Monday, February 28, 2011

Nursing Clothing Review: Old Navy Maternity Twisted Jersey Nursing Top

Old Navy Maternity Twisted Jersey Nursing Top

Price: $19.50 (I bought mine with a 20% discount, so $15.60.)

Fit: A bit on the large side. I ordered a medium but, if I had it to do over, I'd order a small.

Fabric: Great lightweight, non-clingy, slightly stretchy cotton jersey.

Aesthetics: Cute! Would likely be cuter in the right size.

Ease of access: My main complaint about nursing shirts that don't have a built in bra is that I have to deal with my bra clasps in addition to a shirt panel situation. That can be a lot to ask of a nursing mom, who is invariably working one handed while holding a squirming (and hungry!) baby or toddler with her other hand. This panel style worked great for me though . . . I reached in through the top of my neckline and unclasped my bra then simply tugged upwards on one side of the shirt's scoop-necked under layer to reveal a nursing opening. Uncovering the snacks took more time than it would in a full-sling nursing tank, but less time than it would in a "lift from the waist" clothing setup.

Ease of nursing with discretion: The design of this shirt allows you to control the size of the nursing opening, which afforded me a lot of coverage (moreso even than most full-sling style nursing tanks).

Recommended?: Yes, with the caveat that one should order a size down!


I was not paid to review or endorse this product.

Meyers-y Monday

One Monkey, One Monkey, Drumming on a Drum
Dum ditty, dum ditty, dum dum dum

Friday, February 11, 2011

Supply Tip: Double Pumping

Disclaimer regarding supply: True low milk supply is rare. Perceived low milk supply, however, is one of the leading reasons women cite for giving up breastfeeding.

Genuine low milk supply is often the result of a medical condition: hypoplastic tubular breasts, sometimes in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome, sometimes in women who have had breast surgery, and sometimes in women with tyroid disorders. If you don't fall into one of these categories, it is worth considering whether your milk supply issues might be either perceived, or real but fixable!

In this series on milk supply, I'm going to offer tips for moms whose supply issues are in the "real but fixable" category.


"Double Pumping" is a term used to describe pumping both breasts at the same time. Since the let-down reflex occurs simultaneously in both breasts, pumping both at once can result in higher milk yields. It can also save time.

"Double Pumping" is ALSO a term used to describe pumping until let down, waiting 10-15 minutes, then pumping again. Lets call this "Double Pumping, the latter".

It is typical for a mom's milk to let down only once per pumping session. It is also typical for a mom's milk to let down several times during one nursing session. This divide can account for some of the difference between a mom's pump volumes and the amount her baby is likely to have taken at breast.

In order to effectively "Double Pump, the latter", pump until the flow of milk stops. Remove the pump shields and massage the breasts briefly (the MSS Technique, described here as item #3, is a great output maximizer). Pump again until the flow of milk stops. Then prop your pump parts up safely and step away for 10-15 minutes. Come back, and pump just until let down.

This technique can maximize pump yields in two ways: a) it creates the illusion of increased demand for milk, causing your supply to increase and b) you will net extra pumped milk in the second, brief pumping sessions.

It can be a lot of up and down throughout the day, especially for moms unable to pump at their own desks or workspaces, but the results tend to be well worth the effort for moms who are having trouble reaching their pumping goals!
The Chubathon

Friday, February 4, 2011

Quantifiers: A Study and Some Statistics

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding for a minimum of 12 months and exclusive breastfeeding, without any supplemental foods or drinks, for six months. The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding for a minimum of two years, to continue thereafter for as long as is desireable to mother and baby.

Per the CDC's 2010 Breastfeeding Report Card, only 13.3% of babies are exclusively breastfed at 6 months, and only 22.4% of babies are breastfeeding at all on their first birthdays. There is no data on babies still breastfeeding on their second birthdays. The numbers for babies breastfeeding, although not exclusively, at six months is somewhat better: 43%

Why are American moms having trouble meeting the AAP and WHO's recommendations? Per a study published in Pediatrics in 2008, the number one reason cited for early cessation of breastfeeding was concern over the quantity and quality of milk.

We have a tendency, as breastfeeding mothers, to blame everything on our milk. Fussy baby? Must not be getting enough milk. Gassy baby? Must be something mom ate. Night waking baby? Must not have gotten enough milk in that last evening feeding.

The truth is: there are a myriad of reasons a baby might be fussy, gassy or wakeful, most of them having nothing to do with a mom's milk. (And I've yet to hear someone feeling ill after a bowl of ice cream wonder "what that cow ate?")

The mother of a formula fed baby wouldn't wonder if her baby was fussing or waking out of hunger because she'd have seen the milk disappear out of her baby's bottle. As breastfeeding mothers, what is our equivalent of "watching the bottle drain"?

* Weight gain. Baby should gain 1/2 an ounce to 1 ounce per day (4-7oz per week) for the first three months of life.

* Wet and poopy diapers. You should expect to see: 1 wet and 1 poopy diaper on the first day of life, 2 wet and 2 poopy on the second, 3 wet and 3 poopy on the third, 4 wet and 4 poopy on the fourth, 5 wet and 5 poopy on the fifth, and 6-8 wet and 3-5 poopy on day six and beyond. Good thing that trend didn't keep up, you'd have had a very busy day 15! (Keep in mind: After about 6 weeks, some babies start pooping less often. As long as baby is producing plenty of heavy wet diapers and gaining weight, this is likely fine. Of course, check with your pediatrician if you are concerned.)

* Hearing baby swallowing during a feeding. Here is a great youtube video to help you identify the sound.

* The breast feels firm and full before a feeding, soft and empty after.

* Mom can feel her let down reflex. However, do not be unduly concerned if you can't feel your let down! Many moms can't feel let down (myself included!). So long as your baby is gaining weight appropriately, you are assuredly producing and releasing milk.

* Seeing milk drip or leak from the opposite breast as you nurse. (Although, again, lack of leaking does not indicate poor supply.)

* Seeing milk in baby's mouth after a feeding, or in the corners of baby's mouth during a feeding.

And, a final note to pumping mamas, pumped milk volume is actually a POOR indicator of milk supply. Letting your milk down for the pump is largely psychological. It is very much possible for a mother with a bountiful milk supply to yield only drips when she pumps. Pumping strategy is another blog post, but for this post, let it suffice to say that one shouldn't invest too much worry over scantily filled collection bottles.

Chunky, milk-fed monkey.