Pregnancy and parenthood are filled with joys, tears, fatigue and…tons of unsolicited advice. So much advice, so many opinions, so much fear of being judged that we don’t know where to look for solid advice. We spoke with Judy Teibloom-Mishkin RN, IBCLC, of Lactation Partners in Chicago, who shared the single most important piece of advice she gives to new moms:
“Stop feeding your freezer and feed your baby!”
One of the biggest issues Judy sees is that the anxiety to pump and store too soon is wreaking havoc on the breastfeeding relationship between mother and baby. She observed that moms stress so much about their milk supply that they focus on pumping and freezing as much milk as they can. She says there are several reasons why this is not recommended:
- This often leads to an oversupply. Wait, what? Who wouldn’t want MORE breastmilk production? Well, Judy says that overproduction makes it more difficult for a baby to nurse from the breast, because the milk comes out at such a rapid rate. Therefore, over production decreases a mom’s ability to connect with her baby via nursing.
- Oversupply often leads to a higher rate of clogged milk ducts, which increases the risk for mastitis…fevers, pain, usually requires a course of antibiotics to treat.
- You end up being tied to your breast pump much more when you have an oversupply, which takes time away from you bonding with your baby, getting rest, or getting out of the house.
Courtesy of Deposit Photos
Another observation Judy has made is that women returning to work often feel so guilty about leaving their baby at home, and one way they can “provide” for their baby is to have breastmilk for them while away. This has led many mothers to “measure” their success as a parent by how much breastmilk they are able to produce and leave behind for their baby. The anguish that mothers feel if they can’t provide enough milk can be overwhelming, and moms often feel shame or inadequacy if they can’t produce enough.
Judy worries that moms are not living in the moment. “People are so aggressively advising and telling them to pump that it distracts moms from feeding from the breast,” says Judy. “This frozen milk is not the milk your baby is going to have to live off of. You will be replenishing the milk every day while at work, so STOP stressing about your frozen milk supply.” She advises moms to be present, be with the baby, work on the bond and latch. She also encourages moms to “just breastfeed, and don't judge yourself!”