Does my baby need water on hot days?


Baby does need to breastfeed often and keep cool in a shady place though. Baby may want to breastfeed more often during very hot weather. Offer unrestricted access to the breast to keep baby hydrated.

Your milk will adjust and increase water volume to keep baby well hydrated if you feed as often as baby wants.

Signs of dehydration to watch out for:

  • Urinates less frequently (for infants, fewer than six wet diapers per day)
  • Parched, dry mouth.
  • Fewer tears when crying.
  • Sunken soft spot of the head in an infant or toddler.

If baby exhibits any of these symptoms contact their doctor or visit the hospital right away.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend keeping newborns and infants younger than 6 months out of direct sunlight. The best protection from the sun for these infants is to stay in the shade. Look for shade under a tree or bring an umbrella or sun-blocking tent for outdoor play.
In most cases, infant’s skin is too sensitive for sunblock so your best bet is to stay indoors or keep baby completely shaded.

breastfeeding, milk supply

Top 3 Things To Do for Breastfeeding Success

  1. Start hand expression at 36 weeks if you are not at risk for preterm delivery

This builds up hormone receptors which help you to make the most milk!  It also gets you familiar with the technique which is super helpful to do at least 5 times a day after birth (for the first 2 weeks).  If you hand express into a clean container you can store the colostrum (early milk) in the freezer and bring it with you in case your baby needs a supplement after birth.

2. Golden Hour

Hold your baby skin-to-skin after delivery until baby has had their first meal.
It takes time to adjust to the outside world!  It’s so bright and loud and cold!  Let baby find their way to the breast and attach on their own –they can do it if we give them time.
Our bodies are also primed from labor to transfer the most colostrum in the first few hours, so make the most of it!

3. Have a Nursing Marathon for 3 days after birth

Feed often (at least 10 times per 24 hours) especially when baby is awake and calm, hold baby skin-to-skin as much as you can, and do hand expression at least 5 times per day after feeds.  This tells your body to make lots of milk and helps prevents swelling (which is also called engorgement).
Keeping baby close by will help everyone rest and recover. Snuggling baby often also reduces crying!

Megan Dunn, IBCLC

Diabetes, galactagogues, milk supply

Breastfeeding with Diabetes and/or PCOS

Many people with diabetes and gestational diabetes meet their breastfeeding goals but others may experience challenges with their milk supply and/or delays in developing a full milk supply. Insulin is an essential hormone for full milk production and luckily there are many things we can do during pregnancy and postpartum to support our bodies and meet our breastfeeding goals.

Working with your Registered Dietitian and a Lactation Consultant as part of your health team is helpful for creating a plan that works well for your individual needs.

Nutritional Supports During Pregnancy and Postpartum:
Fiber!  Oats are a really excellent source of fiber and they can help you feel full longer as well as stabilize your blood sugar.  Try adding a handful into a morning protein smoothie.  Your Dietician can share many other recipe ideas that might work for you. Quinoa is another great choice for protein and fiber!

B12 is a necessary vitamin that we get from animal sources. It gives us energy and maintains our nervous system.  Getting adequate B12 from meat, fish, eggs, cheese, milk, and some fortified whole grain cereals throughout your pregnancy and postpartum period will support milk production.

Vitamin D is very important for lots of functions in our body.  It supports our immune system, maintains healthy bones, and is supportive of our mood regulation.  You’ll find it in milk, egg yolks, salmon, tuna, and in some fortified whole grain cereals.  Be sure to get your recommended daily amount!

Calcium and Protein from dairy-free sources may be advised. Salmon, tofu, dark green leafy veggies, nut butters, and grass fed meat are good sources.

Other foods and herbs
Cumin – anti-diabetic, enhances mammary growth
Dill – works best with other herbs, supports insulin, diuretic (helps with swelling and engorgement)
Fennel – anti-androgenic, digestive support, diuretic
Myo-inositol – natural sugar found in citrus fruits, cantaloupe, and some beans which regulates blood sugars, can also be taken as a supplement

Herbs to support milk production
Each herb does a different job; there is no one size fits all. Below are some common herbs for insulin resistance shown to support milk production

Goat’s rue taken during the 3rd trimester and for the first 6 weeks can encourage glandular growth (the milk making cells).  You can find it in drops called tinctures or in capsules. Vitex or Chasteberry is an herb commonly used for hormonal regulation.  It can also be taken during pregnancy and postpartum.

Discuss the use of these herbs with your provider to determine which is right for your circumstances!

AVOID fenugreek.  This herb is found in lots of lactation blends but it’s not an appropriate choice for people with diabetes as it affects your blood sugar and reduces the absorption of other oral medications.

Milk expression
If you are not at risk for preterm delivery, milk expression during pregnancy is a good idea.  Not only does this stimulate for better long term milk production but you can freeze your colostrum and have it available after delivery if baby has hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).  This decreases the chance that your baby will need donor milk or formula.  Talk with your IBCLC about how to safely do this.

Megan Dunn, IBCLC


World Breastfeeding Week Celebration 2021!

Saturday, August 7th 10am-12pm
Courthouse Annex parking lot 315 SW 4th Ave Albany, OR

WIC is hosting a celebration for World Breastfeeding Week!

Join us for an outdoor event to celebrate the health benefits and bonding breastfeeding gives families!

Gifts and Goodie bags, health and safety info, community, family fun, and more ! 

This walk through event will follow current OHA guidelines for Covid-19 safety.

WIC @ (541) 967-3888 or for info#WABA #WBW2021 #worldbreastfeedingweek2021


What I Wish I Knew About Breastfeeding

Parents who have breastfed their babies have great advice. Here are some of their suggestions.

Take a breastfeeding class during pregnancy

Breastfeeding is a natural thing to do, but parents need to learn how. Parents who take a breastfeeding class during pregnancy are less likely to have problems or pain.

Start breastfeeding right away

Spend an hour skin-to-skin with your baby. This is called the Golden Hour and it’s when they are most alert and ready to get started feeding

Babies cry more on their second day of life

This can be upsetting and you might not know how to calm your baby. Hold baby skin to skin and offer the breast frequently. This is called “Second Night Syndrome” though it can also happen during the daytime.

Feed throughout the night  You do need to feed around the clock in the beginning. This brings in an excellent supply of milk and takes advantage of baby’s alert time which is during the night, at first. “Cat nap” during the day when your baby is sleeping.

Attend a breastfeeding support group
Meeting and connecting with other moms can bring a lot of reassurance. The facilitator is a peer counselor who breastfed her own children and can answer questions and help you troubleshoot problems.

It shouldn’t hurt

How your baby attaches (latches) to your nipple and areola is the key to comfortable breastfeeding. Make sure the mouth is opened wide and baby gets a big mouthful.

Hold baby frequently

Skin-to-skin reduces crying, facilitates bonding, and improves breastfeeding. Use a safe baby carrier when baby is big enough for hands-free snuggling!

It gets easier
Just like any new skill it gets easier with time and the more practice you have. Ask for help when you need it.

There are lots of sources of community help Check out the resources section for Lactation Consultants and Support Groups near you.

Anytime you are unsure if breastfeeding is going well, contact a Lactation Consultant.

Signs of poor feedings

✓Feeling pain during feedings
✓Sleepy baby
✓Difficulty latching-on and staying on
✓Clicking or popping sounds in your baby’s mouth
✓Prolonged nursing (more than 20-25 minutes on each side)
✓Infrequent nursing (baby does not wake to feed at least every 3 hours)
✓Baby is not satisfied at the end of the feeding
✓Inadequate wet diapers and stools
✓Rapid or excessive weight loss (more than 7- 10%) during the first few days
✓Has not regained birth weight by 2 weeks
✓Slow weight gain thereafter (less than 2/3-1 oz per day in the first few months)

Megan Dunn, IBCLC


Do I have enough milk???

Up to 80% of breastfeeding parents believe they have low milk supply. And while people do truly struggle with milk supply issues, it’s also true that only about 5% or less suffer from primary lactation insufficiency or a physiological inability to produce enough milk (usually because a health condition).

Milk supply issues can happen due to a secondary cause like a premature or complicated birth.  These situations can make it harder to establish a full milk supply right away. This doesn’t mean your breasts can’t make enough milk ever. It just means that they aren’t making enough milk right now—often we can fix these issues!

After many years as a Lactation Consultant, the majority of low milk supply concerns I see are actually non-issues.  That’s to say, parents feel like their milk supply is low but there’s no evidence that’s the case.  Often this occurs because we haven’t fully learned what our babies are communicating to us.  We think if our babies cry or fuss there might be something wrong with our milk! And it has a lot to do with how we feel about our bodies and how much we trust things to go well.

Perceived low milk supply is the number one reason breastfeeding parents give for why they stopped breastfeeding.  Figuring out what’s really going on can be tricky because it’s not just you but also your baby in the picture.  So milk supply has to match up with baby’s ability to eat well.

My baby cries and fusses often so my supply must be low…

Babies cry for lots of reasons!  As parents we are quick to blame ourselves and worry that we don’t have enough milk or that something in our milk is bothering our baby.  Most babies who aren’t getting enough are actually very sleepy.  They are difficult to wake and have a hard time staying awake for a whole feeding.  They are quiet, “good” babies.

Babies often have periods of fussiness related to gassiness, overstimulation, or just common evening crying.  Snuggling your baby close, skin to skin can help soothe some of these discomforts. Alternately, hold your baby in a carrier or sling and go for a walk.  The motion and change of scenery may help!

My baby wants to eat more often than every 2-3 hours…

Newborns who are fed responsively will feed on average 12-14 times in a 24hr period.  Older babies and bottle fed babies do this sometimes, too!  It’s normal to have increased feeding times at 4-6 weeks and 16-18 weeks.  It’s also normal that your baby will cue to feed for soothing and snuggles.  Touch and suckling are strong needs for baby and they are satisfied by breastfeeding.

My baby will take a bottle after breastfeeds so they must still be hungry

In the early weeks, suckling is a reflex.  A bottle nipple stimulates the right spot on the top of baby’s mouth and they suck reflexively.  The bottle nipple also drips which causes baby to swallow.  When they swallow the nipple releases more milk…and then you are in a cycle!
Babies also love to suck for comfort.  So they are willing to take more if it’s offered.  This can cause overfeeding which results in spit up and gas and that can cause more fussing!

I can’t pump as much as my friend so I think I’ve got low supply

On average, a pumping session without prior breastfeeding will yield 3-4oz (or about 1-1.5 oz if you’ve just breastfed).  More than that can be normal but it’s not necessary.  Baby’s stomach can only hold about 4oz. 
Also remember that milk flow comes from oxytocin (that lovey, warm hormone you get with skin to skin) and oxytocin isn’t as high with pumping as it is with your sweet, cute baby. 

Your Lactation Consultant can help you find the right pump for you and make sure you have a good fit and a pumping plan that works for your needs.

My breasts don’t feel full anymore.  I think I lost my supply.

In the early days our breasts can feel *very* full and heavy.  Lots of that is from milk but even more of it is from fluid retention (which can also cause our hands and feet to swell).  As that extra fluid is passed, our breasts get softer.  They also start to respond to what your baby needs so they tend not to get overfull after a few weeks.

For many people, anywhere from 1.5-3 months is when they notice these changes.  It can often coincide with returning to work and increased pumping sessions (see above). 

The best indicator for a sufficient milk supply is to look at your baby. 

Is your baby happy most of the time? 
Do they have some alert times during the day? 
Are they making daily bowel movements and lots of wet diapers? 
What about weight gain?  If they are gaining 5-7oz per week in the first few months then they are doing great!

If you ever have concerns, drop in for a weight check at your local breastfeeding group or schedule a visit with a Lactation Consultant.

Here is a list of local providers and breastfeeding support groups:

Resources – Linn Benton Lincoln Breastfeeding Coalition

Megan Dunn, IBCLC


Debbie Alba – Breastfeeding Advocate of the Year

On January 14th from 3-5pm at the Corvallis Birth and Women’s Health Center, the Linn Benton Lincoln County Breastfeeding Coalition honored Debbie Alba, CNM, IBCLC with the coalition’s fourth annual “Breastfeeding Advocate of the Year” award.

Debbie Alba, Breastfeeding Advocate of the Year

Debbie currently works as a Certified Nurse Midwife and lactation consultant for the Corvallis Birth Center and as a lactation consultant for Samaritan Health Services in Corvallis. Her passion is to support women and babies through the birth experience and beyond.

She started working as an advocate for women and children in 1995 in San Francisco, where she first learned of the power of a positive birth and breastfeeding experience. Debbie has worked in the local area as a public health RN for Benton County, and for Samaritan Health in the home health, inpatient, and outpatient environments as an RN and lactation consultant.

Debbie holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Santa Clara University and a Bachelor’s in Nursing with honors from Oregon Health Sciences University. She has been an International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant since 2002 and more recently graduated Summa Cum Laude from Frontier Nursing University with a Masters in Nursing in nurse midwifery. 

She has served on the board of directors for the Oregon Washington Lactation Association, the Breastfeeding Coalition of Benton County, the Linn Benton Lincoln Breastfeeding Coalition, and the Breastfeeding Coalition of Oregon. She works to engage in and inspire innovative projects around the state of Oregon. This has included her role in Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center’s path to becoming a Baby Friendly Hospital.  

This adds up to an impressive 25 years of helping breastfeeding families!

She is the mother of three children; and she and her husband live on a small farm outside of Philomath. She gardens and takes care of their herd of dairy goats, makes cheese, and runs on the hills around Corvallis with her two dogs.

To sum up Debbie’s passion for her work, here is a quote Debbie’s bio from the Birth Center website:

“I am committed to supporting women through evidence-based practice and informed choice throughout their personal journey towards health, and am particularly interested in providing a bridge from pregnancy care to overall health care, including mental health.  I believe that empowerment of women in their life journey and optimum health and well-being of both women and children lays the foundation for a healthier, more sustainable society.”

Thank you, Debbie, for your valuable and impactful work and congratulations, on being this year’s Breastfeeding Advocate of the Year.


Keto Diet + Breastfeeding = ?

Over the years I have had many mothers ask me if low carb diets are safe while breastfeeding and recently several mothers have asked me if the keto diet is compatible. Many people find that a low carb or keto diet helps them to lose weight rapidly without being hungry all the time or experiencing cravings, and of course after having a baby, many women are looking for some kind of diet plan. A few weeks ago the IABLE came out with a parent handout about the keto diet in relation to breastfeeding, as well as making it the subject of their weekly #LACTFACT question.

They discuss a risk of low carb and keto diets called ketoacidosis. This can occur when the body is burning fat and produces an excess of blood ketones which causes the blood to become too acidic. This rare but life threatening illness is more likely to occur during breastfeeding because of the extra calories the body requires to make milk. This condition is fairly common among dairy cows during early lactation because the energy required to make large quantities of milk is often much more than the cow is physically able to eat. Cows suffering from this condition have to be given large quantities of intravenous glucose and steroids to save their lives.

In addition to the low but real risk of ketoacidosis (Google: lactating women ketoacidosis), a woman who starts on a low carb or keto diet is often restricting her daily calorie intake very rapidly and this can result in a decrease in milk production. Experts who study “blue zones” – areas of the world where populations live longer and are generally very healthy – have found that the typical diets in these areas consist of legumes, grains and vegetables and generally relatively low amounts of dairy, meat, and fat. Long term, these “blue zone” diets are probably more sustainable and balanced than low carb dieting.

The authors of the keto diet and breastfeeding handout recommend that women considering a low carb or keto diet while breastfeeding use caution. They suggest consultation with a dietician or physician before strictly eliminating carbohydrates or dramatically reducing calories. A diet with increased protein and fewer carbohydrates may be helpful for lessening hunger and cravings while losing weight, but completely eliminating carbohydrates while breastfeeding is probably not wise, particularly during exclusive breastfeeding.


Parallel Pumping Technique for Breastfeeding

Many breastfeeding mothers need to or choose to express breastmilk at some point during their breastfeeding journey. Many use breastpumps, though some prefer hand expression or milk collection devices to collect leaked milk. Many women pump while they are away from their babies for work or school, while others pump to increase their milk supply. Some choose to pump their milk and donate it to babies whose mothers can’t produce enough. Some mothers with babies who are born somewhat early, often called late preterm babies, use a technique called triple feeding to make sure their babies take in enough breastmilk while they wait for them to mature enough to be able to breastfeed exclusively. The three steps of triple feeding are: 1. Feed the baby at the breast. 2. Simultaneously pump both breasts with a double electric breastpump. 3. Feed some of this expressed breastmilk to baby via bottle. This cycle is generally repeated every 3 hours. Triple feeding is a lot of work and many women find it cumbersome or overwhelming.

Parallel pumping is a technique described in an article called Maternal Satisfaction With Parallel Pumping Technique by Kathleen McCue and Michelle Stulberger in a recent issue of Clinical Lactation. This technique aims to make triple feeding more manageable by combining two of the steps. The technique involves using a breastpump to pump one breast while simultaneously breastfeeding baby on the other. They recommend using a pumping bra to hold the pump in place, then latching baby to the other breast. Because the women in their study were pumping to maintain or increase milk supply for late preterm babies, they recommended using a hospital grade multi user breastpump. For mothers who want to use this technique for donating or for having some extra milk in the freezer, the regular double electric pump issued by insurance may be adequate.

Mothers who are triple feeding may want to use the parallel pumping technique every feeding. Others may only want to do this a few times a day, or only when they happen to need some extra milk. A blog post at The Leaky explains the technique and has a few pictures.

According to the article Clinical Lactation, many mothers found this technique easier to manage and more efficient than triple feeding. In theory it may also increase milk production since women may experience a stronger let down reflex for the pump while they are also breastfeeding than they do when pumping alone. I hope that this technique will become more widely known and accepted as an alternative to triple feeding, and also for mothers who are pumping for other reasons.


Julia’s Way – A Resource for Breastfeeding and Down Syndrome

At our most recent Linn Benton Lincoln Breastfeeding Coalition meeting one of our members brought information to share about Julia’s Way. Julia’s Way is a non-profit organization dedicated to inspiring parents, medical professionals, and the general public to reimagine what’s possible for those living with Down syndrome through education, advocacy, and awareness. Their website has many resources for parents of children with Down syndrome and a particular focus is on breastfeeding. They have a helpful educational brochure available in 9 languages which is available here.

They also have a whole page of breastfeeding resources for families here.

At our meeting we watched their video called Nursing Down Syndrome.

This video is very inspirational and a wonderful resource for families who have or are expecting a baby with Down syndrome, as well as for all of the professionals who work with these families.

Julia’s Way is in the process of writing a book called Breastfeeding and Down Syndrome: A Comprehensive Guide for Mothers and Medical Professionals. It will be available as a free download on their website when it is released later in 2019.

Please browse the Julia’s Way website to learn more about this inspirational organization!