Category Archives: nursing

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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Tips on Overcoming Fears of Breastfeeding in Public

Many expecting mothers really look forward to breastfeeding their baby. However, for many mothers this expectancy is tinged by a fear of breastfeeding in public. The following tips will help show you how best to nurse in public and help build your confidence.

Breastfeeding is a right every mother has but sometimes you would think this was not the case. What was once an every day occurrence and which was celebrated has, in recent years past, become a bit of a taboo; breastfeeding your child in public. Breastfeeding is now being actively promoted by the health profession and just about everybody now accepts that breast is best. However, there does seem to be a paradox when it comes to breastfeeding. On the one hand you are told to breastfeed but, on the other, you are not exactly encouraged to breastfeed when and wherever you want. Things are changing, slowly. It is up to mothers to continue this change in attitude.

If you have reservations about nursing in public then your first step is to become comfortable breastfeeding your baby in the privacy of your home. You want to have the skills of ‘latching on’ down pat before you brave the public. Also, you can practice discreet feeding at home. You can practise discreet breastfeeding in front of family members. If they have a problem with you breastfeeding your child in front of them, then you must explain that breastfeeding is something natural – it’s not a disease or some socially unacceptable habit. If they still feel uncomfortable, then ask them to leave the room whilst you breastfeed. It is important that they leave and not you – you need to be assertive about your right to breastfeed. Once, you and baby are at ease with breastfeeding you can now venture outdoors.

In may sound obvious but before venturing out you should wear suitable clothing. Wear a top that is loose and is easy for you to open (or easily allows baby access to your breast). If you wear a very loose top you can even slip baby underneath so that no unbuttoning is necessary and your breasts remain covered up during feeding. Slings are another good idea. They free up both your hands and you can place baby in such a way that no one would know that you’re breastfeeding.

Feed your baby as soon as you know he wants to be feed. It’s important to stay in tune with your baby’s wants when outside your home. When your baby gets hungry he will do everything he can to get your attention; the longer you ignore him the more he going to try and get that attention. You don’t want a screaming baby when you’re trying to breastfeeding in public.

There are public places and there are public places. When first venturing outdoors, find somewhere where there aren’t too many people. Go to a park – or somewhere else where it’s fairly quiet and relaxed – and find place away from people. Feeding when there’s no one around is a good start. Bring your partner of friend with you. They can provide support and by talking to them as you breastfeeding you’ll even forget that your in public.

A breastfeeding mother can be made to feel very uncomfortable when she notices someone staring at her. The trick is to return their gaze; don’t back down. They’ll always look away and move on. More upsetting than being stared at, is when someone will openly let you know that they disagree with mothers breastfeeding in public. Just ignore them; these people are not worth making yourself or your baby agitated.

They say practice makes perfect, and after a few feeds you’ll soon be confident enough to breastfeed just about anywhere. Remember breastfeeding is your right and, more importantly, your baby’s.

Robin O’Brien is the founder of a site where you can learn to overcome your fears of breastfeeding in public and where you can read articles about such things as, breastfeeding and alcohol and fenugreek and breast milk.

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New Law Helps Breastfeeding Mothers

 

Working mothers have had to tailor their schedule to pump breast milk during the day. It is hard to find the time and more importantly, a place, for this while at work. 

Life should get a little more comfortable for working, nursing mothers thanks to Obama’s new healthcare plan.  CNN reports page 1239 of the health care bill requires employers to provide “a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public, which may be used by an employee to express breast milk.”

Ellen Galinsky, president and co-founder of the nonprofit research organization Families and Work Institute told CNN, “It reflects both a shifting attitude, a shifting reality, and also the impact of research that shows that it’s healthier for the kids, and therefore good for the company, good for the family.”

A recent study published in the journal Pediatrics shows that breastfeeding newborns during their first six months could save almost 1,000 lives and billions of dollars annually.

Item Courtesy Modern Mom

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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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When Breastfeeding Gets Tough – How to Get the Help You Need

Author: Carrie Lauth

If you’re feeling frustrated with breastfeeding, remind yourself of why you wanted to nurse your baby in the first place, then run – don’t walk – to find the help you need to continue to breastfeed.

Here are some of the benefits of breastfeeding your baby.

1. Breastfeeding creates a strong emotional bond between Mom and baby. Breastfeeding can even help you be a better Mom – when you breastfeed, your body is stimulated to create the mothering hormones, prolactin and oxytocin, which can help you feel relaxed and calm. These hormones even make you feel less stressed and more rested despite sleep deprivation!

2. Breastfeeding can create a calmer baby too. The regular skin-to-skin contact that breastfeeding provides helps reduce the stress baby feels of having left the womb.

3. If your baby is experiencing discomfort or pain, the closeness of breastfeeding can help as well. Besides physical closeness, breast milk contains endorphins that help suppress any pain your baby feels.

4. Breastfed babies are healthier. According to many studies, breastfeeding your baby can help reduce food allergies, eczema, asthma, prolonged colds, childhood cancers, bronchitis, diaper rashes, and many other conditions.

5. Breastfeeding mothers can also be healthier. They have lower rates of breast, ovarian, uterine, and endometrial cancers, as well as a reduced risk of developing osteoporosis.

5. Breastfed babies are smarter. Some studies show that breastfeeding can increase an infant’s IQ, and there is evidence that breastfed children achieve higher on developmental tests.

6. Breastfeeding mothers lose weight more quickly. If you’re anxious to shed those pregnancy pounds, stick with breastfeeding. Breastfeeding helps the uterus return to its pre-pregnancy size faster than if you don’t breastfeed. Breastfeeding also increases the level of the hormone prolactin which speeds up post-partum weight loss.

If you’re having breastfeeding frustrations, here are some places you can find the support you need.

1. Remember that your doctor may not have the answers you need. If she can’t answer your questions, don’t give up – just look for help somewhere else.

2. Find someone who is specially trained to answer your breastfeeding questions, like a lactation specialist or a member of the International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC).

3. You could also speak with a La Leche League Leader. These are volunteers who have been specially trained to help mothers with breastfeeding. They are also good listeners, and non-judgmental.

4. One of your best sources of help and support can be other mothers who have successfully breastfed their children. They can tell you about their experiences, and assure you that things you are experiencing are normal. They can also give you advice and tell you what worked for them.

If you’re not having problems with breastfeeding right now, it is still a good idea to learn what resources are available and where you can connect with other breastfeeding moms. If you ever do have concerns, you will know exactly where to go for help and won’t be tempted to give up breastfeeding your baby before you’re ready.

About the Author
For more information about breastfeeding, including tips, advice, mom’s stories and resources, go to the Breastfeeding Book

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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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