Amy's Corner. our lactation consultant answers your questions about nursing.

February Celebrity Baby Round-Up

Welcome the world, celebrity babies! We’re taking a look at the newest, littlest stars in Hollywood and their famous parents.

emily-blunt-baby-bumpJohn Krasinski + Emily Blunt

The former Office funnyman took to his personal twitter account to announce the arrival of his and Emily’s daughter, Hazel, on February 16th. “Emily and I are so incredibly happy to welcome our daughter Hazel into the world today!” John tweeted to his fans. This is the couple’s first child. Krasinski and Blunt married in 2010 and announced her pregnancy in the fall of 2013. Whether little Hazel inherits her father’s humor or her mother’s good looks (or both!), we’re sure that we’ll be seeing her on the big screen someday.

Simon Cowell + Laura Silverman

simon-cowell-new-babyWho knew that the scariest competition judge in television history would be changed so drastically by fatherhood? Cowell and Silverman celebrated Valentine’s Day with their new son, Eric Philip. The duo’s son was born in New York City and weighed in at 6 lbs., 7oz. Like Krasinski, Cowell announced his son’s birth via Twitter: “very happy to say Eric was born…Healthy and handsome.” Cowell also shared with his fans that he and Laura named their son Eric after Cowell’s father—so sweet! This is Simon and Laura’s first child together.

soleil-moon-frye-baby-bumpJason Goldberg + Soleil Moon Frye

Three’s company for the Goldberg-Frye family! Soleil and husband Jason welcomed their first son, Lyric Sonny Roads, on February 10th. The newest member of the family joins two older sisters, Jagger and Poet. With a name like Lyric, it would be no surprise if Jason and Soleil’s son ended up in the music industry. It was clear that Lyric was going to be a big baby from Soleil’s Instagram photo and he didn’t disappoint—he weighed over 9lbs! Soleil shared her new-mom happiness with fans via Twitter: “Nothing like the first days of your new baby. I’m soaking it all in and I am in love.”

Congratulations on your new additions, everyone!

Breastfeeding Concern: How Do I Encourage My Sister to Breastfeed?

Breastfeeding concern: how do I encourage my sister to breastfeed?My sister is having a baby soon and I want to encourage her to breastfeed without being too overbearing.  What’s your advice?

It sounds like you already know that breastfeeding is a personal decision, and it is wonderful that you want to encourage your sister to nurse her newborn. Keep in mind that breastfeeding is also a health decision, so you should be sensitive in your conversation and offer facts about breastfeeding’s many health benefits in an upbeat, calm manner.

One of the best suggestions you can make is to have your sister sign up for childbirth and breastfeeding classes. The breastfeeding instructor will do a nice job explaining to your sister the numerous health benefits breastfeeding can provide for both her and her baby.  The instructor will also go over all of the services offered in her hospital and local community to help support her during her breastfeeding journey. Lactation consultants have plenty of experience with new nursing mom questions and fears, so you can be assured that your sister will get the best information and aid.

Did you breastfeed your own children? If so, be sure to share your nursing experience with your sister. Of course you will want to share the positive experiences, but it might help ease your sister’s breastfeeding fears to share difficulties you had (if any) and how you overcame them.

The one tip I give to all expecting moms is this:  It costs you nothing to try breastfeeding and you may be surprised how easy and rewarding it can be for both you and your new baby. Share this tip with your sister and reassure her that you will be there to support her through her breastfeeding journey.

Celebrity Baby Bump Style: Drew Barrymore

Drew Barrymore knows how to dress her baby bump for every occasion. From casually chic lunch outfits to red carpet attire, Barrymore’s maternity fashion has been top notch throughout her pregnancy. We’re impressed with her everyday ease of style, as well as her polished looks while at the Golden Globes and her new book launch.

drew-barrymore-casualDrew’s first book, Find It In Everything, features Barrymore’s photographs of hearts in usual places throughout the years. At her January book promotion, Drew wore a long button-down top appropriately decorated with small white hearts. Slouchy cuffed jeans looked great with her black pointed-toe shoes with the tiniest heel. In this daytime outfit, Drew proves that comfort doesn’t mean forgoing style during pregnancy. With bold red lips to match her top, Drew kept the rest of her makeup and hair clean and simple. She glows in this photo!

drew-barrymore-jordan-strauss-invision-apDrew looked stunning at the 2014 Golden Globes awards. Her gown featured short, airy sleeves and a slightly a-symmetrical hemline to help give her baby bump a little shape. Drew’s makeup was minimal except for the bold red lips she often favors. The dress’ overall color palette—lots of blush, pink, and red—looked beautiful against her skin. Her red open toe heels were a fun addition to her overall look. Modest yet playful—Drew’s Golden Globes dress was a definite fashion success.

drew-barrymore-chanelVa-va-voom! Drew makes the most out of her dress’ side slit in this all-black outfit. She keeps the dress and blazer combo interesting with a colorful statement cuff and necklace. Throughout her pregnancy Drew has rocked the middle part, and in this ensemble it adds to her overall sleek look. Drew successfully marries chic and effortless in her outfit.

 

Pregnant and adjusting your wardrobe to your baby bump? Take a fashion cue from Drew and make the details work for you. Cuffed jeans, statement jewelry, and bold lips are great ways to feel dressy even when your baby bump takes center stage.

Sugar May Increase Risk of Heart Disease

sugar-may-increase-risk-of-heart-diseaseIt’s February again—the American Heart Association’s time to bring awareness to heart health. National Heart Month is important because currently heart disease is one of the leading causes of death across the nation. We want to provide the best and most helpful information we can so you can keep yourself and your family healthy and happy.

Now for the not-so-sweet news: new research suggests that a diet rich in added sugars contributes to your risk factor for developing heart disease. Natural sugars, such as those found in fruits and veggies, do not qualify as added sugars. Candies, sodas, and other sweet treats are loaded with refined sugars (sometimes in the form of high fructose corn syrup).

We have a lengthy health-oriented history of sugar’s unhealthy qualities, but this is the first time that added sugar has been linked directly to heart disease. Diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, and a score of other diseases have been linked to the sweetener in the past.

What can you do to steer your family’s diet away from unnecessary sugar? Try substitutes when baking and cooking: honey, agave nectar, and stevia are among sucrose options that are healthier than traditional added sugars.

The American Heart Association recommends that women only ingest 100 calories of added sugar a day. For men, the AHA recommends 150 calories only. Splurging aside (who can resist birthday cake?), the 100 calorie benchmark severely limits how much sugar anyone should consume daily. On your next grocery visit, take the time to check labels for how much sugar is in each product you usually buy. Chances are you’ll be surprised at what you find.

What tricks do you have for avoiding sugar? Let us know in the comments!

 

Photo Attribution

Why Dental Health is Important during Pregnancy

 

baby-belly-mollydarling

February is National Heart Month and we’re dedicated to providing new and expecting moms with comprehensive health information. Today we’re looking at
Dental Health
primarily during pregnancy. Do you use an alcohol-free mouthwash? It could be a key factor in preventing you from developing pregnancy gingivitis.

Much like standard gingivitis, this dental disease affects a pregnant woman’s gums. Swollen, red gums or gums that bleed during brushing and flossing are signs of pregnancy gingivitis.

Dentists warn that pregnancy gingivitis should not be overlooked; some women report developing benign tumors in their mouths from pregnancy gingivitis. Luckily, these tumor issues generally resolve themselves after delivery, but clear communication and care from your dentist is still a must while pregnant.

Why are pregnant women more susceptible to gingivitis and plaque? Dentists say that the increase in hormones (particularly progesterone) cause strong reactions between the hormones and plaque. The results can be even more severe if you have a history of periodontal disease before pregnancy. Low birth weights and other newborn complications have been linked back to periodontal disease during pregnancy.

What can you do to keep you and your baby healthy during pregnancy? Make sure to brush, floss, and rinse with mouthwash daily. Some dentists even recommend using a tongue scraper to remove bacteria. Visit your dentist for a cleaning while pregnant (most dentists advise getting checked every 6 months, so at least one visit during your pregnancy is doable). If you feel as though you might have an infection in your mouth—don’t wait to tell your dentist! Get it checked out and resolved.

Keep those teeth clean and healthy, moms-to-be!

 

Photograph courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

Peanut Allergy No More? New Research Shows Food Allergies Respond to Exposure Treatments

Food allergies treated with exposure techniqueGood news! Preliminary findings

from a new report on food allergies find that children may be able to overcome peanut allergies. With carefully monitored daily doses of peanut protein, a study showed marked improvement in 84% of the children tested over a period of six months.

Though these findings do not eradicate peanut allergies, they do give hope to parents whose child suffers from a peanut allergy. Peanuts are the most commonly fatal trigger of food allergy-related attacks—a fact that makes parents shudder at the thought of how prevalent peanut butter is in the American diet.

What does this mean for the future of peanut allergies? Parents should not try to replicate the study’s results at home. Even though researchers found success in the first round of trials, at-home exposure to peanut protein is not safe for a child with a peanut allergy. Without doctors monitoring a child’s progress, it is unsafe to expose a child with a pre-existing allergy in case of emergency.

Peanut allergy symptoms include itching or swelling around the mouth and throat, hives outbreak, upset or cramping stomach, throat closing, or shortness of breath. Please consult your family physician or seek emergency treatment if you think your child is experiencing anaphylactic shock, as a peanut allergy can cause severe damage.

Let’s hope that in the coming years doctors will be able to treat food allergies in afflicted children and adults.

The Importance of a Birth Plan

Why do I need a birth plan?

birth plan_courtesy of claremontmidwife.comHaving a baby is one of the most exciting and life-changing experiences you can have. You’ve probably dreamed of many of the special moments you’ll have with your new baby, but have you thought about how you want to actually give birth to your little bundle of joy? It’s important to contemplate and make note of your vision for giving birth in a birth plan.  This 1-2 page document outlines your personal desires throughout the entire birth process including labor, delivery and post-partum procedures for both you and your baby.

The first step to creating a birth plan is to discuss your wishes with your partner.  Talk through the type of birth you envision and how you want your baby to enter the world.  Then talk to your OBGYN or practitioner to ensure she understands your desires, and seek her professional recommendations for the safest, healthiest and smoothest birth possible.  Your personal medical profile may dictate some of your options, so be sure to take your physician’s advice into consideration in your birth plan.

What are my options during labor and delivery?

There are many options to consider for your birth plan.  You can specify the people you want to be in your labor & delivery room; amenities such as music or special clothing you’d like to bring; birth props such as a stool or bathtub you’d like to have available; or what pain relief measures you want to employ.  Pain management is a major decision and options include breathing techniques, warm and cool compresses, massage, bathing and medication.

During vaginal delivery, you have options for pushing, including doing so instinctively or being prompted as contractions dictate.  You may want to specify pushing positions, especially if you’re having a natural birth.  Many women like to watch the birth of their babies in a mirror, and some want to have their partners help deliver the baby along side their practitioner.  During c-section, you have the option to partially view the process and have the baby given immediately to your partner.  These are all important details to express in your birth plan.

What choices should I consider for my baby after birth?

Once your new bundle of joy is born, you have several choices for your first few days of interactions with your baby while in the hospital.  You can opt to have all newborn procedures done in your presence or with your partner present, and you’ll have the choice of your baby rooming with you or being taken to the nursery.  If you have other children, you can specify when and where they can see their new baby brother or sister.  And if your baby is a boy, you should make decisions about his circumcision.

breastfeedingOne of the most important choices you will make is how you want to feed your baby.  Many women want to breastfeed their babies right away after birth and research shows this immediate attachment encourages milk production and begins the out-of-womb bonding process.  Even if your baby does not latch during this first breastfeeding session, skin-to-skin contact helps newborns regulate their body temperatures and has a calming effect on baby and mama.  And the closeness, even without latching, will still stimulate milk.  Be clear in your birth plan if you do or do not want your baby to receive formula.  And remember, even if breastfeeding is challenging at first, the colostrum you produce can sustain baby for the first days of his life.

What else should I know?

Your practitioner may have a standard birth plan template or you can download one from popular pregnancy and baby sites such as BabyCenter and The Bump.  Feel free to elaborate important points, but do not be too long-winded because this is meant to be a quick reference when labor and delivery may be progressing rapidly.

Remember that your birth plan is what you ideally wish to happen as you welcome your baby into the world.  Sometimes your health and safety, and that of your baby, will supersede your birth plan.  Be prepared to be flexible and use words like, “it is our wish” or “we hope to be able to” when composing your birth plan.  This will help your mindset of doing whatever is best for you and baby if your birth situation turns critical.

Once you’ve finalized your birth plan, give a copy to your OBGYN or whoever will be the one to deliver your baby.  Having your birth plan in writing will help remind your practitioner of your desires as he or she likely delivers many babies a day!  Also submit a copy to the hospital where you plan to give birth, if applicable, and they will keep it in your file.  And bring a copy with you.  You may not be in the mood to explain your wishes during labor so making sure everyone knows your wishes in advance is wise.

Postpartum Body Acceptance & Losing Weight after Pregnancy

ntima-preusser-beautiful-bodies-projectPhotographer Jade Beall’s stunning black and white portraits are notable for a number of reasons, but most recently she’s gained widespread notoriety since creating the A Beautiful Body Project

.Beall’s lens is trained on new mothers and their babies as part of the A Beautiful Body Project; in her revealing photographs, Beall’s subjects proudly display stretch marks and swollen breasts alongside smiling babies to send a positive body acceptance message. In an effort to combat anxiety about losing weight after pregnancy, the A Beautiful Body Project shows real images of postpartum bodies and celebrates motherhood without airbrushing.

Losing baby weight is a common concern among today’s new mothers. With widespread focus on celebrity moms like Jessica Simpson and Kim Kardashian, whose weight losses were documented in detail by magazines, new moms can feel extra pressure to quickly lose weight after pregnancy. Jade Beall hopes to reverse the baby weight obsession with her A Beautiful Body Project. On the official website, Beall hosts articles and personal stories that new mothers send in to be shared. One such story, titled “’Babies Ruin Bodies’: An Ode to my Postpartum Body” was written by new mom N’tima Preusser and published January 2, 2014.

ntima-preusser-beautiful-bodies-project-2N’tima chronicles her body’s physical changes as well as the emotional revelations that come with being a new mother. Her self-view is inspiring and relatable for all moms and women who have experienced weight gain or loss. To read N’tima’s excellent piece about losing weight after pregnancy and postpartum body acceptance, click here.

Losing baby weight isn’t nearly as important as staying healthy through pregnancy and breastfeeding so your baby is properly cared for. Looking for postpartum body acceptance and inspiration? Visit Jade’s website and celebrate in the fact that carrying a baby is an accomplishment much more significant than losing weight after pregnancy.

Stay happy and healthy, new moms!

Pregnancy Myths Decoded, Old Wives’ Tales Revealed

pregnant-woman-mahalieHas an aunt or friend told you they can predict your baby’s gender by simply looking at your pregnant belly? Old wives tale gender prediction claims are part of the pregnancy mythology, a catalog of hints, tips, and tricks founded on superstition and outdated scientific claims. Time.com recently covered 20 of the most prominent pregnancy myths floating around in our culture, and we’re breaking down our favorite myths from the group.

Pregnancy myth: Combat stretch marks with cocoa butter

Pregnancy stretch marks are unavoidable for most women; they range in severity and placement, show up regardless of your baby belly size, and don’t actually appear until the end of the third trimester. Skin experts suggest slathering on creams with almond or shea butter from your first trimester through delivery and even a little after. Stick with a stretch mark product that features ingredients like aloe and sea buckthorn oil (it heals scar tissue). Cocoa butter can make a woman’s skin more sensitive, so that’s why professionals recommend stretch mark products without the tropical ingredient!

Pregnancy myth: Women should avoid foods like smoked salmon, sushi, and hot dogs

The old saying “everything in moderation” seems to be the pregnancy diet model, according to Time.com’s pregnancy myth round-up. Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and a freshwater fish which lowers the possibility of mercury poisoning. If a pregnant mom-to-be feels uneasy about consuming fish, there are alternative foods that can supplement the same nutrients fish would have. Omega-3s are found in flax seeds, which make a great, nutty addition to any fresh fruit smoothie.

As long as you monitor how much tuna you’re eating (only 12 ounces a week allowed!) and avoid all shark, swordfish, tilefish, and mackerel, experts say that a little sushi won’t hurt your baby. If you have your dietary doubts, just remember—you can go back to whatever food you’re on the fence about while pregnant after the baby’s born. These dietary restrictions are not permanent! Hot dogs are only questionable if they’re not cooked all the way through, so make sure that your designated grill master knows how to properly cook a hot dog!

Pregnancy myth: If you know how your baby’s positioned in your womb, you know if it’s a boy or girl

The old wives’ tale gender prediction game is perfect for your baby shower, but won’t shed light on if you have to paint your nursery blue or pink. The bright side of guessing your baby’s sex is that even if you’re wrong about gender, you’re delivering a beautiful, healthy baby that will be a welcome family addition regardless if it’s a boy or girl. Stock up on onesies in gender-friendly greens, grays, and taupes if you want to have baby’s wardrobe ready before birth. Once your baby is born you can add blues and pinks when appropriate!

Do you have other pregnancy myths or old wives’ tales that you’d like to share with us? Let us know in the comments!

 

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Extended Breastfeeding – Making the Best Choice for Baby and You

Extended breastfeeding is a personal choice between mother and baby.  As your little one nears her first birthday, you will probably have many emotions.  You’ll wonder where the time has gone and how your newborn quickly passed through infancy to toddlerhood.  You’ll remember all of the milestones your baby has reached already in her life and the most adorable things she did.  As you grasp to hold on to your little baby, you may find yourself a little sad that your breastfeeding experience may be nearing an end.  But that doesn’t have to be the case.

extended breastfeedingExtended breastfeeding is becoming more popular as studies continue to show the benefits of breastfeeding for babies and mothers.  The AmericanAcademy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding exclusively for the first six months of baby’s life, and breastfeeding and giving solids until at least one year.  They also recommend extended breastfeeding as long as you and your baby desire.

Breast milk is an amazing form of nutrition.  According to The Mayo Clinic, because it changes to meet the nutritional needs as a child grows and develops, there is no proven age at which breast milk is no longer considered excellent nutrition. This ideal nutrition helps improve the immune system and overall health. As an infant becomes a toddler, she’s probably becoming quite an explorer in this great big world of germs and perhaps spending more time with other children.  A boosted immune system and a constant source of nutrition can be quite an advantage, especially in the winter months of cold and flu season.

Beyond immune health, Dr. William Sears points out that brain development is most crucial during the first two years of life.  Research shows that the more breast milk a child has, the better for his or her ability to learn due to the fatty acid DHA found in breast milk.  Therefore, the longer and more frequently a child is breastfed in these early years, the better for cognitive development.  Additionally, breastfed children statistically have better vision, hearing, digestive health and dental health, and have less risk of obesity.

For moms, the benefits of breastfeeding have a higher impact when a women breastfeed for 12 months or more in her lifetime.  This includes reduced risk of many diseases such as breast and ovarian cancer, diabetes and heart disease.  Studies also show that the longer a baby breastfeeds, the better health a mother tends to have.  This may be because mother’s who breastfeed put more emphasis on their own well-being to ensure their milk is the best quality nutrition for their children.

extended breastfeedingExtended breastfeeding should be a joint decision between mom and baby.  There is no biological clock that says breastfeeding should end after 365 days.  Much of this decision is about motherly instincts, health benefits and your relationship with your child.  If she is developing properly and still feeding like a champ and you’re not ready to stop either, continue until weaning is natural for both of you.

Happy Breastfeeding!

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