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Breastfeeding

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Feeding breastmilk by bottle? Learn paced feeding to avoid overfeeding your baby.

Mother Holding InfantYou may not be able to overfeed a baby at the breast, but it is possible to overfeed (and overwhelm) a baby with a bottle of breastmilk.

Paced feeding is a method that helps to prevent this problem, and may be useful for you to learn if you’ll be returning to work and pumping, if you’re exclusively pumping, or if your partner will be feeding an occasional bottle of breastmilk.

Research has shown that feeding babies anything by bottle can can have an effect on their ability to regulate their intake.  It’s likely a result of the “maternal control” over how much is taken by the bottle which doesn’t occur in feeding at the breast, which overrides babies’ needs.  One theory suggests that this inability to self-regulate intake is related to higher risk of overweight and obesity.

Paced feeding allows babies more control over his or her intake of breastmilk by responding to their cues, and may also prevent post-feeding fussiness by reducing overfeeding.  Since much of paced feeding also mimics feeding at the breast, it can also support the breastfeeding relationship and help babies transition back and forth from breast to bottle.  Babies may be less likely to get accustomed to the fast flow of a bottle and reject the breast.

How does paced feeding work?

  • Feed based on the baby’s feeding cues, not a set schedule.
  • Hold the baby so she is in a more on an upright or almost sitting position.  Avoid feeding by bottle when the baby is reclined, as this reduces her control over the flow of milk.
  • Hold the bottle in a horizontal position, tilted only enough to keep milk in the bottle nipple.
  • Don’t force the nipple into the baby’s mouth.  Rather, elicit the rooting response and encourage the baby to “latch” onto the nipple by touching the nipple to the baby’s nose.
  • Ensure that the baby’s mouth placement on the nipple is good.
  • Allow the baby to set the pace of the feeding, and aim for the same length of time as a feeding at the breast might take.
  • Encourage the baby to pause frequently, resting the bottle nipple on the baby’s lips or taking a break to burp him.  The baby will start sucking again when he’s ready.
  • Switch sides during the feeding to mimic feeding at breast and even out eye stimulation.
  • Never try to force the baby to take more than she wants to just to finish the bottle.  If you’re worried about squandering precious breastmilk (we understand!), heat up smaller amounts – maybe 2 ounces – at a time, and providing more as needed.

A few resources on paced feeding that may be helpful:

 

 

Free to Breastfeed: Voices of Black Mothers on our new podcast!

Free_To_Breastfeed Voices of Black MothersThe authors of the new book, Free to Breastfeed: Voices of Black Mothers are guests on our new podcast!

Authors Jeanine Logan and Anayah Sangodele-Ayoka talked about the importance of giving voice to African American moms’ stories, of claiming breastfeeding as part of the African American experience and tradition, and about going beyond the typical headlines about black women and breastfeeding.  They discussed treatment by healthcare providers, breastfeeding support organizations, and also shared which stories moved them.  We think you’ll really enjoy the conversation!

You can listen to this podcast using the player below, with Quicktime, and by downloading it at our free iTunes store.

Depression at weaning?

Experiencing trauma after birth?Feeling sad, even depressed, during or after weaning?  You’re probably not alone.

Hormonal changes at weaning, coupled with the loss of the breastfeeding relationship, theoretically may heighten the risk of feelings of sadness, even leading to depression in some women.

While there is no research examining exactly this question, it is “certainly plausible that losing [these hormones] is going to make people feel physically bad, independent of any cognitive sadness they’re experiencing,” says Dr. Alison Stuebe, assistant professor of maternal and child health at the University of North Carolina.

Two key hormones of breastfeeding, prolactin and oxytocin, both affect mood.  Prolactin is a calming hormone, and oxytocin both calms and instills a feeling of closeness (hence its nickname “the love hormone”).  Theoretically, reductions in the levels of these hormones, especially when weaning is abrupt, may contribute to mood changes in some women.

One hypothesis, explained in this article, suggests that shared hormonal mechanisms may contribute to both breastfeeding problems and mood disorders. And some women, even those for whom breastfeeding has gone well and is ending in a satisfactory way, feel sadness at the loss of this relationship.

What can you do?  If possible, wean gradually to avoid a “crash” in your hormone levels.  If this isn’t possible or doesn’t work (even mothers who wean gradually may experience these feelings), check out this page of comfort measures for moms during weaning.  If possible, consider doing some skin-to-skin or extra snuggling time with your child – this kind of closeness can raise your prolactin and oxytocin levels even if you aren’t nursing.

And if you are concerned that your mood may be  depressive or otherwise troubling, be sure to seek help from a health care provider.

U.S. maternity leave policy and its effect on families: A podcast interview with Moms Rising

Businesswoman Holding a BabyDid you know that the U.S. is one of only a handful of countries that does not offer new mothers paid family leave?   The other countries:  Papua New Guinea, Lesotho, and Swaziland.

In this podcast interview we spoke with Charlie Rose, associate campaign director for MomsRising.org, a national organization with over a million members advocating for family economic security.

Charlie spoke about how few moms have paid parental leave, how much leave moms actually take, the health and economic costs of our current policy, how current policy affects the role of partners, and what Moms Rising is doing to advocate for better policies.

You can listen to this podcast with the player below, listen with Quicktime, or download the podcast from our free iTunes store.

Family-Centered Cesarean: A podcast interview with Robin Elise Weiss

Newborn baby girlHave you heard about a new trend in cesarean birth?  It goes by a number of different names:  family centered cesarean, natural cesarean, gentle cesarean.

Whatever you call it, if you’re pregnant and want a more satisfying cesarean experience should one be necessary, you’ll want to learn more about it.

In this podcast interview we talked with Robin Elise Weiss, author, childbirth and postpartum educator, certified doula, doula trainer, and lactation counselor.  Robin is the Pregnancy and Childbirth expert on About.com and is the author of numerous books, including The About.com Guides to Having a Baby and Baby Care, The Everything New Mother’s guides to The First Year, Pregnancy Fitness, and Getting Pregnant.

We discussed what a family-centered cesarean looks like, what it means to moms and for birth outcomes, how moms can advocate for a family-centered cesarean, and whether this new trend will harm efforts to reduce the historic high cesarean rates of recent years.

You can listen to this interview using the player below, listen with Quicktime, or download it from our free iTunes store.

Suddenly up all night nursing? Welcome to reverse cycling.

asleepHave a consistently sleeping baby who suddenly wants to nurse all night?

It’s a common scenario for babies whose moms have returned to work, babies who are too busy or distracted to eat during the day, and teething babies.  And it has a name: reverse cycling.

Why does reverse cycling happen?  There is usually a reason.  Babies want food, comfort, or both at night, often because they aren’t getting as much as they want or need during the day.

A typical case is a baby who doesn’t like to take a bottle at day care, who “sips” enough during the day to make it the reunion with her mom at the end of the workday – when the all night feast starts.  Or a baby who is adjusting to having less frequent contact with his mom during the day now that she’s gone back to work, and so wants more comforting at night.  Occasionally, it’s the mom who is so busy juggling multiple kids during the day that feedings are not frequent enough, or not long enough.

So if your baby is reverse cycling, what can you do?

First, identify a possible reason why he has adopted this pattern.  Is he not eating enough during the day?  Too distracted to eat much during waking hours?

Then, address look for ways to address her needs.  Our favorite resource page is at kellymom.com, where you’ll find lots of tips for different situations.    You’ll also find some tips for making reverse cycling work (and why some moms even encourage it) on this page.  You may also want to check out our podcast interview with Nancy Mohrbacher on night nursing.

And whatever you decide to do, take heart in the knowledge that this pattern will pass in time!

Pumping at work? Print out these free door hangers

door hangerIf you’re pumping at work and lucky enough to have a door to close at work, what signage do you use to keep people from barging in?

There are all kinds of ways of indicating that you’d would like some privacy, but we thought we’d share several free door hangers you can print out, cut out, and post!

Texas WIC program:  Breastmilk – Every Ounce Counts

New Mexico Breastfeeding Task Force:  Doorhanger includes information about state law on pumping at work

Bellabama:  Uses the International Breastfeeding Symbol

Code Name Mama:  Pumping Pixie (donations requested to purchase pumping bustiers for women in domestic violence shelters).

These doorhangers from a company local to us are not free, but we love them!

Or create your own with this free door hanger template.

And check out these hilarious ones (not printable, but worth a look!).

Herbal poultices for engorgement

406px-Kamomillasaunio_(Matricaria_recutita)There are many remedies for breast engorgement, ranging from massage, to cold packs, to cabbage.

But did you know that herbs – in the form of a poultice – can also help reduce swelling and inflammation associated with engorgement?

What’s a poultice?  It’s an age-old way of treating soreness and inflammation, using moist herbs applied directly to the skin, usually held in place with a cloth.

Herbs that work well in a breast compress are anti-inflammatory and reduce swelling (comfrey, chamomile, calendula, lavender), increase lymph circulation and drainage (cleavers, burdock root, yarrow), and draw out infection (slippery elm, marshmallow root).  Mullein leaf relieves pain.

To prepare, pour boiling water over the herbs and steep for 10-15 minutes.  When cool enough to touch, apply herbs as a poultice directly to skin.  You can also dip a cotton cloth in the warm infusion, wring it out and wrap around the breast and under the armpit.  Keep the poultice on until it cools.  Reapply throughout the day.  If infection is present, a clean poultice or cloth should be used every time.

For a comprehensive discussion of engorgement, including prevention, treatment, and when to seek help, see this page on Kellymom.com.

Image credit:  Chamomile, Wikimedia Commons

African American moms and breastfeeding: A podcast interview with Kathi Barber

African American women breastfeedingAfrican American women have the lowest breastfeeding rates in the U.S.  But it wasn’t always that way.

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.

You can listen to this podcast using the player below, through Quicktime, or download it from our free iTunes store.

Common breastfeeding concerns? There’s an app for that.

breastfeeding solutions appPain.  Milk supply worries.  Sleep (and lack thereof).  A fussy baby.  Pumping.

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.

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