How Income Impacts Decisions to Breastfeed and Pump

Moms have many options when it comes to how they chose to feed their babies. You can breastfeed, pump, milk share, formula feed or perhaps a combination of any of the above. Sometimes our decisions on how to feed our babies isn't just dependent on what we want, but income may also play a factor. It’s unfortunate, but it’s also reality for many parents, who simply want what’s best for their family. Today we’re exploring how money impacts these choices.

View Episode Transcript

Featured Expert

Featured Segments

  • Breastfeeding Headlines

    What are the top news headlines involving breastfeeding, pumping and parenting? We’ll comb through all the articles and discuss the main issues impacting mothers around the world.

  • Ask Breastfeeding Experts

    Our team of experts are here to help you throughout your breastfeeding journey. Send your questions through email or voicemail sent through our website, and allow our experts to ease your concerns and quench your curiosity!

Episode Transcript

The Boob Group
How Income Impacts Decisions to Breastfeed and Pump

Please be advised, this transcription was performed from a company independent of New Mommy Media, LLC. As such, translation was required which may alter the accuracy of the transcription.

SUNNY GAULT: Hey, parents! Have you heard The Morning Mom Minute? It is our newest podcast! Join me, Sunny, weekly mornings as I help make your morning just a little bit brighter! Get caught up on the latest headlines in our "What You Miss While Parenting?" segment, plus "Daily Deals", "Freebie Fridays" and "Birthday Shout-Outs" where we take the time to celebrate you and your birthday! Like us on Facebook and join our games to win prices and discounts to your favorite stores! It is our way to reconnecting you to the real world, so you feel a tab bit more human again! Morning Mom Minute - the first daily podcast just for parents!

[Theme Music]

PRIYA NEMBHARD: If you are listening to this show, you probably want to give your baby breastmilk. Sometimes that’s through breastfeeding, but you can also express your breastmilk, and even give your baby donor breastmilk from another mom. Here in the United State it is not just about what you want to do, but many of our decisions are impacted by our income. It is unfortunate, but it also reality for many parents who simply want what’s best for their family. Today we are exploring how income impact decisions to breastmilk and pump. We are The Boob Group!

[Intro/Theme Music]

PRIYA NEMBHARD: Welcome to The Boob Group! We're here to support all moms wanting to provide breast milk to their babies. I am your host, Priya Nembhard. I am also the founder of the “Moms Pump Here” nursing locator app which helps moms all over the world find places to pump and breastfeed their babies. How do you listen to The Boob Group? Perhaps while breastfeeding and pumping! It is a great way to relax and just focus on your baby. And if you are on the go, check out our New Mommy Media Network app which gives you easy access to all our episodes. Let’s meet our mamas today joining us for the conversation! Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family.

DONA BISTER: Hi, I am Dona Bister. I am stepmom to two awesome adults and granny to five twins and teens, all of them breastfed or fed breastmilk for some period of time while they were babies. I grow up in a large extended family and very few us then, in the 50s, were breastfed.

KIRAN SALUJA: Thank for having me on this show! My name is Kiran Saluja and I run the WIC program in Los Angelis, Orange County, California. It is a huge program, we serve about 250.000 moms and babies, and families every single month. I’ve come from India many, many, many years ago, and I was really lucky to find the WIC program in 1984. I had my first child in 1982 and I had real problem with breastfeeding. I wanted to breastfeed her and everything that happened with me at the hospital and subsequently.

Essentially, my first daughter is a bottle-fed baby, and that's just personally very disappointing, disillusioning and frustrating for me. And so, I’ve done this quest to learn everything I could about breastfeeding. And that took me to WIC. And I learned so much in the WIC program, that three years later, when I had my second daughter, I breastfed her for two years, over two years. And then I had my third daughter in ’91 who also is a breastfed baby. So, I’ve been with WIC since 1984 and I just love what I do every single day. I now have twin granddaughters who are just over a year old and they have not had one drop of formula. I am so proud! I can’t even tell you! And this is the daughter who wasn’t breastfed! So, for me, this is just a personal success story! And that’s my life with WIC!

SUNNY GAULT: Okay, so, hi, everyone, I am Sunny! And I am mom to four kids. And my oldest is six, I got a four year old, and I’ve got twin girls that are about to turn three. And yeah, man, I feel like a lot of our decisions to breastfeed were based on finances and our income. So, for us it was actually a way to save money. And so, yeah, I am definitely impacted by this topic. But I breastfed all of my kids, but I also pumped and did the donor milk thing for a while, donated milk and received milk, and supplemented with formula as well.

PRIYA NEMBHARD: And I am your host, Priya, and I have three children. My oldest is fourteen, my second is twelve and my youngest, Liam, is eight. And I breastfed, pumped and supplemented for all three of them, but Liam got three years of breastfeeding and I can certainly say that, you know, income did affected my choices for all three children. So, I am looking forward to this conversation today and can’t wait to hear what our guests have to say!

[Theme Music]

SUNNY GAULT: Alright, so we are going to talk about a news headline before we dive into our conversation today. Not really related to our topic, but, you know, we hear a lot in the media about Facebook, and especially moms who are very proud to be breastfeeding moms and moms posting photos, and this content being taken down. I feel like we are hearing this a lot. And this is kind of what this article is about, but I don’t want to really focus on what Facebook did. But let me kind of explain the situation here. So, basically, there was a mom, Rebecca is her name, she’s based out in Missouri, and she heard…she actually received a text from a friend and heard about another mama in her area who had been hospitalized and had a young baby, the baby was only ever breastfed, and the baby was refusing a bottle. And the family didn’t know what to do, and… I think the mama was actually going into surgery, or…I mean, it was something that was immediate, you know.

And so, she volunteered, I am not sure exactly how everything was coordinated, but somehow got this other baby and decided to help breastfeed the baby, because, you know, again, baby was not taking bottle, and that was a concern for everybody. And so, she took this photo… It is a photo I am actually very familiar with, not this particular one, but I tandem breastfed twins, and so this view I’ve seen on my own body several times. But it is like looking down from her perspective. You know, you kind of just take the phone and put it under your chin, and you shoot down. And it actually makes her breast look really nice and full, and pretty amazing! It is a great shot of those! And it is really sweet because there’s obviously a younger baby and a little bit older baby child that are tandem breastfeeding. They are actually holding hands!

PRIYA NEMBHARD: Oooh! How sweet!

SUNNY GAULT: Now, keep in mind: these kids don’t know each other! Right? I mean, this is someone that she, you know, just met if you will, I am not even sure she met actually her, but, again, was trying to help out the baby. And they are holding hands, it is almost like they are siblings, but they are not. They are “milk siblings” I guess, at this point. But, yeah, it was a very sweet thing, that the mom did. And of course, she posted it to Facebook, and you know how it goes with the comments back and forth, and whatever. Cover up and whatever.
So, she got some negative comments, she got some positive comments. And it was one of those things where Facebook ended up…they took it down originally and then they brought it back. So, I don’t know…

PRIYA NEMBHARD: I think they took it down twice…

SUNNY GAULT: Did they?

PRIYA NEMBHARD: I think they took it down twice from what I read.

SUNNY GAULT: Well, again, you know Facebook. I mean, it is a large community, right? And things get flagged, and they have to have a process of going through it until someone challenges something. I am sure they have their own rules and procedures, and that’s just Facebook. But what I really wanted to focus on with this is just the compassion that this mom had for something…you know, for someone… It doesn’t say whether or not she had ever, you know, breastfed someone else’s baby, besides her own. But again, it was just… A mom needed some help, the baby needed some help and this mom reached out and helped in a way that she could. And so, I thought it was a very sweet story from that perspective. Priya?

PRIYA NEMBHARD: Yeah, I think it is pretty awesome that she took the initiative and just went over there, and decided to help out. I mean, again, forget Facebook! Forget what they think! So, she’s pretty much…she’s really bold for doing that and I have to commend her for that. You know, I was just thinking, you know, thinking about donor milk and how much screening process moms have to go through when they want to donate milk. But she just went on over there, you know, a stranger, she went on over there and she breastfed. And I am sure, I mean, this has been done like for eons. You know, women have had helped friends and their siblings, and, you know, their babies need help with breastmilk and breastfeeding. But there’s so much of a process when you have to donate milk. So, this is… I think this is very interesting how organically this just happened.

SUNNY GAULT: Oh, and then this article was actually asking her about, you know, the whole experience. And love her response because it is just so simple! She’s like, you know what, the baby looked hungry and exhausted, so she: “did what I hope any person would do for my child in a time of despair”. And that’s really… I think that’s really what it boils down to, right? Is moms helping other moms and I think we need more of that, so, you know, cuddles to her for, you know, stepping out and helping out another mom!

[Theme Music]

PRIYA NEMBHARD: As moms we always want what’s best for our children. Wouldn’t be nice if we always base those decisions on what we want. And let’s face it: money does play a role, especially when it comes to feeding your baby. Joining us today is Dona Bister, the National WIC Association chair and Vermont State WIC Director and Kiran Saluja of The Public Health Foundation WIC in Los Angelis, which is also the largest local WIC agency in the country. Both Dona and Kiran joined us on a previous episode all about WIC. We encourage you to check that one out if you haven’t already. Okay, so, let’s quickly review with our listeners what WIC is and how it helps moms and children.

DONA BISTER: So, WIC is public health nutrition program that serves pregnant women, new moms and children up to their fifth birthday. It has income limits. It has residence, folks need to live in an area served by the clinic they go to. The income limit is a 185% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines which is just under $45.000 for family of four. Families that participate in certain federal programs such as Snap and Medicate are automatically income-eligible for WIC. And the final criteria for WIC eligibility is a nutritional or medical reason for needing WIC services, which can be as simple as not meeting the dietary guidelines every single day, or as complicated as a high-risk pregnancy or chronic health condition. Benefits from WIC include nutrition education and consulting, referral to healthcare breastfeeding promotion and support, and specific healthy foods that are chosen to meet the nutrition needs of folks who are in those categories. And also dads, grandparents, foster parents, guardians, anybody who has the care of children can apply for them, for the children that are in their care.

PRIYA NEMBHARD: Wonderful! Wonderful! So, based on your experience, how often do you see moms making decisions based on their income in how they feed their children? Do you have any stories you can share?

DONA BISTER: I don’t really have personal stories. I think Kiran’s probably going to have better stories than I do. But I can say that all families make decisions about how they feed their children based on their income and on other kinds of financial decisions. It is not always money. Sometimes it is time and access to food or other things that they need. But I actually think Kiran will have better stories because she actually sees people and I don’t.

KIRAN SALUJA: So, this is an everyday thing. You can imagine. We have 53 WIC centers. We have moms coming in every single day, pregnant women walking through the door, women who’ve just had their babies. And so they are deciding how to feed their baby every day. Now, in terms of based on their income, quite honestly, I don’t believe that is what makes a mother decide how to feed her baby. I really don’t believe that. If you look at it as a huge subset of the population WIC moms, I can understand that the stats really show that WIC as a group doesn’t breastfeed at the same grades as non-WIC moms.

But if you take it a mother at a time, most mothers are making decisions about how to feed their babies based on the kind of community support, family support, what happened at the hospital, are they are going to go back to work or not. But a lot of our moms go back to work size actually do help them. So, I find this… I don’t think that income becomes a great divider. Knowledge: yes! Support: yes! Even the job setting, you know, we found people who work with fast food, that are able to be accommodated for breastfeeding. They all need an advocate. And when they find that advocate in WIC, I don’t believe income really enters as a qualifier.

PRIYA NEMBHARD: Okay, so let’s first focus on breastfeeding. What we are seeing here in the United States when it comes to starting to breastfeed and then stopping? How do those rates compared to women receiving WIC services?

DONA BISTER: Well, we actually have really good information about that from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention National immunization survey which they do every year. So, women who are receiving WIC tend to, about three-quarters of them, start breastfeeding and then within the first few weeks it drops off and by six month only 40% are breastfeeding. So, folks who are not participating in WIC and whose income is too high to be eligible for WIC, about 90% start breastfeeding and by six months, almost 70% are still breastfeeding. So, it is a big disparity among lower-income moms and moms who have more disposable income. And there are lots of reasons for that. And you know, I think that moms with less income have many more barriers to successful breastfeeding, and it is not all about their income. It is often about the kind of work that they do and whether or not they have paid, any kind of paid leave after their baby is born. So, higher income folks are more often working in jobs where they have some kind of paid leave, so they get a really good start. And some of our WIC moms don’t have that opportunity. Just makes it harder for them all around.

SUNNY GAULT: Do you find women choosing to breastfeed obviously because all of the benefits, but also it is a cheaper alternative to pumping? And I guess it is only cheaper if it is not… you know, if you’ve got the support and everything that you need. If you’ve got to take off work and you, you know, losing it that way, it is obviously not cheaper. But from the sheer stand point that our body’s make the milk and we don’t have to have any another equipment besides baby and mom, and you know, we don’t have to purchase formula. Do you find any moms at least trying to breastfeed because it is cheaper?

DONA BISTER: That may be part of the decision, but I am not sure it is the entire reason for the decision.

PRIYA NEMBHARD: So, do you think that the rates are higher or lower in low income for breastfeeding?

DONA BISTER: They tend to be lower, but what we also hear they are often not able to meet their own personal breastfeeding goals because of other barriers too. So, it not always about income…

PRIYA NEMBHARD: What do you think those other barriers are?

DONA BISTER: Like I said before it has sometimes to do with their working life and sometimes it has to do with other children. We have heard of moms whose child care providers don’t accept pumped breast milk; there are just all kinds of things that happens, you know one of the things about been poor in the United States is that everything you do takes more time. Our public transportation isn’t good, you know it is just much harder for moms. So saving money isn’t always the first thing that comes to mind and I don’t think moms will necessarily see breastfeeding as a cost-saver for them when you look at the whole picture.

KIRAN SALUJA: So I actually looked up . . . the CDC has a 2016 breastfeeding report card and I will be happy to share that later with you. What they show, I was looking at WIC and non-WIC, so non WIC mothers, any breastfeeding is 91%, in the WIC program it is 74%. So this is any breastfeeding. If you look at 6 months, half the mothers that are on the WIC program are breastfeeding when you compare them to those who are not on the WIC program; it is 21% for the WIC moms and 42% breastfeeding in 6 months for those who are eligible but not participating in the WIC program.

If you look at exclusive breastfeeding it is pretty much almost I would say double if you are not on the WIC program. So if you are on the WIC program through 6 months it is 34% and non WIC moms it almost up to 60%. So lots of figures been thrown at you . . . I am sorry through 6 months its 15% if you are on the WIC program, only 15% mom exclusively breastfeeding at 6 months and if you are not on the WIC program but you are eligible for WIC it is 29%. So double. And again WIC gives free formula so their it lies our cadandrum and possibly the reason for us to add that mom who are fully breastfeeding may say I dont need WIC in the begining because I dont need formula and I make milk for my baby.

PRIYA NEMBHARD: That is interesting. So what about breast-pumping as an alternative to feeding a baby from the breast? Do you have any National stats on pumping where they are located and why they decide to pump?

KIRAN SALUJA: You know, it is a really good question and it is a tough one to answer, you are right, because it is so diverse. I think one way of looking at it might be how many breast pumps are given out let’s say by programs like the WIC program? And I will tell you that this is a stat I’m going to have to send you in term of on a monthly basis in a program like mine how many breast pumps go out the door. I wish I could tell you that off the top of my head, but I don’t have that. But I will send you that. So, you know, I mean the reality is that in terms of working and breastfeeding, If moms are working and wanting to exclusively breastfeed, they have to pump, because there is a very little onsite daycare anywhere, and that would be to go standard in daycare if we ever get there, and that would be lovely.

Of course, we should all be like Sweden and you know, basically the Scandinavian countries where you get…you are off when you have your baby and that would be the more supportive thing that we can do is paid family leave for our moms and babies, and dads, to really bring that in. But I, to answer really your question, couldn’t really tell you about stats for pumping and breastfeeding of the top of my head.

PRIYA NEMBHARD: So, from a WIC standpoint, does WIC provide resources on pumping for moms, like equipment and education?

DONA BISTER: Yes, absolutely! So, if mom wants to pump, WIC can certainly provide breast pumps. And we provide them as part of an overall breastfeeding assessment. So, we can make sure that mom gets the kind of pump that she needs based on how long she’s going to be separated from her baby, what our pumping goals are, that kind of thing. And also The Affordable Care Act makes breast pumps a benefit of anyone who has insurance. So, that’s made it easier for lots of moms to get the breast pumps that they need. What can fill in the gaps while we are waiting for Medicate to approve a pump for a mom? So, there are lots of options and we would not provide a pump without teaching mom how to use it and talking to mom about you know, it is not all or nothing thing, you can nurse and pump, you can use the pump to keep up your supply, there are lots of ways that you can use a breast pump. So, we try to talk about that with moms too.

PRIYA NEMBHARD: So, Kiran, do you think that most moms in the WIC program consider pumping as an option? Why?

KIRAN SALUJA: Well, you know, we really start very early in the prenatal period when women come in to us pregnant. One of the first things they get from us is this little handout that says “Breastfeeding services at the WIC program” and one of the things we mention there is that you get a pump and so they already know from the very beginning what they might be getting further down the road. Of course, pumps are one of the services mentioned along with a whole host of others including breastfeeding clinics, possibly getting hooked up to a breastfeeding pure counselor, advocacy when you return to work if you need that help. So in this platter of services, the pumps are definitely mentioned right at the very beginning so they do know that it is an option from day one when they come to WIC.

SUNNY GAULT: Okay and does WIC ever mention milk sharing as an option for moms in the program?

KIRAN SALUJA: So that is one of the things that, I would kind of say, almost like a taboo in our areas because we have to be regulated through whatever the CDC says and it is not something that really, what should I say, is not really sanctioned yet because there are so many different issues, so WIC doesn’t really talk about that. I will tell you anecdotally, there are lots and lots of stories of women who will, you know, breastfeed their niece or breastfeed their nephew or you know, I am already breastfeeding and I am going to do this, I have employees who have told me this but it is not something that is openly talked about unless you are with some breastfeeding-friendly people.

SUNNY GAULT: Up until now, we have always purchased insulation to insulate, to help keep warm spaces warm and cool spaces cool but now Owens Corning has changed all of that with Pure Safety high-performance insulation. Pure Safety not only insulates, but also actually contributes to a healthier, safer and more comfortable environment for your family. First, it is a high-density, all-purpose insulation; it efficiently fills cavities in your home with a layer of thermos protection. Next, Pure Safety contributes to healthier indoor air; it stays put in walls and floors and produces 50% less dust than some other insulation products. That means healthier air for your family to breathe. Pure Safety is fire-resistant; in the case of a fire, you will have extra minutes to escape to safety, minutes that can make all the difference. And finally, Pure Safety reduces noise up to 50%; it helps to keep outside noise out and reduces inside noise from traveling from room to room inside. Pure Safety – high-performance insulation from Owens Corning – a single product that will enhance your family’s health, safety, and comfort. Learn more at Pure Safety – the greatest home improvement you will never see.

PRIYA NEMBHARD: Okay, so we have discussed breastfeeding, pumping and milk sharing. But what about using formula? How does income impact a mom’s decision to formula-feed her baby? We will be right back.

[Theme Music]

PRIYA NEMBHARD: Welcome back. Today we are talking about how income can impact a mom’s decision on how to feed her baby. Dona Bister and Kiran Saluja with WIC help lower-income mothers and children with their nutritional needs. The choice to feed your baby formula is highly controversial within the lactation community. Statistically, do you know how many moms are either needing or choosing to formula-feed here in the United States? Do those stats differ for women in the WIC program?

DONA BISTER: Well, women often come to WIC because we have a formula for them if they need it, so I think that skews the statistics a little bit. If women are not on WIC, we don’t really have any good information on whether or not they are supplementing with formula. So that is one thing. But yes, women on WIC do supplement more than women who are not eligible for WIC.

PRIYA NEMBHARD: Kiran, is the decision to formula-feed usually based on income?

KIRAN SALUJA: I would say no to that and the reason I would say no to that is that we have up to 90% of moms coming into the WIC program saying “I want to breastfeed”. The reason that they go to the formula is because of what happens to them at birth and right after and what else is going on in their lives and so they are not able to do what they really want to do. And that is the problem because that should be such a wrong reason to choose formula but that is what happens to them, they get given wrong advice, they get started out wrong, they have some relative who is like “everything is going all wrong”, baby is crying, everybody thinks it is always about hunger and so this mother starts to doubt herself and she resolves to formula.

So it is not really a low income that leads you to formula-feed but it is just that your circumstances of how little support you get because really the facts are that most women in this country want to breastfeed their babies; that is why 81% of them really start out breastfeeding in the United States in the 2016 CDC report card. That is a huge number of women who were starting out breastfeeding and obviously, that is because they want to do it.

PRIYA NEMBHARD: Kiran, so how much just culture play into the decisions moms make to breastfeed versus formula-feed?

KIRAN SALUJA: So, we have come a long way since the 80s and all that because in those days what we use to really notice for example in California, we have a lot of moms in our program who are from Mexico. So they would fully breastfeed in Mexico, if they came to the United States, they would start formula feeding so in the 80s it was all about the commercialization of formula, the imagery, the aggressive marketing that happened. But then things started to change towards the early 2000s, now I think through so much education and I want to take the credit for the WIC program; WIC has been addressing nation-wide about really reaching out to mothers and talking about breastfeeding.

That has really mitigated the whole peace about, you know, you have to be big and strong Americans and they are all formula-fed – no. Now people know that the smart people breastfeed, we want to breastfeed our baby because that makes them smart and because that makes them healthier. So I would say in terms of culture, things have really changed when you look at our neighbors to the south.
Now when you look at women coming in from Asia, from China, from Vietnam, we still have some barriers to cross there. They all breastfed in their home countries, but coming here we are still trying to ensure that they get the education so that they are continuing with those cultural practices because really the culture is very supportive of breastfeeding. But when they come to America and in WIC they get free formula, there is a shift that happens with certain … and our rates with Asian cultures are very low.

With the African-American women we are noticing a totally different trend. There, I would say that culture definitely plays such a big role because again rates in African-American are very low. But again, when you go out and you really target African-Americans like we have tried to do, we don’t serve very large numbers but at five of our sites that are towards certain parts of Los Angeles, we have higher density African-Americans. We have started a brand new program, we have called it Cinemoms and moms named it and it is an African-American breastfeeding support group. I am blown away by the stories I hear from those women there.

So at a micro level, one mom at a time, I would say really a mom is a mom is a mom whether she is black or white or Asian or Hispanic. But at a macro level – yes, Hispanic moms look different than African-American moms who look different than Asian moms and now we are getting a lot of refugees from Iraq and from Syria and those moms are definitely more into breastfeeding and have maintained that culture. So it is a very complicated answer to a simple question, I am not really sure if this gets what you really wanted but I tried to do my best.

SUNNY GAULT: Hahaha, it is a big question and we could do a whole episode just on that. And so what advice would you have for families who are trying to make a decision how to feed their baby and part of it is based on income, part of their decision and they have to consider finances as we all do on some level as parents? But what do you say to them, you know, if they are faced with a decision like that?

KIRAN SALUJA: So, the WIC program, considering the fact that it really serves a population that is … I don’t call it … but modest income families because already are self-selected because of that. I would say definitely that we promote breastfeeding, we work with them, we educate them, we want them to make the best decision based on all available information so we read the research, we condense it, we simplify it, we put it out there. We show them what formula has and what breastfeeding milk has and we build these towers with Lego and the formula tower is like miniscule and the breastfeeding tower just keeps growing and growing.

So we use simple tools to teach parents about why breastfeeding is the way to go but at the end of the day, if they decide to formula-feed, it is entirely up to them and many of them do. Now, do they do it based on income, I would have a hard time saying yes to that because in the WIC program formula is free but breastfeeding is free too. The personal toll of breastfeeding, the commitment, the support, their families’ support is the part that has to come into play.

If I was going to talk to you about let’s say my children, my friends and their children or my daughters let’s say, I think they breastfeeding is the way they would go because they know it is a lot cheaper and of course, they know it is the best. So it is a double positive for them to really try to breastfeed. So to answer your question simply, I don’t think income for our WIC moms is a reason why they would either use formula or breastfeed.

PRIYA NEMBHARD: Thank you so much to everyone for being part of today’s show and for sharing their experience! If you are a member of The Boob Group, then be sure to check out the bonus content for this episode where we’ll discuss some ways to minimize the cost of pumping if you want to continue breastfeeding your baby and if you need to go back to work.

[Theme Music]

SUNNY GAULT: We have a question from one of our listeners, Erin Skinner writes us on Facebook. And the question is a little long, but it’s a good one, so bare with me here. Erin writes:

“I am thirty-seven weeks pregnant with our second baby and still breastfeeding out twenty-six month old son. Our son co-sleeps with myself and my hubby. We nurse during the night up until two months ago when I decided I need to try and get better quality sleep. For the last two months I nursed him when we first go to bed, but I tell him it is only for a few minutes and then it’s a night, night time. Then I then I tell him: okay, it is time to go to sleep now and I unlatch him. He’s still fuzzes a bit when I unlatch him, but only for a minute or two. For a while it seemed like he was adjusting very well, but recently he has backs a little bit and will wale, and wale, and wale. I don’t know if he know a new baby is coming and he’s feeling a little bit insecure. We have sleeping arrangements set up where I have a bassinet right next to my side of the bed and do not plan to have the new baby in bed for safety reasons, especially with a toddler, but I am concerned about the dynamic of night nursing one child and not the other. I guess I am looking for any advice, experiences that anyone else has had with this sort of thing. Any thoughts would be helpful. “

HELEN ANDERSON: Hi, Erin! My name is Helen. I am one of the experts here at New Mommy Media. I am a registered nurse and a certified lactation educator. And I want to thank you so much for your question and congratulate you on your soon-to-be-born baby, and also give you some cuddles on your extended nursing for your toddler, that’s wonderful!

So, as you move to nursing two babies, instead of just one, my advice is to be sure that you are clear with your language, that the reason you are reducing the breastfeeding for your older child is not because of the baby’s need and it is not the baby’s fault, but instead it is your choice. Say things like: I need you to stop breastfeeding because mommy’s tired, or: we are not going to breastfeed, because I need to stay hands-free for a little while, or: I am just not ready to do this right now. So, instead of saying things like: the baby needs to breastfeed first, or: the baby needs more milk than you, or big boys or girls don’t breastfeed like a baby does, we want to be sure that we give the idea toward the child that the change is your choice.

The next thing is really taking it easy on yourself. It is going to be a big transition for you. And your older child may have some difficulty with the transition of having another baby now in the house for many, many reasons, not just breastfeeding. So, be sure that if you want to reduce a breastfeeding session, or eliminate a breastfeeding session with your older child, that you are doing that to care for yourself and that you are dealing with your child’s frustration, but you are not giving into that.

So, remember that our job as a parent is to be present and to comfort, but not necessarily to breastfeed your older child at the expense of you and your baby’s well-being. And be sure to find non-breastfeeding ways to connect with your older child. Hugging, snuggling, these are all really good habits that we can kind of initiate now and continue to do after the baby is born that doesn’t involve breastfeeding. And that’s about it! I want to congratulate you and wish you luck with your new baby!

PRIYA NEMBHARD: That wraps up our show for today. Thanks for listening to The Boob Group!
Don’t forget to check out our sister show:
• Preggie Pals for expecting parents
• Newbies for newly postpartum moms
• Parent Savers for moms and dads with toddlers and
• Twin Talks for parents with multiples.

This is The Boob Group where moms know breast!

This has been a New Mommy Media production. The information and material contained in this episode are presented for educational purposes only. Statements and opinions expressed in this episode are not necessarily those of New Mommy Media and should not be considered facts. While such information and materials are believed to be accurate, it is not intended to replace or substitute for professional, medical advice or care and should not be used for diagnosing or treating health care problem or disease or prescribing any medications. If you have questions or concerns regarding your physical or mental health or the health of your baby, please seek assistance from a qualified health care provider.

SUNNY GAULT: How would you like to have your own show on the New Mommy Media network? We are expanding our line-up and looking for great content. If you are a business or organization interested in learning more about our co-branded podcasts, visit our website at

[End of Audio]

Love our shows? Join our community and continue the conversation! Mighty Moms is our online support group, with parenting resources and helpful new mom stories you won’t find anywhere else! You’ll also have a chance to be featured on our shows.

Become a Mighty Mom!