For a sleep deprived mother coffee becomes life...
The caffeine helps to get through the sleep deprived days. So the question often gets asked how much coffee is too much for the breastfeeding mum.
Statistics show that nearly half (46%) of Australian’s drink coffee and that having children increased the weekly coffee consumption by 2.4 cups (7.2 v 9.6 cups per week).
Most breastfeeding mothers can consume a moderate amount of caffeine (eg a few cups of coffee or tea each day) without it affecting their babies. Caffeine does transfer to breast milk but in very low concentrations (0.06%-1.5% of 300mg of caffeine) Newborn babies however can be particularly sensitive to caffeine. This is because it can take a newborn baby a long time (ie half-life of 50–100 hours) to process caffeine. By 3–4 months, however, it takes a baby only about 3–7 hours. (According to ASN)
Caffeine content in common drinks and food1,2
Caffeine level (mg)
145 mg/50 mL shot
Formulated caffeinated drinks / ‘Energy’ Drinks
up to 80 mg/250 mL can
Instant coffee (1 teaspoon/cup)
60–80 mg/250mL cup
10–50 mg/250mL cup
up to 54 mg/375 mL cup
20 mg/100 g bar
Tips to combine breastfeeding and coffee:
- Pre term or ill infants may experience larger issues with metabolizing caffeine, you may want to limit caffeine intake during these times.
- Studies have shown that ingesting less than 300mg/day of caffeine should not cause issues for infants. Be wary of what products contain caffeine, so you can track how much you have consumed.
- If caffeine affects your sleep, try not drinking any coffee after 2pm. Sleep is essential for health and wellbeing.
- If you find caffeine intake effects your little one, but still need one, try having a coffee as soon as you breastfeed. This gives you the largest amount of time to process the caffeine before feeding again as peak levels occur about 60-120 mins after consumption.
- If caffeine does have an effect on your child, try giving it a few weeks/months and trying again. The half life (time it takes for the body to get rid of half the dose) reduces significantly with age ( eg 97.5 hours for infants- 2.6 hours at 6 + months).
So the take away is you can still enjoy a cuppa but just be mindful of how much you are ingesting.
- A new study finds even moderate exercise during pregnancy increases a compound in breast milk that reduces a baby's lifelong risks of serious health issues such as diabetes, obesity and heart disease.
A new study led by researchers at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and College of Medicine finds even moderate exercise during pregnancy increases a compound in breast milk that reduces a baby's lifelong risks of serious health issues such as diabetes, obesity and heart disease.
They already know that exercising during pregnancy is beneficial to the unborn baby but they wanted to also understand the WHY. When they did their original study they found that the health benefits from fit mums transferred to the pups, proving that they were, in fact, passed through breast milk and not simply inherited genetic traits.
Researchers followed about 150 pregnant and postpartum women using activity trackers and found that those who had more steps per day had an increased amount of a compound known as 3SL in their breast milk, which they believe is responsible for these health benefits.
They are now trying to see if they can extract this 3SL so that maybe they can add it to baby formula to help Mums who were maybe on bed rest or can’t breastfeed.
Dorothy M. Davis states: “Exercise is also great for your overall health during and after pregnancy, so anything you can do to get moving is going to benefit both you and your baby."
So there you have it even more reason to get out and get moving with your bump on board!
Information from the study was published in ScienceDaily.com
Spicy food is one of those general words that gets thrown around when a Mum is breastfeeding and her baby is unsettled. Many then ask should I avoid the spice while breastfeeding? Here is what we found...
It’s fine to eat spicy food while you're breastfeeding. Traces of what you eat enter your milk, but it shouldn't unsettle your baby if you eat spicy food. In fact, it may benefit your baby. ... If your breastfed baby seems upset or irritable, you could try eating a milder diet to see if makes a difference.
Generally, the dominant flavors of your diet – whether soy sauce or chili peppers – were in your amniotic fluid during pregnancy.
Fetuses swallow a fair amount of amniotic fluid before birth, so when they taste those flavors again in their mother's breast milk, they're already accustomed to them.
“Nursing moms don't need to be scared of spicy foods, says Paula Meier, Ph.D, director for clinical research and lactation in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, and president of the International Society for Research in Human Milk and Lactation.
By the time the baby is breastfeeding, Dr. Meier says, she is accustomed to the flavors Mom eats. "If a mother has eaten a whole array of different foods during pregnancy, that changes the taste and smell of amniotic fluid that the baby is exposed to and is smelling in utero," she says. "And, basically, the breastfeeding is the next step going from the amniotic fluid into the breast milk."
In fact, some items that mothers choose to avoid while breastfeeding, such as spices and spicy foods, are actually enticing to babies. In the early '90s, researchers Julie Mennella and Gary Beauchamp performed a study in which mothers breastfeeding their babies were given a garlic pill while others were given a placebo. The babies nursed longer, sucked harder, and drank more garlic-scented milk than those who had no garlic exposure.
Moms will restrict their diet if they suspect a correlation between something they ate and the child's behavior — gassy, cranky, etc. But while that cause-and-effect might seem enough for a mom, Dr. Meier says she would want to see more direct evidence before making any diagnosis.
"To truly say that a baby had something that was milk-related, I would want to see issues with the stools not being normal. It's very, very rare that a baby would have something that would truly be a contraindication to the mother's breastfeeding.”
Having trouble breastfeeding?
The answer to your difficulties could lie inside your babies mouth…
Tongue-tie (ankyloglossia) is a condition in which the thin piece of skin under the baby's tongue (the lingual frenulum) is abnormally short and may restrict the movement of the tongue. Tongue-tie occurs in about 4-11 per cent of babies and is a condition that can run in families. It is more commonly found in boys.
Some babies with tongue-tie are able to attach to the breast and suck well. However, many have breastfeeding problems, such as nipple damage, poor milk transfer and low weight gains in the baby, and possibly blocked ducts or mastitis due to ineffective milk removal.
The Australian Breastfeeding Association states that a baby needs to be able to have good tongue function to be able to remove milk from the breast well. If the tongue is anchored to the floor of the mouth due to a tongue -tie, the baby cannot do this as well. The baby may not be able to take in a full mouthful of breast tissue. This can result in ‘nipple-feeding’ because the nipple is not drawn far enough back in the baby’s mouth and constantly rubs against the baby’s hard palate as he feeds. As a result, the mother is likely to suffer nipple trauma.
If you see any of the following signs it could be a signal to go and have a consultation with a lactation consultant, GP or paediatrician:
- nipple pain and damage
- the nipple looks flattened after breastfeeding
- you can see a compression/stripe mark on the nipple at the end of a breastfeed
- the baby fails to gain weight
Seeking advice or getting another opinion will help to alleviate issues. Our director had tongue tie with her second and it was four months into the feeding journey when it was picked up. This was after the babies weight plummeted to the 5th percentile and constant pain, screaming etc accompanied every feed.
Support in bras is oh so important.
Did you know:
That a pair of D-cup boobs weigh in at 7 to 10kg. “That’s more than enough to pull your trunk forward, force you into a hunched-over running posture, decrease your stride’s efficiency, and up your risk of injury,” McGhee says.
If you haven’t noticed, pretty much the only thing keeping your breasts up during a run is your bra’s shoulder straps, which take a lot of weight. When straps are thin, the pressure can be so great they not only leave dents in your shoulders but hit the brachial plexus nerve group, causing numbness in the pinky fingers.
We recommend a razor back or full back and should support for high-intensity exercise.
How much your boobs bounce depends almost entirely on breast size and elasticity of the skin covering your breasts, McGhee says. However, skin tends to lose its elasticity with age and “excessive breast bouncing.” So, the more your breasts bounce, the more they will bounce during future runs. Add in breastfeeding or post breastfeeding and your lady friends could be dragging on thin ice mid run….
How much do breasts bounce? Measuring the bounce of both bare and bra-covered breasts during treadmill workouts, McGhee found the average 38D moves about 13cm from top to bottom during running. Smaller breasts bounce about 7.5cm, which can still be uncomfortable. And breasts don't just bounce in an up and down motion; some larger breasts bounce in figure-eight shapes.
While they can’t completely eliminate bouncing, high-support sports bras can cut the range of motion in half (approximately), McGhee says. The goal is for the breasts to move in unison with your torso and not bounce independently of one another.
During pregnancy there is evermore of a concern. When you're pregnant, your body has very high levels of oestrogen and progesterone, hormones that stimulate your breasts' milk glands and milk ducts, respectively. The result of all this can be a big change in bra size, but growth usually slows or stops at the end of the first trimester. No special foods, massages, exercises, or creams affect breast growth during pregnancy, so spend your money on a good supportive bra instead.
Kirsty Palmer is a Personal Trainer and Nutrition coach. She also balances this with her beautiful 9 month old little boy.
Her passion is helping others and if you follow her on social media you will see she has quite an army of woman who are inspired by her greatness.
“Seeing the change in someone throughout their fitness journey is incredible. Not just physically, but also emotionally. They have become more confident, more optimistic, healthier and stronger in all aspects of their life.
Working with all different skill sets and fitness levels I am always working for my clients. Doing everything I can to teach them how to live and love a healthier life.
My aim is to encourage many females to love their body - feel confident in their own skin - and to enjoy the life they have by moving their body daily and feeling their body with nourishing foods!”
She is Owner and Personal Trainer of Kirsty Palmer Fitness, has coached at Team Des Fitness In Birmingham UK as well as being the author of 2 Exercise Ebooks based for gym and at home workouts.
We caught up with her recently to discuss all things pregnancy and beyond:
1.How did your exercise regime change in your pregnancy?
My weights dropped and reps increased.
I had to ensure my heart rate didn't over work through the roof like normal, so listening to my body whilst training and not pushing like crazy was a must!
I was also so tired so some days I listened to my body and had a rest day instead of working out. Don't beat yourself up, its only a season!
2.If there was a change, why? Energy, not sure about what to do etc
My energy levels were so up and down throughout my pregnancy, some days I woke up and felt like I could run a marathon and others I just wanted to sleep. Pregnancy really taught me to listen to my body and rest when I needed to.
3.What exercises did you do in your pregnancy?
Exactly what I was doing pre pregnancy as that is what my body was use to. I preferred going on the stationary bike than walking. And did mini resistance/body weighted circuits when my energy levels where high! my aim was to try move my body daily, even if it was a walk around the block, just to get outdoors and be in the fresh air!
4.Number one top training tip for mums to be?
Don't start exercising crazy and doing different movements if your body is not use to it or you have never done it before just because you want to be healthy as you have found out you are pregnant.
If you want to exercise start with walking And light cycling on the bike. Remember the stress from exercise you go through your baby does to.
5.Did you breastfeed?
Yes, and still breastfeeding - 9 months in and going strong.
6.If so, do you think your active pursuits effected your supply?
Ive never had a crazily high supply from the beginning, it's always been just enough. So I had to ease my way back into exercise and still to this day I manage 3-4 sessions per week and I am okay still to this day.
7.How did you balance feeding and exercise?? - tips
Sometimes I don't know half the things I have been able to balance out. Especially being a single mum. But for me exercise makes me feel better, and I honestly can't live without it. Its been my form of me time. I have been demand feeding from day one so once I feed Elijah I know I have a good hour to workout from home, or even when he sleeps, I do a quick workout. Every day is different. So I just go with the flow and how I am feeling!
Head to www.kirstypalmer.com to find out more about this inspiring mumma.
While you are breastfeeding you should drink extra water, but you don’t need to overdo it. Hydration while breastfeeding should follow the commonsense “in and out” principles of hydration: If you use more fluid, you must take more in.
“Lactation involves specific physiological responses of the mother and requires both an increased supply of nutrients and water (IoM, 1991).
Breast milk contains, on average, 87% water (EFSA, 2010), water content varies depending on the time of day. During a single breastfeeding episode, foremilk (the milk obtained at the beginning of breastfeeding) has higher water content and keeps the infant hydrated, whereas hindmilk (milk released near the end of breastfeeding) contains two to three times more fat than foremilk (Riordan and Wambach, 2009).
Since breast milk is produced using maternal body water, a milk volume of 750 mL/d at 87% of water equals a significant extra water loss for the mother, compared to the daily normal losses. Maintaining water balance can therefore be challenging for lactating women.”
Surprisingly enough if you consume more water your breast milk production does not necessarily increase(like my mother told me) instead the maternal health suffers and becomes at risk of dehydration.
Here’s how to get the right amount of water to maintain hydration while breastfeeding:
- Drink enough water to quench your thirst plus a bit more, since thirst is not a completely reliable indicator of fluid needs.
- Carry a water bottle with you in your diaper bag like this one from @realactivemovement
I get in the habit of drinking a glass of water every time I breastfeed, plus a couple more each day. Try to keep with the principle of when baby drinks, mother drinks. Mums who train also need more water due to replacing the extra bit from sweating it out as well!
Yes you read right....have you ever noticed that post pregnancy your bum seems like a flat pancake or you are having to hitch up those jeans more than ever...Well the good news is you are not alone. There is something called ‘mum bum syndrome’ and many suffer from it.
The truth is you’re probably a bum tucker.
In fancy anatomy terms this is called a posterior pelvic tilt – where your butt tucks in and your lower back flattens.
It’s super common for this to happen during pregnancy because there’s a lot of baby sticking out the front of you so – if you’re not working on corrective exercises throughout your pregnancy – the pelvis tucks under to balance that weight.
Fast forward post-pregnancy and your ligaments and muscles have become lengthened and weaker due to the extra weight...
The good news is that ‘Mum Flat Pancake Butt’ doesn’t have to stay forever and you can correct it. Below are some tips we found to help correct this area:
Sitting does nothing to build the glutes and everything to make it flat as a pancake and let’s face it, we spend a lot of time sitting these days don’t we? Minimizing the amount of time spent sitting is critical to maintaining a healthy backside!
To make up for the amount of time we spend sitting, many of us head to the gym to burn some calories while often choosing high-intensity activity that may not be well suited to our body, especially after having a baby.
One of the best exercises out there is walking, particularly hill walking. Walking is low impact and when you add in the incline of a hill, it really blasts those glutes into high gear along with revving up the cardio!
One of the best glute exercises out there is the bridge and this can be done during pregnancy with a wedge and as early as the 2nd week postpartum.
As your strength increases you can also add some resistance with a sandbag on your pelvis and once your pelvic stability is on track you can also up the challenge by performing the movement with one leg off the ground and extended.
These can be done standing or on all fours (however I don’t recommend being on all fours during).
You don’t need a fancy piece of equipment – you can simply use your body weight or you can tie a theraband around your ankles to add some resistance.
Squatting is a great glute builder and is also a movement that will be done over and over and over as you bend down to pick up your babe or toddler (or their toys, or spilled food, or…).
Squatting can be done (and should be done) during pregnancy and within a few weeks postpartum. The range of motion can be modified but you want to aim for a nice deep squat with the tailbone un-tucked and your pelvis in neutral (keeping the small curve in your low back).
There are many glute exercises out there but these versions offer versatility both before and after pregnancy. They help maintain and build up the glutes while also encouraging the sacrum to stay un-tucked which is key to avoiding and curing mum bum syndrome!
So as you can see we like big butts post pregnancy so get those glutes moving and pelvis tilting....
Nearly 1 in 5 breastfeedingwomen are affected by mastitis. In these cases, it usually develops in the first three months after giving birth.
What is mastitis?
Mastitis is usually the result of a blocked milk duct that hasn't cleared. Some of the milk banked up behind the blocked duct can be forced into nearby breast tissue, causing the tissue to become inflamed. The inflammation is called mastitis. Infection may or may not be present.
If you think you have mastitis, see your medical adviser. There can be infectious and non-infectious mastitis.
What are the symptoms?
Early symptoms of mastitis can make you feel as if you are getting the flu. You may begin to get shivers and aches.
Some mothers who do not have any early signs of a blocked duct get mastitis 'out of the blue'.
The breast will be sore like it is with a blocked duct, only worse. It is usually red and swollen, hot and painful. The skin may be shiny and there may be red streaks. You will feel ill. It is common for the ill feeling to come on very quickly.
- Poor attachment to the breast
- Nipple damage
- A long break between breastfeeds
- Breasts that are too full
- Blocked milk ducts
- Stopping breastfeeding too quickly
- Overly tight bra
- A baby with tongue-tie who is having problems attaching to the breast
It is important to start treatment at the first signs of mastitis.
- Continue to breastfeed or express from the affected breast.
- Place a heat pack or warm cloths on the sore area before feeding or expressing to help with your milk flow.
- Gently massage any breast lumps towards the nipple when feeding or expressing or when in the shower or bath.
- Continue to breastfeed or express your sore breast until it feels more comfortable.
- Place a cool pack, such as a packet of frozen peas wrapped in a cloth, on the breast after feeding or expressing for a few minutes to reduce discomfort.
- You can take tablets for the pain such as paracetamol or ibuprofen. They are safe to take while breastfeeding.
- Drink plenty of water throughout the day (up to 8 glasses).
- Rest as much as possible.
- If you don’t start to feel better after a few hours, you should see a doctor as soon as you can.
- If antibiotics are prescribed by your doctor, take as directed. It is safe to continue to breastfeed when taking these antibiotics.
Info from www.thewomens.org.au and ABA
Contrary to some opinions, working out as a breastfeeding mother does not affect milk supply. There are studies that show that the taste of your milk may change due to lactic acid levels in breast milk after vigorous exercise. But don’t worry – this does not make the baby unwilling to breastfeed and it’s not harmful for baby! Lactic acid disappears quickly from breast milk, even after a strenuous workout.
But, keep in mind you’re probably safest with a workout plan involving moderate activity. Research has shown that exclusively breastfed babies of mums who regularly exercise grow at the same rate as mums with a more sedentary lifestyle, which means breast milk is nutritional whether you work out or not. Remember that your body also has to work to make breast milk in the first place, which burns calories—an extra 400-500 calories a day on top of that. Making up those extra calories with healthy snacks in general, and even more so if you happen to be working out.
Studies have shown that exercise and breastfeeding can be combined without affecting milk supply. La Leche League International suggests the following when exercising while breastfeeding:
- Wait until the baby is at least six weeks old or more.
- Start the exercise slowly and gradually.
- Be sure to consume liquids to replace those lost by sweating.
- Some kinds of exercise can be done with baby.
- Walking briskly, mild aerobic exercises, and water exercises are ideal in the beginning.
- Other good exercises for later on are swimming
〰️That hydration is key when you’re exercising as a breastfeeding mum. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water before, during, and after your workouts.
〰️Consider getting a supportive high-impact bra as your breasts may change significantly from pregnancy to post-pregnancy and through breastfeeding and your old sports bras might not do the trick anymore. A bra with adjustable straps will help accommodate the changing size of your breasts throughout your journey. You can also try investing in one of our nursing sports bras that have easy flaps that open when you need to breastfeed or pump.
〰️Pumping or feeding before an exercise class will also help to keep the size in check.
The consensus generally is that sun exposure, in moderation, is good if you need an adequate dose of Vitamin D.
“Vitamin D is a vitamin we produce in our skin that effects the amount of calcium the body absorbs and is important of bone growth and development.”
The primary status of vitamin D for the child during pregnancy and during breast feeding, is the mother’s vitamin D status.
Therefore, sun exposure becomes essential for pregnant women too as it aids in providing bone creation of the fetus. Moreover, a strong immunity for you and the baby also gets assured. Though too much sun due to higher hormonal levels makes your skin more sensitive than ever.
Due to this potential risks of Sun exposure during pregnancy are:
Folic acid absorption
The next question that gets asked a lot is:
IS IT SAFE TO WEAR SUNSCREEN?
Yes it is but be mindful of the ingredients.
“Sunscreens are categorized into two types, i.e. physical blockers and chemical blockers. Physical blockers are safe to use as they are a mixture of titanium dioxide and zinc oxide that together aid in reflecting back the harmful UV rays.
On the other hand, chemical blockers are not at all recommended for pregnant women. This is because these blockers contain ingredients that absorb the UV rays rather than reflecting them. And one of such ingredients is oxybenzone that is commonly found in chemical blockers. Oxybenzone has been known to penetrate through the skin and holds the potential to cause allergies, hormonal disturbances, and low birth weight especially in newly born baby girls.”
Taking time to nurture your own development isn't selfish. The well-being of mothers impacts the well-being of children and families in powerful and far reaching ways. We cannot pour from an empty cup.
Motherhood and stress, understanding your triggers and learning to respond rather than react. In mothering we are faced with screaming kids, tantrums, constant want for your attention, demands of breastfeeding etc. Mindfulness of emotions and getting clear on your values is extremely helpful to identify what is going on first rather than reacting. If we do become reactive to the external triggers/stress one of the ways to help yourself is to change the scenery.
Karen Holmes explains it well in relation to Mums.
Mindfulness is probably the most scientifically investigated form of meditation to date, and to put it simply – it involves ‘training our attention’. Through this, we learn to focus on those things that are most useful and most helpful in our lives, allowing us to live more consciously and fully.
Given that a lot of mothering is done in automatic pilot mode, where we are literally multi-tasking the day away, living more mindfully can help us get on top of negative or worried thinking patterns – those pesky ‘what if…?’ scenarios.
A simple and quick mindfulness meditation:
Sit comfortably, preferably with your back firmly against a chair.
Place your feet on the floor and connect or root yourself with the floor.
Close your eyes, make sure your jaw is soft, and drop your chin a little.
Feel your breath and notice your belly rising and falling.
When you feel your thoughts wandering, simply notice this and return to the breath.
When you’re ready, lift your chin and open your eyes.
Bring your awareness slowly back to your surroundings.
Notice how you feel.