Busting Myths: Breastfeeding as a working mom

by Lisa A. Hammer, MD, IBCLC

You’ve heard about the benefits of breastfeeding your baby. You know breast milk is best for your baby (the antibodies!). But let’s face it, returning to work after weeks of cozy breastfeeding sessions creates a lot of anxiety and pressure (pun intended) for mom. There’s so much information out there online and from every woman you know that’s ever had a baby. We’re here to breakdown some of the most common concerns around returning to work and continuing to provide breastmilk for your baby. Read on to learn how some common myths around breastfeeding while working are, well, busted.

Myth: Nursing less often will create more milk when I do nurse.
Actually, the more you nurse (or pump), the more milk you will produce. Your body is creating your milk supply based on demand. Feed your baby when they ask (in their own way), and your body will produce the milk they need. If you are returning to work, this will help in ensuring you are producing what your baby needs while pumping.

Myth: My baby won’t breastfeed once they get used to bottles.
You will always be your baby’s favorite way to get their milk. When your baby is with you, they will expect to be breastfeed. If your baby has a predictable feeding schedule, when you return to work ask your caregiver to hold-off on giving them a bottle close to your arrival, so you can breastfeed your baby when you return home. Also, be sure you drink plenty of fluids, avoiding caffeine and alcohol. Staying hydrated is important in general, but especially while breastfeeding.

Myth: I need a freezer full of milk to return to work.
Just when a new mom or dad feels like they are adjusting to life as parents, it’s typically time to return to work. For a mother who is breastfeeding, this transition can be especially difficult. A few weeks before your re-entry into the working world, start mixing some pumping and bottle feeding into your baby’s routine. This will help in two ways; your baby will get some practice with and be more willing to take a bottle and you will have some milk stored for backup. We recommend a minimum supply of two days’ worth of breastmilk for a smooth transition. As you pump at work, you will get into a rhythm of producing what your little one needs. You don’t need a freezer stocked full of milk in order to return to work.

Myth: I can’t breastfeed and pump at the same time.
There’s a balance between pumping and breastfeeding. Once you find it, your body will respond and produce the milk required. To start working pumping into your feeding schedule, pump between breastfeeding your baby. Pump about an hour AFTER you feed, and at least an hour BEFORE your baby’s next feeding. If you are returning to work, take note of when your baby typically eats, and pump based on that schedule. Continue to demand milk consistently and your body will get the signal to produce enough breast milk for your little one.

Myth: I will have to stop breastfeeding when I return to work.
Every mother has a legal right to take breaks from work to pump. That said, many women may still be anxious about taking this time. While you are pregnant and before you go on maternity leave, chat with your boss about a pumping schedule. That way, your boss will know what to expect upon your return and you will have some peace of mind knowing there is a plan in place to ensure you can continue to provide breast milk for your baby. Also, be sure to understand the accommodations available to you in the work place for pumping. Where is the room? Where will you store the milk you pump throughout the day? To get your questions answered, chat with a human resources rep or a colleague that recently transitioned from maternity leave and pumped at your office, to get your questions answered.

Myth: I won’t be successful at work if I have to stop and pump.
For a mother that wants to continue providing breast milk for her baby, taking the time to pump will create peace of mind, and allow you to be more focused when at your desk. You may even want to use the time you spend pumping to catch up on some emails, or read through an article or report that you can’t seem to work into your day while sitting at your desk. Some of your colleagues will understand when you excuse yourself a few times a day to pump, and others may not. The fact is, it’s your right to take time to pump during the work day, so try to focus on your baby and not the opinions of those around you. If you have concerns, talk to a manager or supervisor.

Breastfeeding is a wonderful way to take care of your baby, but it can be a struggle too. If you are feeling stressed about producing milk for your baby, make an appointment to chat with a provider. There is no “one size fits all” when it comes to breastfeeding, and they can provide the support you need as you work through challenges that come with being a new mom.

Originally Posted August 2019


Did you know IHA offers Breastfeeding Medicine? While breast milk is felt to be nature’s first food, breastfeeding does not always come naturally. Breastfeeding is a physiological process that involves both the mother and baby. We provide specialized breastfeeding care for both mother and baby. Learn more about IH Breastfeeding Medicine below.

Practice Safe Sleep

Safe sleep guidelines for parents of infants.

Source: American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)

According to the Centers for Disease Control, there has been a major reduction in the number of baby deaths during sleep since the recommendation to place babies on their back to sleep was introduced in the 1990s. Today, there are a number of additional safe sleep practices to keep sleeping babies safe and sound. Read on for the latest guidelines for infant safe sleep from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

SAFE SLEEP:

  • Put the baby to sleep in a safety-approved crib. Never place your baby to sleep on a couch, sofa, or armchair. This is an extremely dangerous place for your baby to sleep.
  • Have your baby share your room, not your bed. Place your baby’s crib, bassinet, portable crib, or play yard in your bedroom, close to your bed. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends room sharing because it can decrease the risk of SIDS by as much as 50% and is much safer than bed sharing. In addition, room sharing will make it easier for you to feed, comfort, and watch your baby.
  • Put baby to sleep on their back. Some babies will roll onto their stomachs. You should always place your baby to sleep on the back, but if your baby is comfortable rolling both ways (back to tummy, tummy to back), then you do not have to return your baby to the back. However, be sure that there are no blankets, pillows, stuffed toys, or bumper pads around your baby, so that your baby does not roll into any of those items, which could cause blockage of air flow.
  • Keep soft objects, loose bedding, or any objects that could increase the risk of entrapment, suffocation, or strangulation out of the baby’s sleep area. These include pillows, quilts, comforters, sheepskins, blankets, toys, bumper pads or similar products that attach to crib slats or sides. If you are worried about your baby getting cold, you can use infant sleep clothing, such as a wearable blanket. In general, your baby should be dressed with only one layer more than you are wearing. Do not overdress as the baby could overheat.
  • If your baby falls asleep in a car seat, stroller, swing, infant carrier, or sling, you should move him or her to a firm sleep surface on his or her back as soon as possible.

SAFE CRIB:

  • A firm, tight-fitting mattress
  • No loose, missing or broken hardware or slats
  • No more than 2 3/8” between slats (width of a soda can)
  • No corner posts over 1/16” high
  • No cutout designs in the headboard or foot board
  • If you are unsure of the safety of your crib, call the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) at 1.800.638.2772
  • For more information, visit the American Academy of Pediatrics at healthychildren.org and the Consumer Product Safety Commission at cpsc.gov

If you have questions or concerns about safe sleep practices for your baby, get in touch with your pediatric provider. Rest assured, they will help you and your baby get some much needed ZZZ’s, safely.

Active Kids!

Age-based physical activities for children

During these times we are all staying home more to keep our family safe, but remember….kids need physical activity to grow up strong and healthy! All children should be physically active every day, and kids over 6 years old should be moving enough get their heart rate up at least one hour a day. Read on for guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics on how often your child should be active based on their age.

Infants:
Activity: Tummy time while awake.
Frequency: 30+ minutes throughout the day.

Toddlers:
Activity: Neighborhood walks or free play outside.
Frequency: 3+ hours throughout day.

Preschoolers:
Activity: Tumbling, throwing and catching.
Frequency: 3+ hours a day including 1 hour of moderate to vigorous activity.

Elementary Students:
Activity: Free play and organized sports focused on fun.
Frequency: 60+ minutes of activity most days. Muscle/bone strengthening activities 3 days a week.

Middle Schoolers:
Activity: Activities that encourage socialization. Avoid specializing in one sport.
Frequency: 60+ minutes of activity most days. Muscle/bone strengthening 3 days a week.

Teenagers:
Activity: Activities that encourage socialization and competition when appropriate.
Frequency: 60+ minutes of activity most days. Muscle/bone strengthening 3 days a week.


Don’t skip vaccines or checkups, or ignore concerns about your child’s health. IHA Pediatricians are offering options like telehealth and have implemented strict safety measures in practices. Call to schedule an appointment with your pediatric provider today!

Your Baby’s Best Shot: FAQs About Vaccines

Parents today have no shortage of information and input on raising a child. It’s easy to get overwhelmed, especially for new parents. We want to ensure our children have all that they need to grow and develop normally, but sorting through the mountains of recommendations can be daunting, to say the least. For parents of newborns, a frequent topic of discussion during well visits centers around vaccines. Which vaccines does your child need and when should they receive them? Let’s breakdown the most frequently asked questions around vaccines for our littlest patients.

There are a lot of vaccines out there, does my child need all of them?
Just because a vaccine exists, doesn’t mean it is recommended for your child. Your doctor will discuss with you the routine vaccination schedule, which is based on current recommendations from the American Council on Immunization Practices. This schedule applies for all children living in the U.S. Additional recommended vaccines based on travel, disease outbreaks, or other unique circumstances, can be discussed with your doctor on an individualized basis.

Why does my baby get so many vaccines before they are two?
Vaccines are given based on a thoughtfully developed schedule to ensure children are protected when they are most vulnerable or likely to be exposed to an illness. Pertussis (whooping cough), for instance, can be life threating to an infant, so three doses of the vaccine are given in the first year of life. For illnesses that may not impact a child until adolescence, the vaccine is delivered at a later time.

Is it safe to give my baby several vaccines at one time?
Safety is of the utmost concern when giving a young child vaccines. That’s where the Centers for Disease Control’s Recommended Vaccine Schedule comes in. Extensive study and analysis have demonstrated conclusively that there is no risk or harm in giving multiple vaccines at once. Specifically, the Recommended Child and Adolescent Immunization Schedule in the U.S. has been carefully examined and has been proven to be safe and effective.

Does my child need vaccines?
Definitely. In addition to protecting our own children from serious, life-threatening illnesses, we all need to be mindful of the risks we pose to others to when we don’t vaccinate. We’re constantly interacting with others in public (for example at school, playgroups, parks) and there are many people that are not able to receive vaccines. These individuals include infants or those with compromised immune systems from chemotherapy or other conditions, are at mich greater risk of severe illness or death when exposed to some of these diseases. When you have your child vaccinated, you are helping to eliminate the risk of a harmful disease resurfacing. This not only protects your child, but also helps to protect others who are vulnerable to the spread of vaccine-preventable diseases.

How do I know which vaccines my child will receive for the first two years of their life and beyond?
Your baby’s provider can discuss the vaccine schedule which is right for your child. Talk with your pediatric provider about which vaccines your child needs, and when he or she should receive them.


Don’t skip vaccines or checkups, or ignore concerns about your child’s health. IHA Pediatricians are offering options like telehealth and have implemented strict safety measures in practices. Call to schedule an appointment with your pediatric provider today!

Originally posted June 2019

LIFE 101

Teaching your child to navigate basic life skills

Without a daily commute, extracurricular activities or playdates, you’re going to find yourself with a lot of extra time spent with your family. This presents a perfect opportunity to teach your kids some of the basic life lessons we squeeze in on the weekends and evenings. We’ve got some ideas to make learning these (and teaching) some basic life skills.

Ride a two-wheeler

Be sure your child’s helmet fits their head properly before the pedaling starts. Download this helpful step-by-step guide.

A long weekend is a perfect time to remove those training wheels. Be sure to protect your child from inevitable falls by having them wear jeans and knee and elbow pads. To make your job a little easier you may want to pick-up a grab bar to attach to the bike.

If you prefer to get started with a balance bike rather then jump right into a two-wheeler, give it a try on a grassy area with a slight incline. Learning to balance while rolling down a small hill will give your child a good start when they are ready to try riding a bike.

Tie Shoes

True, it’s much easier to continue to purchase slip-on or velcro shoes, but eventually your child will have a need to tie their shoes. That said, the things we do without really thinking about it can be the hardest to teach. Here are some tips and tricks to help teach the art of tying a shoe:

  • Choose soft, easy-to-hold laces. Many children do better with the wide, flat laces at first.
  • Use light-colored or better yet, two-tone laces for more contrast. Shoe tying will be easier for your child if they can easily see which is which.
  • Use a marker or pen to mark where your child should hold their laces.
  • Be prepared to teach more than one technique in case the first method you show your child doesn’t “stick.”
  • Watch a YouTube video with your child and learn a new knot together. Have your child “teach” you what they learned from the video.
  • There are many shoe tying books and toys available that may be helpful to your child as they learn to tie.

Learn the ABCs and Count

Download a version of the ABCs and a counting song and mix it in with your kid’s favorite playlist. Your child will learn to sing the ABC’s and count to 100 as quickly as they learned Baby Shark (doo doo doo doo doo doo).

Dressing and Undressing

Zippers can be a challenge for a 5-year-old suddenly on their own in Kindergarten (especially if they really have to go to the bathroom). Spend some time practicing zipping and unzipping pants and jackets.

Address an Envelope

Receiving mail during a quarantine is a major highlight of anyone’s day. So, why not brighten someone’s day and teach your children the art of addressing an envelope! You can purchase stamps online to avoid going to the post office in person.


Don’t put-off important checkups and vaccines!

Skipping vaccines and checkups can be dangerous. IHA Pediatricians’ offices are open, and safety measures are in place. Call to schedule your child’s next appointment!

QuaranTEEN

Tips for parenting teens in the COVID-19 crisis

By Kathaleen Bruce, LMSW

This week in Michigan, school was officially cancelled for the remainder of the year in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. For many students an occasional snow day is a welcomed site, but trading once-in-a-lifetime events like prom and graduation, fun with friends, concerts and performances, sports and end of year class parties for several weeks or months of quarantine is a different story. With the announcement this week, your child, especially teens, may be left feeling a sense of loss. As parents, you want to support your children as they navigate this unprecedented stage of life, but you’re also working through these changes while trying to keep up with working from home, homeschooling and keeping the family healthy. We’ve got you covered! Read on for some quick tips on how to support your teen through quarantine.

It’s OK to feel angry.

High school seniors have lost out on much of what they’ve been working for over the last 12 years, and teens in general are missing out on high school and college rites-of-passage. Understandably, they may be feeling angry, sad, disappointed, and just plain miserable. For parents, expressing empathy for their current situation can go a long way in helping them cope.

Say this: “I’m sorry that you’re missing out on so many things you were looking forward to. This will end and life will get better, but I understand that you feel miserable right now.”

It’s OK to feel happy.

On the flip side, your teen may feel a huge sense of relief with the premature end of the school year. For some, the stress of studies, pressure of performances, or social struggles means quarantine is actually a welcomed change. It’s important to allow your child to feel both disappointment and relief.

Say this: “It’s okay to feel relieved that some of the things you were worried about are now not going to happen.”

Be ready for friction.

For teens, friendships can be as important and their relationships with their family members. Expect that they are not going to enjoy being forced to stay away from their friends for many weeks. Be ready for arguments and anger as you keep them home to keep them well. This will be even more challenging as other parents may not follow the rules and allow their children to interact with friends outside their homes.

Say this: “I’m following the advice of medical experts during this quarantine, and I can’t allow you to go to someone else’s home or have someone over to ours, regardless of the choices your friend’s parents are making.”

Give them a voice.

As you navigate a new family schedule, be respectful of the fact that your teen has their own idea of how they would like to see their day go. Layout your expectations for schoolwork, help with younger siblings and housework. Ask for their input and come to an agreement together.

Say this: “I need some things from you during this quarantine, and I know you have needs too. Let’s look at our weekly schedule together and come up with one that works for both of us.”

Take breaks.

When you’re working from home, it can be more difficult than ever to disconnect from work. It’s important to give your family, and especially your children, undivided attention, sans work. Set aside time every day where you can put your devices away and focus on family.

Say this: “At five-o’clock today, let’s head outside and take a walk before dinner. It’s important to get our work done, but we need to make time for time for each other. Spending time with you is one of my favorite things to do!”

Know when your child needs help.

Despite your best efforts, your child’s response to the stress surrounding COVID-19 may require some outside help. The IHA Pediatric Behavioral Health team is here to support you. Call today to learn more.

Say this: “I can see you’re struggling, and I want to do what’s best to help you. I know someone that can help.”

Teachable Moments

What do you do when there’s nothing to do?

We’re often so busy with education and activities outside our homes, there aren’t many opportunities to educate children inside the home. Enter the quarantine of 2020. Never has there been a time where we were all in our homes for weeks at a time, without any outside activities. This time presents many opportunities for teachable moments around the house.

Laundry.

Darks and lights. What goes in the dryer, what doesn’t. Now is the time to teach your child some basic lessons around doing laundry to ensure your they aren’t clueless at the laundromat their freshman year of college. Even the youngest child can help load machines, measure detergent, push buttons and match up clean socks (if you can find both).

Cook.

Allow your child to (safely) assist with planning, preparing and cooking meals. Plan a cooking competition, with your child as the chef and the rest of the family as judges, set the table and have the family dress up for a fancy sit down dinner.

Make the bed.

This is a simple act that can set the tone for the rest of the day. Before you make it out of your room, you already accomplished something!

Read a map.

Because those turn by turn directions aren’t right every single time, you’ll want you child to have the ability to understand a map, paper or digital. Plan a scavenger hunt in your yard with a treasure at the end, and let your child be the leader. If you have older children, give geocaching a try!

Hammer a Nail.

Learning some basic home repair skills at an early age can come in handy (pun intended) when your child becomes a homeowner or apartment dweller. Assist your child with hammering nails into a board, teach them how to change a light bulb, plunge a toilet, paint a room or any other items on the to-do list. You’ll feel accomplished to check-off your list and your child will pick-up some great skills. It’s a win-win!

Clean the bathroom.

Much like lessons in home improvement and laundry, some basic cleaning skills will serve as lifelong tools for your child. Ask them to help with the dishes, pick-up toys, vacuum the rugs, clean the windows and the bathroom. Be sure an adult supervises children while cleaning and use products that are safe for children.

Balance a bank account.

This is a great way to teach math without having to learn elementary school math. Create a play store, give your kids some money and help them learn about spending and saving.

Plant a garden.

Find an area of your yard where your child can create their garden. Work together to clean the area, remove weeds and prepare the dirt to receive plants or seeds in the coming weeks. If you have the supplies needed, start seeds growing in a window now. The responsibility and reward of planting and caring for a garden throughout the summer are wonderful lessons for children and adults alike.

Manage a schedule.

Ask you child to create their own schedule. How do they want to structure their day? What’s important to them? Help them learn to balance free time or play time with work time. Getting work done is important, but learning to balance work with leisure will give them skills to manage their stress levels in adulthood.

Good Dog!

Owning a dog may be good for your health.

If you’re a dog person, you are familiar with the warmth a pup can bring into a home. Dogs are always happy to see “their person” and provide endless affection and joy. It tuns out, they do all that and more – owning a dog may actually be good for your health. According to the CDC, some of the health benefits of pet ownership include: decreased blood pressure, decreased cholesterol and triglyceride levels, reduced depression, and improved physical health. Owning a dog is not the sole answer to reducing heart disease or high blood pressure, but it may be a practical part of your overall strategy. So, how do those puppy dog eyes positively impact a person’s health? Read on for four ways a four-legged friend may improve your overall wellbeing.

Get and stay active. There are few things to motivate someone to get off the couch and take a walk like a whining dog. Dog owners are more likely to meet fitness recommendations each week than a person that does not own a dog. Whether taking the pup for a walk, or stepping outside to toss a tennis ball, dogs motivate their owners to get active.

Reduce stress. Dog are trained to be therapy or service animals for a reason. They have been found to reduce anxiety and blood pressure and increase serotonin and dopamine (neurochemicals that boost your mood and overall wellbeing).  

Improve your mood. Dogs may even help keep depression at bay. In addition to increasing serotonin and dopamine, they provide structure and meaning to their owner’s life (as an owner, you must get up in the morning to walk or let your dog out), encourage socialization and prevent isolation and loneliness. For some, having the structure and companionship of a pooch can help protect against cognitive decline and depression.  

Benefits for kids. There is evidence that exposure to a pet at a young age may lower the risk of becoming allergic to animals later in life. Little ones may even develop a stronger immune system. Dogs also present an opportunity for children to learn about responsibility, empathy and independence.


While dogs provide several health benefits, there are also risks associated with having a dog in your home. Dogs and other pets cause a number of falls each year, especially for older adults or people with mobility issues. If you’re considering adopting a dog, chat with your doctor first.

Toy Buying Tips

Pediatrician-approved gifts for every child

The official kickoff to holiday shopping is just days away. Before you check-off your child’s wish list, check-out some pediatrician-approved gifts that every kid will love!

Pretend.

When a child is given the freedom to play without rules or guidelines, their imagination will take over. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) said it best: “Pretending through toy characters (such as dolls, animals, and action figures) and toy objects (like food, utensils, cars, planes, and buildings) help children learn to use words and stories to imitate, describe, and cope with real life events and feelings. Imagination is the key here! Imaginary play is a large part of a child’s social and emotional development.”

Pretend Shopping List:

  • Play kitchen with accessories (food, utensils, plates, etc.)
  • Vehicles (diggers, cars, emergency vehicles, planes, etc.)
  • Dress-up clothing and accessories
  • Microphone
  • Chalk board

Assembly required.

A simple puzzle holds so many benefits for a young mind – problem-solving, fine motor, language and cognitive skills. Looks for age and developmentally appropriate building blocks, puzzles, train tracks.

Assembly Required Shopping List

  • Building Blocks
  • Puzzles
  • Train tracks
  • Magnet tiles

Art

It’s amazing to see what kids are capable of without restrictions. Consider give an art basket to build their creativity and fine motor skills.

Art Shopping List:

  • Crayons/Markers/Color Pencils
  • Age appropriate paints
  • For older children, encourage them to try new media like oil pastels, chalk pastels, ink, etc.
  • Blank sketch books (try different sizes, large and small)
  • Glue
  • Kid-friendly scissors
  • Clay
  • Art accessories: pipe cleaners, pom poms, tissue paper, stickers and anything else you can think of!

Skip the video games.

There are educational apps and video games that work to teach the ABCs, but what they are missing – creative thinking, emotional development and impulse control – are much more important factors in the healthy development of your child. According to the AMA, Research suggests tablet-based toys may actually delay social development for infants and young children, because they don’t include real life facial expressions, gestures, and vocalizations.

Skip the Video Games Shopping List:

  • Match games
  • Card games
  • Board games
  • Age and interest appropriate Books
  • Magazine subscription
  • Busy board with a variety of locks and latches

Play!

Especially in the winter months, getting physical activity is so important – for kids and grown-ups alike! Not only does it help to develop good habits for later in life, but being physically active also holds benefits for emotional health.

Play! Shopping List:

  • Hula hoop
  • Sports gear (football, baseball, basketball – choose based on what interests your child)
  • Twister
  • Indoor bowling set
  • Yoga mat paired with child appropriate exercise classes or DVDs
  • Roller blades (don’t forget the helmet and pads)
  • Gym shoes
  • Push and riding toys for little ones just walking

IHA Urgent Care locations are open on holidays! Don’t spend your holiday waiting in a waiting room. Save your spot in line at an Urgent Care location near you, and wait at home.

Fall Back (without falling apart)

Helping your child adjust to the time change

Even though we gain an hour in the fall time change, it can have an impact on sleep schedules for parents and children alike.  The sleep periods don’t move, but the time does. So, a child that normally sleeps from 8:00 pm to 6:00 am, will now come bouncing out of their room at 5:00 am. Ouch. What can you do to help your child (and yourself) adjust to daylight savings time? Start with these 4 steps:

  1. Adjust schedules.

Put your child to bed a half hour later than usual, to prepare for falling back an hour. For a teenager, time changes can be especially difficult. Encourage them to stick to their original schedule and get to be an hour earlier than the clock reads (at their original time). Also, clear your schedule the day after a time change to make the transition a little easier on everyone in your house.

2. Get ready to get up!

You know your little ones are going to be ready to roll an hour earlier than usual. Do yourself a favor, and get to sleep at your normal bedtime, so you are ready to roll when they are (or as ready as possible).

3. Be patient.

Gaining an hour is much easier than losing one, but we still feel a stress on our minds and bodies. Be patient with yourself and your kids.

4. Routines rule!

Kids do well with routines, especially when things are changing around them. Keep consistent and stick with your typical routine to help them adjust mentally and physically to their new schedule.

If you have concerns about your child’s sleep schedule, don’t lose sleep! Reach out to your pediatrician or pediatric provider for some help.

It’s easy to schedule an appointment with your pediatric provider – simply visit our online appointment tool, scroll to find your pediatric provider, and click to schedule an appointment at a time that works for your family!

Make An Appointment