10 Ways to Support Your Breastfeeding Partner

By Adrienne Koznek, IBCLC

New research confirms that postpartum support - from a partner in particular - tends to have more influence on breastfeeding initiation and continuation than more formal support from a healthcare provider.

In the early days of having a newborn, the non-breastfeeding partner may feel concerned that they can’t do much to help with the baby.  On the contrary, there are plenty of things to do to support the breastfeeding mother: Here are just a few of them.

  1. Bring snacks.  Breastfeeding moms are a hungry bunch!  They require about 300-500 additional calories per day. One-handed snacks like nuts, string cheese, hard-boiled eggs, granola bars, and fruit are ideal because generally one hand is occupied with the baby.  Snacking becomes a way of life when breastfeeding.
  2. Bring water.  Breastfeeding can make a mom very thirsty - the initial letdown is sometimes like a switch gets flipped and they need water NOW.  
  3. Help her get comfortable.  A successful breastfeeding session starts with the mom’s comfort.  Pillows behind the back, a stool for the feet, and a blanket on the lap are all ways to increase comfort. When nursing a newborn, mom will probably be in one spot for a while (babies can nurse for anywhere from 10-40 minutes), so they might as well be as comfortable as possible.
  4. If any breastfeeding tools are being used (supplemental nursing systems, nursing pillows, etc), give a hand in helping get them set up and ready.  It makes a nursing session much easier if these things are at the ready when it’s time to sit down.
  5. If mom is pumping breast milk, washing pump parts is one of the nicest things a partner can do to help.  If there is a pumping plan in place or if mom is working outside the home, having pump parts ready to go is greatly appreciated.
  6. When the baby wakes in the middle of the night to nurse, change the diaper.  It’s a great opportunity to work as a team - the non-breastfeeding partner can change the diaper so that the breastfeeding partner can focus on feeding the baby.  
  7. Bring the baby to mom.  If the baby is in a separate sleeping space, a very supportive action is to get up and bring baby to mom.  It’s one less thing mom has to worry about, and a couple more seconds of shut eye for her.
  8. Give encouragement.  Breastfeeding can be difficult - especially in the early days when you’re sleep-deprived and everything is new.  Moms need to hear that they’re doing a great job and that their hard work is appreciated. 
  9. Give mom a break.  After a 2-hour cluster feeding session, mom may want a hot bath or a moment to rest.  Talk to your partner about tag-teaming to make sure everyone is getting some R and R.  
  10. Help mom find support.  Breastfeeding doesn’t always come naturally, and many moms need additional support in the beginning.  Find local resources like the nearest IBCLC, mom’s groups, or Baby Blues Connection. Have a list available just in case she needs it.  

 

Consider these ways to be involved in the breastfeeding journey - your partner will be grateful for the support and encouragement! 

Note: There are many ways that families can provide milk for their babies; for the purpose of this post, the author uses she/her pronouns in regards to the breastfeeding parent. 

Reference: Impact of Male-Partner-Focused Interventions on Breastfeeding Initiation, Exclusivity, and Continuation.  Mitchell-Box, Braun, 2013. Journal of Human Lactation 29(4) 473–479

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Adrienne Koznek, IBCLC, provides home visit lactation consultations to families in Portland and surrounding areas. She has a special interest in the newborn period and oral restriction. 

Learn more about Adrienne at Wy'East Lactation

TRUE Health!

In the US, we’re taught to pay attention to our bodies only when something is wrong— and the typical treatment is aimed at covering up the symptoms rather than finding the cause. 

  • Got a headache? Pop an aspirin.  
  • Insomnia? Fill up with coffee and power through your day. 

The average American is willing to spend hundreds of dollars every month to have the latest technology in their pocket, but balks at the thought of spending a quarter of that on a massage. 

At Luna, we believe that your health is your wealth! 

If you’re body isn’t functioning at it’s peak potential, it’s going to affect every single aspect of your life. 

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Just like being happy is different than being “not sad,” being truly healthy is much different than being “not sick” or “not in pain.” 

Self care is more than getting a massage once a year on your birthday.  It’s all about the journey, and it’s a journey that takes dedication and consistency. 

  • Do you HAVE to get your teeth cleaned every 6 months? No- but you will have fewer cavities and less decay if you do. 
  • Do you HAVE to get your car’s oil changed every 3,000 miles? No- but it will run more efficiently if you do. 
  • Do you HAVE to tune your bike up every spring? No- but it will be a smoother ride if you do. 

The practitioners at Luna address the issues that your medical doctor won’t: We dig deep and find the root cause of the symptoms that are showing up in your body.

And the rewards are infinite! While the side effects of medications are less than desirable things like weight gain, insomnia and moodiness, the side effects of regular bodywork include more restful sleep, improved digestion and a more positive outlook on life. 

We had a heartfelt vision to create a space where people could gather, heal and be part of a community that promotes the kind of self-care that changes lives.

Our approach to wellness is accessible and holistic: It involves balancing lifestyle, nutrition, movement and spirituality supported by a COMMUNITY that will catch you when you fall.  

Doesn’t it sound lovely? Giving your body the love, care, and nourishment it deserves? At Luna, we make it so SIMPLE to take care of yourself. Our memberships give you the very best deal on services while holding you accountable to get the care you need. 

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We have some low commitment options, as well as huge discount for committing to a year of self care. 

Check out our options with the link below and shoot us an email if you have ANY questions! 

Are you ready for self care that will change your life? 

 

How Chiropractic Adjustments Can Help You Get Pregnant!

Are you tired of feeling completely helpless when it comes to your fertility? Are you staring down the road of medications and their side effects? Overwhelmed by the emotional and physical burden, relationship strain, and/or financial burden caused by infertility? Are you struggling to make sense of all the conflicting information and advice out there on getting pregnant? Are you emotionally exhausted from tracking ovulation, crying over negative pregnancy tests, and wondering if you will ever have a baby of your own? 

Today more and more women are experiencing the pain of infertility. They are searching far and wide for treatments to help them conceive and carry to term. Most women are unaware that infertility can stem from an issue within the nervous system. The nervous system consists of the brain and spinal cord: It's our body's master control system. Fertility health, conception and birth all require a properly functioning nervous system. Nerves transmit impulses and sensations to every part of the body, allowing them function optimally. The nerves that innervate our reproductive organs pass through the spine. Fertility can be affected if there’s an imbalance in the bony structures of the back and pelvis: These misalignments can interfere with the delicate nerve impulses going to the ovaries and uterus. Spinal and nervous system imbalances can also affect the body systems that coordinate the delivery of hormones, preventing their normal function and contributing to hormone imbalance. According to the American Pregnancy Association, “In many cases, fertility issues may be associated with improper nervous system function, poor nutrition, high stress and poor lifestyle habits." 

Chiropractors are nervous system specialists and reducing interference in the nervous system is their primary goal. Chiropractic adjustments remove any interference between the nervous system and the rest of the body. A healthy nervous system promotes reproductive function! Chiropractors trained in fertility work also help to balance the bony pelvis and pelvic floor muscles so that your body is in the optimal position to conceive, carry and deliver a baby. 

Chiropractic is a safe and economical alternative to traditional medicine, as it focuses on whole body wellness. While chiropractic care does not treat infertility; it does help to establish a healthy connection via the chemical messengers (hormones) in the body so that your body can do what it was made to do, which is conceiving and delivering a healthy baby! 

Natural methods are easier on the body, less expensive, and less invasive. In addition, these treatments can be applied prior to and during conventional options such as IVF.

Every treatment plan designed by Dr. Mandy is tailored specifically for your body and includes bodywork, herbs and/or supplements, dietary and lifestyle changes to optimize health and wellness for you, and ultimately, for your baby. Click here to read more about our fertility packages. 

 

Three Amazing Benefits of Prenatal Massage

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Ever wonder why this pregnancy thing has been so romanticized by so many? Or maybe that was just me. I got really sick each time. I remember lying on the couch of our old Portland bungalow and watching the buds on the trees forming, literally this is how I spent months in between vomiting and working. I had one saving grace, I was a doula and childbirth educator and I knew that prenatal massage would help me. The massage helps to move excess hormones that cause nausea out of your system. I felt so lucky to know many gifted Portland area prenatal massage specialists.

Every time I even laid my swollen, tired, nauseous body on one of their cozy tables I immediately felt relief, just being in this healing space was nurturing. But then the actual massage would happen and I’d melt and truly rest and even dream a little. It fortified me on so many levels.

When I was pregnant with my second baby I went over to a lesser known friends house for dinner. The woman had four children and she wanted to make me dinner, was she a Goddess? Probably. But in between big mouthfuls of salad and goat cheese crostini she said something that always stuck with me. She said “Being pregnant is like climbing a mountain at every moment in your existance for forty weeks, the least the rest of us can do is to take care of you during that time and directly after. It’s temporary but it’s really stressful, it’s a good time to let people help you.” After that I had no problem asking for help or letting myself be taken care of. I don’t know what it is about being pregnant that many of us proud women feel like we should just be able to power through and do everything ourselves. Prenatal massage has been around forever, for a very good reason, because it helps significantly. We all deserve to feel nurtured. That is why it is offered at Luna Wellness. Prenatal massage helps moms cope on a all mind, body issues but here are the three biggest things it helps with:

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Three Benefits of Prenatal Massage:

1. Pain Reduction- Prenatal massage can improve circulation which reduces swelling and clears excess hormones, it helps improved oxygenation of soft tissues and muscles. It helps prevent headaches, reduces back pain, reduces joint pain, assists in an overall sense of wellbeing and improves immune functioning.

2. Stress Reduction- Prenatal massage helps to reduce stress, fear and anxiety, helps with sleep which can also increase libito and help mamas access their intuition and trust. We now know that stress can affect babies health so anything that reduces a mom’s stress level puts her baby at an advantage to being healthier in all areas. And we all want healthy babies.

3. Bring on Baby- Prenatal Massage can help babies come at the perfect time for both mamas and babies because it helps to bring about more of the feel-good hormones that kick start labor at the perfect time. The hormone oxytocin is released through massage and it helps you go into labor at the right time for you. Massage will not put you into labor if your body is not ready but it can help prime you for a healthy birth. It’s like the sun hitting ripe apples on the tree, if the apples aren’t yet ripe, they won’t fall it just helps the apples grow. But if the conditions are just right that sun will indeed assist in the apple’s descent. 

Side note: If you are experiencing a high risk pregnancy please consult your doctor about massage.

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Chiropractic Care for Newborns

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Even before babies are born, structural imbalances and nerve irritation can occur in the uterus from awkward fetal positioning and restriction of movement (known as intrauterine constraint). After spending the last few months of gestation in a cramped uterus, the process of being born can be intense. It is a tight fit, and babies often get pushed into uncomfortable positions while descending through the birth canal.

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The baby’s head plays a big role in the opening of the cervix, and large forces are placed on the infant’s delicate skull, neck and spine during the birthing process. These stresses are increased if interventions such as a vacuum or forceps are used. Cesarean births can also be traumatic for babies as they are extremely fast, and significant tractional forces are used to pull the baby out of a relatively small incision in the uterus. A thorough chiropractic evaluation is a vital step in giving your baby the best possible start. Newborn chiropractic treatment is extremely gentle, and it will help your baby feel comfortable in his body.

Conditions commonly treated in newborns:

Nursing, breastfeeding, latch difficulties, torticollis, colic, reflux, breech presentation, shoulder dystocia, difficult birth.

Postpartum Chiropractic

If you feel overwhelmed after giving birth, you are not alone. 

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The lack of attention given to new mothers in our society is disheartening. Gone are the days of being surrounded and guided by your “village” of grandmothers, mothers, aunties, and cousins. The “fourth trimester” is real, and new mamas need to take care of themselves as well as their families.

After completing the enormous task of growing and birthing a human being, new mamas are often left on their own to figure it all out. The demands of raising an infant combined with the hormonal roller coaster of motherhood, sleep deprivation, isolation, a body healing from childbirth, a weakened and overstretched core, and countless hours spent in hunched over positions (nursing, baby wearing, changing diapers) can wreck havoc on the body.

Why you should see a chiropractor postpartum:

Postpartum support is not a luxury! Making the time to care for your physical and mental self after giving birth should be an essential part of your birth plan. Many physical, psychological, and spiritual changes occur in the initial weeks postpartum. Six-week postpartum checkups are typically brief encounters, where you may or may not be reminded to do your kegels. An entire year could easily go by between the postpartum farewell and the next check up.

Postpartum chiropractic can bridge this gap in health care. New mamas should be adjusted shortly after giving birth to quicken recovery time and normalize overall pelvic and spinal bio-mechanics. Moms are encouraged to seek care as soon as possible after giving birth. Babies and older kids are always welcome to tag along at appointments.

Prenatal Chiropractic

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During pregnancy, your body may become misaligned as your center of gravity changes. Prenatal chiropractic care can reduce back pain and result in shortened labor.

Visiting a prenatal chiropractor prepares the pelvis for an easier pregnancy and birth by creating a state of balance in the bony pelvis, muscles and ligaments. Proper pelvic alignment allows for a faster labor, with less chance of awkward fetal positioning.

One study showed that women who were adjusted during pregnancy had 25% shorter labors than women who were not. This percentage went up to 36% in women who were delivering their second or third babies.

The importance of chiropractic care during pregnancy:

Studies show that up to 80% of women will experience back pain during their pregnancies. It should go without saying that your body changes during pregnancy. The average weight gain of 25-35 pounds, combined with the stress placed on a woman’s body by the baby, can result in significant discomfort. Regular chiropractic care during pregnancy can decrease and even prevent the common aches and pains that go along with pregnancy.

Throughout pregnancy, mama-to-be’s center of gravity changes from day to day, as the belly grows and the spinal curves shift. Many women look for alternatives to pain medications and drugs during pregnancy. Prenatal chiropractic care is a safe and natural alternative for pain relief.

Common issues that respond well to prenatal chiropractic care include: low back pain, hip pain, sciatica, mid back and rib pain, and pubic symphysis dysfunction.