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  • Writer's pictureChardá Bell, IBCLC, CBE, CD

Lactation Tools for The Win!

I made a video about this on my TikTok & IG @melaninmilksd for both. All tools purchased at Lactation Hub

So what exactly are these tools and why do we use them?

  • Gloves (I like safe skin) protects you, me and baby from germs. Helps me perform oral assessments with clean hands. These gloves are thin so it helps me feel better how your baby is sucking when I do the suck test and other parts of the consult.

  • Hand pump, most know this one as the Haakaa. I love using these in combination with the next item Epsom salts. These one piece silicone hand pumps are versatile and can be used anywhere! I say keep one in car, diaper bag and at work when/if you return. You can use it to express milk like a manual hand pump with lever or you can use it to collect milk as you feed on the other side. They are simple, effective and fairly inexpensive ($12 or less) and work similarly to hand expression. I highly recommend you have one as a new parent or get one for a new parent.

  • Epsom salts! I use this for plugged ducts. Sometimes I do have to go “unclog” someone for various reasons. 1-2 Tablespoons of epsom salts of your choice, any brand will do. Plain is best but I also like the coconut oil one and the rose one just because they are lightly scented if you need a pick me up, they are also moisturizing. You then add that to the Haakaa hand pump and then add very warm water to the pump with salts. Fill up to the top of opening, some may spill it’s ok. Put this on your breast/chest by suctioning it on. Watch as the magic happens! You will see milk coming out possibly stringy looking and that’s normal. This will help release any blockages/plugs in your ducts and make milk flow better and help prevent mastitis (infection of the breast)

  • When you baby is a newborn, I see them a lot, they don’t need much milk. Their bellies are tiny and cannot hold more than a tablespoon or so the first week or so and it increases as they get older. I bring smaller bottles to demonstrate and help explain how little your baby actually needs in the early days and weeks postpartum. These 2oz bottles are perfect because it helps parents to not over feed causing excess gas, fussiness and other GI issues.

  • Never leave home without my breastfeeding Bible, it’s a book called Latch : Breastfeeding with Confidence at every stage, written by my IBCLC mentor Robin Kaplan and owner of the San Diego Breastfeeding Center where I hold support groups and see my clients with other IBCLC’s. It’s in La Mesa, check it out if you are local. This book is fantastic, short and simple! A great book for any new parent planning to or is chest/breastfeeding.

  • Now the serious stuff, feeding tubes?! So it sounds scary but it is not. This SNS (supplemental nursing system) can help baby to get what they need from a bottle or vessel while actively sucking from you at breast/chest and still being nourished while stimulating your breast/chest which is how milk production happens and supply increases in volume. We sometimes use this early in the hospital or after birth if baby is having trouble latching. Ask your IBCLC about an SNS if they haven’t mentioned it but you are struggling. Sometimes they can be made at home, DIY. I purchase mine for business purposes from lactation hub.

  • Sterilizer bags, because if you don’t have room for a big sterilizing machine, or don’t want one. These things work for several uses before having to use another so they are a great buy. They have a bunch of different brands. Try one you like, I choose Medela because it was what was available and I trust this brand.

I bring many other things but these are just a few I wanted to mention for parents who are trying to be more in the know on how to help with lactation challenges.

Happy latching and loving!

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