natural mother magazine
BREASTFEEDING ISSUE NURSING IN PUBLIC EXPERTS & ADVOCATES
ROUND TABLE DISCUSSION NATURAL REMEDIES FOR COMMON
BREASTFEEDING COMPLICATIONS AT MOTHER’S BREAST
A BREASTFEEDING PHOTOGRAPHY FEATURE IssueMOTHER 11, Mar./Apr. 2015 NATURAL MAGAZINE |1
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PUBLISHER Jessika Jacob
EDITOR Ingrid Sorensen CONTIBUTORS Paige Lucas-Stannard Jennifer Saleem Meghan Johnston, IBCLC Katrina Barker Anderson Dr. Jolene Brighten, N.D. Dr. Charles Bowers, OB/GYN Guggie Daly Amy Phoenix Christy Porucznik Kerry McDonald, M.Ed. Melissa Knighton Emily Rowell Bullock, CHHC Amy Jane Stewart Danelle Frisbie Kiddada Green STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Earthside Birth Photography
Information contained herein is not intended to replace professional medical or legal counsel. This publication may contain affiliate links and/or paid content. NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE | 3
Coconut Oil and Breastfeeding Benefits of Breastfeeding Breastfeeding Against the Grain Nursing Aversion: Making Choices Through Awareness Non-Profit Human Milk Banking New Rhythyms for a Growing Family Fathering the Breastfed Child Circumcision Harms Breastfeeding Beyond 6 Months: Circumstantial or Optional
In Every Issue
22 46 50 77 85 88 93 102 109
Letter from the Publisher 7 Letters from Readers 8 Letter from the Editor 13 Editor’s Picks 14 Ask Paige: A Gentle Parenting Advice Column 18 Essential Oils Quick Guide: Breastfeeding 82 Natural Kitchen: Lactation Cookies 98 Birth Announcements 112 Natural Mother’s Market 114 4| NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE
On the Cover NURSING IN PUBLIC 26
AT MOTHER’S BREAST: A BREASTFEEDING PHOTOGRAPHY FEATURE 32 NATURAL REMEDIES FOR COMMON BREASTFEEDING COMPLICATIONS 42 EXPERTS & ADVOCATES ROUND TABLE DISCUSSION 54 Cover Photo Credit: Earthside Birth Photography SLC, UT
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letter from our Publisher At this moment I cannot think of a greater honor than to be the Publisher of this issue. Breastfeeding is such an important factor in the optimal health of our children, if not the most important factor. Having breastfed my 3 children, one through an entire pregnancy, and then having tandem breastfed for 3 years, I know full and well the struggles both emotional and physical. I know how hard, confusing, painful, frustrating, and rewarding nursing can be. I had to overcome wanting to give up, nearly weekly. I had to search for answers, find a support system, cry
through pain, calm my nerves through severe nursing aversions, find energy through years of sleepless nights, and somehow find the courage to not wean my two youngest when I was so frustrated I couldn’t see any other way. Breastfeeding is hard. Possibly the hardest thing I ever did was tandem nurse. I never would have lasted as long as I did without my amazing sisters who answered every call, came over, brought a pump to relieve engorgment and plugged ducts, had the remedies for thrush memorized, and their undying and completely understanding and honest support. For me, the support was what got me through. Knowing I was surrounded by women, not just my sisters but countless friends, who knew the ins and outs of brestfeeding, who didn’t sugar coat how bad it can be, and who would sit and cry over stories of how amazing it is. Who would all tell me I could do it when I was sure I couldn’t. Breastfeeding doesn’t come naturally, and for most it doesn’t come without its fair share of struggles. There is one thing I can guarantee you: it is worth it. It is so worth it. The benefits for you and baby, beyond your health, are immeasurable. That, and you can do it. I hope this issue will help. ~ Jessika
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My husband and I were so excited to be expecting our first baby. Around 30 weeks pregnant they diagnosed him with intrauterine growth restriction and diagnosed me with lupusinduced preeclampsia. I had no idea I had a disease, I didnâ€™t even know what lupus was, but now I was preparing to have a premature baby. After his emergency c-section I was unable to be with him for about 50 8| NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE
hours. Even though I couldnâ€™t stand or walk I started pumping my milk for him on day two. At first I only got a few drops and they sent those up to the NICU where my son, Oliver, was fed through a tiny tube that was placed down his throat (or nose). He was born weighing 2 pounds 14 ounces and breastfeeding was critical to his health. I continued pumping, and eventually he was allowed to prac-
tice at the breast with the help of a nipple shield. I still had to pump and supplement my milk to make sure he was gaining weight. After 2 months of pumping, and breastfeeding around the clock, I finally ditched the pump. I had gotten a horrid case of mastitis and was producing too much milk. I continued nursing him on demand using the nipple shield. By 4 months old we ditched the nipple shield and he finally latched on and was exclusively breastfed. He continued nursing right up until I got pregnant with his baby brother. He was around 21 months old and I assumed he would wean during the pregnancy. Even though my milk dried up for part of the pregnancy, Oliver never weaned. He nursed right up until labor started, and after I gave birth (full term and naturally this time) he and his baby brother, Finley, breastfed together. I was so thankful Oliver was still nursing because Finley had a hard time breastfeeding due to a posterior tongue tie and lip tie, but luckily Oliver kept nursing to bring in my milk, and once we got the baby’s ties revised they both nursed like champs together! Oliver was 2.5 when Finley was born. I decided long ago in the NICU I would let my children self wean. Oliver (now 5) and Finley (2.5) are both still breastfeeding. I never imagined I would ever be nursing a 2.5 year old let alone a 5 year old but this is what has worked for us. I wish I could go back to the NICU and tell myself it was all going to work out! Breastfeeding has been the most challenging, and most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. I am now a breastfeeding counselor and help the
moms in my area. I feel like this is really my calling in life because I had such a tough time nursing and now I can help others hopefully have an easier time. To any mom who has breastfed (one day or many years), I applaud you! It’s not easy, but you’re doing a good job! ~ Brittany Davidson Baltimore, MD When my son was born it all was perfect. I thought it was so easy. My son latched on instantly and he started gaining all his birth weight back that he lost even before we left the hospital. Woot, right!!? Well my son got a fever at 8 days old and, being a new mom, I freaked out. It’s a regret I still live with to this day but we took my little bundle of joy to the hospital. He was poked with needles for what seemed like hours. All I could do was cry, refusing to leave the room when the nurses assured me it may be easier for me. I wasn’t there for me, I was there for him, and I wasn’t about to leave my little love. We were there for two days at the hospital, my little angel hooked up to antibiotics. It didn’t take long for him to start to change. His poor body wasn’t handling the antibiotics very well and suddenly he couldn’t handle any food that I ate. It was devastatingly hard. All I could do was hold my baby as he cried and cried. Nothing I did seemed to make a difference. I had to go on an extreme elimination diet. I myself was left hungry at the end of the day for fear of not daring to eat. We went through months upon NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE | 9
months of my poor little one having pain from gas which just broke my heart. But if I ate the wrong thing it would be so much worse. But I kept at it even when everyone around me told me otherwise. “Have you tried formula? Maybe that would just be for the best.” “Oh it isn’t what you’re eating, he’s just colic.” Yes, he was colic but when I ate the wrong thing it was night and day. Now my little boy is 13 months and still nursing strong. We’ve gotten past the gas stages and he can handle anything!! I’m so proud of the both of us. It was such a hard time that no one really seemed to understand, but I’d do it again.” ~ Emily Walters Jenison, Michigan 10| NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE
“My daughter Scarlett was born on January 24th at 41 weeks, via unplanned c-section. For a woman who was fully prepared to birth naturally, having a c-section felt like a huge defeat. Scarlett was breach, my water broke, and the rest is history. If I could have some control over something it would be to nurse my new baby and nurse her exclusively. (Some background information on myself: I had a breast reduction in December 2011 and made sure to voice my wishes to breastfeed my future children, therefore, the surgeon would take extra care not to sever any milk ducts). With c-sections it is expected that the mother’s milk would not come in as quickly due to the delivery method (so the nursing staff was prepared for that). But as the first day turned into night and the day after that with no huge increase in milk production, the staff became concerned. First, my nipples were flat, so they gave me a nipple shield. Then the colostrum wasn’t coming in fast enough and my baby was hungry (so after much deliberation, I syringe fed her some formula). Then onto the SNS pump because my newborn was getting frustrated that she had to work at the breast. Needless to say I was frustrated. I was worried that my breast reduction had ruined my chances of nursing my baby because this waterfall of milk was not coming in like it was supposed to. I was devastated. I continued to try. I went home with my baby supplementing with formula and continuing to pump
every 2 hours around the clock. After a week or two, I was at my wits end. I did not want to be an exclusively pumping mother. I decided to see a well-known lactation consultant in hopes that maybe she could help me succeed at breastfeeding.
tears due to my struggle to produce enough to keep my child gaining weight ever so slowly. Scarlett is still small, but I can honestly say she has NEVER been hungry. I can proudly say (and shout from the mountain tops) that Scarlett will be 1 this month and we are STILL proudly nursing! There I ended up spending close to 3 hours were other health issues we fought with the consultant and to this day through this year as Scarlett was born I believe that she saved my nursing with hip dysplasia and underwent relationship. She had me rent a hossurgery at 6 months of age. Nursing pital grade pump and continue to helped my child and me cope with pump every 2 hours during the day overnight stays at the Childrenâ€™s Hosand once overnight. So after renting pital, teething, bedtime routine, and a hospital grade pump, taking every overall bonding. I am so proud of my supply-boosting supplement, going to breast feeding journey and have no the chiropractor, acupuncturist, and intention of stopping anytime soon.â€? eating my weight in lactation cookies, my milk came in! I was still pump~ Joanne Bonner ing every 2 hours during the day and Omaha, Nebraska once throughout the night, but I had milk. Around 4 weeks Scarlett latched! My supply was not abundant and I had to closely monitor what I gave to those who cared for her during the day to prevent over feeding. I received a lot of criticism due to my child being on the smaller side, from family and her first physician. I have since switched to a pediatrician who is very supportive and knowledgeable about breastfed babies. At around 2 months I was able to completely wean Scarlett from any formula. The day I was able to graduate to the full size pumping bottle I thought I had won the lottery. The celebration I had when I could add an extra ounce to stash for the next day was even better! The celebrations came slowly and with a lot of NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE | 11
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letter from the
Dear Friends, It is with great satisfaction that we present to you this first annual Breastfeeding issue of Natural Mother Magazine. What a labor of love! And exactly symbolically so, since breastfeeding itself can be perfectly described with the same phrase: a labor of love. My years (decades? Yes, decades!) of breastfeeding have instilled a passion for nursing so deep in my soul, that, even today, when my nursing years are solidly in the past, I get a little stirring in my soul when I see
another mama nursing her little one. I get a little smile on my face. And I have to restrain myself from running up to her and saying, “Isn’t that the best thing in the world? Don’t you just love how you feel right this minute?” In fact, sometimes I don’t restrain myself. Sometimes I just do it. Don’t we all need that? That community? That support? That connection to other nursing mothers? I think we do. I certainly needed it when I was a brand new mother, with a preemie in the NICU and a breast pump instead of a baby in my hands. I needed it again when I had an energetic twoyear-old and baby #2 at my breast. I needed it again when, decades later, I had baby #9 at my breast, and a houseful of children of all ages, needing my attention just as much as that newborn did. Community is what it’s all about. That connection is what we need to thrive as we nurse our babies. I feel so strongly about breastfeeding that, when asked by a mature friend who is well past her active mothering years, to give some basic child-rearing advice, “Nurse your baby” was among my top thoughts. Nurse your baby. And let us help a little if we can. Enjoy this issue, it’s been a labor of love! ~ Ingrid
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^ Cake Maternity Cupcake Re-usable Nursing Pads - 2 Pair If there is anything a new breastfeeding mom needs as much as diapers, itâ€™s nursing pads. Disposable nursing pads are as much of a waste as disposable diapers, or disposable anything for that matter. Including a waste of money. These soft and contoured re-usable nursing pads are made from organic and natural fibers. Because of the outer sleeve you can double up for those super leaky days. Each pad has a a middle waterproof layer to prevent soaking through. Another must-have for your breastfeeding journey. $16.90
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Nursing Happens > Breastfeeding Infinity Scarf from Itzy Ritzy What a brilliant idea! Scarf turned nursing cover! No more fidgeting for that silly giraffe print nursing cover! Stylish, sleek, and multi-functional. This gets our innovation award! $24.99
Earth Mama Angel Baby Nipple Butter Looking for a lanolin-free nipple rescue? Look no further. Non-GMO Verified, certified by Oregon Tilth, toxin-free, and rated a 0 on EWG’s Skindeep Database. Really, what more could you ask for? Safe for baby? Yes! No need to wash it off! It’s another multi-functional product: use it for all your dry skin needs! $12.95
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< Mommy Necklaces Need something for your distracted nursling to do, other than pinching you, or playing with your hair or other breast? I did, too! Mommy Necklaces are gorgeous, and come in a ton of different styles and colors! Their beads are all made in the USA and independently tested for lead and phalates. Safe, beautiful, and functional! $18-$27 MamAmor Breastfeeding Dolls > Looking for a doll to help your little one understand birth or breastfeeding? Look no further, these amazing hand crafted dolls were created by a mom of 3 and birth doula. Pictures do not do this doll justice, you simply must get your hands on one. A perfect “big sibling” gift for when you’re expecting your 2nd or subsequent child. $200 16| NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE
Euphoric Herbals < Dairy Fairy Experiencing a dip in supply? Need a little boost? Check out Euphoric Herbals many oragnic herbal blends to help you produce more milk if you need it. Many mothers agree, these products do their job and do it well! $36
Glamourmom Nursing Bra Full Bust Long Top > Almost nothing makes nursing easier than the perfect nursing wear. When I tandem nursed my two youngest kiddos, I absolutely lived in my Glamourmom nursing tanks. They held up better than any other tanks I had. And there was no shame or discomfort in falling asleep in them! Available in many sizes, colors and fits, you are sure to love them too! Worth the investment, no doubt about it! $59
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GENTLE PARENTING ADVICE | by Paige Lucas-Stannard
Do you need help with a parenting predicament? Our Ask Paige column appears in every issue and is always incredibly helpful! Email Paige directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org
cally with gentle parenting--meaning he understands the concepts and agrees it is the best thing for our famHow do I get my husband on board ily. Let’s just take a moment to celewith gentle parenting? He says he wants to parent gently but he doesn’t brate that together! How much more difficult would this be if our partners follow through and instead gets angry and yells at the kids all day. Then, thought gentle parenting was bunk when I try to offer suggestions, he just and really believed in punishments and spanking? That’s a completely gets frustrated and gives up. I don’t want him to give up and leave all the different problem that you and I don’t parenting to me AND I don’t want the appear to have. Hooray! kids to get yelled at all day. Help! But, and it is a big “but,” Pete’s application of gentle parenting leaves Shareen something to be desired which sounds a lot like your partner. There Dear Shareen, are tons of reasons a person might find gentle parenting difficult. Our (I asked my husband’s permission own parenting is shaped by many to throw him under the bus for this factors including: answer, so please note that I got his permission. Thank you, Pete!) • how we were parented Your email sounds like something I • what our emotional triggers are could have written a year ago (or • how much time we have to deyesterday!). My co-parent, Pete, is vote to learning a new way of thankfully very on board philosophiDear Paige,
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parenting • how much support we have from friends Not to mention the different pressures faced in our gendered society by men and women. Think about it: 97% of the parents on my FB page and 100% of the parents on my Parenting Gently Newsletter list are women. I imagine the numbers are similar for other parenting-related sources. Women, due to social expectations and conditioning*, are more likely to be engaged in informational activities related to parenting: reading books and articles online, discussing with friends, or taking a class, to help them be better parents. As a result, many women are more likely to talk about what they’ve learned with their female friends.
you’d treat/talk to each other as equal adults in a relationship, Punishment in Perspective. The bottom of the article also has a list of other great, short-read, articles by a variety of authors. Pete doesn’t enjoy longer, theoretical pieces about child development--which I love!--so I avoid sending him those. My husband also eats up little snippets like TEACH Through Love’s Disconnecting Words/ Connecting Words series. These are direct and immediately applicable.
2. Talk about how gentle parenting will improve the relationship with your kids. When I tell Pete, “You’re doing it wrong,” he gets defensive and can’t really absorb what I’m telling him. When I say instead, “I have a suggestion for how you could connect with your daughter better,” he is more apt to hear what I have to say because Pete has told me outright that he’s he does sincerely want to have more never had a discussion with his male peaceful interactions with her. When friends about parenting, at all. He’s bedtime becomes a fight, for examalso never read a parenting book ple, and he’s yelling and she’s crying, (no, not even the one his wife wrote!), I know he wants it to go smoother. and only reads parenting articles be- When I frame my advice as being cause I ask him to read what I write. If about outcomes, he is more open to I weren’t writing and speaking on par- hearing it. enting issues, I don’t think he’d ever There is ongoing debate on whether seek out parenting information. parents should disagree with each Here are four tips that have helped other in front of the kids. I strongly Pete and I get on the same page: believe that kids benefit from seeing calm, rational disagreements be1. Ask your co-parent to read speciftween parents even when that disic things about parenting. Ask him to agreement is about parenting. The read an article online that spoke to fear here is that the kid will identify you and you think he’d like. One that the parent “on their side” and manipspoke to Pete was my article that par- ulate that situation. I think this view of allels parenting children with how children as manipulative creatures is NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE | 19
plain wrong. Plus, when I disagree with Pete in front of the kids they see us come to a consensus and then follow through together. My advice here is if you can come to a consensus then the kids benefit from seeing that. If you think it will be heated or not resolved, waiting till later might be a better idea.
are things that set you off is showing humanness and that is something kids need to see. If one of us flies off the handle due to a trigger, the other says, “Mommy really gets upset when you pull the cat’s tail and that’s why she’s so angry. She’s going to go cool down. Let’s you and I talk about why we shouldn’t pull the cat’s tail.” This has shown that getting angry doesn’t 3. Help identify each others’ triggers. make you a bad person, you can The Temple of Apollo at Delphi bears control your anger by cooling off, the inscription, “Know Thyself” and and people in relationships can “tag nothing could be more true for parteam” to make problems smaller. enting. So often our own fears steer us What a great lesson! And all I had to off our path. For example, Pete hates do was be real with my kids. wasting food. Since my kids are apt to eat half an apple and waste the rest, 4. Make parenting discussions with he was getting very upset at mealyour partner a priority. Usually, I’d times and then it would spill over into talk to a friend, my mom, or a group the rest of the day. By talking about of mothers on Facebook if I had a this trigger and the pros and cons of parenting question or concern. That it, we came to a solution that met my is certainly a wonderful support to need for child-directed eating and his have but I encourage everyone to for not being wasteful. make parenting discussions with your co-parent a priority. Talking out my This goes both ways. One of my trigown concerns helps Pete open up gers is when my kids don’t act comabout his, and we find ourselves compassionately. I can really lose my ing together as a team more and gentle resolve when I perceive one more because of our talks. of my children is being mean to another (or to the cat). Talking it through Don’t forget that your kids will also with Pete helped me realize that I was have a profound effect on how your freaking out over normal behaviors, partner (and you) parent. I can tell and maintaining my calm helped get Pete 100 times that you can’t make my point across much better. a kid eat, but when our six year old says, “Daddy, it is my body and my The other thing about triggers is that body is telling me it doesn’t want to it is ok--even preferable--if your kids finish my green beans,” it packs a know your triggers too. Mainstream much bigger punch! parenting often treats raw honesty like this as “showing weakness.” I disLastly, I think it is important to emagree. I think showing that there brace the differences between 20| NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE
co-parents. I always say that a family should consist of consensual relationships. That means that everyone’s needs matter. If one parent just can’t stand having loose shoes in a pile by the front door then that desire is relevant and worth finding a mutually agreeable solution for. If I were the parent that didn’t really care about the shoes and I just shrugged off my partner’s feelings as unimportant, then I’m not modeling a very respectful relationship for my kids. Instead, we talk as a family about the problem and come up with a solution (for us, a bin by the door) that respects everyone’s needs. When one of my kids says “I don’t want to put my shoes away,” I can remind them that it is important to Daddy and we agreed to put them away. Gentle parenting is a practice and we get better at it each time we do it. Try these tips along with continuing to model gentle parenting and your husband will get better and better. I asked Pete for the final word which only seemed fair since I used him as my example here. He said, “I see how much happier we all are when we parent this way and it makes me want to get better and better at it.” Amen! *This is a generalization and not meant to paint all women as caregivers and all men as secondary caregivers (nor all co-parents as heterosexual pairs). This is borne from the gendering of parenting as “a woman’s thing” that we can work to diminish by teaching our kids that both boys and girls can be excellent caregivers.
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COCONUT OIL &
Breastfeeding | by Jennifer Saleem
Fun fact: Lauric acid is the most plentiful MCFA found in mother’s milk AND Stop for a second and give that some coconut oil. And the ratio of lauric acid to other MCFAs in human milk is thought. I know I am not the only person who honestly sees the similari- IDENTICAL to that in coconut oil. ties between coconuts and breasts. I The MCFAs in coconut oil improve the mean, seriously. absorption of nutrients already existCoconuts. Breasts. Coconuts. Breasts. ing in the mother’s diet. The MCFA enables the absorption of minerals, Same general shape. Come in all sizmagnesium and calcium, some of es. Produce milk. the B vitamins, the fat soluble vitamins like A, D, E, K and beta carotene, There is a reason the coconut and the breast are so similar! Both contain and some amino acids. Pancreatic life-giving properties for nursing moth- enzymes aren’t even necessary to digest them. These nutrients are of ers and their infants! course passed onto the nursing infant through the breast milk. The unique composition of human breast milk contains about 45 to 50% saturated fat, about 35% monounsat- For these reasons, it is important that a mother’s breast milk contain urated fat, and 15-20% polyunsatuas much medium chain fatty acids rated fat. An important component as possible. According to research, of breast milk is medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA). The MCFA, lauric acid, when a lactating woman adds foods caprylic acid, and capric acid, com- rich in lauric acid to her diet, the amount of lauric acid available in her prise about 20% of total saturated breast milk increases substantially fatty acids found in breast milk. What a lovely set of coconuts!
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to levels three times the original level and nearly double the amount of capric acid. A single meal with coconut oil can significantly affect the breast milk fatty acid compositions for 1 to 3 days with the maximum increase occurring during the first 10 hours. To further support this, in The Coconut Oil Miracle, author Bruce Fife states that “when nursing mothers eat coconut products (more specifically coconut oil) the levels of the MCFAs in their milk increase significantly. For instance, eating 40 grams (3 tablespoons) of coconut oil in one meal can temporarily increase the lauric acid in the milk of a nursing mother from 3.9 percent to 9.6 percent after 14 hours. If the mother consumes coconut oil every day, the MCFA content will be even greater.” Another very important function of MCFAs is that they protect the baby from harmful microorganisms. Infants’ immune systems are immature and incapable of adequately defending themselves. The infant’s immune system is heavily supported by the antibacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal, and anti-parasitic properties of these vital MCFAs in coconut oil. In fact, without these unique saturated fats, an infant would probably not survive long. It would become malnourished and highly susceptible to a myriad of infectious diseases. This is why MCFAs are added into all baby formula on the market. Unfortunately, it is inferior to the MCFAs found in breast milk. 24| NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE
Coconut oil does not just benefit a breastfeeding infant or child. The MCFAs in coconut oil also help to regulate blood sugar levels in the mother while providing her with a stable source of energy. Since MCFAs are not stored and instead are burned off in the form of energy, this will only help a new mother to continue losing any unneeded extra baby weight. And as mentioned before, they will help the mother more effectively absorb the nutrients her body needs. If you are planning on becoming pregnant or already pregnant, get a head start on creating a rich supply of breast milk by adding coconut oil into your daily diet! Pregnant females store fat to assure successful lactation. Any lauric acid and capric acid in the diet becomes part of the adipose fat stores. The milk fat of a lactating mother is made up of these stores as well as her current diet. So make sure that you are consuming as much coconut oil as you can during pregnancy and of course, during your entire breastfeeding relationship. Coconut oil has an added bonus when used during breastfeeding. Since coconut oil is antimicrobial, antifungal, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory, it can be used to heal and then protect damaged and sore nipples. Since it is safe for all ages, you don’t have to worry about wiping it off (causing further irritation) before breastfeeding. Baby will benefit from any residual coconut oil on your nipple.
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THE IMPORTANCE OF
Nursing in Public
| by Meghan Johnston, IBCLC
As an IBCLC and volunteer breastfeeding counselor I see an abundance of unsolicited instructions given to nursing mothers as to how they can, and should, go about their lives without ever being seen breastfeeding. If you stalk the comments on a breastfeeding news article you will get an idea of what these moms are up against. Some comments are intentionally rude or denigrating while others are well intended but quite damaging to the breastfeeding relationship nonetheless. I’d like to challenge some of the more frequently seen suggestions about how women can keep breastfeeding hidden. “Why can’t mom pump and bottle feed when out?” “Why can’t mom cover up?” “What if my teenage boy
sees that!?!” Not only are these comments isolating to new mothers who really need the support of their community, they also shame the breastfeeding woman by implying a lack of modesty, therefore promulgating the erroneous notion that feeding a child should be done in private, like sex. The reality is, breastfeeding is simply the normal way to feed a child, and the sexual connotation attached to women’s breasts is cultural and nothing more. Biology has set up the breasts to have one function: to feed a child. Since breastfeeding is considered a public health issue1 we all benefit from supporting breastfeeding, wherever it happens, even if we have never lactated. NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE | 27
Why can’t mom pump her milk and bottle feed while out in public?
and satiated, mom will now have to express enough milk for a bottle, which might not be possible since This is generally not meant to be ofbaby just ate, this is an additional 30 fensive, but is a question that will only minutes of time, longer if mom needs fall from the mouth of someone who to burp baby before starting her has little understanding of breastfeed- pumping session. ing. The easiest and most obvious response would be that some moms Tick... don’t respond to pumps and some babies won’t take a bottle. However, She must then load up her car like it’s there are many reasons as to why this a cargo plane because you never isn’t practical for women to do. Some know what you’ll need when heading women simply can’t afford a pump. out with your first baby. This includes Or, even if they could, they might not putting her recently expressed milk on want to spend the money on one. ice. Add 20 to 30 minutes to the clock Perhaps they’d rather put that monfor all this. ey towards a nice infant carrier so mom can get out with friends, and be Tock... a part of the community with baby comfortably snuggled against her. Now add an additional 15 minutes for the wardrobe change due to baby’s The strategic planning and time reblowout. quired to fulfill this request is outrageous. There is a small window of Tick... time between one feed to the next, particularly with a new baby. Usually Once everyone and everything is less than three hours, often less than packed mom can now drive to her two hours, and occasionally less than destination. Depending on where she one hour. The clock starts at the com- is going this could take 15 minutes or mencement of baby’s feed. more. Tick...
Mom must feed baby prior to leaving, By the time mom gets there she has which could take about 30 minutes or about half an hour before baby will more. want to nurse, so she better immediately start looking for a way to warm Tock... up that bottle of expressed breastmilk she packed. Then while baby is happy (hopefully) Tick... 28| NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE
Say she does all of this successfully and baby happily bottle feeds thus sparing the public’s fragile eyes from the icky act of breastfeeding, what happens when, in an hour, baby is hungry again? This sleep deprived mom who can barely tell the difference between night and day, whose minutes feel like hours and hours like seconds, better plan her time just right by predicting the unpredictable time of when her baby will want to nurse again. Given that she only packed one bottle of expressed breastmilk she must make it home in time to feed baby before he’s a screaming ball of hunger, wailing at the same decibel as a jet engine. Despite not having enough time to complete the goals of her outing she will likely be glad to head home anyway just to relieve the engorgement caused by skipping a feed and using that bottle. The risk of said engorgement could lead to a decrease in milk supply or mastitis, neither of which are enjoyable for mom or baby. Furthermore the above scenario only applies to the hypothetical baby who nurses for only one reason, hunger. I have yet to meet one of these babies. All babies nurse for numerous reasons, hunger is just a sliver of the breastfeeding pie. A mom who attempts this suggestion might find it easier to not go out at all, therefore leaving her isolated at a time in her life when community and friendly connections are critical. Why can’t mom cover up? I don’t want my teenage boy to see her breasts.
Covering up seems like an easy way to protect the poor teenagers who might get the wrong idea about breasts should they see a pair being used as bottles. Gasp! That’s right, breasts are not just for you to ogle at. Poor teenager, sorry this world of hyper-sexualizing women’s bodies just got a little less sexual. In all seriousness, covering with a blanket seems simple enough. Mom can hold the blanket over her shoulder with her left hand, her breast with her right hand, while her baby can be brought to the breast with her...wait a minute. Perhaps her baby can be brought to the breast by that teen who is nearby and apparently extremely interested in her breasts. Mom can then employ a friend to bring water to her mouth when that intense need to drink hits as oxtytocin kicks in. Alternatively mom could do away with the cover, get baby situated at the breast herself, and then comfortably sip her water. Even if mom did have more than two hands, or a cover that ties around her neck, some babies simply won’t nurse under a cover. It might be too hot, or too hard to breath, or it might just get in the way. To understand I would encourage you to grab some food and a portable heater, cover yourself from head to toe with a blanket, set the heater at 98.6 F, and enjoy your meal. A mom who attempts this suggestion might find it easier to just bottle feed, therefore putting her baby at risk of premature weaning from the breast.2 NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE | 29
Why can’t mom politely excuse herself and breastfeed in a bathroom, car, or other room?
in a nonsexual way, delaying your baby’s feed is much more distressing to you and baby.
Lets start with the most offensive suggestion first. Nursing in a bathroom. Yes, that actually gets suggested quite often. All I can say is, how often do you enjoy your meals in a bathroom? About at often as you eat them under a blanket?
A mom who attempts this suggestion might find it easier to distract her baby as long as possible rather than feed in public, therefore putting baby at risk of slow weight gain and other health issues.3
How about a car or private room? It is disrespectful to segregate mothers every time her baby wants to nurse, which at times can be constant, particularly if baby is out in the community and finds the situation overstimulating, therefore requesting to nurse for comfort. It’s not always about the milk! Mom might be enjoying a conversation with friends when mid-sentence baby starts to fuss. Interrupting conversations and sending mom off into isolation infringes on her right to be part of the community, and is likely to leave her excluded from most discussions. If mom desires to care for her baby’s needs while still meeting her own, she simply can’t be sequestered to the backroom every time baby feels cold, tired, or hungry. Forgive her for making her baby and herself a priority above the stranger sitting at the table next to her who might find exposure to normal infant feeding distressing. Dear nursing mothers, rest assured as hard as it might be for a passerby to get a potential glimpse of a breast being used
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Why can’t she just feed her baby formula while out, and breastfeed while home? Short answer: there are risks to formula feeding mom might not be willing to take.4 Risks aside, if mom wishes to breastfeed than she must indeed breastfeed. There is no on and off switch. It’s quite common for moms to try this only to find themselves uncomfortably engorged and needing to head home to remove milk from her breasts that baby was not permitted to remove. Once home, where she can count on the walls of her house to protect individuals from seeing her public displays of breastfeeding, she will likely offer baby the breast, but baby isn’t going to take the breast with a belly full of formula. This leaves mom engorged and uncomfortable. Since breastmilk, like a free market, works on supply and demand, if this happens enough the lack of demand will lead to lack of supply. This type of “breastfeeding” is undoubtedly not sustainable.
A mom who attempts this suggestion might find it easier to give up on breastfeeding altogether. Breastfeeding mothers face many challenges throughout their nursing relationships, often times experiencing a lack of support from family, friends, or the community.5,6,7 No mother or baby should have to suffer the consequences of not breastfeeding because people can’t handle seeing infants fed the way biology intended. For some mothers, being criticized for nursing in public won’t stop them from feeding their child wherever necessary, but for other women with less support and experience, harsh critics could be the difference between her breastfeeding or not. The difference between her getting breast and ovarian cancer or not.8 The difference between baby suffering from diabetes, ear infections, respiratory infections, and being hospitalized or not.8,9 These demands to hide breastfeeding could be the difference between baby dying of SIDS, and getting childhood leukemia or not.8,9 These very words could be the words that rob her and her baby from the oxytocin rush that occurs with every single feed and allows for proper brain development, fertilizing the brain with a hormone known as the “love hormone.”10,11 With breastfeeding comes breastfeeding in public, there is no way around that and no mother’s price of admission into her own community should have to be to give up breastfeeding.
References: 1. American Public Health Association. A call to action on breastfeeding: a fundamental public health issue. 2007. Policy No. 200714. Available at: http://www.apha.org/policies-and-advocacy/public-health-policy-statements/policy-database/2014/07/29/13/23/a-c all-to-action-on-breastfeeding-a-fundamental-public-health-issue. Accessed January 13, 2015. 2. Gartner LM et al. (2005) Breastfeeding and the use of human milk. 3. Iwinski, S. (2003). Feeding On Cue. New Beginnings, Vol. 20 No. 4, 1264. Ip S, Chung M, Raman G, et al. Breastfeeding and Maternal and Infant Health Outcomes in Developed Countries. Rockville, Md: Agency for Health Care Policy and Research; 2007. 5. Freed GL et al. (1993) Effect of expectant mothers’ feeding plan on prediction of fathers’ attitudes regarding breast-feeding. 6. Susin LR et al. (2008) Inclusion of fathers in an intervention to promote breastfeeding: impact on breastfeeding rates. 7. Gartner LM et al. (2005) Breastfeeding and the use of human milk. 8. Ip S, Chung M, Raman G, et al. Breastfeeding and Maternal and Infant Health Outcomes in Developed Countries. Rockville, Md: Agency for Health Care Policy and Research; 2007. 9. Woo J, Dolan L, Morrow A, Geraghty S, Goodman E. Breastfeeding helps explain racial and socioeconomic disparities in adolescent adiposity. Pediatrics. 2008;121(3):e458–465. 10. Uvnas-Moberg K. Neuroendocrinology of the mother-child interaction. Trends In Endocrinology And Metabolism: TEM 1996 May;7(4):126-31. 11. Ross HE, Young LJ. Oxytocin and the neural mechanisms regulating social cognition and affiliative behavior. Front Neuroendocrinol 2009 October;30(4):534-47.
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At Motherâ€™s Breast Featuring the photography of Katrina Barker Anderson
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| by Dr. Jolene Brighten, N.D.
NATURAL REMEDIES for
Common Breastfeeding Complications Breastfeeding can be a challenge at times, especially if you are a first time mom. I’m going to let you in on a secret: most mothers experience some discomfort or breastfeeding complication at least once during their breastfeeding journey.
breastfeeding it does not mean you should just give up on breastfeeding. In fact, most breastfeeding-related issues get better with more nursing!
That’s right, you’re not alone.
Most women can relate to feeling insecure, discouraged, and even guilty when breastfeeding doesn’t go perfectly. And when a problem arises, your confidence can be completely undermined. Breastfeeding doesn’t come naturally and doesn’t always go perfectly. Yes, take a breath and repeat that. It isn’t something you should “just know how to do” and breastfeeding, like being a mother, isn’t perfect. If you are experiencing difficulty
When you face a struggle, you need tools and you need allies.
• Apply a cream or ointment contain- ing lanolin, calendula, comfrey, and/or vitamin E. • Vitamin E can be applied directly to the nipple to encourage healing of the tissue. • A cool cabbage leaf applied to the nipple can help reduce discomfort. • Warm salt water soaks. Create a warm saline solution by stirring 1-2 NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE | 43
tsp of salt in a warm glass of water. Lean over the glass and soak the affected nipple(s) for about 1 • Empty breast frequently by nursing minute. on demand.
• If the discomfort persists, meet with a lactation consultant to ensure • Apply a cool cabbage leaf to ease discomfort. proper latch.
Cracked Nipples • Apply lanolin-based creams between feedings.
• Hand express to soften breast, which will make it easier for your baby to feed and helps you avoid nipple soreness.
• Apply a cold pack between feed- ings for temporary relief. Do not • If the problem persists, consider meeting with a lactation consultant apply a cold pack for longer than to ensure proper latch and check 20 minutes. baby’s mouth for signs of thrush.
Blocked Duct • Potato Apply a Poultice cool cabbage leaf to Recipe ease discomfort. • HandMaterials express to soften breast, needed: which make it easier for your baby Onewill small potato, stored in fridge to feed andcloth helpsor you nipple Cheese anavoid old tee shirt soreness. Grater or knife and cutting board • Apply a cold pack between feedings for temporary relief. Do not apply a cold pack for longer than 20 Instructions: minutes. Grate potato with large grater. Cut a piece of cheesecloth (or old cotton T-shirt) twice as big as the area to which the poultice is to be applied. Place potato onto the cloth and fold it to hold the potato. Make sure that the poultice is at least ½ inch thick. Place poultice over the area to be treated for 20-30 minutes or until the poultice warms. Use the poultice only once and then discard it. You can alternate potato poultices with brief applications of ice. 44| NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE
• Breastfeed with baby’s lower lip in line with the duct that is blocked.
• Massage the breast from the out- side towads the nipple. Press gently to avoid damage to the duct. Massaging the breast in a warm shower can help relieve the block. • Apply heat for no more than 20 minutes to the area once every hour. • Apply a potato poultice. • Consider using a pump to help empty the breast completely.
• Lecithin: 1200 mg 3-4 times daily. After about 2 weeks free from blocked ducts, reduce the dose to 3 times daily. Slowly wean yourself
from the lecithin by reducing the dose by one capsule each week following the first reduction.
• Echinacea Tincture: As directed on the bottle 3-4 times daily.
Mastitis • Seek medical attention if you have a fever and your breast is swollen, red and hot. Mastitis can quickly turn into a breast abscess so it is best to have the infection evaluat- ed by a medical professional.
water to run over the breast for 30 seconds. Repeat, alternating warm and cold for 3 cycles total.
• Garlic: 2-3 raw cloves daily. • Vitamin C: 1,000 mg 3-5 times daily. This can cause loose stools. Reduce the dose if this occurs and be sure to space out the dosing.
• Nurse as often as possible. Massage the breast toward the nipple while baby is nursing.
Homeopathic Remedies for Mastitis
• Rest and get help around the house. This is an active infection and as such, you should be resting as much as possible.
PHYTOLACCA 30C: Most common remedy. Stitching pain, which may radiate. Swollen lymph nodes.
• Apply a potato poultice, alternating with ice every 15 minutes. • Castor oil massage to the breast and armpit will help increase circu- lation and lymphatic flow. Do not allow castor oil to get into baby’s mouth. • Homeopathic remedies should be used at the first sign of symptoms and taken 15 minutes away from food and beverages. Please see the list of homeopathics for mastitis. • Hydrotherapy can help you clear the infection faster. In the shower, allow the warm water to run over the breast for 1 minute. Turn the water to cool/cold and allow the
BELLADONNA 30C: Symptoms come on quickly. Area is very hot & swollen. High fever may accompany. BRYONIA 30C: Area is hot & swollen. Pain is relieved by wearing a tight bra or apply pressure. APIS 30C: Heat is localized only to the site of infection with swelling presenting. Stinging and burning pain. Heat makes symptoms worse. HEPAR SULPHUR 30C: Area is very sensitive, better when covered and warm. NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE | 45
| Dr. Charles Bowers, OB/GYN
BENEFITS OF BREASTFEEDING In terms of health benefits for you and your baby, you just canâ€™t beat breast milk. Naturally equipped with all the vitamins and nutrients your baby needs, the milk your body creates not only sustains your baby for the first part of his or her life, it has benefits for you as the mother, too. What exactly are some of the health advantages of breastfeeding your child? Why is it so beneficial? What can you expect? To help answer these questions, hereâ€™s a look at some of the key health benefits that come from nursing your newborn.
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1. Protects Your Baby from Diseaes: The first milk your body gives your baby has large amounts of colostrum in it, which is high in a substance called immunoglobulin A (IgA). IgA offers a host of health benefits, among them a germ-fighting layer of protection that guards your child’s intestinal, nasal and throat-mucous membranes. “Breastfeeding’s protection against illness lasts beyond your baby’s breastfeeding stage, too,” says BabyCenter. “Studies have shown that breastfeeding can reduce a child’s risk of developing certain childhood cancers … [as well as] a host of diseases that strike later in life, such as type 1 and type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol and inflammatory bowel disease.”
factors that help your baby develop, and is sufficient on its own to feed and nourish your growing child. Even when you do begin to transition your child to food, always nurse first, before offering him or her a meal.
4. Releases Important Hormones into Your Body: By breastfeeding your baby, you will naturally receive hormones released into your body that stimulate mothering behavior. Likewise, “the repeated suckling of the baby releases oxytocin from the mother’s pituitary gland,” says a study published at La Leche International. “This hormone not only signals the breasts to release milk to the baby … but simultaneously produces contractions in the uterus. The resulting contractions prevent postpartum hemor2. Protects You from Diseases: Feedrhage and promote uterine involution ing your child breast milk also protects (the return to a nonpregnant state).” your own body from disease, believe it or not. “Mothers who breastfeed 5. Reduces Your Baby’s Risk of Alare less likely to develop osteoporosis lergies: Whether it’s because of anlater in life, are able to lose weight tigens in breast milk or some sort of gained during pregnancy more easbuffer created by breast milk against ily and have a lower risk of breast, infectious organisms, breastfeeding uterine and ovarian cancer,” says the has been shown to reduce a child’s Natural Resources Defense Council. risk of allergies. “The literature supports that: solely breastfeeding an 3. Sustains Your Baby Completely: infant reduces the risk of asthma,” Breast milk is the only food a baby says Tracey Alperin, B.S., Brigham and needs for the first several months of Women’s Hospital. “Any amount of his or her life — until the point when breastfeeding decreases the risk of he or she shows signs of being ready recurrent wheezing [and] breastfeedto transition to other foods. “It has ing protects against cow’s milk allerall the nutrients, calories, and fluids gy in children with a family history of your baby needs to be healthy,” says allergy.” HealthyChildren.org, a site from the American Academy of Pediatrics. It’s 6. Bonds the Two of You Together: It’s naturally easy to digest, has growth something breastfeeding mothers 48| NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE
have been saying for centuries: breastfeeding creates a powerful bond between mother and child. “The physical closeness, skin-to-skin touching and eye contact all help your baby bond with you and feel secure,” says WebMD. While this benefit may be a more subjective one, it can be one of the biggest psychological and emotional advantages to mothers who experience it. Deciding whether to breastfeed is always a personal decision, but it’s a decision that should never be made without understanding the advantages breastfeeding can offer. Looking at some of the benefits above, it’s clear that there are many reasons breast milk is the best option for mother and infant health.
The original expert in full support nursing bras built into stylish tanks and tops, we offer a wide array of options to accommodate every body type.
style with function is TM and Copyright 2015 Glamourmom LLC. • All Rights Reserved.
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I shall be telling this with a sigh, Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and Iâ€” I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference. ~ Robert Frost
Against the Grain |
When I started my breastfeeding journey, I discovered that some situations are more common than others. Juggling work, pumping, and multiple caregivers is something many mothers do, and you can find a lot of support and advice on how to make that situ50| NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE
ation work for you. You can find lots of moms sharing advice on how to night wean, or how to introduce baby food. What about breastfeeding through pregnancy? Breastfeeding a new-
born and toddler? Breastfeeding a newborn, two toddlers, and a child? With severe tongue ties? As time went on, I realized my experiences were unfamiliar territory for most people. Although tandem breastfeeding is coming back into focus these days, and you can read a book about it, widespread acceptance and understanding has yet to occur. Add in a few more twists and you really cross the bridge of cultural tolerance to a new country. Here are some things I learned while breastfeeding against the grain: 1. You can breastfeed during pregnancy. Many people believe that breastfeeding during pregnancy is risky, always painful, or otherwise impossible. Sometimes, doctors perpetuate this myth by implying that breastfeeding during pregnancy is dangerous. But, as I quickly learned, breastfeeding during pregnancy isn’t anymore uncomfortable or dangerous than sex during pregnancy. If you are generally healthy, have no severe risks, and are not on bed rest for complications, than breastfeeding can work for you. Yes, sometimes the milk supply drops steeply. You can still breastfeed. It’s called dry-nursing. Sometimes, the nipples are sensitive and sometimes breastfeeding is very painful. You won’t know if this applies to you unless you give it a try. Some women do not feel any pain at all. I was one of them. You’ll need to ensure you eat healthy and support your nutrition,
but that’s something pregnant women automatically feel motivated to do during pregnancy anyway. And what pregnant woman doesn’t want an excuse to pig out a bit more on her favorite cravings? She’s eating for one (or more) in the womb and one (or more) on the breast! Being able to continue the breastfeeding relationship through pregnancy can bring a sense of stability to the older sibling(s), help you to maintain your parenting routines, and, yes, help to alleviate those feelings of fear or guilt. If breastfeeding during pregnancy works for you, it’s a very simple way to continue to responsively parent without disrupting your child right before a new baby shows up to add to the chaos. 2. You can continue to breastfeed the older sibling(s) after birth. Whether you decide to tandem nurse long term or not, having a toddler efficiently drain engorged breasts after birth is a treasure indeed. I’m not sure who is happier when I’ve offered breasts engorged with new milk to my toddlers: myself for the relief, the toddler for all the fresh milk, or the newborn who doesn’t drown! Besides engorgement relief, breastfeeding with an experienced child after you give birth can help to clamp down the uterus, which reduces your risk of post-partum hemorrhage and speeds healing. It can also help build your milk supply which is especially helpful if the newborn is struggling to get a strong latch. A breastfeeding toddler can also keep mastitis at bay, and NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE | 51
take care of that strong letdown that the newborn can’t handle. The toddler benefits from dedicated time with you during the busy period after birth and gets lots of new milk. Don’t be surprised if you see a sudden leap in physical or developmental growth from this. The newborn receives the benefit of having a stable milk supply even during bumpy newborn experiences and a mom who is pain- and infection-free.
routine that worked for all of us. Being able to respond to each child individually is empowering, but also extremely helpful. I’ve been able to nurse multiple children through a tummy bug and get wired toddlers to sleep rapidly with the magical boobs. Those two cases alone made the learning curve well worth it.
4. You can breastfeed when anatomy is different. All four of my children have various severe anterior, posterior, 3. You can go on to breastfeed more and maxillary labial frenulum defects, than one child, together or individual- commonly known as tongue ties. ly. After the post-partum period, you Following the breastfeeding method can keep breastfeeding all of your I learned from my family members, children. You do not have to wean if I was able to exclusively breastfeed you and your children mutually want them without damaging my breasts to continue. This is called tandem or reducing milk supply. If you are nursing. (Or triandem nursing as some- experiencing pain while breastfeedone sweetly called it when my third ing or the baby is not transferring child was born.) With tandem nursmilk efficiently, reach out for support ing, you can breastfeed two children quickly to work on a game plan. Baduring the same session, or one at a bies with different conditions such as time. Down Syndrome or Cleft lip/palate might have additional needs, but You can breastfeed the newborn that doesn’t mean you automatically every hour, but choose to breastfeed have to stop breastfeeding. Before the toddler at different intervals. It’s listening to someone who tells you it’s entirely possible to maintain multiple impossible, think outside of the box breastfeeding relationships with difand give it a try. The same goes for ferent routines and to meet different maternal anatomy, such as with casneeds for you and your children. It es of inverted nipples, small breasts, takes a little effort and patience to and endocrine conditions. Bringwork out what each child needs, but ing your baby to the breast for any that’s no different than any other amount of time, with or without addiaspect of parenting. When I reached tional aids, can be helpful to both of my peak of breastfeeding four chilyou physically and emotionally. dren all at different ages, I quickly picked up the general times when 5. You can breastfeed through health one child needed to breastfeed more challenges and surgeries. When a than the others and worked out a pipeline in our neighborhood burst 52| NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE
during my second pregnancy, we were acutely exposed to chemicals that trashed my thyroid. I had to maintain a grain-free, dairy-free, soyfree diet while regaining endocrine health. I was pregnant, breastfeeding a toddler, and dealing with mysterious symptoms since we didn’t know it was from exposure until later. After birth, my thyroid took an even worse dive and I was weak and ill. It was difficult, but I kept up my diet, supplements, and breastfeeding. Later, when our doctor reviewed our case history, I was able to see how much it mattered. He believes that continuing to breastfeed my toddler and baby during that hard time provided them with much needed support as they were dealing with acute exposure.
decision every time, but it’s worth a second opinion before listening to a doctor who might not be informed.
6. You can breastfeed a 1 year old, or a 3 year old, or a 5 year old. I didn’t have a set weaning age in mind. I decided that as long as it was mutually desired, I would continue breastfeeding until my children decided to wean. This is known as Child-led weaning (CLW). Each year is an adventure, with different joys and bumps in the road. I learned about the lazy 2 year old latch from toddler molars and the hyper on/off breastfeeding of a 3 year old. When you decide ahead of time to stop at a certain age, you might realize that your desires have changed by the time you get there. The landscape is different. Later, after the birth of my third child, I Don’t let a milestone or a culturally ended up with emergency surgery for accepted age influence a decision thrombosed glands and hemorrhoids. between you and your children. I crashed during surgery and ended up in the hospital for a week. With a Embarking on this breastfeeding jourlot of support from my husband and ney, I found few people who had family, I continued to breastfeed all experienced some of the things I was three of the children. I think maintain- going through at the time. But, as the ing the breastfeeding relationship years went on, I slowly connected minimized any trauma to my children, with other parents who have gone who were still toddlers at the time. It through similar situations. Reaching also helped to keep up my milk supout to other parents is not only helpply in the face of physical exhaustion ful, but something I consider vital and healing. I’m glad I didn’t listen to when breastfeeding, let alone breastthe ER doc when he rudely grimaced feeding with uncommon twists. If you and said, “You can just feed the baby find yourself on a less worn path, let some other way!” Instead, I looked up yourself feel the excitement of an Dr. Hale’s site and carefully decided adventure and keep an eye out for which medications were most comother parents along the way. Gopatible with breastfeeding, and I kept ing against the grain can be hard at at it. Breastfeeding through health times, but it also comes with different challenges might not be the right wonders. NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE | 53
Breastfeeding Advocates & Experts Round-Table
We gathered some of our favorite advocates in the breastfeeding world to ask them a few common questions and put their answers all in one place, for you mama!
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Danelle Frisbie Peaceful Parenting
Danelle Frisbie, M.A., M.S., studied lactation science as part of her Masterâ€™s degree at the University of Northern Iowa. For eight years Frisbie taught human development courses at the collegiate level and incorporated this background into education. Since that time, sheâ€™s taken a hands-on role in breastfeeding advocacy through her work as the founder of Peaceful Parenting and DrMomma.org, with countless nursing mothers assisted each year at Peaceful Parenting, and by the gentle mothering of her own breastfed babies.
Jessica Martin-Weber The Leaky Boob
Drawing from a diverse background in the performing arts and midwifery, Jessica Martin-Weber supports women and families, creating spaces for open dialogue. Writer and speaker, Jessica is the creator of TheLeakyBoob.com, co-creator of BeyondMoi. com, and co-creator of OurStableTable. com, she co-parents her 6 daughters with her husband of 16 years and is currently writing her first book and producing her first conference, MiLK: An Infant Feeding Conference in partnership with MommyCon.
Meg Nagle, IBCLC The Milk Meg
Meg has a degree in psychology and was a La Leche League Leader for seven years before becoming an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). She writes frequently on her blog about all things breastfeeding, and has articles published in many magazines, including ours. You can find her website at TheMilkMeg.com
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Dr. Jack Newman
Dr. Jack Newman graduated from the University of Toronto medical school in 1970, interning at the Vancouver General Hospital. He did his training in pædiatrics in Quebec City and then at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto from 1977-1981 to become a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Canada in 1981 as well as Board Certified by the AAP in 1981. He founded the first hospital-based breastfeeding clinic in Canada in 1984. He has been a consultant for UNICEF for the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative, evaluating the first candidate hospitals in Gabon, the Ivory Coast, and Canada. Once the breastfeeding clinic started functioning, it took more and more of his time and he eventually worked full time helping mothers and babies succeed with breastfeeding. He now works at the International Breastfeeding Centre based at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in Toronto.
Dr. Newman has several publications on breastfeeding, and in 2000 published, along with Teresa Pitman, a help guide for professionals and mothers on breastfeeding, called “Dr. Jack Newman’s Guide to Breastfeeding,” as it’s known in Canada, and “The Ultimate Breastfeeding Book of Answers,” as it’s known in the US. In 2006, Dr. Newman, along with Teresa Pitman, published “The Latch and Other Keys to Breastfeeding Success” (Hale Publishing). His website www.breastfeedinginc.ca contains information sheets as well as video clips with explanatory texts in English, French, Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Portuguese, Italian, Indonesian, Arabic, Romanian, Slovenian, Slovak, Dutch, Czech, Polish, Vietnamese, Serbian, Hungarian, Croatian, Malagasy and German. 56| NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE
Abby Thuring The Badass Breastfeeder
Abby Theuring is a blogger, public speaker, activist, wife and mother of 2 who lives in Chicago, IL. Her goal is to empower mothers to breastfeed in public, to breastfeed beyond infancy and practice gentle parenting (natural childbirth, babywearing, co-sleeping and gentle discipline).
Linda F. Palmer, DC Author of The Baby Bond
Dr. Linda Palmer left her 11-year nutrition-oriented chiropractic practice after the health challenges of her newborn son overwhelmed her. After 3 well-received infant health books and an IPPY award, her 4th book is soon to be released: “Baby Poop, What Your Pediatrician May Not Tell You about Colic, Reflux, Constipation, Green Stools, Food Allergies, and Your Child’s Immune Health.”
Kristy Kemp Breastfeeding Mama Talk
Kristy grew up in Huntington Beach, CA. Her passion is supporting breastfeeding mothers all around the world through her website and Facebook page. She aspires to one day become a breastfeeding educator and hopes to be a peer counselor at her local WIC office. She works on her webiste, which has a plethora of breastfeeding informtaion and can be found at: BreastfeedingMamaTalk.com NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE | 57
Breastfeeding can be a challenge for even the most well researched mother-to-be. In your experience what should an expecting mother do to prepare herself for a successful breastfeeding journey?
Surround yourself with women who are breastfeeding! Going to a mother’s breastfeeding group can be so helpful. You can learn so many things I never even saw a breastfeeding about breastfeeding before you have duo before my baby was born, and your baby, from women who are when things did not go smoothly, I felt supportive and understand. Going to so alone. Good breastfeeding books La Leche League meetings is a great are certainly useful, but at first it can way to do this. Meetings are free! be a little like learning to swim from a book. Go to La Leche League meetings for a few months before baby is born. The meetings are informative and may serve to head-off a few of the common potential challenges. Even more importantly, friends will be made. These connections with other mothers-to-be can develop into a To be perfectly honest there is no one mutual support network once the ba- magical preparation I can advise bies begin emerging. Seeking out a that could prepare a new mom to be lactation consultant before the birth, successful at breastfeeding. All I can if you don’t have a doula or midwife say is every drop counts. Just go in to who focuses on breastfeeding asit with that mindset and make short sistance, is another useful move. It’s term goals. Find support groups and better to have some kind of potential get your significant other on board support in place ahead of time bewith breastfeeding too. I find that the cause one wants answers fast when more supportive the significant other nipples are hurting or baby does not is the longer moms last at breastfeedseem to be eating. ing. 58| NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE
I know this to be true first hand! Despite studying labor and lactation as part of my graduate work, I went on to have early breastfeeding difficulties following a traumatic birth with my first baby. Had I not been closely connected with several experienced lactation consultants who worked with my baby and me, and taught us some new problem solving tricks, we may not have made it. Despite growing up watching my mom and mothers around me breastfeeding their little ones, and having all the “book smarts” on lactation, I still faced some major hurdles. Because of this, I would highly suggest tapping into local support from experienced LCs – and not just those who are going to try to sell you the latest herb/tea/bra/pump, but lactation consultants who genuinely care about your breastfeeding journey, those who will meet you where you are at along the way, and have the background, experience, and know-how to really get things figured out. Meet more than one! Build up a community of breastfeeding supporters in your network – LCs, LLLI leaders, mom’s milk café groups, other experienced breastfeeding moms, etc. You may even want to attend some meet-ups ahead of your baby’s birth. This will be your lifeline and you never know when you’ll need them.
Personally what I’ve found most helpful is to read a lot and ask a lot of questions in online community settings, in-person communities, friendships, and health care providers. It’s important to realize that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding or any other facet of parenting. Relax. Read articles and books, listen to the stories of others, but be ready to get space from it all too if it becomes overwhelming. If you identify as someone that may need more support due to potential barriers you may be facing (i.e. breastfeeding after breast reduction, tubular breasts, racial disparities, socioeconomic challenges, etc.) seek out support before having your baby so you know where to turn if you need help when you’re tired. Ask your health care provider to examine your breasts to see if there are any signs of possible physiological barriers for breastfeeding such as insufficient glandular tissue. While not all that common, knowing about such issues before hand can go a long way but remember not all HCPs are equipped to recognize the difference between normal human lactation and abnormal issues. Most of all though, know where to turn should you need support and just relax and look forward to enjoying your baby. NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE | 59
Many women experience nipple pain in the early weeks of breastfeeding. Saying this is discouraging is an understatement, and for some, enough of a reason to give up. What amount of pain is to be expected, if any, and what are the biggest culprits of nipple pain?
Breastfeeding should not be painful and no amount of pain should be considered normal. If it hurts, something is wrong. The mother needs help with the baby’s latching on. Almost all nipple pain comes down to the fact that the baby is not latching on well. A common cause of a poor latch is that the baby has a tongue tie and/or lip tie. Candida is way overdiagnosed as a cause of nipple pain, though it does exist. 60| NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE
Nipple pain that is felt by a new mother can sometimes be normal. This is part of the reason that navigating through this in the early days can be so challenging! The difference is quite clear though between what is normal and what is totally NOT normal. Normal nipple pain that is related to your nipples getting used to breastfeeding should not last beyond 1-2 weeks, you should not have any nipple damage at all, and the pain or discomfort should ease off after about the first 10-20 second when you latch your baby on. Pain that is not normal will last for the entire feed or will be felt after or in between breastfeeding. Nipple damage is also not normal. The most important thing? It does not matter what someone says about how the latch looks!! Someone telling you it’s a “good” latch or a “bad” latch is irrelevant. How it feels to the mother is what’s important.
Moms may have pain, they may not. If there is pain, it isn’t a sign that she’s doing anything wrong but it can be a sign that there is something wrong. Our species used to depend on breastfeeding for survival, it doesn’t make sense that it should hurt. But that won’t mean it won’t hurt. If you’re experiencing pain with breastfeeding, there are some simple things moms can do to address it such as bringing the baby to the breast in a tummy to tummy position, adjusting baby’s latch, and trying different positions. Not all pain is so easy to resolve though, the hands-on support of an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant can help identify the cause and devise resolution. It could be any number of causes from tongue tie to high palate and when possible, needs to be addressed by a qualified health care professional as nipple damage, often a result of pain in breastfeeding, can lead to thrush, mastitis, and tissue damage. Moms really need to know though that experiencing pain and wanting to quit breastfeeding (let’s be honest, it’s really difficult to parent well in the midst of ongoing pain) doesn’t mean they are doing anything wrong or that they are weak. If they are in pain, they need support to get that pain resolved.
Candida is one common source of nipple pain. Vaginal candida can seed the nipples and manifest when moisture affects the nipples for a good portion of the day. Antibiotics given for Strep B are a frequent cause for the development of candida. Keep lower parts dry and happy, possibly with probiotic inserts. Keep nipples dry when baby is not nursing—but not “dried-out.” The most miniscule cracks can become forts for candida. Use topical nipple creams if needed. Air will be your nipples’ friends. UV from sunshine kills candida, if you can get it. Regular use of a high quality (like 20 billion CFUs twice/ day) probiotic with multiple strains in it can not only help to prevent candida overgrowth but it can boost the quality of the helpful flora passed on in breastmilk. This can also help reduce candida in baby’s mouth, another possible reservoir for those annoying yeast. NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE | 61
The American culture has a long way to go in its mainstream views of nursing, breasts, and normalcy. What do you think has brought us to this place, and what can each of us do to bring more awareness and support to the importance of breastfeeding our children?
A quick look through history gives many clues. During the Second World War men were taken away from their Health professional ignorance of jobs and women entered the workbreastfeeding and a love affair with force in large numbers, leaving many pseudoscience that has convinced children with a need for a milk subthem that formula is just as good as stitute. Companies began to profit breastfeeding despite lots of evifrom this milk substitute and formula dence to the contrary. Control is also quickly became the norm. Eventua part of this. “I’m the doctor and I ally the natural ability of women to know what’s good for you and it is this nourish their children was thrown into formula because the company rep question. The biggest impact that told me so.” we can make as breastfeeders and breastfeeding supporters is to breastFormula company marketing which feed, breastfeed in public and talk continues to be unethical, misleading about breastfeeding. The more that and downright lies, the big lie “forbreastfeeding is seen, practiced and mula is just as good as breastmilk.” talked about the more that other Actually the same “almost as good”, mothers will feel empowered to pracbut that’s a lie too. Free samples of tice breastfeeding. And as advocates formula, brochures with misinformaand medical professionals we must tion making formula look better than continue to put the correct informabreastfeeding are all a part of this. tion out there. 62| NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE
I feel like society has forgotten what breasts were intended for. The sexualization of breasts has tainted their true purpose, so when people see a baby nursing, they don’t see a baby eating. The sooner people realize that breastfeeding ensures the healthiest start for babies, and sex has nothing to do with it, the sooner moms will stop encountering issues with breastfeeding in public.
Two words…formula companies! Formula companies started the whole “breast is best” campaign with the message that yes, breast is best but formula is next best on the list. The reality is that it is not the next on the list. The World Health Organization recommends the following for women who cannot breastfeed: expressed breastmilk from the mother, a wet nurse or donor breastmilk, formula. In some circumstances formula is necessary, however breast is not “best”, it is the biological norm and there are risks to not breastfeeding.
There’s been a combination of factors that have contributed to the fall of breastfeeding as normal in our cultural setting including industrialization, the rise of science and health care, the devaluing of family along with the accompanying age segregation, and the over emphasis on the sexual nature of the female breast. Formula shifted from being an alternative source of nutrition to a preferred source as children weren’t permitted in the work space mothers increasingly occupied. Losing touch with our own humanity and specifically dehumanizing women as objects which could be wrecked by motherhood damaged our own sense of how we fit into the world around us. To renormalize breastfeeding in our culture we must value the whole woman, seeing her as a complete human being. Most important of all is to just feed our babies, unapologetically and share it with the world through our channels be that out in public or via social media, not to draw attention but because women matter and this is a normal part of life for us, our lives don’t need to be hidden any longer. NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE | 63
There are many conflicting opinions on how long women should nurse, and how babies and toddlers should wean or be weaned. Please share your experience or opinion on this matter. Do all children self wean? Should we be nursing until our babies are 6 months, 2 years old, util they lose their milk teeth?
It’s true, there are many opinions about how long a woman should nurse her child, but there is absolutely no question about whether children self-wean. Obviously all children eventually wean on their own. There has never been a breastfeeding high school sophomore! All people outgrow the desire for nursing from their mother. The World Health Organization recommends exclusive breastfeeding until 6 months of age and up to 2 years and beyond with supplemental foods. The only people who can truly decide how long a breastfeeding relationship should continue is the mother and baby pair. Breastmilk never loses its nutritional value. 64| NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE
When it comes to breastfeeding, like most things in parenting, there are no real “shoulds.” Children will wean, whether led by the mother or led by the child, it happens. What any mother should do is entirely up to her, nobody else is in her body, dealing with her circumstances and resources, or has the responsibility of accepting the consequences (positive or negative) of her decisions. There often are good reasons for a mother initiating weaning at 6 months and there are often good reasons for a mother waiting for her child to decide they’re done, even if that’s at 6 years old. As to what anyone should do, I can’t say, I’m not in her shoes. I trust and respect women to make informed, smart decisions for themselves.
I am first and foremost a baby-advocate: that is, the work I do is meant to empower parents with information they can use to take steps in mothering/fathering in more baby- and child-friendly ways. For this reason, I am an avid supporter of child-led weaning for the sake of an individual’s immediate and life-long health. Weaning, in and of itself, begins the first time a baby consumes anything other than human milk, and ends with the final time a child consumes human milk. The natural weaning process takes years, and is a gradual part of childhood development – one that fully supports neurological (brain) development and a fully functioning immune system, both of which are close to being fully formed by age 5; but most rapidly developing in the first 3 years. Those 36+ months matter immensely to lifelong functioning of the brain and immune system. And, of course, natural weaning also supports healthy psychological, emotional and social development of babies and young children. A child knows s/ he can go to mom, or turn to nursing, for nourishment and comfort/security, which is equally as important, and greatly reduces the anxieties and troubles that otherwise are frequent at this time of childhood.
When mother’s milk is exclusive, meaning that no formula, foods, or iron supplements are given, the immune protection provided is most powerful, so prolonging the introduction of anything non-breastmilk is ideal. The evidence shows that 6 months should be a minimum goal to reach before introducing anything else. Thoughts of continued breastfeeding should then be measured in years, not months. In industrialized societies, we tend to wean long before what anthropology shows to be our natural length of nursing. For this reason, some who choose babyled weaning eventually end up giving little pushes. I once observed a mother gorilla holding up a leafy branch in front of her breast when her 4 year old child moved in for a snack, so I don’t believe that gentle weaning nudges are entirely unnatural. I believe that it’s most important that if and when a mother is thinking about weaning efforts, she is sure that she is making this choice according to what’s best for her and her child, and not to please anyone else. NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE | 65
There is much talk of tongue and lip ties in recent years. It seems as though every baby has one, the other, or both. Is this a new issue, and can we explain the prevalence of it? When is it necessary to have it corrected, and who does the correction?
I always defer to Dr. Bobby Ghaheri on this issue, a frenulum becomes a tie when there are symptoms of restriction. Frenulum restriction isn’t a new issue, it’s just that the impact of My experiences working with breasttongue and lip ties are on breastfeedfeeding women has shown me how ing are newly understood. It is likely listening to women, trusting their inthat there is a rise in them and while stincts and following what their gut no quality peer reviewed research is telling them is crucial! Especially has been released as to what may when discussing tongue and lip ties. be causing this increase, it is believed If a mother is having painful breastthat genetics, maternal nutrition, and feeding or experiencing other compossibly environmental toxins are mon symptoms of lip/tongue ties it’s contributing to this rise. An IBCLC can important that the mother seeks help refer if a tie, some pediatricians are from an IBCLC straight away. If some- equipped to revise, as are some pedione tells you your baby does not atric dentists and pediatric ENTs. Conhave one, seek another opinion if you cerned parents can ask their health feel as though the pain you are expe- care provider as well as find support riencing is due to a tongue or lip tie. and referrals in online support groups. 66| NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE
Nobody knows the prevalence because some tongue ties are obvious, some are obviously not tied, but there is a big grey area in between. I believe that there probably has not been an increase in tongue ties but rather we now recognize that tongue ties interfere with breastfeeding resulting in mothers having nipple pain, babies not getting enough from the breast, or babies refusing the breast altogether. A combination of the previous problems is also possible. Of course, it was always known that a tongue tie can cause these problems, but in the past, up until a few years ago, we recognized only the most severe tongue ties as affecting breastfeeding. Unfortunately, many women who should not have had difficulties, do have difficulties with breastfeeding. The principle reasons are that hardly any woman gives birth naturally any more (many birthing practices such as IV fluid infusions and epidurals, for example, can cause difficulties with breastfeeding) and a poor start with breastfeeding with inappropriate interventions such as early introduction of bottles in the first few days. Unfortunately, most postpartum staff do not have the skills and obstetricians, family doctors and pediatricians do not have the training or the skills to prevent problems with breastfeeding and what to do about them should
they arise. The tongue tie, which might not have been a problem if the birth was as intervention free as possible and the mothers and babies were skin to skin immediately after birth and for at least an hour (better longer) after birth and the mothers got good instruction on how to breastfeed, often becomes the “straw that broke the camel’s back” or the “tipping point”. So we see many mothers in our clinic whose babies have tight frenulums. We usually release these and often the relief for the mother (if she has sore nipples) is immediate. The word gets out and mothers look for physicians to release the tongue ties.
Tongue and lip ties aren’t new. Historically, they clipped almost all frenulums. The increased frequency we see, I think, is due to an increase in breastfeeding. I think professionals working with new moms need to educate themselves in all things breastfeeding, including how to evaluate for tongue ties. I’ve seen reports from moms who have trouble finding a doctor who knows how to look for tongue and lip ties. NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE | 67
In your experience or field of expertise what “booby traps” do you see sabotaging nursing relationships and how can we avoid or minimize these?
Formula companies “breast is best” campaign, being told many different things from health care professionals before you even leave the hospital, unsupportive family or friends, feeling as though you are the “only” one experiencing these challenges. Not knowing what is normal! Getting incorrect and/or harmful information from health care professionals is one of the biggest booby traps that various women from around the world tell me about on a daily basis. Doctors (including pediatrician) get very little breastfeeding training and this is who many women get their information from and seek help from if they are having challenges. Seek help from a breastfeeding specialist! If someone says something that does not sound or feel right to you then seek help from someone else! 68| NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE
This goes hand in hand with renormalizing breastfeeding. The obstacles mothers face in reaching their breastfeeding goals stem directly from those issues that caused us to lose breastfeeding as normal in the first place. Breasts for sex only, breastfeeding as a sign of poverty, health care providers that are uninformed on normal human lactation, work places that don’t support or accommodate breastfeeding workers, predatory marketing of alternative feeding options, dynamics of racial disparity, divisive conversations that polarize instead of unite, familial pressures to abandon breastfeeding, and so many more. I think the issues that are the least discussed though are that of mental health and the reality that as breasts are marketed to all of us as sex objects and statistically 1 in 4 women have been sexually abused, breastfeeding can become a barrier or pathway to a woman’s healing. To avoid these obstacles I believe we have to talk about them, share our stories, call them out when we see them happen, and not shame women for their personal struggles.
A bottle feeding mentality that persists in almost all countries and cultures in the world. By that, I mean that bottle feeding is considered the normal, the default method of feeding babies. It should be breastfeeding that is considered the normal. Until we start thinking of breastfeeding as the normal, we will never understand it. Health professionals who don’t know the first thing about breastfeeding. Most doctors will tell mothers, for example, that they need to stop breastfeeding for all sorts of medications which clearly do not require them to stop breastfeeding.
I primarily see two overarching “booby traps” to breastfeeding success. The first is the predestined assumption that everyone will have problems, and that every other mother will have to do something supplementary to “have enough milk.” If we collectively believe and buy into such myths from the beginning, we are going to look for any evidence that it may be the case, and quickly fall into such a rut, instead of believing all will be okay, and tuning into our baby for the answers.
The second is closely connected and involves what I call a denial of ‘total baby mothering’ – that is, failing to recognize that every aspect of our baby and his/her needs is dependent Incredibly inadequate, shamefully on all other needs. If we tune into short maternity leave in many countries of the world. Anything less than 7 our babies – read cues in everything months is inadequate and shamefully from birth (labor onset triggered by short. In Canada mothers get 1 year. baby), to sleep, to attention/comfort, to nutritional needs – and respond to In Slovakia the maternity leave is 3 these cues, we find that breastfeedyears, in the Czech Republic 4 years. ing success comes much more naturally. To do this, however, we have to Family who continue to tell mothers that “you were bottle fed and you’re push aside much of the unfriendly-baalright” or “How long are you going to by-myths that our modern, Western breastfeed that 2 year old?” Or even culture presents to us from a young age. 6 month old… NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE | 69
Often even the most well meaning pediatricians give terrible breastfeeding advice. Do they receive formal training on this subject, and whom should mothers be consulting for help with their breastfeeding concerns if their doctor’s advice doesn’t resonate with their instincts?
I have to say that it truly seems individual. Not all of a doctor’s education comes from the halls of an institution, it can depend heavily on their own initiative and what they are exposed to through those around them including their educators, mentors, employers, and yes, even patients.
Most doctors have no training or education in breastfeeding. I do not recommend moms take breastfeeding advice from their doctor or their child’s doctor. I would advise they find a Lactation Counselor to get breastfeeding advice. Getting breastfeeding advice from a doctor is akin tosomeone going to an eye doctor when something is wrong with their foot. 70| NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE
No, doctors do not receive formal training in breastfeeding unless they seek that training on their own outside of medical school. Mothers should consult each other, lactation consultants and La Leche League leaders for breastfeeding support.
It’s the very rare pediatrician who can give good breastfeeding advice. Pediatric schooling and continued education programs are chiefly funded by the formula and baby food industries. These are the sources of nearly all their breastfeeding information. During my first phone call of desperation to a La Leche League leader, she asked where I was getting my (harmful) information. I told her a breastfeeding booklet given to me by my doctor. She asked me to turn it over and see who wrote it. Yes, it was a formula company. No wonder I was failing! I’m not so sure that mothers should wait to see whether their doctor’s advice resonates, as the chances of optimal advice are so slim. Mothers need to learn from experienced breastfeeders and from appropriately educated consultants. The best plan may be for expectant moms to lineup and maybe even meet with a lactation consultant before baby is born. Additionally, LLL meetings are free, and if starting months before birth, mom can have an initial support system in place. Also, once an expectant mom has read all her pregnancy books, KellyMom is a great website to start becoming familiar with. It can answer a lot of breastfeeding questions.
Most pediatricians, but also most family doctors, obstetricians, nurse practitioners, in other words, almost all health professionals get very little if any training in breastfeeding. In fact, they get almost no “hands on, practical” training.
Very few physicians who attended medical school in the United States have received education or formal training in lactation or infant nutrition. This is one reason the poor advice dished out to nursing mothers is ubiquitous in North America. Look to connect with an experienced lactation consultant (or two or three!) and breastfeeding mothers’ groups locally before your baby is born – they will come in handy for trouble-shooting if something is needed, and for support and camaraderie no matter what. You are also welcome to join The Breastfeeding Group on FB: www. FB.com/groups/Breastfed However, nothing can replace in-person, hands-on, connection and help from someone experienced and local to you. NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE | 71
So often we hear a mother say, “I didn’t make enough milk.” What is the deal with that? Mother’s bodies were made to nourish their babies. What is causing this “supposed” lack of milk?
Very, very rarely does a female mammal (including humans) have the ability to grow and sustain life inside her body, and then not also have the ability to grow and sustain life outside her body. The commonly heard, “I didn’t make enough milk” is almost always do to “messing with” the mother/baby bond and connection that needs to take place at and afThis is actually the number 1 reason moms choose to stop breastfeeding. ter birth, and in the early weeks and I believe that this distrust in our body’s months of babyhood. We simply cannot separate breastfeeding out from ability to nourish our children is rooted in the disconnect from our body’s all other aspects of primal mothering that impact the very hormones that natural power. A culture that values influence milk production. Support a milk substitute more than it values gentle mothering and a woman’s nature’s plan. Mothers have been victimized by a system that thrives on connection with her baby, keep their vulnerability in their new role. We baby in his natural habitat (mom’s have been convinced that a product chest), empower her with the ability to babywear, safely cosleep, and can better nourish our child than we become connected with knowledgecan. We don’t trust the process. We are already so fragile holding our new able, supportive community, and these milk quantity issues disappear. babies; who better to profit from? 72| NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE
It starts because women learn nothing about breastfeeding during childhood and later. For most, breastfeeding is an unknown, whereas bottle feeding is everwhere, in magazines, television, doctors’ offices, everywhere.Then they get no info from the obstetrician or family doctor during pregnancy. In fact, they get formula company samples or brochures. Look at the brochures, they are usually very subtly and often not subtly undermining of breastfeeding.
Lots of times ideas about inadequate milk are simply lack of information. Colostrum is not supposed to come pouring out. With the popularity of breast pumps today, some mothers are convinced at day two that they aren’t able to make enough milk. Other women simply don’t let-down for plastic, and if they don’t see that milk in the bottle, they don’t believe their baby is getting any from their breasts. Also, women experience quite an engorged feeling when their milk first does “come in.” Some exDuring labour and birth, all sorts of pect to always feel that fullness and, interventions occur that will result in when it goes away, decide they have breastfeeding being undermined. stopped making adequate milk. Of Hospital staff in the vast majority of course, giving bottles of formula leads hospitals don’t have a clue on how to to less demand on the breasts and help mothers succeed at breastfeed- the reduction in milk-making. ing. Pediatricians make things worse Over-sexualization of breasts prevents by prescribing formula supplements many women from feeling comfortfor such issues as “hypoglycemia”, able with breastfeeding and this infor which, incidentally, the best treat- terferes with the hormonal let-down ment is breastfeeding, not formula. process. Stress messes with our horOn discharge from hospital, the moth- mones and can create quite a bit of ers often get free samples of formula. interference. Plasticizers, pesticides, The company gets its money back and some other pollutants are based thousands of times over. on estrogen-mimicking compounds and I’m certain these can interfere After the mother is home, she gets it with appropriate breast tissue maturafrom her family “Your baby is starving” tion. Thyroid disorders are increasingly because he feeds frequently. Some- common, for several reasons, and times these babies are hungry, but these too can interfere with proper what they don’t need is formula. The tissue maturation or actual milk promothers and babies need help. duction. NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE | 73
Tell us something you would like breastfeeding mothers to know. Whether that is an experience you had, a little encouragement, something from your field of expertise…we want to make sure your knowledge is shared with our readers!
Your experience is yours, not anyone else’s. Trust yourself, find the information and support you need, and know that you’re doing awesome and you are enough.
I’m a breastfeeding advocate that only lasted 3 short months breastfeeding. I know if I would have had the support and knowledge I needed going into it, I would have stuck it out longer. People don’t realize how crucial it is to have support when breastfeeding. There will be hard days and you will face struggles along the way, but that is when you turn to support groups and seek help for an IBCLC. Support, determination, and a great LC truly make all the difference. 74| NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE
Trust your instincts, follow the lead of your baby and seek help from someone who is a specialist in the field of breastfeeding if you need some help, whether that is a volunteer breastfeeding counsellor or IBCLC...and of course, “keep on boobin!”
One issue I see almost daily that breaks my heart are mothers who dearly wish to continue breastfeeding, and/or desperately do not wish to be pregnant with a second baby at the same time as they are mothering their first, but they were fed the lie that they “could not become pregnant while breastfeeding.” While it is certainly possible for many women to nurse throughout a pregnancy, more often than not, milk will change – in composition, taste, or quantity. It will often disappear altogether because of the powerful hormone shift that occurs to sustain this new life mom’s body is responsible for growing. As a result, premature weaning often results, and mom feels she failed both her babies. So many of these situations would be proactively avoided if we simply tell mothers the truth: you can become pregnant while breastfeeding, and countless women do each month. In fact, you will likely begin ovulating before you ever resume regular menstrual cycles, and all women have varied hormonal make-ups – how fertile your friend is while breastfeeding is in no way indicative of how fertile you are. If you wish to continue breastfeeding, and especially if your baby is under 18 months of age, and/or you do not wish to become pregnant again at this point, look to various means of non-hormonal barrier methods for contraception.
I want every mother to know that she is powerful. She is more powerful than she believes. There is a system at work here that values us only as consumers. When we take a deeper look at breastfeeding, the misinformation surrounding it and the offense that many take to it, we can plainly see that society is threatened by how powerful we are. If we truly connected the power of our bodies, our natural ability to grow, birth and nourish babies with our bodies alone, then this system would not be able to operate. We are renegades.
Breastfeeding mothers need to know that help is available, but that not all “help” is good help. Too many “helpers” know very little and this is true even of lactation consultants. Our clinic provides good help. We have been helping mothers for 40 years and have seen in the order of 40,000 mothers and babies over the years. NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE | 75
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Making Choices Through Awareness
| by Amy Phoenix Edited from previously published articles on Code Name: Mama
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Have you ever heard that while breastfeeding is natural, it might not always feel comfortable? Statements like that were gently offered quite a bit during the years I led with La Leche League. And they can be true – for many reasons.
experience them in two ways. One is through inner body awareness and the other is through making choices that feel right for us at the time.
In addition to the basics of adjusting to the experience of suckling, many other factors can contribute to breastfeeding discomfort or aversion. To start, most of us grew up experiencing our breasts as sexual and we may not feel comfortable feeling those sensations while we’re breastfeeding our babies. Some experienced sexual abuse, we have varying pain tolerances, as babies grow teeth they can suck in ways that cause different sensations, we may become pregnant while breastfeeding and we all have varying levels of personal stress.
INNER BODY EXERCISE FOR NURSING DISCOMFORT OR AVERSION
The following inner body exercise offers the opportunity to center and relax while breastfeeding so you can One of the most notable points about make choices about nursing from a discomfort during breastfeeding is the grounded perspective. With some fact that no matter how much we practice meeting the physical senliked (or didn’t like) nipple stimulation sations of nursing aversion through before having babies, we never had awareness, you’ll create some space anyone continuously sucking on our to make choices about how you nipples like a baby does. It can take want to handle any continuing dissome getting used to, and once we comfort, while honoring you and your begin, we’re in for a ride. little one.
Discomfort and aversion are important signals from our bodies. When we honor our bodies, we send a powerful message to our nurslings about modeling self-respect. Instead of resisting the discomfort we can learn to meet any uncomfortable emotional or physical sensations in the moment we 78| NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE
If you aren’t nursing right now, imagine you are preparing to nurse. Notice how your body feels, bringing gentle attention to any tension while you allow your shoulders to soften. Breathe in deeply and begin to really notice how it feels to breathe. Notice the slight relaxation that comes with each exhalation. It may seem too simple, but the action of paying attention to the breath circulating in the body is very centering. Continue focusing on the sensation of breathing as you read. As you bring your attention into your breath, notice how you feel about breastfeeding. Are you feeling anxious or scared, sad or angry, grateful or loving? Maybe all of these feelings are coming to mind. Just notice. Allow yourself to feel what you feel
and bring your baby in close. Take a moment to recall a positive nursing experience. If you do not have one in mind, just allow yourself to relax (even if slightly with each exhale) as you focus on your breath and prepare for nursing. Notice how your body feels. If you are beginning to tense, bring your attention into your breath and notice also where you feel any relaxation or calm in your body. Maybe in your hands, feet or face. Allow this relaxation to spread and soften in your body. Feel your breath touch every cell in your body, expanding and contracting gently. Bring your baby in to latch on and continue feeling your breath. If the latch feels like it works for you, allow your supporting arm to relax and notice if any other parts of your body feel constricted. If so, breathe into the areas of tension as you allow them to soften. Begin to feel the peaceful life energy inside of your body. Slowly notice this energy first in your fingertips or toes, then gradually move to feeling the life inside every part of your body – hands, wrists, elbows, arms, shoulders, head, all the way to the other end – and inside of your breasts and nipples. This energy is both neutral and alive, still and cleansing. It may feel a bit tingly or warm. Here’s where it can get interesting. If you start to feel uncomfortable sensations while your baby is nursing, breathe deeply into the sensations. Really notice how your breath goes
into your breasts and nipples to meet the sensations from the inside. Instead of tensing against the sensations, meet them from the inside with inner body awareness. Feel the life energy inside as you feel the uncomfortable sensation and notice what thoughts come to mind. Would you prefer to stop nursing right now? Are you open to continuing while focusing on your breath to see what happens? Would you prefer to nurse in a little while? Are you feeling like limiting nursing sessions with a toddler would help you enjoy the experience more? What are you experiencing, and would you like to experience nursing differently? Continue focusing on your breath and each time you feel like you are tensing up, consciously relax from the inside. Notice your baby and how it feels to hold him/her close. Listen, gently touch and feel the love you have for your little one. Soak up the experience like a sponge. Experiment with this exercise as you nurse. MAKING CHOICES Moms who choose to breastfeed through discomfort often do so because they feel the breastfeeding relationship or the breast milk is worth the sacrifice. Instead of looking at it as a sacrifice, we can learn to experience the option of surrender through inner body awareness. Not like surrender as in defeat, but surrendering into the moment of choice, focus of attention and love as a mother. We NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE | 79
release (or willingly meet) the inner resistance to what we are experiencing and choose to dive in fully with awareness, opening ourselves to a new experience with breastfeeding. This may or may not be easy, depending on our personal circumstances. Discomfort with breastfeeding can come at any stage. If you are nursing a young baby reliant on breast milk for nutrition and want to continue nursing, there are many ways you can work through discomfort. Breastfeeding really doesn’t have to hurt although the sensations different moms experience are varied. Some mothers feel a strong let down that mimics the sensation of pain and they gradually learn to adjust. Other moms may have a baby who sucks kind of funny and they work to nurture a more comfortable, effective latch. Connecting with a lactation consultant or other breastfeeding helper can assure that there are no issues with the mechanics of the breastfeeding process.
thoughts so I feel more positive while I am nursing? Our children feel what we feel, so if we nurse when we really don’t want to, they are receiving a non-verbal message that we’re not comfortable and it has something to do with them. If we continue breastfeeding while not really wanting to, we also send a non-verbal message about sacrificing our well being for the pleasure or demand of another. This isn’t something to feel guilty about; it’s an opportunity to try something new when we feel like we don’t want to nurse so we are sharing the message we want to share while we are breastfeeding. Try simply saying this statement to yourself, “I am choosing to breastfeed and I can stop at anytime.”
• Would I feel better nursing in a little while? If so, am I willing to stop now and hold my baby even if crying is involved for a little bit? Sometimes we may need a little space to focus within and re-center ourselves before nursing. Sometimes our children may want to nurse immediately and we’re not ready. It is okay to hold your little If you are nursing an older baby, tod- one in loving arms while they cry for dler, or young child who is eating solid a little bit if you need to stop nursing food, the urgency for breastfeeding is for a while. It conveys the message different than while exclusively breast- that you respect their body and your feeding. Clarifying the answers to the body, their emotions and your emoquestions below when you experitions. ence nursing aversion can help you determine how you want to address • Am I afraid if I don’t nurse I will not what you feel. be a loving mom? There’s a lot of pressure to breastfeed. It can be a • Do I want to be nursing right now? beautiful, connecting experience, If not, am I willing to stop, acknowlbut that’s not always how it is. Defiedge what I feel and/or transition my nitely seek assistance if it seems more 80| NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE
like a drain than a joy. If you feel like breastfeeding is one of the main ways that you share love with your child, the experience of discomfort or aversion may be a call from nature for you to expand your ideas and ways of sharing love. Consider loving touch through a back rub or massage, reading while you hold your little one on your lap, cuddling with a blanket, or another way your family likes to connect. Release guilt so you can share the love you have for your child without feeling like it can only come through breastfeeding. • Do I want to wean? Is this a temporary situation? Is it possible I may feel different soon? Weaning can be done in many ways, gradually generally working best for mom and little one. If you think you may want to wean, consider weaning temporarily or dropping one daily feeding for a week to see how it goes for both of you before complete weaning. If you find that it’s time to wean, talk with your little one about it (even if the child is non-verbal) and consider that love shared through breastfeeding does not stop with weaning – it just changes form.
of inner awareness can help us feel more balanced and able to respond not only to our children, but to ourselves. Consider taking this journey just one moment at a time by bringing your attention to your breath and body as often as possible. If you find that you experience continual nursing aversion or discomfort you may try working through the sensations and thoughts with mindfulness meditation, focusing, or Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). Most importantly, allow yourself to feel what you feel, appreciate the time you have with your little one, and be gentle with yourself along the way.
• Can I learn to accept how I feel? As mothers we can feel like it’s not okay for us to feel discomfort in our role, much less while we are nourishing our young. Since breastfeeding is touted to be a wonderful bonding experience, we may feel confused or frustrated if discomfort seems overwhelming. Learning to notice and accept our feelings from the space NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE | 81
ORGANICA JANEâ€™S QUICK GUIDE TO EOs FOR
BREASTFEEDING | by Amy Jane Stewart, LMT & Certified Holistic Aromatherapist
Regular application of undiluted essential oils is not advised on any part of the body. The regular, daily use of essential oils via different routes is not advised. The choice of essential oils used should be limited to those with a low history of toxicity. Hydrolats (floral waters), fixed oils and infused oils can often substitute essential oil use. Unless an essential oil is applied directly to the breast, the levels of components in the breast milk are likely to be extremely low. If application is essential, the best time to apply is immediately after feeding to allow for levels in the breast milk to be at their lowest the next time the baby feeds. Care must be made to avoid ingestion of traces of essential oil left on the breast. Avoid any essential oil application to the breasts in the first few days following birth. Avoid internal doses of essential oils while breast-feeding. Infused Oils & Carrier Oils for Sore/Cracked Nipples - Baobab (Adansonia digitata) - Calendula (Calendula officinalis - Jojoba (Simmondsia sinensis) - Rosehip seed (Rosa mosqueta) - Shea Butter (Butyrospermum parkii) - Tamanu (Calophyllum inophyllum) Floral Waters (Hydrolats) for breast engorgement and discomfort - Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) - Peppermint (Mentha x piperita) - Rose (Rosa damascena) - Sage (Salvia officinalis) - Witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) 82| NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE
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HUMAN MILK BANKING | by Christy Porucznik
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Thereâ€™s nothing exceptional about breastfeeding. Human milk is simply the normal nutrition for human babies. Components in colostrum and milk prepare infantsâ€™ guts to interact with the world and transfer immune factors from mother to baby. Infants are born with the capability to digest human milk and thrive on the nutrients. Throughout history if a mother was unable to breastfeed, other mothers helped nurse her baby. It was the safest way to feed the baby and the one most likely to result in survival. In our modern society, non-profit human milk banking is a safe, nation86| NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE
wide means to provide normal nutrition for medically fragile babies whose mothers are not able to provide milk. The Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA) sets the guidelines and standards for human milk banking in North America. The guidelines are acknowledged as the minimum safety and processing standards for non-profit milk banks at the time of implementation and annual accreditation. There are presently 18 active HMBANA member mothersâ€™ milk banks in the United States and Canada with another ten in development. The milk donated from
screened and approved mothers to the non-profit (HMBANA) milk banks is pasteurized and tested microbiologically before it is approved for dispensing to hospitals and outpatients. Mothers who wish to become donors first complete a screening questionnaire or interview followed by blood testing. In general, donors should be non-smokers in excellent health with no chronic diseases and not taking medications regularly. Mothers who have had hepatitis as an adolescent or adult, received blood products or a transfusion in the previous four months, have used IV drugs, or are at risk for HIV/AIDS are generally excluded from donation. Donors must agree to a minimum amount to donate, sanitary milk collection and storage practices, and get medical authorization forms signed by her and her baby’s healthcare providers. Medication usage is a common reason why potential donors are not accepted. Although many medications are compatible with breastfeeding, the babies who will receive donor milk are medical fragile, and it is important to reduce their exposure to medications from milk.
nated milk is discarded. Many milk banks are also able to analyze the protein and fat content of each batch of milk as it is prepared for distribution. In this way the actual calories delivered to the babies can be known. Many milk banks are also able to provide different types of milk to match babies’ needs. For example milk from mothers of preterm babies, from donor mothers who don’t consume dairy products, or milk from which the fat has been removed for babies with chylothorax. Milk from non-profit milk banks is dispensed by prescription and primarily goes to hospitalized babies. There is a cost to receive milk from non-profit milk banks which is often covered by insurance. The cost pays for the shipping and processing of the milk, not generating a profit for shareholders! Mothers who donate their milk to non-profit milk banks are not paid for their milk.
More and more hospitals are using pasteurized donor human milk as a bridge solution to help support babies until milk from their own mother is available. Blood donation can be a After approval, donor mothers collect lifetime habit, but milk donation can and freeze their milk. The frozen milk only occur during the time a woman is then either shipped on dry ice to, is lactating, thus new donors are alor dropped off at,11 a milk collection ways needed to ensure a supply of site or directly to a milk bank. At the donated milk for these most fragile milk bank, milk from several mothers is members of our community. Learn often pooled together for pasteuriza- more about non-profit milk banking tion. Each batch is checked for bacby visiting HMBANA’s website. terial contamination, and all contamiNATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE | 87
New Rhythyms for a
Growing Family | by Kerry McDonald, M.Ed. 88| NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE
There is a season for everything. Those warm, snuggly days with a sweet newborn are ones that will be remembered, cherished, by all members of your growing family. They can be particularly treasured by older children, helping to form lifelong sibling bonds, when parents preserve the time and space for that bonding to flourish.
to send older siblings away, whether to school or to a babysitter or to the television, so that you can tend to your nursling. While you certainly need abundant help and support and plentiful breaks to nourish yourself as a breastfeeding mom, consider inviting your older child into the mix. Let him spend more time with you and his new sibling, rather than less. Let him take time away from school or There is a regrettable tendency in our daycare, time away from the babysitculture, particularly in the midst of ter. The more touch-points your older important life events, to seek a swift child has with you and your nursling return to normalcy. We may continue in those early weeks, the easier it can to send children to daycare or school be to parent all of your children. Your so they can “keep their routine.” We older child will feel included and inmay make great efforts to hold tightly volved, your nursling will create bonds to rigid daily schedules for fear that a with her older sibling, and you will be life-changing event, like the arrival of better able to cultivate new daily a new sibling, will throw the family into rhythms together as a family. debilitating chaos. As La Leche League’s classic book, Families are more resilient than that. “The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding,” Yes, a new baby adds an expected so wisely states: “You will find that level of chaos to a family’s daily life, generous portions of love and reasbut fear of spiraling pandemonium is surance will go a long way toward usually unfounded. If we as parents helping your older child, the ex-balet go of our fears, our uncertainties, by, accept the demands that the and simply settle in to the joy of living new baby is making on your time.” and learning alongside our growing (7th ed. p. 199). You can offer these family, we can find much greater “generous portions of love and reasrhythm and reward in our days at surance” when you invite your older home. child in, welcoming him to join you in the joy and chaos of such a spectacHere are some strategies for living ular season of life. and learning together peacefully in those early days with a new nursling: Find a new rhythm. Invite them in. In those first precious weeks with your newborn, it may seem appealing
As a breastfeeding mom, you know that rhythm typically works better than routine. You know that your baby nurses according to her own NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE | 89
natural needs and internal cadence, and you instinctively follow by nursing on-demand instead of by the clock. The same rhythms that guide how you nourish and nurture your nursling can help you to settle in to new family rhythms, naturally and peacefully. Instead of a daily routine, think of a daily rhythm: a general flow to the day that is not rigid, not structured, but that may offer some predictability for everyone. What might family rhythms look like with a new nursling and her older sibling? These rhythms will need to be tailored to the distinct and changing needs of your family, and they will very likely evolve over time. As an example, you may find that mornings, when your nursling may sleep more deeply, are a good time to gather your older child close to you, to read or tell stories in bed, to work on a craft or plan the day ahead together. You may then invite your older child to gather alongside you as you nurse the baby, perhaps having toys or books for him to play with independently. You can include your older child in your morning chores: cooking breakfast, making beds, starting laundry—with the baby in tow. Midday nap or quiet time for an older child can allow you all to take a breath and re-charge for the afternoon, creating a natural benchmark in the day. An afternoon excursion--to a park, to the library, to the market-can be a daily expectation that allows for community connection and time in nature. Returning home for dinner, bath, books and bed can be 90| NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE
a reliable capstone that offers some predictability amidst all of the bustle and busyness of the day. Let go. During these days of inviting your older child to fully participate in the care and tending or your new nursling, and cultivating new family rhythms for your expanding family, it is important to remember to let go. Let go. These days with a breastfeeding baby and a growing child are fleeting. When you look back on them, you won’t remember that the beds were not tidy, the floors not swept, the bathrooms not cleaned. But you will remember the way it felt to be nursing your baby on your lap while your child rested his head on your shoulder. You won’t remember the toys strewn across the carpet, the mountain of laundry, the list of to-dos, but you will remember the first warm spring walk with your energetic toddler while you wore your sleeping baby in her sling. You won’t remember the crumbs and the stains and the messes. But you will remember the closeness, the love, the joy. This is a special season of life: breastfeeding a new baby while caring for an older child. Celebrate this extraordinary time together. Integrate your older child fully into the daily-ness of life with your new nursling. Cultivate new family rhythms, daily benchmarks, together that help to add predictability to the constant uncertainty of life with little ones. And then let things go. The joy of parenthood is in the days, not the details.
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Fathering the Breastfed Child
| by Melissa Knighton
photo credit: Earthside Birth Photography, SLC, UT
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During the first few days, weeks, and months of life, breastfeeding mothers and children may seem physically inseparable. A new father with little experience with biologically normal mother and child behavior may feel a little bewildered and unsure of what his role is now. Indeed, growing up in a culture where breastfeeding was not seen as normal, many fathers may have had visions of giving bottles and taking night feedings to provide rest and support to his child’s mother. We know now, however, even the occasional bottle can contribute to soreness, nipple confusion (Howard, et al., 2003), and create extra work for everyone. Indeed, formula supplementation actually changes the gut flora of the breastfed baby in ways that could damage health (Mackie, R.I., Sghir A., & Gaskins H. R.,1999). However, research has shown the support of fathers in the breastfeeding relationship to be fundamental to success during the normal course of breastfeeding (Sherriff, Hall, & Panton, 2013). This critical support a father can provide empowers a father and strengthens the intimate bond he has with his child and his child’s mother. This article will provide suggestions of the powerful things a father can do. A father can… A father can talk to his child before birth. His child can hear his voice from the warm, safe, watery world at around 18 weeks. He can sing, read, and tell his child how excited he is. His child will remember the sound of his voice after birth. 94| NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE
A father can change in powerful ways. Fathers have instinct on their side: the biological advantage that hormones provide (Palmer, 2002). As pregnancy progresses, a father can feel an increase in oxytocin, prompting feelings of satisfaction and devotion regarding the expanding family. A father can feel the effects of prolactin which induces the desire to bond with his child. Vasopressin inspires protectiveness and commitment to his family. A father can surrender to these feelings which nature has perfectly fine-tuned for him and his family. A father can learn about childbirth. A father can learn about breastfeeding. He can attend appointments with his baby’s mother. He can ask questions. He can actively practice breathing exercises, positioning, and learn words to say that might be helpful during the birth. He can be prepared for the expected and the unexpected. He can ask questions and listen. A father can trust his baby and baby’s mother. A father can be open-minded. A father can learn about what life will be like once his child is born. He can take classes and read books. He can create a list of resources in case of problems. “The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding” states: “Partners don’t need to know how to solve breastfeeding problems; they just need to help [mothers] link up with the support and information [mothers] need.” He can chat with other fathers. If he has a supportive group nearby, a father
can attend La Leche League meetings for fathers. He can ponder what he wants his family to be like. He can think about the things most important and central to the new family: breastfeeding, time spent together, bonding, sleeping, living, exploring. He can learn about what to expect by reading the stories of fathers who came before him. A father can take pictures of his baby’s mother during her pregnancy, cherishing her changing body. These precious shots will be fun to look back on once baby is born, and for years after. A father can have an active role at his child’s birth. He can help mother be comfortable, he can coach her to breathe, he can support her back, he can massage her body. He can protect the birth environment from unwanted intrusions. He can question and understand procedures. Once baby has been born, father can protect the baby from the effects of procedures that may separate baby from mother. A father can be the voice for his child. A father can be supportive. When Sarah gave birth via emergency Cesarean, she was too weak to hold wiggly baby Cynthia. Frank, Cynthia’s father, physically held Cynthia to Sarah’s breast so Cynthia could nurse. When nursing became very painful and stressful (Sarah was told to nurse, pump, and tube feed) and Sarah was feeling weak and vulnerable, Frank showed “tenacious commitment to
the cause” and never suggested she quit. “I would not be breastfeeding today it if wasn’t for him…what would I do without breastfeeding today?” A father can bring the baby to mother. A father can bring the water. A father can bring snacks, and the pillows, and the books, and the phone, and the quiet needed for the nursing mother. A father can take pictures of his nursing child. A father can understand how precious these pictures are and will continue to be as the fleeting nursing years progress. A father can understand the intense need his child has for mother’s body. According to Dr. Nils Bergman (Olander, 2004), “The very best environment for a baby to grow and thrive is the mother’s body… The mother’s skin is the baby’s natural environment, and both physically and emotionally the healthiest place for the baby to be.” A father can understand that this need does not go away when there is work to be done, when food needs to be prepared, when the house needs to be cleaned, and during the nighttime hours. A father can work to protect his baby’s natural habitat. A father can understand the physiological need for his child’s close proximity to mother during the night. He can know from the work of Dr. James McKenna (McKenna, 2015) that “mother-infant cosleeping with breastfeeding is humankind’s oldNATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE | 95
est and most successful sleeping arrangement.” He can work to support this arrangement and to keep it safe, feeling assured that mother’s breath and nursing on cue during the night protects his child. A father can protect this sleeping arrangement and understand that sometimes mother will be very tired.
bikers, climbers. A father can explain these things to his child. A father can be encouraging to his baby’s mother when no one else is. When Gretchen was nursing Quinn, who had an undiagnosed tongue-tie, her husband Jim never made her feel inadequate when things were looking bleak and the pain was too much to bear. He was there for her so she could get the support she needed and finally figure out that Quinn had a tongue tie. Quinn is now a happy healthy nursing two and a half yearold and Gretchen speaks about how proud she is of how far they’ve come.
A father can provide rest. Early in the morning, when mother is tired, a father can be present with his full, restless child. Between early morning nursing and when mother is ready to be awake, a father can cherish this time with his child. He can read to his baby and sing to his baby. He can wear his baby while preparing break- A father can champion his baby’s fast. He can give his baby a bath and mother. When well-meaning friends take his baby for a walk. and relatives ask questions about the whens, the hows, the how longs, and A father can snuggle. A father can the whys of breastfeeding, a father snuggle his child; a father can snugcan provide information and assurgle his child’s mother. A father can ance. A father can understand the snuggle his older children. Need some normal course of breastfeeding. “Isn’t oxytocin? A father can snuggle his it great that we are still nursing?” a child’s mother while his child is nursfather can say. His child’s emotional ing. A father can practice kangaroo and physical needs are being met. A care, undressing the child down to father can explain this to the people his diaper and laying him on his bare in the child’s world. chest. A father can sing and “hmmmm” and his child will be comforted A father can feel gratitude. His child by the deep vibrations in his chest. is nurtured through breastfeeding. His child’s immune system is completed A father can walk. When baby is rest- through breastfeeding, the digestive less and mother is tired, a father can tract is protected through breastfeedplace baby in a sling, wrap, or stroller ing, and cognitive development is and go out. Father and child both progressed through breastfeeding. need sunshine and exercise. A father He can understand that nursing comcan take his child to his favorite spots, pletes the reproductive cycle. His show his child the animals and birds, baby’s mother has worked tirelessly to cars and planes, ball players, joggers, protect the breastfeeding relation96| NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE
ship. A father can feel gratitude for what she and nature provide. A father can feel proud that he took an an active role and has bonded with his child and his childâ€™s mother with love and intimacy. A father can continue to provide support and encouragement during and after the normal course of breastfeeding.
Mckenna, J. J. (2015). Frequently asked questions on infant sleep, SIDS risks, cosleeping, and breastfeeding. Retrieved from: http://cosleeping.nd.edu/frequently-asked-questions/#1 Olanders, M. (2004). Kangaroo mother care: An interview with Dr. Nils Bergman. Retrieved from: http://home.mweb.co.za/to/torngren/bergman-int. html.
Palmer, L. F. (2002). The chemistry of attachment API News 5(2), http://archive.attachmentparenting.org/ support/articles/artchemistry.php
Howard, C. R., Howard, F. M., Lanphear, B., Eberly, S., deBlieck, S., deBlieck E. A., Oakes, D., & Lawrence, R. A. (2003). Randomized clinical trial of pacifier use and bottle-feeding or cup feeding and their effect on breastfeeding. Pediatrics 111(3), 511-518. http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/111/3/511.full
Sherrif, N., Hall, V., Panton, C. (2013). Engaging and supporting fathers to promote breastfeeding: A concept analysis. Midwifery 30(6), 667-677. http://www. midwiferyjournal.com/article/S0266-6138(13)002192/fulltext#s0005.
Mackie, R.I., Sghir A., & Gaskins H. R. (1999). Developmental microbial ecology of the neonatal gastrointestinal tract. American Journal for Clinical Nutrition 69(Suppl),1035S-1045S. http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/69/5/1035s.full
Wiessinger, D., West, D., Pitman, T., & La Leche League International. (2010). The womanly art of breastfeeding (Eighth edition.). Ballantine Books. - See more at: http://www.buffalolib.org/vufind/Record/1894945/Cite#sthash.aQr23lWf.dpuf
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natural kitchen | by Emily Rowell Bullock, CHHC
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How about some cookies with your milk? Actually, they are for your milk supply. Lactation cookies combine potent ingredients that may help get your milk flowing. Full of B vitamins and fiber, these cookies are a tasty treat for nursing mamas. The star ingredient in these cookies is brewer’s yeast. Praised for lifting spirits and combating fatigue, brewer’s yeast is also known as a galactagogue (a food or drug that is known to increase the flow of mothers’ milk). It is sold as a dietary supplement and is available online or in health food stores. I found several great recipes in my “cookie research” but they all called for a lot of white sugar. I decreased the amount of sugar and substituted less processed sweeteners. The Chocolate Chip Walnut recipe uses traditional baking ingredients while the Fruit and Nut Cookie is a dairy-free option. Dairy is the most common culprit of food sensitivity in nurslings. Unfortunately, we can’t live on cookies alone. The chart shows several different traditional foods famous for boosting a mother’s milk supply. These cookies can be made in big batches and frozen before the baby arrives. They also make awesome gifts for new moms who may not have the time or energy to bake. These cookies are so delicious and you don’t have to be a nursing mom to enjoy them. I think my husband enjoyed this baking project more than I did. Enjoy! 100| NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE
Fruit and Nut Lactation Cookies Yields 16 cookies INGREDIENTS: 2 tbsp flaxseed meal 2 tbsp water 1/2 cup coconut oil 3/4 cup coconut sugar 1 tbsp vanilla 1 cup flour* 1/2 tsp baking soda 1 tsp cinnamon 2 tbsp brewer’s yeast 1/2 tsp salt 1 1/2 cups oats 1/2 cup dried cranberries and chopped dried apricots 1/2 cup slivered almonds DIRECTIONS: 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 2. Combine the flaxseed meal and water in a small bowl and set aside. 3. Cream the coconut oil, cocnut sugar, and vanilla together. 4. Gently stir the flaxseed mixture, flour, baking soda, cinnamon, brewers yeast, and salt into the sugar mixture. 5. Fold in the oats, dried fruit and almonds. 6. Scoop out small balls of batter onto a cookie sheet 7. Bake for 10 minutes. Let cool. * Substitute coconut flour for a grain-free option
Chocolate Chip Walnut Lactation Cookies Yields 16 cookies
2 tbsp flaxseed meal 2 tbsp water 1/2 cup butter 3/4 cup coconut sugar or organic raw sugar 1 tbsp vanilla 1 cup flour 1/2 tsp baking soda 2 tbsp brewer’s yeast 1/2 tsp salt 1 1/2 cups oats 3/4 cup dark chocolate chips 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 2. Combine the flaxseed meal and water in a small bowl and set aside. 3. Cream the butter, sugar, and vanilla together. 4. Gently stir the flaxseed mixture, flour, baking soda, brewer’s yeast, and salt into the sugar mixture. 5. Fold in the oats, chocolate chips and walnuts. 6. Scoop out small balls of batter onto a cookie sheet. 7. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Let cool. NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE | 101
| by Danelle Frisbie
Breastfeeding Originally Published on: http://www.drmomma.org/2009/11/breastfeeding-circumcision.html
Beginning in the late 1800s, changes in the way Americans viewed childbirth began to surface. By a post-WWII era, birth culture in the U.S. looked dramatically different than it had a century prior. Birth itself had been taken over by male obstetricians, and childbirth became a medical condition--one that women were in need of being saved from. During this time, women were routinely pumped full of drugs to give birth, subjected to shaving, enemas and episiotomies. New mothers were encouraged not to breastfeed, and if a baby was born male, chances are likely that he would be circumcised, whether or not this was ever discussed with the babyâ€™s parents. Today, more women are choosing to return to a birth that is more innate 102| NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE
and primal to their bodies and their babies. Modern medicine is, indeed, a wonderful thing in birth when truly needed. Surgical births have saved lives, and obstetrics is a needed science. However, this does not mean that medicalizing and pathologizing every aspect of birth and the postpartum period is also a good thing. The baseline ways in which our bodies are designed, in form and function, is typically best for us as humans, especially when it comes to pregnancy, birth, and babyhood.
to be without merit across the board, while the list of powerful, positive good that comes from breastfeeding is constantly growing. Today, routine infant circumcision is not recommended by any national health organization in the world, while breastfeeding is universally recommended by all medical and health organizations.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) states that babies should exclusively receive human milk for a minimum of the first 6 months of life, and Despite being frowned upon for some continue nursing for at least the first 24 time, the normalcy of feeding human months of life. The World Health Orbabies human milk has also made a ganization (WHO) states that human comeback in the last generations. babies need to receive human milk Today, breastfeeding is largely emfor the first 24 months of life, minimum, braced by the medical community, for a baseline level of health, and encouraged and recommended that most infants on a global scale by every pediatric organization the (especially those not encumbered world over, and women commonly by a broken U.S. lactiphobic culture) feed their babies in public. While nurs- should receive their motherâ€™s milk well ing in public has yet to become ubiq- past the age of 2 years. uitously accepted across the United States, breastfeeding is becomin Unfortunately, in some U.S. hospitals more commonplace again. today, circumcision is still more common than breastfeeding when we In the mid-1900s, the postnatal subpeer into the lives of newborn babies. jects of breastfeeding and circumAccording to 2013 CDC statistics, 49% cision were treated as opposites by of babies in the U.S. are breastfeedsome in the U.S. medical community. ing at 6 months, and the figure drops Circumcision (the complete amputo 27% at 12 months of age (1). At the tation of the prepuce organ at birth) same time, while the national circumwas claimed to be beneficial and cision average is slightly less than half, encouraged, or even forced, while there remain several states (especially breastfeeding was said to offer no in the Midwest and Northeast) where benefits, or be negligible. well over 50% of baby boys continue to be circumcised at birth (2, 3). LacWe now find that the claimed â€œbene- tation reports from many state hospifitsâ€? of circumcision have been found tals reflect that it is the babies who NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE | 103
are circumcised who are most at risk for breastfeeding complications such as poor latch, disinterest in nursing, withdrawal from their environment, have higher rates of “failure to thrive,” and are least likely to have a successful breastfeeding outcome. Intact boys and girls tend to latch better, nurse more effectively, and breastfeed longer than their peers who endure genital cutting as babies. In fact, breastfeeding complications following circumcision are so common, that La Leche League International used to routinely caution mothers about this connection (4).
ly fed human milk in their first 6+ months of life have higher rates of infections and allergies, and a greater intensity of issues from these immunological concerns throughout life. Over the course of childhood and adult life, these same babies grow to have higher rates of cancer (including increased childhood lymphomas, and increased breast cancer in women who were not breastfed as infants), and adult intestinal disorders. Infants not provided with human milk score lower on tests of neurological development (8, 9). Artificial substitutes for human milk clearly do not offer the same nutritional or immunological valMEDICAL BENEFITS OF BREASTFEEDING ue to babies, and formula-fed infants suffer as a result. They routinely expeAccording to the AAP, “human milk rience higher rates of morbidity and feeding decreases the incidence mortality across the board, regardless and/or severity of diarrhea, lower reof parents’ socioeconomic status, but spiratory infection, otitis media, bacwe continue to ignore the severity of teremia, bacterial meningtis, botulism, this issue while presenting formula as urinary tract infection, necrotizing an alternative to breastfeeding (9). enterocolitis infant death syndrome, insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, EFFECTS OF CIRCUMCISION Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, ON BREASTFEEDING lymphoma, allergic diseases” (5). It should be noted that urinary tract In their policy on breastfeeding, infections (UTIs) are also reduced by the AAP states, “Except under spebreastfeeding (6, 7) even though cial circumstances, the newborn some claim circumcision may reduce infant should remain with the mothUTIs during the first 12 months of an in- er throughout the recovery period. fant’s life. Breastfeeding, which does Procedures that may interfere with not permanently alter a boy’s body breastfeeding or traumatize the infant via amputation as does circumcision, should be avoided or minimized” (5). is shown to be much more effective at reducing UTI risk throughout infanCircumcision is the most commonly cy and childhood (not just in the first performed traumatic and painful sur12 months). gical procedure done on infants today, is 100% unnecessary and avoidHuman babies who are not exclusive- able, and is typically conducted in 104| NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE
the first 48 hours of life without anesthesia. When anesthesia is used, its effectiveness is negligible at best (14). We routinely watch as newly circumcised babies slip into a state of shock, or scream and fight to free themselves from the circumstraint and away from the blade with such force that vomiting, seizures, stroke, and even heart failure have occurred. Today, over 100 babies die each year in the United States alone as the result of circumcision (15). Watching circumcision take place leaves the viewer without question as to why breastfeeding (or simple eating/drinking) complications arise post-genital cutting. A quick YouTube search today will lead readers to the two most common circumcision methods in use in the United Statesa: Gomco and Plastibell (16, 17). Even if we ignore common sense and human observation on this issue, studies demonstrate without a doubt that circumcision interferes with breastfeeding. Dixon et. al., conducted a study on circumcision pain and behavioral consequences with and without anesthesia. The Brazelton Neonatal Assessment Scale (BNAS), a series of stimuli designed to elicit measured response from infants, was used and researchers found that all neurological and behavioral aspects of an infant circumcised at birth were impacted--including breastfeeding. They state, “Behavioral differences were still evident on the day following the procedure. This report adds to the growing body of data that indicate that circumcision is a painful proce-
dure that disrupts the course of behavioral recovery following birth” (11). Marshall et. al., performed a study on how circumcision affects mother-infant interaction. This study also used the BNAS and was double blind (neither the researchers nor the nursing mothers knew when boys were circumcised). One group of babies were circumcised at two days and the other at three weeks. Results showed significant behavior changes in infants after circumcision in 90% of cases, and that circumcision also has a “brief and transitory effect on mother-infant interactions observed during hospital feeding sessions” (12). Approximately half of babies circumcised became more aggressive in movements, agitated, and fussy (“colicky”) after being cut. The other half of babies subjected to genital cutting became subdued, drowsy, withdrawn and “sleepy.” When mothers were given their infants post circumcision, results showed that women attempted to nurse their baby 62% of the time. While breastfeeding, baby’s eyes were closed 71% of the time while nursing (rather than looking at mom while breastfeeding as was common while intact), 91% of babies had negative or neutral facial expressions while breastfeeding, 8% did little vocalizing, 13% were clinging to mom, and 40% refused to nurse (12). Howard et. al., did a randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled study on acetaminophen analgesia for pain management with circumcision. Among their results they found, NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE | 105
“Neonates in both groups showed significant increases in heart rate, respiratory rate, and crying during circumcision with no clinically significant differences between the groups. Postoperative comfort scores showed no significant differences between the groups until the 360-minute postoperative assessment, at which time the acetaminophen group had significantly improved scores. Feeding behavior deteriorated in breast- and bottle-fed infants in both groups, and acetaminophen did not seem to influence this deterioration” (13). The majority of hospitals circumcising babies today do so with either topical numbing agents, which are ineffective in numbing the dorsal nerve of the penis during genital cutting, and/or sugar-dipped pacifiers, which change infant facial expressions during genital cutting, but do nothing to reduce the lived experience of pain, or the neurological impact on a baby’s brain (14, 18).
20). Few parents can name the 16+ functions of the foreskin, or recognize that all mammals on earth (girls included) are born with this same organ. We nickname the prepuce the “foreskin” on boys and the “clitoral hood” on girls, but we only pathologize this organ on the bodies of one sex in the United States. In similar fashion, far too many parents do not realize that exclusive breastfeeding is recommended across the board for a minimum of 6 months of their baby’s life by all medical organizations, with partial breastfeeding for several years to follow. Just as parents are not equipped with the knowledge of all the side effects that result from circumcision, they are also not routinely aware of the enormous health problems that result from a human baby not receiving the milk that he/she needs for a baseline level of health and development.
Too many Americans today buy into the myths of circumcision, and are CONCLUSIONS naive about the foreskin, while also being uninformed about the benefits Circumcision and breastfeeding both of breastfeeding. Only in modern U.S. represent areas that too many parhistory have we found a subculture ents receive very little research-based that discourages (or is unsupportive, information on before their baby is or sabotaging of) breastfeeding, born, and even less support in makwhile at the same time discouraging a fully informed decision. Many ing of (or sabotaging) the normal, parents are not well educated on purposeful intact male body. We the advantages and purposes of the unfortunately see the consequences prepuce organ (foreskin), and are un- of these two areas of ignorance imaware that no medical organization pacting the lives of many babies still recommends circumcision for their in 2015. baby, or that the majority of medical organizations worldwide take a strong But times are changing! People are position against genital cutting (19, wising up to the myths and miscon106| NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE
ceptions that surround birth and babies. Parents are choosing to become educated on the realities of breastfeeding and the benefits of keeping babies intact. Advocates for breastfeeding (and milksharing) and genital autonomy share common ground in their work: the health, happiness and well-being of babies, and the children and adults they become! Hereâ€™s to all future men and women having the life-long payoff of a normal start in life: human milk, and intact genitals. References: 1. CDC Breastfeeding Report Card 2013: http:// www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/pdf/2013breastfeedingreportcard.pdf 2. CDC Presentation of 2009 National Circumcision Rates in the United States at the International AIDS Conference, Sydney: http://www. drmomma.org/2011/09/32-of-us-baby-boys-circumcised-in-2009.html 3. United States Hospital Circumcision Rates by State: http://www.savingsons.org/2012/11/ us-hospital-circumcision-rates-by-state.html 4. The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding: Circumcision http://www.drmomma.org/2012/06/womanly-art-of-breastfeeding.html 5. American Academy of Pediatrics: Breastfeeding and the Use of Human Milk (RE9729) 6. Pisacane A. et al. Breastfeeding and urinary tract infection. The Lancet, July 7, 1990, p50. 7. Marild S. Breastfeeding and Urinary Tract Infections. The Lancet 1990; 336:942. 8. A full list of medical benefits of breastfeeding with citations from medical journals to back
them up can be found at http://www.promom. org/why_bf.htm 9. James W. Prescott, Breastfeeding: Brain Nutrients in Brain Development for Human Love and Peace. Touch The Future Newsletter, Spring 1997. 10. Katie Allison Granju. Infant Formula: What Every Parent Should Know. Minnesota Parent. 1997. 11. Dixon S, Snyder J, Holve R, Bromberger P. Behavioral effects of circumcision with and without anesthesia. Journal of Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics. 1984; 5(5): 246-50. 12. Marshall RE, Porter FL, Rogers AG, et al. Circumcision: II effects upon mother-infant interaction. Early Human Development. 1982; 7:367-374. 13. Howard CR, Howard FM, and Weitzman ML. Acetominophen analgesia in neonatal circumcision: the effect on pain. Pediatrics. 1994;93(4): 641-646. 14. The Effectiveness of Anesthesia for Circumcision Pain: http://www.drmomma.org/2008/11/the-effectiveness-of-anesthesia-for.html 15. Death From Circumcision: http://www.drmomma.org/2010/05/death-from-circumcision.html 16. Neonatal Circumcision in Gomco Form for Medical Students in Training: http://www.savingsons. org/2011/01/neonatal-circumcision-video-for.html 17. Neonatal Plastibell Circumcision: http://www. drmomma.org/2009/08/plastibell-infant-circumcision.html 18. Tinari, Paul. Pacific Institute for Advanced Study. MRI results of circumcisionâ€™s impact on the newborn brain. http://www.drmomma.org/2009/10/mri-studies-brain-permanently-altered.html 19. Functions of the Foreskin: http://www.drmomma. org/2009/09/functions-of-foreskin-purposes-of.html 20. Medical Organization Position Statements on Circumcision: http://www.drmomma.org/2014/08/ medical-organization-position.html
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BEYOND 6 MONTHS:
CIRCUMSTANTIAL OR OPTIONAL | by Kiddada Green Founding Executive Director: Black Mothers’ Breastfeeding Association
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The National Immunization Survey reports an increase in breastfeeding duration for African American babies: 36% of African American babies born in 2011 were breastfed at 6-months of age â€“ up from 18% in 2002. With culturally appropriate support and consideration of individual lifestyles and experiences, that rate can continue to grow. After all, the World Health Organization suggests exclusive breastfeeding is recommended up to 6 months of age, with continued breastfeeding along with appropriate complementary
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foods up to two years of age or beyond. Lifestyle changes occur when new babies arrive. Many questions may also arise. Cloth diapers or disposable? Bed-share or not? Vaccinate or not? Childcare centers or a family babysitter? Stay-at-home or return to work? Multi-generational dwelling or single-family living? Organic or non-organic? Breast milk or infant formula? Breastfeed or exclusively pump? The list goes on and on. For some people,
the answers to these questions may be negligible. For others, the answers may be determined by life circumstances. While some may think that choice is always a factor, others realize that privileges, culture, support and finances strongly influence child-rearing behaviors. Often times these factors determine if and how long a baby will be breastfed. Breastfeeding lifestyles may be straightfoward and uncomplicated for some, while for others, it requires huge efforts, lifestyle alterations and adaptations. With all things respectfully considered, here are 5 reasons why it is important to breastfeed beyond 6 months:
significance. Breastfeeding symbolizes a bilateral covenant in the mother-baby dyad. Let the communion of breastfeeding serve as your covenant.
3) Babies need intimate attention. Breastfeeding conveys warmth and affection while giving your baby reassurance and security. Balance your babyâ€™s emotional and behavioral state by engaging touch in your relationship.
1 Datasets and Related Documentation for the National Immunization Survey, 2010 to Present Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2013
5) Who can count the superior immediate and long-term health benefits? The list could be endless but here are a few. Breastfeeding protects against diabetes, obesity, heart disease, infections, asthma and allergies. Protect your baby.
We understand that successful breastfeeding requires a community of support. For those who require more than sheer will and determination to initiate breastfeeding or to do so be1) Breastfeeding leads to secure and yond 6 months, contact us at Black confident children. Your darling one Mothersâ€™ Breastfeeding Association. knows what she wants. Breastfeeding We will work to connect you to local is not linear. Demand for milk oscilsocio-culturally appropriate breastlates. Follow her cues. feeding support. In the case that you are in an area void of resources, we 2) Breastfeeding offers a time for you will connect you to an online commuto reconnect and relax with your nity of support. baby. With the hustle and bustle of day-to-day living, breastfeeding pres- BlackMothersBreastfeeding@gmail. ents a time of bonding for mother com or call 800.313.6141 and baby. Take advantage of the restful moments. References
2 Datasets and Related Documentation for the National Immunization Survey, 2009 and Prior Center for Disease Control and Prevention 4) Breastfeeding has a valued spiritual (CDC), 2013 NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE | 111
Eric and Amanda of Iowa, welcomed Dillon Michael earthside on January 1st, 2015. He was 9 lbs and 20 inches. Dillon came into the world with the assistance of a midwife after a short labor in the water and unmedicated birth. He is a happy, breastfed, intact, perfect little boy.
Freddy & Grecia of Florida welcomed their first baby boy, Sawyer Dean, on February 6th, 2015 at 2:56 a.m. after a quick hospital labor and one big push. He weighed 6 lbs 13 oz and is 21 inches long. We love you so much Sawyer bean! 112| NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE
Elaine & Phil are proud to welcome the (rather early) arrival of Maxwell Philip 5 weeks early on February 6th, 2015. Weighing in at 6 lb 9 oz and 18.5 inches at 11:32 am. Prayers for a quick and speedy NICU stay with the amazing staff in Hinsdale, Il. “We’ll eat you up, we love you so!”- Big sisters Geovana & Elliette.
New Jersey parents, Tabitha & Bart Konopacki, along with big sister Sofia Annalyn, welcomed Baby Emilia Jane Konopacki on the 6th of January 2015 at 9:54pm. She weighed in at 7 lbs 10 oz & measured 19.75” long. She made her way at 41wks & 2 days after 54 hr of labor. Healthy VBAC baby.
James Marco Ceballos born at home, in the shower, into his father’s hands on January 26th, 2015 at 12:51a.m. 10 lbs, 21.75 inches. Proud parents Roger and Natashia.
Dan, Cheryl and big siblings Sophia, Olivia & Daniel Jr. of New York, welcomed baby girl Aubrey Faith earthside on 2-13-15 in the early morning. Aubrey was born into mommy’s loving arms via 2FBAMC (second free birth after multiple cesareans), she weighed 6 lbs 6 oz and was 19 inches long. We are all head over heels in love with her. Photo credit: Inspired By K Photography
If you would like us to include a birth announcement for your new precious arrival, email a photo and the accompanying text to:
Matt and Irene Inda from Oklahoma were overwhelmed with joy as their son Harold Matthew was welcomed earthside on January 31st at 11:46 am. He was 7 pounds 14 ounces and 20 inches. He was born after a quick and easy hospital labor, surrounded by an amazing support group.
scout@naturalmothermagazine. com The next issue will publish on May 1st and will include births from March and April 2015. Enjoy your birth and babymoon! We’re rooting for you! NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE | 113
natural mother’s market
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