Archive for the 'Breast milk' Category

Our Breast Milk is Smarter than We Thought

Just when we think we know everything healthy and nutritious and miraculous there is to know about breastfeeding and our baby’s health, we find out something new. A new study just uncovered even more amazing news about the mother’s body, it’s uncanny knowledge and ability to know our baby’s gender and produce customized milk for our baby girl or baby boy. (We already know it produced milk for the exact age of our child, be it premature or full-term, or a toddler a year or more after birth if we still nurse).

Interestingly, a common theme in humans, monkeys and other mammals is that there are a variety of differences in the quantity and type of milk that is produced for our babies depending on their gender. Baby boys tend to get richer or denser milk which has more fat and protein in it, providing them with more energy while baby girls tend to get milk that is produced in greater quantities. (Didn’t we always say baby boys were pumped full of adrenaline and our baby girls calmly nursed forever?)

Last Friday this research was shared at the Association for the Advancement of Science’s annual meeting. Although it is not clear why human mothers produce such different milk for their girl or boy babies, there is evidence that this customized milk is developed while the baby is still in utero. This does give mothers more reason to try and breastfeed our baby with our individualized formula which our body intelligently produces for our child.

“Mothers are producing different biological recipes for sons and daughters,” said Katie Hinde, an evolutionary biologist at Harvard University.

“While the food aspects of milk to some extent are replicated in formula, the immuno factors and medicine of milk are not and the hormonal signals are not,” Hende said.

As new research continues to uncover more interesting facts about mother’s breast milk, it is clear that breastfeeding is the optimal food choice for our baby. As we continue to learn more about our body’s ability to produce the ideal milk formula for our infant, we are encouraged about how this new scientific knowledge can also help other infants who are in need of specialized breast milk and who cannot get it from their mothers.

“Getting a better understanding of how milk is personalized for specific infants will also help hospitals find better matches for breast milk donated to help nourish sick and premature infants in neo natal units”, added Hinde.

It’s powerful knowledge to know that you are your baby’s best nutrition source and you are your baby’s perfect biological match, not only for giving birth but for continuing to feed, nourish and nurture your unique child.

If you are having trouble nursing, do not hesitate to ask for help. You can contact a lactation consultant or even a mother’s support group like La Leche League in your area to find the support that you need to help you nurse your baby successfully.

Breastfeeding Tips from Bravado!

Breastfeeding is the best nutrition and antibodies you can provide your baby during it’s first year of life and particularly for it’s first 6 months of life. According to a new Study published by Bravado! designs, our top nursing bra brand, breastfeeding is on the rise in North America.

In 2012 77% of new moms nursing their newborn, up 6% from 12 years ago in 2000 in the United States. In Canada breastfeeding rates also continued to rise with 89% of mothers breastfeeding their infants, up 4% from 2003. This is super news for both babies and new mothers as breastfeeding can improve the bond between mothers and their infants and even improve materal health and aid with postpartum weight loss.

Here is Bravado’s List of the Top 7 Benefits of Breastfeeding:

1) Breastmilk contains the right balance of nutrients for your baby.

2) Antibodies in Breast Milk boost your baby’s immune system.

3) Breastfeeding can protect your baby from developing allergies.

4) May lower baby’s risk of SIDS.

5) May protect your child from obesity.

6) May boost your child’s intelligence.

7) May reduce your stress level and risk for post-partum depression.

Although breastfeeding can seem a like perfectly natural thing to do, it may not always feel natural or be easy in the beginning. For many moms (and babies) it can take some time catching onto, breastfeeding every baby can be a different experience. Do not hesitate to get the help you need to get you and your baby on the right track with breastfeeding. Hospitals provide nurses and lactation consultants to guide you in feeding your baby. You can also to nursing support groups, La Leche Leagues and local Moms groups to seek out the help you need for breastfeeding.

Here are some Basic Breastfeeding Tips (as provided by Bravado!)

1) Ask for help right away

The first time you breast-feed your baby – preferably within a few hours after delivery, ask for help. The maternity nurses or a Lactation Consultant can offer breastfeeding tips, stating with how to position the baby on the breast and make sure he or she is latching on correctly.

2) Let your baby set the pace

For the first few weeks, most newborns feed every two to three hours around the clock. Watch for signs of hunger such as restlessness, sucking motions with lip movements.

3) Give it time

If breastfeeding is tougher than you expected, don’t get discouraged. Don’t let a rough start turn you off from breastfeeding. The more your breastfeed your baby, the more milk your breast will produce and the better you will get at it. But do  not hesitate to get the help you need if you do hit a rough patch (back to Step 1 when all else fails!) You will get there with time, patience and practice.

Breastfeeding is a job, but it is so worth it for your baby. It can be exhausting feeding your baby around the clock, so make sure you are getting the nutrition and support you need from friends, relatives, neighbors and anyone else who offers to cook you a meal, help with baby or household chores! Be sure to pat yourself on the back for doing a very good deed for your baby that will reap rewards for your both now and for years to come.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Breastfeeding Can Extend Your Life (New Research!)

If you are wondering where to stand on the breastfeeding v. formula debate, some new research may make that decision a little clearer.

A mass study published that past Wednesday in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition discovered that exclusively breastfeeding your baby for at least six months could cut your chance of dying from cancer and all other diseases by 17%. This includes an 8% reduction in dying by heart disease alone.

Previous studies on breastfeeding have primarily looked at the affect on the baby or the short term health benefits to the mother, such as weight loss.

“No previous study has investigated the association between breastfeeding and mortality in the mother,” lead researcher Anne-Claire Vergnaud said. She added that “failure to breastfeed” related to an increase in premenopausal breast cancer, ovarian cancer and diabetes.

The study also confirmed previous findings on health benefits to the baby from breastfeeding including less likelihood of adult obesity or even being overweight, which reduces risk for seven different types of cancer as well as diabetes.

AICR Director of Research, Susan Higginbotham explains the connection between breastfeeding and longevity, “Physical changes in breast tissue that accompany milk production provide some protection as well.” Since breast tissue cells are shed during lactation, the cancer risk is decreased. She adds, “Because cells have potential DNA damage get shed before they can spark the cancer process.” Also, longer breastfeeding helps by reducing menstrual cycles and the lifetime exposure to hormones such as estrogen that can increase the risk of breast cancer.

Only 16% of US women exclusively breastfeed their babies for six months and 36% breastfeed exclusively for three months, so many American women are clearly missing the health benefits for themselves and their babies that exclusive breastfeeding has to offer. 47% of women in the U.S. breastfeed the first six months while also supplementing with formula.

Clearly the breast is best not only for your baby and for helping with your pregnancy weight loss, but also for your long-term health, reduced chance of cancer and overall longevity. That’s a powerful reason to breastfeed your baby!

National Breastfeeding Week in Ghana

National Breastfeeding Week was launched in Koforidu as a part of the campaign for exclusive breastfeeding in Ghana. The Theme is “Understanding the Past, Planning, the Future, Celebrating 10 years of the Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding; Reviving Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative In Ghana.”

Research has shown that children who were not exclusively breastfed the first six months of life had increased risk of asthma, allergy, acute respiratory infections, nutrient deficiencies, cancers, obesity, and diarrhea and reduced cognitive development.

This campaign is also aiming at educating parents in the importance of not giving a baby water for the six months since in the past babies in this culture were traditionally given all types of drinks as infants including water, cod liver oil, gripe water and other liquids which is detrimental to their development and health.

The few mothers who attempt to practice exclusive breastfeeding in Ghana often find the social support system challenging as their mothers, grandmothers and in-laws and even pharmacy shops have sabotaged their efforts by encouraging them to supplement their babies with cod liver oil and gripe water to boost their babies’ systems.

Dr Iyabode Olusanmi, the country representative of UNICEF, who performed the launching, said the reduction in the exclusive breastfeeding meant that thousands of children had a lesser chance of surviving childhood just because they were not breast-fed early and exclusively, several children were being exposed to the risk of diarrhea and other infections and malnutrition and stunting growth would continue to plague children.

She called on the GHS to focus their attention on achieving the set goals for exclusive breastfeeding in the communities to reach mothers, fathers and husbands, older women, mothers-in-law and all those who played critical roles in influencing feeding practices in young families.

The World Breastfeeding Week campaign was launched globally about 20 years ago to raise awareness of the importance of exclusive breastfeeding in reducing infant mortality.

Jessica Simpson Struggles with Pregnancy Weight Loss

I have to confess I’m a secret Jessica Simpson fan. Although I often find it hard to embrace the personalities of most overly hyped and overpaid Hollywood stars; Jessica

Simpson, despite her billions, seems to bring humor and humanity to all that she does and says.

As the new spokesperson for Weight Watchers we expect this well looked after and richly compensated star to drop the weight in no time at all. I’m sure she has her own private chef preparing every morsel of food entering her mouth which of course conforms to her finally crafted personalized Weight Watcher’s diet plan. No doubt she also has personal trainers showing up at her doorstep 7 days a week and nannies to care for her baby at her beckon call. However, her latest comments on overindulging during pregnancy and her struggles with the pregnancy weight not coming off easily, sure hit home with me and made her all at once the relatable girlfriend next door.

The 32 year old singer, actress and designer who welcomed Maxwell Drew on May 1st admitted to USA Today her lack of knowledge regarding pregnancy pounds, “I didn’t realize it didn’t all come off with the baby.” The 5’4” Simpson’s own weight reportedly topped 170 pounds in March. Daughter Maxwell Drew weighed in 9 pounds, 13 ounces at birth.

“I let myself indulge in everything I wanted because it was the first time I was ever pregnant and I wanted to enjoy it. I wanted to be happy and eat what I wanted.”

“I’m not a supermodel,” she continued. “My body is not bouncing back like a supermodel. I’m just your everyday woman who is trying to feel good and be healthy for her daughter, her fiancé and herself.”

Although I’m sure Simpson will look svelte and fit in no time at all, it’s somewhat comforting to know that even the biggest celebrities can fight off those post pregnancy pounds like the rest of us commoners.

It’s also important to remember that nutrition comes first in addressing weight issues after pregnancy. Breastfeeding moms in particular need to make sure they consume adequate healthy calories so they can produce enough breast milk for their babies.

Study Shows Exercise For Nursing Mothers Is Not Harmful

The Journal of Pediatrics has reported from a study that mothers can regularily exercise without hindering their babies’s growth.

They also addressed the issue of breast feeding women having a change in their milk if they exercised. There has been some controversity by conflicting reports about whether excessive exercise would decrease immune-boosting protiens or make the breast milk impalatable if the lactic acids would get too high.

The study looked at several clinical trials that measured growth among breastfed babies with mothers who execised and show no sign of their babies’ wetigh gain slowing. In fact, there was statistically no difference in breastfed babies who mothers’ exercised when compared to breast fed babies whose mothers did not exercise.

Still, one should be sensible about their exercising after childbirth. Be sure to get a good bond with your child and have a really strong breastfeeding routine. You will also be more tired and worn out, and with the possibility of engourged breasts, you many not want to do anything too vigourous. Walking for 15 minutes a day may be a good way to start out.

Health experts reccomend that babies should be breastfed exclusively for their first six months and then slowly introducing solids to the baby’s diet. They also recommend to try to breastfeed for the first year.

Breastfeeding Hospital Crib Cards

Nursing Bra Tank by Bravado

I just found these really cool breastfeeding hospital crib cards from the CDC.

There is a boy breastfeeding card and a girl breastfeeding card, but they say exactly the same thing. Just the colors are different.

They point out the advantages of breastfeeding such as less chances of being overweight, fewer ear infections, less chance of diabetes, among others. They also give you the hunger cues such as hands in mouth, searching from side to side, stretching and lastly crying (which means you are late!).

The intent is for the hosiptals to put them on the cribs but you can always print one out and put it there to remind the nurses you are breastfeeding.

New Research Shows Breastfeeding Is Tied To Lower Incidence Of Asthma

If you are looking for one more reason to breastfeed your baby, consider the latest research on the link between breastfeeding and lower asthma rates in children. According to two new research reports, breastfeeding increases lung volume which makes babies and children less susceptible to get asthma.

Also, this new research found that even mothers who were asthmatic still benefited their children by breastfeeding them and thus increasing their lung volume. In the past it was thought that only asthma-free moms should breastfeed. This research shows that the babies benefited from breastfeeding whether or not the mom had asthma. (It’s suspected that the babies suckling activity when breastfeeding increases it’s lung power).

Even more significantly, these studies showed that the longer the mother exclusively breastfeed their baby, the less risk the child had of getting asthma or breathing related problems. A team led by Karen Silvers with data on more than 1000 kids found that each additional month of exclusive breastfeeding was tied to a nine percentage drop in asthma risk.

The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding exclusively (with no formula) for the first six months of the child’s life then to continue to breastfeed (as solids are introduced) for two years or longer.

So, here’s some more reasons to breastfeed your child (particularly exclusively breastfeeding them for the first 6 months of life). Your child will reap the benefits for a lifetime.

SOURCES: bit.ly/yCsmfY American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, online February 3, 2012 and bit.ly/wVKRCQ Journal of Pediatrics, online January 29, 2012.

BREASTFEEDING exposes babies to a variety of flavours

This article from Australia.

BREASTFEEDING exposes babies to a variety of flavours, making them more accepting of different foods as they grow

CSIRO research psychologist Dr Nadia Corsini said studies showed breastfeeding provided infants with a greater variety of tastes compared with formula, which was beneficial when weaning them on to solid foods.

“Exposure to flavours takes place in utero and via breastfeeding, where the baby is exposed to flavours in mother’s diet,” she said.

“A lot of people might not realise this is one of benefits of breastfeeding, the exposure to different flavours.

“Research suggests children with exposure to different flavours are more accepting of different foods as they grow older to those who didn’t have exposure.”

According to a European study of 147 mothers and their infants, both breastfeeding and daily changes in vegetables offered early in weaning increased the child’s acceptance of new foods for at least up to two months.

Dr Corsini said breastfeeding versus formula was a sensitive issue, but mothers shouldn’t feel they are disadvantaging their child if they do not breastfeed.

“Even though these processes exist it doesn’t mean you can’t change or influence your children’s acceptance of different foods after that stage,” she said.

“That’s why it’s important to offer children a wide variety of healthy foods early in life. It is such an important influence on the variety in their diet later.”

Gordana Hopping, 33, is breastfeeding her five-month-old daughter Filipa and mindful of eating well.

“I’m staying away from soft drinks and sugary foods,” she said. “I have a healthy diet so Filipa is too.”

The Advertiser and Sunday Mail Healthy Eating project continues this week, encouraging children to learn more about balanced diets and cooking nutritious meals.

Students can collect daily panels featuring the different food groups as well as recipes courtesy of the CSIRO.

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.