In this podcast interview, Kathi Barber, author of The Black Woman’s Guide to Breastfeeding and Lactation Management: Strategies for Working with African American Moms, discusses the history of breastfeeding in the black community, from a strong African breastfeeding tradition, through slavery and wet nursing, to the present day. She also provides guidance for breastfeeding support people working with African American mothers.
These are common concerns during breastfeeding, and they’re perennial hot topics at breastfeeding and new mom support groups. Of course, there are many books that cover these issues, too.
But what if you want quick, reliable information from a trusted source in your purse and on your nightstand any time of day or night?
Nancy Mohrbacher, author of many of the best books on breastfeeding money can buy, like Breastfeeding Made Simple, Breastfeeding Answers Made Simple, and Breastfeeding Solutions, has produced a new app for iPhone and Android devices that covers all the basics. We spoke with Nancy last year in a podcast interview about night nursing.
Based on her book Breastfeeding Solutions, this app providing straightforward solutions to the 30 most common breastfeeding problems, from birth to weaning. There is a “Solutions” section to help you pinpoint a problem’s cause, and for for answers to common concerns there is a comprehensive “Articles” section. It’s ad free and not sponsored by a formula or other company. Its creator is a board certified lactation consultant and is one of the most knowledgeable individuals on breastfeeding on the planet.
The Breastfeeding Solutions app sells for $6.99 and we think it’s one of the best investments you could make to ensure that you meet your breastfeeding goals. You can find it at the iTunes and Amazon (for Android) and Google Play stores.
Here are ten important ways partners can help make breastfeeding a good experience for the whole family:
Learn about breastfeeding. During pregnancy, attending a breastfeeding class with the mom-to-be helps partners understand what’s involved and how to prepare. Or if a class isn’t available, partners can read a breastfeeding book to get the basics down.
Help to develop a breastfeeding-friendly birth and newborn care plan. There are many decisions to be made regarding both labor and birth and also the newborn care period, and these decisions can have a big impact on breastfeeding. Partners can read up on breastfeeding-friendly birth and newborn care plans, and work with the mom to develop one that sets her up for success.
Help prepare for a lower intervention labor and birth. Research has shown that lower intervention birth makes breastfeeding easier. So a partner can learn ways of helping a mom cope with the discomfort of labor, including learning non-drug means of pain relief such as partner massage, hiring a doula, and choosing a practice and hospital with a record of lower intervention births.
Help her find breastfeeding help. Many nursing moms need help getting breastfeeding going well in the early days and weeks, but it’s hard to seek out help while caring for a new baby and recovering from birth. Partners can take off some of the burden of finding help by identifying sources of support such as lactation consultants, WIC, La Leche League, and Breastfeeding USA, making appointments if necessary, and getting everyone out of the house.
Take over other responsibilities. Breastfeeding and recovering from birth are big jobs, leaving little energy or time for much else. So partners can take over other responsibilities – diapering, cooking, shopping, caring for older children, even returning well wishers’ phone calls.
Help her get comfortable while feeding. Since moms clock many hours sitting or lying down to breastfeed, partners can make them comfortable by arranging pillows, stocking snacks and drinks – even finding the remote control!
Cheer her on. For nursing moms, there’s nothing like hearing “great job!” and encouragement like this is priceless. Pointing out how a baby is growing on her milk helps a mom step back from the daily routine and appreciate the big picture.
Listen. There are a lot of emotions swirling around birth and breastfeeding, and simply stopping to listen to a mom talk about her feelings can be very powerful. If her emotional state has you concerned, help her find help from a health care provider or other postpartum resource.
If planning to introduce bottle, take over those feedings. If your family is planning to have your baby fed by bottle – as part of a return to work, for example – a partner is probably best positioned to introduce a bottle and regularly do bottle feedings.
If feeling left out, do skin-to-skin and wear your baby. Finally, if a partner is feeling left out of the feeding equation and is craving the closeness that breastfeeding provides, regular skin-t0-skin can do wonders! Babywearing can also be a great source of connection.
And one extra: Document! Nursing moms often treasure pictures of the experience, but it’s hard to be both nursing and behind the camera. So take pictures and video to help preserve the memories.
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons
What is birth like for them? How long do they have with their babies before they’re separated? Why do some birth in shackles? And is it possible for incarcerated mothers to breastfeed?
To answer these questions we spoke with Marianne Bullock, co-founder of The Prison Birth Project, a non profit organization providing support, education, advocacy, and activism training to women at the intersection of the criminal justice system and motherhood.
And then there’s the second night.
On the second night, babies often nurse on and off for hours. Many new parents are caught off guard by this pattern, and some assume that their babies are starving. But it’s likely just an awakening, after a nice day’s rest, to the fact that their world is now very different!
If you’re home on your baby’s second night, it may also be the first time that your baby and you have some peace and quiet, as research has shown that mothers and babies are interrupted by hospital staff, visitors, and phone calls an average of 54 times on the first day, and the average time mothers and babies have alone is 1 minute.
Research has shown that feedings on this second night tend to cluster in the 9 pm to 3 am time frame. This can be unnerving. What do you do? Lactation consultant Jan Barger has some good advice in her piece, “Baby’s Second Night:”
So, what do you do? When he drifts off to sleep at the breast after a good feed, break the suction and slide your nipple gently out of his mouth. Don’t move him except to pillow his head more comfortably on your breast. Don’t try and burp him – just snuggle with him until he falls into a deep sleep where he won’t be disturbed by being moved. Babies go into a light sleep state (REM) first, and then cycle in and out of REM and deep sleep about every ½ hour or so. If he starts to root and act as though he wants to go back to breast, that’s fine…this is his way of settling and comforting.
Another helpful hint…babies need to touch – to feel – and even his touch on your breast will increase your oxytocin levels which will help boost your milk supply! So take the mittens off and loosen his blanket so he can get to his hands. He might scratch himself, but it will heal very rapidly – after all, he had fingernails when he was inside you, and no one put mittens on him then!
So don’t panic, just settle in for that special, second night!
Motherlove was founded on the idea that the gifts of the natural world can nurture the most the most basic elements of life – pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding. So we are always looking for ways to give back in support of breastfeeding and the appreciation of nature.
In 2005 we established the Nurturing Life Foundation, part of the original vision of our founder Kathryn Higgins. Today, a portion of every sale of Motherlove products is directed to the Foundation, which in turn grants funds to organizations that nurture life through support of breastfeeding and nature programs for children. It’s our way of giving back so that more children can grow, blossom, and have the opportunity to experience the beauty and wonder of the natural world.
We invite you to check out some of the breastfeeding organizations below that have benefited from our Foundation, and consider supporting them, too! You can also see this page for a larger list of the organizations we have supported.
Maternal Wellness Center, Philadelphia: The Maternal Wellness Center’s Healthy Mom’s Initiative provides holistic birth education programs to low-income women, including breastfeeding education.
Nurse-Family Partnership, Larimer County, Colorado. The Nurse-Family Partnership is a voluntary prevention program which provides nurse home visitation services to low income, first-time mothers throughout pregnancy and until their babies are two years old. We provided funds for the purchase of several multi-user breastpumps for loan to mothers.
BELLAS (Breastfeeding Encouragement, Learning, Liaison, and Support), Charlotte, North Carolina. BELLAS provides breastfeeding support for low income, minority and teenage mothers who often lack the resources to obtain lactation assistance. Our donation enabled BELLAS to train six peer counselors.
Breastfeeding Resource Center, Philadelphia. The Breastfeeding Resource Center is a community based nonprofit organization committed to providing expert clinical and educational breastfeeding services for uninsured, under-insured or low-income families.
Clara Maass Medical Center Foundation, New Jersey. The Clara Maass Medical Center Foundation supports the Clara Maass Medical Center, a community hospital which provides health care regardless of an individual’s ability to pay. Low income women who give birth there are in particular need of breastfeeding support. Our donation supported a part-time lactation specialist.
Which breastfeeding organizations do you support? Feel free to share!
We’re very happy to share a podcast interview on trauma from childbirth, with Dr. Kathleen Kendall-Tackett, health psychologist and trauma expert.
Dr. Kendall-Tackett is health psychologist, and Clinical Associate Professor of Pediatrics. She is president-elect of the Trauma Division of the American Psychological Association, and the incoming editor-in-chief of the Journal of Psychological Trauma. She has authored more than 300 articles and 24 books on maternal depression, trauma, family violence and breastfeeding, including Depression in New Mothers and Breastfeeding Made Simple.
Dr. Kendall-Tackett discussed what trauma looks like, what experiences tend to cause trauma, partners and trauma, strategies for healing from trauma, ideas for preparing for a subsequent birth, and post-traumatic growth. She also discusses the relationship between trauma and breastfeeding, and answers your questions submitted on Facebook.
We’ve got a salve for that!
Motherlove’s line of protective and soothing herbal salves provides natural and effective relief to get you through many skin problems:
Motherlove’s Pregnant Belly Salve is an all natural way to prevent and soothe stretch marks. Certified organic herbs added to a scar-healing base of shea butter do wonders to prevent, soothe, and minimize stretch marks. You can use our Pregnant Belly Salve on dry heels, elbows, your c-section scar, even chapped lips. The stars of this salve are marshmallow, which softens skin and soothes skin irritations; rosehips, which helps prevent scarring and hydrates the skin; calendula, an an all purpose skin healing herb; and chamomile, an anti-inflammatory herb which softens skin.
Motherlove’s Green Salve is all-purpose, multi-tasking soother and healer. This organic, all natural salve is the perfect remedy for rashes, and chapped or irritated skin, including eczema. In winter it’s great for dry, chapped skin; in summer it’s great for taking the itch out of bug bites, bee stings, and poison ivy. Green Salve contains extra virgin olive oil, beeswax, plantain herb, comfrey herb, marshmallow root, and calendula flower. Plantain herb is known as “nature’s band aid” because it is excellent for healing wounds and drawing out toxins. Comfrey herb is nicknamed “knitbone,” as it quickly heals wounds and prevents scarring. Marshmallow and calendula soothe, heal, and soften skin.
Motherlove’s Nipple Cream is made with all certified organic ingredients which heal and soothe sore, cracked nursing nipples. Motherlove’s Nipple Cream contains extra virgin olive oil, beeswax, shea butter, marshmallow root, calendula. All ingredients are safe for ingestion, so it does not need to be washed off prior to nursing. Have leftover Nipple Cream? Here are 13 more ways to use our Nipple Cream including using it on chapped lips, dry elbows, and even to tame frizzy hair!
Motherlove’s Diaper Rash & Thrush is an all-natural salve made with certified organic ingredients for persistent, inflamed diaper rash. It contains healing herbs oregon grape root to clear up skin conditions, yarrow to soothe rashes, myrrh to fight bacteria and yeast overgrowth, and calendula to soothe skin. If you’ve been treating diaper rash unsuccessfully with other products, your baby may have a yeast infection which requires a product with antifungal properties. Our Diaper Rash & Thrush salve is diaper safe and compatible with all diapers including cloth. This salve can also be used on nursing nipples, and does not need to be washed off nipples prior to nursing.
Motherlove’s Tattoo Care is a certified organic salve which provides optimal moisturizing and healing properties for a new tattoo, yet retains a consistency that is comfortable to apply while tattooing or to a fresh tattoo. Unlike petroleum-based products, Motherlove Tattoo Care allows the skin to breathe, and allows ink to fully penetrate the skin. Made with calendula flowers and marshmallow root, infused in extra virgin olive oil, beeswax, and shea butter, it keeps pores from getting clogged and promotes a quicker healing time.
Motherlove’s Rhoid Balm is a certified organic balm which provides immediate relief for inflamed tissues. It contains a soothing combination of herbs including witch hazel, recommended by moms and doctors alike to reduce swelling, slow bleeding, and ease the discomfort of hemorrhoids
Dry air from heating systems, winter winds, and even tissues can make our skin dry and irritated. Here are some herbs to keep your skin stay healthy:
Calendula is an all purpose skin healer used to stop bleeding, wash wounds, heal cuts, abscesses, rashes, boils, chapped skin, and eczema. It’s an ingredient in many Motherlove products, including our Nipple Cream and Green Salve.
Rosehips (the seedpod of the rose flower) are known to hydrate the skin and are wonderful to use for a face wash, steams and herbal baths. Rosehip oil also helps prevent scarring. The hips are very high in Vitamin C. Rosehips are an ingredient in many of our products, including our Pregnant Belly Oil and Salve.
Chamomile is an herb you may know in the form of a tea, but it’s also an anti-inflammatory herb which is also used on sores, rashes, scaly skin, sunburn, and windburn, to soften skin and to reduce wrinkles. You’ll find chamomile in many of our products, including our Pregnant Belly Oil and Salve.
Marshmallow softens skin and soothes skin irritations. And it’s good for winter colds, too. The tea is soothing to mucus membranes, swollen glands, and irritations of the respiratory, gastrointestinal, and urinary tract. You’ll find it in our Nipple Cream and Green Salve.
Water. Okay, it’s not an herb, but we include it as a reminder that staying hydrated is one of the most important things you can do to keep your skin happy. Running a humidifier may also mitigate the effects of dry air.
And however you choose to soothe your skin the winter, be sure to use avoid products which contain chemicals that may irritate your skin further.Pin It
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