Lactation

Nursing Bra

Hugger bras are great nursing bras, offering essential support during the postpartum period, crucial for managing swelling. These bras feature zones gradient compression, which effectively adapts to changes in breast symmetry during nursing and can also accommodate a breast pump. Their innovative design includes an interior layer that moves seamlessly with the skin, while the outer layer absorbs the stresses of movement, minimizing chafing. Furthermore, they are moisture-wicking and antibacterial, ensuring they remain odor-free even after prolonged wear.

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As a women’s health physical therapist, I utilize Therapeutic Ultrasound (TUS) to address issues such as clogged ducts, engorgement, and mastitis, effectively reducing inflammation, edema, pain, and firmness. It’s crucial for individuals undergoing this treatment to wear a supportive bra, as it aids in managing swelling and promotes comfort during the healing process


Feeding Tips

For the 1st 6 months human milk is the only food needed by most healthy infants👶. Newborns normally feed 10-12 times/day and you may need to feed every 1-2 hrs the first 3 months. Fore milk (early milk rich in carbs) and hind milk (late milk rich in fat) occur during the same feeding. Try not to switch breasts too early during a feeding to ensure your baby consumes hind milk as well.

Set up a breastfeeding station wherever you plan on breastfeeding🤱with snacks, water bottles, books📚, music, phone, and whatever else you might want to do or use to relax while breastfeeding. It’s great to set up an appointment with a lactation consultant during pregnancy or immediately postpartum to ensure baby has an effective latch. 


Nutrition During Lactation

Part 1:

If you are exclusively breastfeeding, milk production for the 1st 6 months requires ~500 additional calories/day (to maintain your weight) and ~330 additional calories/day (if your goal is weight loss). Months 7-12 of breastfeeding require ~400 additional calories/day since your baby is likely consuming higher volumes of breastmilk as well as food. Modest calorie restriction shouldn’t decrease your milk supply but consuming less than ~1500 calories/day can.


You will likely be extra thirsty! Consume plenty of fluids and try to have water available while nursing. Water intake should be at least ½ your body weight (lbs) in ounces plus an additional 35 ounces for lactation. Smoothies are a great way to get extra calories and hydration!


Part 2:

During lactation iron and folate requirements return to pre-pregnancy levels since you are no longer forming as many red blood cells. Vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin E, iodine, zinc, copper, and B vitamin requirements increase. It can be beneficial to give your infant a 10 μg (400 IU) vitamin D supplement daily (as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics) since human milk can be low in vitamin D and infants' exposure to sunlight is minimal.


Keep in mind that breast milk can be contaminated by:


!! This is not medical advice. Contact a healthcare provider for your individualized nutrition needs.


Part 3: 

Avoid plastic water bottles during pregnancy and lactation. In utero or neonatal exposure to BPA (commonly found in plastics) may increase cancer risk, type 1 diabetes, and alter reproductive function. BPA exposure may even influence brain function and behavior. But here's the good news:


✅ Fight Back with Folate: Boost your intake of foods rich in folate (dark leafy greens and beans) or consider supplements. Folate has shown promise in counteracting the effects of BPA. 🥦


✅ Harness the Power of Genistein: Found in soy, genistein is a powerful phytochemical that may help mitigate the impact of BPA on your health and your baby's development. 🌱


Opt for BPA-free water bottles or choose glass containers to reduce exposure. 


Therapeutic ultrasound (TUS) for “clogged ducts”, engorgement, and mastitis 


Therapeutic ultrasound (TUS) can be performed by a trained physical therapist for “clogged ducts”, engorgement, and mastitis to reduce inflammation, edema, pain, and firmness.


TUS emits non-painful sound waves 🌊 promoting healing and may facilitate milk let-down. With TUS most people see me for 1 session and have resolution of symptoms in under a week!


My physical therapy session goes as follows:

✨Lymphatic drainage

✨Red and near infrared low-level laser/light therapy

✨Therapeutic ultrasound


If you have a “clogged duct” don’t stop feeding, overfeed, or over pump. Nursing on the side of the clogged duct first can help as well as dangle feeding and positioning the baby so their tongue and lower chin are facing/lined up with the “clogged duct” to encourage better drainage.


If you’re unable to clear your clogged duct on your own, please reach out! Lymphatic drainage, laser/light therapy, and therapeutic ultrasound can help clear clogged ducts and prevent mastitis!


Don't use a Massage Gun on Breast Tissue

Deep massage of the lactating breast can cause increased inflammation, tissue edema, and microvascular injury. This is especially true for “clogged ducts” as it could lead to abscesses requiring drainage.


‼️Avoid massaging breasts with vibrators, electric toothbrushes, or any massage products‼️


Therapeutic ultrasound (TUS) can be performed by trained physical therapists for “clogged ducts”, engorgement, and mastitis to reduce inflammation, edema, pain, and firmness. It is thought that TUS facilitates milk let-down. With TUS most people have resolution of symptoms within a week! Lymphatic drainage and low level laser therapy can help as well.


If you have a “clogged duct” don’t stop feeding, overfeed, or over pump. Recurring clogged ducts may be related to a diet high in saturated fat (ex: fatty cuts of meat/sausage/bacon, butter/ghee/lard, cheese, whole milk/cream, and coconut oil/palm oil/cottonseed oil).