Asthmatic Mothers Encouraged to Breastfeed

Mothers who suffer from asthma should be encouraged to breastfeed according to new research published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine,  This article from Reuters claims that in the past evidence was inconclusive regarding the benefits of breastfeeding for asthmatic mothers, but I beg to differ.  Breastfeeding is the preferred feeding method for infants especially those with family histories of allergies (asthma is an allergy).  In fact this was one of my many reasons for choosing to breastfeed my own children.  I suffered horribly from asthma my whole life; it was only in my 30s after having my children that my asthma improved (do to healthy living choices I made and improved medical treatment).  I did not want the same experience for my little ones–breastfeeding reduces the risk of asthma and allergies and that was important to me.

Here is a quote from the article:

“I think the evidence is that breastfeeding increases lung volume, independent of if the mother is asthmatic or not,” said Dr. Wilfried Karmaus, who studies asthma at the University of South Carolina in Columbia and wasn’t involved in the new work.

“If the lung volume is increased, then you are less susceptible to get asthma,” he told Reuters Health. “It’s important even to tell asthmatic mothers to breastfeed their children.”

Breastfeeding, Pumping, SuperBowl–What?

I read an article today regarding a lactation/pumping room that has been established at the SuperBowl–yes, you read that correctly–Football and Breastfeeding together forever,  This article was a great way to start the day.  Lately it seems that women have had to fight and stand up for their rights to breastfeed in public and the workplace, often facing disparaging and ignorant remarks as a result.

Public health recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the World Health Organization (WHO), the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and many other health oriented organizations around the world call for exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months and continued breastfeeding for at LEAST a year (2 years according to WHO and UNICEF).  We ask moms to breastfeed for their children’s health and for their health–but we don’t provide to tools or support to do it.

So it was nice to see local organizations in Indiana pulling together to support breastfeeding moms at this HUGE sporting event–LOVE IT!  What a step in the right direction.


Pumping in the Workplace

What a lot of moms and employers do not realize is that our new healthcare regulations support mothers pumping at work (the “new” Federal regulations went into place in 2010).  Yes, there are some obvious concerns about the legislation–the most important being–does it have “teeth?”.  Meaning, if an employer is non-compliant how is the issue resolved, but we have to start somewhere.

Here is a copy of the new Federal regulations,  This fact sheet was prepared by the US Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division.  It is a great sheet for moms to provide their employers when they are planning on returning to work and need to discuss their pumping needs.

The good things about the new regulations:

1) There is a law supporting pumping in the workplace

2) Employers (who employee at least 50 employees) must provide “reasonable break time” for pumping

3) The reasonable time is defined as “as frequently as needed by the nursing mother”

4) A bathroom or non private area is NOT acceptable, “Employers are also required to provide ‘a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public’ ”

5) Although employers with less than 50 employees are not subject to the law, they have the burden of PROVING “undue hardship”

6) Although mothers will not be compensated for their pumping time, they can use regularly allotted paid break times to pump

7) The Federal regulations will not preempt State laws that may provide greater protections to the mother (however, state laws regarding pumping in the workplace are often nonexistent [such is the case here in NJ])

The cons:

1) The law only supports pumping in the work place until the infant is one year of age

2) Employers who do not have at least 50 employees are NOT subject to compliance if adherence would cause them “undue hardship”

3) “Reasonable break time” is not well defined and it puts mom in an awkward position to define/defend her pumping needs

4) There is no defined course of action or “punishment” if the employer is non-compliant

What do you think?

Just read this article in the Huffington Post, “The Truth About Breastfeeding.”  The author outlines 11 things she wished she had known–wished someone had told her.  It is funny and cute, and it may be true….  Do we hide the “truth” about breastfeeding and mothering, for that matter, both can be difficult, hard, rewarding and the best thing you ever do (talk about conflicting)???

It can be hard and challenging in the beginning and every time someone tells you, “if it hurts you are doing it wrong” may feel like a knife in your heart.  Is there an assumption since breastfeeding is natural, it should happen naturally?

Breastfeeding is a learned art; it takes time to get it right and you and the baby are learning at the same time.  It does get easier but as you sit there with your nipples bleeding you may not find comfort in that.

My advice–be prepared and GET HELP as soon as possible.  Don’t be afraid to reach out with questions and concerns.  Join a support group–breastfeeding/mothering support groups are a wonderful way to meet other moms going through the same thing–after all “misery loves company”–kidding aside, there is something invaluable about knowing someone else feels the same way you do and more importantly seeing the light at the end of the tunnel–meeting the moms who have gotten past that point, who are “in love” with breastfeeding who can share their “I remember when” stories.


Watering down formula; follow up to yesterday’s post on formula preparation

Yesterday I posted information on how important it is for families who choose or need to formula feed to have the proper information on preparation.  For infants receiving powdered or concentrated formulas how to reconstitute and add water is a crucial step in formula preparation.  Not only does the water source need to be clean and pure and at the right temperature (when making powdered formula the temperature of the water needs to be at least 70 degrees Celsius), you need to add just the right amount of water.

Some families who are economically challenged may want to add more water to “stretch” the amount of formula they have out.  This practice is extremely harmful to infants and can cause severe medical complications as highlighted in this article,

“Two-thirds of the families in the federal Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program – which provides nutrition basics for low-income women with children – reported running out of WIC-supplied formula toward the end of most months. Among food-insecure families, 27 percent reported watering down formula or reducing feedings, a practice that can have serious health consequences for babies’ developing brains, leading to cognitive, behavioral and psychological issues.”

The governmental program, WIC, has been criticized for not supporting breastfeeding and for being the number one purchaser of formulas, but you can see from the outcomes of the recent study highlighted in the article that others can argue this supplemental program does not do enough for those families who choose or need to formula feed.  In an ideal culture where breastfeeding was the norm, where it was promoted, supported and protected by all perhaps we would not have this issue; however, for families who have chosen to use formula maybe because of challenges they face coordinating work schedules and other employment issues perhaps the supplement is not enough.

Guide to Bottle Feeding

I have been searching for an easy to use guide for parents who need to use formula.  Formula requires special preparation, whether you are using a ready to feed preparation, a concentration, or a powdered formula.

Many are not aware that powdered formula is not sterile and can contain bacteria.  The World Health Organization has a wonderful publication regarding powdered formula, but it is quite lengthy and may not easily be understood by everyone in all cultures (in my opinion), Safe preparation, storage and handling of powdered infant formula:Guidelines  (the guide is 25 pages long).  Here is an excerpt regarding the possible contamination of powdered formula:

“Powdered infant formula (PIF) has been associated with serious illness and death in infants due to infections with Enterobacter sakazakii. During production, PIF can become contaminated with harmful bacteria, such as Enterobacter sakazakii and Salmonella enterica. This is because, using current manufacturing technology, it is not feasible to produce sterile PIF. During the preparation of PIF, inappropriate handling practices can exacerbate the problem.”

I found another formula preparation guide produced by UNICEF that is Baby Friendly Compliant too and it is a wee bit simpler, –it is 22 pages long but has a nice step by step with pictures that will likely appeal to new parents.

Sterilization and cleanliness are important when preparing formula for a newborn.  The water source you use must be safe.  In underdeveloped areas of the world where clean water is not readily available and rates of dysentery, illness that causes severe diarrhea and dehydration, are high breastfeeding may safe many lives.  However, having clean water and preparing formula in developed areas still requires careful preparation.

Many hospitals/health care professionals do not always prepare families who choose to formula feed or those who need to formula feed how to properly prepare.  Ready to feed formula is very expensive and most families will choose to use the concentrated or powdered formula in order to cut costs.  Health care professionals must support all families and providing education regarding formula preparation for those who need it is essential.

For those who need the information, please take a look at the “Guide for Bottle Feeding” prepared by UNICEF, I think you will find it very helpful.


So happy to announce

The Magical Hour after birth–skin to skin is where our babies belong. So happy to announce that Dr. Kajsa Brimdyr is one of our guest speakers at the annual Monmouth/Ocean Breastfeeding Consortium Conference on August 1, 2012–always a perfect way to celebrate World Breastfeeding Week.

Here are the 9 steps outlined in The Magical Hour:

The First Hour After Birth: A Baby’s 9 Instinctive Stages
The first hours after birth are a developmentally distinct time for a baby and there are well documented short and long term physical and psychological advantages when a baby is held skin to skin during this time.

When a baby is in skin to skin contact after birth there are nine observable newborn stages, happening in a specific order,

that are innate and instinctive for the baby. Within each of these stages, there are a variety of actions the baby may


Stage 1: The Birth Cry
The first stage is the birth cry. This distinctive cry occurs immediately after birth as the baby’s lungs expand.

Stage 2: Relaxation
The second stage is the relaxation stage. During the relaxation stage, the newborn exhibits no mouth movements and

the handsare relaxed. This stage usually begins when the birth cry has stopped. The baby is skin to skin with the mother

and covered with a warm, dry towel or blanket.

Stage 3: Awakening

The third stage is the awakening stage. During this stage the newborn exhibits small thrusts of movement in the head

and shoulders.This stage usually begins about 3 minutes after birth. The newborn in the awakening stage may exhibit head

movements, open his eyes,show some mouth activity and might move his shoulders.

Stage 4: Activity
The fourth stage is the activity stage. During this stage, the newborn begins to make increased mouthing and

sucking movements as the rooting reflex becomes more obvious. This stage usually begins about 8 minutes after birth.

Stage 5: Rest
At any point, the baby may rest. The baby may have periods of resting between periods of activity throughout the first

hour or so after birth.

Stage 6: Crawling
The sixth stage is the crawling stage. The baby approaches the breast during this stage with short periods of action

that result in reaching the breast and nipple. This stage usually begins about 35 minutes after birth.

Stage 7: Familiarization
The seventh stage is called familiarization. During this stage, the newborn becomes acquainted with the mother by

licking the nipple and touching and massaging her breast. This stage usually begins around 45 minutes after birth and

could last for20 minutes or more.

Stage 8: Suckling
The eighth stage is suckling. During this stage, the newborn takes the nipple, self attaches and suckles. This early

experience oflearning to breastfeed usually begins about an hour after birth. If the mother has had analgesia/anesthesia

during labor, it may take more time with skin to skin for the baby to complete the stages and begin suckling.

Stage 9: Sleep
The final stage is sleep. The baby and sometimes the mother fall into a restful sleep. Babies usually fall asleep about

1½ to 2 hours after birth.

We are eating less meat

I read an article in today’s NYT that made me smile and frustrated me at the same time,

For those that know me or follow me on The Lactation Lady Facebook Fanpage, you know healthy eating choices and healthy living choices are a passion of mine; hence, the career supporting breastfeeding.  The article outlined the author’s response to last months Daily Livestock Report (pdf of report available from a link in the article).  The reasons why meat consumption have dropped and continue to drop (and are expected to continue to drop) did not include HEALTH REASONS.  You would have to be living in a bubble not to know that current diet recommendations for healthy living focus on plant based eating and reducing (or in some cases [particularly cardiac related cases] eliminating meat)—Welcoming the rise in vegetarian eating, Meatless Mondays, the push for Forks over Knives–the movement to reduce the amount of meat people consume for health reasons.

There will be those holdouts–just like there are still plenty of people who choose to smoke and/or consume fried foods (you can insert any non-healthy vice here [please note, I recognize that no one, myself included, is perfect])–but hopefully even they have or will switch to an approach that includes moderation.



I LOVE Breastfeeding Art

I came across this awesome blog today that features really cool breastfeeding art,

This picture is so beautiful to me because of its location–a beautiful breastfeeding photo in the kitchen.  It is simple and stunning at the same time.  Did you snap any great breastfeeding photos or do you have plans to?  Looking back I wish I had….

I would have loved having a photo of me nursing.

Free Herbal Lecture

The Bosom Buddies Breastfeeding Support Group is sponsoring a FREE HERBAL LECTURE with Virginia Ahearn BS, CPM, PCD (Certified Professional Midwife, Practitioner of Herbal Medicine, and Certified Postpartum Doula) on Wednesday, January 18th at 11 am–Colts Neck Library, Community Center Meeting Room, 1 Winthrop Lane

Come and hear Virginia’s top 10 herbs for:


Kids Health

and Winter Health