Friday, December 16, 2011

Not Eating During Labor... an out-of-date practice

Lately, I have been shocked by the amount of expectant mothers who are not aware that they cannot eat once the are admitted into the hospital. It is customary, here in the US, to make sure that laboring women only have liquids. These consist of water, ice chips, juice, jello (or Jelly to my UK friends :)) and Popsicles. Now, I don't know about you, but the last time I checked labor was a pretty intense process, requiring a ton of energy. How do doctors, or should I say anesthesiologists, expect moms to labor all day, or longer, and then push and push and push? Its a marathon for crying out loud and laboring women need to restore their energy!
Eliminating solids from a laboring woman's diet stem back from the 1940's when a doctor, Curtis Mendelson, who studied aspiration in laboring rabbits noted that the risk of vomiting the contents of your stomach into your lungs is increased while under general anesthesia.
Well, times have changed. For one thing there are a lot less women who have to go under general anesthesia for emergent cesareans, in fact only 1-2%. One doctor put it this way, "My own view of this has always been that you could say one shouldn’t eat or drink anything before getting into a car on the same basis, because you could be in an automobile accident and you might require general anesthesia,” said Dr. Marcie Richardson, an obstetrician and gynecologist at Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates in Boston. Plus, the risk for aspirating is much less than previously why hasn't the protocol changed?
Some doctors, more midwives, will now allow small snacks during labor as they see the benefits outweigh the risks. Actually, studies show that the duration labor is shortened by 45-90 minutes in women who are allowed to eat! The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists reviewed this policy in 2009 allowing mothers to drink clear liquids but have yet to remove the ban on solids.

What even more interesting is that the United Kingdom doesn't have these same restriction. In fact they mention if a mother isn't refueling their body then they go into a state of ketosis which can cause nausea, vomiting and headaches. Counterproductive?
Your best bet is to check in with your provider to see how the side with this subject. If you provider is adamant about no food then prepare to eat a substantial meal before you head to the hospital.
So what is appropriate to eat while in labor, after all you don't want to add vomiting to the list of labor pains if you don't have to. Eating things such as toast with jam, plain pasta, applesauce, Jello, Popsicles or sorbet are great ways to boost your energy levels. Drinking things like clear broths, tea, water, juice without pulp and soda water will help keep you hydrated. Whatever you do skip the fast food, however tempted, on the way to the hospital or birthing center.

Another thing to remember is that your birth partner will most likely get hungry. He or she should also eat a meal before embarking to the hospital and should pack snacks for the journey of labor as he or she may not be able to leave to grab a bite. Plus, never bring smelly food into a labor room. Laboring women has a high sensitivity to smell which may make them sick or in the very least distract them, from the task at hand and it's totally unfair since they can't eat!
From experience, I can tell you that ate throughout my labor. I was told to visit the cafeteria upon arriving at the hospital and even though I wasn't feeling hungry I knew I was in it for the long haul. I also remember Richard, my husband, feeding me chocolate and water. I was exhausted, of course, but I can't imagine what it may have been like if I hadn't replenished the calories I had already burned.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

When is too much too much?

Sorry I have been gone for so long. Life gets in the way sometimes :)

Cartoon kids running toward christmas tree. Presents all around Stock Photo - 9362113
I don't know about many of you but how do you handle Christmas, or any other gift giving holiday, when it comes to your children? I mean do friends and family ask you what to get for your kids? How do you answer?
As a new mom I have found this interesting and challenging. I don't want Paige to grow up valuing monetary things? I want her to value the time spent with her family and I sure don't want her to think that Christmas is all about receiving. My mom asked me about a month ago if she could get her a playhouse, you know the life size ones. "She's only 17 months", I told her, "what the heck are you going to buy her when she's five?" That didn't go over really well. The way she sees it, as I'm sure that many do, is that she wants to spoil her. I had to put a stop to it. Below is an interview with Kim John Payne who wrote the book, "Simplicity Parenting". The interview discusses What Too Many Toys Can Do to your children.... it's an interesting piece.

Scary, huh?

Its already bad enough that she sees commercials for toys and is captivated. I can only imagine what it will be like when she's older and can conceptualize the holiday season! In fact, this season her father and I decided to get her only one gift. I just hope that my family can restrain themselves as there will be plenty more opportunities to give her things.

Remind you of anything?!

So, if you find yourself in this situation here are some alternatives you can tell friends and family in place of toys. After all, what do you remember most about your childhood? Is it the toy you received on your 6th birthday or is it the memories you made at the party???

1. Have loved ones put money into a saving account or a trust fund set up in your child's name....I'm sure it will go to good use once they reach college! I know that in this economy many parents struggle to put money aside, why not have family pitch in?

2. Suggest that family give your child the gift of time. Maybe they can set a date to take each child out alone to somewhere special such as the zoo or the museum. If family is out of town a sleep over is always fun.

3. Sponsor a child through an international Charity or better yet donate to a local charity. Maybe something that the child is interested in and if it's in their own "Back Yard" they can watch to see how their donation is working.

4. Get the child a annual pass to their local zoo, museum, fun park or water park. They can enjoy this gift over and over!

5. Pay for lessons. Maybe they enjoy ballet or karate, piano or guitar. The possibilities here are endless.

6. Adopt an animal at the World Wildlife fund or your local zoo. This way the child can watch the animal grow throughout the years and will enjoy visiting them too.

7. Give them the gift of gardening. Help them plant some seeds and watch them get excited as they grow and produce fruit or vegetables. You'll also be teaching them about taking care of another living thing and a life lesson in providing food.

8. The ultimate selfless act of volunteering for the holidays to those less fortunate. Help start a coat drive for needy children or serve food at the local shelter.

charitable gift cartoons, charitable gift cartoon, charitable gift picture, charitable gift pictures, charitable gift image, charitable gift images, charitable gift illustration, charitable gift illustrations
The possibilities are endless and the children will be much better off if they learn the value of giving instead of receiving. The value of time over objects. The value of memories over things.
Telling friends and family about these thoughtful alternatives may be difficult but if you explain their purpose I'm sure many would understand and get on board.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Breast Milk Ingredients vs Formula Ingredients

I came across this astonishing list while doing my training for my lactation license over the summer and thought that I would share it. Canada's government produced this poster displaying the ingredients of both breast milk and formula to markedly show the difference between the two. I was shocked myself to see how incredibly long the breast milk list is when compared to the formula list. It just goes to show that man will never be able to reproduce the amazing qualities of breast milk.

Over the Thanksgiving Holiday I had a family member say to me, "aren't the benefits of breastfeeding void after one year of age?" My answer to this... How could that ever be the case seeing the list here. The benefits are astounding! I think it's safe to say that breast milk is by far the best SUPER FOOD that ever existed!

Corn maltodextrinPartially hydrolyzed reduced minerals whey protein concentrate (from cow’s milk)Fats
Palm olein
Soybean oil
Coconut oil
High oleic safflower oil (or sunflower oil)
M. alpina oil (Fungal DHA)
C.cohnii oil (Algal ARA)
Minerals Potassium citrate
Potassium phosphate
Calcium chloride
Tricalcium phosphate
Sodium citrate
Magnesium chloride
Ferrous sulphate
Zinc sulphate
Sodium chloride
Copper sulphate
Potassium iodide
Manganese sulphate
Sodium selenate
Vitamins Sodium ascorbate Inositol
Choline bitartrate
Alpha-Tocopheryl acetate Niacinamide Calcium pantothenate
Vitamin A acetate
Pyridoxine hydrochloride
Thiamine mononitrate
Folic acid
Vitamin D3
Vitamin B12Enzyme
Amino acid
L-Carnitine (a combination of two different amino acids)
Cytidine 5-monophosphate
Disodium uridine 5-monophosphate
Adenosine 5-monophosphate
Disodium guanosine 5-monophosphate
Soy Lecithin

Breast Milk
Carbohydrates (energy source) Lactose Oligosaccharides (see below)Carboxylic acid Alpha hydroxy acid
Lactic acid
Proteins (building muscles and bones)
Whey protein
HAMLET (Human Alpha-lactalbumin Made Lethal to Tumour cells)
Many antimicrobial factors (see below)
Casein Serum albumin
Non-protein nitrogens
Uric acid
Peptides (see below)
Amino Acids (the building blocks of proteins)
Clycine Cystine
Taurine Theronine Tryptophan Tyrosine
Carnitine (amino acid compound necessary to make use of fatty acids as an energy source)
Nucleotides (chemical compounds that are the structural units of RNA and DNA)
5’-Adenosine monophosphate (5"-AMP)
3’:5’-Cyclic adenosine monophosphate (3’:5’-cyclic AMP)
5’-Cytidine monophosphate (5’-CMP)
Cytidine diphosphate choline (CDP choline)
Guanosine diphosphate (UDP)
Guanosine diphosphate - mannose
3’- Uridine monophosphate (3’-UMP)
5’-Uridine monophosphate (5’-UMP)
Uridine diphosphate (UDP)
Uridine diphosphate hexose (UDPH)
Uridine diphosphate-N-acetyl-hexosamine (UDPAH)
Uridine diphosphoglucuronic acid (UDPGA)
Several more novel nucleotides of the UDP type
Long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) (important for brain development)
Arachidonic acid (AHA) (important for brain development)
Linoleic acid Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)
Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)
Conjugated linoleic acid (Rumenic acid)
Free Fatty Acids
Monounsaturated fatty acids
Oleic acid
Palmitoleic acid
Heptadecenoic acid
Saturated fatty acids
Stearic Palmitic acid
Lauric acid
Myristic acid
Plasmalogens Sphingolipids
Globotriaosylceramide (GB3)
Globoside (GB4)
Sterols Squalene Lanosterol Dimethylsterol Methosterol
Desmosterol Triacylglycerol
Stigma-and campesterol
Sitosterol β-lathosterol
Vitamin D metabolites
Steroid hormones
Vitamin A Beta carotene
Vitamin B6
Vitamin B8 (Inositol) Vitamin B12
Vitamin C
Vitamin D Vitamin E a-Tocopherol Vitamin K
Riboflavin Niacin
Folic acid
Pantothenic acid
BiotinMinerals Calcium
Selenium Choline Sulpher
Cobalt Fluorine
Metal Molybdenum (essential element in many enzymes)
Growth Factors (aid in the maturation of the intestinal lining)
interleukin-1β (IL-1β)
Granulocyte-colony stimulating factor (G-CSF)
Macrophage-colony stimulating factor (M-CSF)
Platelet derived growth factors (PDGF)
Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)
Hepatocyte growth factor -α (HGF-α)
Tumor necrosis factor-α
Epithelial growth factor (EGF)
Transforming growth factor-α (TGF-α)
TGF β1
Insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) (also known as somatomedin C)
Insulin-like growth factor- II
Nerve growth factor (NGF)
Peptides (combinations of amino acids)
HMGF I (Human growth factor)
Cholecystokinin (CCK)
Parathyroid hormone (PTH)
Parathyroid hormone-related peptide (PTHrP)
Bombesin (gastric releasing peptide, also known as neuromedin B)
Oxytocin Insulin
Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH)
Leptin (aids in regulation of food intake)
Ghrelin (aids in regulation of food intake)
Feedback inhibitor of lactation (FIL)
Eicosanoids Prostaglandins (enzymatically derived from fatty acids)
Enzymes (catalysts that support chemical reactions in the body)
Xanthine oxidaseAntiproteases (thought to bind themselves to macromolecules such as enzymes and as a result prevent allergic and anaphylactic reactions)
Phagocytes Basophils
B lymphocytes (also known as B cells)
T lymphocytes (also known as C cells)
Complement C1
Complement C2
Complement C3
Complement C4
Complement C5
Complement C6
Complement C7
Complement C8
Complement C9
Lactadherin Alpha-lactoglobulin
Alpha-2 macroglobulin
Lewis antigens
Haemagglutinin inhibitors
Developed as a student project for the Breastfeeding Course for Health Care Providers, Douglas College, New Westminster, BC, Canada - © 2007 by Cecily Heslett, Sherri Hedberg and Haley Rumble.


Bifidus Factor (increases growth of Lactobacillus bifidus - which is a good bacteria)
Lactoferrin (binds to iron which prevents harmful bacteria from using the iron to grow)
B12 binding protein (deprives microorganisms of vitamin B12)

Fibronectin (makes phagocytes more aggressive, minimizes inflammation, and repairs damage caused by inflammation) Protein

Hormones (chemical messengers that carry signals from one cell, or group of cells, to another via the blood) Cortisol

Triiodothyronine (T3)
Thyroxine (T4)
Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) (also known as thyrotropin)
Thyroid releasing hormone (TRH)
Antimicrobial factors (are used by the immune system to identify and neutralize foreign objects, such as bacteria and viruses. Leukocytes (white blood cells)
sIgA (Secretory immunoglobulin A) (the most important antiinfective factor) IgA2 Mucins (attaches to bacteria and viruses to prevent them from clinging to mucousal tissues) Oligosaccharides (more than 200 different kinds!)

Monday, November 14, 2011

China may ban all formula advertisement... When will the US do the same?

Four days ago the news reported that China is considering putting a ban on formula companies and how they advertise. They are thinking of banning all advertisements for formula marketed to babies 6 months and under. There is a lot of research that states that mothers are highly influenced by such advertisements, including the hospital bags given upon discharge, thus discontinuing exclusive breastfeeding. China has reported an increase on sales of stage 1 powdered formula from 5.68 billion in 2006 to 14.4 billion in 2010. That's a massive climb and the pharmaceutical companies are taking full advantage.
The European Union has had a ban on formula advertisements marketed to infants under the age of one since 1995. Since then the National Childbirth Trust of England and UNICEF have seen a rise in advertisements of follow-on formula (formula for after 1 year of age). Formula companies have since changed the packaging of follow-on formula to look similar to that of stage 1 and 2 formula thus preying on mothers and infants as 60% of new mothers report seeing formula advertisements in the past year. What is also alarming is that mother's are getting confused with the differences in the formula and feeding follow-on formula, which has a higher mineral content, at too young of age. The NCT and UNICEF are now working towards banning all formula advertisements throughout the EU.
"A lack of exclusive breastfeeding during the first six months of life contributes to more than a million avoidable child deaths globally each year, the World Health Organization, which recommends exclusive breastfeeding for infants, said in July."

The WHO and UNICEF formed The International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk substitutes in 1981. I have included the lengthy code below but I want to highlight this:

4.2 Informational and educational materials, whether written, audio, or visual,
dealing with the feeding of infants and intended to reach pregnant women and
mothers of infants and young children, should include clear information on all the
following points: (a) the benefits and superiority of breast-feeding; (b) maternal
nutrition, and the preparation for and maintenance of breast-feeding; (c) the negative
effect on breast-feeding of introducing partial bottle-feeding; (d) the difficulty of
reversing the decision not to breast-feed; and (e) where needed, the proper use of
infant formula, whether manufactured industrially or home-prepared. When such
materials contain information about the use of infant formula, they should include the
social and financial implications of its use; the health hazards of inappropriate foods
or feeding methods; and, in particular, the health hazards of unnecessary or improper
use of infant formula and other breast-milk substitutes. Such materials should not use
any pictures or text which may idealize the use of breast-milk substitutes.
In 1994, the United States signed onto the code, but I believe we are still seeing inappropriate advertising and unfortunately, the code is not legally binding. Now, I know that many of you have seen formula advertised here in the US and elsewhere, can you tell me that the advertisements follow the code? A television commercial would have to be at least five minutes long to cover just some of the information required above. Appalling if you ask me.
"The World Health Organization said a study has found that Filipino mothers who have been influenced by advertisements or their doctors to use infant formula are two to four times more likely to feed their babies with those products." A study released November 3, 2011
Did you receive a hospital bag at the hospital when you and your baby were discharged? Do you know what is in those bags? Formula samples and coupons! Guess who supplies the hospitals with the bags? The formula to the hospitals! Pharmaceutical companies make up 80% of baby formula sold  in the US and take advantage of the fact that many women trust that the hospital and doctors know best. The hospital is merely giving them away without a second thought as it's all about the bottom line. Each bag is said to cost the formula company $7, but a year of formula feeding costs $2000 in which a significant portion the families pay for such marketing. As a result, families are paying $700 per year for brand name formula when compared to store brands. Many organisations such as the WHO, UNICEF, CDC, AAP,  and the 200 Surgeon General condemned the use of such hospital bags. So why are hospitals still handing them out?
Here lies room for massive reformation and revolution. Get on board.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Water Birth.. why the US has yet to adopt such a practice that the rest of the world does!

I was recently browsing the website and came across these videos regarding water births. one brought tears to my eyes

I know that at the hospital I work at allows for women to labor in the pool, which are very limited, but don't allow a woman to birth in the pool. The reasons for this aren't clearly documented as I was able to find an affiliated hospital located in Sacramento and Davis that do allow for water births. In fact, Sutter Health Auburn lists the benefits of a water birth on their hospital website.

The Benefits of Water Labor for Delivery
Sutter Women's Services

Sutter Davis Hospital and Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital are the only hospitals in the greater Sacramento area to offer the option of water births. You may choose to labor in the tub and deliver in there as well. Be sure to discuss this option with your health care provider prior to your delivery if you are interested in water labor and/or delivery.

Check out
Jenny's Story
about her

What are the benefits of water for labor/delivery? It can relieve pain by making the uterus buoyant (floating) which eases some of the pressure of labor. Also, the warmth and motion of the water along your nerve fibers is thought to block some of the transmission of pain. Additionally, warm water helps the skin around the birth canal to stretch better during delivery.

Monitoring your contractions and your baby's heart rate can easily be accomplished in the tub through our telemetry monitoring system. The telemetry monitor is a portable box that connects to the monitor leads around your body. The portable box transmits the heart rate and contraction readings to the fetal monitor in your labor room. You can walk, shower, and get in the tub while being monitored.

So why wouldn't the rest of the Sutter hospitals offer this option for its mothers? One labor and delivery nurse told me it's because the nurse can't be on both sides of the tub as the baby is delivered. Some people might say that it's because you can't be monitored while in the water. This is untrue as a nurse/midwife can use a Doppler to listen to the baby's heart rate under water.
I was fortunate to have a water birth as an option given to me in the UK. I expressed my wishes for a water birth early on in my pregnancy and found the water to be a huge pain relief while I labored at home. In fact, I was in the water for more than five hours! Shall we say PRUNE!!! What I was also very shocked by, being that this was my first baby, is that I didn't experience any perineal damage... no tears! After watching the videos my original assumption shows to be true... less tearing noticed in water births. Personally, I think that this may be due to the fact that the skin becomes more supple thus allowing for more stretching... maybe?
I have linked a website explaining benefits and considerations of having a water birth.
Unfortunately, there aren't many options for women to have a water birth in the US unless they opt for a home birth. I'm all for it, but sadly fear still plays a major factor and home births occur at about 1% in the US. I know that we are planning to have a home birth for our next child. I have yet to interview midwives but I have received a few references. All I do know is that all women should be given the choice of how they choose to labor. So, in order for change to happen we have to speak up!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Recipes I promised

So today I vowed to fill the freezer and to post the recipes. This is definitely the first post of its kind on my blog, but I have had many tell me that they would like to see some of the recipes to the food I cook. In fact, I have a hair brained idea of creating a baby cookbook so maybe I will include those to see some feedback.
I set out today to use my crock pot to make a soup and that I wanted to make a pasta dish and a vegetable dish. All of which could be put into the freezer for a later date. I created a shopping list last night and went out this morning to collect the ingredients. I also purchased some new glass storage containers that are oven and freezer safe. I'm trying to make more and more changes to our house to lead a more environmental friendly lifestyle.
I hope you and your family can enjoy some of these items and feel free to let me know if you attempted them and if you made changes to improve them. I'm always open to new ideas.

Sweet Potato Mash with Brown Butter Sage    
  • 4 large sweet potatoes
  • 1 orange; zested and juiced
  • 1 tbs butter
  • 4 sage leaves
Peel and cube the potatoes and boil for ten minutes or until soft. Drain and place back into pot. Add 1 tbs of orange zest and 2 tbs of orange juice. Mash until desired consistency. In a separate pan melt butter and sage over medium heat until butter begins to brown. Pour butter and sage over potatoes. Serve or separate into freezer safe containers.

Split Pea soup
  • 16 oz. dried split peas
  • 3 carrots; peeled and diced
  • 2 ribs of celery; diced
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic; minced
  • Ham bone, 2 ham hocks or cubed ham
  • 2 tbs dried parsley
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbs salt or to taste
  • 1/2 tbs ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 qt water
Combine all ingredients in crock pot; do not stir. Place on high for 4-5 hours or low 8-10 hours.

Pesto Prawn Penne Bake with Asparagus and Sun-dried Tomatoes
  • Whole wheat penne pasta
  • 2 cups basil leaves
  • 1 cup spinach leaves
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 6 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tbs lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 sun-dried tomatoes; diced
  • 2 tomatoes; chopped
  • 1 bunch of asparagus cut into bite size
  • 1 clove of garlic; minced
  • 1 lb. of precooked prawns
  • 1 cup  shredded cheddar
  • 1 cup shredded or cubed mozzarella
Pre-heat oven to 350F (unless freezing for later)
Cook pasta according to directions, drain and place into oven safe containers.
Make Pesto:
add basil, spinach, lemon juice, Parmesan, pine nuts, salt and pepper to a food processor and slowly add olive oil. Pour over pasta and mix evenly.
Meanwhile saute garlic in 1 tbs olive oil with asparagus and sun-dried tomatoes over medium-high heat for 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and prawns at last minute and remove from heat. Add to pasta. Spread Cheddar and mozzarella cheese over pasta. You can either freeze now or bake for 10 minutes or until cheese completely melted.

After cooking all morning I'm happy to say that it is all family approved (including baby)!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Changing the way we talk about breastfeeding... a controversial subject?

I'm constantly reminded of a speaker that I listened to at a International Breastfeeding conference last June when I read breastfeeding research articles and updates. Diane Wiessinger spoke about watching your language... In her speech she addresses how we approach breastfeeding and that our language may in fact be detrimental to our cause.
Take "Breast is Best" for example, of course the breast is best but by saying it this way we emphasize that it is superior when in fact it is normal. Formula is inferior! We often say things like, "the advantages of breastfeeding are..." and "by breastfeeding your baby will have less risk of..." Diane discusses how, though sometimes hard, we need to change our language to... "the disadvantages of formula feeding are...." and "by formula feeding, your baby will have an increased risk of..." Below is a copy of her article...
Globally we become so used to formula feeding as being the norm. In fact when we see moms breastfeeding in public we are shocked and apalled. It should be the other way around! Bottle feeding should be shunned and breastfeeding should not turn a head. Women should not be relegated to private areas, such as public bathrooms, when nurturing their child. Women should not be questioned about how old their child is and why they are still breastfeeding. Our society needs to embrace and support women who are breastfeeding not ostracize them.
I recently read an an update sent to me by UNICEF about research conducted at Oxford University in The United Kingdom about the reduced rates of diarrhea, lower respiratory tract infections, higher IQ and lower behavioral problems in those babies who are breastfed. This is very good and positive information but may be delivered in the wrong way. By saying it in this way we glorify breastfeeding. If we said it the other way around I'm sure that we will get the attention of many!
Take these ads for example...

"The original ad campaign was sponsored by the department's Office on Women's Health and developed by the Ad Council, a nonprofit group that produces public-service TV commercials. One spot shows a pregnant woman riding a mechanical bull while a voice-over says, "You wouldn't take such risks while you were pregnant -- why take them afterward? Babies were born to be breast-fed." Another ad features a hypodermic needle lying alongside a nipple-topped insulin bottle -- and states that formula-fed infants are 40% more likely to develop Type 1 diabetes. The ads aimed to shock women into an awareness that the risks of not breast-feeding their infants were real.
According to Gina Ciagne, a former public affairs specialist in the women's health office who worked on the campaign: "Very soft campaigns had always been used for breast-feeding. These weren't resonating. We needed something to break through the clutter."
Formula companies got wind of the ads on the Ad Council's website and immediately tried to kill them. Powerful economic interests were at stake. For Abbott Laboratories, Mead Johnson Nutritionals, Wyeth Nutrition and Nestle Nutrition, feeding babies is big business. For instance, in 2006, according to public filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Abbott Nutrition, a division of Abbott Laboratories and the industry leader, sold more than $1 billion worth of these products in the United States alone. "

Here is another one...

Interestingly enough, these ads were pulled. They were deemed too controversial. But that's the point, right? To raise awareness? I'm sure that this would get people's attention and maybe that is just what we need!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Yay.... I passed my test. I'm now an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant!

So now what? I have been planning on becoming a lactation consultant for over a year now so you would think that I have a plan. Wrong! I guess I put it off just in case I didn't pass. That would have really put a damper on things.
Unfortunately, the economy doesn't really support the use of Lactation Consultants in hospitals as much as they should. In fact they are one of the first professions to experience cutbacks in the hospital. Its unfortunate because breastfeeding should be a high priority. If we could get more babies breastfed the health care costs in the long run would be dramatically affected. It's a known fact that breastfed babies have less risk for heart disease, diabetes, obesity, certain cancers, etc. I truly believe that we are seeing the ill effects of increased formula feeding throughout most developed countries. on a tangent.
So, do I pursue a private practice? Will it ever replace my nursing salary? Will it ever give my family the health benefits? So many questions at hand... With health care in the US due to drastically change in 2014 who knows whats going to happen.
For now I think I will explore my options and see where this new adventure leads me. I will continue to help the new mommy's in the NICU successfully breastfeed their babies and rest in the fact that I have made a difference in a few lives.
I must also say a big congratulations to two close friends who also passed the boards. May we be there for each other as we experience everything booby!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Labial adhesions...ever heard of it?

I know sounds odd... but until my daughter was diagnosed with it at her 1 year appointment I never knew it existed. I'm sure she is really going to appreciate the fact that I blogged about this when she gets older but I feel that there may be a good educational opportunity here.
Labial adhesions effects approximately 4% of little girls and is relatively benign (harmless). In fact, if the pediatrician hadn't spotted it I would have never even noticed. Basically, adhesions of the labia is where the labia minora begins to grow together; in a sense closing up the opening to the vagina and urethra. Medicine is not really sure why this happens but it may be due to low estrogen (once levels from the mother drop) and/or to a moist environment created by diapers. If left alone it usually corrects itself once the child is potty trained or once she reaches maturation and estrogen levels normalize. This is all great news unless the opening to the vagina and urethra are completely obstructed thus trapping urine. This could lead to further infection and increased rate of urinary tract infections.

As a mother, I hated the idea that my daughter may have some sort of "problems" with either elimination or sexual intimacy in the future. As a mother, you generally excessively worry anyhow :) So, how is it treated? There are different schools of we soon learned. Our first pediatrician (since changed because of this) advised us to slowly massage the tissue open every evening. In fact, she tore it open slightly during the office visit without even consulting us first. As you can imagine, this led to miserable diaper changes as I'm sure it was painful. As a mother and a nurse I felt immensely wrong about the entire process. I was sure that there was an alternative, after all, the tissue was going to have to heal and I knew that it was likely to heal back upon itself. After discussing with doctors (neonatologists) at work and doing some of my own research I eventually decided to find a new pediatrician and get a second opinion. I stopped massaging the area and monitored it as we noticed that the hole was getting smaller and smaller. When we finally saw the new doctor the hole was just big enough to squeeze urine through. This time around we were given much more reassuring news. Our doctor prescribed an estrogen cream to be applied daily and it would slowly open up again with minimal pain and/or side effects. Whew... that was a relief!
I'm here to say that at our 15 month check up today, Paige is free from adhesions and diaper changes are much more bearable. She is prone to get them again, but for now the cream is discontinued and we will have to keep a close eye on it. I'm just happy that she should no longer experience any pain associated with that region of her body and that she shouldn't have any residual effects into adulthood.
Moral of the story... always trust your intuition.
For further information regarding labial ahdesions check out....

Monday, October 17, 2011

Thinking of Hiring a Doula?

When I decided to become a Birth doula the most commonly asked question was,  "What is a Doula?"
Doula Services

A doula is a woman who supports another woman and her birth partner during the birth process. She is there to support a woman physically and emotionally, collaborate with the healthcare team, and encourage and support the birth partner. She gives undivided attention to the mother, thus never leaving her side, while providing educated answers throughout the labor process. She is there to help with positioning, pain relief, massage and many other techniques such as hypnotherapy and aromatherapy.
There is a lot of great studies done on the outcomes of those who choose to hire a doula and this is why more and more women are choosing to work with a doula today.
  • 50% reduction in the cesarean rate
  • 25% shorter labor
  • 60% reduction in epidural requests
  • 40% reduction in oxytocin use
  • 30% reduction in analgesia use
  • 40% reduction in forceps delivery
Information was obtained from Mothering the Mother: How a Doula Can HelpYou Have a Shorter Easier and Healthier Birth, Klaus, Kennell, and Klaus (1993).

I considered hiring a doula when I was pregnant with Paige but i had this notion that I only wanted my husband and I to be present during this special time. We looked into it but eventually decided against it as financially it wasn't feasible. Looking back I would have to say that my birth experience was amazing and went exactly how I wanted it to. I contribute that to several different factors. The main factor being that I was assigned a midwife and she never left my side. I didn't have to worry about getting a new midwife half way through as I wasn't laboring during a change of shift. She gave me her undivided attention and my mother-in-law (whom I invited to join us late in the game) reminded me that I focused on my midwife intently. She was my doula. I was also very fortunate to have a husband who was very actively involved. He felt every contraction with me, catered to my every need, breathed alongside me and even joined me in the tub for the entire 2 hours of pushing. Without all of these factors, the birth of my daughter could have very well been a different outcome.

I decided to become a doula because childbirth has always fascinated me. As a nurse I get to work with infants and their families, but it's often a very different situation when the babies are ill or premature. Being there to support a woman during one of her most vulnerable, fragile, life changing moments is a gift. Each birth I attend continues to amaze me as I see the transformation of a woman to a mother. To witness life firsthand is such a miracle and I look forward to many other lives that I hope to embrace.

All in all, I encourage everyone to research what a doula is and to explore the benefits to you and your family. It's important to get the laboring woman and her birth partner involved in the decision making as having everyone on board will reduce the amount of stress in the labor room and won't impede on the pending labor.

Women have been supporting women during childbirth since the beginning of time, it isn't until within the last half century that our current practices have started to take place. There is something to be said about having someone there who knows what you are experiencing and can lend a hand through her experience.

Below is a POWERFUL message from One World Birth!!!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Cancer Prevention in Breast Milk

As you have heard me say, time and time again, breast milk is a powerful fluid. One that is unmatched by man. There are many properties in breast milk that do incredible things and many are still being studied for their wondrous capabilities. Did you know that babies who are breastfed are less likely to fall ill from childhood cancers and mothers who breastfeed are less likely to suffer from breast, ovarian, cervical and uterine cancers?
Breast milk contains cells HAMLET cells (Human Alpha-lactalbumin Made LEthal to Tumour cells) which are composed of proteins and fatty acids that directly attack cancer cells and not healthy cells in babies! The linked article is one of many research articles out there, but I found this one to have the most medically detailed explanation of the process and the benefits.

Microscope images that show HAMLET's interaction with biological membranes. Using a red, fluorescent substance that shows the location of HAMLET, the researchers can clearly demonstrate that it binds to the cell membrane of a tumor cell.
(Photo Credit: University of Gothenburg)

Mothers who breastfeed their infants also reap the rewards as studies show that the longer a woman breastfeeds the greater the reward. In fact, those who breastfeed two years or longer reduce their risk by 50%. Women who breastfeed have lower levels of estrogen, reduced amount of ovulation and may be less likely to store carcinogens. All of these factors contribute.

All in all, breastfeeding continues to show us its amazing qualities and we should all be supportive of breastfeeding, especially for extended periods of time. The following link is a Canadian Poster displaying the ingredients found in both breast milk and in infant formulas. I'm always in awe of how many things are in breast milk vs formula. It goes to show that man has a long way to go before they can make anything even close enough to mimic breast milk. Breast milk will always be best and even though I like the slogan "breast is Best", I believe that breast is normal and that infant formula is inferior.

More to come.... How infant formula in inferior and is in fact harmful to your baby's health. Stay tuned!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Breast milk...not just for feeding your baby.

Did you know that breast milk has several other uses? I never had a clue that these other uses existed nor did I know how powerful the stuff could be. Not only does breast milk have superior powers when feeding your baby but you can also heal some other common ailments. Check em out!

In the UK it's not common practice to apply erythromycin ointment to a newborns eyes as it is here in the US and Paige developed a little bit of a "crusty eye". Little did I know that my breast milk would help to heal her conjunctivitis. I began applying it straight form my breast to her eye and it cleared up in a couple of days!
I also posted a blog not too long ago about breast milk soap. It was definitely a new one for me and I have yet to make any, but I can see the benefits. I'd be willing to bet that it's great on eczema.

On a side note.... what do you use to hydrate your babies skin? Most products out there, Johnson's and Johnson's (cough cough) can be very drying to their skin. Have you ever used baby oil on yourself? If you're like me, at a once younger age, you may have tried using it while sunbathing. What I remember most is how greasy it was and how it sat on my skin instead of soaking in. This is because its made of mineral oils and they aren't designed to seep into the skin. Plus they usually contain perfumes which have alcohol thus drying the skin out even more. One of the best things, and very inexpensive, is edible grade oils. Try sunflower, grape seed or light olive oil. In fact the hospitals in the UK use olive oil regularly in the NICU for all babies! We have used Olive oil since Paige's birth and she has never had dry skin and she never smells of olives :) Below is some steps on how to use olive oil while giving infant massage. Great bonding opportunity for dad by the way!!!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Heard of One World Birth?

A new website just went live on September 1st 2011 that completely encompasses everything I stand for! Check out The website is chock full of great videos and 60 second clips all about birth across the world! Each month they plan to highlight a different topic. This month features issues surrounding The Big Picture of Birth and next month is The Love Month, which I'm especially excited about as it discusses the love hormone, oxytocin.
This is just one of the many clips already on the website. I'm so happy that there is this resource available. I hope to continue to post highlights. Check it out it, share, it and even donate to keep the site and all of their work going!

Friday, September 2, 2011

To Cloth or not to Cloth?... diapers that is

When becoming a new parent there are many choices to be made, diapering is one of them. Cloth diapers aren't what they use to be. Long gone are the days of safety pins and burp cloths! Now they are designer ensambles. There are hybrids in which you can use cloth or a biodegradable/disposable insert. There are some with Velcro or snap closures. They come in different sizes or an All-in-one that adjusts to the size of your baby. Oh, and if you want color the possibilities are endless.

Think about it... your baby is in a diaper, day in and day out, for the most part of two years! What do want lying that close to your babies skin? What is in disposable diapers vs. cloth? Plastics, chemicals, sodium polyacrylate (absorbent gel) and dyes are in disposable diapers and may pose a risk to your infants health.
The following is an excerpt from the linked article.
"Some concerns about disposable diapers have been about dyes, sodium polyacrylate (the super absorbent gel), and dioxin, which is a by-product of bleaching paper.  Sodium polyacrylate has been linked in the past to toxic shock syndrome, allergic reactions and is very harmful and potentially lethal to pets. Some dyes and dioxin according to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) is known to cause damage to the central nervous system, kidneys, and liver. The (FDA) Food & Drug Administration has received reports that fragrances in disposables caused headaches, dizziness and rashes.  Problems reported to the Consumer Protection Agency regarding disposables include, chemical burns, noxious chemical and insecticide odors, babies pulling disposables apart and putting pieces of plastic into their noses and mouth, choking on tab papers and linings, plastic melting onto the skin, and ink staining the skin.  Plastic tabs can also tear skin if the diaper is not properly put on the baby."

Also be diligent about what cloth diapers may be exposing your baby to. Is the cloth made from bamboo or cotton? Is it organic? Do you place a liner in between your baby's skin and the diaper to collect solids?
I have also read that there are new studies linking male infertility to exposure to disposable diapers as they contain heat more efficiently thus raising the temperature of your little man's testicles! I know ... Alarming!

What about the effect disposable diapers and wipes have on the environment. Diapers supposedly take 500+ years to biodegrade in our landfills. Consider an infant using about 6 diapers a day, sometimes more, for two+ years. That's approximately 2,190 diapers a year going out into the environment! Outrageous! Think about the money saved if you don't have to buy all of those diapers :)

Has anyone read the diaper dilemma published by Mothering Magazine? (I have searched for a link but I believe there is a copyright on it. I have a downloaded copy but unable to attach it to the blog. If you are interested in reading it email me and I will send you a copy). Its a lengthy one but a very good resource for those of you who have decided to use cloth diapers. bumGenius One-Size 4.0 Cloth Diapers

We decided to use them, prior to Paige being born, and promote their use for the health costs and for the future of our environment. The costs saved by using cloth diapers for all of our future children also weighed in on our decision :)
We initially used BumGenius, which I still believe is a great product, but we have since switched to gDiapers The article discuss the use of the gDiaper biodegradable inserts and we have since stopped using them. I must admit, I appreciated the convenience of them, but agree that using cloth is much better on the environment and our wallets. I also have several friends using Flips and they come highly recommended. There are many more brands available and here is a great resource full of mom generated forums,

Overall, cloth diapers aren't what they used to be and can be as convenient as disposable. Plus your not contributing to the overwhelming pollution thus creating a better future for your children and their children, To me it's a no brainer and it's well worth the investment knowing your baby is a green baby!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Weaning to solids? How long to exclusively breastfeed? New Evidence found!

As I was scouring the Internet looking for studies supporting exclusive breastfeeding till 6 months of age I came across an article posted in January of this year that goes against all my prior education. A medical University in the United Kingdom found that delaying solids till 6 months may be harmful to infants as the they may become anemic and at increased risk for allergies and celiac disease..
Breast milk has been previously found to provide all the essential nutrients until 6 months when the baby's iron stores begin to deplete, thus requiring the supplementation of iron rich foods. All of my education supports this data and after finding this article I, and many other mothers, are left confused. What is best? The World Health Organisation, UNICEF and American Academy of Pediatrics still stands by the age of 6 months being the ideal age to wean an infant to solids.
"The AAP recommends that babies be exclusively breastfed for about the first 6 months of life. This means your baby needs no additional foods (except Vitamin D) or fluids unless medically indicated. Babies should continue to breastfeed for a year and for as long as is mutually desired by the mother and baby. Breastfeeding should be supported by your physician for as long as it is the right choice for you and your baby."

The following is a link of 6 reasons to delay the introduction of solids. The most substantial one being the maturation of the infants intestine's and how allergens can be introduced into the bloodstream if the gut is still immature, ie. before 6-7 months of age.

In a world of increasing allergies, especially peanut, I'm left pondering the efficacy of this study. The pendulum has certainly began to swing from delaying the introduction of peanuts till 2 years of age to introducing it before the age of one as peanut allergies may be the outcome if delayed for too long. So, maybe the answer is weaning to solids at 4 months? I'm not entirely sold. Until more substantial bodies of evidence arise I will continue to promote exclusive breast feeding till 6 months as the benefits for infants and mothers still prevails.
Breast Feeding

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Eating for two? Some things to think about.

So, you're finally pregnant and you've dreamed of the day that you get to throw all your dieting cares out the window. But did you know that what you eat while you're pregnant will shape your child's eating habits for years to come? The amniotic fluid that surrounds and cushions your baby is quite dynamic. Your baby constantly swallows this fluid and what's really crazy is that the fluid will taste like what you eat! By 21 weeks gestation your baby's taste buds have formed and can begin to taste what you put into your body. Studies about flavored amniotic fluid have been around for years but this one just popped up,
So, while your sitting there scarfing down that third donut or drinking your second can of coke think to yourself... this is what my baby is tasting and my baby may be predisposed to liking all of this sugary food for the rest of his or her life. If I try to eat more fruits and vegetables my child may be a less picky eater, thus building a good foundation of healthy habits and making my life easier down the road :)

Whats also interesting is that what you eat doesn't stop affecting your baby once he or she is born. Your breast milk will also have the flavor of the foods you love to eat. Babies that are fed formula are exposed to only one flavour day in and day out for six months straight. This certainly doesn't help to develop their taste buds and may lead to a picky eater. This is another great reason to breastfeed your baby. Not only will you both reap the benefits but you will also have a less picky eater once you start to wean your baby to solids at 6 months.

Moral of the story... watch what you eat. Being pregnant doesn't give you the excuse to eat whatever you want. Its always wise to maintain a healthy diet for the development of your child and it shows that what you eat affects your child in more ways than one. Here is a good reference for your diet while pregnant

Oh, one more thing... when you do start to wean your baby to solids it generally takes them six to ten times before they begin to develop a liking to the new flavors. So be persistent... it will pay off!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Home Births... on the rise!

Have you ever pondered having a home birth? Have you ever considered a birth outside of the hospital setting? Maybe a birth center? What about who is attending your birth? Certified Nurse Midwife or Obstetrician? There are so many things to consider when bringing a life into this world. I hope to, at the very least, highlight a few thinks to think about.

A recent study published in May 2011 indicates a 20% increase from 2004 to 2008.
A great website to check out for questions about maternity practices is

Now, I know home births aren't for everyone. In fact many people I tell that we're planning a home birth for our next child think we're down right crazy! The rise in home births shows that I'm not alone. The statistics show that we're not completely insane. What drives our decision is the lack of options available to us in the hospital setting. We had our daughter in a birth center in London and were able to have an amazing water birth. Whatever you decide, hospital, birth center, home birth, midwife or OB make sure its what makes you comfortable. There is nothing worse than a laboring mother in unecessary stress impeding the birth process leading to unwanted procedures and complications. The upmost importantce is healthy moms and babies!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Psychological benefits of breastfeeding vs bottle feeding

I had a friend recently ask me if there were any psychological benefits to breastfeeding when compared to pumped breastmilk and then bottle fed. Many times fathers want to be more involved in a childs nutrition in order to create that bond or in some cases the father is the infants sole provider as the mother returns to work. Some families aslo rely on babysitters to bottle feed pumped breastmilk. There are also many times when babies don't latch on to the breast but the mother chooses to pump breastmilk instead of giving formula.
The studies are scarce as many compare breastfeeding with formula feeding in which there is an obvious benefit. There needs to be more studies before we can make a conclusive argument. That aside I would like to highlight the benefit of skin to skin contact between the mother and baby during breastfeeding and how that can later affect the psychological wellfare of the infant. It's also important to note that this same bonding can occur if doing kangaroo care (skin to skin contact without breastfeeding), in which both parents can participate in. The main difference between kangaroo care and breastfeeding at the breast is the frequency as it may be difficult to do kangaroo care of often as if the infant were breastfeeding.

The following in an excerpt from article posted in May 2011,

'The other possible answer, they write, is that "breastfeeding leads to more interaction between the mother and the child, better learning of acceptable behaviours and fewer behavioural problems".
Peter Kinderman, professor of clinical psychology at Liverpool University, called it "a very good piece of research published in an important journal". He said he suspected the mother-child bonding that takes place during breastfeeding might be the most important factor.
"Positive bonding between parent and child is known to be fantastically helpful for development," he said, noting that the authors specifically took into account factors such as childcare arrangements because they are so well-established as important influences in development.
"This is more evidence of the importance of breastfeeding and mother-baby attachment, not just for physical health but also for the psychological development of the child," he said.'

The American Acadamy of Pediatrics briefly highlights the importance of the emotional bond that takes place during breastfeeding.

The following article comments on both the physiological and psychological benefits of breastfeeding. I have highlighted the psychological benefits below.

  • Significant evidence suggests that breast-fed children develop fewer psychological, behavioral and learning problems as they grow older. Studies also indicate that cognitive development is increased among children whose mothers choose to breastfeed.

  • In researching the psychological benefits of breast milk, one researcher found that breast-fed children were, on average, more mature, assertive and secure with themselves as they developed.

  • Here are a couple of great websites for those moms that are pumping then bottle feeding. You will find great tips on which pumps to purchase, how often/long to pump,  how to maintain supply and how to store breastmilk.

    One thing I know for sure is that babies crave close contact. Whether you choose to breast or bottle feed always take the time to cuddle, stroke and talk to your baby during each feed. Your baby will learn from your expressions and feed off of your interactions. Its precious time that we will never get back and I'm the first to admit that I need to "live in the present"!

    Tuesday, August 16, 2011

    Milk Sharing... a whole new community!

    I'm sure most of you have heard of banked milk, right? Unfortunately, banked milk must be prescribed by your physician in which most will only prescribe if medically necessary. Medically necessary? Aren't all babies worthy of human milk? The low quantity of breastmilk pasteurized by milk banks is reserved for those babies who need it most, which I completely understand. The babies in the NICU, for example, are at high risk for Necrotizing Enterocolitis (a deadly gut disease occurring in mostly preemies in which a portion of the bowel dies). Babies in the NICU are also at a much higher risk for infection and can use all the immunity they can get. So what do the moms of babies who want to breastfeed but can't, for one reason or another, do?
    There lies a great resource... milk sharing! Since the beginning of time women have been sharing with babies other than their own and many cultures still embrace wet nurses (when a woman breastfeeds another child in the community). In October 2010 Emma Kwasnica began a selfless journey of creating a network for mothers all over the world to donate/share breastmilk. Today Human Milk for Human Babies is successfully driven in 52 countries worldwide! There are several other milk sharing communities as well.
    The Food and Drug administration issued a warning against the sharing of breastmilk in December of 2010, Still, donating and receiving human milk seems to make people uneasy. Someone pointed out on facebook, "you wouldn’t hesitate to get an organ transplant if you needed one (or if your baby did). Donating blood seems totally normal. So why the squeamishness about breast milk?" Despite FDA warnings mothers are marching forward. They are weighing out the possible risks, screening donating moms and continue to search out those with a surplus so that they can avoid giving formula to their children.
    I follow a great blog called You can find it in the right hand column of my homepage. Personally, I fully support milk sharing. In fact, I hope to be able to provide pumped milk to an adopted baby in my community. Being able to contribute brings me great joy!

    Thursday, August 11, 2011

    Did you know????

    Did you know...The average worldwide age for weaning a child from the breast is 4.6 years? Certainly not what were used to here in the US or other westernized countries. Here, so many people have an opinion about extended breastfeeding. In fact we even see movies poking fun. Believe it or not, breastfeeding beyond infancy has many benefits and it seems as though were trending in the right direction.
    The World Health Organization recommends exclusive breastfeeding till the age of 6 months and continued breastfeeding through the age of 2 with extended breasfeeding till mom or child see fit.
    I have personally chosen to breastfeed Paige till she is at least 2 and then see how we both feel after that. I'm not opposed to continue beyond the age of 2 as I see the benefits of immunity, intellectual development, and less anxiety/stress to be highly important and outweigh the negative social interaction that may be perceived. I think that if we were to go into the many homes of mothers breastfeeding we would find that many dyads choose to breastfeed much longer in the privacy of their own homes. It's unfortunate that we have to hide and be ashamed of nurturing our offspring in public. It is by far the most natural thing that we could ever do!

    Watch this beautiful video below about a recent Australian article regarding breastfeeding in public. Nearly brings tears to my eyes.

    Any great places you have breastfed? We would all love to hear about it.

    I'll start... I recently breastfed Paige during a tiger show at Magic Mountain Discovery Kingdom!

    Wednesday, August 10, 2011

    Breastmilk Soap... who would of thought?

    Wow... this one was such an eye opener for me, but makes complete sense. We're told to put breastmilk on cracked nipples, in an infected eye and on a diaper rash for its healing and antibacterial properties. Breastmilk contains loads of good healthy fats that can soothe skin, especially super sensitive skin. Were all searching for the most natural, chemilcal free skincare to use for our little ones, so why not? Its also good for our adult skin too.
    Obviously you cant buy breastmilk soap YET, but if you're daring enough and you have enough surplus you can try to make it yourself. If you have expired milk or milk that you were planning to dump due to alcohol or medication consumption than this is a great opportunity to put it to good use. Just make sure that you don't use breastmilk pumped during a bout of thrush/yeast as this may cause a reaction.
    There are many first hand reports of how using breastmilk soap healed their childrens exzema, psorisis or even the everyday sunburn. So if any of you have ever used breastmilk soap or attempt to make it I would love to hear about it!
    Breastmilk holds so many great secrets...