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Raising Lifetime Readers from the Start

Raising Lifetime Readers from the Start

By Dr. Jenn Berman

After seeing 18-month-old child prodigy Elizabeth Barrett read flashcards on The Today Show, many parents asked me what they could do to help their children acquire similar skills and get the same thrill out of reading.

Experts say that most children learn to read between the ages of six and seven and it is not beneficial to try to push a child to read before then. In fact, one of the most damaging things you can is to create pressure for her to read - a negative association between your child and reading.

There is, however, one simple and inexpensive thing you can do which will guarantee an uptick in your child's reading success: reading aloud, which parents can even start while their child is in utero. This is also an excellent bonding ritual with other beneficial elements for both parent and child.

Most important is the positive association between reading and pleasure. It can last a lifetime.

The single best predictor of language acquisition is the number and quality of words a child is exposed to each day. Reading has the added benefit of exposing children to "rare words," complex sentences, literary devices like alliteration and rhyming, descriptive language and original synonyms and story conventions (i.e. "in a land far, far away"). According to Betty Bardige and Marilyn Segal, authors of Building Literacy with Love, "children who have lots of experience with books are likely to develop richer vocabularies and deeper understanding of the meanings, sounds and uses of words than those with less literary experience. They are also likely to be familiar with the conventions of language and story form."

The study results very clearly show that reading makes a world of difference in achievement.

It Starts at Home. It is up to parents to create enthusiastic readers. Studies show that children who come from what researchers call a "print-rich environment" consistently score better in writing, reading and math skills than those from "print-poor environments." Print, in this case, relates to a wide variety of materials, including: books, magazines, newspapers and even comic books. When researchers examined 21 kindergarten classes to see who displayed high interest in reading and who showed low interest in reading it became clear that the home environment and parents' reading habits are crucial factors. Of the high interest group, over 78 percent had mothers who read for leisure, 60 percent had fathers who read for leisure, more than 98 percent of the kids were taken to the library and more than 76 percent were read to daily.

Book ownership is a significant factor in reading enthusiasm and achievement. Children need to have books that they own, ones that they can put their name in and don't have to share with siblings. As they get older they should be able to mark up books by writing in margins, highlighting and earmarking pages. This allows kids to learn new words, come back to passages that intrigue them and make the reading experience their own.

Start reading to your child right away. Children, even infants, are never too young for a picture book. Attention span is a learned process. Infant reading studies show that most infants average a three-minute attention span. However, like exercising a muscle, those who are read to regularly can have an attention span as long as 30 minutes a day.

Be a role model. Children read more when they see other people reading. There is a direct correlation between how often children read for leisure and how often their parents do.

Create reading rituals. Create regular times in your children's day when you read to them. My daughters look forward to hearing two books after every meal while they are still in their chairs. We started this ritual as soon as they were able to use a highchair. Many parents use nap or bedtime for a reading ritual.

Keep books on hand at all times. Bring books with you wherever you go: to the park, doctors' appointments, play dates, relatives' homes, etc. Keep them in the car, in the diaper bag, in your purse and any place else you can think of, especially around the house. Have book baskets in your children's rooms, bathrooms, the kitchen and living room.

Read to your child regularly. A study of early readers, like Elizabeth Barrett, found that their parents not only read them books but also read package labels, street signs, billboards and other reading material that they encountered throughout the day.

Give your child a bed lamp. As soon as your child is old enough to read in bed get him a night light and allow him to stay up past his bedtime to read.

Point to the words as you are reading them. The visual receptors in the brain outnumber the auditory receptors 30 to 1 and therefore the chances of a word being retained in our memory are 30 times greater if we see it instead of just hearing it.

Use books to help you deal with difficult situations. A toddler who is hitting a sibling can learn from Hands Are Not for Hitting.

Get books about topics that interest your kids. If you notice your toddler showing interest in birds, buy books about birds. If your child seems interested in fire engines get books about fire engines.

Always read the name of the author and illustrator. This helps children understand that people create books. It also gives them the opportunity to pursue other books by the same author if they like the book.

Turn off the TV. Every minute that your child sits in front of the television is a minute he is not reading, playing, exercising or being creative. Not only does TV viewing directly cut into reading time, but once exposed to television and given the choice, most kids will pick television over books. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that parents limit their children's viewing to fewer than 10 hours a week. This makes sense since an international study of children in four countries found that those who view more than 10 hours of television in one week experienced a proportional decline in their academic scores.

Dr. Jenn Berman is a Marriage, Family and Child Therapist in private practice in Los Angeles. She has appeared as a psychological expert on hundreds of television shows including The Oprah Winfrey Show and is a regular on The Today Show, The Early Show, and CNN. She is the author of the LA Times best selling books "SuperBaby: 12 Ways to Give Your Child a Head Start in the First 3 Years" and "The A to Z Guide to Raising Happy Confident Kids." In May 2011 she released her first children's book "Rockin' Babies."

Copyright© 2011 Dr. Jenn Berman. All rights reserved. No part of this handout may be reproduced in any form without permission.

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Planning a Flight with your Baby

Planning a Flight with your Baby
Secret Tips Most New Moms Miss


Every week in our New Mother Support groups someone asks for tips on air travel with their breastfed baby. So here is a list of ideas that should make your trip easier. I hope this will also help my daughter Colleen when she travels home from Germany during the Christmas holidays with my grand baby.

    • Make reservations early and book a window seat for yourself. It is easier to breastfeed when you can turn your back to the crowd and get the baby latched on, then sit back and relax. 
    • If traveling with another person, request an aisle and window seat. If the flight is not full, you may get the whole row and if not, the person assigned the middle seat will happily take the aisle. You might try flying at lower volume times of the day/week. However, in the current travel climate there may be no such thing.
    • Take your Car Seat and your stroller right up to the plane and then gate check the stroller, so it's waiting for you as you disembark. If there is an available seat you can take your car seat on the plane with you. If not they will gate check that too. If you don't have a stroller/car seat gate-check bags, take large, heavy-duty bags and some masking or duct tape. Covering the car seat and the stroller will protect them while in the cargo area.
    • Take your baby sling or baby carrier too. This is great for walking through the airport, keeping your baby secure while flying, and calming a fussy baby on the plane. Get up and stretch your legs and take the baby with you. NOTE: Babies need to be removed from carriers and strollers while going through the security checkpoint. www.tsa.gov
    • Consider using a Backpack diaper bag. It will keep your hands free.
    • In your carry on bag bring an extra shirt for yourself and enough diapers/clothes for the baby to make it through a blowout or two. Be prepared for a delay, and if you can, for even and unexpected overnight stay.
    • Create diaper changing bags: one diaper and several wipes in a Ziploc bag (do a bunch). When you need to change the baby just grab a baggy, make the change and use the Ziploc for the dirty diaper.
    • Also considering getting some disposable changing pads and throw them away after each use. This helps to protect the baby from the environment.
    • Check the TSA website and take a copy of the rules with you. You may need it at security if you meet less informed security agents. Currently, you may take breastmilk through security (when traveling with or without the baby) in larger quantities than three ounces.
    • Breastmilk can be kept in a separate bag from other gels and liquids. You must declare that you have the milk and are encouraged to carry on only what is needed until you reach your destination. Any other milk that you want to take, can be packed in large Ziplocs, surrounded by ice cubes or blue ice and placed in the bags you plan to check.
    • Take your nursing covers too. We recommend the Bebe au Lait nursing covers and Poncho Baby. Also try a nursing tank tops, and wearing layers. The tank makes nursing so easy while keeping your midsection covered. The nursing tank is beloved by most of our clients.
    • Planes are flying germ bags, so take a few antibacterial wipes in a baggy. Use them to wipe down the arms of your seat and the tray table.
    • Don't forget your hand sanitizer, you can get travel sizes. We don't have to tell you, but use frequently.
    • Try to nurse your baby or offer a few sips of breast milk by bottle when you are taking off and landing. Getting the baby to swallow helps reduce pressure in the ears. If the baby is sleeping, don't wake him.
    • Put drops of breast milk in eyes and nose repeatedly before and during the trip. This may help reduce the risk of the baby getting sick. It works like an antibiotic/antiviral! Good Stuff.
    • Ask for help! Getting your luggage through security, into the overheads, etc. can be a hassle. People feel good about themselves when they help others, so let 'em help.

  

 

 


ENJOY YOUR TRIP

Essential Breastfeeding Support and Baby Care Items
The Pump Station & Nurtury® has decades of experience providing new families with outstanding educational, breastfeeding and baby care support, including products and classes which can make all the difference to you and your baby. To see a list of some of the essential products that our Lactation Professionals have recommended, click Essential Breastfeeding and Baby Care Products

 


by Corky Harvey MS, RN, IBCLC, Co-Founder
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Baby Wearing

Baby Wearing

Because it's important you do it safely.

Though it may seem like the latest fad in parenting, the concept of baby wearing is far from new. It has been practiced for centuries all around the world. For many, baby wearing is and always has been an important part of life. From the Native American with her cradle board, to the Chinese mother with her Mei Tai, each culture developed a way for a mother to carry her baby while allowing her hands to be free to perform the necessary tasks of daily life. Imagine being a mother in a nomadic tribe: there simply wasn't any such thing as a stroller. No one cautioned these mothers of the past that by wearing their babies they might be spoiling them or thwarting their need to develop independence. Fortunately, today we have research to support that the traditional ways were likely the best ways.

There are so many benefits to baby wearing that it is hard to cover them all in one handout. Here are our favorite reasons:

Happier, Healthier, Smarter, and Safer Babies

  • The gentle movement of baby wearing and closeness to a parent reminds a baby of being in the womb, creating a “back at home” feeling. This provides the baby with the needed warmth, heartbeat, smell, touch, and enfolding that immature humans need for the first months after birth.
  • Studies have shown that the more babies are held, the less they cry. Crying raises the level of a stress hormone called cortisol. Frequent and long exposure to cortisol may have lasting, negative effects on the immature brain. In cultures where babies are always carried, they cry for only a few minutes every day-in contrast to Western culture babies who cry much more.
  • A fussy, tired baby can be easily put to sleep when placed in a sling and taken for a walk. Babies sleep comfortably and for longer periods while being worn.
  • Babies who are worn smile more; have better social development and a better sense of self-esteem and independence.
  • Baby wearing decreases the risk of flat head syndrome that can result from too much time spent lying in a stroller, car seat, or crib. Worn babies also have less head lag and stronger neck and shoulder muscles.
  • Baby wearing makes it possible to go out with a baby without worrying about germs and unwanted contact.
  • Baby wearing lessens spitting up, colic, and reflux because of the upright position.
  • Baby wearing stimulates the vestibular system, helping the baby develop balance and trunk and head control.
  • Baby wearing allows the baby to be an active participant in the walking, talking, laughing, movement and working of parents. This promotes better neurological development, brain growth, and right/left brain hemisphere connectedness for better brain function.
  • Babies who are worn are at the center of activity rather than the center of attention. This helps develop empathy and a healthy sense of self.
  • Carried babies develop a strong and secure attachment to their moms and dads (grandparents and caregivers can also participate in baby wearing). Attachment is not a parenting style, but a necessity for development of normal mental health.
  • Babies in carriers are safer; they are always with you and always in sight.
  • If a parent stumbles or falls while baby wearing, they are less likely to drop the baby or cause serious injury then if the baby were being held in their arms.

Happier and Healthier Parents

  • Baby wearing allows parents to have two free hands while providing security for their infants.
  • Parents will have more time to answer emails, make dinner, care for and play with an older child, and go for walks if they wear their baby.
  • Fathers who wear their baby can share in the nurturing and enjoy a greater opportunity to bond.
  • Baby wearing increases parental sensitivity to a baby's needs and enhances a parent's confidence in their parenting skills as they learn to read their baby's cues. Parents become finely attuned to a baby's gestures, facial expressions, and cries, allowing a baby to better communicate without crying.
  • A mom who wears her baby can learn to nurse discreetly and have a greater sense of freedom.
  • Baby wearing allows parents to care for and play with older children without feeling like they are neglecting the baby.
  • Baby carriers and slings are more convenient than strollers in crowded places, airports, and public places.
  • By carrying the baby a parent can get more exercise and have the added benefit of "weightlifting."

Learning to wear your baby has a definite learning curve, so please don't give up. It does take practice. Parents pour through the doors to hone their baby wearing skills, learning different techniques for each type of sling and for each stage of their baby's life. If this service doesn't exist in your area, find someone who is already good at it and have them teach you. Even approaching a stranger in the super market who seems to have a handle on baby wearing may prove to be a great contact. Don't expect the baby to calm the minute you get him or her into the carrier. Incorporate known calming techniques such as swinging, bouncing, walking, jiggling, and shushing to help your baby settle into the carrier. It will soon feel like second nature and the baby will learn that the carrier is the best place to be.

 

Essential Breastfeeding Support and Baby Care Items
The Pump Station & Nurtury® has decades of experience providing new families with outstanding educational, breastfeeding and baby care support, including products and classes which can make all the difference to you and your baby. To see a list of some of the essential products that Corky and Wendy have recommended, click Essential Breastfeeding and Baby Care Products

 


See Other Parenting and Baby Care Help Topics

Copyright© 2011 by The Pump Station & Nurtury®. All rights reserved. No part of this handout may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, without permission in writing from The Pump Station & Nurtury® Revised 03/18
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When to Seek Professional Breastfeeding Help

When to Seek Professional Breastfeeding Help
Producing breastmilk is natural, but the art of latching a baby to the breast is learned. Sometimes what is supposed to come easily doesn't, and sometimes a breastfeeding problem occurs after you are discharged from the hospital. You may want to consider seeking breastfeeding help if these symptoms occur. Continue reading

Why is Breastfeeding Important?

Why is Breastfeeding Important?

The benefits of breastfeeding have been well documented. Though it is most apparent during infancy, these benefits have enduring effects that promote optimal health throughout the life of the breastfed baby and his mother. Human milk is a complex, living substance with numerous disease-fighting and health-promoting ingredients; it is a complete infant support-system that provides both nutrition and protection. Breast milk contains immune molecules called antibodies that destroy germs. The mother's immune system makes these antibodies and they constantly adapt. When a baby or mother is exposed to a new germ, the mother's immune cells are activated and manufacture antibodies to combat that specific germ. These antibodies and disease-fighting cells will quickly appear in the milk and the mother will pass them to her baby at the next feeding. There are hundreds of human milk components that interact synergistically to both nourish and protect infants and young children. On the other hand, infant formula provides nutrition only: it has no benefit to the baby beyond basic nutrition.

Breastfeeding benefits women as well. Some of the benefits are long lasting and appear to remain with mothers for years after they have weaned their last child.

Benefits for Baby
  • Breastfed babies have fewer colds, respiratory infections, ear infections, and occurrences of influenza.
  • Breastfeeding is good for the digestive tract. Babies who are formula-fed are sixteen times more likely to have diarrhea than breastfed babies. Breastfeeding may protect against Crohn's disease, irritable bowel syndrome, colitis, and celiac disease.
  • Exclusively breastfeeding for at least three months reduces the risk of juvenile diabetes (Type I) by up to 30%. It also reduces the risk of developing late onset or Type II diabetes.
  • Evidence suggests breastfed babies are less likely to develop high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and cardiovascular disease as adults.
  • Breastfed infants have fewer childhood cancers and baby girls will have less chance of contracting breast and ovarian cancer as adults.
  • Because breastfed babies get sick less often, there will be fewer doctor and hospital visits and less money spent on antibiotics and other medications.
  • Breastfeeding for more than four months reduces the risk of hospitalization for a respiratory infection by 72%.
  • Even when a breastfed baby gets sick, the illness is usually less severe and lasts a shorter time than the same illness in a baby not receiving mother's milk.
  • Exclusive breastfeeding lowers the risk of food allergies, asthma, eczema, and skin rashes.
  • Breast milk contains high levels of certain fats that are required to support brain and nerve growth. Breastfed children have higher IQs, better developed neurological systems, and sharper vision.
  • Breastfeeding promotes strong attachment. The act of breastfeeding insures that a baby will be in his mother's arms many times every day; in fact a breastfed baby is touched and held almost twice as much as a formula-fed infant. Attachment is not a parenting style, but a biological necessity for normal mental health and optimal brain development.
  • Breastfed babies are less likely to develop adult obesity. The longer the baby is breastfed the lower the obesity risk. Breastfed infants regulate their intake according to their caloric needs and actually control their mothers' milk production.
  • Breastfeeding reduces the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) by 38%. One theory suggests that because breastfed babies sleep less deeply, they are more likely to arouse if having breathing difficulty. Breastfeeding's protection from infection may also help lower the risk of SIDS.
  • Breastfeeding results in earlier development of an infant's immune system.
  • Breastfeeding helps to develop mouth and facial muscles.

Benefits for Mother

  • Breastfeeding enhances attachment. Every time a mom nurses her baby, she releases the hormone oxytocin. This hormone not only causes a mother to release her milk (the milk ejection or let-down reflex), but it makes her fall in love with her baby. It has been dubbed the "mothering" hormone.
  • Oxytocin also provides another of breastfeeding's great benefits: protecting women's mental health. Oxytocin down-regulates stress. The effects of constantly lowering stress during breastfeeding persist long past weaning.
  • Breastfeeding reduces the risk of breast and ovarian cancer. Breast cancer risk is reduced by 4.3 % for each year that a woman breastfeeds, and each additional pregnancy reduces the risk by 7 %-a decrease of as much as 60%. This benefit is dose-related and cumulative: the longer a mother breastfeeds, the lower her risk of developing breast cancer. The reasons for this reduced cancer risk are still unclear and complex, but new evidence points to the cycling history of mammary cells. The cycle of pregnancy, breastfeeding, and weaning may be important for the health of the breast. Weaning completes the cycle. Lower estrogen levels during breastfeeding may contribute to the decreased risk of both breast and ovarian cancer. Women who do not breast feed have a 1.5-fold increased risk of developing ovarian cancer.
  • Breastfeeding reduces the risk of osteoporosis. New mothers experience a loss in bone density during the early months of breastfeeding; but as their fertility returns, their bones act like sponges, absorbing extra calcium. This results in greater bone density and stronger bones. Women who do not breastfeed have a four times higher risk of developing osteoporosis.
  • Breastfeeding helps mothers lose weight. Making milk for one baby requires approximately 500 hundred calories a day. Weight loss during the first year after birth is significantly greater in women who breastfeed as compared to those women who do not. The greatest weight loss takes place between three and six months post partum.
  • Women who breastfeed have a lowered risk of developing metabolic syndrome which is characterized by diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and cardiovascular disease. A recent theory suggests that breastfeeding reverses changes that occur in a woman's body during pregnancy. These changes are increased fat stores, elevated blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides, and increased insulin resistance. In other words, during pregnancy women develop mild metabolic syndrome. Breastfeeding can actually reset these changes.
  • Exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months can delay the return of ovulation and reduce the chance of conception.
  • Breastfeeding moms experience improved sleep and relaxation. Evidence shows that breastfeeding women fall asleep more quickly and actually get more sleep.
  • Breastfeeding encourages normal uterine contractions that not only control post partum bleeding, but return the uterus to the pre-pregnant state more rapidly than in non-breastfeeding mothers.
  • Breastfeeding saves time. It is readily available, just the right temperature, and won't be contaminated or improperly mixed.
  • Breastfeeding mothers will miss fewer workdays because their babies are less likely to be sick.

Benefits for Dad

  • Breastfeeding is cheaper. The cost of formula is $1,200-$1,800 a year. Other costs of not breastfeeding are:
    • More doctors office visit and more hospitalizations.
    • More need for antibiotics and other medication.
  • Dads do not have to get up at night-although help is very appreciated, especially in the early weeks.
  • Breastfed babies' stools are less offensive than formula stools.
  • Dads feel satisfied knowing their baby is receiving the best possible food that will enable their children to achieve optimal health.

Benefits for the World

Breastfeeding is Green. Increased breastfeeding would decrease health care costs worldwide. The US could save $13 billion each year on medical costs if 90% of women nursed their infants exclusively for the first six months. This estimate is based solely on the decreased cost of the care of babies, and does not include savings for the decreased health care costs of the nursing mothers.

Essential Breastfeeding Support and Baby Care Items
The Pump Station & Nurtury® has decades of experience providing new families with outstanding educational, breastfeeding and baby care support, including products and classes which can make all the difference to you and your baby. To see a list of some of the essential products that our Lactation Professionals have recommended, click Essential Breastfeeding and Baby Care Products

 


See Other Breastfeeding and Baby Care Help Topics

 

Copyright© 2013 by The Pump Station & Nurtury®. All rights reserved. No part of this handout may be reproduced in any form without permission from The Pump Station & Nurtury®. This article has not been prepared by a physician, is not intended as medical advice, and is not a substitute for regular medical care. Consult with a physician if medical symptoms or problems occur.

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Overactive Let-Down

Overactive Let-Down

The ability to produce enough milk is a common concern among breastfeeding mothers. The lack of proper education, no role models, and the loss of breastfeeding as a cultural norm, have contributed to the myth that women might have insufficient milk supplies. When, in fact, almost all women are capable of producing adequate volumes of milk for their babies. But how much is too much? And what should you do if you have overactive let-down!

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Shouting "Fire" in a Room of Scientists

Shouting "Fire" in a Room of Scientists

 

Originally posted on Huffington Post By Melissa Bartick, MD, MSc and Briana Jegier, PhD

If you want to grab news headlines, all you have to do is say "breastfeeding has no effect on child well-being." It's like shouting "fire" in a crowded movie theater. You create a Jerry Springer spectacle of moms fighting other mothers about who is doing best for their children. But that's not the truth about who women are, or what science has to say to say about breastfeeding.

This week, a widely reported sibling study by Colen and Ramey ("Breast-feeding benefits appear to be overstated, according to study of siblings." see below) concluded that breastfeeding has "no effect" on "child well-being." But, what's the truth here? To start with, there have been thousands of studies on breastfeeding and health outcomes, and the best and most effectively designed studies available today demonstrate that breastfeeding changes health risks for mothers and children. Strong evidence exists for a relationship between breastfeeding and SIDS, necrotizing enterocolitis (a deadly disease of premature infants), hospitalization for lower respiratory tract infections, ear infections, diarrhea, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, and acute leukemia. Several of these diseases have significant mortality rates and huge economic costs for families, the healthcare system, and society at large. But this study looked at only two physical diseases, asthma and obesity.

Thus, for the authors to conclude that breastfeeding has "no effect on child well-being" is a gross overstatement and is overtly false.

There are some great summaries on the state of breastfeeding research from reputable organizations available online including the World Health Organization (WHO), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), that provide information on the extent to which breastfeeding changes risks for mothers and children. These are risks across the population, but they do not guarantee a particular outcome for any individual baby or mother. Some of those risk changes are small and some are quite large which is why it is so important to educate parents-to-be so that they truly can make an informed decision.

This new study looked at over 1700 siblings where one child was breastfed and the other was not, and followed them over time. In addition to asthma and obesity, this study looked at intelligence, behavioral compliance, and parental attachment. However, the study was problematic from inception because the definition of "breastfed" used was problematic -- a breastfed child in the study may have breastfed for as little as one day, or may have breastfed for as long as several years. For purposes of the study, both were treated the same. We know, however, for most conditions, the duration and intensity of breastfeeding is very important to health outcomes.

Although the authors concluded that breastfeeding had no effect, their results actually showed the opposite. From a statistics point of view, all children in the study who were ever breastfed did statistically better than all children who were not, with the exception of asthma. When they looked within siblings where one was ever breastfed and one was not, children who were ever breastfed still did better, including asthma, but the differences were not statistically significant (in other words the better differences between siblings could simply be chance).

Even the conclusion on the intelligence in this study is opposite the most powerful study to date on breastfeeding and IQ, the Promotion of Breastfeeding Intervention Trial (PROBIT study). This study was the gold-standard in study design, a randomized controlled trial in Belarus between hospitals and clinics that implemented supportive breastfeeding policies and those that did not, therefore eliminating the issues of other environmental factors. Infants in the intervention group had significant increases in intelligence compared to the control group, despite the fact that less than half of the intervention infants were exclusively breastfed for three months.

Another problematic area in this study is that it assumes that siblings would have the same experience and environment, which is a pretty large leap. Context and environment might change the mother's perception of her ability to breastfeed. Thus, the premise any differences between siblings may not be due to breastfeeding, but may be due to the same factors that influenced the mother's feeding choice. Further, the authors assume that a healthier child might be the child who is selected by the mother to breastfeed. However from practice, the opposite is actually more likely because so much education and effort is aimed at supporting mothers who have less healthy children to breastfeed, especially mothers of preterm and low birth weight children.

Despite this study's absurd conclusion that breastfeeding does not impact child well-being, it does raise some important questions about what the focus of the breastfeeding conversation should be, namely breastfeeding disparities. We should really be focusing on the fact that some mothers perceive that they cannot breastfeed for preventable reasons like lack of evidence-based education about breastfeeding, unfriendly family policies in workplaces and schools, and unpaid family leave. These problems are ones that have solutions, though not all of them easy, that would allow each family to make the informed decision on how to feed their baby based on the health impact rather than these preventable and discriminatory barriers.

We need to shift the conversation from whether breastfeeding is good or not, to ways to level the playing field for all Americans with policies like offering paid sick leave and paid maternity leave through insurance (the FAMILY Act now in Congress), and support for working mothers so that they can continue to breastfeed (like through the Support for Working Mothers Act, or SWMA, now in Congress). These kinds of bills will make us a stronger, healthier, and more productive nation, and reduce the growing gap between rich and poor that is eroding our civilized society.



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Deep Latch Technique

Deep Latch Technique

Virtual Classes, Consultations & Support Groups!

In order to get milk from the breast, the baby must latch onto the breast. The word "latch" describes the way a baby takes the breast into his/her mouth. The better the latch, the more easily the baby gets mother's milk. The following "deep latch technique" can help your baby feed more easily. It can also prevent damaged and sore nipples.

Remember:It's not supposed to hurt to breastfeed. Sore nipples almost always mean your baby needs to be latched on more deeply.

We offer professional Lactation Consultations. Our team of International Board Certified Lactation Consultants offer one-on-one, gentle, "hands-on" advice for all breastfeeding problems.

  1. Hold your breast with your thumb and index finger on the edge of the areola forming a "C" (football hold), or a "U" (cross cradle hold). Squeeze the finger and thumb toward each other to compress the breast. Keep your fingers off to the side forming "half a sandwich" or just "pinching an inch".
  2. When putting the baby to the breast, support your baby's head with one hand, thumb near one ear, third finger near the other ear, with the web of your hand at the nape of your baby's neck. Tip the head slightly backwards by lifting between your baby's shoulder blades with the heel of your hand.
  3. With your baby's head tilted back and chin up, lift him or her to touch your nipple. The nipple should rest just above the baby's upper lip. Wait for your baby to open very wide, then "scoop" the breast by placing the lower jaw on first. Now tip your baby's head forward and place the upper jaw well behind your nipple. Keep your thumb pressing down to form the flattened sandwich as you place your baby's upper jaw behind the nipple. The lower jaw will be more deeply positioned then the upper jaw.
  4. Wait several seconds, then release your breast. If your baby's nose is buried deeply in the breast, tip the head slightly so you can see your baby's nostril while the nose still touches the breast. There is no need to continue pressing the breast with your thumb.

Tips to remember:

First, all babies have receded chins. If your baby's head drops forward, he/she cannot get the lower jaw correctly positioned deeply under the areola. This results in pinched, sore, blistered, scabbed, nipples and the possibility of poor milk flow.

Second, the deep latch can be achieved with any position of the baby: "football", "cradle", or "cross-cradle" holds, but it is easier if you sit up straight and use pillows to support you and your baby.

Essential Breastfeeding Support and Baby Care Items

The Pump Station & Nurtury® has decades of experience providing new families with outstanding educational, breastfeeding and baby care support, including products and classes which can make all the difference to you and your baby. To see a list of some of the essential products that our Lactation Professionals have recommended, click Essential Breastfeeding and Baby Care Products
See Other Breastfeeding and Baby Care Help Topics

Copyright©2017 by The Pump Station & Nurtury®. All rights reserved. No part of this handout may be reproduced in any form without permission from The Pump Station. This article has not been prepared by a physician, is not intended as medical advice, and is not a substitute for regular medical care. Consult with a physician if medical symptoms or problems occur. Revised 05/2010

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Low Milk Supply

Low Milk Supply

In the United States, concern about low milk supply is the most common reason given by women for supplementation and early weaning. Why do so many women in our culture lack confidence in their ability to adequately nourish their babies? Sociologists believe, that during the last century, the decline in breastfeeding contributed to the loss of knowledge about how breastfeeding really works, and how breastfed babies behave.

What Mothers Need to Know:
  • It is normal for women to feel that they don't have milk in their breasts the first days after birth. Frequent breastfeeding during this time will meet the new baby's need and cause the milk supply to increase rapidly.
  • A good milk supply is encouraged by frequent sucking and effective removal of milk. If milk is not being removed from the breast, the supply will not increase, but instead drop. If a baby needs more milk he will usually nurse more frequently which causes the hormone Prolactin to rise and the milk supply to increase.
  • New research shows that although almost all women can produce plenty of milk, some women need to nurse more often than others in order to meet their baby's caloric need.
  • A baby needs to be latched deeply onto the areola, not just the nipple, to effectively remove milk.
  • Human milk passes through the baby's stomach in 48-90 minutes. The breastfed newborn needs to nurse 8-12 times/24 hours, while the formula fed baby feeds only 6-8 times/24 hours. If a breastfeeding mother tries to feed her baby on a bottle schedule, her baby may not get enough food.
  • A baby will often need to be held, rocked, jiggled and bounced (just as in the womb) even after a good feed. Babies cry for reasons other than hunger. Don't worry about "spoiling" a newborn by holding him too much. If a baby's needs are met, trust is built and good self-esteem and independence will follow.
  • Young babies have a 3-hour wakeful stretch every day, during which they want to be at their mothers' breast the majority of the time (the marathon feed). This usually occurs in late afternoon/evening and is normal.
Possible Causes of Low Milk Supply:
  • Difficult or poor latch-on that leads to poor milk removal. If a baby cannot sustain attachment to the breast for more than a few sucks or if he is only on the nipple, he cannot remove milk and is not nursing well.
  • Early introduction of a bottle. If given formula, the baby won't need to breastfeed often and decreased breast stimulation will generally result in a decreased milk supply. If your doctor advises supplementing your baby, check with a lactation consultant for extra guidance in protecting and maximizing your milk supply.
  • Babies set their own schedule and some need to eat more often than others. Research indicates that a mother needs to be responsive to her particular baby's lead and not adhere to a rigid plan.
  • A sleepy, non-demanding baby. Make sure the baby is coming to the breast 8-12 times in 24 hours. Once weight gain is established, relax and follow the baby's lead.
  • Anything that keeps a baby from nursing vigorously (jaundice, prematurity, illness).
  • Augmentation and reduction breast surgery are both possible risks for a low milk supply. A lactation consultant can help devise a plan to maximize milk supply.
  • A woman who has absolutely no breast changes during pregnancy or during the first week after birth may be at risk for a low supply. Seek extra advice from a consultant.
  • Reduced breast stimulation as a result of: (next li Long Sleep... should be nested)
    • Long sleep stretches by the baby
    • A mother's busy lifestyle
    • Insufficient rest due to a mother's return to the workplace
    • Introduction of alternate baby foods
  • Hormonal contraception. Even the "mini" pill causes some women's milk supply to drop dramatically.
  • Pregnancy
  • Excessive exercise and/or dieting
Ways to Increase Milk Supply:
  • Improve the baby's latch.
  • Increase breast stimulation:
    • Add more feedings and/or nurse longer. Wake the baby for feeds if necessary. Unwrap and undress to help waken.
    • Use a good quality breast pump (hospital grade) and follow most breastfeeds with a 15-minute pumping session. Be patient, it may take a few days or longer to see results.
    • While nursing on the second side, pump the breast the baby just finished (third breast pumping). This effective technique saves a lot of time.
    • Switch sides. When the baby gets sleepy, remove from the breast, burp and switch to the other side. Repeat until the baby won't nurse anymore.
  • Try herbal supplements: Mothers Milk tea, Fenugreek capsules (3 capsules 3 times daily), and Fennel seeds (crushed and made into tea, or just chewed). The effectiveness of these remedies is anecdotal, not research-based, but many mothers find it very helpful.
  • Eat a well balanced diet with lots of whole grains and increase your fluid intake.
  • Ask your OB/GYN to help you choose a non-hormonal contraceptive method.
  • See a lactation consultant for an in-depth evaluation and strategies for improving your milk supply.
  • Ask your doctor to prescribe Reglan or Domperidone (Motillium). These medications are usually used for gastric problems but have a side effect of raising the level of the hormone that increases milk supply. Domperidone must be made by a compounding pharmacy.
Essential Breastfeeding Support and Baby Care Items
The Pump Station & Nurtury® has decades of experience providing new families with outstanding educational, breastfeeding and baby care support, including products and classes which can make all the difference to you and your baby. To see a list of some of the essential products that our Lactation Professionals have recommended, click Essential Breastfeeding and Baby Care Products

Products to help increase milk


See Other Breastfeeding and Baby Care Help Topics

Copyright©2017 by The Pump Station & Nurtury®. All rights reserved. No part of this handout may be reproduced in any form without permission from The Pump Station. This article has not been prepared by a physician, is not intended as medical advice, and is not a substitute for regular medical care. Consult with a physician if medical symptoms or problems occur. Revised 01/06

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