Deciding to Breastfeed or Formula Feed: Making the Best Choice for You and Your Baby

Deciding to Breastfeed or Formula Feed: Making the Best Choice for You and Your Baby

The decision to breastfeed or formula feed your newborn is a significant choice that many expectant parents grapple with. Each method has its own set of advantages and considerations, and the decision ultimately depends on what aligns best with your lifestyle, health needs, and personal preferences. In this article, we’ll explore the key factors to consider when making this important decision and at Lactation Room, our team of IBCLCs understands this is a personal choice and is here to support you along your journey.

Benefits of Breastfeeding:

Breast milk is often touted as nature’s perfect food for infants, and for good reason. It contains a unique blend of nutrients, antibodies, and hormones that support a baby’s optimal growth and development1. Some of the benefits of breastfeeding include:

  1. Nutritional Superiority: Breast milk is rich in essential nutrients that are easily digestible and tailored to the baby’s changing needs. It contains antibodies that boost the baby’s immune system, protecting against infections and illnesses2.
  2. Bonding: Breastfeeding fosters a strong emotional bond between mother and baby. The skin-to-skin contact and close proximity during feeding promote a deep connection that can have lasting effects3.
  3. Digestive Health: Breast milk is gentle on a baby’s developing digestive system, reducing the likelihood of constipation, gas, and other digestive issues4.
  4. Long-term Health Benefits: Studies suggest that breastfed babies have a reduced risk of certain health conditions, such as allergies, asthma, obesity, and even some chronic diseases later in life5.

Considerations for Breastfeeding:

While breastfeeding offers numerous advantages, it’s important to be aware of the potential challenges:

  1. Time and Demands: Breastfeeding requires a significant time commitment, especially in the first few months. Mothers need to be available for frequent feedings, which can sometimes feel overwhelming.
  2. Physical Discomfort: Some mothers experience sore nipples, engorgement, and other physical discomforts during the initial days of breastfeeding. These issues often subside and improve with the support and guidance from your IBCLC.
  3. Public Feeding: Breastfeeding in public can sometimes be met with discomfort so determining your level of comfort with feeding your baby in an open setting is important before you have planned outings. Making a feeding plan can reduce worry.
  4. Mother’s Health: Certain health conditions or medications may make breastfeeding challenging or unsafe for the mother and baby. It’s crucial to consult with an IBCLC prenatally before making a decision.

Advantages of Formula Feeding:

Formula feeding provides an alternative that can be a practical choice for some families. Some of the benefits of formula feeding include:

  1. Flexibility: Formula feeding allows both parents to share the feeding responsibilities, providing more flexibility in the daily routine.
  2. Quantifiable Intake: With formula feeding, you can easily monitor the amount of milk your baby is consuming, which can be reassuring for parents when the baby needs to have intake volume monitored.
  3. Scheduled Feedings: Formula-fed babies often have more predictable feeding schedules, which can make planning outings and routines more manageable but remember babies are on their own timeclock and feedings cannot always be scheduled.

Considerations for Formula Feeding:

While formula feeding offers its own set of advantages, there are also considerations to keep in mind:

  1. Nutritional Differences: While infant formulas are designed to mimic the composition of breast milk, they lack some of the unique components that provide natural immunity and other health benefits.
  2. Cost and Preparation: Formula feeding can be more expensive over time due to the ongoing cost of formula. Additionally, formula preparation requires careful attention to hygiene and measuring to ensure proper nutrition.
  3. Allergies and Digestion: Some babies might have trouble digesting certain formulas or could be allergic to the proteins they contain.
  4. Bonding: While formula feeding still allows for bonding between caregiver and baby, the physical closeness and direct skin-to-skin contact of breastfeeding may not be as pronounced.

Making the Decision:

Ultimately, the decision to breastfeed or formula feed should be based on what works best for you, your baby, and your family’s circumstances. It’s important to be well-informed about both options and to consider your personal health, lifestyle, and emotional well-being. Many mothers find that a combination of both methods can be a suitable compromise that meets their needs and their baby’s needs.

Before making a decision, consult with a Lactation Room IBCLC, and they can provide valuable insight and guidance. Remember that there is no one-size-fits-all answer, and what matters most is the well-being and happiness of both you and your baby. Whatever choice you make, feeding time is an opportunity to bond, nourish, and cherish the special moments with your baby.

1. American Academy of Pediatrics. (2012). Breastfeeding and the Use of Human Milk. Pediatrics, 129(3), e827-e841.
2. Hanson, L. A. (2004). Breastfeeding provides passive and likely long-lasting active immunity. Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, 93(Supplement 1), S33-S37. 
3. Feldman, R. (2007). Parent–infant synchrony and the construction of shared timing; physiological precursors, developmental outcomes, and risk conditions. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 48(3-4), 329-354. 
4. Lucas, A., & Cole, T. J. (1990). Breast milk and neonatal necrotising enterocolitis. The Lancet, 336(8730), 1519-1523.
5. Victora, C. G., Bahl, R., Barros, A. J., França, G. V., Horton, S., Krasevec, J., … & Rollins, N. C. (2016). Breastfeeding in the 21st century: epidemiology, mechanisms, and lifelong effect. The Lancet, 387(10017), 475-490.
Nourishing the Journey: Prenatal and Postnatal Nutrition’s Crucial Role in Breastfeeding Success

Nourishing the Journey: Prenatal and Postnatal Nutrition’s Crucial Role in Breastfeeding Success

Breastfeeding is a remarkable journey that provides infants with vital nutrients, antibodies, and a strong foundation for healthy development. Prenatal and postnatal nutrition plays a pivotal role in ensuring the success and sustainability of breastfeeding just as pregnancy is critical to feeding your unborn baby to help them grow. These are demanding times for the body and keeping the parent healthy is key. A well-balanced and nutrient-rich diet during both pregnancy and lactation is essential to support the mother’s health and to provide optimal nourishment for the newborn by focusing on postpartum nutrition

Prenatal Nutrition: Laying the Foundation

The importance of prenatal nutrition in relation to breastfeeding cannot be overstated. Adequate maternal nutrition during pregnancy sets the stage for successful breastfeeding and use of prenatal vitamins is a piece of that nutrition plan to stay healthy. Nutrient intake during this period influences breast tissue development, ensuring that the mammary glands are primed for milk production. Key nutrients such as protein, calcium, iron, and omega-3 fatty acids are necessary for both maternal health and the optimal growth of the developing fetus. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that pregnant women consume a balanced diet including a variety of nutrient-rich foods to support their own well-being as well as the health of their future child.

Postnatal Nutrition: Sustaining Lactation

The journey doesn’t end after birth – postnatal nutrition is equally important. Lactation requires a substantial amount of energy and nutrients, as breastfeeding mothers produce approximately 25 ounces of milk daily. Nutritional deficiencies can affect milk quality and quantity, potentially compromising the infant’s growth and development. Adequate calorie intake, hydration, and a balanced diet are crucial during this phase. The World Health Organization (WHO) emphasizes the significance of maintaining maternal nutrition during lactation to ensure a consistent and nutritious milk supply. 

Crucial Nutrients for Breastfeeding

Several nutrients hold particular importance for breastfeeding mothers. Protein supports milk production and tissue repair, while calcium and vitamin D are essential for bone health and development. Iron is necessary to prevent maternal anemia and ensure proper oxygen transport to both the mother and the infant. Omega-3 fatty acids contribute to the infant’s neurological development. 

Prenatal and postpartum nutrition are the cornerstones of successful breastfeeding. At Lactation Room, our Registered Dietician and IBCLC, will sit with you and ensure you are well prepared and learn how to support your needs and along with the baby. A well-nourished mother is better equipped to meet her own needs while providing the essential nutrients required for optimal infant development. As recommended by healthcare organizations worldwide, maintaining a balanced and nutrient-rich diet during pregnancy and lactation not only ensures the well-being of the mother but also contributes to the lifelong health of her child. The journey of breastfeeding is a testament to the incredible bond between mother and child – nourishing it with proper nutrition lays the foundation for a healthy start to life. Schedule your personalized consultation now.

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. (2015). Nutrition During Pregnancy. ACOG Committee Opinion No. 650. Obstetrics & Gynecology, 125(6), 1479-1485.
World Health Organization. (2003). Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding. World Health Organization.
Ballard, O., & Morrow, A. L. (2013). Human Milk Composition: Nutrients and Bioactive Factors. Pediatric Clinics, 60(1), 49-74.
The Joys and Challenges of Breastfeeding Twins:  Nurturing Two Little Ones Simultaneously

The Joys and Challenges of Breastfeeding Twins: Nurturing Two Little Ones Simultaneously

by Jenny Busbey, BSN, RN, IBCLC


Breastfeeding is a beautiful and natural way for mothers to nourish and bond with their babies. While it can be an incredible experience, breastfeeding twins presents a unique set of joys and challenges. The journey of breastfeeding two little ones simultaneously requires patience and a committed support system. In this article, we will explore the benefits of breastfeeding twins, practical tips to make the process smoother, and how to overcome common obstacles along the way.

Breastfeeding twins offers numerous benefits, both for the babies and the mother. Firstly, breast milk provides tailored nutrition that adapts to the needs of each individual baby. It contains essential nutrients, antibodies, and enzymes that boost their immune systems and support their overall development. Breast milk also lowers the risk of various illnesses, including respiratory and gastrointestinal infections, and contributes to better long-term health outcomes.

For the parent, breastfeeding stimulates the release of oxytocin, a hormone that promotes bonding and helps reduce postpartum bleeding. It also aids in shrinking the uterus and assists with weight loss after childbirth. Additionally, breastfeeding twins can be a time-efficient option compared to bottle feeding, as it eliminates the need for preparation and sterilization of bottles, saving both time and money.

Practical Tips for Breastfeeding Twins:

Establish a routine

Creating a breastfeeding schedule that works for both babies can be immensely helpful. Try to feed them simultaneously whenever possible, as it can save time and allow you to rest in between feedings. This can take some time, practice, and persistence. The more you practice with positioning and holds, the more comfortable it will get. As babies mature and get stronger they will need less support with latching and staying latched while feeding.

Get comfortable

Find a comfortable and supportive nursing position. Experiment with different holds, such as the double-cradle, football, or combination hold, to determine what works best for you and your babies. Having a support person is very beneficial in the first few weeks to months while you practice positions and holds to help you with latching the second baby while the first baby is nursing.

Seek assistance

Reach out to an IBCLC, lactation consultant, specializing in multiples. They can provide valuable guidance, tips, and support tailored to your specific needs. Having the professional support of a lactation consultant can make all the difference in the beginning and help you to achieve breastfeeding twins.

Utilize breastfeeding aids

Consider using breastfeeding pillows or twin nursing pillows to support your babies and provide additional comfort during feedings. These aids can help position the babies properly, reducing strain on your back, arms, and neck. Twin pillows are larger than the average nursing pillow and can help support both babies so you can breastfeed both babies tandemly.

Pumping and storing milk

Expressing breast milk using a pump can be beneficial, allowing others to assist with feedings and providing flexibility in your routine. Invest in a quality breast pump or rent a hospital-grade pump and review proper storage techniques to ensure the milk remains safe for consumption. Be sure to work closely with your lactation consultant when reviewing breast pumps and creating a schedule for pumping, if needed for your little ones. Hospital-grade rental pumps, such as the Medela Symphony, are recommended in the first few months to help establish a milk supply and are very important if you are separated from either one or both babies. 

Overcoming Challenges

Nipple soreness

A proper latch is crucial to prevent nipple soreness. Seek assistance from an IBCLC to ensure both babies latch correctly, avoiding pain and discomfort.

Low milk supply

Breastfeeding twins often requires a higher milk supply. To boost production, ensure you are drinking plenty of water, eating a nutritious diet (at least 500 calories extra per day), and considering herbal supplements, as advised by your lactation consultant.


Breastfeeding twins can be demanding, and fatigue is common. Remember to prioritize self-care, rest whenever possible, and accept help from family members, friends, or a partner to lighten the load. Your job as a new mom is to feed your babies and get proper rest, all of the other responsibilities of the household should be carried by your support people in the first weeks after delivery.

Breastfeeding twins is a fulfilling and nurturing experience that brings immeasurable joy to both mother and babies. It may present challenges, but with patience, support, and the right tools, breastfeeding twins can be a rewarding journey. Remember to stay connected with professionals and support networks who can guide and encourage you along the way. Embrace this special time with your twins, cherishing the beautiful bond that breastfeeding fosters while providing them with the many benefits of breast milk.

2023 DC/Maryland Breastfeeding-Friendly Awards

2023 DC/Maryland Breastfeeding-Friendly Awards

The D.C. and Maryland Breastfeeding Coalitions are excited to announce the 2023 recipients of their Breastfeeding-Friendly Awards! Awardees were recognized at a ceremony today.

This year’s Awardees:


  • Busy Bees Childcare – Church Hill, MD
  • Homewood Early Learning Center – Baltimore, MD
  • UPO @ Frederick Douglass – Washington, DC


  • Children’s Choice Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics – Washington, DC and New Carrollton, MD
  • Healthy Home Pediatrics – Washington, DC
  • Lactation Room – Mt. Airy, MD
  • Strong Ties – Rockville, MD


  • Children’s Choice Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics – Washington, DC and New Carrollton, MD
  • Homewood Early Learning Center – Baltimore, MD – Childcare and Workplace Award

“Every current and past awardee is a role model for our region. We are proud to honor them all.” says Dr. Dana Silver, Past President of the Maryland Breastfeeding Coalition. DCBFC and MBC are nonprofit organizations, which unite breastfeeding advocates, healthcare providers, and families. They provide a forum for the development and exchange of resources and foster the establishment of breastfeeding as the normal way to nurture infants. Since 2010, the Breastfeeding-Friendly Workplace Award has been granted to well over 140 businesses, recognizing demonstrated support for breastfeeding through a conducive office environment.

“Despite federal and local requirements, some nursing mothers still do not receive sufficient support from their employers. These awards highlight and applaud businesses, childcare providers, and healthcare providers who are doing their best to support women in DC and Maryland,”

says Dr. Jessica Nash, Co-Secretary of the DC Breastfeeding Coalition.

Our Workplace Award recognizes businesses that have demonstrated support for breastfeeding through a conducive office environment. Our Healthcare Professional Awards, which began in 2014, recognize demonstrated support for breastfeeding in the office, along with education of fellow healthcare professionals, office staff, and families. Lastly, our Childcare Provider Award, launched in 2021, acknowledges the critical role daycare providers play in supporting breastfeeding. Based on the number of amenities and processes in place to support breastfeeding, nominees received the tiered awards at a gold, silver, or bronze level.

For more information on the DC/Maryland Breastfeeding-Friendly Awards program, contact Dr. Dana Silver ( or Dr. Jessica Nash ( ). Please also see web stories and photos of the Workplace Award recipients on our websites, and

A Lactation Consultant can bring comfort to your breastfeeding

A Lactation Consultant can bring comfort to your breastfeeding

Breastfeeding can be hard for new parents. It can sometimes also feel like a lonely journey. In many cases, even with the help of family, friends and trained medical personnel, there are still obstacles that can arise that make breastfeeding a struggle. Lactation Consultants provide the support you need to navigate these challenges.

What is a Lactation Consultant?

Lactation consultants are experts on breastfeeding and lactation management who provide one-to-one support to parents and families in their breastfeeding journey. They are typically certified lactation consultants, International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLC), or healthcare professionals such as Registered Nurses, Midwives or Doulas. They also have extensive knowledge and experience working with pregnant women and new parents.

Who needs a Lactation Consultant?

Lactation consultants work with families experiencing breastfeeding challenges. They can also work with new and expecting parents who are preparing to breastfeed. They are experienced and skilled professionals who are knowledgeable in the latest research on lactation, infant nutrition, breastfeeding techniques, pumping and storage of breast milk, maternal nutrition, and other related topics. In addition, lactation consultants offer personalized advice that helps mothers overcome all types of breastfeeding challenges and work to support families meet their goals.

Are breastfeeding challenges common?

Contrary to popular belief, breastfeeding challenges are very common. Over 70% of new mothers report experiencing some degree of difficulty. But experiencing challenges doesn’t mean breastfeeding should stop. Working with a professional such as a lactation consultant can help improve the simplest to most complex issues. They help educate parents and families how to manage life with a new baby who needs to be fed, ways to support or improve milk production, or how to use a breast pump.

What kind of challenges do lactation consultants help with?

Latching difficulties– Latching difficulty happens when it’s hard for a baby to latch onto the parent’s breast. It makes it difficult for the baby to get enough milk. Latching difficulties can also be hard on the parent. Many women report feeling overwhelmed, frustrated and helpless. Lactation consultants are skilled in assessing and resolving latching difficulties. They start by taking a detailed history of the breastfeeding experience, feeding history, health of the infant and the parent, review feeding goals, and then use their specialized skills to tailor support to make sure both, the baby and the parent, are supported and thriving.

    • Sore nipples– Sore nipples can be a difficult and even painful experience for new mothers. According to the American Pregnancy Association, this issue impacts almost 90% of new mothers. Sore nipples go beyond making women feel uncomfortable, tender, and painful while breastfeeding. It can cause a low milk supply and lead to further issues with breastfeeding. Lactation consultants use various techniques to help relieve and resolve nipple discomfort. These include addressing the latching position, helping the mother adjust the way she is holding her baby, providing breastfeeding education, proper flange fitting for pumping and more.


    • Low milk production– Low milk production is another breastfeeding challenge that often makes moms feel frustrated or helpless. When a mother is not producing enough milk, it can lead to issues and concerns that babies are not getting enough food and sustenance. Fortunately, lactation consultants are well-versed in helping mothers solve this issue. One technique they may employ is called breast compression, in which the lactation consultant gently squeezes the mother’s breast while she is nursing to help stimulate milk production and keep the milk flowing for longer periods.


  • Mastitis – Mastitis is a condition where the mother’s breast becomes painful, swollen, and infected. It happens to about 10%-20% of mothers who are breastfeeding. Lactation consultants provide advice on effective strategies to relieve and soothe pain, such as frequent feedings, warm compresses, and the use of therapeutic herbs.

These are just a few of the challenges that lactation consultants can help with. If you’re having difficulty breastfeeding or if you simply want to be better prepared for your feeding journey, hiring a lactation consultant near you may be an invaluable resource.

Breastfeeding with Nipple Piercings

Breastfeeding with Nipple Piercings

Can you breastfeed with a nipple piercing?

There is so much misinformation about nipple piercing and breastfeeding but in short answer, yes most women can find success during this process. Many new parents think they are unable to breastfeed or have been told that it’s not possible for them but that’s not always true. Although there are some adjustments that may need to be made during this process, breastfeeding with a nipple piercing is something that is achievable for most parents.

Important things with nipple piercing

One of the most important things to keep in mind is to make sure the nipple piercing is fully healed before getting pregnant. Doctors recommend a 12–18-month healing period. There are certain channels that are formed in the healing process so the body can still successfully produce and express milk. It is imperative that those channels are fully healed before your body’s new hormones start to change. Another reason those need to be healed is so that the saliva from the baby will not cause an infection. There is less likelihood of this happening if the piercing is given plenty of time to heal properly.

Breastfeeding with nipple piercings

Something to be aware of while breastfeeding with nipple piercings is that it has the potential to increase the milk flow rate while the baby is breastfeeding. This can occur when the piercing is removed and there is extra milk flowing due to the larger opening. The increased milk flow and feeding should be evaluated by an IBCLC to make sure feedings are going well and to evaluate if the baby can manage any increase in flow rate. The nipple piercing is recommended to be removed during a feeding session to avoid the risk of passing bacteria to the child and avoiding a potential choking hazard and it also helps reduce problems with the baby latching to the breast.

Nipple piercing considerations

It is important to note that professional piercers will not create a nipple piercing for someone who is pregnant or breastfeeding, and they recommend waiting at least 3 months post-breastfeeding to either pierce or re-pierce your nipples. This will ensure your body has plenty of time to establish a milk supply and milk flow during the postpartum and give your body the opportunity to support a healthy safe re-piercing of the nipple. The most important thing you can do is to research and make an informed decision for your body.