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

Join the World Breastfeeding Week Celebration and Fight Hunger!

World Breastfeeding WeekAre you joining the global breastfeeding celebration? We’re talking about World Breastfeeding Week, an annual week-long event that engages women from every nation with breastfeeding news, support, and community building. This year’s event begins August 1st and wraps up August 7th—an entire week dedicated to sharing the joys and health benefits of breastfeeding your little one. This year’s celebration marks 23 years for the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action, the founding group and champions of moms and babies across the globe.

In 1992, The World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action founded World Breastfeeding Week to bring awareness to deadly infant diseases, fight world hunger, and overall promote breastfeeding worldwide. The World Health Organization and UNICEF joined as partners with the WABA and together they formed the WBW celebration as way to remind mothers, doctors, and family members that breastfeeding an infant yields the best, most cost-effective nutritional diet available. Mothers receive countless health benefits from breastfeeding as well. In 2007, the CDC reported that only 11.3 percent of new mothers exclusively breastfed their child for the first 6 months. In an effort to raise awareness and extend breastfeeding beyond a week or two, the WABA and partners tirelessly champion breastfeeding support so mothers and babies can benefit from the guidance they need for successful nursing.

What can you do to share in the celebration? La Leche League chapters across the nation are hosting Latch On events and WIC offices are opening their doors to new mothers facing breastfeeding troubles. Look at your local chapters and see how you can volunteer or participate. Leading Lady is donating nursing bras to a WIC offices around the country so nursing moms get the support they need for successful, comfortable breastfeeding. With the rise of social media, more moms than ever are showing their support by sharing breastfeeding photos and stories that remind other moms that it’s ok to struggle with nursing and how to alleviate common nursing problems. Join the conversation on our Facebook page and share with moms just like you!

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Make Nesting Include a Breastfeeding Sanctuary in Your Home

Make nesting include a breastfeeding sanctuary in your homeAn expecting mother’s nesting instinct is a predictable part of last-trimester pregnancy. But while setting up your nursery is an important aspect of getting ready for your baby, don’t forget to carve out a specific nursing nest where you’ll breastfeed majority of the time at home. By setting up your own nursing sanctuary, you’ll feel more prepared to breastfeed and bond with your little one when you come home from the hospital. Setting your intention to breastfeed is an important step for a mom-to-be, and making sure you have the right breastfeeding supplies will help you keep your plan intact.

Before you begin setting up your nursing nest, decide whether or not you’ll want privacy or to be a part of the household bustle majority of the time while breastfeeding. This choice is a matter of preference and how you feel about your breastfeeding time with your little one. If you see this as your opportunity to relax and bond just with your infant, choosing a quiet corner in your home might instill the tranquility you’re missing in your life as a new mom. On the other hand, if you have other children or a stay-at-home husband, you might want to set up camp in a common area where you can interact and stay in the mix while nursing. There’s also no rule that says you can’t make your favorite recliner or couch your nursing spot for a while if you feel the need for more interaction, but make your decision before your due date so you feel more prepared to nurse before baby arrives.

The most important supplies you’ll need for your nursing nest are a comfortable chair and plenty of supportive pillows for you and baby. Many new mothers favor gliders for their superior rocking ability and built-in comfort. Keep in mind that you’ll want a seat with great back and neck support so you don’t strain yourself while nursing. Once you’ve picked out your preferred seat, don’t forget to add a footrest for necessary foot support. You absolutely want to be comfortable sitting in your nursing sanctuary, so make your ease a priority while selecting your chair.

If you plan on using an around-the-waist nursing pillow, you might want to steer clear or chairs with narrow armrests. Keep in mind that you’ll want a pillow for your lower back or neck and that your baby will also need pillow support while nursing. There are a variety of well-loved nursing pillows to choose from on the market, so take your time to decide which size and shape will work best for your breastfeeding.

What else do you want to include in your nursing sanctuary? Candles, books or magazines on hand, and maybe a shelf with extra snacks for you to enjoy while breastfeeding. Anything that relaxes you and helps with breastfeeding should be within reach of your nursing nest. By creating your own breastfeeding space, you’ll be able to feel more relaxed about beginning your breastfeeding journey, especially if you’re a first-time mom. Set yourself up for comfort, support, and a space ideal for bonding with your little one during your nursing sessions.

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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!

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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.

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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!

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