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Archive for March, 2011

Podcast: Herbs to increase your milk supply, with Motherlove founder Kathryn Higgins

We’re very happy to share a podcast interview with Motherlove Herbal Company founder and owner Kathryn Higgins on galactagogues – herbs to increase milk supply!

Kathryn talked with Tanya about several commonly used herbs to increase milk supply, herbs that are particularly helpful for mothers who have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or had little breast growth in pregnancy, and herbs that are safe to take while pregnant.  She explained which forms of herbs (liquid extracts, capsules, teas) are most effective, and discussed some common herbs and foods which lower milk supply.  She even shared the Greek myth that gave us the word galaxy and galactagogues (hint: when you look up at the night sky, think milk!).

A nationally recognized herbalist, author, and teacher, with 35 years of personal and professional experience, Kathryn Higgins is the founder and visionary behind Motherlove Herbal Company.   While pregnant with her first child Kathryn began to gather herbs from her home in the Rocky Mountains to make teas, oils, baths and liquid herbal extracts that would support her own child birth experience.  In 1990, while pregnant with her third child, Kathryn founded Motherlove.  She remains a lecturer and teacher on the use of herbs, and is the author of the Pocket Guide to Wild Edible and Medicinal Plants.

You can listen to the conversation using the player below, listen with Quicktime, or download it for free at Motherlove’s iTunes store

Motherlove Nipple Cream Tested on Nursing Bras and Pads

Nipple Cream

Meet two small business owners who know a lot about breastfeeding: Nicole Zoellner, owner of Nizo Wear and the inventor of the painless nursing bra, and Catherine Bolden, the woman behind The Willow Store and organic nursing pads.

While Motherlove Nipple Cream is effective in quickly relieving the discomfort of sore, cracked nursing nipples, it’s also a great choice for nursing bras and nipple pads. To better understand how the Nipple Cream interacts with fabric, we asked Nicole and Catherine agreed to test the salve on their respective products.

Here are the results:

Nizo Wear Nursing Bras:

Nizo Wear Nursing Bra

We tested  the Motherlove Nipple Cream on our Solace style nursing bra, which is a soft cup nursing bra comprised of 90% cotton, 10% spandex. (Our Allure style nursing bra is lined with cotton as well so results would be similar.)

  1. We tested the two cups separately so we could try different techniques. The two techniques were machine washing and hand washing.
  2. In the left cup we generously applied the Nipple Cream directly to the fabric. We let it stand for about a week (being realistic that sometimes it may lay in the hamper for that long when you have a new baby in the house). We then washed the bra in a washing machine and let it air dry.
  3. Once that was dry, we applied more cream directly on the first cup. On the other side (right cup), we applied the cream to our skin and then rubbed it onto the cup, which is realistically how it would work. We then hand-washed in Soak; a specialized rinse free, non-toxic detergent for delicates. Washing this way is very easy because you simply place the bra into cool water with Soak and let sit for 15 minutes. We gently squeezed the bra and let air dry again.

We experienced slightly different results between the cups. Both cups had some slight discoloration. But, I have never tried a nipple cream that did not leave any trace. Obviously the first cup had more discoloration as we liberally globbed the cream directly on the fabric. But surprisingly, neither side felt clogged with product. Both cups feel product free from the touch and appear to maintain its breath-ability. On, the right cup you can barely see the discoloration.

Overall, we are really pleased with the results we saw from the Nipple Cream. It feels really light, yet when on, you can see the layer of product and feel how it softens.

The Willow Store Nursing Pads:

Willow Sprouts Organic Cotton Nursing Pad

We tested the Motherlove Nipple Cream extensively. Whether we used a little or a lot, or simply placed a large amount on our Organic Cotton Nursing Pad, we were happy to find that it washed out of the nursing pad very well, and was not sticky. It did not reduce the absorbency of the pad at all, and had no discoloration of the pads (this has been a common problem with other creams). I was happy to note that the cream soaked into skin well, and surprisingly fast. It was not greasy, and had little scent to it. I was very happy to try this cream, and will definitely recommend it to our customers!

Can you talk a little about how to use nipple cream pre-birth and while nursing?

I primarily recommend using nipple cream after baby is born. It’s pretty simple to use, just take a small amount on the tip of your finger and apply to the nipple area. Motherlove’s Nipple Cream soaks into the skin, so there’s no need to wipe it off prior to feeding baby, and it’s less sticky on sensitive skin between feedings. Not having to remove the cream is a great bonus, especially when you have a hungry babe waiting!

How can the use of nipple cream affect breast pad use? Are there any ingredients to avoid in a nipple cream?

Certain nursing creams are not recommended to be used with nursing pads, especially reusable. We always recommend a cream that soaks into the skin as opposed to a barrier type, as barrier types can coat the nursing pad and reduce absorbency. Things to avoid would be heavy oils, and anything that is not safe for babies to consume.

Why should materials in bras, nursing pads and mama cloth be breathable, and what materials are breathable? What materials should moms avoid?

Thrush, or candida (yeast) infections are very common in moist, dark areas on people. With nursing, having your milk, which is a great food for yeast and other bacteria to grow because it is so rich in nutrients, it is even more important than other skin areas to be kept clean and dry.

Using natural fibers of any kind increases the airflow and inhibits the growth of bacteria and yeast, etc. The rationale is very similar to the recommendations that women receive for vaginal infections, and similar causes. It is best to avoid synthetic fabrics whenever possible. If you need to have the extra protection of a waterproof nursing pad, that is fine, but try to rotate them in with a natural fiber when you swap nursing pads, so that you give your breasts a chance to air out more and reduce the likelihood of infection. Another thing to note is that when a nursing pad is wet, it should be changed.

Whether you use disposable or reusable, natural fibers or synthetics, once your nursing pad is soiled, it is best to change it! Frequent changes decreases the chances of contamination and infection greatly. Also, choosing a Organic Hemp Fleece Nursing Pad means that you get super absorbency in a discreet, trim pad, with all the benefits of natural fibers.

**Note From Motherlove:
We have had customers report discoloration on several brands of nursing pads, the materials used in the construction of the pads seem to contribute to varying amounts of discoloration. Although there was no discoloration noted during the testing of Nipple Cream with this brand of nursing pads, you may experience slight discoloration on other brands.

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