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Tag Archives: Breastfeeding

  • Fewer Hospitals Giving Away Formula Gift Bags To Breastfeeding Women

     

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that nearly half of 2,600 hospitals that were surveyed no longer provide formula samples to breastfeeding women. This is up 25% from 2007. The survey did not state if women who were not breastfeeding were given formula samples.

    Formula samples come in gift bags that pregnant women receive when they start their new baby visits with their OB-GYN and typically continue to receive after they enter the hospital.

    These goody bags usually consist of an array of powered premix samples and coupons. These incentives to the new mom usually result in the formula company gaining an extra $700 a year in sales. Unfortunately this lower to this competition is the new baby and mom.

    These formula companies have also marketed the hospital staff with gifts and incentives which has further encouraged their stronghold in the maternity ward. As a result, many of the staff is not eager to bid adieu to their own goody bags as part of this marketing deal.

    In any case, the significant drop in formula perks and advertising to pregnant and postpartum women is good news for breastfeeding and newborn health. Although formula may be a necessary option for some new moms with health issues, for the majority of moms and babies breast milk really is best and breastfeeding is doable with the right support system in place.

    We at TummyStyle understand that breastfeeding isn't always easy for new mothers. 100 years ago there was a community of women who had previously nursed (there was no formula then) and these friends and female family members could provide support to the new mom and tips for breastfeeding. Now a days with many families not living near other relatives, and formula easily available and even encouraged, breastfeeding can be a more challenging task.

    We encourage all pregnant women who want to try breastfeeding to find out about breastfeeding education through your local prenatal classes at the hospital and to get the support you need soon after birth with a certified lactation consultant. Many hospitals provide this service during your hospital stay but sometimes you may have to actively request the service from a lactation consultant or nurse on call. Oftentimes you may need more help after you return home in which case you may need to find a local lactation consultant.  It may cost around $500-$60 per session but that expense will be more than made up in a few month of not spending on formula as well as the priceless increased health benefits to both your baby and yourself.

    Once you and your baby are in the groove of breastfeeding, it just becomes more natural. Although it may seem easier to get a good night sleep up front and give the baby formula, you will soon be glad you went through the effort when you baby is happily nursing and thriving on your natural organic personal breast milk.

  • Making Mistakes can Speed up the Learning Process with Breastfeeding

    A recent study by the John Hopkins School of Medicine showed that the brain learns motor skills faster by processing errors than any other way. In the past it was assumed that people learned and performed a motor task faster the second or third time around because they had more practice, but this is not the case. Although practice helps, the learning part comes from the brain's processing of mistakes. The brain, which never ceases to amaze and surprise us with its abilities and cleverness, stores memories of motor skill errors in performing a task which it then processes for making adjustments for the optimal outcome. We knew our brains were smart, but this shows that they are even smarter than we first thought as they can successfully automatically critique our every motor action to figure out what works best, sort of like self-coach we didn't even know we had.

    This science can be applied to almost every area of life figuratively and directly to physical areas that relate to motherhood, such as breastfeeding your baby. As we know all babies are different. So although it may be easier to breastfeed the second or third time around, what worked before on one baby (one particular hold or technique for latching) may not be as effective on a different child. It takes trial and error to find out what works for both your baby and you in the breastfeeding relationship. It also takes trial and error to figure out the times of day, amount of time and a multitude of other factors for optimal results in breastfeeding.

    For example, maybe your baby needs to be woken up a little first by having its diaper changed or a layer of clothes peeled off so they are not too hot and more awake. Maybe you need to play with your baby a little first to get them more stimulated. There may be a certain hold that works better at nighttime than daytime. Perhaps you nurse better an hour after dinner or a big glass or water as your milk supply is full. For some moms their best nursing sessions are first thing in the morning when they've had more sleep and restful time for their body to fully replenish their milk supply. There are so many factors involved in finding success in breastfeeding, particularly early on.

    One of the encouraging facts about this study is that your baby’s brain. which is amazingly wired, is also processing the trial and error information and figuring out how they can best feed. That’s one of the reason why its easier to breastfeed a baby with each additional week of life and experience that you stick with it. However, it is helpful to have an expert, such as a lactation consultant, to observe and offer advice on holds and techniques for breastfeeding your baby early on and especially if a problem arises. They can help speed up that learning process by using their expertise to narrow down on what might be going wrong or what adjustments you can try.

    The key is to stick with it and not give up hope when things don’t seem to be going well. With your brain and your baby's brain working together, breastfeeding will get easier. There will come a point when your baby knows all of your queues to nursing without you needing to spend fifteen minutes preparing a nest of pillows and props and mirrors to make sure they are positioned just perfectly. Before you know it you will only need to barely lift your shirt or nursing top ever so discreetly and your baby will know exactly what to do without you needing to pause for a breathe as you talk to a friend.

    Trust in the miracle of your brain with trial in error (and any additional professional help you may need) and nursing will be a piece of cake in no time. Also with all of those calories you burn nursing you can treat yourself to that occasional piece of cake without any guilt!

     

  • My Life as a Mom - Part 3

    I nursed my third baby nursed for 15 months until about the time I started feeling he was going to outgrow me. Looking back on it I realized I did succumb to a bit of social pressure or perceived social pressure. If I had it to do again I would have nursed him as long as I liked. Of course my husband believes our six year old would still be nursing if I didn’t wean him in that second year. However, the idea is to nurse him as long as I, the mother, would like and am able and not someone else tells me he is too big to nurse and should order for himself at a restaurant.

    I was actually quite surprised with how easy the weaning process was for all three of my kids. It always seemed so daunting when I would hear about people weaning their baby in a hurry before returning to work. What I discovered with the process is to do it gradually makes it easier for all, particularly my own body which was used to producing huge amounts of milk. I found that it is a lot less traumatic for the mother to emotionally and physically adjust to the reduced amount of nursing when it is stretched out over a longer time horizon than trying to power wean over a weekend. When weaning is done gradually over time, the baby barely notices and you might even find you want to hang onto that last nighttime feeding a little longer as you bond with your baby before he falls asleep and as you sometimes fall asleep yourself . One of the perks of nursing is that it does help you relax and fall asleep. It is remarkable how smart and flexible babies can be to new schedules and how fast the body can regulate to new supply and demand updates. Nature has made us elastic with our babies’ needs and babies are amazingly adaptable learners to new modes to feeding – although it may not feel that way at first because they have a lot to say about it.

    Looking back today as my youngest is 6, my middle child is 10 and my oldest 12, I am truly glad I was able to nurse all of my children for as long as I did. The first two I was able to continue to nurse after my maternity leave ended and I was working fulltime. It is amazing how you can make things work when you really want to do so.  Once we made it through the very rough first couple of weeks and even months it was a very fulfilling experience (and it did help me lose a lot of baby weight!) It provided me with a lot of bonding with my children and forced me to take my own “time out” of my busy day and evening to unwind with my baby. This was particularly nice when I was working fulltime and our caregiver would feed my baby my pumped milk during the day. The evening feedings when I was at home could be done in person and I could truly bond without a pressing commitment to my baby or hooked up to a machine.  I did find that keeping some interesting magazines around my go-to glider were a must have for daytime nursing. It also feel gave me a sense of competence and completeness that I was enough to continue to provide life and nutrition and comfort to my child. I was equipped with the goods as a mother. However I also know that having the support from my husband and caretakers when I was working fulltime was a big part of that equation as well, particularly when multitasking with other children and work responsibilities.

    Each stage of motherhood holds its own challenges and joys. As soon as you think you have one mastered, you enter the next. I have also found that each stage is less daunting than it seems from the distance. The terrible twos and toddler years can hold their share of stress but can also overwhelm you with joy and fun in firsthand experiencing your baby come into their own and literally start exploring and testing their world. The preschool years can be a big breath of relief as well as trepidation as you maybe for the first time drop off your child at school and leave them there for a period of time with people you have not personally hired and vetted. Even the older kid and tween years are an enriching time of seeing your child become more confident and independent and less in need (or desire) of constant handholding as they bond more with peers.

    Each and every stage holds its surprises and rewards. I have found and continue to find that reaching out for help when you need it is key. If you do not have family nearby (as we do not), finding a neighbor or mom at your school to help with carpooling, trading off on playdates and, if you can afford it, finding the occasional babysitter so you can escape on a date night is important in keeping some sanity and balance in your life. Everyone tells you to enjoy your kids while they are young. Sometimes it’s hard to enjoy every moment, especially when you are tired and sleep deprived. It's easier to enjoy them when you have the support you need to take care of them.  Just remember to be kind to yourself, patient with your kids and say “yes” to help whenever it is offered! You also deserve a mom time out, even if it's just a cup of coffee by yourself or a trip to the mall or bookstore. Treat yourself occasionally to a nursing top or something you like. It will make your whole experience all the better when you are not feeling deprived and your own needs are met. Remember to put your own oxygen mask on first, then are best equipped to meet the needs of your child!

  • My Life as a New Mom - Part 1

    Pregnancy and motherhood is a sacred time in our lives as women. The miracle of growing a human life inside of us is awesome. When I look at my kids and think that they somehow arrived here through my body and have now matured into the full personality individuals they are at 6, 10 and 12 year olds, it is more than I can wrap my head around.

    Pregnancy and motherhood is a journey and a process. You become a mother once you are pregnant, even before your baby formally arrives. Already you are thinking for two, eating for two, even dressing for two in your maternity clothes. You start planning nurseries and logistics around working or staying at home with your baby. If you plan to return to work you begin the process of looking into daycare or nannies or even reducing your hours or maybe working a more flexible schedule.

    I remember going through this whole process as a first time expecting mom more than twelve years ago before my son was born. We explored all options for our son’s care before and after he arrived but finally decided on a nanny once my maternity leave ran out. It was a challenging process of commuting to work, pumping milk while away from my baby and returning home again to care for my child. I missed my baby while at work but also enjoyed returning to my identity as a working person. I appreciated my job more and liked having adult conversations with coworkers and making decisions that did not involve nap schedules or baby feedings. But none the less it was challenging leaving my baby and pumping milk when I would rather be nursing my baby in person.

    When I had my daughter two years later I was able to mostly work from home while my nanny cared for both of my children. I was very structured about separating work from mothering and would literally close the office door to shut out any noise and to physically compartmentalize my professional world during working hours. The only thing that crossed the line was pumping milk, which usually occurred while on mute during a conference call. None the less, I kept my “double life” pretty quiet although I was open with my manager about my arrangement. Sometimes I was able to nurse my baby during part of a lunch break - which literally became my baby’s lunch hour with the rate that my methodical daughter nursed. But, it was a welcome break and a special time of bonding that I felt lucky to have while working.

    When my daughter was approaching two, I quit my corporate job to stay at home with my kids and focus my attention on my new online business. Although it first felt like a vacation to stay at home with my two young children and not have an outside work commitment, I soon found that life as a work at home mom without a clear work schedule, or a schedule that my two under 5 children were willing to go along with, was more challenging than I first thought.

    Joining the ranks of the Stay at Home Moms was not an easy process. Although most were friendly and welcoming at preschool pickups and drops offs, I often felt like a foreigner who was not savvy on the many activities, mommy and me programs, playdate calendars and volunteering that these women could rattle off in detail as part of their daily lives. I observed how they communicated at a faster quicker beat (often frequently pausing midsentence to respond to a toddler’s questions or address a baby’s needs) than work colleagues’ deliberate measured tones and corporate lingo.

    I marveled at how these women could pull off so much while pushing baby strollers, dealing with toddler demands and hefting babies in and out of car seats without missing a beat in conversation or their daily itinerary of playdates, errands, meal planning and even social outings. Often toddlers would troll behind them like ducklings with sippy cups or snack baggies in hand as these fit mamas, often sporting stylish gym clothes in what appeared to be perpetual workout mode, pranced a few feet ahead, always in motion and cheerfully conversing with those in their path. Somehow they were able to seamlessly integrate their kid’s schedules and naptimes into their daily life on the go. Often naptimes were incorporated into errand running while kids were strapped into their car seats or strollers or taken to the park on a "Mom" playdate with another friend with young kids. Meals and snacks were often packed ahead so there was no need to return home, ever.

    By the time I felt I was getting the hang of it to legitimately fake being part of this league of moms was about the time I learned I was expecting my 3rd baby. That's when I found out I was out of my league.

  • Is your Baby getting enough Vitamin D?

    Breastfeeding your baby is a great way to not only bond with your baby but to give them the very best customized nutrition and antibodies that they need to be healthy.  However the one vitamin that you may be lacking in providing through your breast milk is vitamin D. Vitamin D is an important part of both your pregnancy diet while your baby’s bones are developing and your breastfeeding diet as your baby continues to grow and develop.

    If you do not get enough Vitamin D in your diet when you are pregnant your baby may develop a condition called rickets from soft bones. Also by getting enough Vitamin D while you are pregnant you increase your chances of having a healthy, uncomplicated pregnancy.

    While breastfeeding it is important that you eat a healthy diet as your nutrient intake is what feeds your baby the vitamins and minerals they need to be healthy as well. Depending on how much vitamin D you are getting with your diet and sun exposure, you may or may not be providing enough vitamin D for your baby. If you do not have enough vitamin D in your diet, you will need to give your baby a vitamin D supplement (and you should probably a supplement for yourself too).

    Vitamin D deficiency is linked to a number of factors including:

    Not enough sun exposure outside.

    Having dark skin

    Being overweight or obese

    General recommendations for Vitamin D for pregnant women by the Vitamin D Council are 4,000-6,000 IU/day. Researchers found that moms that took at least 4,000 IU a day where more likely to have uncomplicated births and their newborns were likely to have enough vitamin D when he or she was born. Women without enough Vitamin D in their diets were more likely to have premature births, develop gestational diabetes, have preeclampsia and more likely to have a C-Section.

    The Vitamin D Council’s recommended intake of vitamin D for babies is 1,000 IU/day.  If you are getting enough vitamin D as a breastfeeding mother, then your baby is also getting enough vitamin D and does not need a supplement. If you baby does need a supplement you can give them prescription vitamin D drops directly or add them to food or drink for your baby.

    If you as a breastfeeding mother are taking a supplement of 6,000 IU of vitamin D each day, then your baby does not need a vitamin D supplement as your breast milk will have enough. If you are not taking a supplement (or you are taking less than 5,000 IU/day of vitamin D) and not getting a good amount if sun exposure, then you need to give your baby a vitamin D supplement.

    If you are getting a good amount of skin exposure to the sun each day, then you are probably getting enough vitamin D to make your breast milk rich with vitamin D. However most mothers are not able to get enough skin exposure every day to meet this requirement and do need a supplement 5-6 days a week. When you are not getting enough sun exposure for a number of days your breast milk will quickly clear itself of vitamin D unless you are taking a supplement.

    The upper limits for Vitamin D intake is 2,000 IU/day for babies and 10,000 IU/day for pregnant women. So, unless you are over supplementing, it is hard to exceed these limits. Formula milk varies with how much vitamin D in the formula. Most formula milk has between 40-100 IUs of vitamin D per 100 calories. You will need to figure out how much formula your child has a day to add up the vitamin D IUs they are getting. Based on this result you can figure out if you need to supplement your baby with vitamin D or not and how much to supplement. Remember to adjust your supplements as your baby’s intake of formula may increase over time.

    Although exposing your skin to the sun is a great way for pregnant and breastfeeding women to increase their vitamin D supply for both themselves and their babies, you also want to be careful not to burn. Although skin exposure for your baby will increase their vitamin D directly, your baby’s skin is extra sensitive and should not be exposed directly to the sun for at least the first six months, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Even after 6 months you will need to be careful of your baby’s sun exposure, especially in the hot summer months as burns can happen quickly to your baby’s sensitive skin.

    Vitamin D supplements are a good subject to bring up with your pediatrician. However it is also good to educate yourself on this subject as well so you can have a very informed conversation with your doctor on how to best supplement your baby if needed.

  • Grace Kelly - Her Role as a Breastfeeding Advocate

    As Nicole Kidman kicks off Cannes with “Grace of Monaco” Premiere, many of us who are old enough, fondly remember the beautiful Princess Grace (Kelly) of Monaco. I think Nicole Kidman was a good choice as an actress to play Grace and I’m sure she has the poise and “grace” to pull it off in style, particularly with all of those beautiful dresses, hats and ensembles she gets to wear for the part as Princess Grace was well known for her fashion choices.

    Although people remember Grace as a beautiful Academy Award winning actress, a “partner in crime” actress and collaborator with Alfred Hitchcock, a Philadelphia well brought up socialite and lastly, as the esteemed Princess Grace of Monaco and dedicated mother to her three children.

    It is well documented that Grace turned down movie roles offered to her during her reign as Princess, such as Alfred Hitchcock’s thriller, Marnie, which would portray her as a kleptomaniac as well as others such asThe Turning Point, directed by Herbert Ross. She very well could have expanded her movie career and added more awards and accolades to her shelf, but instead she put Princess responsibilities and motherhood above her movie career as her position limited her involvement with anything Hollywood or entertainment driven. Both the public in Monaco and her husband were opposed to her involvement in films as Princess of Monaco and she respected that sentiment.

    She did go on to use her artistic talents and passions to support the arts and improve art institutes in Monaco. Later the Princess Grace Foundation was formed to support local artisans. Grace returned did return to a form of acting in a series of poetry readings on stage and narration of the documentary The Children of Theater Street. She also narrated ABC's made-for-television film The Poppy Is Also a Flower (1966). But perhaps interestingly she took up a cause close to my heart, that of nursing women.

    Grace was one of the first celebrities to support and speak on behalf of La Leche League to advocate breastfeeding. She joined La Leche League in 1965 after the birth of her youngest daughter, Caroline.  In one of her speeches and press conferences for La Leche League in Chicago, she said she breastfeed all of her children after birth. She said, “I wouldn’t think of having a baby without feeding him myself.”

    Grace said she believed in improving the solidarity of family to help society overall and felt the best way to start this process was by focusing on the Mother’s connection to the baby at  birth by breastfeeding, “Solidarity begins with the child at the mother’s breast.” She continued, “as women it is one of our biggest prides that we have in our bodies every element that an infant needs for perfect health and growth.”

    She also added young siblings should be allowed to watch their mothers breastfeed their babies without embarrassment as it is a natural and beautiful experience for them to witness.

    The Milwaukee Sentinel documented that her 1971 La Leche League speech as attended by 1400 women and their children and caused quite a stir among the public and other hotel guests, “Passerbys looked twice as women were nursing their babies in the hotel lobby, hotel conference rooms and while walking down the aisles.”

    What amazes me is that is that is now 2014, over 40 years after this event occurred, and we still have to protest to protect the rights of nursing women in public and even to overcome the social stigma of breastfeeding outside your home. Even today we have newsworthy protests as women have “nursing” protests outside places of business, like Fitness Centers, where mothers are often regulated to nursing their babies in the restrooms. Nursing women everywhere receive dirty looks when discreetly nursing their babies in public places and are often asked to leave or relocate.

    I know I have spent many hours nursing all three of my babies on public toilets and although this can be a choice for privacy, it should not be a requirement. I believe every new mom should be awarded a card at birth which gives her the right to nurse in public for the first year of their baby’s life, sort of like a driver’s license. It should be a birthright for any baby to eat when it is hungry, particularly by way of breastfeeding as it is the cleanest most sanitary way for a baby to eat and it does not create a mess.

    Although the reviews have been scattered for the Grace of Monaco movie, I am looking forward to seeing Nicole Kidman’s portrayal of Grace Kelly. I am particularly interested in the part about the hard choices Grace had to make between her roles as mother, princess (both her appointed royal role and her volunteer leadership role in her community), wife and her career. I know many of us can identify with at least two to three of those roles to balance or choose between, sometimes on a daily basis. I’m also interested in seeing if and how the film will incorporate any of Grace’s breastfeeding advocacy as she was well ahead of her time with taking a public stance on this issue as a celebrity.

  • Tylenol during Pregnancy may be linked to ADHD

    It seems there are so many rules during pregnancy that it gets very confusing about what we need to take, like Folic Acid, and what we should avoid, like alcohol, caffeine and many pain medications. Now the latest research has uncovered that many seemingly benign over the counter pain relievers, including Tylenol, that are often prescribed to pregnant women, may not be as safe as we thought.

    A new study from Demark published Monday in the journal of JAMA Pediatrics now suggests that over-the-counter pain relievers with acetaminophen when used during pregnancy may be associated with ADHD behavioral problems in children. Although this is new research and the study authors were careful to state that “exhibiting ADHD-like behaviors” is not necessarily the same as being diagnosed with ADHD. All the same, it is cause for concern and for caution in taking medication containing acetaminophen as the active ingredient. This news is especially alarming since Tylenol has long been considered one of the safer medications pregnant women were advised to take for a fever, headache or the many aches and pains of pregnancy.

    If you have taken Tylenol during pregnancy do not panic. The study suggests that the risk is more highly associated with taking acetaminophen for long periods of time and particularly later in pregnancy. The women in the study that reported used acetaminophen pain relieving medications for 20 weeks or more had a 50% increase in requesting ADHD medication in their children later on. It is too early to assume that this is a cause and effect relationship but there is certainly enough evidence to avoid Tylenol and any medication containing acetaminophen during pregnancy if possible or at least to be very cautious in dosage and how long it is taken during pregnancy.

    This study reminds us to be extra vigilant about medications during pregnancy and to be sure to consult your doctor if you have any questions about any medication. No question is a stupid question for your doctor. Also it is important to do your own research on medications in addition to consulting your doctor as studies such as this one are very new and may not have made the rounds to all the medical communities. It is also important to have these conversations with your doctor to inform them of new information that may not have been known when they were in medical school and is not yet common knowledge.

    This study is also a reminder that we cannot assume that what we did prepregnancy exercise-wise, work-wise, or medication-wise is also safe during pregnancy and nursing postpartum. Also, it is a constant re-evaluation of what is best as our bodies are constantly changing during pregnancy, so nothing is static. If you are having pain issues there are many non pharmacological ways you can explore to deal with pain including massages, baths and acupuncture to name a few. While we do not want to be paranoid about everything we do, it is also better to err on the safe and conservative side during pregnancy when in doubt.

    Knowledge is power. It is important to do your own research during pregnancy and make your own informed decision about everything you decide to do. The end of day do not stress over your choices, just know you did the best you could do which is really what parenting is all about. None of us is perfect and guilt gets us nowhere, but informed decisions are the best way we can be the responsible and loving parent for our child that we all want and strive to be.

  • 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.

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