Posts Tagged ‘lactation’

Breastfeeding: Why doctors are so wrong about solids

I found this very interesting news brief today…. it supports the view of the WHO, AAP, AAFP and Unicef’s recommendation of exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months with continued breastfeeding for a minimum of 2 years.

“Doctors are keen to introduce solids as early as possible as a supplement to breast feeding – and they couldn’t be more wrong.

Babies who are exclusively breastfed for the first three months at least – and sometimes for the first 12 months – have better cognitive abilities and general intelligence by the time they are six.

Compared with children who were fed solids early on, breastfed babies registered far higher scores for verbal IQ, performance IQ and general IQ when they were tested at six-and-a-half years. 

Researchers made the discovery when they assessed the cognitive development of 13,889 children who were exclusively breastfed for a prolonged period.”

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Mother breastfeeding 8 infant earthquake victims

Wow!! What an amazing story!! A Chinese police officer and new mother, has taken in 8 babies to nurse. Three of the infants mother’s were traumatized by the event and it affected their milk supply. Five of the infants were orphaned. This mother is truly a hero.

In such tragic events, artificial feeding becomes dangerous because water supplies often becomes contaiminated. So mixing formula and cleaning necessary supplies becomes a challenge and can endanger the health of an artificially fed infant. Read more here….

Breastfeeding Makes Top Ten List of Cancer Preventers

Breastfeeding Makes Top Ten List of Cancer Preventers

Breastfeeding has been named as one of the Ten Recommendations to Prevent Cancer by the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) following analysis of a major new study.

The five-year study, released on October 31st found a strong correlation between breastfeeding and the prevention of both pre-menopausal and post-menopausal breast cancer.

According to the study, breastfeeding lowers a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer throughout her lifetime. Equally important, the evidence shows that infants who are breastfed are likely to have a lower risk of becoming overweight or obese throughout their lives. This also translates into a lower cancer risk.

Because the evidence is so strong that breastfeeding offers cancer protection to both mothers and their children, the AICR has made breastfeeding one of its “Ten Recommendations to Prevent Cancer.”

The study states, “at the beginning of life, human milk is best. The evidence that lactation protects the mother against breast cancer at all ages is convincing.” Furthermore, “The evidence on cancer … shows that sustained, exclusive breastfeeding is protective for the mother as well as the child.” This is the first major report to specifically recommend breastfeeding to prevent breast cancer in mothers, and to prevent overweight and obesity in children.

The study goes on to say that “Other benefits of breastfeeding for mothers and their children are well known. Breastfeeding protects against infections in infancy, protects the development of the immature immune system, protects against other childhood diseases, and is vital for the development of the bond between mother and child. It has many other benefits.” For a complete copy of the AICR report, visit: www.dietandcancerreport.org.

Throughout its 51-year history, La Leche League International (LLLI) has supported breastfeeding mothers and their children. Celebrating its 50th year in 2006, LLLI continues to reach out to women seeking information, support, and encouragement for breastfeeding their babies. Local LLL Leaders across the United States offer support through local Group meetings and telephone help, online meetings, and a national toll-free 24-hour help line.

For more information about breastfeeding and for mothers needing assistance with breastfeeding, contact… www.llli.org or 1-800 LA LECHE

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Breastfeeding Language

This is a great article written by a lactation consultant.

Watch Your Language
By Diane Wiessinger, MS, IBCLC

The lactation consultant says, “You have the best chance to provide your baby with the best possible start in life, through the special bond of breastfeeding. The wonderful advantages to you and your baby will last a lifetime.” And then the mother bottlefeeds. Why?

In part because that sales pitch could just as easily have come from a commercial baby milk pamphlet. When our phrasing and that of the baby milk industry are interchangeable, one of us is going about it wrong…and it probably isn’t the multinationals. Here is some of the language that I think subverts our good intentions every time we use it.

Best possible, ideal, optimal, perfect. Are you the best possible parent? Is your home life ideal? Do you provide optimal meals? Of course not. Those are admirable goals, not minimum standards. Let’s rephrase. Is your parenting inadequate? Is your home life subnormal? Do you provide deficient meals? Now it hurts. You may not expect to be far above normal, but you certainly don’t want to be below normal.

When we (and the artificial milk manufacturers) say that breastfeeding is the best possible way to feed babies because it provides their ideal food, perfectly balanced for optimal infant nutrition, the logical response is, “So what?” Our own experience tells us that optimal is not necessary. Normal is fine, and implied in this language is the absolute normalcy–and thus safety and adequacy–of artificial feeding. The truth is, breastfeeding is nothing more than normal. Artificial feeding, which is neither the same nor superior, is therefore deficient, incomplete, and inferior. Those are difficult words, but they have an appropriate place in our vocabulary.

Advantages. When we talk about the advantages of breastfeeding–the “lower rates” of cancer, the “reduced risk” of allergies, the “enhanced” bonding, the “stronger” immune system–we reinforce bottlefeeding yet again as the accepted, acceptable norm.

Health comparisons use a biological, not cultural, norm, whether the deviation is harmful or helpful. Smokers have higher rates of illness; increasing prenatal folic acid may reduce fetal defects. Because breastfeeding is the biological norm, breastfed babies are not “healthier;” artificially-fed babies are ill more often and more seriously. Breastfed babies do not “smell better;” artificial feeding results in an abnormal and unpleasant odor that reflects problems in an infant’s gut. We cannot expect to create a breastfeeding culture if we do not insist on a breastfeeding model of health in both our language and our literature.

We must not let inverted phrasing by the media and by our peers go unchallenged. When we fail to describe the hazards of artificial feeding, we deprive mothers of crucial decision-making information. The mother having difficulty with breastfeeding may not seek help just to achieve a “special bonus;” but she may clamor for help if she knows how much she and her baby stand to lose. She is less likely to use artificial milk just “to get him used to a bottle” if she knows that the contents of that bottle cause harm.

Nowhere is the comfortable illusion of bottlefed normalcy more carefully preserved than in discussions of cognitive development. When I ask groups of health professionals if they are familiar with the study on parental smoking and IQ (1), someone always tells me that the children of smoking mothers had “lower IQs.” When I ask about the study of premature infants fed either human milk or artificial milk (2), someone always knows that the breastmilk-fed babies were “smarter.” I have never seen either study presented any other way by the media–or even by the authors themselves. Even health professionals are shocked when I rephrase the results using breastfeeding as the norm: the artificially-fed children, like children of smokers, had lower IQs.

Inverting reality becomes even more misleading when we use percentages, because the numbers change depending on what we choose as our standard. If B is 3/4 of A, then a is 4/3 of B. Choose A as the standard, and B is 25% less. Choose B as the standard, and A is 33 1/3% more. Thus, if an item costing 100 units is put on sale for “25% less,”the price becomes 75. When the sale is over, and the item is marked back up, it must be marked up 33 1/3% to get the price up to 100. Those same figures appear in a recent study (3), which found a “25% decrease” in breast cancer rates among women who were breastfed as infants. Restated using breastfed health as the norm, there was a 33-1/3% increase in breast cancer rates among women who were artificially fed. Imagine the different impact those two statements would have on the public.

Special. “Breastfeeding is a special relationship.” “Set up a special nursing corner.” In or family, special meals take extra time. Special occasions mean extra work. Special is nice, but it is complicated, it is not an ongoing part of life, and it is not something we want to do very often. For most women, nursing must fit easily into a busy life–and, of course, it does. “Special” is weaning advice, not breastfeeding advice.

Breastfeeding is best; artificial milk is second best. Not according to the World Health Organization. Its hierarchy is: 1) breastfeeding; 2) the mother’s own milk expressed and given to her child some other way; 3) the milk of another human mother; and 4) artificial milk feeds (4). We need to keep this clear in our own minds and make it clear to others. “The next best thing to mother herself” comes from a breast, not from a can. The free sample perched so enticingly on the shelf at the doctor’s office is only the fourth best solution to breastfeeding problems.

There is a need for standard formula in some situations. Only because we do not have human milk banks. The person who needs additional blood does not turn to a fourth-rate substitute; there are blood banks that provide human blood for human beings. He does not need to have a special illness to qualify. All he needs is a personal shortage of blood. Yet only those infants who cannot tolerate fourth best are privileged enough to receive third best. I wonder what will happen when a relatively inexpensive commercial blood is designed that carries a substantially higher health risk than donor blood. Who will be considered unimportant enough to receive it? When we find ourselves using artificial milk with a client, let’s remind her and her health care providers that banked human milk ought to be available. Milk banks are more likely to become part of our culture if they first become part of our language.

We do not want to make bottlefeeding mothers feel guilty. Guilt is a concept that many women embrace automatically, even when they know that circumstances are truly beyond their control. (My mother has been known to apologize for the weather.)

Women’s (nearly) automatic assumption of guilt is evident in their responses to this scenario: Suppose you have taken a class in aerodynamics. You have also seen pilots fly planes. Now, imagine that you are the passenger in a two-seat plane. The pilot has a heart attack, and it is up to you to fly the plane. You crash. Do you feel guilty?

The males I asked responded, “No. Knowing about aerodynamics doesn’t mean you can fly an airplane.” “No, because I would have done my best.” “No. I might feel really bad about the plane and pilot, but I wouldn’t feel guilty.” “No. Planes are complicated to fly, even if you’ve seen someone do it.” What did the females say? “I wouldn’t feel guilty about the plane, but I might about the pilot because there was a slight chance that I could have managed to land that plane.” “Yes, because I’m very hard on myself about my mistakes. Feeling bad and feeling guilty are all mixed up for me.” “Yes, I mean, of course. I know I shouldn’t, but I probably would.” “Did I kill someone else? If I didn’t kill anyone else, then I don’t feel guilty.” Note the phrases “my mistakes,” “I know I shouldn’t,” and “Did I kill anyone?” for an event over which these women would have had no control!

The mother who opts not to breastfeed, or who does not do so as long as she planned, is doing the best she can with the resources at hand. She may have had the standard “breast is best” spiel (the course in aerodynamics) and she may have seen a few mothers nursing at the mall (like watching the pilot on the plane’s overhead screen). That is clearly not enough information or training. But she may still feel guilty. She’s female.

Most of us have seen well-informed mothers struggle unsuccessfully to establish breastfeeding, and turn to bottlefeeding with a sense of acceptance because they know they did their best. And we have seen less well-informed mothers later rage against a system that did not give them the resources they later discovered they needed. Help a mother who says she feels guilty to analyze her feelings, and you may uncover a very different emotion. Someone long ago handed these mothers the word “guilt.” It is the wrong word.

Try this on: You have been crippled in a serious accident. Your physicians and physical therapists explain that learning to walk again would involve months of extremely painful and difficult work with no guarantee of success. They help you adjust to life in a wheelchair, and support you through the difficulties that result. Twenty years later, when your legs have withered beyond all hope, you meet someone whose accident matched your own. “It was difficult,” she says. “It was three months of sheer hell. But I’ve been walking every since.” Would you feel guilty?

Women to whom I posed this scenario told me they would feel angry, betrayed, cheated. They would wish they could do it over with better information. They would feel regret for opportunities lost. Some of the women said they would feel guilty for not having sought out more opinions, for not having persevered in the absence of information and support. But gender-engendered guilt aside, we do not feel guilty about having been deprived of a pleasure. The mother who does not breastfeed impairs her own health, increases the difficulty and expense of infant and child rearing, and dismisses one of life’s most delightful relationships. She has lost something basic to her own well-being. What image of the satisfactions of breastfeeding do we convey when we use the word “guilt”?

Let’s rephrase, using the words women themselves gave me: “We don’t want to make bottlefeeding mothers feel angry. We don’t want to make them feel betrayed. We don’t want to make them feel cheated.” Peel back the layered implications of “we don’t want to make them feel guilty,” and you will find a system trying to cover its own tracks. It is not trying to protect her. It is trying to protect itself. Let’s level with mothers, support them when breastfeeding doesn’t work, and help them move beyond this inaccurate and ineffective word.

Pros and cons, advantages and disadvantages. Breastfeeding is a straight-forward health issue, not one of two equivalent choices. “One disadvantage of not smoking is that you are more likely to find secondhand smoke annoying. One advantage of smoking is that it can contribute to weight loss.” The real issue is differential morbidity and mortality. The rest–whether we are talking about tobacco or commercial baby milks–is just smoke.

One maternity center uses a “balanced” approach on an “infant feeding preference card” (5) that lists odorless stools and a return of the uterus to its normal size on the five lines of breastfeeding advantages. (Does this mean the bottlefeeding mother’s uterus never returns to normal?) Leaking breasts and an inability to see how much the baby is getting are included on the four lines of disadvantages. A formula-feeding advantage is that some mothers find it “less inhibiting and embarrassing.” The maternity facility reported good acceptance by the pediatric medical staff and no marked change in the rates of breastfeeding or bottlefeeding. That is not surprising. The information is not substantially different from the “balanced” lists that the artificial milk salesmen have peddled for years. It is probably an even better sales pitch because it now carries very clear hospital endorsement. “Fully informed,” the mother now feels confident making a life-long health decision based on relative diaper smells and the amount of skin that shows during feedings.

Why do the commercial baby milk companies offer pro and con lists that acknowledge some of their product’s shortcomings? Because any “balanced” approach that is presented in a heavily biased culture automatically supports the bias. If A and B are nearly equivalent, and if more than 90% of mothers ultimately choose B, as mothers in the United States do (according to an unpublished 1992 Mothers’ Survey by Ross Laboratories that indicated fewer than 10% of U.S. mothers nursing at a year), it makes sense to follow the majority. If there were an important difference, surely the health profession would make a point of staying out of the decision-making process. It is the parents’ choice to make. True. But deliberately stepping out of the process implies that the “balanced” list was accurate. In a recent issue of Parenting magazine, a pediatrician comments, “When I first visit a new mother in the hospital, I ask, ‘Are you breastfeeding or bottlefeeding?’ If she says she is going to bottlefeed, I nod and move on to my next questions. Supporting new parents means supporting them in whatever choices they make; you don’t march in postpartum and tell someone she’s making a terrible mistake, depriving herself and her child.” (6)

Yet if a woman announced to her doctor, midway through a routine physical examination, that she took up smoking a few days earlier, the physician would make sure she understood the hazards, reasoning that now was the easiest time for her to change her mind. It is hypocritical and irresponsible to take a clear position on smoking and “let parents decide” about breastfeeding without first making sure of their information base. Life choices are always the individual’s to make. That does not mean his or her information sources should be mute, nor that the parents who opt for bottlefeeding should be denied information that might prompt a different decision with a subsequent child.

Breastfeeding. Most other mammals never even see their own milk, and I doubt that any other mammalian mother deliberately “feeds” her young by basing her nursing intervals on what she infers the baby’s hunger level to be. Nursing quiets her young and no doubt feels good. We are the only mammal that consciously uses nursing to transfer calories…and we’re the only mammal that has chronic trouble making that transfer.

Women may say they “breastfed” for three months, but they usually say they “nursed” for three years. Easy, long-term breastfeeding involves forgetting about the “breast” and the “feeding” (and the duration, and the interval, and the transmission of the right nutrients in the right amounts, and the difference between nutritive and non-nutritive suckling needs, all of which form the focus of artificial milk pamphlets) and focusing instead on the relationship. Let’s all tell mothers that we hope they won’t “breastfeed”–that the real joys and satisfactions of the experience begin when they stop “breastfeeding” and start mothering at the breast.

All of us within the profession want breastfeeding to be our biological reference point. We want it to be the cultural norm; we want human milk to be made available to all human babies, regardless of other circumstances. A vital first step toward achieving those goals is within immediate reach of every one of us. All we have to do is…watch our language.

If you found this article of interest, you may desire to ensure you regularly receive your own copy of the Journal of Human Lactation(JHL). Taking out membership in the International Lactation Consultant Association(ILCA)includes the benefit of four issues of the JHL a year. See www.ilca.org for how to join.

Reprinted from the Journal of Human Lactation, Vol. 12, No. 1, 1996

References: 1. Olds D. L., Henderson, C. R. Tatelbaum, R.: Intellectual impairment in children of women who smoke cigarettes during pregnancy. Pediatrics 1994; 93:221-27.2. Lucas, A., Morley, R., Cole, T.J., Lister, G., Leeson-Payne, C.: Breast milk and subsequent intelligence quotient in children born preterm. Lancet 1992; 339 (8788): 261-64. 3. Fruedenheim, J.L., Graham, S., Laughlin, R., Vena, J.E., Bandera, E., et al: Exposure to breastmilk in infancy and the risk of breast cancer. Epidemiology 1994, 5:324-30. 4. UNICEF, WHO, UNESCO: Facts for Life: A Communication Challenge. New York: UNICEF 1989; p. 20. 5. Bowles, B.B., Leache, J., Starr, S., Foster, M.: Infant feeding preferences card. J Hum Lact 1993; 9: 256-58. 6. Klass, P.: Decent exposure. Parenting (May) 1994; 98-104. to kayhh’s Breastfeeding page

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  • Guidelines Revised for Breastfeeding and Allergies

    Pediatricians revise guidelines on breast-feeding and allergies 

    CHICAGO (AP) — Breast-feeding helps prevent babies’ allergies, but there’s no good evidence for avoiding certain foods during pregnancy, using soy formula or delaying introduction of solid foods beyond six months.

    That’s the word from the American Academy of Pediatrics, which is updating earlier suggestions that may have made some parents feel like they weren’t doing enough to prevent food allergies, asthma and allergic rashes.

    In August 2000, the doctors group advised mothers of infants with a family history of allergies to avoid cow’s milk, eggs, fish, peanuts and tree nuts while breast-feeding.

    That advice, along with a recommended schedule for introducing certain risky foods, left some moms and dads blaming themselves if their children went on to develop allergies.

    “They say, ‘I shouldn’t have had milk in my coffee,'” said Dr. Scott Sicherer of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine’s Jaffe Food Allergy Institute in New York. “I’ve been saying, ‘We don’t really have evidence that it causes a problem. Don’t be on a guilt trip about it.'”

    Sicherer helped write the new guidance report for pediatricians, published in the January issue of the journal Pediatrics. Earlier advice about restricting certain foods from moms’ and babies’ diets has been tossed out and the only surefire advice remaining is to breast-feed.

    The report says:

    • There is no convincing evidence that women who avoid peanuts or other foods during pregnancy or breast-feeding lower their child’s risk of allergies.

    • For infants with a family history of allergies, exclusive breast-feeding for at least four months can lessen the risk of rashes and allergy to cow’s milk.

    • Exclusive breast-feeding for at least three months protects against wheezing in babies, but whether it prevents asthma in older children is unclear.

    • There is modest evidence for feeding hypoallergenic formulas to susceptible babies if they are not solely breast-fed.

    • There is no good evidence that soy-based formulas prevent allergies.

    • There is no convincing evidence that delaying the introduction of foods such as eggs, fish or peanut butter to children prevents allergies. Babies should not get solid food before 4 to 6 months of age, however.

    The evidence for the earlier recommendations was weak and hasn’t been strengthened by new research, Sicherer said.

    “You never know what’s going to come around the corner, but in the past seven years there hasn’t been enough evidence to support the old recommendations,” Sicherer said.

    Dr. Peter Vadas of the University of Toronto conducted prior research that found peanut protein in breast milk. His work has been cited as a reason for nursing mothers to avoid eating peanuts.

    Vadas said he advises breast-feeding mothers to avoid peanuts, but only if there is a family history of peanut allergy, and he makes it clear the advice is arguable.

    Lactation consultants at Fairview Red Wing Medical Center say recent advice regarding breast-feeding backs up what they’ve been telling mothers: It’s best for their infants to breast-feed exclusively, if possible, for the first four to six months.

    Anne Beckman, international board certified lactation consultant, said 84 percent of mothers at Fairview Red Wing started breast-feeding in 2007.

    “Of our area, 56 percent are still breast-feeding at six months,” Beckman said.

    “According to the Centers for Disease Control report card, comparatively, in Minnesota almost 81 percent of the moms start breast-feeding,” meaning they initiate breast-feeding while still in the hospital, Beckman said.

    At six months, 46.5 percent are still exclusively breastfeeding, Beckman said. Totals for all of the United States indicate that 73.8 percent of mothers initiate breast-feeding and 41.5 percent are still going at six months, she added.

    Beckman said Red Wing’s high rate is due to the encouragement of physicians and staff at the medical center.

    “We’re really proud of the work our lactation nurses have done,” said Peggy Decker, a pediatrician at Fairview Red Wing Clinic.

    According to Decker, breast milk provides babies several advantages.

    “Not just (for preventing) allergies. There are lots of other health benefits too,” Decker said.

    When it comes to introducing solid foods, the experts say it’s best to do so when the child is between 4 and 6 months old.

    “We used to recommend waiting to introduce certain foods like fish, eggs and protein until they’re over 9, 10 months or 1 year old,” Decker said of foods commonly thought to cause allergies.

    The previous rationale was that limiting protein exposure during “some sort of critical exposure time” would reduce the likeliness a child would develop an atopic disease such as a skin allergy, excema, atopic dermatitis, asthma, food allergies or other allergies, Decker explained.

    “And this review shows there’s not a lot of evidence that delaying (introducing those foods) beyond six months has any benefit,” Decker said. “The exception is infants with a strong family history of specific allergies.”

    http://www.republican-eagle.com/articles/index.cfm?id=47918§ion=Lifestyle&freebie_check&CFID=5444294&CFTOKEN=35185518&jsessionid=8830b086cb4ad4a20357

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