Posts Tagged ‘breastfeeding’

Inside your baby’s diaper

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

diapersThe following is an excerpt from Dr. Siobhan Dolan’s book, Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby.

New parents are often surprised at what they find in their baby’s diapers. A newborn’s stool looks much different than the stool of an older baby, toddler, or child. New parents may also be surprised to learn that a newborn needs a diaper change as many as eight times a day. Every time you baby eats, his brain sends a signal to his digestive system to release urine and stool. But don’t worry – feedings and diaper changes go down in number as your baby grows.

Just after birth, your baby’s stools are loose, black, and sticky. After a day or two, the stools of breastfed babies turn loose and mustard-colored, and contain what look like small seeds; formula-fed babies have soft, tan stools. After about a week your baby’s stools become slightly firmer.

Normal newborn stools can look like diarrhea, so if your baby actually has diarrhea, it can be hard to detect. A change in frequency or consistency of stools, an unusual smell, or blood in the stools can be a sign of diarrhea. If you’re not sure whether your baby’s stools are normal, call your baby’s provider.

You can learn more about Dr. Dolan’s book, watch a video, read excerpts, and even order a copy through this link.

Keep your breasts healthy

Thursday, October 17th, 2013

breast self-examLadies, let’s remember to take care of the girls.  We have talked often about how breast milk is the best nutrition for your baby, how milk banking helps others, how you need to be careful with medications you take while you’re breastfeeding.   We have noted the weight loss benefits of breastfeeding, how employers now need to provide you with a place to pump when you return to work, and how some scientists think breastfeeding may reduce the risk of breast cancer.  
 
These are all important things that you’ve heard more than once.  So, how come many women don’t receive or perform annual breast exams?  These should be performed at your annual well woman checkup. But you also should be protecting your health and your baby’s source of nutrition by doing breast self-exams.  Not sure how?  Click here for more information.

Breastfeeding is not easy

Friday, September 27th, 2013

breastfeedingIt seems like a secret that no one tells first time moms. Info abounds about how good breastfeeding is for your baby so you’ve decided that, since you only want what’s best for your baby, you’re going to breastfeed. You’ll be the breastfeeding champ – the poster mom for breastfeeding! And then after three or four days of trying it, you’re almost ready to give up. HELP!

Breastfeeding problems are extremely common among first-time moms, often causing them to introduce formula or completely abandon breastfeeding within two months, report researchers at the University of California, Davis, and the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

The study found that although 75 percent of mothers in the United States initiate breastfeeding, only 13 percent of those women ultimately breastfeed exclusively for the recommended first six months of the child’s life. The most common concern was that the babies were not feeding well at the breast (52 percent), followed by breastfeeding pain (44 percent) and perceived lack of sufficient milk (40 percent). Education and support are key to turning these numbers around.

If you’re pregnant for the first time or planning a pregnancy, get some upfront facts about breastfeeding challenges. Talk to a lactation consultant, contact La Leche League, before you deliver as well as once the baby arrives.  The first two weeks of breastfeeding are crucial for getting good guidance and support. Don’t feel like you should be able to do this on your own. It’s not like falling off a log – it takes education and work. Prepare for challenges because there likely will be some. (Who would have thought breastfeeding could hurt?!) Don’t despair and throw in the towel. Be prepared to work through ups and downs. With help and after perhaps several weeks of effort, for most women, everything should click into place.

Breastfeeding chat

Monday, August 5th, 2013

breastfeedingBreastfeeding can be a wonderful experience, but it’s not as easy as it looks. It may be hugely beneficial to your baby, which it is, but there’s plenty to learn before your little one arrives. Join the experts: Robin Weiss, a doula, lactation consultant and author of Pregnancy & Childbirth at About.com; Dr. Abieyuwa Iyare, a pediatrician and co-chair of the Breastfeeding Committee and Paula Ferrante, R.N., lactation consultant at Montefiore Medical Center; and our good friends at Text4baby.

Let’s talk. Did you breastfeed? If so, for how long? Did you continue to breastfeed after going back to work? What tips can you share with others? Where can we go for help?

According to new data released by the CDC, nearly 1 out of every 2 women in the U.S. is breastfeeding her baby up to the age of six months. That’s excellent news, but it doesn’t mean we can’t use some help in doing it right and getting more support.

Aug. 1 through 7 is World Breastfeeding Week. Join the conversation on Tuesday, August 6th at 1 PM ET. Be sure to use #pregnancychat to fully participate and get your questions answered.

Your body after baby

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

young-woman-walkingKate, the Duchess of Cambridge, looked radiant as she presented her little Prince to the world for a first glimpse. You may have noticed her baby bump. It begs the question…what happens to your body after you give birth?

Lots of things are happening to your body right after you give birth, especially for the first 6 weeks! Your body is changing again. Some of these changes are painless; others may be uncomfortable.
 
During pregnancy, your uterus grows to hold your growing baby. After your baby is born, your uterus shrinks back to its regular size. But, it takes some time for your belly to get back to its regular shape after pregnancy. It took time to gain the weight and it will take time to lose it. But don’t get discouraged! Be active and eat healthy foods to help you lose the baby weight. Start slowly, perhaps with a daily walk, and listen to your body as you gradually become more active. And, be sure to ask your provider if you have any issues that you need to be aware of before you increase your activity or begin to exercise.

If you had swelling while pregnant, it may take a while for it to go away after giving birth. Lie on your left side or put your feet up. Stay cool and wear loose clothes.

Your breasts swell, too, as they fill with milk. This is called engorgement, and it can be painful. Once you start breastfeeding, the swelling should go away. If you’re not breastfeeding, it may last until your breasts stop making milk.
 
Breastfeeding your baby helps your body, too. It increases the amount of a hormone in your body called oxytocin. This helps your uterus (womb) go back to the size it was before you got pregnant. It also helps stop bleeding that you have after giving birth. And, it burns extra calories. This helps you get back to your pre-pregnancy weight more quickly.
 
Many women feel unprepared for postpartum health issues. For instance, many experience breastfeeding problems, hair loss, hemorrhoids, mood swings, and anxiety. Not all women have these problems, but they are fairly common. All the physical changes and demands of your new baby can make you really emotional, too. Feeling stressed and tired all the time are common for new moms. Some women have the baby blues for a few days after giving birth. If these sad feelings last longer than 10 days, tell your provider. You may need to be checked for postpartum depression.

Remember, it’s normal to feel some discomfort, like soreness and fatigue, as your body heals after giving birth. However, other discomforts and health problems may be a sign that you need medical care. Know the warning signs and be sure to seek help when you need it.
 
In time, your body should return to “normal.” Every woman is different – there is no one time clock or standard that you should compare yourself to. If you know what to expect, give yourself time and are patient, you will find that it will happen. In the meantime, enjoy every luscious moment with your little prince or princess!

Introducing solid food

Monday, March 25th, 2013

A new study from the CDC released in today’s journal Pediatrics revealed that 40% of mothers surveyed gave solid food to their baby before the age of four months. While the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and the American Academy of Family Physicians all recommend breastfeeding or formula feeding exclusively to the age of six months, many of the 1134 mothers involved in the study introduced cereal and fruit long before then, some as early as four weeks.

This early introduction of solid food occurred more than twice as often in women feeding with formula over breastfeeding women. The main reasons women gave for starting solids so early were “My baby was old enough,” “My baby seemed hungry a lot of the time,” “My baby wanted the food I ate,” “A doctor or other health professional said my baby should begin eating solid food,” or “It would help my baby sleep longer at night.”

This low adherence to infant feeding recommendations is of concern because, developmentally, younger infants are not prepared for solid food. Researchers have suggested that “early introduction of solids may increase the risk of some chronic diseases, such as diabetes, obesity, eczema, and celiac disease.” The health benefits of breastmilk (lower risk of ear and respiratory infections, diarrhea, diabetes, obesity, and sudden infant death syndrome) are significantly impacted when women cut back on breastfeeding as they introduce solids.

When beginning solid foods in your baby’s diet, it’s important to know that solid foods are meant to complement your baby’s overall nutrition, not replace breastmilk or formula. During this transition, your baby’s primary source of nutrition should still be breastmilk or, if he is bottle-fed, formula.

Speak with your baby’s health care provider before introducing solid foods into his diet. Remember these things when you do start:
    • Although you’re starting your baby on solid foods, you don’t need to wean him from breastmilk right away. Some babies may no longer have an interest in breastfeeding after 1 year of age. But breastfeeding can continue beyond the first year of life if mother and child wish.
    • Don’t feed your baby solid or pureed foods through his bottle. This takes away from your baby’s overall learning about how to hold and eat foods. It can also put him at risk for eating too much and becoming overweight. It’s best to use a teaspoon to feed your baby solid foods. Also, feeding baby with a spoon plays an important role in your baby’s language development.
    • Do not give your baby cow’s milk until he is at least 1 year old. At age 1, cow’s milk can become a major source of essential nutrients for your baby. Babies should be given whole milk until age 2.
    • Do not give food or sweets to your baby as a reward for good behavior. Instead reward him with praise, kisses, love and attention.
    • Practice good oral hygiene for your baby right away. As soon as he has teeth, start cleaning them with a small wet washcloth.

HEALTHY MOM, HEALTHY BABY is here!

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

book1Looking for a great gift for someone pregnant or thinking about pregnancy? Order a copy of HEALTHY MOM, HEALTHY BABY, brought to you by the March of Dimes! This new book clearly lays out all the must-know information about every stage of pregnancy, along with research-based advice to help stay healthy and full of energy!

Written by obstetrician gynecologist and medical advisor to the March of Dimes Siobhan Dolan, M.D. and award-winning health writer Alice Lesch Kelly, HEALTHY MOM, HEALTHY BABY (HarperOne; February 2013: Trade Paperback Original) is designed for women at all stages of pregnancy. It provides the most accurate, up-to-date pregnancy health information including information you need before pregnancy, throughout nine months, and into the newborn period. HEALTHY MOM, HEALTHY BABY is a practical, accessible, friendly guide with clear explanations, research-based recommendations, and sensible advice for the healthiest pregnancy possible, and explains the latest advances in:
• Prenatal testing
• Pregnancy nutrition
• Fitness recommendations
• Breastfeeding
• Infant screening and care
• Making your home environment safe
• Managing postpartum symptoms.

The book also provides practical advice every mom-to-be wants quick access to, including:
• A month by month guide showing your baby’s development
• A comprehensive checklist for labor, delivery and beyond
• A glossary of terms women are likely to hear over the course of their pregnancy
• A list of resources for specific circumstances (i.e. pregnant athletes; moms of multiples; and those lacking health insurance).

Learn more at this link.

Are rented breast pumps safe?

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

breast-pumpI wrote a post not long ago for nursing moms on types of breast pumps and whether buying or renting was better. Both can be safe and a good option – it really depends on your needs and what your insurance company will cover. A number of breastfeeding women choose to rent or share their friend’s pump and that’s great.

A news release from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (Jan. 14, 2013) reiterates the importance of understanding what type of machine you’re renting and if it is safe for multiple users. If you are going to use a pump that someone else has used, make sure it is a closed system type designed for multiple users. The FDA advised all women who use rented or second-hand pumps to buy an accessory kit with new breast shields and tubing — even if the existing kit looks clean.

To learn more about breast pumps, visit the FDA’s recently released website on breast pumps.

Mom’s weight and baby’s health

Thursday, January 3rd, 2013

Overweight and obesity during pregnancy can cause health problems for your baby. You know that it’s not great for your health, but it can affect your baby’s well being, too. While most babies of overweight and obese women are born healthy, problems can include:
• birth defects, including neural tube defects (NTDs) which are defects of the brain and spine
• preterm birth 
• injury, like shoulder dystocia, during birth because the baby is large 
• Death after birth
• Being obese during childhood

Dr. Patrick M. Catalano, a highly renowned obstetrician, professor and researcher has focused on nutrition and metabolic conditions before and during pregnancy and how those conditions affect a fetus’ growth and how much body fat it gains. His research has shown that infants born to obese mothers and mothers who have diabetes are heavier at birth and have a higher risk of developing metabolic disorders, including insulin resistance, a precursor to diabetes.

Dr. Kathleen Maher Rasmussen and her students broke new ground in understanding the threat being overweight at conception has on successful breastfeeding.  We know that breast milk is the best food for babies during the first year of life. It helps them grow healthy and strong. Dr. Rasmussen’s work on over-nutrition found that there is delayed onset of milk secretion and shorter breastfeeding in women who were significantly overweight.

If a woman starts pregnancy at a healthy weight, it can not only lower the risk of preterm birth and birth defects, but can give her baby a healthier start that can have life-long benefits.

Feeding a newborn after a disaster

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

newbornIn emergency situations, babies have an increased need for the disease-fighting factors and the comfort provided by breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is especially recommended during a disaster because it is naturally clean. Refrigeration, bottles, or water for preparing formula are not necessary.

Breast milk is the best food for a baby during the first year of life. In emergencies, it’s usually best for the baby if the mother can continue to breastfeed. If pre-prepared formula is unavailable or water supplies are unsafe, breastfeeding is especially wise. Breast milk can be especially good for premature babies.

While stress may affect milk supply, breastfeeding itself can help to reduce stress. When you breastfeed, your body creates hormones that are calming. Do your best to make breastfeeding time as relaxed as you can under the circumstances.

If breastfeeding has been interrupted, the La Leche League provides information to help you start again. The International Lactation Consultant Association also provides help with breastfeeding. Call (919) 787-5181.

Some women may find it impossible to continue to breastfeed. If this occurs, wean the baby as slowly as possible. This is important for both your health and the baby’s. Hold and cuddle your baby as much as possible to reduce your baby’s stress. In a disaster, pre-prepared formula is recommended because of concerns about water safety.

The La Leche League provides information about breastfeeding for women affected by disasters

If you are staying in a shelter and need help with breastfeeding, ask the medical staff for assistance.

If breastfeeding is not possible, have a supply of single-serving, ready-to-feed formula. Ready-to-feed formula does not need mixing, and water should not be added to it. When using ready-to-feed formula, pour the needed amount into a bottle, and throw away the formula that the baby does not drink if you cannot refrigerate it. After it is opened, the formula must be refrigerated.

Regarding water for drinking, cooking and bathing, listen to and follow public announcements. Local authorities will tell you if tap water is safe to drink or to use for cooking or bathing. If the water is not safe to use, follow local instructions to use bottled water or to boil or disinfect tap water for cooking, cleaning or bathing.

If tap water is not safe, boiling is the preferred way to kill harmful bacteria and parasites. To kill most organisms, bring water to a rolling boil for 1 minute.
 
If you can’t boil unsafe tap water, you can treat it with chlorine tablets or iodine tablets. Follow the directions that come with the tablets. Keep treated water out of reach of children and toddlers.

If you have a baby and are not breastfeeding, ready-to-feed formula is recommended because of concerns about water safety. Do not use water treated with iodine or chlorine tablets to prepare powdered formulas.

Moms should do their best to drink at least six to eight glasses (eight-ounce servings) of water, juice or milk every day.

For more information about caring for a newborn after a disaster, read this article.