Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Melamine found in US infant formula

Sad and scary news. The FDA is reporting that they have found traces of the industrial chemical melamine in infant formula in the US. You of course remember that melamine is the chemical that caused all of those babies in China to become ill (some were even killed by the exposure). The difference here is that the chemical was not added on purpose. Still, all of the major formula brands tested(Nestle, Enfamil and Similac) had trace levels.

If you're formula feeding or supplementing with formula, try not to worry too much. According to the FDA, the levels are extremely low and shouldn't cause concern from a health standpoint. Still, if you're concerned, talk to your pediatrician.

Andi at Mama Knows Breast has some more information on this story, too.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Powder formula is deadly in the NICU

If you're a mom whose baby spent any time in the NICU after birth, you were probably required to pump so that your baby could have breast milk. Unfortunately, breast milk does not provide the calories and fat that severely preterm babies require. Their nutritional needs are just too great. Babies who spend more than a couple weeks in the NICU will require a human milk fortifier be added to the expressed breast milk. The major formula makers each have their own brand and it comes in a powder packet. It adds calories, protein, calcium and other nutrients that a preemie requires.

There is a real danger in using powder infant formula in the NICU. Powder formula is not sterile, so improper storage or handling can allow a deadly bacteria to breed in the powder. A baby recently died of bacterial meningitis after consuming powder human milk fortifier in the NICU. There appear to have been other cases that resulted in the death of a baby at this same Illinois hospital, as well as 17 other cases across the country.

The mom in the story said she had not been warned of the dangers of powder infant formula for a preemie, although the warning is clear on both Enfamil's and Similac's websites.

I know most people don't expect or think about having a baby in the NICU, but it probably doesn't hurt to do some research, just in case. There are other options besides using formula, including human milk fortifier made from breast milk. The product, Prolacta, is the only HMF made from 100% breast milk. They are always accepting women who want to donate their breast milk to help save the lives of preemies.

This is also another reason why we need a real system of milk banks across the US. If safe human milk was available at a reasonable price, there would be a much smaller market for the formula makers to exploit. The current cost of purchasing breast milk is about $3 per ounce (liquid gold, indeed). If you're able and interested, think about donating your breast milk. You can find out if there is a milk bank in your area here.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Breastfeeding twins is tough

Although many people think of Angelina Jolie as a "super mom," the actress confesses that breastfeeding her twins was very difficult and that she quit after three months.

"It's very hard," the actress confessed on Britain's morning show GMTV. "I stopped at three months, [it was] about as much as I could do."

"There's this football hold – it's a lot harder than it looks in the books,” she says in the prerecorded interview at her London hotel on Monday. "I did that a few times. I would take turns. It just takes a long time."

I can only imagine how tough it is to breastfeed twins. My own son wanted to nurse every 45 minutes those first few weeks and it seemed like all I did the first 4 months was breastfeed. With her hectic schedule and large family, I'm impressed Angelina lasted as long as she did. I give her kudos for the dedication to nursing twins. Jennifer Lopez didn't even try.

For more information on nursing twins, see this site.

Here are some pictures of the various positions used to nurse twins.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Carnival of Breastfeeding- Supply Booster Reviews

Hello and welcome, Carnival of Breastfeeding readers! This month's carnival is dedicated to reviews of breastfeeding accessories. I'll be reviewing a few products that I have used during my nursing relationship with my son as supply boosters.

First up, Motherlove's More Milk Plus.
More Milk Plus - Safe, effective galactagogue herbal lactation formula to increase breast milk for breastfeeding mothers
Galactagogues, or substances known to increase milk supply in lactating women, are frequently used by moms who either have a low supply or dips in supply at certain times in their cycle. Some of the most frequently used galactagogues are herbs, including fenugreek, blessed thistle and nettle leaf. Motherlove is an herbal company that sells products specifically for pregnant and nursing women. They have created a wonderful product called More Milk Plus that contains all of the aforementioned ingredients, plus fennel seed. It comes in a tincture and you take 3 dropper fulls per day on an empty stomach.
Now, this stuff is absolutely vile-tasting! It's probably the worst thing I've ever had to choke down, but it works like a charm! My son went on a nursing strike when he was about 8 months old and my breasts quickly went from full and heavy to feeling saggy and empty. I was devestated because pumping was not bringing my supply back. Within 48 hours of taking the More Milk Plus reguarly, my supply was right back where it was supposed to be. This tincture really is a miracle. It has also been proven to work wonders in women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), a common disorder among black women which can prevent your milk from coming in effectively. It also comes in a capsule form for those of you who can't stand the taste of the tincture, but I can't vouche for its efficacy.

Another product I love for boosting supply is something you probably already have in your cabinet at home: oatmeal! It has been touted as a supply booster and it really does work. If you can't stand oatmeal, then make home made oatmeal cookies and add in some brewer's yeast for an extra bump to your supply.

I've also used Mother's Milk teas, but they really don't do much for your supply and aren't very tasty. You're much better off sticking to More Milk Plus or taking a large dose of fenugreek. Lactation consultants recommend taking 3 capsules, 3 times per day. When you and your baby start smelling like maple syrup, you've got the dosage right!

Lastly, if you're stressed out about your supply and having trouble letting down for the pump, Bach's Rescue Remedy works wonders to help relax you and can help in eliciting the letdown reflex.

I used to take this before pumping at work and it really made me feel very mellow. You have to be cautious and not use it too often because it can cause sleepiness in your baby, but it's an excellent way to increase your pumping output. Rescue Remedy is 100% natural and includes flower essences. You can take it by putting a few drops into a large glass of water and sipping on it before pumping, or put a drop or two under your tongue for an almost instantaneous calming effect.
It won't increase your actual supply, but it can help you get more out of your pumping sessions and every little ounce counts!

To see what everyone else is writing about in this month's carnival, click the following links.

Breastfeeding Mums: The Food of Love review
Jenny at Babyfingers: Bravado Essential nursing bra tank
Halfpint Pixie: Gorgeous nursing bras
Motherwear: Breastfeeding and pumping CDs
Mama Knows Breast: Utterly Yours breastfeeding pillow
Mama's Magic: Breastfeeding Basics (and Bling!)
Breastfeeding 1-2-3: Medela Sleep Nursing Bra
LaylaBeth Munk: Nursing product junkie!
Hobo Mama: Nursing pads

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Mayim Bialik caught in the act

A photographer caught Blossom star Mayim Bialik nursing her two-month-old son at a farmer's market in LA on Sunday.

Yay for nursing in a sling and yay for nursing proudly in public! For more information on babywearing, see Mama Seoul's recent post.

Babywearing is a wonderful way to bond with your baby while being able to breastfeed easily and discreetly while on-the-go. In honor of International Babywearing Week November 12-18th, why not purchase a sling? If you're already babywearing, consider getting one as a gift for a pregnant woman you know. They make a great gift for moms-to-be!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Salma Hayek- still breastfeeding!

I just read a great interview with Salma Hayek in the UK's Sunday Times online. In it she discusses her work with Pampers and Unicef and her breastfeeding relationship with her 14-month-old daughter, Valentina. Some great quotes:

"You don’t know what pain I’m in after two hours, how difficult it was at first. And by the way, the myth that says you lose all this weight when you breast-feed? That is sooo not true."

“I’m like an alcoholic,” she shrugs. “It’s like, I don’t care if I cry, I don’t care if I’m fat, I’m just gonna do it for one more week, one more month, and then, when I see how much good it is doing her, I can’t stop."

Loves it.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Weekly Roundup

A lot of new research about breastfeeding and breast milk has been in the news lately. Enjoy!

New evidence on how exactly mom's immunities are passed on to baby during breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding is associated with decreased childhood behavioral problems. Hhmmm..breastfed kids are better behaved?

Californians have higher levels of toxic chemicals in their bodies, including their breast milk, than anyone else.

Here's a shock: poor women receive less support for breastfeeding.

And their breastfeeding rates reflect that.

A new product called Milkies slips into your nursing bra to collect all the milk that naturally leaks out during letdown. So smart!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Do your boobs hang low?

Contrary to popular belief, breastfeeding does NOT cause saggy breasts. I have heard countless women say this is why they chose not to breastfeed and it's simply not true. Genetics and pregnancy are what cause breasts to sag, so if you made it through your pregnancy with your boobs intact, you can breastfeed without fear.

A recent study in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal confirmed what lactation consultants have been saying for years. The most significant risk factors for sagging breasts appear to be age, number of pregnancies, weight and a history of smoking. Another reason to quit smoking now if you haven't already.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Coupon code for

If you're in the market for a breast pump, you can take 10% off your purchase at with code babycheapskate. Free shipping on all orders over $70. No expiration!

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