The Boob Group
Tips When Breastfeeding and Pumping Abroad
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.
PRIYA NEMBHARD: As a new mom, you may be familiar with how breastfeeding and pumping is perceived within your own community, but what happens when you need to travel to another country? What about important issues such as breastfeeding in public and finding quality places to pump? How do you stay respectful about other cultures while still pursuing your own feeding goals? And where do you turn if you need help? We are The Boob Group!
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 great places to pump and breastfeed their babies. If you haven’t yet, we encourage you to download the New Mommy Media Network app which gives you easy access to all our episodes. You can also subscribe to our podcast through iTunes so our latest episodes download straight to your phone. And if you are on iTunes, please leave us a review, so other moms can learn about us. Let’s meet the mamas joining our conversation today! Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family, and your experience traveling abroad.
LORA KENT-DAVIDSON: Hello, I am Lora Kent-Davidson. I am a naturopathic doctor and lactation consultant from Toronto, Ontario, and also a mom of two. I’ve got a three-and-a-half-year-old and a seven-month-old to keep me busy. And not lot long after my daughter, my oldest, was born, we moved away from Canada. We went over to Thailand for a couple of years to work and have some, I guess, adventure. And so, yeah, lots of travel was involved over those two years. We were really lucky to get to explore South-East of Asia as a family, you know, during our vacation time. So, I can say that I have breastfed my daughter in, you know, probably seven or eight different countries outside of Canada and I’ve had positive experiences indefinitely most of our trips. So, I think as you just kind of reflect as a family traveling abroad and being foreign, we drew a lot of attention because we had a baby. So, being a breastfeeding mother wasn’t necessarily something that drew extra attention. We already were attracting a lot of attention anyway. So, no, I definitely had positive experiences traveling abroad with my little one.
MELANIE: Hi, my name is Melanie and I am an educator living in Iowa. I have two kids. I have a five-year-old daughter and a two-year-old son. And I am currently nursing them both actually. So, I’ve been tandem-nursing for a little over two years. We live in the States, but my husband is Israeli and so I have traveled abroad with the kids a few times over there and breastfed them both individually and together. And then, in addition to that, when my daughter was an infant, I took her to Sweden with me on a business trip for a week, and so I have breastfed her over there as well.
SUNNY GAULT: And hey, everyone, I am Sunny. I am producing today’s show. And I don’t have much experience breastfeeding or pumping abroad. I had my kids like boom, boom, boom. I’ve got four of them. And at one point I had four kids, ages three and under, so, I didn’t get to go very far besides like my bed, the bathroom and the kitchen. So, I am going to live vicariously through your beautiful stories today of places that you’ve traveled. But, I was excited to talk about today’s episode and to learn more about your experiences.
PRIYA NEMBHARD: And I am your host, Priya Nembhard, and I have three children. My oldest is fourteen and… So, I am the old lady on this call, I think. I feel like it anyway. My oldest is fourteen and my youngest is eight, and I breastfed my Youngest Liam for three years. All of them were breastfed and breast pumped, and supplemented, and all that great stuff, but I breastfed him for three years. And I have never pumped abroad. So, it is ironic. I have an app that provides locations for where to pump, but I’ve never pumped abroad. So, I am really looking forward to this conversation today. Thank you, everyone, for being here.
SUNNY GAULT: Alright, so, before we kick off today’s show, we love to read comments from our listeners, and this one comes from Renee, and I don’t know, I just really like this comment. And we had a really fun conversation talking about this episode that she is referring to. So, this is what she says: I listen to some of your podcasts, including The Boob Group, because of a discussion you had of a woman who had trouble finding a place to pump during a conference at a hotel. I called the hotel where I had a conference next week to prep them. They already have a policy to have a room for me when I need to pump. I haven’t attended the conference yet, so I am not sure how it will go, but it is a relief to know that I will probably have a comfortable place to pump. If I haven’t listened to the podcast, I probably would have been thinking of finding a corner in the bathroom. Thank you so much!
PRIYA NEMBHARD: Oh, that’s awesome!
SUNNY GAULT: Do you remember when we were talking about that, Priya?
PRIYA NEMBHARD: Yes!
SUNNY GAULT: It was the mom that went… I was part from our News Headlines segment and mom, that wasn’t provided with location and she pumped in the main lobby area, right?
PRIYA NEMBHARD: She did not care! She’s like screw these people!
SUNNY GAULT: Yeah, that’s right! So, Renee, I am glad that, the episode helped you! If you have any question, or comments, or anything about our episodes, we do read all the email that come into us, as well as any post that you leave us on Facebook, of if you do a shout out on Twitter or something like that. So, please let us know and we would love to share these with our audience. So, keep them coming!
PRIYA NEMBHARD: As a breastfeeding and pumping mom, travel can always be a challenge, but what happens when you need to travel overseas? Our expert today is Lora Kent-Davidson of Toronto, Canada. She is a naturopathic doctor and IBCLC who also teaches an online school called Parenthood abroad which helps guide parents from bump to baby. Lora, welcome to The Boob Group!
LORA KENT-DAVIDSON: Hi! Thank you for having me on!
PRIYA NEMBHARD: Awesome, awesome! So, Lora, you’ve created a whole course helping parents spending time overseas. How important is for parents to be prepared for traveling?
LORA KENT-DAVIDSON: Yeah, I do have a course for preparing parents for breastfeeding. I think it is important to be as prepared as possible, especially if the folks are preparing to travel or move oversees. Because, you know, travel itself brings a lot of the unexpected, so I think trying to be as prepared as possible for all of the other things is important. Going abroad, you may not always know what kinds of supports will be available to you as a breastfeeding mom or a mom who’s pumping. You know, being away from family and friends can sometimes be a challenge. You don’t always have that access to ask questions that come up. And I think for a lot of us parents who are living away from our…the countries we are born in, that’s sense of isolation, that feeling of being alone, can sometimes really creep in and become an issue. So, I think trying to connect with quality information beforehand, like before even have the baby ideally. And then knowing where your resources are, online resources can be really great and really helpful, and accessible no matter where you are in the World, so, knowing where those are is really important. You know, just to help get you set up for the best start possible with feeding.
PRIYA NEMBHARD: How did you personally prepare for travelling? Did you think about all these things ahead of time? Like I know you have all this information for your course, but where did you…were you prepared?
LORA KENT-DAVIDSON: Yeah, I had my daughter. She was eight months old, around eight months when we left for Thailand, so… And for me, at that point, breastfeeding had just become very normal and natural, and actually pretty easy. So, there was really no actual breastfeeding prep to pick up and go. I didn’t find that I had to do very much. Before I even had her though, yes, I had to prepare as far as learning about breastfeeding, and latching, and positioning, and all those sorts of things. But from the travel side, I think, you know, the beauty of breastfeeding for me is that really was easy to just pick up and go.
PRIYA NEMBHARD: Awesome! And what about you, Melanie?
MELANIE: Yeah, the first time I traveled abroad, I traveled with my daughter when she was twelve months and we went over to Israel. And because my husband is from there, I remember asking him a couple of questions just about, you know, any encounters I might expect to have on the airplane, because I definitely breastfeed my kids at least on the way up and down from the flight, as well as through out, for regular nutritional needs. And he is a very supportive guy and kind of assured me that I wouldn’t have anything to worry about. When I went to Sweden with her, I actually felt really good about going over there and breastfeeding, because I know that in that country they provide like a year, you know, paid maternity leave to all new parents. While I didn’t seek breastfeeding-specific information, I guess I just kind of inferred that a country that supported new parents in that way would be totally cool with me nursing wherever and whenever. And they are both, you know, democratic societies, so I didn’t really have any specific issues with laws, or anything.
PRIYA NEMBHARD: Alright… That’s interesting that you bring a democratic side of them being, you know, breastfeeding-friendly. So, I hope we get to touch on that later in the conversation as we talk about what countries are breastfeeding-friendly because I think that might be an important point to make. Okay, so, Lora, we touched upon an important topic just now. Melanie just mentioned Sweden being democratic and being breastfeeding-friendly. So, here in the United States breastfeeding and pumping can be highly controversial, but in general which countries or areas of the World tend to be more supportive?
LORA KENT-DAVIDSON: Yeah, I think it is a good question. I think there are so many factors that influence a country’s support for breastfeeding and for breastmilk feeding versus artificial milk feeding. And this, for me, has really reflected in the country's exclusive breastfeeding rights. But I think for places where, you know, the breastfeeding is very visible, where people see it, helps to normalize it. So, those are obviously usually places that are very supportive. Places where, you know, the marketing of breastmilk substitutes has been well controlled, or even, you know, forbidden. They generally have more positive attitudes towards breastfeeding and breastmilk feeding.
Places that are investing in strong maternal health programs, like Sweden, and have strong women’s advocacy. There are usually places, as well, you know, place where there are lack of resources, where, you know, the safe preparation of artificial milk is not really allowed for because of the lack of resources or the condition. That’s where usually breastmilk and breastfeeding is known as or acknowledged as a lifesaver. So, those are obviously supportive places. I think, you know, around the World the rates are going up. I do know that some of the countries with the most support or the most exclusive breastfeeding rights include places like Sweden, Bolivia, Peru, some of those South American countries, Sri Lanka, actually one of the countries I visited, they are quite high in their rates, India. Yeah, it definitely varies around the World, but those are some that I know that have quite high rates compared to other countries.
PRIYA NEMBHARD: Let’s talk about the countries that do not provide these services. Have you come across…have you traveled to any countries that were restrictive?
LORA KENT-DAVIDSON: I personally have not. The rates in South-East Asia, even Thailand, are on the lower side. But I never found that it was a problem, or never felt uncomfortable breastfeeding in public, that wasn’t something that I was ever concerned about. I think generally speaking it’s interesting the countries that have the higher income are usually the ones that are left less supportive, or have the lower breastfeeding rights, you know, at around a year of age compared to the lower-income countries. Actually, I was reading an article recently about rates in the UK has one of the lowest. I believe it is around 1% of babies that are being breastfed up until a year of age. So, yeah, it is just interesting. I think certainly globally things are moving in the right direction, but we still have a long way to go.
PRIYA NEMBHARD: Sounds like capitalism is a hindrance.
LORA KENT-DAVIDSON: Mmm, yeah.
PRIYA NEMBHARD: And when women go back to work so early, they don’t have a chance to breastfeed for a year because they have to go back to work in like three months, or four months, so, that’s very interesting. You know, so I know through my experience with, you know, creating my app, that the locations that have been really, extremely supportive that I’ve been in contact with, are Singapore, and Japan, and Thailand, in Thailand, we have a couple of locations there, Taiwan is one of them, and even China, China is launching like a thousand locations in the next couple of years that are breastfeeding-friendly… But I am thinking when we talk about restrictive countries, it might be related more to religious restrictions. So, if you are thinking about, you know, the Arabic countries that you fly into, that you have to be covered up, there might be more restrictions there for openly breastfeeding.
LORA KENT-DAVIDSON: Breastfeeding in the Middle East is generally quite encouraged and valued. And it’s not so much about religion, but it’s more about culture. The culture of a specific country, or community, that will have more to do with breastfeeding rights and breastfeeding’s visibility. So, it really depends on where you are, but breastfeeding in public it’s really…yeah, it’s both based on mother’s individual level of comfort and the social norms that exist within her own culture. But certainly, you know, many, even in a dress that covers much of their body will discreetly breastfeed in public. But you’ll have moms who feel more comfortable with privacy, much like anywhere else in the World.
PRIYA NEMBHARD: That’s awesome! You should write an article about that!
MELANIE: I wanted to chime in that I have a local friend here who is from Saudi Arabia and she had a baby, I don’t know, a few months ago, and I went over to help her with latching and stuff at the beginning, and kind of brought up that exact question. And I guess I didn’t ask specifically whether breastfeeding in public was done very often over there. But she gave me the impression that at least the breastfeeding…the public perception of it, was very positive and that her mom kind of expected that she would breastfeed, and her sisters all have. So, I guess it’s hard to say what the nursing in public thing is like, but certainly, it is supportive, or it seems like it is a supportive place to breastfeed your baby.
PRIYA NEMBHARD: Wow! That’s amazing! And that might…that obviously ties back to their cultural expectations within the family networks.
PRIYA NEMBHARD: So, what about your personal experiences pumping and breastfeeding abroad? What did you guys encounter?
LORA KENT-DAVIDSON: I think for me, like I mentioned before, traveling with a little one…I mean, there weren’t…I didn’t see a lot of families traveling. We kind of went to Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, Nepal. We kind of covered a large area, and I didn’t…I mean, I saw some families, but not a ton with babies. And so I think we definitely stood out just for that fact alone. And people all wanted to say hello. And it was actually great way to connect with the local community, because, yeah, our daughter was this little magnet that people would want to come and you know, pinch her cheeks, and say hello. So, yeah, just the fact that I would breastfeed on a sidewalk, or at a cafe, or on a train, it didn’t really throw, as far as my perception of the situation, it never really threw anyone off or… And I did get a lot of like “good job”, like thumbs up and you know, people were definitely encouraging. Yeah, that was I guess my personal experience.
MELANIE: Yeah, I’ve also had very positive experiences breastfeeding both in airplanes, and also on the ground in whatever country I was in. I’ve actually found that…maybe because it was all…I never took like a tiny baby abroad, I traveled with my oldest when she was 12months, and then 18months, and then, you know, years old. But it always seems to be some sort of an icebreaker or something. Even this last May I was there with my daughter who’s almost five and my son who’s almost two, and I remember talking to my husband’s aunt about how long she breastfed for and she thought it was so great that I was doing it. And it seems like once people kind of find out that you are doing it, or they see you doing it, whether it is a stranger, or a family member, or a friend, they…it seems to open up a conversation in ways that I don’t really experience here, in the States, at least not among my own family or friends that are not immediately breastfeeding at the same time that I am.
Which I think it’s interesting. It’s either one of those like women’s bonding things that kind of surpasses national lines or it's something that we just really feel like we want to support each other. But I thought that was really cool. One concern that I’ve had actually a couple times traveling over to Israel is on the planes…I don’t know if any of you have ever been over there, but the flights when we left out of New York, in particular about, you know, a half maybe of the flight were pretty religious orthodox Jews flying over there. And for that religious conservative kind of take I wasn’t always sure, you know, while I am on the plane and maybe a guy would walk by me, like do I need to worry about this, do I need to cover up… And I always just kind of did my own thing and never had a bad experience. But it was definitely something I was thinking about and a little bit worried about on those flights.
PRIYA NEMBHARD: Well, that’s interesting… What about the laws? Did you look into the law in Israel before you travelled? Lora, what would you recommend?
LORA KENT-DAVIDSON: Well, usually like I think that you know, breastfeeding in public it’s usually a nonissue, I mean, generally. I think that a lot of countries out there have laws to protect women who are breastfeeding in public or pumping in public. It doesn’t mean that you won’t face discrimination, or feel uncomfortable, but I think that a lot of places are doing a good job to try to increase the protection that women have. But yeah, I think looking into…like connecting with an embassy for the place that you are going to, is good place to start. I know, I always used to look at like a travel guide, like a Lonely Planet book, or something similar, and there’s always a section on travelling with infants, or women’s health, and breastfeeding is usually covered in there, just to give you an idea of what the cultural norms are. And then I guess talking to other people that you know who have travelled there. Those are things that I would usually do before going. I’m just…yeah, out of curiosity, those are yeah, good places to start.
PRIYA NEMBHARD: What about looking on websites? Are there specific websites that you recommend for moms?
LORA KENT-DAVIDSON: I haven’t come across any that addressed the legal sight of it. I think that you probably just have to email or call the embassy for that information.
PRIYA NEMBHARD: Well, that makes a lot of sense, yeah, reaching out to the embassies. We know being prepared is important, so what are some things you can do to make your travelling experience go more smoothly while still pursuing your own personal feeding goals? We’ll be right back!
PRIYA NEMBHARD: Welcome back! Today we are talking about breastfeeding and pumping while travelling abroad. Our expert is Lora Kent-Davidson. So, Lora, let’s talk about some things families who are planning to breastfeed or breast pump can do to prepare for their trip. What kind of supplies do they take? Do you take everything? What about longer stays? How can they prepare?
LORA KENT-DAVIDSON: Well, I think it is good to keep things as simple as possible. I think for me the great thing about breastfeeding is that it was just so easy to pick up and go. I didn’t really need to bring a lot with me as far as supplies or the extras. Yeah, just try thinking… You might find that, you know, having breast pads, might me something that you want to bring along, especially if you leak a lot. And I used like the washable cotton pads that you can buy, instead of the disposable ones, especially for travel. I just found that they were easier to use and you don’t have to worry about buying more.
So, I think also having a breastfeeding cover for some of us who feel more comfortable having that, is a good idea to pack along. I would usually just wear like a decorative scarf and use it to drape over my daughter if I wanted to do that. Sometimes she would get distracted very easily, so it was nice to have something to cover over her. And I think having my daughter in a carrier when we travelled was a big thing as opposed to using a stroller, or any other type of baby carrying device. I think having a carrier is really…probably the most important, like essential peace of travel equipment that I recommend moms bring along. They are great for feeding the baby. Especially if you are breastfeeding, you can do it, you know, when you are in a line up, or, you know, when you are on a walking tour, or really wherever. So, definitely invest in one of those if you haven’t. And practice feeding them in carrier before you know, you make your way out there. It’s pretty easy to get the hang of. I am sure YouTube has lots of examples, or a local baby wearing club or group might be a good place to start.
So, those are my key things for breastfeeding moms. If you are pumping, definitely you’ll be thinking more about, you know, milk storage bags, bottles, I guess storage items like a cooler pack potentially, depending on how long you need to keep you milk for and how quickly it’s being used up. I know, you know, not all moms and breasts respond well to hand manual expression, but if you haven’t tried it, I would definitely give it a try, it’s…you know, it can definitely make things a little bit more flexible to squeeze in like little sessions of milk expression during times where an actual pump might be challenging to use.
PRIYA NEMBHARD: Or you forget your pump.
LORA KENT-DAVIDSON: Or you forget it, or something happens and you need to get the milk out. Yeah, practicing some technique and working through hand expression. I think, you know, on an airplane… You know, certainly you can use a pump on an airplane, absolutely, but sometimes doing hand expression is a little bit easier, if you can’t really set things up, so… Another thing to pack along maybe is an adaptor, depending on the country you that you are going to. Thinking about plugging in your pump, you might need to bring something to help with that.
PRIYA NEMBHARD: What about a battery pack? That might be a good idea too, just in case, because if you are in a situation where maybe you don’t have power consistently?
LORA KENT-DAVIDSON: Or you are in vehicle. Yeah, an extra battery pack.
SUNNY GAULT: Well, and you guys were talking about hand pumps. And I am a big advocate of hand pumps. And when you are travelling…like you just don’t what could happen. Like something could break. Your luggage may not arrive at your destination. And if you can at least have that, I think that along with hand expression, I know we’ve done episodes on both of those, and you know, how to do that, and the benefits of that. I am just a big fan. So, you know, in addition to everything else you are doing, if you don’t have one yet, grab one, because I think it come in handy quite a bit.
PRIYA NEMBHARD: Absolutely! And it’s easier to carry!
SUNNY GAULT: It is! Less weight!
PRIYA NEMBHARD: Alright! So, Melanie, when you were travelling, how did you prepare to travel? What kind of supplies did you bring with you?
MELANIE: Gosh! You know, by the times I was travelling abroad, my children was at least 12months, so I don’t feel like I really needed much. I definitely brought a manual pump with me the first time when my daughter was about a year old, because I wanted to be able to, you know, go out for dinner or something and leave her with my mother in law. But that was about it. One thing I was going to say… I don’t know if you mentioned this, or if it’s maybe appropriate for a different topic… But I’ve seen so many moms struggle with bringing their pumped milk back on an airplane, that I was going to suggest that maybe some homework to be to kind of research with your airline or what is it, at the FAA, that maintains all of the regulations, at least here in the US, about what you can bring back and in what form, and how much, and all this kind of stuff. I’ve heard moms that, you know, bring it back frozen, but they put it in their checked luggage, and then it gets rerouted, you know, or whatever, and they end up losing it. So, coming up with a really strategic plan with how to bring anything back seems like a really important step.
PRIYA NEMBHARD: Yeah, that’s a great point. And you know, in a previous episode, we talked about a resource called Milk Stork. Is that the name of it, Sunny?
SUNNY GAULT: Yes, Milk Stork!
PRIYA NEMBHARD: I wonder if they deliver internationally, and it’s not just in the US?
SUNNY GAULT: I don’t know… But, you know, I will include the link on the episode page for this episode, so if our listeners want to check it out, they can contact them directly.
PRIYA NEMBHARD: Yeah! So, Melanie, Milk Stork ships milk for you. So, they provide you with a box, and a container, everything that you need to send it back to your home, so you can ship it before you arrive home. Just to help you with the, you know… So, if you have a surplus and you are gone for a long period of time, and there’s no way you are going to be able to bring everything with you, you can ship a portion of it home and then, you know, just bring everything else back in your luggage or your carrier that you have.
MELANIE: What a valuable service! I am glad that you guys know about that and are publicizing it!
PRIYA NEMBHARD: Yeah, we just talk about it in an episode we recorded like right before this, so… Yeah, it’s pretty awesome that it’s available! So,
what do you do if you need to breastfeed or pump overseas? What type of support have you guys received, or, you know, looked for? What type of support do you have overseas?
LORA KENT-DAVIDSON: Yeah, I think having support is key, and definitely when you are going somewhere where you haven’t been before can be scary. Especially if you are navigating a foreign healthcare system or you don’t know anyone or have connections. I think one of the big places to start is reach out to other moms. And if you can’t do that in person necessarily, than, you know, every city, I think, has a moms Facebook group. Especially like ExPatMoms. So, yeah, definitely whether you are short term visitor, or long term visitor, join those groups and you can search the questions out of under asked and post new ones. There’s tons of support up there online. Those group are really great resources. I know, I’ve definitely used them frequently and been able to help moms on them as well and being tagged in question. So, jump online.
Another thing, I think a lot of cities, I mean it’s hard to journalize, but there’s a lot of international doulas working in cities out there. So, you know, if you are to Google search for doulas living in wherever, Dubai, or Bangkok, you would be given a whole list. So, there would be, you know, likely, very, very helpful and connected within the breastfeeding and breastmilk feeding communities. So, I would go there as a place to start.
PRIYA NEMBHARD: Awesome! So, can you both offer any advice to moms travelling oversees? Now, we’ve talked a lot about tips and what to bring with you, and the support you need to have while you are travelling and where to ship your milk. But is there any other advice that you would like to share with moms, things that they need to consider?
MELANIE: My piece of advice is less logistical, I think, and more physiological, emotional, which is basically that if you can go into it feeling really confident and like it’s totally normal, and everyday thing, and that there’s no reason to be ashamed or nervous, I think most of the time that is like how other people are going to perceive you. So, kind of that whole idea of like trying to walk the walk, or something. You know, if you act like it’s just something that you’ve done every day and it’s no big deal that can be really helpful. And then kind of on the flip side of that, I know, I lived abroad for a few years before I had kids and travelled a lot. And there were times also where the opposite method kind of worked, which was like the ignorance traveler, you know. Like you don’t know that the thing you are doing might be not acceptable, or it might offence some people and you are not doing it to be abrasive or to be offensive, you are just going about your everyday business. So taking it that way or if anyone would give you a hard time and just kind of…not fanning innocence, but it is an innocent thing, you are not trying to do anything that’s going to cause a carfafol. So, just go about it and you know, if something happens, you know, just kind of play the oh, I don’t have no idea, and you don’t really need to apologies.
PRIYA NEMBHARD: Yeah, it is easier to ask for forgiveness than it is to ask for permission, right?
MELANIE: Right, right!
LORA KENT-DAVIDSON: Yeah, I think Melanie has had some great points. Yeah, I think just coming from a place of complete normalcy, like that’s really just in being confident, that you are not doing anything out of the ordinary, you are feeding your baby and you know, whether you are in Canada, or the US, or in an another country, they all feed their babies, and so, just feed your baby. I can kind of reflect… I can think about my first several weeks when I was living in Bangkok and you know, everything was just so new and exciting, and a little scary, and thinking of where I was then and where I was, you know, even just a month later with a confidence, it was a huge growing or a learning curve I guess and a growing experience personally. So, yeah, I think just be confident. Again, I just have to say, feeding in a carrier so easy and wonderful, and it made being out and about, you know… Just as far as challenges there was a great thing to do. I never had to necessarily to look for that place to sit and feed, or wonder who was watching. I just lower the baby, put them on and go. So, make it easy for yourself I think, find those little tips to make it easy and yeah, just grow in confidence.
PRIYA NEMBHARD: Awesome! So, 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 tips for moms who need to breastfeed and pump on long flights.
SUNNY GAULT: Alright! So, we have a question from one of our listeners. This comes from Stephanie and she has a question regarding her daughter Abi. And Stephanie sent us this message via voicemail, which is awesome, because we get a chance to hear her lovely voice. We love it when you send us voicemails! And so here’s Stephanie’s question:
STEPHANIE: Hello! My name is Stephanie. I have an eight month old, Abi. She’s my firstborn. And she just got her teeth last month. Seven months old and now she is just starting to bite while she’s breastfeeding. So, I was hoping that you guys could maybe crowd source the question how do you deal with, or help when a baby is biting while they are breastfeeding? Thank you so much! I love your shows!
HELEN ANDERSON: Hey, Stephanie! It’s Helen Anderson I am a registered nurse and a certified lactation education, and I am one of the experts here at New Mommy Media. So, I want to thank you for your question and congratulate you on breastfeeding little Abi for eight months, that’s a wonderful accomplishment! So, back to biting! So, a lot of moms have this question. Fortunately, the eruption of teeth does not mean the end of breastfeeding. There are some things that we can do to help eliminate and reduce biting. So, the first thing you can do is realize that biting you usually doesn’t happen when babies are actively nursing.
So, when Abi is at the breast and she is drinking, and she is swallowing, and compressing your breast, typically they are not biting. Biting usually happens at the end of the breastfeeding session when baby’s tummy is full and they are kind of messing around. And they just want to see what these new teeth can do. If she’s got a reaction from you in the past, she might have thought that was amusing and wanted to do that again, not realizing, of course, that it hurts you. So, watch for your baby’s queues when a bite is about to happen, if it happens at the end of a breastfeeding session. A lot of times we notice some tumbling with the nipple in the mouth a little bit before a bite happens, so watch for that. So, there is maybe timing or a behavior queue that tells you that the baby is probably going to bite soon and so you can go ahead and use your pinkie to break the seal and unlatch Abi at that point.
So, another thing that you can do, is to be sure to have good eye contact with Abi while you are breastfeeding, so she is not using the biting to get your attention. So, you have this good eye contact, you are connected, you are paying attention. If she does bite, unlatch her, take her off the breast and tell her: No! Don’t bite! That hurts me! Or someway, in a general tone, but firm. You are communicating that she caused you some pain, that broken connection with you. Typically babies can sense when you are upset. If you are able to show her these emotions in a cal, way, typically after that’s done a few times, she makes that connection between biting and breaking an emotional connection with you and you being upset, then the biting will be reduced or eliminated all together. So, good luck! If you have any other questions about biting, please go ahead and submit another voicemail. I’d be happy to address any more concerns. Good luck! And thanks!
PRIYA NEMBHARD: That wraps up our show for today. Thanks for listening to The Boob Group!
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• 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.
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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.
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