Women’s roles have burgeoned over the years yet her beauty never waned a bit. Juggling household chores, running a business, and taking care of a baby is not an easy feat but moms have always managed to work things out– thanks to her innate organization skills.

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Women are efficient with multitasking; and this is not a new concept at all. Interestingly, moms have actually been practicing this skill for centuries. Modern moms have revolutionized this concept by adding tweaks in technology that bolstered innovative ways to get things done.

Baby Steps

On the first few weeks, you have to focus on taking care of your baby; specifically with breastfeeding your newborn. You have to start breastfeeding early and regularly (right at birth). Nurse your baby on cue and as often as he or she needs it (approximately 6x to 8x a day). This will help you produce more milk and also avoid breast tenderness and engorgement which tend to be painful and can even cause mastitis.

Ask for help from your husband, family, and friends. You may be a superwoman, but even heroines need some help from time to time. Ask help with cooking meals or for shopping so you can focus on your baby’s needs. Also, take some time off when the baby is asleep. You can read a good book or relax in a tub so you can reenergize and recuperate from stress or fatigue.

When to Start Pumping

You can start pumping breastmilk around 2 weeks before you get back to working in the office again. The best time to express milk is early in the morning right after breakfast. During the first few days, there could be less milk expressed from your breasts but this is normal. Once your body has adjusted to the pumping mechanism, you’ll be able to fill more bottles for feeding.

Preparation for Getting Back to Work

Allow your baby to get adjusted to sucking from a feeding bottle. You can train a caregiver earlier as well so she can be comfortable with taking care of your baby while you’re at work. Train her on how to prepare and feed pumped milk to your baby. Here are some steps to do so:

  • Express or pump milk every day and label the bottles with dates so you’ll know when to discard them. Any milk leftovers for 24 hours must be discarded immediately.
  • Freeze small amounts of milk in bottles.
  • Thaw these in the fridge at night so they’ll be ready for warming and feeding for baby.

Get to know your caregiver and instruct her on what you expect from the working relationship. Tell her to hold your baby everytime during feedings. Write down instructions to make it clear and can be referred back to at anytime. Try posting instructions on the wall of the baby’s room so she won’t forget schedules and daily routine for taking care of the baby.

Get to know your breast pump. Breast pumps come in several basic types – Electric, Single, Double-sided, Battery-operated, and Manual. The best breast pump for working moms are electric breast pumps because it is made of high-quality and durable materials and can be adjusted depending on desired suction strength and cycling speed. Some of the top picks for breast pumps are the following:

  • Medela Pump-In-Style ($199 at Amazon) which has an optional Natural Expression or let-down mode. This also comes with functional and sophisticated carrying case which includes a cooler compartment and ice packs for storing milk.
  • Ameda Purely Yours ($287 at Amazon) – Durability- and performance-wise, this certainly has the same features with that of Medela Pump-In-Style. Suction strength and cycle speed can also be adjusted. Comes with a carrying case or tote.

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Take your breast pump at work so you can express milk at least three times a day even in the workplace. Do it in mid-morning, lunch, and mid-afternoon. Around 15 to 20 minutes of pumping would be enough for each breast. There are specialized lactation lounges in large offices or you can pump milk in your own office (just make sure to keep it locked for privacy).

Breastfeed your baby early in the morning before you prepare for work. You can also let the caregiver bring your baby for office visits in the afternoon. Working part-time or shorter hours during weekdays would be convenient for working moms who choose to breastfeed. Talk to your employer about work options now that you advocate breastfeeding while working.

Today, moms have formed an alliance with breast pumps in the effort to nurse their babies even when working. While on maternity leave, consider every small step that you are doing is a prelude to being a working mom who is devoted to breastfeeding with the aid of breast pumps.

A pregnant mother who has religiously stayed away from alcohol may now be wondering about how lax the restrictions are while she is breastfeeding. Now that she has no more developing baby getting his or her nutrients directly from her, is drinking wine while breastfeeding safe?

The short answer: yes, with conditions. The alcohol the mother takes in does not go directly to the baby any more–not through the umbilical cord, anyway. However, alcohol dispersed in the bloodstream still finds its way into the mother’s milk. Because of the baby’s weight and growth stage, it is dangerous for him or her to receive alcohol in any form.

How Does Drinking Wine While Breastfeeding Affect the Baby?

The liver is the internal organ responsible for processing alcohol. In a baby, the alcohol impact to its immature liver is dangerous. The baby’s weight against the alcohol content does not stand a chance. If the baby is less than 3 months old, he or she can only process the alcohol half as fast as a grown up can. The alcohol remains longer in the baby’s system.

In addition, if a mother nurses her baby 4 hours after drinking alcohol, the baby will drink only 80% of the milk he or she usually does. This is because the alcohol lowers the breast milk production of the mother. The baby can also fall asleep almost immediately, but wake up sooner and become restless faster.

Drinking Wine While Breastfeeding Safe

An additional study of 400 babies showed that at 1 year old, babies lagged behind their age group in gross motor development (large movement control like arm and leg swinging). Those who lagged were breastfed while their mothers took alcohol at least once daily, during the first 3 months after birth.

Some mothers try to remove the dangers to their babies by pumping their milk directly after drinking alcohol, and dumping it. However, since it is the alcohol in the bloodstream that causes the alcohol content in the milk, it does nothing for either mother or baby. If the baby feeds soon after the mother drank alcohol, there is no change in the blood alcohol.

What Could Go Wrong

An article on alcohol and breastfeeding reviews a number of studies on this subject. According to The Nursling: The Feeding and Hygiene of Premature and Full-Term Infants, excessive alcohol intake by a nursing mother can cause unnatural weight gain in babies.

In one study, a mother was taking alcohol excessively, believing it would increase her milk production. Her baby gained 30 grams daily, became restless, and eventually had fits and seizures. His growth returned to normal when he was given to a wet nurse.

A study by Binkiewicz, Robinson, and Senior finds the same thing. A mother drinking 50 cans of beer weekly while breastfeeding reported unnatural weight gain in her baby. The baby looked bloated, and was not at normal length.

According to a study by Volpi and others, mothers had a harder time lactating after ingesting alcohol. If the regular prolactin production was at 71% when it was time to feed, for mothers who did not drink alcohol, it was at 25% for the mothers who had ingested alcohol.

What Is the Worst That Can Happen?

The worst that can happen to a baby who ingests alcohol from breast milk is alcohol poisoning. Unfortunately, this is also almost the instant effect of alcohol on breastfeeding infants. They are so small that excessive alcohol hits them like an overdose in an adult.

A baby’s body will absorb alcohol in less than half an hour. As the alcohol hits, the baby may become disoriented or unfocused, start to vomit, or even have seizures. They may suddenly have trouble breathing, and become unnaturally flushed (red). This is already a case for an emergency rush to the hospital.

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Is Drinking Wine While Breastfeeding Safe? Yes, With Conditions

Why show all the negative effects first? To explain that the suggestions for drinking wine while breastfeeding have a strong backing of studies behind them. If these suggestions are not followed, alcohol can and will affect the health of the breastfed child.

Condition #1: Wait 2-3 Hours Per 12 Grams of Alcohol

Consult before deciding on how long you will wait after the drink to breastfeed. The waiting time depends on your weight and the effect 12 grams of alcohol (1 glass of wine) would have on you. At the very least, wait 2.5 hours for every 12 grams consumed. This means that if you drink 48 grams (4 drinks, more or less), you need to wait 10 hours before breastfeeding.

Condition #2: If You Know You Will Drink Alcohol, Prepare in Advance

While pumping and dumping milk after drinking will not keep your baby safe, preparation will. If you know you will be drinking, at dinner or a house party or for any other reason, pump and store breast milk. You can then feed your baby breast milk even within the required time your body needs to flush the alcohol out of your system.

Condition #3: Always Take Your Baby’s Feeding Schedule into Account

If you are offered a drink but you did not prepare, and it is less than 3 hours until your baby’s next feeding, be polite but firm. “No thank you, I’m breastfeeding.” Say it as simply as you would say, “No thank you, I’m driving.” In this case, your baby’s health comes first. If you find yourself facing an unplanned drink, think of your baby’s schedule before answering.

You can actually time the drink (assuming it is just 1 drink, or 12 grams of alcohol) right after breastfeeding. Since your baby will be ready to feed in 2 to 3 hours, it’s likely the alcohol will have left your bloodstream by then. If you want to drink more than that, however, you will need to take the timing into account.

Why Ask A Lactation Consultant About Drinking Wine While Breastfeeding?

No breastfeeding mother should take on the questions of blood alcohol alone. Every mother is designed differently. Alcohol stays longer in some mothers’ bloodstreams than it does in others’. Alcohol also affects mothers differently according to weight. A lactation consultant can help a mother figure out the safest way to enjoy wine while breastfeeding.

A lactation consultant is, in many ways, a better sort of specialist to consult than OB/GYNs and pediatricians. A lactation consultant can educate mothers on the amount of alcohol that will find its way into the baby’s bloodstream through breast milk, and give medical advice on how to avoid letting alcohol into the baby’s system. His or her specialty is nothing less than the best way to keep mother and baby safe and healthy while breastfeeding.

A pregnant mother suffers from two things: diets and cravings. Pregnant women are faced with possibly the most rigorous dieting they have ever attempted. This time, something (or rather, someone) is clearly at stake: for a healthy baby, dieting is of paramount importance.

Unfortunately, the end of pregnancy is not a green light to abandon your diet for your normal 10 cups of coffee, 3 bars of chocolate, and everyday sushi set. You still need to think of what goes through your milk and into your baby’s body. Because of this, it is important for you to know exactly what not to eat while breastfeeding.

The Facts on What Not to Eat While Breastfeeding

There are two reasons that a mother should regulate the kind of foods she is taking in while breastfeeding. The first is for nutrition reasons. The wonder of mother’s milk is that it automatically has certain levels of nutrients it gives to the baby no matter what the mother is taking in. It even regulates most vitamins so that a mother can raise her vitamin levels without endangering her baby’s intake.

what not to eat while breastfeeding

According to Dr Katherine Dettwyler, breast milk quality is not dependent on what the mother is eating at the moment. Breastfeeding mothers all over the world give practically the same qualities of milk, no matter the differences in the diets.

Of course, there are some requirements. A mother should be eating a well-balanced diet, so she will not need any extra supplements. There are also some foods that should not be over-indulged in because the content can be harmful to the baby. The kind of fat contained in the milk, for example, needs to be watched by the mother.

The second reason for a mother to regulate her food intake is her baby’s comfort. Some babies react badly to foods their parents (or close relatives) have a history of allergies to. Some babies are sensitive to caffeine, to citrus fruits, to certain vegetables, and so forth. Mothers who avoid these foods do so for peace of mind.

What should mothers absolutely NOT do while breastfeeding? Go on a diet (reduce their calorie intake). If a pregnant mother eats for 2, a breastfeeding mother needs to eat at least 200 calories past that. The body is working 24/7 to produce milk for the baby, and it needs to constantly synthesize fluids and nutrients for that purpose.

food to eat while breastfeeding

What Not to Eat While Breastfeeding

For Baby’s Health

For baby’s health, research your family’s medical backgrounds. If there are any foods either of the parents’ families are traditionally or historically allergic to, avoid those. The last thing you need is for your baby to have an allergic reaction even if neither of his or her parents are allergic to that food. Some common allergens are found in peanuts and dairy products.

Another food breastfeeding mothers need to be careful around is fish. This holds whether the fish is in sushi form, grilled, smoked,  fried, or canned. As fish grow older, they have a longer time in which to accumulate mercury in their bodies. That mercury content is eaten with the fish, and cannot be flash-frozen or fried out of it.

Mercury in high amounts becomes a neurotoxin, causing mercury poisoning. The neurotoxin may cause tingling all over the body, loss of feeling in some extremities (fingers, toes, arms, legs), and some losses in the senses of hearing and sight. Fish to avoid are swordfish, mackerel, tilefish, and tuna.

If you are thinking of taking vitamins A & E through supplements instead of food, beware that these supplements are fat-soluble. In other words, they will distribute themselves wherever there is fat content in your body. The breast is one of those places. If too much of these vitamins find their ways into breast milk, they may harm the baby.

For Baby’s Comfort

Unless the food is an allergen you know about, unfortunately you cannot know what your baby might or might not react to. However, there are some basic culprits you can immediately check for if your baby becomes fussy or has a bad reaction after breastfeeding.

Chocolate Products

For some reason, some babies strongly object to this food. Although the caffeine content is minimal and the sugar content slight (in dark chocolate), it can make babies restless. In some cases, the babies are unable to sleep at their normal times.

Strong Spices

Babies are also sensitive to spices that, to them, are strong-tasting. These include chili peppers, garlic, curry, cinnamon, onions, and ginger. When mixed with food, these spices enter the mother’s body and then the breast milk in trace amounts. The baby may respond through restlessness, or even through vomiting or diarrhea.

Certain Vegetables

These vegetables have a tendency to cause gas in those who eat them. They include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbages, and different kinds of pepper. Babies may also get restless and react badly to these vegetables.

Certain Citrus Fruits

While they are good sources of vitamin C, citrus fruits are slightly acidic as well. Oranges, limes, grapefruits, lemons, and their direct extracts (juices) can cause restlessness and reactions in the breastfeeding baby.

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How Can You Know What Your Baby Reacts To?

Unfortunately, there is no rule of thumb on what not to eat while breastfeeding. After all, the foods outlined are basic spices or often make up the staples of a balanced diet. The best advice would be to stay aware of your baby’s reactions. If he or she seems to be reacting badly after breastfeeding, trace back the food you ate and lay off for a few weeks. You can then test the food to see if it was the reason, and adjust your diet accordingly.

Why Ask A Lactation Consultant What Not To Eat While Breastfeeding?

Lactation consultants are equipped to provide clinical expertise and advice on any and everything related to breastfeeding. That is, after all, their specialty. If in doubt, consult your local IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) on which foods would best suit your baby’s health and development. IBCLCs can also advise you on when and how to enjoy the foods you like without stressing your baby.

Caffeine plays a special role in daily life. It is a pick-me-up in the mornings when you need the energy, a good way to relax on a date, a comfort food on a hard day. It gives the needed boost and wakefulness for nighttime activities, and works just as well the next day. In other words, one does not need to be a coffee-fiend to enjoy a daily dose of caffeine in whatever amount.

However, breastfeeding mothers are predictably more cautious about their food and fluid intake. For a breastfeeding mother who loves her daily coffee, the overriding question is: Do coffee and breastfeeding mix? Can I drink coffee while breastfeeding? Will the caffeine harm her baby? Does she need to give up coffee as long as she is breastfeeding?

Worst Case Scenarios of Mixing Coffee and Breastfeeding

First and foremost, yes, there is such a thing as too much caffeine for breastfeeding mothers. Unregulated caffeine intake can cause dehydration, since caffeine turns solids into water and flushes them out. Too much caffeine can also have adverse effects on breastfeeding babies.

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While some websites assure mothers they have nothing to worry about and to continue their caffeine dosages, care must still be exercised. An article reviews the possible dangers of too much caffeine to breastfeeding babies.  

Scenario #1: Jitteriness in Babies

A study by Rivera-Calimlim called “Drugs in Breast Milk” in Drug Ther, looked at a 6 weeks old breastfed baby. His mother was drinking 1500 to 2000 mL of caffeine-containing drinks (coffee and cola) daily, supplemented by tea and cocoa.

While the baby was gaining the appropriate weight for his age, he was trembling excessively. This stopped when the mother was completely taken off caffeine. A similar study by Bailey, Welbert, and Naylor looked at a 5 months old baby whose mother drank 20 cups of coffee a day. The baby was observed to be unusually restless.

A doctor wrote her personal experience with caffeine and breastfeeding. While drinking an average of 10 caffeine-containing drinks daily, neither of her breastfeeding babies could sleep deeply or for long periods of time. They were also restless, and fretted easily. Another doctor, who drank up to 2 L of decaf a day, had a premature baby who went into episodic convulsions. These convulsions stopped when the coffee intake stopped.

Scenario #2: Not Enough Iron in Breastmilk

According to a study by Munoz, Lonnerdal, Keen, and Dewey, mothers who drank over 450 mL of coffee a day had lower levels of iron in their breast milk as compared to non-drinkers. Because of this, their babies had lower hemoglobin (carries oxygen to tissues and carbon dioxide out) and hematocrit (percentage of red blood cells inside the blood) levels compared to the babies of non-drinkers. This negatively impacted their overall growing health.

Does That Mean You Cannot Have Coffee While Breastfeeding?

No. It means that if you drink coffee and caffeinated drinks excessively, there will be definite harm to your child. However, if you are aware of certain facts and regulate your coffee intake, the baby should not even be wakeful throughout the night. There are exceptions to this rule as there are to every other, but these facts generally hold in most cases.

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Fact #1: Baby’s Age Matters

According to IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) Kelly Bonyata, babies can only metabolize (absorb and eject) caffeine at the same rate as adults at a certain age. Until they are 3 months old, babies metabolize caffeine in up to 5.4 days. In other words, the caffeine can compound in their bodies.

From 3 to 5 months old, a baby will take around 14 hours, more than half a day, to metabolize caffeine. Past 5 months, however (give or take up to 9 months), the baby will metabolize the caffeine in 3 to 7 hours. That is the same rate as an adult. This does not lower the risks of caffeine in a baby’s system, only reduces its processing length.

Fact #2: The Recommended Caffeine Intake is 300 mg

Nutritionists did not pull that amount out of a hat. A study by Santos, Matijasevich, and Domingues looked at babies’ sleeping patterns when they were 3 months old. Mothers who took over 300 mg of caffeine in a day had more reports of their babies waking in the middle of the night. Mothers who took less reported normal wakefulness in their babies.

Because of this study, nutritionists advise 300 mg of caffeine a day or less is safe enough for both mother and baby. Breastfeeding mothers should consult on the appropriate amounts that they can drink in a single day.

How To Test Your Baby’s Reaction

Some babies will be more reactive to caffeine than the normal baby. If your baby is exhibiting wakefulness and restlessness even when you are drinking below 300 mg of coffee a day, take yourself off caffeine for a week or so. See if there are any changes to your baby’s behavior. If he begins to sleep well and is no longer jittery, re-introduce caffeine for a brief period.

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If the earlier symptoms return, then your baby is definitely reacting to the caffeine content in your drinks. Consult to see if there are fall-back alternatives you would like, or if you can find the happy medium of caffeine intake that will not disturb your baby. If you are not sure how to check your baby’s symptoms, consult on that as well.

Why Ask a Lactation Consultant About Coffee and Breastfeeding?

Lactation Consultants have a minimum requirement of 14 health science courses, 90 hours of lactation-specific education, and a minimum of 300 to 500 clinical practice hours. All of those requirements, plus a board exam, are fulfilled to enable them to become IBCLCs. Lactation consultants have one specialized job: to look after a breastfeeding mother and her child.

Lactation consultants are theoretically and clinically equipped to counsel, educate, and advise you on any questions you may have about breastfeeding. They can help you test the effects of caffeine on your baby, suggest caffeine alternatives, or find the daily caffeine intake that still ensures your baby’s comfort. Unlike general practitioners and pediatricians, their knowledge is highly specialized. They are more than equipped to answer questions on coffee and breastfeeding.

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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.

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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.

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.