Tag Archive for 'Breast milk'

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gisele Breastfeeding on the Job

elle-gisele-breastfeeding-hGisele Bundchen, as beautiful as ever, recently posted a photo on her Instagram account which takes multitasking to a new level. As seen in the photo she is getting her hair brushed by a stylist, getting her eyes done by a makeup artist and her nails painted by a manicurist (who happen to wear coordinating striped tops) all while simultaneously breastfeeding her baby.

My reactions to this scene is first, yes, how gorgeous (and calm!) she looks in the midst of this primping whirlwind craziness while she lovingly breastfeeds her child. Quelle entourage!!

Also, how good of her to prioritize her baby by unabashedly breastfeeding her child without lurking off to some hidden corner or caring what others thought of her openly breastfeeding. Life goes on and she’s back to work, but her baby isn’t going to take second place to her high end job demands.

My other reaction was, isn’t this the royal treatment we all could use as overworked moms, especially moms of babies and newborns? Heck I would still be breastfeeding my five year old if I had this sort attention and pampering!

Despite a little bit of envy (and wishing I looked half as good a few months or ever after having my babies), I have to take my hat off to Gisele for finding a way to prioritize her child and show that anytime is a good time to feed a baby and anyone who judges can simply leave the room. (I would also wager a bet that the continual primping and styling surrounding you as a supermodel can get a little wearisome after a while and may not feel like the spa indulgence that us normal moms may splurge on occasionally). However I would also wager a bet that most of us would trade our 9-5 jobs for this one if we could!

In a 2010 interview with Harper’s Bazaar UK edition Gisele raised eyebrows with her strong pro-breastfeeding stance stating that a worldwide law should require all mothers to breastfeed their babies for the first six months of life. She went on the say, “Are you going to give chemical food to your child when they are so little?”

Although I wholeheartedly support breastfeeding and agree that it is without a doubt the best thing you can do for your baby nutrition wise, particularly for the first six months of life, I also appreciate that it is sometimes extremely difficult for every mom to breastfeed fulltime given work and other demands. Certainly breastfeeding on the job may be easier in certain professions than others, but I do like the fact (as so glamorously demonstrated in Gisele’s photo documented example) we can all get creative and try to figure out a way to pull it off sometimes.

For example, pumping milk for a caregiver to feed your baby is a good option when nursing is not possible with your job or life demands. Many a professional mom has found that pumping (often while on a conference call) is the key to continuing breastfeeding when you need to be away from your baby by day. Even nighttime nursing alone is highly beneficial to your child and helps in your mother-baby bond if you are limited in the time you can spend with your child. Additionally, nighttime nursing also helps stimulate your milk supply more than pumping alone. In tandem, nighttime nursing and pumping for daytime feedings can often meet all of your baby’s feeding needs when you need to be at work or away from your baby during the day.

Gisele’s more tactful follow up comments in her personal blog are far more helpful and supportive of moms in general than her initial comments:
“I understand that everyone has their own experience and opinions and I am not here to judge,” she wrote. “I believe that bringing a life into this world is the single most important thing a person can undertake and it can also be the most challenging. I think as mothers we are all just trying our best.”

My thoughts exactly. We are all trying to do our best as moms day by day and as part of this parenting community we should support one another wholeheartedly in this endeavor.

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.

Breastfeeding Military Moms in the News

It seems every week now there is some major controversial news item and photo over breastfeeding in public. The latest stemmed from a photograph of two Air Force servicewomen, Tarran Eshegoyen-McCabe and Christina Luna, breastfeeding their babies in uniform. The photo of Echegoyen-McCabe was a bit more revealing as she was nursing twins simultaneously and showing some skin in the process. People have called this act “a disgrace” and there have been all sorts of negative comments over these two working women feeding their children while on a break.

In defense, Echegoyen-McCabe told MSNBC, “ There isn’t a policy saying we can or cannot breast-feed in uniform. I think it’s something that every military mom who is breast-feeding has done.”

As an owner of maternity and nursing clothing store and a mom who has nursed 3 children, I find it amazing that this photo is such a big deal. It seems there are still many people who find breastfeeding unsettling to observe and unnatural on some level. These moms were not trying to start a revolution, they were simply feeding their babies on break from work the way they always do. The photos are extremely natural and happy depictions of moms “doing it all” and juggling hats and responsibilities the way anyone who is a mom can relate to.

Maybe what’s unsettling to some people is the knowledge that some women in uniform are also moms to babies and young children. Or, maybe it’s the fact that many moms breastfeed their babies beyond infancy as is recommended by the World Health Organization. (WHO recommends exclusive breastfeeding up to 6 months of age, with continued breastfeeding along with appropriate complementary food up to two years of age or beyond).

Personally I find this photo uplifting as it shows two moms with serious military combat jobs who take time out of their busy training schedule to nurse their children and enjoy doing so.

Selma Blair Breastfeeds Her Baby Anytime Anywhere

Actress Slema Blair has been talking about when she will breastfeed her baby and we are proud to say that it is anytime anywhere. She’s been heard to say that she doesn’t care whom she offends.

Additionally, she’s been ensuring that her diet and nutrition is done correctly so that her son can receive the best nutrition possible.

TummyStyle suggests the Maternal America Mesh Nursing Top as a good option for Selma for her on the demand breastfeeding needs. This nursing top has pull to the side access. Its sleeves are down to the elbow and has a stylish stripe pattern. It’s a great deal at only $78.

Nursing Pajamas– The Olian Maternity Green Leaf Gift Set

Nursing pajama sets are always a popular choice as gifts. The Olian Maternity Green Leaf Nursing Pajamas set is a 4 piece one and includes pants, cami top, robe and baby sleeper.

The cami top includes a snap on the strap for easy drop down access. It’s great for after having your baby at the hospital or just sleeping in the comfort of your own bed. Olian Maternity has been making nursing pajamas for years and knows what the post-partum woman needs.

The green leaf pattern is unique and certainly a break from the standard fare of pinks and blues. It is made from 100% cotton and comes in sizes small to XL. At $104 it is an affordable gift for yourself or that special pregnant friend who is about to have her baby!

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.