Working and Breastfeeding in Utah

4 Mar

I was asked to do a guest post for a friend.

If you have ever had any questions about working and breastfeeding, head on over to read.  🙂

Working and breastfeeding in Utah

Adoption and Breastfeeding

14 Feb

I am seeing and hearing more on this topic.  Adoptive moms are hearing about it and want to see if it will work for them.  Birth moms are able to take a more active role in the adoption and are also requesting to be able to breastfeed.

This is an emotionally charged topic for both women.  We are surrounded with messages when we are “expecting”.  The best way to parent.  The best way to feed, sleep, discipline, birth, etc.  ad nauseum.  There are books all over the place.  But not so many on adoption and lactation, whether it be inducing a milk supply for a baby who is coming to you or pumping for a baby you have already placed.  Myth abounds in this arena.

I will attempt to provide you with a well-rounded review of your options.

For adopting moms:

It is really important before you begin this process to know your motivations!  Why do you want to induce lactation?  Is it so that you can feel the bond to your baby?  Is it to make it more “normal”?  Is it to do everything perfectly?  Is it to help mitigate the losses you all will feel as the baby is placed with you?  Knowing this is very important.  Even if just to articulate to yourself your true motivations.  None are inherently wrong or right.  It can help you make choices and find direction during those tough times and times when things need to change.  Knowing why you are doing things is a great motivator.  🙂  Once you know this, the rest tends to iron itself out much more quickly.

One of the biggest helps I’ve seen for other moms is that they find support.  It can be online support where they talk to other moms who have chosen to nurse their adopted babies, or your local LLL group, which may or may not have adoptive moms, but they are great cheerleaders.  🙂

Adoption and breastfeeding resources:

These are the best places that include the most accurate information about inducing lactation.  The first one is simply the nuts and bolts of inducing lactation.  There are several different choices that she has listed and be aware that you can tweak and change as you see fit, just be aware that you may change how you respond to the interventions as well.

The second is just a really great clearinghouse of resources as well as real women and their stories.

Newman-Goldfard Protocol

Both of these websites have their merit for different reasons.  If you are nursing (whether it be with an at-breast supplementer, full-time, part-time, or just for comfort), you are a nursing mother.  The Newman/Goldfarb protocol can be rough.  It certainly is not the easiest way to feed a baby, but if it is what you want, then go for it.  Any piece of it will increase your chances of providing species-specific milk for your baby.  If you choose to follow all or part of it, it is your choice.  The second website is how that protocol (along with other things) works in the real world with real moms.  Some of the pieces are expensive and you have to decide what your motivation is and what you need (along with your HCP)  Consider the costs of Artificial Infant Milks (AIM) and how feeding your baby at the breast will offset that cost along with the reduced health care costs.  Many health risks of AIM are dose-dependent.

Call and enlist the help of your local IBCLC.  She can help you maximize your milk-making potential in a way that works for your family.

Spending lots of time skin to skin will help your baby make the transition to his new home.  It will help him learn your smell, sounds, and warmth.  It is an amazing healer that babies can never get too much of.

Depending on why you chose to adopt, you may or may not be able to induce a full supply for your baby.  That is okay.  Every drop you can provide is helping him to reach his potential.  Every minute he spends at the breast helps his brain to grow and body to thrive.

For BirthMoms:

This is an emotional time for you too and maybe it just occurred to you that you might want to nurse your baby before placing him.  It is always best to talk about your wishes with your adoptive parents.  In most places there is a time for you to spend with your baby before placing him.  Usually it’s 36-72 hours.  This is a time for you to smell, touch, and see your baby.  It is also your choice to nurse your baby.  You will not have a full milk supply when the baby is born.  This is normal.  What you will have is colostrum, which is very nutrient dense and the perfect, normal first vaccination for your baby.  Worrying about the right positioning is not a priority as you will not be nursing long term.  This time is for you to just *be* with your baby.  Spending time skin to skin will help your baby make the transition to his adoptive parents.  It will help his brain know that the world is a safe place, even in the midst of a difficult situation.

Usually your milk will “come in” after your baby is placed.  There is no way to keep this from happening.  It is driven by the hormones that cascade after your placenta is delivered.  What you choose to do with this milk is your choice.  Some birthmoms choose to pump for their babies in a way that works with their lives and they gradually cut down until the milk is gone.  If the adoptive family does not want this milk, you can donate it to your local milk bank so it will go to babies who need it most.  Some birthmoms choose to dry up their milk immediately.  Any end of that spectrum (and anywhere in between) is just fine.

When you decide that you no longer want your milk, you can make it dry up in a few different ways.  Usually, the most comfortable is to do it gradually while slowly eliminating or spacing out your pumping sessions.  Sometimes it must be done more quickly and there are several things that help different women.  One is simply to stop removing the milk.  You may need to hand express simply for comfort, but don’t remove more milk than you need to or your body may continue to make more.  Herbs like peppermint and sage have been known to dry up milk along with cabbage leaves and antihistamines.  There used to be a medication designed specifically to dry up milk and it was taken off the market due to its side effects.

If you have any questions about what to use, call your local breastfeeding helper or IBCLC.

This is an important piece of adoption that I am glad to see taking a more center stage role.  Breastfeeding is the normal way that we care for our babies, and it makes sense to continue that across the parenting spectrum.  I hope this helps you navigate this precious and short-lived part of adoption.

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.

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.


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.

Babies are born to breastfeed

6 Mar

Welcome to our new website.  Where you can find support and information on how to provide your baby with the food it was designed for.