Category Archives: milk

Breastfeeding Saves Lives

You may have heard that breastfeeding saves lives but wondered: How can this be? We all know mothers who don’t breastfeed, and would we say that their children are at risk of death. Of course not, their babies thrive on formula. So, are babies’ lives at risk when they are bottle fed rather than breastfed? You better believe it!

Some children who are bottle fed suffer a reaction to the formula they are given. This is mainly due to an allergic reaction to cows’ milk, which is what nearly all formula sold is based on. If a child is allergic then the solution is usually to transfer them to soy based formula or another specialist formula. The allergy is hardly ever life threatening and the switch to another type of formula usually fixes the problem. It is also worth noting that some babies are allergic to their own mother’s breast milk.

So exactly who is at risk from feeding babies formula milk rather than breast milk. The answer, as always, is the poor and vulnerable. And exactly how are they putting their children’s lives at risk? The answer doesn’t lie in the formula itself, but rather the water used in the preparation of powdered formula. We, in the industrialized West, take clean water for granted; for the desperately poor who live in the developing world, this is not so.

The World Health Organization estimates that 1.5 million infants die around the world every year because they are not breastfed. This figure has been stated in this and other forms by WHO and UNICEF many times over the years. The main reason being the lack of clean safe drinking water.

There are also other factors that contribute to child mortality and ill-health. Some studies are now linking the feeding of milk formula to conditions such as obesity in later life, premature sexual development and tooth decay.

Why is that these mothers put their child’s life at risk? The answer is simple: commercial pressure. They, like us, are subjected to intense marketing campaigns from the world’s leading multi-nationals. They are lead to believe that formula, rather than breast, is best. They believe that as it is so popular in the West, it must provide their child with the best start in life. The advertising campaigns show happy, pink-cheeked babies smiling that are healthy when being fed with formula.

Don’t misunderstand: there is nothing wrong with formula milk when prepared and fed correctly. However, it is a food-stuff invented in the industrialized West for use in the West. Formula milk came to prominence after the Second-World-War just at the same time that our drinking water was made safe to drink. But this Western product is not suitable to those parts of the world where safe drinking is not available. Can you imagine the outcry if milk formula had been wide spread in the days before our drinking water was safe and millions of babies died each year from being fed formula?

So, as a mother, what can you do to prevent this?

Firstly, by breastfeeding your own child and by encouraging other pregnant women to follow suit. Abstaining from milk formula will send a message to the manufacturers. However, you can go one step further: write or email the manufacturers and let them know that you think it is wrong to ‘dump’ milk formula on the poorer people of our planet. The women of the developing world don’t have the tools to hand to change things, you do!

It is time for the mothers of this world to stand together and preach the message that breast is best.

Robin O’Brien is founder of the website breast-feeding-information.com which is devoted to the benefits of breastfeeding

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Natural substance in breast milk destroys cancer cells

Breast milk is documented to be the best food possible for infants and breastfeeding is known to have enormous health benefits for moms, too. It turns out, however, that breast milk has even more amazing properties. Swedish researchers have found that it contains a compound that kills cancer cells in humans.

The substance, dubbed HAMLET (which stands for Human Alpha-lactalbumin Made LEthal to Tumor cells), is comprised of a protein and a fatty acid. Although found naturally in breast milk, scientists are not sure if HAMLET develops spontaneously or if it requires interaction with the acidic digestive system of a newborn.

HAMLET was first discovered by chance several years ago by researchers who were investigating the antibacterial properties of breast milk. Scientists soon began testing it on cancer cells and the findings were nothing short of astounding.

For example, studies in the lab showed that HAMLET was able to kill 40 different types of cancer cells. What’s more, in animal studies the natural substance was found to be effective in killing one of the most deadly types of brain cancers — glioblastoma.

However, HAMLET was only recently tested for the first time on humans. Scientists at Lund University and the University of Gothenburg in Sweden tried HAMLET on patients suffering from cancer of the bladder. The result? After treatment with the breast milk-derived therapy, the cancer patients excreted dead cancer cells in their urine.

The Swedish research team is working to see if the compound can be eventually developed into a viable cancer therapy. Next on their agenda: tests to see if HAMLET can treat skin cancer, a variety of brain tumors and tumors in the mucous membranes.

So what exactly does HAMLET do that makes it such a potent cancer fighter? In a paper recently published in the science journal PLoS One, scientists Roger Karlsson, Maja Puchades and Ingela Lanekoff of the University of Gothenburg discussed research showing how the substance appears to interact with cell membranes. Using a fluorescent red tracking substance to show the exact location of HAMLET, the researchers clearly demonstrated that the compound binds to the membranes of tumor cells, killing them. However, HAMLET does no harm whatsoever to surrounding healthy cells.

For more information:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/…
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_relea…
http://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/c…
http://www.naturalnews.com/breast_m…

Item Courtesy of Natural News

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Breastfeeding Problems Solved

Almost half of breastfeeding moms quit before their baby is 6 months old and often it’s because they’ve run into problems that are actually pretty easily solved. If you’re thinking of stopping, read on for quick solutions to common problems…

My baby is due and I want to breastfeed but I have very small nipples that don’t stick out like normal ones. Will this make it difficult?

Many women have nipples that are ‘inverted’ but this shouldn’t prevent your baby from nursing because it’s not actually your nipple she suckles on – it’s the areola (the darker area immediately surrounding it). The most important thing is to make sure your baby is properly latched on – you’ll probably feed him for the first time within 30 minutes of the delivery and there will be lactation consultants of nurses close by to help you. Some women find that breast shells can encourage inverted nipples to protrude more – a lactation consultant can advise you.

My baby is just over a week old and my nipples are really suffering – they’re cracked and bleeding and nursing is painful. Should I give up and switch her to the bottle?

It’s not unusual to feel some discomfort when you first start breastfeeding but you shouldn’t still be getting it a week on and certainly not to the extent you describe. Most cases of sore and cracked nipples are caused by incorrect latching on. If your physician isn’t qualified to check your technique it’s worth contacting a lactation consultant who can visit you at home – if it solves the problem it’s money well-spent. Other reasons your nipples may be sore include overdrying or excessive moisture; it’s also possible that your baby has passed on a yeast infection if she has one in her mouth (if your physician thinks this is the problem she can prescribe an anti-fungal medication).

Once you’ve perfected your latching-on technique, keep feeding but nurse your baby on the least sore side first so that when you transfer her to the other breast she’ll be less hungry and will suckle less vigorously. If your nipples become so sore you can’t bear to nurse, gently express milk by hand.

My breasts are constantly leaking milk! I wake up with my T-shirt and sheets soaked and go through several boxes of nursing pads a week. Every time I go to latch on my baby she gets a face full of milk! Is this normal?

When your breast milk comes in, around four days after your baby’s birth, it’s common to have an overabundant supply and for your let-down reflex to be so powerful that milk sprays out when you start to nurse. It can cause problems, with your breasts becoming engorged (literally too full), and your baby finding it hard to latch on because the skin on your breasts is stretched so tight there’s no ‘give’. If this happens you may have to express a little milk before feeds, to help her grab hold! Thankfully this oversupply will diminish by the time your baby is around 6-8 weeks old – breast milk is produced on a supply and demand basis, and as soon as  your body becomes accustomed to your baby’s needs your milk supply will balance out.

I’ve discovered a hard, tender patch on one of my breasts near my armpit – is it anything to do with nursing my baby?

This sounds like a blocked milk duct – these are pretty common near the armpits because milk glands are concentrated in those areas. Ducts can become blocked if you leave it too long between feeds or don’t feed for long enough, and women who tend to produce a lot of milk are more likely to get them.

There is a risk that a blocked duct can develop into mastitis but the solution is simple: feed your baby as often as you can and offer her the affected side first – the hungrier she is the more vigorous her sucking, and this alone may help dislodge the blockage. Positioning her so her chin points towards the blockage will also help, so latch her on in the underarm position with her body lying on a pillow placed at your side, and gently massage the tender area as she feeds. If she doesn’t feed for very long, hand express to fully drain the milk and mention the problem to your lactation consultant. If these measures don’t clear the lump, have your physician check it as a precaution.

My physician wants to put me on anti-depressants to help me cope with post-partum depression. Could the medication harm my baby if I continue to breastfeed?

Many new moms suffer from depression after the birth but rest assured that there are a number of anti-depressants that have no adverse effect on a nursing baby. As a precaution, and to set your mind at rest, inform your physician that you’re breastfeeding and ask him to prescribe a drug that is known to be safe. Let your baby’s pediatrician know you’re taking it, and watch out for any possible side-effects, which could include your baby seeming excessively drowsy or difficult to settle, or colicky. Keep in mind that your baby’s health and wellbeing depends on yours – and you’re likely to be happier if your depression is treated.

My sister had mastitis when she was breastfeeding. How can I avoid it?  

Mastitis is an infection that often develops out of a blocked milk duct. It causes flu-like symptoms including a fever, chills, and aches and pains; you’ll also notice a hard red patch of skin on your breast. The infection needs to be treated with antibiotics and you should continue to nurse your baby throughout, starting feeds on the unaffected side, to keep up your milk flow. Hot or coolpacks can help relieve soreness but if you find feeds too painful, hand-express your milk and ask your lactation consultant for guidance.

Many moms develop mastitis when they return to work and are not feeding their baby as regularly. If you’re expressing milk at work, try to schedule it when you would normally have nursed your baby or do it at least every four hours.

Help! I recently returned to work and my baby is getting expressed breast milk from a bottle during the day. But when I try to nurse her in the evening, she refuses the breast. Could it be she prefers to bottlefeed?

If you’re pumping milk at work this should keep up your milk supply but it’s best to try and do this at the times you would have nursed your baby. Many working moms cut down to just once a day, during their lunch hour and since milk is produced on a supply and demand basis, your flow will reduce if you’re not feeding your baby or expressing to the usual schedule. This means that when you latch your baby on after work, there may not be as much milk as she’s used to and she may get frustrated – especially if she has worked out that she doesn’t have to work so hard to get milk from a bottle! Try to get past the problem by latching your baby on as soon as you get in instead of waiting until she’s really hungry, when she’ll get particularly irate at having to suckle hard in order to feed. Try waiting until she’s drowsy too, as many babies will feed while they snooze.

 Item Courtesy of Super Nanny

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Study doubts breastfeeding benefit for eczema

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Breastfeeding is often advocated as a way to help prevent allergies in babies at high risk, but a new study finds that infants breastfed for longer periods may actually be more likely to develop the allergic skin condition eczema.

The study followed 321 infants who were at increased risk of allergies because their mothers had a history of asthma. Researchers found that among those who were breastfed exclusively for more than six months, 55 percent developed eczema by age 2.

That compared with 37 percent of those breastfed exclusively for three to six months, and 29 percent of babies given breast milk alone for less than three months.

On the other hand, the babies were less likely to develop wheezing symptoms as long as they were still being breastfed. Wheezing — difficult breathing marked by a high-pitched whistling sound — is a common symptom of respiratory infections in infants and young children because their airways are so small; but it can also be a marker of an increased asthma risk later on.

Exactly why breastfeeding had different associations with eczema and wheezing is not certain. But several previous studies have found a similar pattern.

Taken together, the findings suggest that extended breastfeeding should not be recommended as a way to prevent eczema in high-risk babies, Dr. Hans Bisgaard and colleagues at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark write in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

That does not mean, however, that women with a history of allergies or asthma should avoid breastfeeding, according to Bisgaard. “There are many good reasons why the mother should breastfeed her child,” he told Reuters Health in an email.

Breast milk is considered the best, most balanced form of nutrition for infants, and experts generally recommend that babies be breastfed exclusively for the first six months of life.

As for why longer breastfeeding might contribute to eczema in high-risk babies, it’s possible, according to Bisgaard’s team, that mothers with allergies can transmit a “risk factor” for eczema through their breast milk — such as antibodies or other immune system substances that promote the allergy.

The fatty-acid makeup of the breast milk could also be a factor, the researchers note. In a previous study of the same group of mothers, Bisgaard’s team found that the women’s breast milk generally had lower levels of omega-3 fatty acids than that of mothers without allergies; there is some evidence that omega-3 fats are protective against allergies and asthma.

There was no strong evidence from the current study, however, that the fatty acid content of mothers’ milk was important in eczema risk. “Therefore, follow-up studies regarding other possible immune modulating factors are planned,” Bisgaard said.

The current findings are based on 321 children who were followed starting at the age of 1 month. Their parents kept diaries to record any “wheezy episodes” — defined as three consecutive days of the breathing problem — and cases of eczema were diagnosed by the researchers.

Overall, 69 babies were breastfed exclusively for less than three months, 203 for three to six months and 49 for more than six months.

When the researchers accounted for a number of factors in eczema risk — including birth weight, parents’ history of eczema and the presence of a cat or dog at home — babies who were still being exclusively breastfed between the ages of 6 and 9 months were more than six times more likely to develop eczema by age 2 than those who were no longer being fed breast milk alone.

When it came to wheezing, the majority of the babies — 262 — had at least one episode. However, babies who were still being exclusively breastfed had a one-third lower risk than infants the same age who had stopped.

Breastfeeding, according to Bisgaard’s team, may help reduce wheezing episodes by protecting babies from respiratory infections — the primary cause of wheezing that early in life.

Because all of the mothers in the study had a history of asthma, the findings cannot be generalized to other women, Bisgaard said. Further studies are needed to better understand how longer breastfeeding might affect average-risk babies’ odds of eczema or wheezing, according to the researcher.

SOURCE: Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, March 2010.

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Fact Fridays…New Study: How to Choose Baby Bottles

Many moms who start off breastfeeding ponder bottle issues, as they have to return to work or need to spend several hours away from the baby.

Breastfeeding expert Donna Dowling, associate professor of nursing at the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University, could sympathize with the new mom next to her in a large baby store as she was also overwhelmed by the variety of bottle choices in the 12 x 8 foot display.

The expectant mom’s questions inspired Dowling to explore the research evidence behind the claims of manufacturers for their baby products.

Dowling said the bottles came in a variety of sizes and shapes. All are designed to mimic breastfeeding, according to Dowling and Laura Tycon, a nursing student at the university, from bottles shaped and pliable like a mother’s breast to complicated feeding systems designed to prevent the baby’s intake of excess air. In their reseach, it became evident that the designs of the bottles were based on research done during the 1960’s and 70’s that demonstrated differences in how infants obtain milk during breastfeeding and bottle feeding.

After reviewing research papers provided by the manufacturers about their baby products, Dowling and Tycon came up with some tips and report them in the Nursing for Women’s Health article, “Bottle/Nipple Systems, Helping Parents Make Informed Choices.”

 The final choice eventually comes down to the mother’s and baby’s preference.

 “Babies are different and have different styles of sucking, from the slow to the fast eaters,” Dowling said.

 The researchers offer this advice:

     

  • The bottle and nipple need to fit the baby’s eating style. Baby bottles come with nipples that have slow, medium or fast flows of milk. The slower milk flows are for the younger babies who are encountering their first learning experience–feeding. Some babies are very flexible and will take any nipple if they are hungry while others prefer to stay with what is familiar.
  • Consider advertising claims that bottles/nipples prevent colic or were clinically tested objectively. Seek out the research studies to see if the claims matched the findings and who funded the study. 
  • Realize that no one product is best. All products are generally good in that they have bottle/nipple systems that have been based on reducing the intake of excessive air that could be uncomfortable for the baby and result in regurgitation or reflux. 
  • Give baby a chance to adapt to a new bottle. Don’t give up if the baby rejects the bottle on the first feeding. Too many changes of bottle and nipple systems can result in frustration for the mother and baby and be costly. 
  • Seek advice from friends, other mothers, or parenting websites for information about bottles. Also beware of costs when purchasing and changing from one system to another. Dowling also cautions about the complicated bottle and nipple systems: “The more parts and tiny areas in the components, the harder it will be to clean.”

She generally suggests the simpler systems. When choosing the different flow rates, first try a slow or medium flow and stay with that if the baby is comfortable.

The researchers have provided a list of seven brands of bottles with details about nipple shapes, bottle materials, venting systems, flow rates and benefits found. To view the article, visit http://nwh.awhonn.org.

Item Courtesy of Case Western Reserve University

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Mommy Mondays…Mommy and Baby Go Bye-Bye: Traveling While Breastfeeding

Heading out of town for Easter or Passover and wondering how to navigate the “liquids rule” while breastfeeding?
 
Now, a mother flying without her child will be able to bring breast milk through the checkpoint, provided it is declared prior to screening.

TSA is also modifying the rules associated with carrying breast milk through security checkpoints. Mothers flying with, and now without, their child will be permitted to bring breast milk in quantities greater than three ounces as long as it is declared for inspection at the security checkpoint.

Breast milk is in the same category as liquid medications.

When carrying formula, breast milk, or juice through the checkpoint, they will be inspected, however, you or your infant or toddler will not be asked to test or taste breast milk, formula, or juice. Our Security Officers may test liquid exemptions (exempt items more than 3 ounces) for explosives.

When traveling with your infant or toddler, in the absence of suspicious activity or items, greater than 3 ounces of baby formula, breast milk, or juice are permitted through the security checkpoint in reasonable quantities for the duration of your itinerary, if you perform the following:

  1. Separate these items from the liquids, gels, and aerosols in your quart-size and zip-top bag.
  2. Declare you have the items to one of our Security Officers at the security checkpoint.
  3. Present these items for additional inspection once reaching the X-ray. These items are subject to additional screening.

You are encouraged to travel with only as much formula, breast milk, or juice in your carry-on needed to reach your destination.

You are allowed to bring gel or liquid-filled teethers, canned, jarred, or processed baby food in your carry-on baggage and aboard your plane.

For information on creams, medicines, or other essential items for your child, please read our guidance on these items. Click here for the list of permitted and prohibited items.

Liquids and gels, including baby formula, breast milk, or juice, may be packed in your luggage and checked with your airline.

After clearing security, travelers can now bring beverages and other items purchased in the secure boarding area on-board aircraft.

For more details on navigating the screening process with your children, check out traveling with children.

Article and Photo Coutesy of TSA.org

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Fact Fridays…Guest Post: Top Tips for Problem Free Breastfeeding

 

Our post for this week’s “Fact Fridays” for breastfeeding is from Jodie Fuller, one of our MomPals or should I say MumPals, from across the pond! Jodie manages to write these gems while being mum-in-chief of http://www.my-babyshop.co.uk, http://www.my-beautyshop.co.uk, and http://www.my-bookstore.co.uk. I don’t know where she finds the time, bravo girl! Check Jodie’s sites when you get a chance for great baby products and to grab yourself some great practical products and gifts!

Top Tips for Problem Free Breastfeeding

Shall I? Shall I not? Why do we have a choice? Because of the invention of formula! Imagine if formula was never invented we would not be having this conversation! It is because of the freedom of choice and products available to us, that we are faced with some tricky choices. In the 3rd world and poor countries, formula is not available and therefore breastfeeding is the ONLY choice. Where formula has started to be introduced to poor countries, they now face the huge problem of newborns becoming sick due to poor hygiene and lack of sterile conditions formula requires.

A woman’s breast is DESIGNED to produce milk. Experts agree that breast milk is the best food for your baby; in fact, it is perfect food and completely clean, packed with anti-bodies and contains just the right amount of nutrients. Breastfeeding is also good for women, protecting them against breast cancer, ovarian cancer and hip fractures!

 It supports the baby’s immune system and is a natural protector! Knowing how your milk is produced will help you understand some of the initial problems you may be faced with.

Babies who are given nothing but breast milk for more than three months, have been found to have higher IQ’s than those given formula milk.

I will give you some top tips from myself and other mums who have overcome the problems you will face when breastfeeding, so you can find the strength to carry on when those around you may not be supporting you!

To do all you can to help the breastfeeding go well, consider this check list:

  • Make a firm decision to breastfeed (or not to) during pregnancy and stick to it!
  • Feed your newborn as soon as you can after delivery, this will help with bonding.
  • Don’t be put off if you can’t get baby to latch on first time, it takes practice, and is not your babies problem, other than the baby having actual, clinically “tongue tied”, there is no excuse why your baby cannot learn. It is getting into the right positions and then practice it.
  • Feed on demand day and night, it sounds wrong, but you will find great peace not trying to get a “routine” from day one! It is very stressful when you are constantly asked “are you in a routine yet”. You will find this will automatically fall into its own “routine” without being forced into one. Less stress for everyone!
  • Get your midwife to help you with latching on techniques and be patient.
  • Don’t give your baby a bottle in the first 4 weeks – this will just confuse the whole situation and will not solve any problem you thought it would solve. Baby will become confused about how to then latch on to the bottle and will have further problems switching back and forth.
  • Make regular contact with a local breastfeeding counsellor – I attended a breastfeeding group weekly which really helped morale and we shared problems and issues and got them resolved with like minded mums.
  • Be patient. Think of it as a skill you need to learn.
  • Ask for help WHEN you need it, don’t be too proud to get help

Breastfeeding gives you plenty of opportunities to bond.

I have breastfed two babies and although it was very tough, hard, draining at times, worrying and intense, I wouldn’t change what I did for the world.

I provided my daughters with the very best possible start with the very best milk (from me, made for them) and I feel liberated and proud to of done just that.

There are many products out there to support you in being comfortable in the breastfeeding world, and in my experience, a good, well supportive shaped pillow is a great one to have. 

Jodie Fuller

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