The topic of increasing iron intake for toddlers comes up often in our Support Groups. This recipe for a yummy quick bread was mentioned so I typed up the recipe for everyone to have. One tbsp. of blackstrap molasses provides 3.5 mg of iron. This provides half of the recommended daily intake for toddlers, and 13 percent of the recommended daily intake for pregnant women.
In honor of St. Valentine's Day I wanted to express my feelings about my children for they are truly the best Valentine's Gifts I could ever have received.
Mamas, enjoy every moment with your children. Some will be good, some will be bad, some will be amazing but all are worth it. Happy Valentine's Day!!
Ginger and I are so blessed to meet a huge variety of women in all stages of their breastfeeding journey. We are proud and humbled to be able to support them and to hopefully provide them some guidance along the way. Today I was reminded of something so very important. Breastfeeding is so much more than feeding at the breast.
Let me back up to say that having a baby is hard! Getting pregnant for some women is a huge undertaking. Many women wait years to see those two lines appear on the pregnancy test while others are lucky on the first try. What I have found during my time working with women who are breastfeeding or trying to breastfeed is that if getting pregnant was a challenge then they are hoping that the labor will be easy. If the labor is a struggle or doesn't go as expected then they hope that breastfeeding goes better. Many women arrive at the beginning of their breastfeeding journey with all of their hopes pinned on this going well.
I was once attending the birth of a client who had struggled to get pregnant with her first baby. Her doctor recommended an induction of labor and she and her husband had agreed. During the induction her water broke on its own. I remember the joy she showed that something had happened on its own and that she wasn't "broken." It was so eye-opening to see her joy in something that many women take for granted.
Today while working with a lovely first time mother and her baby she spoke of her birth experience and described it as "traumatic." I voiced for her what I have witnessed, that when a mother's birth experience doesn't go as planned breastfeeding often becomes more important. She was choked up while she nodded her head in agreement.
It is difficult for loved ones to understand. So often we hear loving partners, friends and relatives telling a mother whose birth did not go as planned that, "at least you have a healthy baby." Yes she has a healthy baby but is she ok? Is she emotionally ok? So many mothers have their feelings discounted because their baby is "healthy" and so what more can she ask for.
Why can't she ask for more? Why is it not alright for her to want an easy pregnancy, a smooth birth and a perfect postpartum experience? There is no reason that she can not ask for that. We should help to support her at whatever point along the way that we encounter her.
This brings me back to Ginger and I and to her breastfeeding experience. Breastfeeding is so much more than just feeding at the breast. Breastfeeding is love. Breastfeeding is comfort for the mother and baby. Breastfeeding is about bonding. Breastfeeding is about empowerment and seeing our baby growing from the food that we provide. Breastfeeding is about our experience as mothers.
The next time that you hear a mother speak of her struggles with fertility or her traumatic birth experience I hope that you will provide support and when she gets to the part about breastfeeding....remain a positive voice. Support her. Love her. Provide her with resources if she needs them and above all else honor her experience.
Last summer Ginger and I had the pleasure of attending a wonderful workshop at the Texas La Leche League Conference. We attended the daytime session led by Jaye Simpson, IBCLC and thoroughly enjoyed hearing in-depth information on "Structure and Function" as it relates to the anatomy of the infant and what could be contributing to breastfeeding difficulty. That evening we attended a hands-on clinical session where we observed techniques and put them to work evaluating an infant. We attended many other wonderful sessions in lactation education; however, the sessions taught by Jaye had the most impact on our work. I would say that this information was so empowering and helped us to become even more confident in our evaluations of infants during our lactation consultations.
This knowledge coupled with our years of additional training and experience would lead me to say that here in San Antonio we may be the lactation consultants doing the most thorough examinations of babies and catching oral and physical issues that other practitioners miss. This may be because they are either rushed through visits (often not by choice when the practitioner works in a hospital with limited time resources) or because they lack the extensive training that we have received. Ginger and I continue to seek out courses that further our education and we are excited to team up with other lactation professionals in Central Texas to educate ourselves more fully on how different practitioners working together can get a baby nursing more effectively, gaining weight better and nipping (no pun intended) oral or physical issues in the bud before they effect a baby's later development.
On our website www.TheMILCGroup.com we have compiled a short list of wonderful resources for parents who are seeking information regarding a possible tongue tie, lip tie or other oral issue in their baby. We include practitioners who our clients have found helpful as we want all of our clients to have the best possible experiences. We do suggest that parents seek out the guidance of a lactation professional to help them to decide what kind of practitioner will best serve their needs.
If you suspect that your baby has an oral issue and would like to meet with us for a full evaluation you can contact us by phone at 210-960-MILC/210-960-6452.
For those parents not located in San Antonio, South Texas or the surrounding areas, we suggest that you seek out the support of your local La Leche League Leader or IBCLC to find resources to assist you with your breastfeeding issues. We are always happy to support families who are not located near to us in finding the support that they need.
Human milk sharing has been around most likely since the beginning of time. When women died in childbirth another woman would step in to breastfeed her child. When one woman was away from her child another would breastfeed that baby in a sort of informal shared parenting agreement. There were no bottles or breastpumps. Other cultures still share breastmilk with each other as a way to survive. Even here in the United States situations can arise where mothers are unable to provide breastmilk to their baby themselves but wish for their baby to receive the nutrition of breastmilk and so they enter into some sort of human milk sharing.
There are two basic types of human milk sharing. Those are formal and informal milk sharing.
Here at The MILC Group we as International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs) uphold very strict health standards. We promote breastfeeding and support mothers in reaching their breastfeeding goals. We provide information and resources. However, we do not facilitate milk sharing or act as a go between for mothers. There are risks to milk sharing. A great discussion of these risks can be found in this article, Milk sharing and formula feeding: Infant feeding risks in comparative perspective? by Karleen D. Gribble and Bernice L. Hausman.
This week I had the pleasure of meeting with a local San Antonio pediatrician. Her office had contacted us and asked for a meeting. We were pleased that they had reached out but also wondered what they would want to chat about.
Since we started The MILC Group late last year we have worked hard to market the business to local health care providers as well as the families that we serve. We strive to have professional integrity and we want the families that we work with to know that we represent them and not the interests of any particular care providers. We LOVE that our location is not affiliated with any particular medical practice and we don't pander to any certain medical practices. When asked if we can recommend a pediatrician we give out several names often based on location but always based on our knowledge of how supportive those doctors are of breastfeeding.
Our chat with the local pediatrician went really well! Ginger was not able to make it because it was smack dab in the middle of her busy time of day shuttling her kiddos around. I was rushing that day from one thing to the next and came directly from the elementary school track meet so I was sweaty and feeling sunburned...lol. At first it seemed like it might be a short chat and she asked me a few pointed questions. We then started a more casual conversation about birth, her own breastfeeding experience, her own children's oral issues (or maybe what I thought they might be from hearing her descriptions of nursing issues), her desires for her patients, etc. It turns out we are very much on the same page. Bottom line...we both care about the health of our client's children. We both feel that breastfeeding is extremely important in the development of that good health. We both want to make sure that babies are being fed adequately. I explained what we do during a consult and how we strive to educate our client's on the importance of the baby transferring milk well and what factors can impede that. I talked about our desire to keep baby at the breast while still providing the baby with the proper amount of nutrition and if supplementation is necessary then supplementing with their own breastmilk is our first choice. It was refreshing to hear a health care provider express such a clear interest in the care of her patients beyond the hot topics like vaccines, etc. Our chat led me to want to write this little post and stress the importance of finding a supportive health care provider for your baby.
Questions to ask when looking for a breastfeeding-supportive Pediatrician/Health Care Provider:
1. What are your thoughts about breastfeeding?
2. What are your thoughts about breastfeeding beyond 6 months? beyond a year?
3. Do you have referrals to offer if I am in need of breastfeeding assistance? or are you an IBCLC?
4. Do you have a list of local breastfeeding support groups that you could give me?
5. If my baby needed to be supplemented would you go first to breastmilk or formula as a supplement?
6. What percentage of your patients are breastfeeding exclusively at 1 month?
How to know if a Pediatrician/Health Care Provider is NOT breastfeeding friendly:
1. If they give you formula samples when you meet with them.
2. If they tell you that breastfeeding and bottlefeeding are the same.
3. If they advise you to stop breastfeeding because baby is sick or if they give outdated information about breastfeeding.
4. If they act shocked that you are "still" breastfeeding at six months.
5. If they tell you not to allow baby to fall asleep at the breast or if they push rigid sleep scheduling early on.
6. If YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO BREASTFEED IN THEIR OFFICE OR WAITING ROOM.....RUN THE OTHER WAY!!
We are so happy to have many supportive health care providers here in San Antonio but are always looking for more. If you have a great one, let us know!
This is not going to be a popular post for some of you. Others of you may cheer and be happy that I am saying it. This post is brought on by the massive numbers of mothers who discuss pumping on breastfeeding support pages and in breastfeeding groups. Let me clarify that YES, working mothers will need to pump in order to provide milk to their baby and to maintain their milk supply while they are away from their baby.
Let's look for a moment at the History of the Breastpump....
An amazing invention, the breastpump allows women to work away from their babies and to provide milk for them with much more ease than in the past. Our foremothers had to work very hard to provide milk for their babies if they were away working.
Good reasons to use a breastpump:
NOT good reasons to use a breastpump:
Ultimately, a breastpump is a tool that was designed to be used when you are AWAY from your baby, NOT sitting right in front of your baby. Too often we see mothers who are obsessed with their pumping output instead of concentrating on just relaxing and feeding their baby. We look at the numbers on the outside of a bottle or milk storage bag and judge ourselves and how much milk we can release from our bodies. Stop judging your body. Nurture your milk supply by nursing your baby early and often from birth and then on demand as baby grows. If your baby shows signs of not taking in enough food (low weight gain, low diaper output or dehydration), seek the assistance of an experienced International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) and your Health Care Provider.
~Tina & Ginger