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Breast milk

  • Breastfeed On-The-Go With Confidence

    No matter how much you have prepared to become a breastfeeding mom, going to the classes before birth, reading up all the best books and articles on how to breastfeed and all the benefits of breastfeeding your infant, there's no way to be fully prepared or know exactly what to anticipate until it's a real life experience. For some moms breastfeeding is a breeze, they experience no pain, no problems and simply love the experience from the moment their newborn latches on. But for most I believe, it is a learned skill for both mom and baby and sometimes a bumpy road to breastfeeding bliss on both sides of the equation.

    I was just watching Bethany Frankel on her reality show for the first time the other night and it showed clips of her trying to breastfeed her infant during the early days. She is clearly sleep deprived and at her wits end as she exclaims "Nobody tells you how hard this is!" Then she exclaims more emphatically and clearly frustrated as her baby hungry baby cries and her partner looks on sympathically "This is like trying to get blood from a stone!" Finally after several clips and edits, the baby latches on and has a successful feeding. Later she comments on the whole nursing on demand experience as she tries to plan her day an has not nursed in public yet: "What if I have a 1:30 appointment and the baby wants to eat at 1:20? What do I do, I'll just be late!" This is especially true in the early weeks as the baby has to eat around the clock and it's sometimes hard to predict when that will be. If you are in public, be sure to bring a nursing cover or wear a discreet nursing top because you may just need to sit on the nearest park bench and feed your baby a snack.

    Most nursing moms do get into the swing of some sort of schedule after the first few months and can better anticipate their baby's feedings. Some moms find having a pumped bottle of milk on hand is helpful for on the go days when you don't have the time or privacy to nurse as you would like and need to tide over the baby until you get a better moment. (This is assuming your baby can take a bottle and you are able to pump milk.)

    If you do plan to nurse on the go, you will need a number of nursing tops that can be worn on any given day to any given place in any weather. The Bravado Nursing Bra Tank is an excellent choice to get you going. These tanks are super supportive and easy to use for breastfeeding. They come in many different solid colors, are extra long over your postpartum tummy so you don't have to flash any belly skin and they have adjustable straps. You can layer this top for cooler weather and it can be dressed up or down and worn anytime of the year.

    Another great cami for layering is Japanese Weekend's Nursing Body Shaper. This cami is made for layering and not only gives you easy nursing access but actually flattens and smoothes out your belly. Your body looks lump free under any top and you can also nurse on the go in confidence without showing any skin.

    The most important asset you can take with you in your early breastfeeding endeavors is a great deal of patience and confidence to know it will eventually work. This is not easy to do when you are sleep deprived with an infant who wants to try and feed around the clock and may be even crankier than you are. There is also added pressure if your family members, friends or even spouse is not supportive of your efforts. If you are still having problems with latching it is worth the time and investment to schedule an appointment with a lactation consultant who is specifically trained to advise women and offer hands on training to breastfeeding problems. Oftentimes your area may offer free breastfeeding clinics. La Leche League is also an excellent source for breastfeeding advice and support. It helps to know you are not alone in your breastfeeding endeavors and to talk to other moms who have survived the early months and now have a successful breastfeeding relationship with their babies.

    Also, the more you nursing on the go, the easier it gets and the more freedom you have with your life. You will grow your confidence as you find your baby can adopt to feeding anywhere and you can make do with whatever quiet corner you can find. Most nursing moms eventually discover they have an easier time of it nursing than bottle feeding as you have everything you need on your body and less needed in your diaper bag - forget the bottles, nipples and formula. You don't have to worry about your milk going bad or being too cold or hot. Your milk is always the perfect temperature and perfect consistency for your baby. You really are everything your baby needs and you will grow in confidence to breastfeed successfully anywhere you need to go.

  • 2 Studies Present New Data On Effects Of Alcohol During Pregnancy

     

    These new studies have recently been reported.

    Scientific data continue to indicate that higher intake of alcohol during pregnancy adversely affects the fetus, and could lead to very severe developmental or other problems in the child. However, most recent publications show little or no effects of occasional or light drinking by the mother during pregnancy. The studies also demonstrate how socio-economic, education, and other lifestyle factors of the mother may have large effects on the health of the fetus and child; these must be considered when evaluating the potential effects of alcohol during pregnancy.

    A very large population-based observational study from the UK found that at the age of 5 years, the children of women who reported light (no more than 1-2 units of alcohol per week or per occasion) drinking did not show any evidence of impairment on testing for behavioral and emotional problems or cognitive ability. There was a tendency for the male children of women reporting "heavy/binge" drinking during pregnancy (7 or more units per week or 6 or more units per occasion) to have poorer behavioural scores, but the effects were less clear among female offspring.

    A second study, published in Pediatrics, based on a population in Western Australia examined the associations between dose, pattern, and timing of prenatal alcohol exposure (PAE) and birth defects and found similar results, that there was no association between low or moderate prenatal alcohol exposure and birth defects.

    Data from a randomly selected, population-based cohort of non- indigenous women who gave birth to a live infant in Western Australia (WA) between 1995 and 1997 (4714 participants) were linked to WA Midwives Notification System and WA Birth Defects Registry data. Information about maternal alcohol consumption was collected 3 months after birth for the 3 month period before pregnancy and for each trimester separately.

    Low alcohol consumption was defined as less then 7 standard drinks (10g) a week, and no more than 2 drinks on any one day. Women who consumed more than 70g per week were classified as heavy drinkers and women consuming more than 140g were classified as very heavy drinkers.

    Overall, current scientific data indicate that while drinking during pregnancy should not be encouraged, there is little evidence to suggest that an occasional drink or light drinking by the mother is associated with harm. Heavy drinking, however, is associated with serious developmental defects in the fetus.

  • Drinking More Milk And Less Soda Helps To Build Strong Bones

    This article by Elena Conis, at the Los Angeles Times

    Want strong bones? Eat foods high in calcium and vitamin D, get plenty of exercise — and maybe steer clear of soda.

    In recent decades, as consumption of the beverage has steadily displaced the consumption of others —particularly milk — studies have consistently linked soda consumption with weaker bones. Now scientists are trying to figure out how and why, precisely, drinking soda may affect skeletons.

    One theory is that a component in cola may cause bone to deteriorate; another is that people who drink soda simply drink (and eat) fewer nutritious foods.

    In the 1990s, several studies suggested soft-drink consumption might be linked to lower bone mass and reduced bone accretion — the process by which bone is built up — in children, especially teens.

    In a study of 127 teens that was published in the Journal of Adolescent Health in 1994, teenage girls who drank carbonated beverages were three times as likely to suffer bone fractures compared with girls who didn't drink soda. A study by the same author published in the Archives of Pediatric Adolescent Medicine in 2000 showed the same effect — and an even stronger one for girls who drank cola beverages, who were five times as likely to suffer bone fractures.

    Researchers surmised at the time that soda took its toll on bones because children who drank soda did so in place of milk. Soda drinking was also seen as a marker for a generally unhealthful diet lacking items that help foster strong bones.

    It does seem to be true that soda drinkers have worse diets overall. In a study published this month in the Journal of the American Dietetic Assn., for example, among 170 girls followed from age 5 to 15, those who drank soda at age 5 were less likely to drink milk throughout childhood than 5-year-olds who did not drink soda. And they were more likely to consume diets lacking in calcium, fiber, vitamin D, protein, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium.

    Such findings are significant because as much as 90% of bone mass is acquired in youth, particularly from age 16 to 25, says Dr. Jeri Nieves, director of bone density testing at Helen Hayes Hospital in West Haverstraw, N.Y.

    Children who fail to get enough bone-building nutrients and bone-thickening exercise in their youth end up with increased risk of osteoporosis and fracture as they get older, adds Dr. Robert Murray, director of the Center for Healthy Weight and Nutrition at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

    But there is also evidence that drinking sodas — specifically, colas — may take a direct toll on the skeleton, says Dr. Katherine Tucker, professor of health sciences at Northeastern University in Boston.

    In a large, well-designed study published by Tucker and colleagues in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2006, women enrolled in the ongoing Framingham Osteoporosis Study who drank just three or more colas a week had a 3.7% to 5.4% lower bone mineral density in their hip bones when compared with women who didn't drink the beverage.

    The study also showed what scientists call a dose response: The more soda participants drank, the lower their bone mineral density.

    The effect was seen only with colas — non-cola soft drinks, such as ginger ale and orange soda, had no effect on bone density. That finding led Tucker and colleagues to suggest that the phosphoric acid in cola is behind its bone-weakening effects.

    Phosphoric acid is added to colas for its tangy flavor. It's not normally found in the food chain, Tucker says. When ingested, it causes the acidity of the blood to increase; to adjust the blood's pH, the body draws calcium out of bones and into the bloodstream.

    These proposed effects of phosphoric acid on bone are largely theoretical, but they are supported by animal studies and some human research. A Danish study published in the journal Osteoporosis International in 2005 measured the blood levels of bone minerals in a group of men after they consumed a low-calcium diet and 2.5 liters of soda daily for 10 days, and then again after they consumed a normal diet and 2.5 liters of skim milk for 10 days.

    During the cola-drinking period, the men had higher blood levels of the bone mineral phosphate, the bone turnover protein osteocalcin and a substance called CTX — results that indicated minerals were being removed from bone, and not replaced, during the soda-drinking period.

    Scientists are continuing to test the theory that phosphoric acid in soda harms bones. But even if it turns out that phosphoric acids cause only small or temporary changes in bone composition, these can add up over time, Tucker says.

    In the meantime, Nieves suggests, it's probably wise to limit your intake of soda.

    "It's not like alcohol, where one drink a day is OK," she says. "Because bone mass is constantly changing throughout life, soda can cause bone loss at any stage."

  • Why Buy Formula When You Can Nurse For Cheap!

     The next time you think twice about investing in a quality nursing bra or indulging in a fashionable nursing top, hestitate no further. The yearly cost of breastfeeding is in the range of $3,000, that’s about $50 a week! It will take you a lot of nursing bras to surpass that cost, plus it is better for your baby’s health, as well as your own. Not to mention, the added side benefits of weight loss as breastfeeding burns around 500 calories a day, that’s 20 calories for the production of just 1 ounce of milk, without even setting foot on a treadmill! Add exercise and healthy eatting to the equation and your back in your pre-pregnancy body in no time!

    A recent style conducted by the Schneider Children’s Hospital revealed that unfrozen refrigerated breastmilk retains its benefits for at least 4 days. This is longer than the common notion promoted by doctors who recommended 48-72 hours. This study which involved 36 new mothers whose premature babies were being treated in the neonatal intensive care unit, found that there was vitually no change in the nutional integrity or bacterial presence of their breastmilk for up to 96 hours. Dr. Richard Schanler, chief of neonatal medicine at Schneider Children’s Hospital, hopes that study will shift the paradigm for hospitals everywhere by allowing women to store their unfrozen milk up to 4 days for the neonatal care which has even stricter rules due to the immunity of premature infants.[1]

    The Human Milk Banking Association of North American has suggested that human milk remains viable refrigerated for up to eight days. Dr. Schanlar and his colleagues recommend storing milk in glass containers or plastics BPA ones and refrigerate at a temperature of 39 degrees Fahrenheit or cooler. They also recommend placing milk in the rear of the refrigerator.

    This study gives working women and moms on the go one more reason to breastfeed. Pumping and feeding can be more challenging to plan out and nobody wants to “pump and dump” milk that their baby can’t drink in time, especially moms that have to travel away from their babies several days at a time. Now moms can be assured that pumped refrigerated milk, even up to 8 days old, contains all the necessary nutritional ingrediants and far more than frozen breastmilk thawed out and certainly more than fresh formula.

    Although freezing breastmilk is an alternative storing method and certainly effective for longer time periods, there is also a destruction to the infection-fighting cells and nutrional losses.

    “Certain immune components, proteins and enzymes are decreased in frozen milk” Dr. Schanler states.

    Most babies prefer the taste of fresher milk, but even thawed out breastmilk is nutrionally superior to manufactured cow milk formula and much cheaper. If you have a caretaker, make sure you instruct them with the proper guidelines for gently thawing out milk that has been frozen. Here is the recommended procedure and Storage Times for Human Milk from the AskDrSears.com site. [2]

    • Defrost milk by holding it under warm running water.
    • Or, place the container of milk in a bowl of warm water on the kitchen counter. As the water cools, replace it with more warm water until the milk is thawed and warmed to body temperature.
    • Do not heat expressed human milk on top of the stove. It's too easy to overheat it this way. Do not boil!
    • Do not heat expressed human milk in a microwave oven. Even if the overall temperature of the milk stays below body temperature, there may be "hot spots" where the milk is overheated and some of its beneficial properties are destroyed. The uneven heating can also be dangerous when the bottle is given to baby.
    • Human milk, like any milk that is not processed or homogenized, tends to separate when stored. The cream rises to the top. Swirl the bottle gently to mix the layers.
    • Human milk has a thin, bluish look to it, quite different from either homogenized cow's milk or the grayish color of infant formula. Your baby's caregiver may need reassurance that this is normal.

    STORAGE GUIDELINES FOR HUMAN MILK

    These guidelines are for mothers who are expressing milk for a full-term healthy baby. Use clean containers, and wash your hands with soap and water before expressing. or pumping. When providing milk for a baby who is seriously ill and/or hospitalized, check with healthcare providers for instructions.

    Where stored

    Storage temperature
    (degrees Fahrenheit)

    Storage temperature
    (degrees Centigrade)

    How long

    At room temperature 60 degrees F 15 degrees C 24 hours
    At room temperature 66-72 degrees F 19-22 degrees C 10 hours
    At room temperature 79 degrees F 25 degrees C 4-6 hours
    In a refrigerator 32-39 degrees F 0-4 degrees C 8 days
    In a freezer compartment inside a refrigerator     2 weeks
    In a self-contained freezer unit of a refrigerator     3-4 months
    In a separate deep freeze with a constant temperature 0 degrees F -19 degrees C 6 months or longer

    SAVE? OR DUMP?

    Type of Milk

    Save or Dump?

    Why

         
    Milk remaining in the bottle that has been offered to baby Use for next feeding, otherwise discard. Bacteria from the baby's mouth may have entered the milk during the feeding. This may lead to bacterial contamination if it sets too long (though as yet there is no research available).
    Milk that has been thawed Save in the refrigerator for 24 hours after thawing, then discard. Do not refreeze. Milk that has been frozen has lost some of the immune properties that inhibit bacterial growth in fresh refrigerated milk.
    Milk that has been kept in the refrigerator for eight days Transfer to storage in the freezer, or discard. Bacterial growth is not a problem, but milk sometimes picks up odors or flavors from the refrigerator or the container.

     The bottom line is it is worth your time to breastfeed or pump and feed your baby for at least their first year. You can be assured your refrigerated breast milk is not only safe for your baby but far superior than any store bought representation. You can also feel good about saving money on formula in allowing your baby to reap the health benefits of your 100% natural and organic breast milk.

    References:

    1. Ricks, Delthia. "Study finds breast milk has longer shelf life than previously thought" Physorg.com. January 2, 2010, Accessed January 24, 2010.
    2. AskDrSears.com, “Storage Guidelines for Human Milk”

     


    [1]Ricks, Delthia. "Study finds breast milk has longer shelf life than previously thought" Physorg.com. January 2, 2010, Accessed January 24, 2010.

    [2] AskDrSears.com, “Storage Guidelines for Human Milk”

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