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...

    Monday, August 8, 2011

    Marketing Food to Kids

    Regulating marketing campaigns to kids is a good thing. With childhood obesity and diabetes continuing to rise at alarming rates we need to get on top of this fast. By reducing the amount of subliminal messages kids see and hear we may be able to limit what kids are eating and should have a trickle down effect for the companies of these foods. Think, if top cereal brands of sugary cereals can no longer market to children they will have to come up with a healthier alternative. By having the government regulate the advertisement of these foods then at the very least it will bring awareness!
    Many countries already have implemented such restrictions. The UK prohibits the marketing of all fast food and infant formula (except follow-on formula). Australia also has advertisement restrictions and completely bans the advertisement of all infant formula products.
    I can see how some people will say, "we already have to much political involvement!" My response would be,"well who else is going to protect our children? Parents certainly aren't doing their job" Or maybe, there is such a widespread lack of nutritional education for parents. Or maybe its the the fact that unhealthy food is much cheaper than healthy alternatives Plus there are coupons upon coupons readily available. Have you seen the show Extreme Couponing? These families are buying stockpiles of processed foods because they are able to buy them at a rediculous discount. I could go on and on but the bottom line is that our next generations are getting more and more unhealthy. There must be change!!!

    Sunday, August 7, 2011

    Results of the BIG latch.

    Here we are! Paige and I officially latched on at 10:30 in Oakland, CA. We were happy to see those who showed up but hope to have more participants next year. If I had only known more about the event more than 12 hours prior! Glad that we were able to join in!

    On Saturday 6th August at 10:30am in multiple locations and time zones across the globe, 4123* women and their children came together and breastfed simultaneously across 294* locations as part of the Big Latch On. (*provisional total)

    Breast or bottle?

    Where to begin?...
    Aside from what the bottles may contain, breastmilk or formula, there are many psychological aspects involved. Have you ever considered how close contact with your baby may have many positive effects on you and your baby?
    Take post partum depression, for example. Researchers have found that PPD is more prevelant in mothers who are unable to breastfeed or prematurely wean from breastfeeding. Infants of mothers experiencing PPD who are formula fed may also experience negative psychological effects. There is something to be said about being close to your infant, gazing in their eyes while providing optimal nutrition. Also, the hormones released, mainly oxytocin (AKA the love hormone), flood mothers with positive feelings which babies feed off of.,

    Saturday, August 6, 2011

    The BIG Latch On!!!

    So, today is the day that Paige and I will be able to be a part of a world record. Across the US mothers and babies will come together in open spaces to breastfeed at 10:30 am. Paige and I will be joining  some friends of ours in Oakland, CA to participate in the Big Latch On. Check out the website! I will be posting pictures soon after the event.
    What a great idea... can't wait (even though I will be attending the event post night shift and it will take place during Paige's morning nap time.... we will all adjust!)

    Friday, August 5, 2011

    hjjjjjjj b ,.lllll7.,llllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll77709k7070.,l70m7hym7l,7m7h7o..=.\e4df .iyt66i ffff fjc0p[=p=

    \\ \l "v[[\\\\vvvg6666666"60=

    This is a Paige blog. Her fascination with the computer is undeniable and I felt it only suitable to post as she is the reason why I'm blogging in the first place. Let's just hope that she didn't push any crazy buttons to ruin my laptop!
    Getting dirty in her birthday outfit!
    Loves Watermelon!

    Thursday, August 4, 2011

    Breastfeeding and reduced risk of SIDS (cot death)

    I came across this study also highlighted by UNICEF displaying how breastfeeding is linked to incidence of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. While SIDS continues to baffle us all, studies have found that there is less risk when breastfed especially when the infant is exclusively breastfed.
    I have also included a list of other SIDS prevention tips.

    Wednesday, August 3, 2011

    The Heart of Motherhood: One of the many benefits of breastfeeding

    The Heart of Motherhood: One of the many benefits of breastfeeding: "I receive research updates from UNICEF baby friendly initiative (an initiative designed to reform hospital practices regarding breastfeeding..."
    Breastfeeding reduces risk of developing asthma-related symptomsThis study, of a cohort of 5,358 children, examined the associations of breastfeeding duration and exclusiveness with the risks of asthma-related symptoms in preschool children, and to explore whether these associations are explained by atopic or infectious mechanisms.
    Compared to children who were breastfed for 6 months, those who were never breastfed had overall increased risks of wheezing, shortness of breath, dry cough and persistent phlegm during the first four years (Odds ratios 1.44 (95% Confidence Interval: 1.24, 1.66), 1.26 (1.07, 1.48), 1.25 (1.08, 1.44) and 1.57 (1.29, 1.91), respectively). Similar associations were observed for exclusive breastfeeding.
    Shorter duration and non-exclusivity of breastfeeding were associated with increased risks of asthma-related symptoms in preschool children.
    Duration and exclusiveness of breastfeeding and childhood asthma-related symptoms. AMM Sonnenschein-van der Voort, V.V.W. Jaddoe, RJP van der Valk, SP Willemsen, A Hofman, HA Moll, JC de Jongste, and L Duijts. Eur. Respir. J. published 20 July 2011, 10.1183/09031936.00178110

    There is still so much to be learned about the physiological and psychological effects of breastfeeding. In fact there is much about breastmilk that we simply know nothing about; micronutrients, stem cells and so much more. There needs to be more research done on breastfeeding.
    Its not that breast is best its that formula is inferior and carries many risks to our children.

    Tuesday, August 2, 2011

    Hand or machine?

    A recent article was posted in the NY times regarding the effectiveness of hand pumping or using an electric pump when expressing breastmilk. The study found that women who hand expressed were much more likely to still be breastfeeding at two months postpartum. There isn't a clear reason for this but some say that it could be due to the fact that the moms using the pump may have been dissappointed with the initial results of 1 ml of colostrum as they were given such a large resevoir to fill. Another reason might be that mothers hand expressing may be more comfortable with expressing than their counterparts. I would like to add that learning to effectively hand express gives moms the knowledge and power. This may be linked to comfortabliity or merely the the tools to complete the job on her own when in a pinch.
    I have now worked as a nurse in the NICU for 7 years and have only since gained the experience of teaching how to hand express to new moms. While working in the UK it was standard to teach moms to hand express for the first 72 hours. I hope that this will soon catch on here in the US.
    Personally, I find hand expression great for those moments when I'm out and not able to use my pump. I remember finding it very much a relief when I was engorged to relieve the pressure. There were even a couple of times when my daughter didn't want to feed from both breasts and I hand expressed one side to "even myself out" :) Here is a great instructional clip of how to effectively hand express.
    I leave you with this... My husband always says... "Express yourself" when I'm pumping and I can't help but think of the quarky song!
    Happy breastfeeding week!!!