You got this, mama!

The support you need is just a virtual consultation away.

We get it. You are probably feeling concerned, overwhelmed and maybe even wanting to give up. Nursing can be discouraging when it hurts, or is causing you to be troubled or anxious. You aren’t alone - even experienced moms need extra support before, during and after breastfeeding.

Free Lactation Consultation

It's okay to feel frustrated, but breastfeeding doesn't have to be this way forever.

Whether you are a first or second time mom you are going to have a lot of questions. From cracked nipples to blocked ducts, feeding positions and questions about whether or not your baby is getting enough breastmilk… your concerns can feel overwhelming. But you're not alone! All moms experience uncertainty. Schedule a free session with a lactation consultant now.

  • Latching 
  • Breastfeeding positions
  • Sleep problems
  • Weaning
  • Milk supply
  • Nipple guards
  • Painful, pinched and cracked nipples
  • Breastfeeding twins
  • Bottle feeding help
  • Pumping
  • Going back to work
  • Blocked ducts, mastitis and other issues
  • SO much more...

Stop worrying, stop hurting, and enjoy your baby.

While breastfeeding can be hard, it is also very rewarding - for both you and your baby. The majority of breastfeeding problems can be addressed with a lactation consultant. 

Read about the benefits of breastfeeding.

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No breastfeeding story is exactly the same.

Just like no two babies are the same, the needs of each mom and baby are unique. This can make it hard to know if something is wrong and how to fix it. Rest assured that you can get real answers now!

You and your baby are going to be OK.

Whether you are breastfeeding, bottle feeding, cloth diapering, sleep training, pacifying, going back to work, or staying home - you and your baby are going to be OK. In fact, you are going to be great.

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Offering the support you need in this moment.

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Signup for an appointment based on your and your baby's schedule.

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Use a secure video link for your scheduled appointment.

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Meet with your board-certified lactation consultant from any device.

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SimpliFed moms tell all...

“SimpliFed IBCLC Nina was totally there for me at  one of my worst moments. She was patient, evidence-based, and explained things in a way I could understand to allow my daughter to gain weight and also make me feel like “I got this!” in the process. She is famous in my family.” - Andrea
 
"I reached out to SimpliFed and was connected with Kathleen who helped me with a plan for weaning my almost two year old daughter. She was very understanding of our situation and helped us put together a plan. She checked back in with us as needed and was extremely responsive. I'm so grateful for the team at SimpliFed and highly recommend them. - Stephanie

Our Team of Lactation Specialists!

(Certified Lactation Consultants)

ALLISON NUNEZ

Student IBCLC

DANYEL BREWER

RDN, CDN, IBCLC

NINA PEGRAM

RN, PNP, IBCLC
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Frequently Asked Questions

What to Expect in Your First Appointment:

At your first appointment, you will meet one of our trusted breastfeeding support specialists, or IBCLCs, who will answer your questions without judgment, give guidance without guilt, and share suggestions and best practices. The first consultation is usually sharing any goals or issues, answering any questions, and getting set up for infant feeding success! 

What if I haven't had my baby yet?

You can absolutely start now! Before you have your baby is a great time to meet with a breastfeeding support specialist or IBCLC.  They can share information about how to prepare, what to expect, what questions to ask your OBGYN/Midwife, how to set up your breastpump, and more.

Do you accept insurance?

The Affordable Care Act requires that lactation support services are a covered benefit.  If you are out of network, Simplified will create a superbill for you to send to your insurance company for reimbursement.

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What are the appointments like?

The appointment is done via a secure video link that you'll receive via email. You can have the baby with you, or not, whatever you are comfortable with. You can speak to the IBCLC, ask questions, get answers, all from the comfort and safety of your own home!  No need to put the baby in the car seat or put on real pants. Stay in your sweats, make yourself a cup of tea, and connect with your support team who will answer questions, share best practices, solve any issues, and give you peace of mind.

Do I have to show my boob?

Nope! Only if you're comfortable and are actively feeding the baby. You are welcome to feed off-camera, meet with an IBCLC while the baby is asleep, and stay totally covered if that's what makes you comfortable.

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Do I need to follow my baby's schedule?

You can call an IBCLC anytime, with or without baby.

Will my employer pay for this?

SimpliFed works with some employers across the US and Internationally to provide this as an employee benefit. 

Ask your employer if they offer this benefit. If your employer does offer this, grab the code from the benefits portal and the appointments will be free of charge to you!

Baby Sleep

Zzzz… Baby Sleep

Written by Allison Nunez, CBS, Student IBCLC

Can’t. Keep. Eyes. Open. 

Do you even remember what life was like when you actually got 8 hours of sleep?  These sleepless nights and days can be brutal with a new baby in the house and can mess with you - physically, mentally and emotionally. 

Sleep is hugely important to your health and your little one’s growth and development. When you don’t get sleep, your reflexes and responses slow down, you get moody, irritable and your coping mechanisms can really dwindle down to nothin’! That’s when we break down, scream at the older kids or partners, cry in the shower (or while breastfeeding for the 100th time that day).  You feel the weight on your eyes, on your shoulders and in your heart.…and no one really talks about how lack of sleep contributes to it all. 

Here at SimpliFed we are Mamas, too. We have been there and we have felt that. It’s part of our mission to help you get through all of the hard moments. We focus on simply feeding your baby, but we also have to recognize the need to SimpliSLEEP! 

So, we reached out to one of our favorite sleep consultants in the California Bay Area and had some of  your questions answered!

At what age should we stop contact naps?

3-4 months is a great age to work on crib naps vs. contact naps. I recommend  one nap in the crib each day right from the start with your newborn so they are comfortable in that environment. The first nap of the day is generally the best for crib naps as it’s usually the nap that babies fall asleep the easiest. Start with one nap a day in the crib and slowly build up to all naps. If contact naps aren't working for you anymore, of course you can jump right in and offer all naps in the crib. 

Is the 'never wake a sleeping baby' saying true?

A lot of those silly “sayings” are true or hold some truth but this is not one of them. One time it can be very important to wake a sleeping baby is during the day to feed them. A great goal is to feed your baby more during the day than night. If your baby is snoozing through a daytime feed, they are more likely to wake throughout the night to make up for that feed. Another time I suggest waking a baby is in the morning to start the day. This can be helpful when trying to create a more consistent and predictable schedule. 

When should I start sleep training?

I start working with clients with sleep training around 5 months as long as your baby is gaining weight and there aren't any health concerns. I have worked with children up to 7 years of age—so as of yet, I don't think it’s ever too late to improve on sleep. You can start working on a healthy sleep foundation from day one using age appropriate awake windows and creating a sleep environment that promotes sleep (dark, safe, sound machine, swaddle or sleep sack). 

There are SO MANY different “sleep training” methods. How do I know which one is best?

This is such a personal decision to make just like parenting philosophies. I personally focus on finding the most gentle method for your child's age, personality and your comfort level. This can be something as gentle as a pickup-putdown method to a chair method where you slowly move out of the room over a 2 week period to a controlled cry. I look at the whole picture and focus on small wins and creating a solid foundation vs. crying to sleep for a fast solution.

My baby is a terrible napper during the day! Will it affect her brain development? Help!

Short naps are SO normal and to be expected especially during the newborn stage. I see naps starting to consolidate and lengthen between 5-6 months when the baby can be awake for longer stretches of time and start connecting sleep cycles. Before 4-5 months of age I always recommend offering naps using awake windows then after 5 months of age I switch to a daily schedule created around age appropriate awake windows.

How many hours of sleep should my baby get each day/night?

0-3   Months: 14-17 hours in 24 hour period

3-6   Months: 3-4 daytime hours; 10-12 total nighttime 

6-9   months: 3 daytime hours; 10-12 total nighttime 

9-13  Months: 2-3 daytime hours; 10-12 total nighttime

Can my baby sleep on her tummy?

The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests laying your child down on their back for the first 12 months of life. This is the safest sleep position and has been proven to reduce SIDS. It is thought that once your baby is strong enough to roll and get to their tummy, they are safe sleeping in this position. It would be nearly impossible at that stage to roll them back each time, all night long. I do find that many babies start sleeping better naturally once they are able to find side or tummy positions on their own. 

At what age can babies go through the whole night without breastfeeding?

There are so many variables to when a baby “should” sleep through the whole night without needing to feed. From your baby’s weight gain, age and medical. I would definitely bring this question up with your pediatrician. 

Baby wakes up at 3 or 4am and won't go back to bed unless we hold him. What can we do?

I would look at the way you are putting the baby to bed at night. If you are holding your baby to fall asleep at night, they are most likely needing this same comfort to fall back to sleep in the early hours of the morning when their drive to sleep isn't as strong as it is in the first part of the night. I suggest helping your baby fall asleep independently at bedtime and implementing that same method through the night when they wake at 3/4am. 

When should I move my baby to the crib from the bassinet?

I like to transition the baby from bassinet to the crib between 3-4 months old. You want to move them to the crib (in a lowered position) when they are becoming mobile and can roll  for safety reasons. 

Well, there we have it, Mamas! You asked and we found the answers for you.  SimpliFed is on your side through the sleepless nights and the the everyday struggles. If you are breastfeeding, remember that the first 6 weeks are  essential in establishing your supply. Talk to a lactation consultant about any concerns you might have regarding maintaining your supply while working through baby-sleep transitions. There is a fine balance between getting the sleep you want (!!) and the nursing/pumping schedule you need.  Each dyad (mama/baby duo) is different, so reach out for support from the experts you deserve. We are all here to support you!

For more questions and amazing sleep training tips, contact Heidi Lovens

www.everydaylovens.com

IG: @everydaylovens 

Breastfeeding Positions

Just like every part of being a parent, there's a learning curve that comes with breastfeeding. Although it happens, most people aren't naturals right away! A great way to learn about the different ways to breastfeed is by meeting with one of our board certified lactation consultants. While they're an awesome resource, we also wanted to provide a free resource that discussed different breastfeeding positions, as well as our tips and tricks for the best breastfeeding experience. 

There are about five main breastfeeding positions, although variations on these exist. We'll break them down so you can choose your favorite and get started! When it comes to breastfeeding, never hesitate to try new things. Start with the position that feels the most natural to you. If one position isn't working for you and your baby, switch it up!

  1. Cradle position
    1. For this position, cuddle your baby into the crook of your arm, and using that arm support their back and head. With the other arm, gently hold their bottom so they are lying comfortably perpendicular to your breasts. If you're holding the majority of their weight with your right arm, nurse from your right breast, until you're ready to switch sides.
  2. Cross-Cradle position
    1. This is similar to the first position, with a slight difference in which arm holds the majority of the baby. For the Cross-Cradle, shift the baby's back, bottom, and neck to the opposite arm of the breast you're using to nurse. Using your free hand, support their side or head to make sure they're lifted enough to receive milk.
  3. Football hold
    1. The football hold is a great option if you're looking for a one hand free option. Using the arm on the same side as the nursing breast, fully support your baby, allowing their legs to dangle. In this position, your baby should still be perpendicular, but their feet are pointing away from your body. 
  4. Laid back positions
    1. It's important to be comfortable when you're breastfeeding, and this position certainly helps! If you're wanting to lay down during a nursing session, cradle your baby in the arm on the same side as the nursing breast, using good care to support their neck. You can also prop yourself up with a pillow to help get a good angle.
  5. Side Lying
    1. Lying down on your side allows your baby to do the same! When side lying, the surface you're lying on holds your baby up, and they can nurse without a lot of support. If necessary, you can use your arm to support their neck or back.

This is not an exhaustive list, but it's a great place to start when you're looking for the right position to try out. Check out this graphic for a visual representation of the different nursing positions. 

Once you've found a position you like, there may still be some troubleshooting to get the most out of your breastfeeding session. Here are some of our tips and tricks for frequent breastfeeding issues. 

  • For any of the positions, if you're still experiencing difficulties, try using a pillow to support your baby's weight! One of our favorites is the "my breastfriend". The firmness of the pillow can help with getting good positioning, not to mention saving your arm! 

  • Whether using a pillow or not, allow your baby to dangle their feet. When their feet aren't loose, it can cause clenching which can be painful for you!

  • If you're experiencing some pain or discomfort, try adjusting to make sure your baby's mouth is coming over the nipple as much as possible. This should relieve the pain.

  • Finally, if your baby falls asleep, don't worry! This is pretty common. To remove your baby from your breast after they've fallen asleep, use the fish hook method. By placing one finger like a fish hook in their mouth, it will release their clench and you can put them down to sleep!

How to Satisfy Step 10 Towards Being a Baby Friendly Hospital

The increasingly popular 'Baby Friendly' designation allows hospitals to showcase their commitment to sustained breastfeeding practices. Breastfeeding has numerous benefits including decreasing the risks of type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, and high blood pressure in moms, and reducing the likelihood that babies develop type 1 diabetes, obesity, and SIDS, to name a few.1 The Center for Disease Control recommends exclusive breastfeeding until the age of 6 months, but this is only the case for around 25% of infants.1 In order to increase this rate and encourage mothers to breastfeed, the organization Baby Friendly USA was created. They developed the 10 Steps to Successful Breastfeeding that birthing centers can implement within their practice to earn the title of "Baby Friendly Hospital". 

To earn accreditation, you must follow the ten steps outlined below.2 

  1. Comply fully with the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes and relevant World Health Assembly resolutions.
    1. Have a written infant feeding policy that is routinely communicated to staff and parents.
    2. Establish ongoing monitoring and data-management systems.
  2. Ensure that staff have sufficient knowledge, competence and skills to support breastfeeding.
  3. Discuss the importance and management of breastfeeding with pregnant women and their families.
  4. Facilitate immediate and uninterrupted skin-to-skin contact and support mothers to initiate breastfeeding as soon as possible after birth.
  5. Support mothers to initiate and maintain breastfeeding and manage common difficulties.
  6. Do not provide breastfed newborns any food or fluids other than breast-milk, unless medically indicated.
  7. Enable mothers and their infants to remain together and to practice rooming-in 24 hours a day.
  8. Support mothers to recognize and respond to their infants’ cues for feeding.
  9. Counsel mothers on the use and risks of feeding bottles, artificial nipples (teats) and pacifiers.
  10. Coordinate discharge so that parents and their infants have timely access to ongoing support and care.

Many of these changes are quick to implement through education and changing staff policy. Step 10 however, is where we come in. In this step, you're required to make sure that your patients have access to future resources within their community. For many, this is not always an option. In addition, timely ongoing support may be difficult to find, especially if the patient requires an appointment immediately. Here at SimpliFed, we offer free lactation support consultations for an initial appointment, as well as an on demand option for questions that need to be resolved quickly. Patients can also choose to set up appointments based on the timing that works best for them, in the comfort of their own home.

New guidelines regarding Step 10 state that "Each mother should be linked to lactation-support resources within the community upon discharge"3. SimpliFed is able to uniquely satisfy this request because no matter the community, we are available. Telehealth support is an innovative way to solve health crises quickly and efficiently, all while maximizing the comfort of the patient. Within these guidelines they remark that the AAP recommends a feeding evaluation for every infant within 3-5 days postpartum. SimpliFed brings lactation support to the mother in an accessible way, allowing for feeding issues to be resolved as quickly as possible, thus increasing the probability of continued breastfeeding. 

To learn more about our services, click here. Our partners span the country and provide necessary services to breastfeeding parents. Currently, we are working with a hospital with a large Medicaid population to help them earn their accreditation and provide equitable and accessible services to help increase the rates of breastfeeding in this country. Are you interested in joining? Sign up today

Resources

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, February 22). Why it matters. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/about-breastfeeding/why-it-matters.html. 
  2. Friendly USA ~ 10 steps & International Code. Baby. (2021, August 11). https://www.babyfriendlyusa.org/for-facilities/practice-guidelines/10-steps-and-international-code/. 
  3. https://www.babyfriendlyusa.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Baby-Friendly-GEC-Final.pdf

Cluster Feeding: What is it?

Breastfeeding comes with a TON of new terminology, that you often have to learn on the fly! We wanted to discuss one of the terms people hear a lot when they start breastfeeding. One frequently asked question is, what is cluster feeding? You might've heard of this before giving birth, as it's a fairly common phenomenon, so let's chat about it!

Cluster feeding just means that your baby is feeding at shorter intervals, usually around every hour but potentially every 30 minutes.1 Typically during the first few weeks of breastfeeding, you'll feed an average of 8-12 times a day. If you're finding that feedings are more frequent than usual this is cluster feeding! Cluster feeding is very normal and is not reflective of how much milk is being produced.1 Cluster feeding mainly occurs for two reasons. Either babies are trying to fill up even more before bed to get a long sleep, or they are going through a growth spurt! If the clusters are typically in the evening, try and follow your baby's lead and feed on demand. 

Growth spurts are very common during the first year, since little ones grow so quickly! The typical times that babies experience these periods of rapid growth are 2-3 weeks, 6 weeks, 3 months, and 6 months old.2 Since every child is different, this timing might not be exact! When your baby is going through a growth spurt, they'll want to nurse very frequently and for longer periods of time.1 Your supply will increase as well during these times, since you produce more milk the more you breastfeed! Growth spurts can be taxing on a breastfeeding mom, so remember to increase your fluids and calories. They typically last for just a few days, but again it's different for everyone!

Resources

  1. Cluster feeding and growth spurts. WIC Breastfeeding. (n.d.). https://wicbreastfeeding.fns.usda.gov/cluster-feeding-and-growth-spurts. 
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020, December 11). How much and how often to breastfeed. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/InfantandToddlerNutrition/breastfeeding/how-much-and-how-often.html. 

Breastfeeding and Pumping: A Journey in Life, Loss, Pain, and Trauma

***Content Warning*** Some of the information discussed in this article may be difficult to read, as it talks about miscarriage and infant loss.

About the author: Michelle Valiukenas is the proud mom of her angel Sweet Pea, who she lost due to miscarriage, her angel daughter Colette Louise who she lost at nine days old, and her only living child, her rainbow baby, Elliott Miguel. Inspired by her journey with Colette, Michelle and her husband founded The Colette Louise Tisdahl Foundation, whose mission is to improve outcomes of pregnancy, childbirth, prematurity, and infancy, as well as aid in the grieving process through financial assistance, education, and advocacy. Their flagship program financially assists families dealing with high-risk and complicated pregnancies, NICU stays, and loss. The organization's ability to help families relies on donations and grants and they are grateful if you are able to donate. Michelle also participates and advocates on issues of maternal health, maternal mortality, infant health and safety, and pregnancy complications. Michelle lives in Glenview, Illinois with her son Elliott, husband Mark, and dog Nemo.

Here is my story in a nutshell: I am a mom who has been pregnant twice, lost one child to miscarriage, given birth once, pumped and produced milk for my daughter who spent her short life in the NICU before we lost her at nine days, then went on to have a rainbow baby via gestational carrier and attempted unsuccessfully to induce lactation.

I worked with a lactation consultant and my OB to induce lactation. I was put on a course of drugs to stimulate hormones into producing milk and then a few weeks before our son Elliott was due, I started pumping. I felt good about the process. I had pumped with my daughter who was born at 24 weeks and 5 days and produced a good amount of milk starting about day four or so. Because of that experience at such an early gestational age, I figured inducing would be similar. I was actually excited to pump and to do something physical for this child, like I did for my daughter.

I got myself nice and comfortable and put everything on and as the machine whirred and made its noises, the flashbacks started. All of a sudden, it was like I went from my bedroom to being back in the NICU. I could see all the wires, the tubes, my daughter who was super small. I was shocked at how triggering it felt to just have this equipment on me, to hear the sounds of the machine. I turned on the TV in a desperate attempt to silence this machine, but the damage had already been done. I now hated this machine and therefore I hated pumping. As the days went by, I continued to pump, but I grew more and more bitter and angry about the process, especially as no milk came out. People in my life tried to encourage me, to tell me that merely trying was more than enough. Other moms told me that when I could hold my baby, hear my baby cry, that would be the magic solution.

But, when my son arrived and I held him, the milk still did not come. I tried and tried, I pumped like crazy, I drank every tea and took every herb imaginable, and still nothing. I would Google all the tips and tricks, message my lactation consultant, just searching for the one thing I had not tried, the one thing that would change everything. My son was doing well, our surrogate was pumping for us, so he was having some breast milk, but I still wanted and needed to do it myself. It became an obsession.

As the pumping sessions went on, I felt like a failure, a fraud. Not only had I not carried this child, but now I could not even provide him my own milk. It harkened back to all the trauma I had with Colette—being hospitalized with severe preeclampsia at 21 weeks pregnant, delivering her at 24 weeks and 5 days, losing her after nine days in the NICU—and how much I felt like a failure, like my body and my status as a mom had not saved her. 

But, the other reason why I became obsessed was something I realized after my son turned a year old. Stopping did not seem like an option, even though my husband was really pulling for me to or others were telling me it was okay to stop. And a year later, it finally clicked. At that point, stopping meant something bad. My only experience with stopping pumping and breastfeeding was that my daughter had died. Had she lived longer, I would have kept pumping. The only reason why I stopped was her death. And so it was too difficult to stop with Elliott and it just did not compute in my head that I could. It felt like if I stopped with Elliott, it would mean something way more significant than just stopping. It was not until a text exchange with my sister in law, who I adore and who is one of my mom role models, in which her simple text of “how is breastfeeding going” turned into a verbal diarrhea from me and her response of “if you stop, he will be okay” that I actually considered stopping.  It was shortly after that text that I turned to my husband and asked, “If I stop pumping, am I a bad mom?” He of course instantly said, no, and then pushed again to stop for my own mental health. And so I did and my son was okay and just recently turned one year old, a healthy, vibrant kid who got some breast milk from his gestational carrier and a mom who was no longer creating unnecessary stress on herself.

But, how could any of this gone differently? Well, I wish that I had been given better directions and options when Colette died. To me, at the time, I could only put together, you have been pumping for your daughter, your daughter died, and so you stop. Months later, I would hear about moms who continued pumping after their child died and donated that milk. I would mourn and still mourn not being presented with that option. 

I think being given that option would have given me some control in a situation that felt so out of whack and control. Whether I decided to or not, it would have been a decision I would have made. I think that it may have helped some of the physical effects and perhaps physically made inducing lactation easier.

More importantly, I think it would have been healing for me. I think knowing that I was producing milk, Colette’s milk, and giving it to other families who needed it would have felt like Colette was still alive in other babies. I also think that the trauma surrounding the act of pumping would have been minimized because it would not have just been about pump, pump, pump because your preemie daughter needs this, but it could have also been about the less stressed, more giving nature as well. While all my memories of pumping Colette seem to only be about pumping in my hospital room or in a family room in the NICU, being able to choose a nice spot, pump, and think of Colette a few times a day as I slowly weaned off pumping might have meant that when I started pumping for Elliott, I would have had other memories besides the chaotic, stressed nature of the NICU.

I always wish we talked about loss more, that we were open and honest about the fact that babies do die sometimes, but I also wish we supported loss parents more. While a lot of people came in and out of my hospital room to help me start breastfeeding with Colette, no one came after she died and talked to me about how to stop breastfeeding. No one told me that there were other options besides quitting cold turkey. No one told me that I could donate the milk or slowly wean off it. And as a result, my experience with breastfeeding remains a trigger, a source of trauma and defeat, instead of an uplifting, healing, helpful experience. It is long overdue for us to be honest, to confront the uncomfortable nature of death, especially the death of babies, and support parents who are going through this journey. 

Exercising While Pregnant

SO many things can change during pregnancy, but not everything has to. During this time, it might be scary to try and figure out what you're allowed to do and what might need to be paused. When it comes to exercising, the general answer is, it's a great idea! There are lots of benefits, and unless you're experiencing complications, it's recommended to exercise during pregnancy. The most important thing to remember however, is to always ask your healthcare provider first. They will provide you with more detailed information about what's best for your body. Before you start, we answered some frequently asked questions about exercise during pregnancy so that you're well prepared. Let's dive in!

How much exercise is appropriate during pregnancy … ? 

In general, if you've been exercising regularly before getting pregnant, it's perfectly fine to keep up at that pace! After checking with your doctor, feel free to continue on your schedule as much as you're comfortable with. If you weren't exercising previously, that's no problem! Starting during pregnancy is a great idea and has a lot of benefits. The recommended amount to exercise is 30 minutes a day, for around 5-7 days a week.1 It can be hard to jump into a routine like that, so starting off with just 10 minutes a day and working your way up is a good way to begin. One of the best exercises to start off with is walking! It gets your heart pumping but isn't too hard on the joints. Other suggested movements include swimming, stationary biking, and low weight strength training.1 If you have any questions about the best exercise for you, don't hesitate to ask your provider!

What are the benefits of exercising during pregnancy … ?

Exercising in general is a great way to keep both your mind and body in shape, and it doesn't have to be olympic level training to have awesome benefits! When you're pregnant however, there are some added bonuses to staying active. These include… 

Graphic by Kaylah Nicholson

Overall, having an exercise routine helps to prepare your body for labor. It increases your energy levels and your overall strength for the big day.2 

What is diastasis recti… ?

As previously mentioned, preventing diastasis recti is one of the great benefits of exercising during your pregnancy, but what exactly is it? This condition occurs when your abdominal muscles separate, which causes discomfort and potential complications postpartum. In fact, it may even need to be treated surgically. A study found that exercising during pregnancy decreases the risk of developing diastasis recti  by up to 35%!4 To learn more about specific exercises to prevent this condition, talk to your healthcare provider!

Is there anything to avoid … ?

As your pregnancy goes on, there will be some limitations you experience in terms of movement. It's not recommended to play contact sports, activities that have a high risk of falling such as gymnastics or skiing, or heavy weightlifting.1 In addition, activities where you have to lay on your back may cause discomfort. Activities where you may get dizzy like hot yoga or climbing at high altitudes also pose a risk. Since every body is different, bringing up this conversation at your first prenatal visit will  help you to get a better understanding of what the right exercise plan is for you. If you experience certain heart diseases, severe anemia, preeclampsia, being pregnant with multiples, placenta previa, or some other complications, your doctor may not recommend exercise. 

Tips and tricks for working out while pregnant!

  • Stay hydrated and keep cool
  • Understand that things won't stay the same. Your body will move and feel different, so listen to your body's signals and go at the right pace for you. 
  • Wear a heart rate monitor
  • Find supportive friends, maybe even a walking group!
  • Try a class! Activities like pilates and prenatal yoga have awesome benefits in a supportive environment.
  • The first step is the hardest, don't be afraid to ask for help, support, or suggestions for working out!

Resources

  1. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2021, March 12). Pregnancy and exercise: Baby, let's move! Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/in-depth/pregnancy-and-exercise/art-20046896. 
  2. Exercise during pregnancy. Home. (n.d.). https://www.marchofdimes.org/pregnancy/exercise-during-pregnancy.aspx. 
  3. Benjamin DR;van de Water AT;Peiris CL; (n.d.). Effects of exercise on diastasis of the rectus abdominis muscle in the antenatal and postnatal periods: a systematic review. Physiotherapy. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24268942/. 
  4. ​​Benjamin, D. R., van de Water, A. T., & Peiris, C. L. (2014). Effects of exercise on diastasis of the rectus abdominis muscle in the antenatal and postnatal periods: a systematic review. Physiotherapy, 100(1), 1–8. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.physio.2013.08.005

Traveling and Feeding (With or Without Your Infant)

The world is opening up again, and travel is on the rise! However you're getting to your destination, traveling as a new parent is a daunting task. Even when you're on vacation, there's no time off from mom life. Learning how to navigate being on the go with feeding your little one is tough, but we are here to help! Whether you're on a solo mission or your baby is on your side, there are some tips and tricks to make feeding a little easier. 

Traveling with your baby… 

When you're traveling with your baby, there are many things you can do to ease some of the stresses that come with an inconsistent schedule. If you're using formula, making ahead of time and traveling with a cooler bag, especially for shorter trips, can make it easier to feed them at a moment's notice. When you're flying, TSA guidelines allow you to bring more than 3.4 oz of formula with you as long as you notify them.2 Additional items such as disposable bottle liners and microwavable sterilizer bags can save you time and effort when it comes to cleaning your bottles on the go!

Breastfeeding and traveling can be tricky, but there are many guidelines in place to help make this easier! For example, last year the Friendly Airports for Mothers act started requiring a private, non-bathroom, area designated for breastfeeding in each terminal of an airport.1 Additionally, pumped breast milk is exempt from TSA's liquid quantity restrictions.2 If you're flying with your baby, try to breastfeed them during takeoff and landing. This helps them adjust to the pressure changes in the plane.1 Finally, it's recommended that even when traveling, continue to feed your baby on demand. This helps them stay on a routine, which provides comfort and stability, as well as keeps up your milk supply.

Traveling alone… 

It might be true for you that traveling without your kids is even more stressful than going together! If that's the case, we've got some ideas to help you stay on track with your feeding goals away from home, without being tethered to your pump. If your baby is using formula, we suggest printing out or guidelines on formula storage to put up on the fridge for whoever is staying with them! Check it out here. For breastfeeding moms, it's recommended to work with a lactation consultant ahead of your trip to make a personalized plan for you!1 In general, your three options are to store your milk, send your milk home, or pump and dump. When you're storing, follow the same guidelines you would at home. The second option, sending your milk home, may seem unconventional but it is totally possible! You can ship it yourself, or use a company like Milk Stork. Milk Stork stores and ships your milk at the proper temperature so that your baby can continue to have a supply even while you're gone. Employers will often cover this expense for you if you're traveling for work. Finally, pumping and dumping is when you express your supply and then discard it. This allows you to keep up your supply so you can continue breastfeeding when you get home, without having to store it. When you're pumping, try and pump as frequently as you would feed your baby at home. This will allow you to maintain your supply. 

When traveling, it is helpful to think through different scenarios that you will be in during your time away. For instance, if pumps need to be plugged into a wall, it might be helpful to have a pump available such as a hand pump, wireless pump, or wireless pump (check out our post here further describing these different pump types). If you are on a vacation away from your baby and are planning a date night or long walk/hike, consider using a wireless pump so that you can enjoy your time away and not be tethered to a pump plugged into a wall. A manual pump is also great in this situation so that you're not reliant on an energy source. 

Our tried and true travel tips and tricks… 

Wow, that's a mouthful! Now that you've read up on the recommendations for traveling while feeding your baby, here are some tips from moms here at SimpliFed who have been there!

  1. While easier said than done, plan your schedule for your trip, then plan around feeding your baby or pumping around it. Then you can always adapt your plan as needed. 
  2. Be prepared for things to go wrong: battery not being charged, getting stuck on the runway, not having access to a plug. We find that the more you plan ahead of time, then it de-stresses you overall. 
  3. For those pumping bring some dish soap to-go! I have heard moms having to go out to the convenience store late at night before they realized that bar soap in hotels won’t cut it for cleaning their pumps. Also get creative - moms have cleaned first then used the ice bucket as a tub container to make cleaning their pump parts more efficient while traveling and staying in a hotel. 

Resources

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020, November 10). Travel Recommendations for Nursing Families. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/infantandtoddlernutrition/breastfeeding/travel-recommendations.html. 
  2. Traveling with Children. Traveling with Children | Transportation Security Administration. (n.d.). https://www.tsa.gov/travel/special-procedures/traveling-children#:~:text=Formula%2C%20breast%20milk%20and%20juice,the%20rest%20of%20your%20belongings. 

What I Wish I Knew Before Becoming a Mom

Looking back, there are so many things we wish we could tell our past selves. We asked around to some of the moms in our lives about what they wish they knew before becoming a parent. Whether it was feeding or just general life advice, they gave some great answers.

Is Your Infant Prepared for Severe Weather?

If you've been watching the national weather forecast, you've noticed that there's been no shortage of severe weather lately. From heat waves to thunderstorms… there's a lot to prepare for. For adults, we have the luxury of prepping for these events both emotionally and with supplies. When it comes to your infant, you'll have to be ready for them. What are some tips on keeping your family safe and prepared for severe weather incidents? Let's break it down!

Staying safe in a power outage… 

In today's world, power is so important for so many of our daily functions. Without it, we may not have internet, heating, or the ability to use necessities. Especially with an infant, being prepared for potential power outages is critical. There are a few general items to make sure you have on hand in case of a power outage. Backup lighting is a big thing. Whether you need to change a diaper or find your pump, having flashlights and extra batteries is very important. In addition to batteries, backup chargers will be a lifesaver. If your cell phone loses battery, you may not be able to contact people in case of an emergency. A few other items you may want are shelf stable snacks and extra blankets. 

Breastfeeding during a power outage is no easy task either. Having a backup hand pump is super helpful. In addition, a lot of power reliant pumps have car adapters so you can pump there! When you're finished pumping, storing the milk immediately in the fridge or freezer will help it stay longer. If the power is out for a long time, the fridge and freezer will not be as helpful however. To try and keep the milk frozen for as long as possible, avoid opening the freezer unnecessarily. You can also use a cooler with ice from the grocery store or even dry ice if you have access to it.

Temperature extremes, protecting against high and low temperatures … 

Being either too hot or too cold can be dangerous, especially for young children. What are some things you can do to prevent overheating? Regularly keep tabs on their comfort level to make sure their temperature is properly regulated. Making sure they have enough to drink is especially important because excess sweating can lead to dehydration. To avoid this sweating, make sure they're dressed in light clothing, and that air is circulating throughout the room. Using a cool, damp cloth to lower their temperature may also be useful.1 

When it comes to protecting from cold weather, most of the time staying inside is the best option. If you're going outside, it's good to know that when the temperature is below -15 F it's unsafe for babies.2 Their skin could quickly freeze at this temperature. When you're outside with your baby in the cold, make sure to dress for the occasion! Layers are important to avoid overheating. If you find your baby is too hot, you can remove a layer to try and cool them down a little. It's also very important to keep your infant dry when the temperature is low. This helps to avoid frostbite.

What about the more rare events… 

There are many different severe weather conditions across the world and they're not applicable to all of us. For more specific information about severe weather in your area, click here to see what the CDC recommends. However, there are a few tips and tricks recommended for keeping you and your kids safe. One of the most important things to do is plan ahead. Learn about the typical natural disaster and severe weather events in your area, and plan accordingly. Make sure to include plans for feeding your kids and keeping them warm. In addition, having emergency supplies that will keep your family safe for up to a few days is very important in case you can't leave the house. Being prepared will help you feel calm and confident in case these events ever occur!

Resources

  1. The Royal Women's Hospital. (n.d.). Heatwave precautions for babies & young children. The Royal Women's Hospital. https://www.thewomens.org.au/health-information/at-home-with-your-baby/heatwave-precautions-for-babies-young-children. 
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019, February 4). Winter Weather|CDC. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/winter/index.html. 
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, January 6). Children In Disasters Severe Weather Emergencies. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/childrenindisasters/severe-weather-emergencies.html. 

What is Gestational Diabetes?

If you ever find yourself on the internet long into the night, self diagnosing or doing a deep dive into rare complications, we are here for you! While the internet has a ton of great information, it can also be a source of anxiety for many expecting and new parents. When it comes to pregnancy, especially pregnancy complications, having the right information is crucial to not only ease your fears, but to know when it is the right time to see a professional. Gestational diabetes occurs in up to 10% of pregnancies,1 and is important to be informed about. We've compiled evidence based information to help you stay informed and healthy throughout your pregnancy!

Gestational diabetes… What is that?

By definition, gestational diabetes is when someone's initial diagnosis of diabetes occurs during pregnancy.2 The condition is temporary, but may increase the risk of developing type II diabetes in the future. This condition is caused when the body isn't able to produce enough insulin, and blood sugar cannot be regulated.2 Potential risk factors for developing this condition include a family history of diabetes, polycystic ovarian syndrome, a previous diagnosis of gestational diabetes or prediabetes, being overweight, and poor exercise and nutrition.2 However, for the majority of cases, gestational diabetes goes away after birth! Blood sugar levels typically return to normal and about 50% of women with this diagnosis have no further instances of diabetes.

How do they diagnose gestational diabetes … ?

Gestational diabetes typically comes about during the second trimester, around 24 weeks gestation. Your obstetrician will test for this, and early detection is important for treatment.3 If you are have more of the risk factors for developing gestational diabetes, your blood sugar will typically be tested earlier on during your pregnancy.3 There are two tests that providers use to test for this condition, the glucose screening test and the glucose tolerance test. The first test requires drinking a very sugary drink and having your blood sugar levels checked after one hour. If your result is abnormally high, aka over 140 mg/dL, then you'll be required to take the second test. The glucose tolerance test requires fasting the night before and then having your blood sugar drawn. You'll have to drink the sugary drink again, and then your glucose levels will be checked after 1, 2, and maybe even 3 hours.4

How does gestational diabetes affect pregnancy… ?

Prevention and treatment of gestational diabetes, as well as a timely diagnosis, are really important for avoiding potential complications. Gestational diabetes is associated with a higher likelihood of high blood pressure as well as having a c-section. In addition, potential complications that affect both you and your baby are… 

  • Excessive birth weight
  • Premature Delivery
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Future diagnosis of diabetes for both you and your child
  • Low blood sugar for baby shortly after birth
  • Preeclampsia

To learn more about these complications, click here. Although these side effects are scary, they can be avoided.

What are the treatment and prevention options … ?

Even though there are risk factors, it is not guaranteed that gestational diabetes will occur, or that it will be prevented. A healthy diet and exercise routine before and during pregnancy can lead to less of a chance of developing gestational diabetes, or type II diabetes in the future.2 The treatment of gestational diabetes is created in an individualized plan with your physician, but often consists of the same main points. They will focus on nutrition and exercise, oftentimes in a joint effort with a dietician. Your provider will also frequently check your blood sugar and monitor your baby to make sure that everything is healthy and stable. If necessary, medication such as insulin or metformin is prescribed.1 

Important to remember… 

Never hesitate to bring any concerns to your healthcare provider about gestational diabetes, risk factors, or how to properly exercise and eat for your changing body. Gestational diabetes must be taken seriously, but with proper care and prevention techniques it can have little effect on your pregnancy and future health. If you have any questions, check out these peer reviewed resources below for more information!

Resources

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019, May 30). Gestational Diabetes. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/gestational.html. 
  2. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2020, August 26). Gestational diabetes. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/gestational-diabetes/symptoms-causes/syc-20355339. 
  3. Gestational Diabetes. ACOG. (n.d.). https://www.acog.org/womens-health/faqs/gestational-diabetes. 
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019, May 15). Diabetes Tests. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/getting-tested.html. 

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