empty, and be sure to clean the breast flanges after every use. (

Choice of a Storage Container
When a baby is only receiving expressed milk occasionally, the type of storage container is not a major consideration; however, if a baby is receiving most of his nourishment from expressed breast milk, the type of storage container used should be considered carefully. Plastic containers are the best choice for storing breast milk in the refrigerator as more of human milk’s leukocytes or white cells adhere to glass. If the milk is to be frozen, glass is the preferred choice as it is less porous and offers the best protection. Most of the leukocytes in human milk are killed with freezing anyway. For this reason, milk that can be used within 8 days of expression should be refrigerated rather than frozen, because the antimicrobial properties of human milk are better preserved with refrigeration.

Another good choice for refrigeration or freezing is the milk storage bags that are designed specifically for human milk (Medela, Ameda, NUK, Tommee Tippee, Lansinoh, etc…). They are per-sterilized and are thicker (2-ply), coated with polyethylene, and lined with nylon which prevents the fat from adhering to the sides. Hard plastic containers of any kind are also good choices for both refrigeration and freezing. Other milk bags, sold specifically as bottle liners, are not as durable, making them an unacceptable alternative when freezing the milk as the seams may burst during the freezing process perhaps causing a leak during thawing. Also, one study found that there was a 60% decrease in the milk’s antibodies and a loss of fat that adhered to the sides of these bags. If this type of bag is still chosen, the milk can be better protected by placing the liner bags in a larger gallon size freezer bag or in a hard plastic container. (

When milk freezes it expands, so it is necessary to leave about an inch at the top of the container to allow for expansion. For this reason, bottle caps or container lids should not be tightened until the milk is completely frozen.

It is important to remember to store your milk towards the back of your refrigerator. Storing your milk on the door can cause thawing of the milk which will start to break down valuable nutrients in the milk.

How long is milk good for once it is stored?

Back to Breast Basics

To fully understand breastfeeding, you have to understand the breast. Its more complicated then it looks.

The inner workings of the breast

Breasts are not just two fatty lumps placed upon a woman’s body. Hidden inside the fat cells and glandular tissue are the milk ducts which carry the milk to the baby when he feeds. Pregnancy hormones cause the milk ducts to multiply in number and size.The ducts branch off into smaller channels called ductules. At the end of each ductule is a cluster of small, sacs called alveoli. A cluster of alveoli is called a lobule; a cluster of lobules is called a lobe. Each breast contains between 15 and 20 lobes, with one milk duct for every lobe.


Prompted by the hormone prolactin, the alveoli take proteins, sugars, and fat from the blood supply and make breast milk. A network of cells surrounding the alveoli squeeze the glands and push the milk out into the ductules, which lead to a bigger duct.

The milk duct system becomes fully developed sometime during the second trimester, so a woman can make milk for her baby even if he arrives prematurely.

After baby arrives

48-97 hours after your baby has been born, the body begins to release Oxytocin and prolactin. These two natural chemicals help the body make and release the milk for your baby. Breastfeeding soon after giving birth increases the mother’s oxytocin levels, making her uterus contract more quickly and reducing bleeding.

What your body is making

Colostrum (early breast milk) This yellowish, creamy substance is found in the breasts during pregnancy and for a few days after delivery. Your colostrum provides all the nutrition your baby will need right after birth. It also provides important protection against bacteria and viruses. Colostrum also acts as natural laxative (something that makes it easier to have bowel movements) to help clear the meconium (the dark sticky stool that is made while the baby is in the uterus) from your baby’s intestines.

‘First Milk’ is produced after colostrum. This milk is made of fats, sugars, proteins, minerals, vitamins, and enzymes and is designed to promote brain and body growth. Antibodies are also present in your breast milk, which help boost your baby’s immune system.

Fun Fact!

Did you know, sometimes your milk can change from the yellow, creamy color to a white color after a few weeks!

The color of your milk also can depend on if your emptying your breast or not. Fore-milk has a white color while hind-milk has a creamy color.

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