Thursday, October 30, 2008

Join the next Carnival of Breastfeeding: Product Reviews

The next carnival of breastfeeding will feature reviews of nursing products.
Is there a pillow you couldn't live without? Is there a book that taught you all you needed to know about nursing or a pump that's kept your baby in breast milk while you're at work? Here's your chance to write about it!
As usual, we'll be looking for posts that are:
- Well written and grammatically correct
-Thoughtful and directly related to the carnival subject
- Submitted from blogs related to breastfeeding or parenting
Email Tanya at the Motherwear blog your submission by November 10th, 2008. The carnival will be on 17th, 2008. Please note that, if your post is selected for inclusion by our regular group of bloggers, you will be asked to link to each of the other participants in the carnival. We reserve the right to choose posts for inclusion. Examples of past carnival posts can be found here.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Cool breastfeeding give aways

Blossumz Soothing Breast Therapy Packs. Retail value: $35. Enter by 10/28.

Earth Mama Angel Baby Organic Breastfeeding Support Kit. Retail value: $45. Enter here by 10/29.

Good luck!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Harlem Hospital is now "Baby Friendly"!!

Harlem Hospital in NYC has been certified Baby Friendly by Unicef/WHO. The Baby Friendly initiative is a global program that encourages and recognizes hospitals and birthing centers that offer an optimal level of care for lactation.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The case for co-sleeping

The first few weeks at home with a new baby are an intense time. Moms are recovering from the birth of the new baby, but still have to love, nurture and care for that new bundle of joy who constantly needs something. When you're breastfeeding, you really need to nurse on demand, which can mean breastfeeding every hour on the hour, 24 hours a day. Most new parents are sleep-deprived and the advice you constantly get from friends and family is to sleep when the baby sleeps. La Leche League International even insists that rest is required in order to build and maintain a good milk supply for your baby.

So what if your baby is not a good sleeper? For some reason we equate a baby who makes the lives of his parents more convenient by going to sleep easily and staying asleep for long periods of time with being "good." A baby is also "good" if she is happy to sleep alone in a crib.

My son figured out quickly that he wanted to be next to mommy all the time and even a bassinet pushed up to the bed wasn't close enough. By the time he was a few weeks old he was sleeping in bed with mom and dad, where he stayed until he turned 10 months old. He is now sleeping through the night in a crib (in our bedroom), but we'll still sometimes lie down as a family in the bed for naps on the weekends.

Co-sleeping is not for everyone, but it can be a life-saver for moms with high-need babies and those who work out of the home. When I returned to work when my son was 6 months old, his night wakings increased because he missed all those nursing sessions that were replaced with bottles during the day. If I had not co-slept, I would have never been able to function at work. I was able to latch my son on and go back to sleep while he happily nursed himself to back to sleep.

Of course there is a lot of fear-mongering when it comes to co-sleeping. You'll hear everything from "the baby will never leave your bed!" to "you'll crush that baby in your sleep!" There are rules to co-sleeping safely which are outlined nicely on Dr. Sears' website.

If you're finding that your sleep is being compromised, consider co-sleeping. According to Unicef's Baby Friendly Initiative, "bed-sharing encourages intimate contact between mother and baby, which facilitates a close and loving bond. Successful breastfeeding and better sleep are more common among mothers and babies who share the same bed. Evidence suggests that bed-sharing is common among parents with new babies both in hospital and at home."

I think when they're being honest, most parents will admit to co-sleeping, at least part-time. So tell me, readers, do you co-sleep too?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Will Angelina Jolie breastfeeding one of her twins on the cover of the latest W magazine inspire more women to breastfeed? Shannon Fox of MomLogic thinks it will. "If someone as popular, beautiful and together as Angelina is breastfeeding her children, it inspires other women to do so themselves," she says.

I'm not a Brangeloonie (TM Michael K), but if the fact that Jolie is breastfeeding will inspire more women to try or stick with it, then I'm all for it. I think it's strange that she and Brad Pitt would allow a magazine to publish their "private" family photos, but hey, I'm not a celebrity and I don't understand the majority of things they do.

So what do you think? Will this actually make a difference in the breastfeeding rate or will the Jolie breastfeeding buzz die down quickly to make room for publicity with her next stunt?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

NYC Hospitals ban formula swag bags

breast bottle feeding

NYC hospitals have now officially stopped giving out those free bags filled with formula samples to new moms. The city has a $2 million plan that changes the way new moms will be treated in hospitals. Instead of diaper bags stuffed with formula and coupons, the city's hospitals will be giving out a cooler pack for bottled of breast milk, disposable nursing pads and a T-shirt that says "I eat at mom's." How cool is that? I hope more and more hospitals do away with the bags because it does imply to many women that the doctors and nurses are endorsing a specific brand or feel that formula feeding is just as good as breastfeeding.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Breastfeeding and breast cancer

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. All of us know a woman who has battled or lost her life to breast cancer. Please take the time to do a self exam every month, even if you're breastfeeding. Although the chances are slim, you can still get breast cancer while nursing.
Unfortunately, if you find a lump you'll probably be told you need to wean your baby and stop all breastfeeding for 6 months before you can have a biopsy done. It's probably news to most of us (it was to me) that when you make milk, cells from your milk ducts exfoliate off in the process. These are called epithelial cells, and they're detectable in your milk.

Research has shown that long before you notice a lump, those epithelial cells start changing in ways that are precursors to the development of breast cancer.

Dr. Kathleen Arcaro, a UMass professor who studies breastfeeding and breast cancer risk wants to analyze those cells. Check out her answers to questions about breastfeeding and breast cancer.

The primary goal of her research is to determine if it's possible to create a non-invasive, early way of assessing breast cancer risk through breastmilk. If it's successful, it would also establish 'molecular biomarkers' for breast cancer risk.

An additional benefit to breastfeeding mothers is that we would not be told to wean before a mammogram or biopsy can be done. No more choosing between breastfeeding and a breast cancer test. It could be as simple and sending in a milk sample to a lab!

In order to conduct this research, Dr. Kathleen Arcaro needs to find 250 women who are both lactating and scheduled for a biopsy. To participate, you'd overnight milk samples to her lab, at no cost to you. If you or someone you know is in this situation, please contact Dr. Arcaro.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Should you formula feed?

Will formula feeding harm your baby? That is the question posed on a new site, Opposing Views, where experts in a field are allowed to debate a topic. What's really interesting and different about the site is the experts are allowed to counter each other's arguments. Users of the site are allowed to post their own comments, as well.

La Leche League International posits that yes, formula feeding can harm your baby. The reasons they list are that formula circumvents nature's plan, formula is an ongoing experiment and that while "harm" is subjective, formula feeding does pose real risks to both infants and the world at large.

I think the recent formula scare in China highlights this nicely. I had been thinking for weeks on how to cover this story and as it got bigger and wider-reaching, I was reminded about how even though formula is marketed and promoted as being a safe, second-best alternative to breast milk, in places outside of the US, it can actually kill your baby. Even the US has seen its share of formula recalls. The tainted milk crisis has now been determined to affect not only breast milk substitutes, but cow's milk as well.

Why is this happening? According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, women in China not only "don't like to breastfeed" they are also under the mistaken impression that formula is actually more nutritious than breast milk. The ads even say so!

But also, much like what has happened in the US, the structure of Chinese families has changed. Women are now expected (and probably need) to work, including after they become mothers. More working moms + babies in the arms of other caregivers= need for a breast milk substitute. I am fully convinced that if I had not had to return to work, my son would have gone on to have only breast milk until his first birthday.

Probably the grossest part is that it appears the Chinese government knew that dangerous chemicals were being added both to formula and cow's milk and looked the other way. In a country where the size of your family is regulated by law and people are only allowed to have one child, you'd think the government would be more concerned with the health and well-being of babies. Thankfully, lots of breastfeeding moms are now offering up their services as wet nurses and baby-sitters, but in general these women are poor and can't bring their own kids along when they're baby-sitting. So these poor babies get rice water while the babies of wealthier couples are now getting that precious breast milk. The whole thing is so infuriating, it's hard to even write about, let alone look at the pictures of these sick formula-fed babies, which are just heartbreaking.

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