Tag Archives: breastfeeding education

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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Breastfeeding and Milk Supply

Why do some mothers seem to be overflowing with milk and others barely keep up with their babies? The answer to that questions remains a mystery. We do know, however, which practices enhance milk production and what may decrease milk supply.

Newborns need to eat frequently. All that early suckling before your milk “comes in” helps set the tone for later milk production. Think of as your baby placing an order to be filled at a later date. On the other hand, restricting breastfeeding in the first few days may lead to decreased milk production overall. 

You’ve probably heard that milk production is based on supply and demand. That means that the more milk that is removed from your breasts, the more milk you will produce. If more milk is consistently removed from your right breast, your right breast will consistently make more milk than your left. If baby regularly sleeps from 10pm to 4 am, but breastfeeds every 2 hours during the day, you will eventually have less milk in the middle of the night than during the day. 

How do your breasts know that your baby is growing and needs more milk? Very simply; the baby asks for it! Your baby will breastfeed more frequently when he needs more milk. After a few days of what may seem to be constant eating, your breasts catch up and all is well. When your baby gets older and doesn’t need to breastfeed as often, your milk supply will naturally decrease. 

So let your baby be your guide and your milk supply will take care of itself! 

See also: “How do I Increase my Milk Supply?“ 

Written by Renee Beebe, M.Ed., IBCLC. Renee is a lactation consultant in private practice in Seattle, Washington. She is available for home/hospital visits and phone consultations. Renee can be reached at www.second9months.com

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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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Talk About It Tuesdays…Breastfeeding Breaks in New Healthcare Bill

One of the victories for breastfeeding that was included in the new healthcare reform legislation is that companies with at least 50 employees will have to set aside “reasonable” break times for nursing mothers AND create private spaces for breastfeeding.

Say goodbye to pumping in your car on lunch breaks ladies…Would this bill have helped you continue nursing after returning to work? For those of you still nursing, do you think it will help you extend your nursing once you’re back at work?

How do you feel about this new health care legislation?

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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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