Archive for Breastfeeding

Dairy-free living

It has been 3 months now since I’ve been dairy-free. My infant son has a cow’s milk protein allergy (CMPA) and because I am committed to nursing him, I have cut all dairy out of my diet. It was hard at first, but I can say that my cravings have significantly subsided now. That’s pretty amazing since I was a huge dairy consumer — milk, cottage cheese, cream cheese, yogurt, and hard cheeses. Yes, cheese has been the most difficult item to go without. There’s just no substitute close to smoked gouda. Mmm. At any rate, I wanted to share some dairy-free resource for anyone else who might be in the same boat. I hope you find them useful. I also plagodairyfreen to share dairy-free recipes this month. Stay tuned.

Informative Websites
Go Dairy Free
No Milk
Whole Foods Market

Blogs
The Spunky Coconut
Avoiding Milk Protein
The Milk Free Life
Ashley’s Dairy-free cooking

Books
Go Dairy Free
The Milk-Free Kitchen: Living Well Without Dairy Products
Levana Cooks Dairy-Free

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How’s My Latch?

Blake nursing

Blake nursing

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Breastfeeding Baby #2

Nursing our first child didn’t exactly start out easy. He had a double short frenulum. Because of that, he couldn’t extend his tongue over his gum line and he therefore “chomped” on me. I was cracked and bloody and cried every time. When he was 3 weeks old, Amber (my dear friend and one of our authors) checked out his latch again and recognized the short frenulum — her son had one too. She suggested that we have it checked out by an oral surgeon. We did so and that morning, his frenulum was clipped. That was the beginning of a wonderful 16 month breastfeeding relationship between my son and I.

I expected nursing to go somewhat easier this time. For the most part, it has. No cracked and bleeding nipples. No crying. I have had our share of rough nights, sore nipples, and poor latches, but I can’t complain. I don’t have intense pain like the first time. Now, beside the joy of providing nourishment to our son and the joy of just plain nursing him, in the fullness of the word “nurse,” I have found an adorable breastfeeding partner — our oldest child. Yes, the one that had the double short frenulum. He climbed up onto the couch, said, “nurse Elmo,” and that’s exactly what he did — nurse his baby! What a privilege we have as moms to NURSE our babies. It’s even better when our older children immitate us because they think it’s pretty special too.

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Boosting Breastmilk Supply

Over the course of a nursing career, there may be times when you recognize that your milk supply is not what it was or what you desire. This can be caused by illness, hormonal changes, stress, supplementing with formula, using artificial nipples, or changes in a child’s routine. Fortunately, the milk-making process in our bodies is flexible and adapatable. There are several ways to increase one’s milk supply but you must remember that it is not an instant process. It often takes as long to increase a supply as it does to decrease one.

  • NURSE, NURSE, NURSE: The very best method for increasing supply is to nurse more often and until baby has completely emptied the breast. If you are certain that your baby is nursing effectively and has a good latch and suck, simply offer the breast more often; switching from approximately every 3 hours to approximately every 2 1/2 hours, for example. Unlimited access to the breast for baby would be the ideal situation. Additionally, always offer both breasts at each feeding. If you remove more milk, your body will produce more milk. Milk production is an almost purely a supply=demand=supply=demand situation and by extracting more milk, your body is triggered to make more milk.
  • INCREASE INTAKE: You can try increasing the amount of milk that baby is taking in while at the breast through switch nursing and breast compression. To use switch nursing, watch baby closely as they eat. The moment they fall asleep, lose interest, or switch to “comfort” sucking, switch sides. A new let-down and fast ejection of the milk will renew their attention and increase the amount of milk they are taking in. Use both breasts at least twice during a nursing session to assure that baby is getting adequate hind milk. The additional fast sucking stimulation will trigger an increase. You can also use breast compression to boost the amount of milk being taken in. This involves stimulating a milk ejection by squeezing the breast after baby has stopped sucking on their own. Dr. Jack Newman, a leading expert on breastfeeding, has a “Protocol to Increase Breastmilk Intake in Babies” which is posted on KellyMom.
  • UP YOUR PROTEIN: Milk production needs water, fat and protein. Making sure to keep your water intake up combined with our bodies FABULOUS ability take the fat from itself if its not readily available (yee-haw!), protein may be the thing that’s lacking. Grab a big spoonful of peanut butter or cottage cheese, fish, eggs, etc.
  • TRY A GALACTAGOGUE: A galactagogue is a substance that increases milk supply. These should be tried only in combination with the other methods listed. Think and research before trying one. The average nursing mother shouldn’t need a galatagogue to maintain an effective supply. If you chose to use one, there are many out there: both ones that have a proven effect and other’s that are “old wives tales”. They effect production in different ways so you might need to try a few before you find one that works for you. KellyMom is a wonderful resource for dosage and side effect information. The two most common galactagogues are fenugreek, and oatmeal.

Ideally, you’ll never have a supply issue. But if you do, first NURSE, NURSE, NURSE and then try some of these other effective methods.


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Breastfeeding in the Bible

As a breastfeeding mother, I struggled deeply through many challenges. I found wonderful encouragement and perseverance through the counsel of friends but I will admit that I missed looking to an essential place to fill my soul in those difficult days. Now, I completely understand that most mothers caring for children during biblical times didn’t have a feeding decision to make and I don’t use these verses as an argument in favor of a breastfeeding decision today, but the correlations between a mother feeding at the breast and the nourishing spirit of God can not be denied. I have since found great encouragement in the essential role of breastfeeding, not only in regards to my relationship with my children, but also in my relationship with Christ.

Psalm 8:2 (The Message)

Nursing infants gurgle choruses about you;

toddlers shout the songs that drown out enemy talk, and silence atheist babble.

Psalm 22:9-10 (NIV)

Yet you brought me out of the womb;

you made me trust in you even at my mother’s breast

Isaiah 49:15 (NIV)

Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne?

Though she may forget, I will not forget you!

1 Peter 2:1 (The Message)

So clean house! Make a clean sweep of malice and pretense, envy and hurtful talk. You’ve had a taste of God. Now, like infants at the breast, drink deep of God’s pure kindness. Then you’ll grow up mature and whole in God.

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Medication use During Pregnancy & Breastfeeding

While avoiding medications when pregnant or breastfeeding is desirable, it is often not possible due to conditions such as asthma, epilepsy, or high blood pressure. Failure to treat such a condition may affect the health of both the mother and her infant.

Unfortunately for me, I have asthma, seasonal allergies, and severe food allergies. While I can “rough it” by eliminating my allergy medication in certain seasons (even though it is technically safe), I cannot chose to ignore anaphylactic shock after eating something cross-contaminated with peanuts. I have to take a Benadryl (or in worse cases, my Epi-Pen). Without it, I will eventually be hospitalized or dead. Now, I should say this. When pregnant especially, I am extremely careful about what I eat. Epinephrine crosses the placenta and may lead to a decrease in uterine blood flow, not to mention that congenital defects are associated with first trimester exposure. (source) Obviously, using my Epi-Pen is not desirable.

If you’re like me, you want to know what is absolutely fine, what is safe if you really need it, and what you have to stay away from no matter what. Well, here you go…The following are resources put forth by health professionals. Just be sure to access the correct list — what may be okay in nursing may not be true for pregnancy.

* The Safe Fetus website is database of worldwide medications (generic & trade) that provides information on the drugs’ indications, fetal risk, breastfeeding risk, and risk during pregnancy, according to the FDA.
SafeFetus

* The American Academy of Pediatrics maintains a list of drugs that are transferred into breastmilk.
AAP list

* FAQs on medication use during pregnancy and breastfeeding from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
CDC FAQs

* Dr. Sears’ answers on taking medication while breastfeeding
Dr. Sears

* Drug and breastmilk interaction chart from Babycenter
Babycenter chart

* La Leche Leagure article titled “Medications and Breastfeeding”
LLLI article 1

* La Leche League article titled “Maternal Medications and Breastfeeding”
LLLI article 2

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The Best Breast Milk

I came across an interesting article in a current women’s magazine. According to a study in the British Journal of Nutrition, moms who ate more organic meat and dairy had higher levels of a fatty acid called CLA. CLA has been shown to boost immune systems in newborns and decrease the risk for eczema. You can read more about it here.

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