In the last few days I have been answering lots of questions on the La Leche League USA Facebook page as well as my local LLL of San Antonio Facebook group. It seems the majority of the questions are centered around milk supply. Not a big shocker really. It seems in this day and age mamas are always concerned about their milk supply. Their baby can be super chunky, having a pee diaper every couple of hours and pooping up a storm, yet they are still worried.
The modern nemesis of all lactation support people is.....the lactation cookie! I see posts all the time on IBCLC and La Leche League Leader pages venting their frustration that the answer to every breastfeeding malady seems to be the lactation cookie. I am right there with them.
Do you see what I'm saying? The lactation cookie can only do just so much. How can you increase your milk supply for real?
If you do all of the above and still want to eat some lactation cookies, go ahead. Enjoy a cookie :)
The other night I sat down after teaching my Bradley Class and was relaxing in front of the tv. It's my routine after talking for two straight hours to sit quietly and just veg out. I opened up my Facebook and was glancing through notifications when I saw something so upsetting. Literally my heart sank. A "friend" from high school apparently was having a bad night and she decided that something in my Facebook feed pissed her off. This is what I saw:
"And while I'm at it...can I bitch about how breast feeding nazis are up there with politicians, etc... hey, been there done that but you don't need to shove it down everyone's throats!! #thatsallyoupostabout!!!#sickandtiredofseeingtitts!!!
Now do you see why my heart sank? I was so sad. I have spent the last 16 years of my life trying to build women up. Working to empower them in their choices as mothers and working with partners to aid in that empowerment. I hope that I can support the family as it grows and changes. I LOVE what I do. I have worked with thousands of families in my roles as a La Leche League Leader, Birth Doula, Childbirth Instructor and Lactation Consultant. This is my life.
Why did I choose to do this work? Quite simply because of the impact that those who worked with me had on my choices and the way that I have parented. Our Bradley Instructor in Austin, Chan McDermott taught us to be proactive, intuitive, involved and informed. My La Leche League Leaders, Beverly and Laurie Ann, showed me how to be gentle in my parenting. I learned so much about breastfeeding but more so I learned so much about myself. I still to this day quote things that they said to me. I can not thank them enough. Over the years there have been others who have influenced and assisted me in this journey. I enjoy being the supportive educator to the young families that I now work with.
I want to encourage everyone who knows me to happily unfriend me if I offend you. If my posts are bothersome you do not have to be my friend on Facebook. It will not hurt my feelings. I am so blessed to have friends who support my career and passion. I get so many positive comments from old friends. Surprisingly my most supportive friends are often men who I have known since high school. My own partner Matthew often sends me articles, etc. on topics related to breastfeeding, childbirth, etc. that he sees on BBC online.
Oh and just for the record....I support each and every one of you in the choices that you have made in parenting/mothering/fathering. I do not like you any less because you chose not to breastfeed or you asked for an elective cesarean or you considered your epidural the best decision you ever made. You don't have to defend those choices to me. Those choices were yours and as long as you made them after being given good evidence-based information, I truly don't care. I made my choices for me and not for anyone else and expect the same of you.
I decided that for Throwback Thursday I was going to look in old issues of Mothering magazine for interesting tidbits. Imagine my surprise when I saw an article from the Winter 1994 edition of Mothering magazine that was written about "Baby Friendly Hospitals." Right there in print was the list of Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding that had been part of the launch of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, a joint project of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).
At the time the article was written the author, Judy Mieger, stated that 800 hospitals and four birth centers outside of the United States had made the commitment to the Ten Steps. According to the Baby-Friendly website, 20,000 facilities now exist worldwide. How many have committed in the United States? The Baby-Friendly USA website states a mere 222 (!!!). In the entire United States! In the State of Texas?....A whopping seven. Not one in the City of San Antonio. We wonder why our breastfeeding rates are so low.
Looking at the Ten Steps, I wonder which ones are the biggest challenge for birth facilities. I can tell you that locally our hospitals are not following #9, nor #8 (because everyone has their opinion on how often you should nurse) and #7 is practiced, but only after baby is often taken away for a bath and transitioning.....which is so not necessary. Babies transition better on their mama. Baths wash away all the amazing goodness babies are born with. I believe that most facilities are following the remainder of the steps. Maybe we as consumers need to push our local facilities to complete the process and follow all 10. I hope it doesn't take us another 20 years!!
Most babies will lose weight after they are born. We like to say that babies are born "juicy" and so weight loss is normal. A study published in the December 2014 issue of Pediatrics (the Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics) confirms this. The study is authored by Dr. Flaherman of the University of California, San Francisco, and her colleagues.
In this era of induction and cesarean births we are seeing babies with higher weight loss percentages than in years past. Having worked in lactation for over 16 years I have seen these expected percentages change over the years. In the 1990's a 7% weight loss was what was considered "normal." Somewhere along the way it became 10%. I now consistently see babies losing 10% and sometimes more. My colleagues and I work with mothers who are on IV fluids, pitocin and epidural drips for 24 hours or more. That is a lot of fluid being taken on by the mother and in turn the baby. A few days after an induced or cesarean birth the mother usually finds her legs are swollen up like tree trunks and her feet won't fit into anything but flip flops. Where do we think these fluids go for baby?
According to the authors of the study of the 108,907 exclusively breastfed newborns, 83,433 were delivered vaginally and 25,474 were delivered by cesarean. "Differential weight loss by delivery mode was evident 6 hours after delivery and persisted over time. Almost 5% of vaginally delivered newborns and >10% of those delivered by cesarean had lost ≥10% of their birth weight 48 hours after delivery. By 72 hours, >25% of newborns delivered by cesarean had lost ≥10% of their birth weight."
We regularly tell parents that their pediatrician will expect their baby to be back up to "birth weight" at the two week appointment. We will see if this study will change these guidelines or if they will stay the same. Either way we at The MILC Group will continue to support the families of our community in feeding their babies.
How to handle breastfeeding during the Holiday Season....
This past week The MILC Group asked this question of our Facebook community. We figured that we should go to the source (the moms) for the best answers. We gathered together their responses for this week's blog post. The following are some ways that our MILC Moms dealt with the Thanksgiving Day preparation. These tips could be applied to all of your upcoming Holiday Gatherings.
The Holidays can be a challenging time for a breastfeeding mother. Feeling the need to "get everything done" while also meeting the needs of a baby can be quite stressful. We want to encourage you to take care of yourself so that you can take care of your baby. We often use the oxygen mask analogy. On an airplane you are told to put your own oxygen mask on first so that you can then put an oxygen mask on your child. This is done so that you are able to care for your child in that emergency situation. In life we encourage you to do the same. Your health and well-being are of paramount importance to your children. Make sure that you are hydrating, resting, eating well and getting lots of snuggle time with your babies.
If you have any questions about breastfeeding during the Holidays feel free to stop by and see us at our Breastfeeding Center. We are always happy to help!
~Tina & Ginger