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

New Strides in Public Breastfeeding Laws Online and Outside the Home

Model Natalia Vodianova shares a breastfeeding moment on her personal InstagramHave you heard the good news? Breastfeeding moms can now share their nursing session photos without worry of being in violation of Facebook’s picture sharing policy. New moms are rejoicing because it’s another important step for normalizing breastfeeding in the public eye. Facebook’s former policy prohibited posting photos that showed any part of a woman’s nipple (which is hard to avoid in a breastfeeding photo!). After much protestation from various breastfeeding communities, which rely on Facebook to connect with new mothers in need of breastfeeding advice and assistance, Facebook made the executive change to allow mothers to share their special moments freely on the social site.

Facebook’s not the only platform to welcome public breastfeeding—new legislation aimed at workplaces across the country is gaining attention from various groups. Lawmakers are drafting proposals that would require every workplace to provide nursing mothers with a specific lactation room. As it stands now, new mothers who use breast pumps at work are faced with uncertain pumping conditions that depend solely on the employer. Some women already use specific lactation rooms that are equipped with refrigerators, comfy chairs, and sinks for clean up, while other new moms pump in the bathroom or a supply closet. States like New York are eager to pen legislation that would unilaterally help all nursing moms maintain regular breastfeeding even after returning to work.

Breastfeeding is getting the public recognition it deserves thanks to the efforts of advocates, moms, politicians, and celebrities all committed to exposing the various important health benefits breastfeeding provides for a mom and her baby. Whether a celebrity mom shares a pictures of her nursing her little one or a lawmaker presses forward with anti-discrimination public breastfeeding laws, it’s refreshing to see so many members of society champion breastfeeding. Not only does nursing provide your little one with essential, natural nutrients, but it also protects against infection and obesity later in life. Mom’s benefit from breastfeeding as well; studies show that women who breastfeed are less likely to develop breast or ovarian cancer.

How are you planning on promoting breastfeeding in your community? Let us know in the comments. Happy nursing, moms!


1 in 10 Pregnant Women Now Diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes

1 in 10 Pregnant Women Now Diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes New research published this month delivers important information for pregnant moms or women planning to conceive. A study conducted by the US government estimates that currently 1 out of 10 pregnant US women will develop Gestational Diabetes. This pregnancy complication occurs when an expecting mom’s blood sugar rises into unsafe, high levels and usually disappears after birth, but not without the possibility of short-term and long-term effects on both mom and baby.

Even though the gestational diabetes is not something shared between mom and baby, a child born to a mother with the affliction can develop diabetes later in life as well as other unhealthy side-effects. Mothers with gestational diabetes run the risk of being more likely to undergo a c-section delivery because the condition can cause your baby to grow abnormally large during pregnancy. In addition to being a more difficult birth, babies have been known to break their shoulders exiting the birth canal because of their large size.

Though gestational diabetes is a temporary condition for many pregnant women, the risk of developing another type of diabetes (often permanently) is greater for women who have had gestational diabetes. There’s no exact answer as to how a woman can develop the pregnancy condition in the first place, but researchers are finding a correlation between obesity and gestational diabetes as studies progress. When a mom’s insulin isn’t able to break down sugars properly her body’s blood sugar levels are compromised and exposed to developing this specific strain of diabetes. There’s also evidence that the placenta’s hormones can block insulin from working correctly as well.

To minimize your risk of developing gestational diabetes while expecting, keep an eye on your sugar intake. Staying away from highly processed foods and snacks will make your late night bowl of ice cream easier for your body to process, so make informed diet choices from first trimester to last. Doctors also recommend keeping up with your exercise routine as a way to avoid developing this condition. Stay fit and healthy for your health and your little one’s by practicing good eating habits and splurging on sweets in small doses.

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Why Should You Wear a Nursing Cami?

Why should you wear a nursing bra?What’s a nursing mom to do? It’s hot outside and the AC is cranking indoors, so keeping cool and comfy during the summer can be tricky. Between breastfeeding sessions and a day full of coordinating other kids and responsibilities, we know that you have a hectic, new-mom schedule. Have you tried a nursing cami as an alternative to a nursing bra during these warmer months? Nursing tanks are just like the tank tops you wore before you were pregnant and have extra accessories built-in to make breastfeeding quick and easy.

If you’re on-the-go and find yourself nursing while out of your home, nursing camis will be a lifesaver. There’s less coordination needed for breastfeeding in a nursing cami, because instead of pulling aside your shirt and unclasping your nursing bra, you just have to unclip your nursing cami strap for baby’s breast access. Nursing camis have built-in shelf bras for extra support and are double-layered for modesty. Our nursing tanks also feature full or side inner slings for your nursing convenience. Made from soft, breathable cotton, nursing camis are the perfect tank tops for all day or all night comfort and wear. Once you try one on, you’ll wonder why you waited so long before. Our nursing camis come in a variety of solid, fun colors and also fashionable square neck styles with stripes, dots, and other stylish details. You can wear a nursing cami as a basic piece or dress up your wardrobe with a cute print and still enjoy the same wonderful breastfeeding support—the best of both worlds!

If you’re looking for comfort, style, and all of the nursing essentials in a tank top, then you should try a Leading Lady nursing cami and experience fuss-free breastfeeding with every wear.


Why Is Seafood So Important to Your Pregnancy Diet?

Why is seafood so important to your pregnancy diet?Recently the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a big change in the food recommendations made specifically for pregnant and breastfeeding moms and their children. Pregnant women are often discouraged from consuming certain foods (sushi, hot dogs, and goat’s milk cheese are among the many on the “do not eat” list) and seafood has long been a culinary category many expecting moms stay away from. Because some fish carry too-high mercury levels for safe consumption, many pregnant women nix seafood from their diets altogether. A recent FDA analysis shows that one in five US pregnant women eats little to no fish at all. To change the public perception about all fish being unsafe for a pregnant woman’s consumption, the FDA is attempting to raise the recommended minimum serving to eight ounces (two servings) a week for pregnant and breastfeeding moms, as well as children.

Why is seafood so important to a pregnancy diet? Omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in fish, play a vital role in positive fetal development, especially concerning brain tissue. Doctors site studies that show that children born to women who dined on fish while pregnant have higher I. Q.s and more advanced behavioral development—plenty of reasons to encourage pregnant women not to forgo fish completely. Fish varieties that are deemed low-mercury and safe for consumption include salmon, shrimp, cod, tilapia and light canned tuna. Albacore tuna has a higher mercury level than light canned tuna and therefore only has a recommendation of six ounces a week.

Though this regulation change is still in its exploratory phase, the FDA hopes to calm some of the anxieties that surround mothers concerned about mercury levels in fish. While Omega-3 supplements are available in most stores and can also be naturally found in walnuts, kale, spinach, and other green vegetables. Scientists warn that not all Omega-3s provide the same health and development benefits though, and that taking a daily dose of fish oil is not the same as eating a salmon filet for dinner. To find out what diet changes are best for you and your children, talk to your doctor about nutrition needs and what kinds of fish you can incorporate into your family’s diet for safe, healthy benefits for all.

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Thrush and Breastfeeding: Symptoms and How to Treat the Common Infection

Thrush-and-Breastfeeding-Symptoms-and-How-to-Treat-the-Common-InfectionBreastfeeding moms, have you noticed white patches on your baby’s mouth or tongue that do not seem to wipe away easily? Or are your nipples red, cracked, itchy, or burning? These are common symptoms of Thrush, a yeast infection that affects both moms and babies. Thrush is not a medically serious condition, but can linger and cause prolonged irritation for both mom and baby. Read through some of our Thrush warning signs so you can be familiar with the symptoms and contact your health care provider if you are worried about your baby’s appetite or if you’d like more advice about treating the infection.

Most cases of Thrush are brought on by antibiotics; if you’re a breastfeeding mom currently taking an antibiotic, make sure to pay special attention to any nipple or breast pain you feel while nursing or if your baby exhibits any of the following signs. Antibiotics naturally clear the good bacteria you carry which keeps your yeast levels in check. Thrush occurs when your bacteria levels are imbalanced and you’re susceptible to a yeast infection. Moms and babies have the ability to pass Thrush back and forth through breastfeeding. Your baby can develop Thrush even if you show no symptoms; some experts say that babies can develop Thrush through bottle and pacifier overuse, but no concrete explanation has been found yet.

Signs to watch for with your baby:

  • White patches on the tongue, inside of cheeks or lips. These patches will not be easily wiped away.
  • Mouth tenderness, fussiness, reluctant to nurse or bottle-feed.
  • Diaper rash

Signs to watch for with yourself:

  • If your nipples are any of the following: red, itchy, cracked, or burning.
  • A vaginal yeast infection
  • Deep, shooting breast pains not commonly associated with latching or positioning.

You and your baby might exhibit none of the above symptoms and still experience Thrush.

Breast and bottle care will be very important when treating Thrush. Make sure to wash your breast and nipples with hot, soapy water between feedings. Some pediatricians will recommend that you let your nipples air dry rather than use a towel. Boil water and submerge all breast pump parts, bottles, and pacifiers that you use for at least twenty minutes. Sterilizing all of your breastfeeding equipment will help fight against the infection. If you are worried about your baby’s appetite or the Thrush lasts beyond a few weeks, contact your health care provider to figure out a new plan of action. There are some treatments a doctor can prescribe that will effectively clear up Thrush.

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Breast Pump Question: Finding the Right Size Flanges for Your Breastfeeding Comfort

Breast pump flange courtesy of MedelaMy breast pump flange doesn’t fit. What do I do?

If your breast pump flange is too big or too small, it may make pumping uncomfortable and also may affect how much breast milk you obtain. A well-fitting flange will enable your nipple to move freely inside the flange without rubbing awkwardly against the edges. It’s also important to wear the right size flange because it will help you collect the largest amount of breast milk you produce.

How can you tell if your breast pump flanges are too small or large? Some signs include if your nipples barely fit in the flange while you are pumping, or if one or both nipples are rubbing against the sides of the flange. These signs indicated that your flanges are too small. If you lose suction while pumping or if your nipple size is smaller than the diameter of a pencil eraser then your flange may be too large. A flange that is too large can cause nipple abrasion and damage. In this case you will want to invest in a smaller flange. It is a good idea to check the flange sizes before you pump for the first time so you can avoid any nipple discomfort or damage.

Most pump companies have several sizes to choose from, so don’t worry if the flanges included with your breast pump are not a perfect fit. All pumps are sold with standard size flanges so you may have to contact the pump company to find out where to purchase the correct flanges separately. Typically the cost of the flanges are about $10 and well worth the investment.


Breastmilk Documentary: Go Inside the Lives of Five Breastfeeding Couples

Photo still from Breastmilk documentary courtesy of Aleph PicturesSure, you may know what it’s like to breastfeed your own little one, but do you ever wonder how women across the United States tackle everyday breastfeeding? Filmmaker Dana Ben-Ari joined forces with executive producers Abby Epstein and Ricki Lake (yes, of talk show fame) to capture the lives of five breastfeeding couples in the new documentary Breastmilk, shot in the US. Breastmilk was screened this past May in New York City and was met with warm accolades from critics. Director Ben-Ari focuses in particular on how mothers in professional careers balance breastfeeding with pumping in the office and other routine measures they take to continue nursing, as well as a mother’s struggle to find necessary support and encouragement in the face of feeling doubtful about continuing to breastfeed. These topics are sure to be familiar to many nursing mother’s own lives.

What can you expect from this documentary? An honest portrayal of how breastfeeding is not as easy as it seems and that real struggles exist for women who set out with all intents and purposes to nurse. We were delighted to see how couples interacted in the trailer—it’s great to see partners support one another while learning the breast milk ropes. The documentary’s main question seems to hover on the current CDC statistic that 85 percent of new mothers report a desire to breastfeed exclusively for at least three months, but only 32 percent end up seeing this goal through. Without judgment, Breastmilk seeks to expose what modern-day factors give new mothers the hardest time while upholding a breastfeeding schedule.

Check online to see if your town is screening Breastmilk (it has a limited theater run) if you’re interested in the documentary. What can you do to help encourage new mothers who might feel let down by their own breastfeeding experiences? Offer what resources you can: a lactation consultant’s phone number, your own breastfeeding knowledge, or even an online community you frequented for your most dire breastfeeding questions. Your support will help new moms feel empowered by breastfeeding rather than inadequate; Even if your friend or sister cannot make it past the three month mark nursing, it’s better to let them know how proud you are of them for trying to make the best health decisions for their babies.

Pregnant Women Concerns: A Global Look at Expecting

Have you ever wondered what moms-to-be across the globe pull out of their fridge at night to satisfy a pregnancy craving? Do you think that all pregnant women are concerned about spider veins, stretch marks, and sagging breasts? While pregnancy is a very universal condition experienced by most women around the world, different countries have notably unique questions and concerns when it comes to pregnancy. New York Times contributor Seth Stephens-Davidowitz combed through Google search data and made a very interesting infographic about the desires, wishes, and fears of pregnant women in different countries based on the most common search engine questions. His findings truly paint a picture of how pregnancy is experienced globally.

Pregnant women concerns: a global look at expectingWhat do you think the United States, Australia, Britain, and South Africa have in common when it comes to filling in this Google search: “How to ____ during pregnancy”? If you guessed “preventing stretch marks” or “avoiding stretch marks”—you’re right! Turns out that pregnant women from the listed countries are more body conscious than moms-to-be from India or Nigeria; this specific “how to” question does not appear once in either country’s top 5 most searched lists. The United States, Australia, and Britain mention stretch marks twice in their most popular searches lists while South African women focus more on morning sickness and sleep. Across the board, the question of a couple’s sexual relationship appears in the top 5 most searched lists. It’s clear that husbands and wives around the world value their personal relationships and put emphasis on maintaining physical contact throughout pregnancy.

The other popular search engine question Stephens-Davidowitz analyzed was “Can pregnant women ___?” The answers that appear in his infographic are much more indicative of how individual cultures perceive pregnancy in terms of what foods, pain medications, and activities are popular for the country as a whole. For example, Spain’s number one fill-in-the-blank to this query is “Can pregnant women eat paté?” This goose-liver delicacy is not nearly as popular in the United States or Britain, but interestingly both the US and UK mention shrimp (“prawns” is the UK term used) as a potential worry for pregnant women.

What are some other worries pregnant women have? Nigeria wonders if pregnant women can drink cold water, Mexico is concerned that expecting moms can’t wear high heels, and Singapore isn’t sure if moms-to-be can eat ice cream! I’m sure moms in every nation can reassure Singapore that ice cream is a pregnant mom go-to for cravings at any hour. For the complete list of Stephens-Davidowitz’s findings, click here.

Do you have any common worries that come from a country different than your own? Let us know what some of your own Google searches were for while you were pregnant, moms!

Common Pregnancy Questions: Is It Normal for My Nipples to Leak?

Common pregnancy questions: is it normal for my nipples to leak?Pregnancy changes—even if you’re pregnant and it’s not your first, there’s no telling what surprises your body’s going to unexpectedly throw at you. Any mom will tell you that no two pregnancies are alike. When you’re hyper-sensitive about your body’s changes and indescribable mood swings, the littlest occurrences can seem monumental. Your breasts will swell during pregnancy and seemingly become just as sensitive as you feel while watching a sappy movie. What about leaking nipples though—what’s going on? Is it normal for your breasts to leak while pregnant? We’re exploring common pregnancy questions and answering this one for you:

Yes, it’s completely normal to leak fluids while pregnant. Not all women experience this, but most notice a little leaking during the third trimester. Have you wondered what exactly you’re leaking? It’s called colostrum and is a precursor to breast milk. Colostrum is nutrient rich, low in fat, and full of antibodies—it’s perfectly engineered to be your baby’s first food and supercharges your little one’s immune system. Leaking colostrum means that your milk system is working and that breast milk production is underway.

Worried about leaking breast milk in public? Grab a pack of nursing pads and slip them into your bra as needed. If you’re planning on breastfeeding, you’ll need a couple of pairs anyway. To prevent nipple stickiness or pain, make sure to use a lanolin-based nipple cream with your nursing pads for ultimate comfort. You might want to avoid wearing your favorite bras or tops if you’re leaking just so you don’t get stains from stray droplets. But again, it’s completely normal to leak before giving birth and you’re not alone.

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Night Weaning Breastfeeding Tips for Nursing Moms

Night weaning breastfeeding tips for nursing momsIt’s no secret that new moms don’t get a lot of sleep. When you first start breastfeeding, it’s clear that because your baby will feed every 2-3 hours, your sleep schedule forms around your baby’s needs. But what about when your baby reaches his or her first birthday and does not have to nurse as frequently? Many mothers who practice extended breastfeeding go through a night weaning phase with their little one. Night weaning does not mean that mom wants to stop breastfeeding completely—she’d just rather sleep through the night without waking to breastfeeding since the necessity is no longer there.

What’s the best way for mom to begin the night weaning process, and how long does it take for a toddler to effectively give up nursing at night? There’s no real time frame when it comes to weaning, so be prepared to spend a few weeks at least implementing the new no-nursing-at-night routine. Your new policy might not be met with smiles, too. Patience is going to be the key to getting your little one used to his or her new schedule.

We like this suggestion from Monica Beyer’s night weaning article: anticipate your little one’s schedule so you can alter it effectively and without causing a nighttime temper tantrum. Set an alarm to go off before your child typically wakes up to nurse and wake up your child to breastfeed at different points throughout the night. Spend the whole week following this nursing pattern and slowly make your breastfeeding sessions shorter and shorter. Then begin eliminating feedings altogether. Soon, your child will be phased out of the nighttime breastfeeding routine.

But what if your child completely resists your efforts to eliminate nighttime breastfeeding? It’s ok, your little one is just not ready to go without nighttime nursing, and that does not mean that anything is wrong. Wait a little longer (2-6 months) until you feel ready to try the process again. While this weaning process will inspire a few tears, it should not cause extreme amounts of stress or all-night crying fits.

Looking for alternative nighttime breastfeeding weaning options? Check out this helpful illustrated book Nursies When the Sun Shines by author Katherine Havener; Nursies is a children’s book that helps introduce the idea of nighttime weaning and many parents have found success using it as a tool for their children.

What nighttime weaning tricks do you have to share with other moms? Let us know in the comments.

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