Archive | January, 2013

Obesity and Breastfeeding

21 Jan

Can it really make that much difference?

Does breastfeeding really help you or your child when it comes to obesity?  The surgeon General certainly is convinced.  As are many other  health agencies.  The United States Lactation Consultant Association has even issued a press release talking about this.

This is a big deal.

Breastfeeding has been proven time and again to provide both short and long term protection against obesity.

When a woman becomes pregnant, her body starts stockpiling calories to feed her baby.  Many biological anthropologists have looked at nursing as well and the general consensus is that babies are designed to nurse for *at least* 2 years.  This may not be your goal and it certainly isn’t talked about and accepted in my Utah community, but the biology doesn’t change because the culture does.  🙂
So if a baby is designed to nurse for two years, mom’s body is planning to nurse for that long.  That is a huge amount of calories!  Many women do not lose their “babyfat” because of premature weaning, which contributes to high obesity rates among mothers.
A newer body of evidence is showing that babies who bottle-feed human milk are exhibiting the same obesity and diabetes patterns as their formula-fed counterparts.  The working theory seems to be that bottle-feeding is baby’s first exposure to the idea that “clean off your plate” is more important than following your body’s cues for satiety.  But as most nursing moms can tell you, you can’t make a baby breastfeed.  🙂
When your metabolism is being formed and your brain is wiring in those early years, early experiences with food are so formative.  We know that obesity in early childhood is a very accurate indicator of obesity of adulthood.
If you get a chance, read the press release.  It has some great nuggets.
*if you want the bibliography, let me know and I will post it.
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Birth and Breastfeeding

12 Jan

Penelope 3 weeksSo many times, I hear women telling other pregnant women to “educate yourself about your birth options”.  This is important.  It is not the whole picture.

Having a good birth is good.  It is ideal.  It is normal.  But we often forget what comes *after* the birth.  Of course I want to breastfeed and they will help me with that at the hospital.  Right?

The truth is, the people who care for you during birth often only have a cursory education in breastfeeding.  And they often do not need to keep up with current research on breastfeeding, so if you get an amazing nurse who is helpful for your birth because she has been doing the same job for 30 years, chances are, her breastfeeding knowledge is that old as well.  Back then, we were talking about “ramming the baby on” and using articial baby milk to “entice” baby to the breast.

Newer nurses are often afraid of bilirubin (which is physiologically normal to some degree) and low blood sugar (did you know the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine actually advocates *not* checking blood sugars without a medical indication? Here is that protocol ) and get hypervigilant to the extreme detriment of nursing motherbaby pairs.

The good news is that even if you have a crappy birth, breastfeeding can be salvaged.

Because we are mammals, we have instincts and programmed conditioning that requires certain behaviors to take place to breastfeed.  Because we are humans we are extremely adaptable. 🙂 even if things don’t work out quite the way we intended, we can still have the breastfeeding relationship we wanted.  The trick is: to find the right help.

This starts in the hospital by requesting to see an IBCLC as soon as possible after your baby is born. This breastfeeding professional has recieved extensive education about normal breastfeeding and continues to receive that. There are so many people who can call themselves “lactation consultants” or “lactation specialist” that you really have no idea if they have even taken a breastfeeding class.  Only the IBCLC has an internationally consistent credential.  If she says or does something that just doesn’t sit right with you, then get a second opinion.  There should be multiple IBCLCs in your area and even if there aren’t some will work by skype or email.

Here in Ogden, Utah, moms have a choice of which hospital they use to give birth.  All hospitals have lactation programs, although they are not all created equally.  Hopefully, as more hospitals in Utah become Baby Friendly, that will improve even more.  Women in Utah want to breastfeed.  We have a breastfeeding initiation rate of over 85%.  The problem is that either women are not asking for help or they are not finding it.

There are people poised to help with your with breastfeeding challenges.  🙂 Whatever your issues, whatever your income, whatever your culture or beliefs, there are people who are trained and ready to help you.  You just need to ask.  Utah Breastfeeding Coalition (or your state’s coalition)is a great resource if you just don’t know where to start.  They can hook you up with the right helper, whether it be a community-based helper, or someone with a little more training.

Breastfeeding Help in Ogden, Utah

8 Jan

January is when we can take a breath and take a new look at parenting.  Often, December is a time of frantic activity, rich foods and little time for

baby (other than being passed around at parties).  Our bodies will often force us to remember to slowdown by getting plugged ducts, mastitis and even abscesses.

It’s okay to rest with your baby.  You are forming neurons when you sit and just smile at him.  🙂 La Leche League has a great FAQ about mastitis.

Mastitis

If you feel like you have been run over by a truck, or just plain yucky, go to bed.  Honor your body’s wisdom and allow it to heal itself.  Your baby will love the time and attention.

And of course, if you aren’t getting better with normal home remedies, please call your health care provider or local IBCLC for help.

Here in Ogden, and along the entire Wasatch Front, we are having such a terrible inversion that a good snuggle with your baby isn’t such a bad idea even if you don’t have plugged ducts.  Breastfeeding protects your baby against RSV, Asthma, and other respiratory illnesses.