What Is Chlorella?
Chlorella is a single-cell algae that grows wild in ponds and rivers in East Asia. The algae is gathered, dried and made into supplements. It provides nine different essential amino acids, minerals, vitamins and more protein than spinach, rice and soy beans. Chlorella has been used to improve metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, blood pressure abnormalities and body fat. It helps the body to remove toxins and improve the digestion. In Britain, some doctors are using it to boost the immune system.
A study in Japan followed 35 breast-feeding mothers. Eighteen of them took chlorella supplements and were compared to the rest. Breast milk from mothers who supplemented with chlorella had higher concentrations of Immunoglobulin A (IgA), which is an antibody. These antibodies help prevent viruses, bacteria and fungus from creating infections. IgA, in particular, helps protect the surfaces of the body that are exposed to foreign substances like the nose, digestive tract, eyes, ears, saliva and tears. This is a big advantage to young babies.
The Japanese study showed that dioxins, a toxin that is prevalent in all modern human environments, is excreted to the baby through breast milk. The mother absorbs the toxin from her environment through her skin, respirations and diet. Chlorella supplementation actually decreased the dioxin amounts in the breast milk, making the milk safer for babies.
According to Hilary Jacobson, in her book, "Mother Food for Breastfeeding Mothers," chlorella can also help remove any mercury deposits in the body. Mercury can come from eating certain fish known to contain mercury, such as tuna, or from amalgam dental fillings as well as other environmental sources. Mercury is a heavy metal that destroys the nervous system over time. Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt, a recognized expert on heavy metal toxicity, suggests chlorella may help rid the body of mercury. He suggests that if a mother cannot tolerate the chlorella, sauerkraut may be substituted to bind the mercury in her intestines.
All sources warn that full detoxification of the body should not be undertaken during pregnancy or breast-feeding. When taking chlorella, women should follow the advice of a medical or nutritional professional so they don't ingest too much and trigger a major detox.
Wear a well-fitting, supportive bra. A sports bra can be helpful. Your breasts will likely be full and sore for a bit, so you want a bra that will offer good support and minimize rubbing and bouncing. However, do not bind your breasts with cloth bandages, as an old wives' tale dictates. A supportive bra should do the trick.
Apply ice packs to your breasts to help stop milk production. Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinics suggest using ice packs on breasts for 5 to 15 minutes at a time several times a day after nursing or expressing milk.
Nurse your baby just enough to relieve engorgement and discomfort, advises Breastfeeding Basics. It may keep your milk production going a little longer than stopping cold turkey, but it will be less painful for you. So instead of giving your baby a full feeding of breast milk, nurse for several minutes and then stop and give your child a bottle. If your baby will no longer take the breast, express a small amount of milk to relieve the discomfort, either by hand or with a breast pump.
Insert cold cabbage leaves into your bra. Wash fresh leaves and remove the hard stem in the center, then refrigerate. Put the leaves in your bra against your breast, leaving your nipple uncovered by the leaf. Change the leaves whenever they wilt, usually in approximately 30 minutes to 2 hours. Keep doing this until the engorgement dissipates.
Things You Will Need
- Supportive bra
- Ice packs
- Cabbage Leaves
When trying to dry up your milk supply, try to avoid breast stimulation as much as possible. For instance, warm water in the shower can cause your milk to start, as can sexual stimulation from your partner.
Keep an eye out for breast problems while waiting for your milk production to cease -- for instance, breast lumps, sore spots or signs of infection, like redness, fever or chills.
Pour the breast milk into a refrigerator- or freezer-safe container. You can use bottles or hard plastic cups with screw-on caps, or pre-sterilized nursing bags, advises The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Use containers that are designed specifically for storing breast milk. Because breast milk cannot be refrozen once it has thawed, pour no more than the equivalent of one feeding into each container.
Write your baby's name on a sticker label if you'll be taking the storage container to daycare and attach the sticker to the bottle. Choose labels that peel off easily to make washing and reusing the bottle a little easier. Some disposable breast milk storage bags have a place for you to write your child's name. If so, write your baby's name prior to pouring the breast milk into the storage bag.
Record the date and time that you expressed the milk on the label. Breast milk can be stored in the fridge for up to 48 hours but can be stored in the freezer for at least three months, advises the American Academy of Pediatrics. If you are using breast milk storage bags, write the date and time prior to pouring the milk into the bag.
Place the breast milk storage containers near the back of the freezer, recommends the American Academy of Pediatrics. The freezer door is more susceptible to temperature changes when the door is opened and closed. Place the newest containers behind the older ones to make sure you use the breast milk before it expires.
Things You Will Need
- Breast milk storage containers
- Sticker labels
There are a variety of safe plastic bottles available, but be sure to check each label to ensure it is Bisphenol A (BPA)-free. While most plastic bottles that contained BPA were recalled or pulled from store shelves, you can never be too careful when it comes to your baby's health and safety.
Talk to your daycare provider about any additional labeling requirements at the facility.
Benefits of Bags
The sole purpose of a breast milk collection bag is to store your milk until your baby is ready to drink it. The bags give you a convenient place to store expressed milk if you don't plan to use it right away. Breast milk storage bags are heavy-duty and are designed to withstand the cold temperature of your refrigerator and the frigid temperatures of your freezer.
They've Gotta Be Clean
Most retail stores that stock baby gear sell breast milk storage bags. While the brand or style of bag shouldn't be of concern, sterility should. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you must store your milk in sterile collection bags. Bags sold specifically for the purpose of storing expressed breast milk are sterile and safe for you to collect your milk in. Other sterile, sealable bags can serve the same purpose, according to FamilyDoctor.org, but you must ensure they are sterile before using them.
What Not to Use
It may seem like any old sealable bag would work to store your milk, and that's true, but it doesn't mean it's safe. Don't store your milk in zip-top food storage bags because you can't be sure they're sterile. They also don't all seal tightly, which means you'll could have leaky bags on your hands. The same goes for formula bags used in baby bottles. While these are sterile, they don't seal as tightly, which can cause leaking in your refrigerator or freezer.
More to Think About
Bags tend to take up less space than bottles and other storage containers, which is a benefit if you're short on space to store your expressed breast milk. Breast milk storage bags aren't designed for long-term use, however, according to MayoClinic.com. If you plan on storing your milk for weeks or months, consider using sterile bottles instead. At the very least, place the bag of milk in a storage container because it's likely to stay fresh longer. The nutrients in breast milk tend to stick to the sides of plastic bags if they're stored for a long time, which means the milk won't be as nutritious for your little one, according to MayoClinic.com.
How Often to Express Milk
There is no one answer to the question of how often to express breast milk. The timing varies depending on how often your baby eats, whether you are spending blocks of time away from your baby and how much milk you are producing. Your body meets the demand that you and your baby set for milk: the more you feed and pump, the more you produce. So if you are in a situation where you need to store milk for feeding while you are away, you should be pumping as often as you can.
Shelf Life of Breast Milk
Freshly expressed milk can be kept at room temperature for up to six hours, according to MayoClinic.com. If you know you will be using the milk within this time, keeping it at room temperature is easier for feeding, as you don't have to worry about refrigerating and reheating. Make sure to keep freshly expressed milk in a sealed container, and if you realize you will not be feeding your baby within that time frame, get it into the refrigerator as soon as possible.
The Benefits of Refrigeration
Freshly expressed milk can be stored in the refrigerator for five to eight days, according to MayoClinic.com, and can be a safer bet than keeping the milk at room temperature. If you find yourself suffering from "mom" brain -- the forgetfulness that often befalls new moms due to lack of sleep -- then put the milk in the fridge. It's easy to forget that you have left it out, and if left out too long, it needs to be discarded. When storing milk in refrigerator, make sure to store it in the back of the refrigerator and never on the door.
If you decide not to store milk at room temperature, it should be reheated before feeding. Milk should be heated to barely lukewarm, resembling the temperature that it is when it leaves the body. Never heat milk in the microwave, as this type of heating is uneven and can create pockets of very hot milk that can burn your baby's mouth. It's best to put the milk in a bottle or breast milk storage bag and submerge in hot water until it reaches the right temperature.
Fenugreek is a spice that has been used for years to stimulate milk flow in regions of Africa and the Middle East. Most health food stores sell fenugreek capsules that contain ground seeds. The recommended dose is one to three capsules three times a day, though the dosage needed can vary from mother to mother. Fenugreek is also found in mother's milk tea, which can be effective through drinking several cups a day. Nursing mothers can get results from taking fenugreek supplements as soon as 24 hours after taking the herb. Mothers with diabetes or hypoglycemia should take fenugreek with care because it can significantly affect blood sugar levels.
Blessed thistle is an herb that is also used as a galactagogue -- something that can stimulate or increase production of milk. This herb can be found in capsule and tincture form. While some manufacturers of blessed thistle tincture warn nursing mothers against use because the tincture is made using alcohol, the amount of alcohol that manifests in breast milk from tincture consumption is not large enough to have an effect on babies. The recommended dosage for blessed thistle is up to three capsules three times a day or 20 drops of tincture three times a day. Many certified breastfeeding educators suggest taking blessed thistle in combination with fenugreek.
Fennel is helpful in stimulating the let-down reflex -- the nerve stimulation that causes breast milk to move from the glands into the milk ducts. Many mothers who have returned to work and are having trouble have found help by taking fennel. Like blessed thistle, fennel can be found in both capsule and tincture form. Fennel is best used as a tincture when 2 to 4 milliliters are taken up to three times a day. Taken regularly, this herb can act as an appetite suppressant, so nursing mothers should carefully monitor their eating habits and caloric intake while using fennel.
Alfalfa is a milder herb that can be used to stimulate or increase milk production. Nursing mothers who are only having a little trouble producing milk should consider using alfalfa before trying a stronger galactagogue. This herb can be purchased in capsule or tablet form at health food and vitamin stores. The recommended dose for alfalfa is 1 to 4 capsules or tablets three times a day.