Breastmilk. Every Ounce Counts.

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DOES FORMULA STACK UP?

Learn the benefits, Compare breastmilk vs. formula.

Breastmilk and formula both have nutritional building blocks. However, everything in breastmilk comes from the mother’s body and is custom-made for her baby’s needs. Everything in the formula comes from cows, soy plants, or some other non-human source. Breastmilk contains twice as many building blocks as formula.

The building blocks include:

Water

Water found in breastmilk is made naturally by the mother’s body. Water used in formula comes from a variety of places, such as the tap or bottles, and may contain impurities.

Protein

Protein in breastmilk is easier to digest and cuts down on vomiting and diarrhea. Protein in formula can be harder for babies to digest.

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates found in breastmilk promote brain development and intestinal health. Carbohydrates found in formula simply do not compare to those found in breastmilk.

DHA and ARA

DHA and ARA are fatty acids found in breastmilk that help a baby’s eyes and brain develop. DHA and ARA in formula are made from algae and fungus.

Fat

Fat found in breastmilk helps a baby’s brain, eyes, and body grow. Cholesterol found only in breastmilk may make a child less likely to develop heart disease as an adult. Fat in formula does not contain cholesterol and may make a child more likely to develop heart disease and central nervous system diseases as an adult.

Vitamins

Vitamins found in breastmilk are easy to digest and are produced in the right amounts for each baby. Vitamins found in formula are sometimes added in very large amounts and aren’t absorbed very well by the baby’s body.

Minerals

Minerals found in breastmilk are easy to digest and are produced in the right amounts for each baby. Minerals found in formula are sometimes added in very large amounts and aren’t absorbed very well by the baby’s body.

Enzymes

Enzymes in breastmilk help break down fat, protein, and carbohydrates so a baby’s body can use them. Breastmilk enzymes also kill bad bacteria. Formula contains no enzymes.

Growth Factors

Growth Factors help a baby’s skin, nerves, intestines, and blood vessels grow. Formula contains no growth factors.

Anti-Parasites

Anti-Parasites found in breastmilk keep parasites from hurting your baby. Formula contains no anti-parasites.

Anti-Allergies

Anti-Allergies found in breastmilk reduce a child’s chances of developing allergies throughout the rest of their life. Formula contains no anti-allergies.

Anti-Viruses

Anti-Viruses found in breastmilk block incoming viruses or attach to a virus, making it harmless. Formula contains no anti-viruses.

Hormones

Hormones found in breastmilk can do things like calm a baby and reduce his changes of becoming obese. Formula contains no hormones.

Antibodies

Antibodies (immune boosters) found in breastmilk protect against germs and infections in a way that formula can’t. Formula contains no antibodies.

Congratulations! You are now a breastmilk vs. formula pro. There are at least 100 ingredients in breastmilk that are not found in formula, and more are being discovered all the time. Give your baby the best nutrition. Breastmilk. Every ounce counts.

SOFTENING AND EXPRESSING

Massage and expression can make breastfeeding easier. Learn how it’s done.

Reverse pressure softening is a form of massage that can be used in the first few days after a baby is born.

RPS two-handed, one-step method:

Use reverse pressure softening during the first few days after your baby is born if you notice firmness of the areola, swollen breasts, or pain when your baby latches. Using RPS can soften the nipple and make breastfeeding easier.

Step 1: Place your fingers or thumbs on the areola, on either side of the nipple. Fingernails should be short, and fingertips should be curved.

Step 2: Firmly but gently push straight inward on the breast toward your ribs. Hold this pressure steady for 1 to 3 minutes.

You may need to do this a few times before the breast softens enough for the baby to latch. This will move some swelling backward and upward into the breast for a little while. This helps the nipple become softer, allowing a baby to latch more easily and draw the nipple deep into his or her mouth. Combined with gentle forward massaging of the upper breast, RPS also makes it easier to express milk by hand or during short periods of slow, gentle pumping.

RPS two-handed, two-step method:

Step 1: Place 2 or 3 straight fingers on each side of the areola with your first knuckles touching the nipple.

Step 2: Press inward like you did in the one-step method.

Step 3: Move your fingers above and below the nipple and press again.

You may need to do this a few times before the breast softens enough for the baby to latch. This will move some swelling backward and upward into the breast for a little while. This helps the nipple become softer, allowing a baby to latch more easily and draw the nipple deep into his or her mouth. Combined with gentle forward massaging of the upper breast, RPS also makes it easier to express milk by hand or during short periods of slow, gentle pumping.

Adapted from Reverse Pressure Softening: A Technique to Aid Latching When a Mother is Engorged, by Kl. Jean Cotterman, RNC, IBCLC.

Breastmilk can also be expressed by hand.

Hand Expression

All moms need to know how to hand express their milk so they can remove milk at any time with no special equipment. Many moms even find that they can express more milk by hand than with a pump. If breasts are too full with milk, it can be difficult for baby to breastfeed. By practicing hand expression prior to feeding, baby can more easily latch.

Step 1: Get a clean container for the milk.

Step 2: Wash your hands and gently massage your breast in a circular pattern, moving around the breast until you massage all areas.

Step 3: Hold the clean container near your breast. With your other hand, place your fingers and thumb about one inch behind the nipple.

Step 4:

  • Gently press your fingers and thumb back toward your ribs.
  • Press your fingers and thumb together.
  • Relax your hand.
  • Repeat.

Rotate the placement of your fingers and thumb around your nipple to empty all areas of the breast. When milk flow slows down, switch to your other breast.

STICK TO BREASTMILK

Learn how to keep up your milk supply.

Your breast has special milk-making cells that work to produce breastmilk. Substituting formula for breastmilk decreases your milk supply.

Your breasts need “receptor sites” to make milk. Receptor sites develop when a mom breastfeeds or removes milk during the first few days and weeks after she gives birth.

The more a mom breastfeeds in the first month after birth, the more milk she will make. Her body makes receptors whenever milk is removed from her breasts.

Moms who exclusively breastfeed in the first several days and weeks develop lots of receptor sites for these milk-making hormones in their breasts. That means that by giving your baby only breastmilk, your body will continue to make milk and keep up your milk supply.

The more receptors you have in your breasts, the more milk your breasts can make. If you want to use both breastmilk and formula, it is important to first establish your breastmilk supply by exclusively breastfeeding for the first 4 to 6 weeks. Formula can be added after that, but remember that breastmilk provides your baby with the best nutrition and benefits that last a lifetime.

FRUITFUL MOMMIES

Learn the different parts of a mom’s breast and how the breast makes milk. This activity will help moms better understand how the breast functions to make the best nutrition for her baby.

Anatomy of the Breast

Before pregnancy, your breasts are made up of tissue, milk glands, and protective fat. During pregnancy, your milk glands begin to expand, causing your breasts to grow larger.

Your milk duct system becomes fully developed sometime during your second trimester, so you can make milk for your baby even if he arrives prematurely.

Among the fat and tissue inside the breast are small channels called ducts. Each duct branches off into smaller channels called ductules.

At the end of each ductule is a cluster of small sacs, similar to a cluster of grapes, called alveoli.

Just like grapes are filled with juice, the milk-making cells (alveoli) in the breast are filled with milk. Milk flows out of the breast through this system of tubes (ducts and ductules).

Tiny muscles surround each milk-making cell. When it’s time to breastfeed, the muscles tighten, helping push the milk out of the alveoli and through the nipples.

Seasons of Change

A mother’s breasts go through changes much the same way a grapevine changes during the four seasons:

  • Winter: In the winter, before you are pregnant, there are no grapes on the vine.
  • Spring: In Spring, during your first trimester, milk-making cells begin to develop, similar to the way buds start to form on branches.
  • Summer: By summer, during your second trimester, the milk-making cells in a mom’s breasts become full of milk to feed the baby, just as the buds on the vine grow into full-size grapes full of juice.
  • Fall: In the fall, when the baby stops breastfeeding or when a mom supplements with formula, milk-making cells in a mom’s breasts begin to dry up and shrink, just like the grapes dry up and start to fall off the vine.

RECIPE for BREASTMILK

Learn the benefits of breastfeeding exclusively.

The first month after a baby is born is the most important time for mom to breastfeed.

The baby is “placing an order” for the right amount of milk he or she will need. When a mother removes milk from her breasts (by breastfeeding or pumping), this tells her body that it needs to make more milk for her baby.

When milk is not removed from the breasts, the mother’s body tells her breasts to slow down and make less milk. The more formula a mom gives her baby, the less breastmilk she makes.

The use of formula will decrease a mother’s milk supply and may shorten the length of time she is able to breastfeed her baby.

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