Soothing Strategies for Teething

2019-05-20T12:37:58+00:00May 20th, 2019|Categories: Fertility Blog|Tags: , , , , |

Our babies are born with all their teeth just waiting to pop through their little pink gums – although pearly whites usually don’t peak through until about 6 months of age. You might notice the first signs of teething as small bumps on the bottom jaw in the center front. These bumps are the teeth trying to break through the tough gum tissue – which can take a few days to weeks. Your baby will continue to get new teeth until all 20 have come in, usually by age 3.


With 20 teeth breaking through those little pink gums, teething can cause some serious discomfort. If your baby is in the age range and showing any of these signs, teething may be to blame:

  • Fussiness
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Irritability
  • Loss of appetite
  • Drooling more than usual

Your baby may have sore or tender gums when teeth begin to break through the gums. Some babies like to have their gums rubbed with a clean finger, a cool spoon, or a moist washcloth. A clean teether for your child to chew on may also help. Look for teethers made of solid rubber, and avoid liquid-filled teething rings or plastic objects that could break.

I made my own teether at home using a washcloth. You can too, just wet the washcloth, tie it into a knot and freeze it. The hard knot will give your baby a solid surface to chew and the cool temperature will reduce inflammation and pain.

New recommendations from the FDA urges us to stick with teethers for pain relief and avoid products that numb the gums for kids younger than 2. In a statement from the FDA, “We are also warning that benzocaine oral drug products should only be used in adults and children 2 years and older if they contain certain warnings on the drug label,” the FDA said in a May 2018 statement. “These products carry serious risks and provide little to no benefits for treating oral pain, including sore gums in infants due to teething.” Benzocaine is an over-the-counter anesthetic, which the FDA notes are usually under the product names Anbesol, Hurricaine, Orajel, Baby Orajel and Orabase. Benzocaine has been associated with a rare but serious—and sometimes fatal—condition called methemoglobinemia, a disorder in which the amount of oxygen carried through the blood is greatly reduced.

Many parents like to use amber teething jewelry for babies to mouth and chew. Check frequently for fraying or weakness in the string and throw away any items that are at risk from breaks. The small pieces of amber can be a choking hazard.

Teething is a time when babies (continue to) put everything in their mouth. Help them sooth by having appropriate items handy for them. The items will be dropped frequently, so dishwasher safe is a plus. Some babies eschew all items and prefer to chew on their fist, this is convenient because it won’t be left behind or forgotten but your baby can develop a rash on his hand from the saliva. Try to wash his hand frequently and offer other items if you see a rash develop.


Get More Sleep Strategies For Moms

2019-04-29T11:50:56+00:00April 29th, 2019|Categories: Fertility Blog|

New parents are usually the more exhausted people in any room, caring for a baby is a 24/7 job. Getting more sleep is the goal of most new parents so methods like sleep training can look like the answer. The term “sleep training” is a loaded one. Most parents associate the idea with sitting on the floor, outside the nursery listening to your baby cry and scream themselves to sleep, leaving everyone traumatized and exhausted. A new wave of sleep experts say sleep training is more about teaching your baby that they are capable of falling asleep independently – but you decide. Every parent needs to choose the best way of managing sleep for their family. Some parents do fine on a few hours of sleep, others need more to have the patience to care for a baby. There are many factors to consider when caring for your baby.

Ideally, you want your baby to be able to fall asleep without you since they will inevitably wake at night and look for you to provide the same song, rocking, breast that helped them fall asleep the first time. But the best way to accomplish this isn’t clear and as with all things parenting, there are no rules. Even the “sleep experts” don’t agree on the best way to help babies sleep longer. Or if we should want them to. I mean of course we want to sleep longer, but for breastfed babies with small tummies that empty quickly, frequent nursing sessions through the night can keep your milk supply strong and help your baby get the nutrition they need to grow.

One thing the experts agree on to help your baby fall asleep is a consistent bedtime routine. Around six weeks old, pick the same time every evening to bathe, sing, read and feed your baby then place her into her crib. Consistent wake up times help too.

If you choose sleep training it should start between four and six months, according to some experts. There are many methods of sleep training, all involving some form of allowing your baby to cry and fuss without any soothing. Sleep training is not recommended by many lactation consultants, babies cry for many reasons and responding to your baby’s cries given them confidence in you and the safety of their environment.

Instead of sleep training, here are some tips for instilling good sleep habits early on:

  • Offer the breast frequently during the day. You want her to get the idea that the daytime is for eating and nighttime is for sleeping.
  • Wait to respond to nursery noises. It’s natural for a baby to wake up occasionally  during the night and they may fall back asleep without help from you. Wait outside the door to make sure your child needs soothing and not just whimpering in his sleep. If you go in the nursery, it may turn into a full-fledged wake up necessarily.
  • Aim for an early bedtime. An earlier bedtime—like 6:30pm or 7:00pm—may help your baby sleep longer. Putting your baby down earlier means less of a chance for them to be  overtired. Just like adults, overtired babies can find emotions get in the way, making the nighttime routine more difficult.
  • Open the blinds. Help your baby learn the difference between night and day by opening the blinds in the morning and going outside during the day. Try to keep the nighttime nursery environment quiet and dark. These cues help your baby learn the expectations and routines for night and day.

Sleep deprivation is definitely a real thing – and it can make us desperate for some rest. Try to sleep when your baby naps during the day, although this is tough if you also have older children. Be kind to yourself and focus on caring for yourself and you baby and ask for help if you need it!


The Rise of the Brelfie

2019-04-13T23:37:30+00:00April 13th, 2019|Categories: Fertility Blog|

I am a mom, so I take a lot of pictures. I have stopped apologizing and my family has stopped being surprised by my requests to “look this way” or “just pretend you like each other”. They now accept the only way to get me to stop bugging them is to do what I ask and let me take their picture.


When they were little babies, it was easier in some ways. More difficult in others. They would stay when I put them, arranged with good lighting. But they didn’t didn’t smile on demand or care about my desire to memorialize an event. My older son had a diaper blow-out at his 1 year old phone shoot so had to be creatively posed to cover his soiled parts.


So the brelfie trend is my favorite thing ever. Brelfie is a mash-up of breastfeeding + selfie. I admit, it’s an awkward word. But I love them, the babies are always content, moms look beautiful, empowered and proud. Plus, it’s fun to see all the amazing places women are breastfeeding and caring for their babies. Glamorous celebrelfies (I made a word!) helps us see that we have acres of common ground with Gisele, Chrissy and Pink. The wonder of motherhood catches us all flat-footed and unprepared. We are proud of our bodies and our babies – regardless if there is dirty laundry or designer goods in the background.


When I started Milkies way back in 2008, I was breastfeeding my son Henry and we modeled for the product photos. Check out the side of a Milkies Milk-Saver box for a pic of an 8 month old Henry latched on. There were no selfies in 2008 though, phones only had one camera! So your breastfeeding pictures had to be taken by someone else, hence there were fewer taken and available to share. Facebook stopped censoring breastfeeding pictures in 2014 so moms could share their brelfies without fear of banning.


The positive influence of the brelfie has even been recognized by the United Nations.“It’s absolutely to be encouraged,” World Health Organization spokeswoman Fadela Chaib told a regular U.N. briefing in Geneva when asked about the brelfie fad.’


Brelfies will always have critics and trolls. But, if you are a breastfeeding mom and want to support and encourage others, staying positive is the best way to go about it. A brelfie image shows you are proud of your choices and rocking this mom thing – so post away mommas.

The 2 images featured in this article are my brelfies.

Breastfeeding Just One Baby Can Prevent Strokes

2019-03-27T04:12:48+00:00March 27th, 2019|Categories: Fertility Blog|

Losing Luke Perry to a stroke was a shock. For those of us that grew up on Beverly Hills 90210, we are mourning a bit more for Dylan McKay and his sweetness and crooked grin. While stroke is usually considered a something that happens to older people, it can happen to anyone at any age. Women are more likely to suffer a stroke than men – in fact 55,000 more women than men will have a stroke this year. Birth control pills, pregnancy are risks for younger women, while hormone replacement therapy and high blood pressure are associated with risks for stroke later in life. A study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association in August 2018 found stroke is the fourth leading cause of death among in women 65 and older, and is the third leading cause of death among Hispanic and black women aged 65 and older.

Having a stroke can hugely complicate life for you and your family. After a stroke, many women will become disabled and unable to live independently, it is the most common cause of long-term disability and costs the economy $34 billion annually. We plan our retirement financially through 401K savings and funding Medicare – it is just as important to plan for a healthy, physically active retirement. Reducing stroke risk is important for both aspects, as medical costs can quickly wipe out savings accounts.

This 2018 study looked at breastfeeding and how it relates to the risk of stroke for moms. The researchers also collected information about the ethnic background of the moms and how it relates to stroke risk.

Researchers analyzed data on 80,191 participants in the Women’s Health Initiative observational study, a large ongoing national study that has tracked the medical events and health habits of postmenopausal women who were recruited between 1993 and 1998. All women in this analysis had delivered one or more children and 58 percent reported ever having breastfed. Among these women, 51 percent breastfed for one-six months, 22 percent for seven-12 months and 27 percent for 13 or more months. The average age of the women when they entered the study was 63.7 years; they were followed for 12.6 years.

The good news for breastfeeding moms – after adjusting for non-modifiable stroke risk factors (such as age and family history), researchers found stroke risk among women who breastfed their babies was on average:

23 percent lower in all women,

48 percent lower in black women,

32 percent lower in Hispanic women,

21 percent lower in white women, and

19 percent lower in women who had breastfed for up to six months.

This is really great news! The study results showed the longer you breastfed, the greater reduction in your risk for stroke. Breastfeeding for at least 6 months is recommended to get all the protective benefits from stroke, breast and reproductive cancers.

The more we learn about breastfeeding, the greater the value to our long term health for moms and babies!

Should We Pump and Dump After A Night Out?

2019-03-07T18:00:20+00:00March 7th, 2019|Categories: Fertility Blog|

I have a friend that brought a bottle of chardonnay right into the delivery room, packed in her hospital go bag. As soon as the cord was cut, the chilled wine flowed into mini red solo cups she packed just for this moment.  She and her husband wanted to celebrate the occasion in their own way and they just had the one small cup and didn’t overindulge. But she felt like she owned the moment and got to lift a glass (well plastic cup) in a toast to her new son and her motherhood journey.

Like my friend, about half of breastfeeding moms have a drink now and then. Since breastmilk is made by taking nutrients and fluid from your blood, some alcohol shows up in your milk. When you take a drink of wine or beer, the fluid travels to the stomach and then exits to the small intestine, where it is absorbed into your bloodstream. Your blood transports the alcohol to the liver, where enzymes break it down. Our liver can get rid of about 1 ounce of alcohol an hour. Any extra accumulates in the blood and body tissues until the liver can process it. This extra alcohol makes us feel tipsy and singing Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” at the office Christmas party seems like the best idea ever (not me, happened to a friend…)

If you have a glass of wine or other adult beverage, the amount of alcohol that could pass through to your breast milk is very small. A review of 41 studies in the journal Basic & Clinical Pharmacology & Toxicology finds that even in a binge drinking scenario, if a mom breastfed, the blood alcohol of the infant would be less than .005%. The researchers concluded “It appears biologically implausible that occasional exposure to such amounts should be related to clinically meaningful effects to the nursing children.”  Still, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that women minimize alcohol consumption during lactation and if you drink, limit your intake to 2 ounces of liquor, 8 ounces of wine, or two 12-ounce beers.

You can safely have a few drinks without getting your baby drunk, but if you are concerned about your supply, stick to non-alcoholic beverages. Despite stories about beer and wine increasing milk supply, the research doesn’t support it. Studies have shown drinking alcohol while breastfeeding inhibits the milk ejection reflex, also known as the let-down (this reflex moves your milk from the lobes of your breasts to the nipple and out to your baby). For let-down to occur, the nerve connections from the nipple to the hypothalamus area of the brain need to be ready to receive the signal from your baby suckling at your breast to release oxytocin. Alcohol can deaden these signals and leave milk in your breasts and your baby frustrated. We know the milk product works on supply and demand; breasts need to be empty to signal your body to make more milk. If you are drinking alcohol regularly, this lack of intact nerves, hormone release and breast emptying results in a decrease in milk production of up to 23%. If you are stressed about your supply, avoid alcohol until you get back on track.

It also needs to be mentioned that anyone, including you, caring for your baby is required to be sober. Keeping a baby or toddler safe critical thinking and unclouded decision making; remember the Journey story from paragraph 2? You can make bad choices if you are drunk. Your children are counting on you to keep them safe.

If you co-sleep make alternative sleeping arrangements if you have been drinking. Alcohol can put you into a deeper sleep and this has been strongly linked to a higher risk of sudden infant death syndrome or accidental suffocation. Don’t drive if you have been drinking or get into a car with anyone else that has.

Just like pre-mom days, alcohol is fun occasionally but can easily lead to problems if used to excess. Feel free to have a drink now and then but deal with your mom stress in healthier ways.

Newborn baby sleeping in mother’s arms in hospital

The Smallest Victims of the Opioid Epidemic

2019-01-22T05:01:46+00:00January 22nd, 2019|Categories: Fertility Blog|

The opioid crisis has touched all of us; more than 2.5 million Americans are dealing with addiction to prescription or illicit opioids. The origins of the epidemic can be traced back to the late 1990s when pharmaceutical companies began to aggressively market drugs like Oxycodone to providers. Drug manufacturers reassured the medical community that their products weren’t addictive and were the best option for managing short term and chronic pain. As the number of prescriptions grew, it became clear that opioids could be highly addictive.

Now that we have looked back to the start of this public health crisis – where does that leave us today? According to a 2018 study by the CDC, the number of women with Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) at labor and delivery has quadrupled in 10 years.  Unfortunately, this isn’t surprising. Opioid use has grown in all demographics with the largest increase occurring in women. Pregnant women with OUD face numerous barriers to care – limited financial resources, access to treatment, stigma, and fear of legal consequences.

When a pregnant woman is addicted to opioids, she is likely to have a constant level of the drug in her blood and her baby is receiving a constant dose through the placenta.  When her baby is delivered, a drug withdrawal syndrome called Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) begins.  A new study found that incidence of NAS is rising in the United States. There was a five-fold increase in the proportion of babies born with NAS from 2000 to 2012 —equivalent to one baby suffering from opiate withdrawal born every 25 minutes. Newborns with NAS are more likely than other babies to also have low birth-weight and respiratory complications. In 2012, newborns with NAS stayed in the hospital an average of 16.9 days, compared to 2.1 days for other newborns.

Research shows Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) is the first-line recommendation for pregnant women with opioid use disorders. The goals of treatment are to manage withdrawal, reduce cravings, and prevent the feeling of getting “high”. Pregnant mothers receiving MAT are more likely to have prenatal care, better nutrition and have a higher birth-weight baby. MAT also helps to reduce illicit drug use and infections.

Researchers are learning more about moms and moms-to-be battling addiction. The more we know, the more we can help them with safe and effective treatment, helping them give their infants the very best start.


Products Moms Will Love in 2019

2019-01-21T21:48:04+00:00January 3rd, 2019|Categories: Fertility Blog|Tags: , , , , , |

Each year baby gear gets cooler, smarter and more parent-friendly. 2019 will be no exception, there are some ingenious products launching this year and I wanted to share my favorites.

My criteria for choosing the best products is simple, I ask myself “would I buy this?” I am notoriously cheap and like to keep clutter to a minimum, so I set the bar high for things I let into my house.

My top 5 products in no particular order are:

1. Keenz & Stroller wagonKeenz 7s Stroller Wagon (Grey)

I love how this folds down small enough to keep in your trunk but is roomy enough for a couple of kids and their gear. The roof would keep the sun or rain off little faces and looks like a rolling room. Tires are rugged enough for off-roading at the beach or hiking trails.

2. Little Martin’s Feeding Lamp

Little Martin’s Night Light for Baby Breastfeeding (Pink)

This soft light lamp is perfect for night time feedings. You can adjust the brightness by stretching the lamp upward for more light, or compacting it down for less. The LED light uses a USB cord so you can charge it and use it anywhere. And it comes in pink or blue to match your decor.

3. The Shrunks Bed Tent


We live in the Pacific North West and camping is a part of every summer. Having a designated bed would be so convenient and safer too since sleeping arrangements can be tricky in a tent. This little bed tent would be great for living room or back yard camping too. The toddler bed would work well for road trips or anytime you have to travel with your little one. I wish they made this in my size.

4. Osprey Pack Kid Carrier

Osprey Packs - Poco AG 20L Kid Carrier - Seaside Blue

We used this all the time! My husband would wear it with our daughter in it when cooking dinner, I used it for taking walks with friends. We both like to hike and strollers aren’t practical everywhere, but this went everywhere with us. It really freed us up and strengthened our legs at the same time. We used a friend’s then gave it back when our daughter outgrew the seat, I am sure it has carried 2 or 3 more babies by now.

5. Milk-Saver On The Go

Collect and store more milk? Yes please. As a leaky mom, products that kept me dry and helped me collect more breast milk were always worth the price. As the creator of the original Milk-Saver this product is near to my heart. Moms left us hundreds of comments and reviews. Based on those, we created a product that could protect sore nipples and collect more than an ounce at a time. Easy to use and discreet, no one will even know you are wearing them.

There you have it folks, these are my favorite new baby products – I will be watching for more amazing products in stores this year.  Enjoy!

Boy-Moms at Higher Risk for Post Partum Depression

2019-01-22T21:32:49+00:00December 14th, 2018|Categories: Fertility Blog|Tags: , |

Hey Boy-Moms, a new study out of the UK finds you are way more likely to suffer with post-partum depression (PPD) than Girl-Moms. Researchers looked at 300 women over several decades and found the odds of developing (PPD) for moms of males is 71 – 79% higher than moms of female babies.

The moms at an even higher risk for (PPD)…those with birth complications. The study also found that mothers who had to manage birth complications were 174% more likely to suffer (PPD) than moms that had no birth complications. Examples of birth complication include: preterm labor, gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, breech presentation and hemorrhage.

There is a wide range of PPD symptoms including extreme sadness, low energy, anxiety, crying, irritability, sleeping too much or not enough, and eating too much or not enough. Some moms have extreme anxiety about hurting themselves or their baby. Onset of PPD is typically between one week and one month following childbirth, although symptoms can show up anytime in the first year.

Researchers speculate the reason for the increased rate of PPD in boy-moms and following birth complications is related to inflammation. Inflammation is the immune system reacting to a threat and raising the alarm to fight it. Any time the immune system is activated for long periods, it places stress on the body. Pregnancy activates the immune response no matter your baby’s gender, but researchers think a male fetus produces a stronger response and more maternal stress.

What can you do to protect yourself, friends or clients from PPD? Know the risk factors and symptoms to intervene early. Two screening tools are Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Screen (EPDS) or Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ). Ask your doctor about PPD and follow up frequently if you have the risk factors. Have your doctor’s number on hand and talk with your partner or other family members about the symptoms of PPD, they may be the first to notice your symptoms.

If you are a health care provider, be sure PPD is part of a routine new mother appointment since 10-15% of new moms suffer from some form of mood disorder. It is always helpful to develop a good relationship with patients prior to delivery, easing anxiety about potentially difficult conversations like PPD symptoms.

For more information about PPD visit

Five Tips for Exclusively Pumping Moms

2018-11-20T19:50:21+00:00October 17th, 2018|Categories: Fertility Blog|Tags: , , , , |

Breastfeeding isn’t defined by putting your baby to breast. Many moms choose to pump and use a bottle to feed. By choice or necessity exclusive pumping is growing in popularity as pump technology improves and moms are heading back to work with the intention to continue feeding breast milk. There are many reasons for exclusively pumping (EP). Some moms don’t feel comfortable putting their baby to breast or a baby may be born with a condition that makes breastfeeding impossible, like a cleft palate.

While exclusive pumping can be done, it takes some additional preparation to be successful and keep your milk supply strong. Here are some time-tested tips to help you meet your exclusive pumping goals.

1. Be ready for pumping to take over your life for the first week. While you establish your milk supply, pump 12 or more times in each 24 hour period. This works out to pumping every 2 hours day and night, it’s tiring and your breasts may become sore. But, the early days of breastfeeding aren’t easy either, establishing your milk supply and caring for a newborn are challenges for every mom. Once you find your groove and you become a more efficient pumper, you might be able to increase your time between sessions to 4 hours.

2. Have extra pump parts and bottles. Expect the unexpected. You might find yourself without a working pump or clean parts if you have an emergency at home or your car breaks down. Have a spare (or two) of everything, even an extra pump. If your pump motor tires out or a part breaks, you still need to pump and you won’t want to run to the store in the middle of the night.

3. Washing pump parts and bottles will take some time and space in your kitchen. You may feed your baby 12 times per day – will you wash the bottle after each feeding or use a new bottle each time and wash once a day? Either way you will need set aside time each day to clean and organize bottles, nipples and other feeding supplies.

4. Your partner can take on more feedings. No breasts are required for bottle feeding and anytime your baby is hungry, milk is available to for caregivers to feed. Pump before going to bed and let your partner handle the night time feedings. Sleep helps your supply by signaling your body to release milk making hormones.

5. Use hands-on-pumping. Get a hands-free pumping bra or make your own using an old sports bra and use your hands to shorten pumping time. Once your pump is in place and turned on, push with your palms to create gentle pressure starting near your ribs and move toward the nipple. This moves more milk out of your breasts to support a strong milk supply and you finish pumping faster – double bonus!

The one thing EP moms want to share is that it gets easier. The early days of pumping, washing pump parts and bottles non-stop can be overwhelming. But as you and your partner find a system that works for you and your baby, it becomes a natural part of life.

Boob Tube episode 19 – Dealing with Fertility Challenges

2018-09-18T20:51:11+00:00September 18th, 2018|Categories: Fertility Blog|Tags: , , , |

In this episode we talk about the challenges some moms have trying to get pregnant. Tobi talks about her own journey to motherhood and we hear from other moms and moms-to-be about their struggles with fertility. For more of the Boob Tube check out The Boob Tube at Fairhaven Health.

Episode 19 – Infertility and reasons you might not be getting pregnant

Posted by Belly to Breast: Fairhaven Health on Thursday, September 13, 2018

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