In Australia, a Federal Circuit Court Judge passed an injunction that legally banned a mother from breastfeeding her 11-month baby because she had 2 tattoos placed while breastfeeding. The mother tested negative for HIV/AIDS in the bloodstream, but the judge stated the mother had put her baby at risk of getting blood-borne diseases.

In his decision, the judge referred to guidelines set by the Australian Breastfeeding Association. Those guidelines do caution against blood-borne infections caused by multiple-use pigments, and the possibility of HIV/AIDS transmission through contaminated needles. Regardless, it drew much comment and protest. This begs the question: medically speaking, can you get a tattoo while breastfeeding?

What Are the Medical Risks of Getting a Tattoo While Breastfeeding?

What are the medical risks of getting a tattoo in general? Let us take a look at some of these, and understand the hype on the issue. Later on, we will focus on the central question of this article: can you get a tattoo while breastfeeding?

First, tattoos are often permanent pigments inserted below several layers of skin in patterns. To ensure permanency, the ink is placed deep enough that it leaks into the bloodstream (there is actually some bleeding while the tattoo is placed). This automatically makes it a health risk for blood-borne diseases. What are the most general risks of getting a tattoo?

Skin Infections

Depending on the cleanliness and sterilization of the clinic, the equipment, and the pigments, a tattooed person is at risk of skin infections. The most dangerous tattoo-induced skin infections are leprosy, tetanus, HIV, and hepatitis B and C. All of these are blood-borne and can be transmitted in unclean environments.

Skin Allergies

Unfortunately, most people getting tattoos will not know which pigments they are allergic to until they actually get the tattoo. Green, red, and yellow dyes often cause skin allergies. Those getting the tattoo can get itchy rashes on the site where ink was inserted. Sometimes, the rash stays for months or longer. Other times, years later, the chemical breakdown causes the rash.

Which Kinds Count in Breastfeeding?

Unless the allergic reaction is so violent as to cause fever and sickness, a mother’s skin allergy should not find its way to the baby through breastmilk. What is most dangerous for the baby is the possibility of contracting a blood-borne disease. While babies cannot contract the cold or flu from their mothers, they can contract a bacterial infection from the breast milk.

The Scientific Debate: Can You Get a Tattoo While Breastfeeding?

An article by Robyn Roche-Paul and Karen Spicer–both IBCLCs–in LEAVEN in 2005 looks at various studies on the compatibility of tattoos and breastfeeding. First, they state that tattoos that exist before the woman starts breastfeeding have no discernible effect on breast milk whatsoever.


As long as they are not too recent, it is unlikely any tattoo-induced infection would remain in the bloodstream. However, if a mother does choose to get a tattoo while breastfeeding, she would be exposed to the normal dangers of the tattoo process.

There is an increased risk of infection, in a sense, because it is also up to the mother to maintain the tattooed area so that infection does not set in. This may be grounds for protest: that the mother got a tattoo despite the increased risk of infection automatically run.

An article by Roy Benaroch, MD in 2013 agrees with the earlier conclusion. As long as the mother is aware of the sterilization and cleanliness procedures that a tattoo artist should follow, the danger of blood-borne infections is nil (besides the mother’s responsibility afterwards). Also, so far, no studies have shown that tattoo ink is bad for the baby.

On the other hand, an article by Brett Israel in Environmental Health News cautions against the presence of heavy metals in tattoo ink. Ink often contains cadmium, chromium, lead, nickel, titanium, and others. They make it into the bloodstream during the tattoo process.

While an IBCLC has said tattoos while breastfeeding are not harmful, she also cautions against the heavy metals in tattoo ink. There have been no studies yet that prove whether or not they make it into breast milk, but they definitely enter the mother’s bloodstream.

Supporting that side of the debate is an article by Friends of the Earth Australia. They point out that 60% of tattoo inks tested in Europe were pulled from the market, and that a 3-by-5 inch tattoo can hold up to 1.23 micrograms of lead in the ink. They also point out that black ink is a health risk for spreading carcinogens into the skin.  

The Debate Conclusion

In truth, many professional tattoo artists will even refuse to tattoo mothers who are pregnant or breastfeeding. While adverse effects of tattoos on breastfeeding mothers are not yet proved, the already existing risks are as good a reason as any to wait before getting a tattoo.

Mothers should not only take into account the infection risks, but also the risks of heavy metals finding their ways into the bloodstream and therefore into breast milk. In short, it depends on the informed consent of the mother.

Why Ask a Lactation Consultant for Help on Getting Tattoos While Breastfeeding?

An IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) is, according to the International Lactation Consultant Association, not just an advocate and facilitator of breastfeeding mothers. An IBCLC is also a clinical expert and an educator. They are trained to give counsel on a mother’s medical health, and discuss issues related to breastfeeding.

can you get a tattoo while breastfeeding

IBCLCs are the perfect people to consult because their specialty is breastfeeding. They are completely focused on a mother’s concerns related to breastfeeding. Unlike OB/GYNs and Pediatricians, they can give more detailed and knowledgeable information on the subject because it is the sole focus of their work.

Can You Get a Tattoo While Breastfeeding?

So, to summarize: Can you get a tattoo while breastfeeding? Yes and no. No one knows just how much the tattoo ink composition could harm a breastfeeding mother and her baby. However, given the circumstantial evidence on the topic, it seems that it would be better for mothers to wait until their babies are weaned before getting a tattoo. In all cases, when in doubt, you should get an informed opinion from a doctor, health professional, or IBCLC.

When women become pregnant their doctors automatically advise a diet rich in nutrients, vitamins, and minerals to help the baby’s development as much as possible. On the other hand, some are confused about which artificial drugs or medicines they can prescribe for mothers.

Since the Food and Drug Authority (FDA) does not allow drug companies to ask lactating women to join studies, there are very few scientific studies that we can fall back on. However, there are some drugs we can already advise on, such as Xanax. Let us look at what happens when Xanax and breastfeeding mix.

What is Xanax?

Xanax is a brand name of the generic drug alprazolam, which is a benzodiazepine. That simply means that it belongs to the family of drugs that is used to treat panic and anxiety disorders. It is best to use Xanax only when prescribed by the doctor, and following the prescription exactly.

Xanax may be habit-forming, so following the prescription is important. It is also dangerous enough to cause addiction, and even severe illness or death when overdosed on. Xanax is also a sedative, which makes its users sleepy or unfocused. It also slows their reactions, making it dangerous for them drive and other related activities while on Xanax.


Xanax has been expressly forbidden for pregnant mothers. The drug is strong enough to cause possible birth defects, and the unborn baby may develop an addiction to it. The doctor must be told at once if you suspect you are pregnant.

Do Xanax and Breastfeeding Mix?

In a study by Oo, Kuhn, and Desai, in Br J Clin Pharmacol, looking at the maternal levels of alprazolam in mothers’ breast milk after a daily dose of 0.5 mg of the drug, they found that the half-life of alprazolam in the milk is long: 14.5 hours, more than half a day. After taking the drug, mothers need to wait at least this time period before breastfeeding their babies.

Later evidence of the effects of Xanax on breastfeeding babies was gathered from current cases, not through studies and tests. In one case found in a letter by scientists Anderson and McGuire, an infant 1 week old showed signs of withdrawal from the drug (irritability, restlessness, anxiety) after he stopped breastfeeding. His mother had been taking alprazolam after delivery. The case suggests the drug was in her milk in a strong enough dosage to cause some dependency.

Another case is of a baby 9 months old, whose mother was taken off alprazolam. For 2 weeks after the mother was completely off the drug, the baby showed withdrawal symptoms. He would cry randomly, was irritable, and slept fitfully.

Babies have also been known to fall heavily asleep during or after breastfeeding, reacting to the sedating side effects of the drug. When they wake up, they are unusually upset, anxious, and irritable. These stress factors sometimes lead to weight loss in the baby. In other words, Xanax and breastfeeding do not mix.

What If I Need to Use Xanax?

If you need to use it regularly or over a set period of time, you might need to consider weaning your baby or consulting your doctor or IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) to see if you can get another kind.

However, if you have been prescribed the drug for single use only, take it after pumping, freezing, and storing enough milk for a 14+ hour wait. You can also use bottle-fed formula milk for those times. Simply prepare in advance for your baby’s feeding.


If you have not yet weaned your baby (taken baby off breast milk), and are not in the process of weaning, you are probably planning to still breastfeed your baby after the Xanax dose. In that case, use a breast pump during regular feeding times to signal the breasts to keep producing milk. Dump the milk drawn over those times, until the half-life is done.

Alternatives to Xanax for Breastfeeding Mothers

A study of breastfeeding mothers with 124 infants total among them was undertaken by scientists Kelly, Poon, Madadi, and Koren in a study in J Pediatr. In that study, all the breastfeeding mothers were currently taking benzodiazepines. 52% of the mothers were taking lorazepam, 18% were taking clonazepman, and 15% were taking midazolam.

Of the babies currently breastfeeding, only 2 became sedated after nursing. One of the 2 nursing mothers was on alprazolam (Xanax), while the other was on multiple anti-depressant drugs. The other mothers did not report any kind of sedation occurring in their infants after their breastfeeding times.

However, these benzodiazepines are still labelled high-potency, and they will enter the breast milk. Taking these Xanax alternatives must still be by prescription, and the precautions outlined for mothers taking benzodiazepines in one-time use should still be followed. When it comes to baby’s safety, no risks should be taken.

Why Can You Ask A Lactation Consultant About Xanax and Breastfeeding?

Sometimes, especially in the news, lactation consultants are negatively portrayed–even called “Lactation Police.” This is a terrible perception that does not take into account what IBCLCs need to go through simply to get their titles. Lactation consultants must have spent hundreds of hours simply studying the theories of lactation and in clinical practice. The minimum that some lactation consultants must spend in clinical practice is 300 hours.

Lactation consultants are trained to have a single specialty: the health, welfare, and happiness of a mother who wants to breastfeed and her baby who is breastfeeding. They are equipped to give advice, counsel, and support to mothers. They can even advise and counsel on what mothers should and should not take while breastfeeding–and this includes drugs like Xanax.

Conclusion: Err on the Side of Safety

With all the evidence laid out, the decision is still yours, as the breastfeeding mother. If you do not feel comfortable taking Xanax while breastfeeding, then you do not have to take it. At the end of the day, after consulting and researching, if the doctor prescribed the drug then you can decide to take it. However, for your safety and your breastfed baby’s, always make a fully informed, regulated decision in questions like these.

Can You Eat Sushi While Breastfeeding?

The answer is yes. However, breastfeeding mothers should pay attention to the preparation of the sushi they are eating. They should go to restaurants who only use flash-frozen fish for their sushi, and only order sushi and sashimi made of fish low in mercury.

If you are a sushi-lover, the hardest thing about pregnancy will be the diet. Sushi is not encouraged for pregnant women, because of the high amounts of mercury in some kinds of fish that might harm the baby’s growth and development. While you may take some kinds of fish in moderation, the risk is high enough that some doctors still suggest total abstention from sushi during pregnancy.


After the baby is born, then, you might run straight to your favorite sushi restaurant to imbibe all the sushi you were craving for 9 months. Slow down a minute to read this article. As a new mother, you are still responsible for what your baby receives from your breast milk. Now is the time to ask the question: Can you eat sushi while breastfeeding?

The Dangers of Eating Sushi While Breastfeeding

The “health” revolution is all about raw and free-range: raw (or lightly steamed) vegetables, free-range chickens (and eggs), free-range cows (and milk). It was inevitable that sushi would join the revolution. It is certainly raw, and at least the non-farmed fish are certainly free-range. Because of the lack of preservatives and artificial flavoring (except what the consumers add), it is now a traditional fall-back food for consumers who want to eat healthy.

The main danger of sushi is that it is still considered raw food. Because of this, any parasites that get into the raw fish stay in there if the food is not prepared correctly. Sushi is required to be flash-frozen before it is shipped to the United States. Flash-freezing raw fish makes it too instantly cold for parasites to grow, and kills any parasites

However, there are some fish in the market considered sushi-ready because they are “fresh-caught,” and therefore have not yet been frozen. Such fish have more of a chance to become parasite-infested. Slow-freezing in the regular freezer does not kill parasites, and is too slow to prevent their growth. Here are the possible dangers of eating sushi while breastfeeding.

First, anisakiasis is parasite larva that causes similar effects to food poisoning within 24 hours of ingestion. Another is diphyllobothriasis, caused by a tapeworm found in sea bass, salmon, pike, and trout. It can cause lowered levels of Vitamin B12, and anemia (lack of iron). These only occur in fish that have not been flash-frozen, which consumers cannot know without asking.


Besides these parasites, there is a risk of mercury poisoning whether or not the fish has been flash-frozen or not. In other words, the main danger that a pregnant or breastfeeding mother is facing is mercury poisoning. The types of fish most often used to make sushi, such as tuna and marlin, are quite high in mercury content.

Mercury is a neurotoxin (attacks the nervous system) when released into the bloodstream. The person affected may have some difficulty performing simple functions like walking, listening, and seeing. There may be tingling along the nervous system, and lack of coordination. This can get into the bloodstream, and therefore into a mother’s breast milk.

The Debate: Can You Eat Sushi While Breastfeeding?

The majority of studies are on eating sushi while pregnant. Most studies are clear on the fact that pregnant women should not eat sushi at all. According to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, not only will any mercury intake find its way into the developing baby’s body, the food poisoning it mimics can cause intense vomiting and diarrhea.

This dehydrates the mother, sometimes to dangerous levels. For this reason, sushi must be cooked before eating, or avoided altogether. On the other hand, after the birth, the York Region Health Connection in Canada says that mothers no longer need to avoid sushi. Still, they do advise low intake of fish in general to lower the mercury content.

However, a joint study by the Government of South Australia and Women’s & Children’s Hospital says differently. One of the concerns is the disease listeriosis, and can be passed through breast milk and cause illness in the baby. Because of this, they advise mothers to avoid raw oysters and sashimi altogether, and smoked salmon and oysters. Only well-cooked or canned seafood can be eaten.

The Department of Health in the New York City government released a Guide for Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women and Young Children. They advise breastfeeding mothers to lower their intake of fish, and to watch the levels of mercury in the fish they are eating. Mothers, as adults, can eat 4-6 ounces of fish in a single serving. The servings they eat in a week depend on the fish mercury levels.


Who to Consult on Eating Sushi While Breastfeeding

Because of the confusion on the debate and the lack of studies on eating sushi while breastfeeding, mothers need to know who to go to ask the question: can you eat sushi while breastfeeding? The three kinds of people who can be consulted are obstetrician-gynecologists, lactation consultants, and nutritionists.


OB/GYNs, as they are called, would be the first to advise mothers against sushi and sashimi intake during pregnancy. They may also have additional insights and advice for mothers who want to know if the baby’s’ health will be compromised if they eat sushi while breastfeeding. Mothers may easily and quickly consult their OB/GYNs for their advice, or to ask who else they may refer to.

Lactation Consultants

Lactation consultants are breastfeeding experts, and go through a lengthy training process and pass a board exam to become IBCLCs (International Board Certified Lactation Consultants). They can not only help mothers having difficulty breastfeeding, but they can also offer advice to mothers on nutrition and health for their babies as they breastfeed.


Nutritionists are a good back-up source to OB/GYNs and IBCLCs. Their focus is on the nutrition content and servings needed for safe and healthy eating. Mothers can go to them for advice and instruction on how much fish it is safe to eat in a certain period of time, and for knowledge on food preparation and mercury content.

smoking-weed-while-breastfeedingMarijuana legalization in Colorado and other states has restarted the debate on the benefits and ill effects of “weed.” Currently, medical studies show that the cannabis weed–where marijuana is drawn from–can be used as a painkiller, to manage epilepsy, and even to calm PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) patients.

At the same time, it is also known that marijuana is responsible for a “high.” That in itself becomes cautionary. Smoking marijuana increases the heart rate to twice as fast as normal for more than 2 hours. As it is smoking in general, it can lead to lung problems and infections.

Dizziness is normal, as is shallow breathing, a slower reaction time in general, unfocused thinking, and so forth. It is also addictive, without a doubt. 1 in every 10 users become dependent on it. Also, despite causing a fuzzy, relieving high, it can worsen states of depression, anxiety, and psychosis. So, is smoking weed while breastfeeding safe?

Why Is Smoking Weed While Breastfeeding An Issue?

What has been definitely proven is that marijuana taken by the breastfeeding mother, in any form (smoke, brownies, tea), will make it into the baby’s body. Breastfeeding babies whose mothers take marijuana show tetrahydrocannabinol (THC; the chemicals that induce a high) in their urine. There is no other way they could have taken in the chemicals except through breast milk.

THC is a chemical that is “fat-soluble”–in other words, when it enters the bloodstream, it stores itself in the user’s fat. A mother’s breast milk is only 4.2 grams fat in every 100 milliliters, but the calorie content is 70 grams, and it mostly comes from the fat content. When the mother takes in THC, it dissolves wherever it finds fat: including breast milk. Therefore, the baby takes in THC. Smoking weed While breastfeeding definitely has some effect.

Is Smoking Weed While Breastfeeding Safe?

First of all, there is a noted lack of studies in this area. There are so many factors besides THC that could lead to lower motor and speech development, and even apathy, in breastfeeding babies. The problem is that there is almost no study that could isolate the specific effects of marijuana in those babies. However, it is important for mothers and families, new and old, to know the possible dangers that marijuana can pose to a breastfeeding baby. Only then may an informed choice be made.


Science on Smoking Weed While Breastfeeding

In Favor

In a 1990 study by SJ Astley and RE Little published in Neurotoxicol Teratol, they studied 136 babies breastfeeding until 1 year old. Exactly half, or 68 babies, were breastfeeding from mothers who were taking marijuana at the time. The other exact half were breastfeeding from mothers who did not touch marijuana while they were feeding their babies.

They discovered that at 1 year old, the 68 babies taking in marijuana through their mothers’ milk had lower motor development (less maturity in motion) than the 68 who were not. Since the mothers’ marijuana intake was regular, it was suggested constant intake could cause such problems.

Another study by Mohican Ranganathan and 6 other authors was published in Psychopharmacology (Berl) in 2009. It looked at the effect of cannabinoids (the chemicals in marijuana, including THC) on certain hormone levels, especially prolactin (the hormone that signals the mother to produce breastmilk). The study had 36 healthy individuals, and 40 regular users of marijuana.


What the study discovered was that there was a significant effect on prolactin in frequent marijuana users. Prolactin was decreased and suppressed in those marijuana users. For breastfeeding mothers, it means less prolactin in the bloodstream, less signals to a mother’s body to make breast milk, and less breast milk in general. In other words, smoking weed while breastfeeding is not safe.


On the other side of the debate is a study by Katherine Tennes and 6 more authors on the effects of marijuana intake on babies before and after birth, and during breastfeeding. There were 498 non-users of marijuana, and 258 users in the study. Before birth, there was no noticeable effect on the babies’ growth and development.

After birth, there was no difference in baby response and development when comparing non-users to light, medium, and heavy marijuana users. Even in the follow-up study in one year, there was no difference in the motor or intellectual development of the babies who were breastfed by mothers taking marijuana. The weaning age was normal, as was the expected weight of the babies.

A study supporting these findings was more incidental. Ilet, KF and 4 other scientists conducted a study on the effects of buprenorphine and norbuprenorphine on babies who received the chemicals through breast milk. During the study, they discovered that some mothers had been using marijuana while breastfeeding. The study eventually concluded that there was no damage or change in the babies, even those who were drinking from mothers taking marijuana.

Who Can You Consult On Smoking Weed While Breastfeeding?

With these scientific studies seemingly contradicting each other, mothers need to know who they can go to for information and support. At least, before using or deciding not to use marijuana, they will be informed enough to make a clear, personal decision.

Your Obstetrician-Gynecologist

OB/GYNs, as they are often nick-named, are not just doctors who help deliver babies. Their specialization is the health of both baby and mother while the baby is still in the stomach. They carefully study what might damage the babies in the wombs, and what might continue until after they are born. They can be consulted on the possible dangers of taking marijuana while breastfeeding.

Your Lactation Consultant

Lactation consultants are a less-known force in the medical world, but they may be even more helpful than the local pediatric clinic or OB/GYN. Their specialization is nothing less than helping mothers and advising them in a counseling and even medical role on breastfeeding.

Look for an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) after the name. It means they have completed the many requirements needed to take the board exam, and have passed the exam. They are qualified to instruct you on breastfeeding and any other related questions.

Your Local Mother-to-Mother Support Group

Sometimes, you know the studies and simply need support in your decision. Or, you need to at least have opinions from mothers who have gone through the same decision-making. You can go to your local mother-to-mother support group. La Leche League is one of those, and there are other local and international places you can find to help.

Smoking Weed While Breastfeeding: Err on the Side of Safety

For pregnant and breastfeeding mothers in general, erring on the side of safety is the best decision–you can continue to buy your bong from your online headshop, but maybe switch to tobacco. However, this decision remains fully personal as long as scientific studies do not lean one way or another on this issue. At the end of the day, turn to the right people to consult, and make an informed decision on this issue. 

Not being able to get pregnant is in a list by Parenting on Old Wives’ Tales on pregnancies. It has long been held traditionally that breastfeeding mothers cannot get pregnant. This may have been true in days when mothers used to breastfeed exclusively. However, in this new modern era, when mothers and hospitals are more likely to use formula on small babies, this is no longer as true.

The situation differs from mother to mother. After all, when it comes to the science and medicine, there is no one-size-fits-all kind of action. However, scientifically, there are certain ways that make it more likely that breastfeeding will act as a natural contraceptive. So let’s look at the science behind breastfeeding and ovulation, to answer the question: can you get pregnant while breastfeeding?


The Science: Prolactin and Lactational Amenorrhea

Prolactin is a hormone produced by the pituitary gland, and released into the bloodstream (often called the “milk hormone”). When a woman becomes pregnant, her prolactin levels rise by as much as 10 to 20 times her normal level. Prolactin is the hormone that helps make breast milk in pregnant mothers.

To keep the prolactin levels high, a mother has to breastfeed regularly and continuously. It signals the body to keep producing the hormone for regular milk production. High levels of prolactin also suppress the hormones that enable ovulation and egg growth and maturity. In this way, they play a part in lessening (not stopping) fertility.

When there is no ovulation, and therefore no chance for a menstrual cycle to start, the condition is called amenorrhea. However, there is a specific kind of amenorrhea that occurs when a mother is breastfeeding. This kind is lactational amenorrhea. Because the prolactin levels increase, suppressing the ovulation and egg growth cycles, amenorrhea occurs.


The Application: Breastfeeding and Natural Family Planning

Because of lactational amenorrhea, natural family planners have come up with the Lactational Amenorrhea Method of Family Planning, or LAM. This focuses on naturally inducing prolactin levels to remain high, so that a mother continues to have reduced fertility after her pregnancy. Traditionally, mothers should not get pregnant at all during breastfeeding.

Scientifically, however, there are certain conditions that need to exist for a couple to be able to use LAM. According to the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action or WABA, there are 3 conditions that must be present if a woman wants to use LAM.

Condition #1: The Mother Still has Lactational Amenorrhea

For the first 56 days after childbirth, very light bleeding or spotting is normal. For those days, it is not likely that ovulation has begun or that the amenorrhea has ended. If there is regular bleeding after those days in the nature of a menstrual cycle, the mother has begun to ovulate again. The LAM cannot be used anymore.

What the LAM tries to do is to postpone the return of the woman’s body to its regular fertility cycles. Once it begins again, the fertility cycle has officially begun again. It cannot be easily postponed or halted after that. Therefore, it is best for the mother to begin LAM as soon as she begins to breastfeed.

Condition #2: The Mother is Feeding the Baby on Demand

For LAM to work, the mother should be feeding the baby whenever he needs feeding, not placing him on a strict schedule. She should also be feeding him regularly throughout the night, instead of teaching the baby to sleep through it. No formula or other liquids should be fed to him, so that he will always be looking for milk.

In that way, the body will be encouraged to produce as much prolactin as possible. As the prolactin levels remain high, lactational amenorrhea will be induced and the mother should be less able to conceive.

Condition #3: It’s Been Less than 6 Months Since Birth

Mothers who are breastfeeding exclusively and unrestrictedly can maintain their lactational amenorrhea for up to 6 months. Past 6 months of birth, babies are expected to start on some more solid foods, and the mother will have less of a chance to use LAM.

As long as it has been less than 6 months since the birth, and the first 2 conditions were met, a mother can use LAM. In some mothers, the period of infertility will extend past a year. In others, the period will not last past 6 months.

How Effective is the Lactational Amenorrhea Method of Family Planning?

In studies conducted independently by the Institute for Reproductive Health and by Family Health International (cited in WABA), LAM is just as effective as artificial contraceptive methods. In a total of 4 studies, the effectivity rate was 99.4%

More specifically, one study was conducted in Chile, by the Institute for Reproductive Health. For 422 breastfeeding mothers, the LAM came out 99.5% effective, with 1 pregnancy occurring. A similar study conducted in the Philippines by Family Health International had 485 respondents. The method was 99% effective, with 2 pregnancies.

Can You Get Pregnant While Breastfeeding?

So can you get pregnant while breastfeeding? The answer is yes. If prolactin is not being produced because you are not regularly breastfeeding, or if prolactin levels have lowered because the baby is now on solids (or you are using supplements), lactational amenorrhea will end. Using LAM simply reduces the possibility by 99%.

What If It Is Hard to Breastfeed?

Because there are less mothers, doctors, and nurses who either have breastfed or intensively studied breastfeeding, new mothers today are suffering from a shortage of knowledge. You might be thinking of LAM after your first child, or you are on your second or third child and want to use LAM.

However, you have always had some difficulties with breastfeeding your baby. The answer that would make the most sense is to seek professional help in the form of an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant). IBCLCs go through intensive training in both theoretical and practical skills.

Their one and only job is expertly helping breastfeeding mothers. Whether the problem is medical, emotions- or stress-related, they can help mothers who have a hard time producing milk or have a difficult time feeding their babies.

Science Vs. The Old Wives’ Tale

There was a time when that Old Wives’ Tale had some truth to it, and it still does. Now that we know the science behind breastfeeding and pregnancy, we can take advantage of the knowledge to implement natural family planning.

If you are traveling with your baby this holiday season, prepare for a lot of inconveniences. After all, you are no longer in your regular work-home routine. There are quite a few arrangements you need to make before you travel, especially if you are a breast-pumping mother. With just a few tips, however, you should be able to keep the issues down to the bare minimum.

Tips for Holiday Travel

Tip #1: Prepare Everything in Advance

Preparation is key to any kind of stress-free traveling. If you are a breastfeeding or breast-pumping mother, this is even more important. Make sure that you have the breast pump machine sterilized and ready to go, every tube and connector cleaned and fitted. If you have just gotten the breast pump, practice with it before going on the road.

Remember to bring a nursing cover at least, for both breastfeeding and breast-pumping purposes. Unfortunately, there are not always stations for those in every airport or terminal (if traveling by road). A nursing cover or blanket would go a long way towards helping keep the travel stress-free.

Tip #2: Pack Extra of Everything

When traveling, it is the worst feeling in the world when you run out of something while on the road. It is much more difficult to find or buy what you need when you need it. As a result, when it comes to breast-pumping, remember to pack extra of all its components. Well, maybe not the motor. But pack extra sterilized breast shields and bring extra milk collection units.

Tip #3: Plan Your Traveling Schedule

To keep your breastmilk flowing properly, it is important to keep to as regular a schedule of expressing milk as possible. Even if you are on the road, even if you are pumping milk, the same rule applies. Every 2 or 3 hours, you need to pull over (if you are driving) or excuse yourself in an airport or terminal to express milk.

If you are taking a long plane or bus ride, breastfeeding would be easier because you can keep your regular schedule. You can also express milk for the long ride, but then keeping the schedule would be harder. If you are in a car, and driving, plan the stops along your route where you can pull over and breastfeed or pump milk.

Tip #4: Inform Security and Customer Service About Your Needs

While you can bring milk with you into airports and airplanes, tell security at once so they can pass you through quickly. Both security and customer service counters can also help you find clean, isolated places to breastfeed or pump milk. If you are not traveling with anyone, it is best if they can look out for you.

Tip #5: Watch Your Health

Because of travel conditions, you will not be able to keep the breast-pumping equipment as sterilized as it would be at home. Even washing the equipment in regular tap water can be dangerous. Bring bottled water for that purpose, or sterilizing solution.

Travel Safely and Stress-Free This Holiday Season

With some preparation, and a lot of thinking ahead, even travel with an infant and a breast-pump can be an enjoyable experience. These tips will help you avoid many issues that a breastfeeding mother can run into. Happy holidays!

Breastfeeding is more than just a choice or lifestyle option–it’s responsible healthcare. Dr. Arthur I. Eidelman, former president of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine, told Reuters, “It must be emphasized that breastfeeding should not be conceived as a lifestyle choice of the mother but rather as a basic and priority health decision that each mother must make and thus it is critical to create a supportive environment for this decision process.”

Further, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the exclusive breastfeeding of babies is highly recommended for the first six months of life their lives, and should be continued until the first year even with the introduction of other foods. That’s why it is important that you can pump so that you always have plenty of supply whether you can be there to feed your baby in person or have someone else feed him or her breast milk.

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Moms Can Now Use Breast Pumps in the Workplace

breast-pump-workplaceUnder the Affordable Care Act, working moms are now given the support for lactation that they deserve. Specifically, the provision states that employers must provide adequate time and space in the workplace for new moms to collect milk until their babies turn a year old.

New moms should be able to pump milk in a clean and private space, separate from the bathroom. With this new provision in place, moms can provide milk for their babies even if they decide to go back to the workplace.

This issue is largely an American one, because all other industrialized countries have been in support of breastfeeding for years. In fact, they have paid maternity leaves reaching up to a year.

Overview on the Affordable Care Act for Pregnant and Lactating Mothers

Obama’s healthcare law or what is referred to as the Patient Protection or Affordable Care Act – signed into law by President Barack Obama – boasts of breastfeeding benefits for moms. It even covers breastfeeding support, equipment, and counseling for pregnant and nursing moms.

This new law covers all health insurance plans such as Health Insurance Marketplace Plans with the exception of grandfathered plans. This provides preventive health benefits made affordable and accessible to all women in the United States.

For breast pumps, the insurance coverage takes care of the purchasing costs. Otherwise, it would cost hundreds of dollars for a personal or rented one.

The health insurance plan has detailed guidelines pertaining to breast pumps. Some examples are: the specific schedule that hospitals would be able to provide breast pumps, on whether the mother will be provided with a electric or manual breast pump, and the specific time limits of rented breast pumps. Breastfeeding counseling and support is also provided during pregnancy and the postnatal period.

It is recommended for mothers to consult a physician about the breastfeeding equipment that best suits their needs. Most health insurance plans require consultation with a physician regarding breastfeeding requirements, and require a pre-authorization letter before providing medical services.

Make Breast Pumps All About You

Here are some of the specifications and features that you need to check out when looking for the healthy and perfect fit of your breast pumps:

  • Types of Breast Pumps

    Do you prefer manual or electric breast pumps? If you are a stay-at-home mom, you can use a manual pump. However, if you are returning to work or have to be away for extended hours each day, you will most likely need the electric one.

  • Costs of Breast Pumps 

    With the Obama Affordable Care Act, costs of breast pumps are now fully covered by the provision – whether you decide to buy a new one or rent. Breast pumps are usually bought over-the-counter in medical supply stores, baby stores, and drugstores nationwide. It is also relatively safe to use rented hospital-grade breast pumps.

  • Cleaning and Storage

    Make sure that you buy breast pumps that can easily be assembled and cleaned. Make sure you find one which is user-friendly. Look for lightweight breast pumps with insulated storage cases that you can easily carry, especially if you are a working mom.

  • Suction Phases

    Check if the suction levels can be easily adjusted for ease and comfort. If you are using an electric breast pump, make sure that the suction levels and speed can be adjusted.

  • Breast Shield Sizes

    The breast shields refer to the cone cups that fit your nipples. It is important that they are comfortable to wear and accurate to your size, just like a bra. If the breast shields don’t fit, they could either fall off or pinch while pumping.

Many women prefer getting both electrical and manual breast pumps in case of power failure. You just need to look for the right breast pump that will provide you the comfort and efficiency that you need to continue breastfeeding your baby. It is always best to seek the advice and recommendation of a lactation consultant when deciding what breast pump is most appropriate for your needs.

To help you get started, check out these top 3 bestseller and most popular breast pumps featured in Amazon and other shopping websites online:

Simple Wishes Hands Free Breastpump+Bra

breast-pump-affordable-care-actA clear favorite with working and stay-at-home moms with 4.7/5 stars on the Amazon website (and their #1 seller), the Simple Wishes hands-free breastpump+bra was invented by four sisters. As they reached motherhood, they challenged themselves to create solutions for mothers who could not breastfeed regularly, but still wanted to make sure their babies got the necessary immunities and nutrients from their mothers’ milk.

This particular breast pump is an electric double-breast pump. An eighty-three percent cotton, seventeen percent spandex velcro-adjustable bra is zipped in the front, with independent openings for each breast. When you want to draw milk, simply attach the containers to the breasts through the openings, pull the flaps up to hold the pumps in place, and begin pumping. The best part is, if you already have a breast pump but need a way to pump without having to hold it, you can purchase the bra independently.

Don’t believe how awesome it is? Just listen to these reviews:

“Being able to use both my hands while pumping is wonderful. I am able to hold my baby girl as well and for me since I also work full time being able to hold my baby and pump when I get home and in turn it saves time.” – Rebecca K., on the Simple Wishes website

“I look forward to continuing to be able to feed my baby [breast] milk for many more months with the help of this bra and being able to pump in comfort while at work.” – Arlene O., on the Simple Wishes website

“I pump three times a day Monday-Friday while I’m at work. It allows me to use the double pump and is really hands free.” – R. Harpole on Amazon

“I consider this item in my CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT category. I don’t understand why this bra is not sold in every baby store, right next to the pump.” – user musicandy6909 on Amazon

The Medela Pump in Style Advanced Breastpump

breat-pump-reviewsWith 4.5/5 stars on Amazon, the Medela Pump in Style Advanced Breastpump follows closely on the heels of the Simple Wishes kit. Designed by a Swiss company of the Larsson family devoted to the promotion of natural approaches to medicine and other health-related concerns, Medela was the first to create a program that allowed lactating mothers to pump milk in the workplace for their newborns.

The Medela Pump in Style breastpump is an electric double-breast pump. It is beautifully portable, with three kit options that resemble simple shoulder-bags, hand-bags, or backpacks. It’s designed for easy daily use, even if the mother uses it several times a day. It only needs 8 AA batteries to work, and has an ice pack and space for four milk bottles. This makes it ideal for the working mother.

But why believe us? Let’s ask the reviews.

“I am a mother of 4 month old twins. It can be challenging breastfeeding twins. I wouldn’t be able to do it without my pump.” – April Wesselman, on the Medela website

“While I was on maternity leave, my pump allowed me to stock pile milk to help me with my transition back to work. Now that I’m back to work full time, my freestyle pump allows me to express milk quickly and efficiently so I know my daughter can get the best thing for her.” – Erin, on the Medela website

“This is one powerful little machine! I would definitely recommend this. Going back to work full time, I knew I needed a good pump–this is perfect!” – Hope, on Amazon

“Excellent pump! This thing is a lifesaver. I use it everyday multiple times a day and it doesn’t give up. I’ve had it for a month now and love it. Its also easy to clean and store.” – Ashley, on Amazon

The Ameda Purely Yours Breast Pump

breast-pump-obamacareRating 4.6/5 on Amazon, the Ameda Purely Yours Breast Pump is third most popular on that site. Also founded by a Swiss Company, engineer Einar Egnell committed to setting standards for breast pumps, so that mothers would get quality care no matter what they bought.

The Ameda Breast Pump is an electric, double-breast pump. One advantage that this breast pump has is flexibility: not only can it be plugged in, but it can run on batteries or be hooked up to the car if needed. It is also custom-designed to feel as natural as possible while the mother is pumping her milk. However, it does not have the no-hands feature of the Simple Wishes breast pump, or the easy-to-carry kit of the Medela pump.

Let’s see what the reviewers have to say.

“First try, WOW! it was very comfortable and I couldn’t wait to tell my husband how much I like it already! No regret buying this machine at all.” – Y.Y. Chang, on Amazon

“This is great for Mom to use while at work. Just roll into the car and pump away. Works out super for the professional Mom who can’t pump in the office and has to use the car.” – user A. Gift For You on Amazon

“I love having this on hand in my car. As a working mom it’s not always 100% guarantee that I will be going straight home after work or just when I’m running around doing errands I can just take a few minutes to pull over and make sure I don’t go too long without pumping.” – Lyzeth Gomez, on Amazon

Choosing the Best Electric Breast Pump For You

Before you get an electric breast pump, study which one would be ideal for your needs. If you are a stay-at-home or a work-at-home mom, the Simply Wishes breast pump might be ideal because it leaves your hands free to hold your baby, wash the dishes, or even just rest with a good magazine. This is also ideal because it only has a power cord, cannot be used in the car, and it might be difficult to use in the work place.

If you are a working mother based outside your home, it might be better to get the Medela breast pump. Easy to carry, and packaged so well that it does not look like a breast pump from the outside, it’s a good choice for a working mother sitting in one office all day, and only taking breaks to pump milk. The ice pack and milk bottle storage function is perfect for bringing milk home to your baby. It can also be battery-run at a pinch.

If you are a mother who is always on the move, in marketing or real estate or any related job, the Ameda has an additional function that will help you: the provision for a car adapter. If you are often on the road, moving from one place to another several times a day (or if your car trips are relatively long), use the Ameda to make sure that even on the go, your breastmilk will reach your baby.

Getting the right breast pump is a good investment for you and your baby’s health. You cannot take a risk or go cheap with your baby’s nourishment needs. The Obama Affordable Care Act on providing breast pumps for lactating moms is definitely a huge boost of support for moms who are well aware of the benefits of breastfeeding, and are willing to go the extra mile to provide the best nourishment for their infants. This Act has provided the essential and supportive platform that moms need to encourage breastfeeding for generations to come.

There is a breast pump for every type of mother – whether you are working in the corporate world, running a business, or a multitasking stay-at-home mom. There should be no excuses for not being able to breastfeed your baby. No mom is too busy to breastfeed. Even in a busy, competitive, and chaotic world – babies are every mom’s top priority.

paid-to-breastfeedChildbirth and breastfeeding affirms the power of a woman. Bringing forth another human being is glorious while feeding your baby with your own milk is divine. Your newborn deserves nothing but the best in nutrition which can only be provided by breastmilk. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP), “Breastmilk is widely acknowledged as the most complete form of nutrition for infants’ health, growth, immunity, and development.” Breastfeeding certainly has wide advantages for both mom and baby both health-wise and economically. Most busy working moms would opt to feed their infants formula milk to be able to speedily get back to work after a few weeks following  childbirth. This is regarded as hassle-free and convenient but is it beneficial to your baby? Although it is acceptable to feed your babies formula milk, top nourishment can only be provided by purely breastfeeding your infant at least for the first year of life and continue until both are ready to stop – this is according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). It is also recommended that babies exclusively breastfeed during the first six months of life and then integrate solid food with breastmilk for the first year or so.

There are numerous benefits derived from breastfeeding which one cannot get from second-best formula milk preparations. For one, the emotional ties of both mom and baby is greatly enhanced by the breastfeeding process. This also strengthens the body’s immune defenses against harmful antigens. More so, incidences of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is found to be lower or close to null on breastfed babies in contrast to those who are formula-fed. For moms, this is economically practical because it’s free. You get to save up on formula milk and instead spend it on other baby essentials or perhaps start funding your baby’s education. Also, if you want to lose the pregnancy weight, breastfeeding helps you trim off those unwanted pounds faster than any slimming pill.

According to recent data gathered by the Center for Disease Control – the dilemma faced by a lot of major health organizations is that only around 49% of new mothers in the United States are able to breastfeed their babies in the first six months after delivery. Still, only 27% of these babies are nursed by their moms until babies turn a year older. This prompted health experts and pediatricians to test and keep on finding ways to increase the awareness and support for breastfeeding. One attractive idea comes from a program which is currently undergoing tests in England which actually pays moms to nurse their babies. UK researchers of this program offer $310 worth of vouchers to moms upon agreement to breastfeed their babies for at least six months.The vouchers entitle moms to free toys, household products, and food. This cash-for-nursing scheme is nothing new in England because similar programs have already been put in place which has actually been proven successful in promoting breastfeeding awareness and affinity in the country. With its continued success and duplication in efforts, the program also raked in shares of critics and detractors which sees such programs as form of bribery.

Benefits Of BreastFeedingWill putting in cash to promote widespread support for nursing babies be just as effective in the United States as it is in England or other parts of the world? It’s definitely worth a shot. Breastfeeding for cash gives moms and babies a win-win scenario because of the health and financial rewards that mom and baby team can get from breastfeeding. There is a similar program in the United States according to Dr. Deborah Campbell of Children’s Hotel in New York City which also has been very successful for years now – the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program which is funded by the government. This started as early as 1970 and aims to amplify as well as increase the number of moms who breastfeed. This works on fairly the same principle, they offer breastfeeding women under low-income bracket vouchers that they can redeem for food at varied grocery stores.

The deep-seated issue faced in the US regarding breastfeeding is not really on convincing women to nurse their babies but more on providing them enough support and motivation to go on with breastfeeding for the recommended period of time. There is not enough breastfeeding support programs or even nursing-friendly facilities or environment that help promote breastfeeding. There is a need for more lactation professionals or even breast bumps especially for working moms. Dr. Campbells stresses that “We also don’t have a social structure in this country that supports nursing moms, who are still being asked to stop when they breastfeed in public, and in some cases even arrested.

Moms do understand that it breastfeeding is the healthiest way to nourish their babies. It’s basic and very elementary. They need a strong government and societal support with the facilities and tools that they can readily tap into whenever they find a blind spot along the way. The government needs to understand though that more than just cash or vouchers for nursing, moms need a culture or society that helps and guides moms in their breastfeeding journey.

Obamacare and Lactation Consultants

As the great Winston S. Churchill would put it “ Healthy citizens are the greatest asset any country could have” – US President Barack Obama couldn’t agree more when he signed in support of Obamacare on March 23, 2010, which was subsequently approved by the Supreme Court last June 28, 2012. This law is also commonly known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) or simply Affordable Care Act (ACA) which regulates health insurance companies; in which some would tend to rip off clients for profit. Obamacare offers timely and just regulations that help protect and ensure you get the right health insurance benefits and coverage that you deserve. This also improves Medicaid or CHIP services for kids and adults, requires medium- and large-scale businesses to insure their employees, prevents unlawful gender discrimination, and guarantees that all plans provide coverage for minimum benefits; to name some.

Obamacare-breastfeeding-MomThe Affordable Care Act (ACA) provision also upholds and believes in the value of breastfeeding for the health and bonding of both moms and newborns. This health care act aims to encourage and provide continuous breastfeeding support and requires that professional fees for lactation consultants and breastfeeding supplies such as breast pumps be covered by insurance companies and offered to patients free of cost. This is certainly great news for moms who are new or are open to the idea of breastfeeding but need the professional help to do such with ease and precision. More so, breastfeeding advocates are also in full support of this act. The demand for lactation consultants is on the rise in response to this breastfeeding provision. Lactation consultants are health professional in the maternal-child health industry specializing in breastfeeding and counseling. These healthcare providers commonly work by private or public practice in hospitals. Accredited or certified lactation consultants bear the initials – RLC or IBLC – which means that they are International Board Certified Lactation Consultants. The dilemma with this health act provision is that there are some health insurance companies that do not cover lactation consultancy services due to lack of lactation consultants in and out of their networks. Moms are advised to see their pediatricians instead which lack the training and proficiency in lactation counseling.

There is a huge demand now more than ever when it comes to professional lactation consultants because of Obamacare and it has opened doors of opportunities for people who are aspiring to join the practice. Dr. Linda Rosenstock, head of the Institute of Medicine’s Committee on Preventive Services for Women confirms this need in the medical industry as according to her “First efforts at breastfeeding are not as intuitive as it seems. Some women need additional professional support so they do it well and continue to do it”. According to PayScale, the average hourly rate for Lactation Consultants in the US is $26.28. Best for Babes Organization also confirms that the rate for lactation consultancy services is currently set at $120 to $300 per session which is by far worth the price tag because you get expert and up-to-date knowledge and care on breastfeeding your baby properly while ensuring overall maternal health and also receive information on the latest breastfeeding products. This is certainly a lucrative position for someone on the lookout for a high-paying and rewarding career in the medical field.

affordable care act breast feeding pump


How would you ensure your baby’s health as well as safety? When it comes to newborns, breastfeeding is one of the effective ways to secure it. But not all mothers are blessed with sufficient breast milk. Some of them are not even capable of giving any drops of it. This is where breast milk donating (or breast milk donation) comes into the picture.

As a mother and parent, it is very important to ensure that your baby would always be ready to fight any types of disease or threat. Viruses are just waiting for their chances to attack. To avoid this, breast milk or breastfeeding will take great part in maintaining your baby’s healthy body.

Importance of Breast Milk Donating

Why do you think breast milk donation is important? For mothers who have sufficient breast milk, issues regarding milk sources and health conditions will not be a big deal. But for those moms who are troubled and worried of having insufficient milk and unhealthy baby, this problem is very serious. Nutrients and other substances needed by your baby can be found in mothers’ breast milk. Unfortunately, baby formula cannot replace the beneficial properties of good old fashioned breast milk.

breast milk donatingThe Process of Donation

For those mothers who have excess milk and those mothers who are in need of it, the process of breast milk donating might seem scary, but it isn’t. The steps are fairly simple:

  1. Participation of mothers who have excess breast milk must first ensure that their own baby or babies have been fully fed before deciding to donate breast milk.
  2. When a mother decides to donate breast milk, the next procedure is to apply through an authorized and recognized breast milk donation center. After the donor’s application is processed, the donor applicant will receive confirmation within one or two weeks.
  3. Through donor screening, a facility will decide whether or not you are a good fit. At this point the donor’s blood will be tested to get vital blood information such as profile of DNA identity. This is all a necessary step to ensure the milk’s safety.
  4. Delivery. The last part of donation process is its delivery. When the applicant donor is identified as healthy and qualified, notification will be sent to both the donor and the recipient.

Various Perspectives on Breast Milk Donation

Donor’s Perspective

Donors are the suppliers in milk bank. The need of breast milk is highly needed in varied countries and in various families dwelling in the land. To meet this type of exceptional need, milk bank existed. Mothers who need breast milk for babies will be guaranteed of hundred percent safety because every breast milk donor have undergone intensive screening.

Parent’s Perspective

For every parent, optimal condition of baby’s health will be the primary concern. Whenever baby’s mother is lacking of breast milk source, pasteurized breast milk of donor will take great part in maintaining baby’s health. Donor milk is the best solution in providing enough breast milk resource. Aside from that, medication and other medical issues will be avoided. In terms of safety, donor breast milk is tried and proven to be very safe. This is assured through careful screening.

Health Professionals

Health care professionals are always welcome to clarify some facts or information about donor breast milk. Some of the vital facts about it include the following:

  • Donor breast milk have been widely used increasingly by intensive care units (neonatal). Its utilization reaches 42.5 percent in 22011 compared to its utilization rate in 2007, which is about 11.5 percent.
  • In every year, average bank of milk is able to process as well as distribute about $150 000 milk ounces each year.
  • There are studies suggesting that utilization of donor milk will be able to reduce (about 80%) NEC risk.

donating breast milk

News on Breast Milk Donation

To comply with babies breast milk needs, a non-profit organization in Pennsylvania have funded Three Rivers Mother’s Milk Bank that will be opened in later summer or in early fall. This the first milk bank to be set in the country.

Denise O’Conner, the founder as well as president of the said organization have been interested in milk bank concept. The said bank will be providing breast milk to the sickest babies in Pennsylvania as well as West Virginia’s intensive care units (neonatal). Also, the organization will be building out laboratories, classroom spaces, offices and many more for milk bank’s facilities. Donors willingly cooperate and contact the organization to talk about milk donation. To ensure milk safety, donor applicants undergo intensive screening.

Babies are truly angels, gift given in each family. This is why securing their health and safety becomes the top most priority of each parent. Breast milk is very essential for them. The major problems that may arise is when mothers have insufficient supply of it. In this, milk banks (through breast milk donating) is one of the major effective solutions.