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Monthly Archives: August 2014

Myths About Introducing Solid Food

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the World Health Organization (WHO) recommend that babies be breastfed exclusively for the first 6 months. That means no formula, no other foods, or water. The AAP encourages breastfeeding to continue after the introduction of food until at least 12 months, and longer if both the mother and baby are willing. The WHO recommends that babies be breastfed for at least 2 years or longer. This may be a shocker to some people who think it is “gross” after 12 months (before I was a mother I was one of you. once you know better you do better,right?). The AAP, also, recommends not feeding solids earlier that 6 months because feeding solids earlier 6 months can increase the risks of your baby developing food allergies. Also, Juice or water shouldn’t be given to infants it fills them up leaving little room for true nutrition, breast milk.

Here are some myths about introducing solid food That I hear all the time:

  1. “My baby isn’t sleeping through the night and is still getting up every 4 hours at 3 months old. My Grandmother told me to give my baby cereal to help them sleep”
  • First, this is normal behavior and actually better for them, and is considered sleeping through the night at this age. Babies need to nurse often for nutrition and comfort. You can’t try to putt a infant onto a normal adult sleep pattern. They will naturally sleep longer stretches as they get older, but remember about 50% of toddlers still get up at least once a night.
  • Second, There is no medical evidence to support this practice. The studies that have been done, even when reducing the definition of sleeping “through the night” by two hours, there was no significant or consistent trend found in increasing the baby’s sleep.
  • What putting cereal in a bottle for your baby does do is it puts your baby at risk of aspiration (choking and then the cereal getting down the wrong pipe and into the lungs). If that happens nothing could happen or the baby could develop pneumonia, that could possibly  permanently damage the lungs, or they could die from the infection. Lastly, if an infant experiences aspiration they could even die with in minuets of asphyxiation. In my opinion the risks do not out weigh the benefit.

2.  “My baby is not gaining as fast as he was before”

  • This is normal after about 4 months of age. The growth spurst come farther between and the infants begin to have more physical activity.  During this time their brains are very busy and need fuel, but adding low nutrient dense foods is not the way to go. Breastmilk has plenty of carbohydrates to fuel yoru babies activities. Breastmilk has fat to fuel their brain growth. Breastmilk have plenty of vitamins and minerals to support the body. Lastly, and again, Breastmilk still has antibodies to keep your baby in their optimal health. The delay of foods and continued breastfeeding, or formula, is actually the healthiest choice.

Normal Growth spurt pattern: 

  • 7-10 days, 2-3 weeks, 4-6 weeks, 3 months, 4 months, 6 months and 9 months

Average weight gain pattern: 

  • 0 to 4 months – between 5 to 7 ounces per week
  • 4 to 6 months – between 4 to 5 ounces per week
  • 6-12 months – Between  2 to 4 ounces per week

Readiness for food is more about the digestive tract maturity than weight.

3. “My baby is so big, there is no way he is getting enough from just me” 

  • The AAP, and WHO, state that solids should be introduced in the second part of the first year. There is nothing in their statement about a child doubling their birth weight, or even tripling their birth weight being an indicator of the need to introduce foods. The fact is the most foods that are introduced at and early age (cereals, fruits, and vegetables) contain fewer calories and fat than breastmilk, or formula. Also, there are no foods that can boast the same antimicrobial and antibacterial properties in breastmilk.

 4. “My baby is always grabbing for my food, I’m sure he wants some”

  • They are playing and interested in what you are doing. Yes, the fact that they can reach is a sign that they getting ready to be able to feed them selves, but there and several signs and physical milestones that your baby needs before adding food. Look for your baby being able to use the “pincer grasp”. Babies like to, and learn, from being tiny little mimes. Before sitting down at the table to eat nurse the baby and then hand them teething rings and a spoon they will probably be very content playing. You can even make momcicles to offer to play with and help with teething.

5. “My Pediatrician said my baby needs cereals and food to ensure they are getting enough iron, other wise they may be developmentally delayed!”

  • Did your doctor to an iron test? Yes, then they should have prescribed you infant vitamin drops, not cereals.
  • No? no testing?  Unfortunately, the Doctor just used a scare tactic on you, I’m sorry. Mine tried this on me too, but I knew the AAP said wait, and I had just had my personal iron and my babies iron checked and both were great. When I told her that she was very upset that she was wrong, but still didn’t apologize.
  • If your pediatrician tells you to add cereals before the age of 6 months for “iron needs”, ask for an iron test and see if your babies iron is perfectly fine before tiring to fix something that isn’t broken.

Remember, Food is just for play through the first year, and many children grow and thrive on breast milk alone, no foods or drinks, until a year old.

Starting foods too early risks possible food allergies. Children that have been feed earlier than 6 months have a higher rate of medical conditions such as asthma and the development of diabetes later in life. By continuing to breastfeed till the 2nd part of your babies first year before adding foods you are also reducing their risk of childhood cancers. Waiting until your baby shows all, or at least most of the signs of readiness for foods. There is no benefit to introducing solids early but there many benefits in waiting. This is not a race watch your baby they will tell you when they are ready.

Signs a child is ready for solid food

  • They are six months old
  • They can sit up without any support, more than just a second.
  • he uses the pincer grasp, finger and thumb, to pick things up well
  • They continue to be show hunger queues even though you have began nursing more often, and they are not sick or teething
  • They no longer have the ” Tongue-thrusting reflex”. You can test this by spoon-feeding breastmilk if they poke their tongue out of the mouth and it all dribbles, the reflex is still there. Or after 6 months of age and all other signs have been met start placing soft foods in front of them and let them play and taste it. You could choose yogurt, a slice of well steamed and cooled apple cut into small  pieces, a few small pieces  bananas, a small bowl of avocado to play in and taste. Lastly you could try just waiting till they reach for something and eat it. Many moms choose this method and prefer it as it is much easier.



Support Mammas

For some reason we as women have been bashing each other for the choices we make as mothers. Why? Do you think that it is truly going to help another moms to bash certain choices she has made for her family. We may not always agree with other Moms, but we should support them and educate them IF they are looking for input. Sometimes we must agree to disagree.

Yes, I am sad every time I hear of a mom that quits breastfeeding and I’m honestly slightly angered by one that makes a choice to never nurse her child. That was her choice though, and one that I CAN NOT MAKE FOR HER no matter what her reasoning is.

Yes, I believe breastfeeding is a health choice and not just a life style choice. Many people believe it is only a life style or parenting choice, but I feel it is much deeper.

Yes, I personally quit breastfeeding my oldest child. My oldest was born at a hospital with very little breastfeeding support. I had no lactation Consultants available and they didn’t even bring her to me for 5 hours after her birth. No support was offered to me after I left. We only made it 2 weeks before we added formula and by 5 months I was producing around 5 ounces a day. I didn’t feel like it was enough and stopped. I regret that choice and many others. Starting with choosing an early induction, but that is another post altogether.

Yes, I nursed my son for 33 months.

Yes, I would have nursed him longer If he had continued to request to.

If a woman with a 3 week old baby says she isn’t breastfeeding, fine. She has already made her choice. Do not condemn her. If you see a woman who is 37 weeks pregnant and 3 weeks from giving birth and she says she is not going to breastfeeding, ask her why? See if maybe she has never known anyone who breastfed and is uncomfortable or she feels like formula babies are fatter and there for “healthier”. Maybe all she needed was for someone to say to her why not? Why not try? You can do it. If we can’t get women to at least be comfortable enough try then we will not be able to change the minds of the society of the south.

We all want people to support breastfeeding, but what if we are asking them to support something that they didn’t choose for their family. What we should ask is for them to support our choices as Moms and not to hinder us in our choices. You can always switch to a bottle, but you can’t just “switch” back to breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding, bottle feeding, formula feeding, exclusive pumping, mixed feeding, donor milk, and full term breastfeeding (nursing to and past 2 years). Just support her as a Mom ladies. You are all Mom enough!

Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding

Have you ever heard of the Ten Steps to Successful breastfeeding ? Seen them? Read them? Know them? love them?

Here they are if you have never seen them, or just need a refresher:

The Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding are as follows:
1. Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff.

2. Train all health care staff in skills necessary to implement this policy.

3. Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.

4. Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within a half-hour of birth.

5. Show mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation even if they should be separated from their infants.

6. Give newborn infants no food or drink other than breast-milk, unless medically indicated.

7. Practice rooming-in—allow mothers and infants to remain together—24 hours a day.

8. Encourage breastfeeding on demand.

9. Give no artificial teats or pacifiers (also called dummies or soothers) to breastfeeding infants.

10. Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or clinic.

When I gave birth to my children these were not being followed in the hospitals I birthed in, though one hospital did better at helping me meet my personal breastfeeding goals than the other.

With my first I got #3, #8, #6 waa waa waaa
With my second I got #3, #4, #6, #8, #10

Number 10, oh number 10, I can’t say enough about number 10. The support group at the hospital I gave birth to my son at was a life saver. It helped me establish relationships with other breastfeeding moms, and know that I was not alone. I Learned what mistakes I had made, whether in my control or outside of my control, and what to do.I feel that I made life long friends. I completely and wholeheartedly know that without them I wouldn’t have met my goals. The friends I made have different breastfeeding stories and we all had different issues and breastfed different lengths of time, but we supported each other! We messaged on social media, we posted to each others accounts, and we watched our children grow. Now we are all are breastfeeding counselors looking to make a difference in others moms lives, and support their goals.

I’m most likely done having children, but it doesn’t take away the passion I developed over 33 months of breastfeeding and nurturing my son at the breast. They are not finished with their families and I will be there for them when they expand and have there 2nd children.

In America many of our Grandmothers and mothers were told that they couldn’t breastfed or shouldn’t breastfeed for the last 60+ years. In so many cultures the family is the support group. The family says “hey, is that latch comfortable? that baby is only on the tip that’s going to hurt!” or “yeah, newborns nurse a lot that’s totally normal, you’re doing great!!” For many our families don’t know how to breastfeed, or tried and were given terrible information. Support groups are important to grow our generation back into breastfeeding being the norm.

P.S. Thanks Girls

Times and Lives are Changing

bannerfor eastalbsTimes and Lives are Changing

It’s August again and we are approaching World Breastfeeding Week and our National Breastfeeding Month has begun.

Today was our local Big Latch On we had 9 latches many more moms and kids. Our local online support group has over 900 members with many active participants. We have a group of women that have taken a course and become breastfeeding councilors, as part of our hospital working with a grant from NICHQ to become Baby-Friendly. We have around 3 breastfeeding support groups throughout the community, and we will be adding one more to support the valley area by the end if the month. 3 years ago there was no were near this amount of support. Some of the medical personnel in the area is being dragged kicking and screaming but now there is enough strangth to drag them!

This village is coming together around its mothers and babies and I am so proud to be part to this moment in history were we take control of our fears and rawr like tigers… Or trumpet if you choose.