Posted by: linaqutob | November 20, 2010

Breastfeeding: The Best Start to Life

Breastfeeding is the process of giving the baby or young child milk directly from the mother’s breasts rather than from a bottle or other container. Mothers should be able to breastfeed their children for more than six months after pregnancy, without the need of infant formula or solid food. Breast milk is considered to be the healthiest form of milk for human babies. It promotes health, reduces health care and feeding costs, and helps prevent disease. The Benefits of Breast milk for babies, their mothers, and families are limitless.

Benefits for babies and mothers include:

  • Babies who are exclusively breastfed for six months are less likely to develop ear infections, diarrhea, and respiratory illnesses. They may also be less likely to develop childhood obesity
  • Babies who are exclusively breastfed for six months are less likely to develop Celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and Neuroblastoma
  • Whey protein in human milk forms a soft, easily digestible curd
  • Human milk provides optimal nutrition to the infant. it also provides generous amounts of lipids, in the form of essential fatty acids, saturated fatty acids, medium-chain triglycerides, and cholesterol
  • Human milk has infection-fighting components that inhibit the formation of dental caries
  • Minerals in breast milk are largely protein bound and balanced to enhance their availability and meet infant needs with minimal demand on maternal reserves
  • Breastfeeding seems to work as analgesic to infants
  • Breastfeeding delays the return of menstrual periods and may aid in spacing pregnancies
  • Breastfeeding reduces the risk of breast and ovarian cancers
  • Breastfeeding reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease
  • Breastfeeding creates a strong bond between mother and child
  • Breastfeeding mothers have increased self esteem

Benefits for families include:

  • Breastfeeding saves the family budget hundreds of dollars.
  • Breastfeeding saves on health care costs.
  • Breastfeeding contributes to a more productive workforce.
  • Breastfeeding creates a healthier society.

Posted by: linaqutob | November 19, 2010

Barriers to Breastfeeding

All new mothers, both low income and more affluent, need support for breastfeeding. Common barriers include:

To breastfeeding initiation expressed by expectant mothers are:

  • Time and social constraints, and concerns about loss of freedom (particularly issues of working moms)
  • Embarrassment
  • Lack of support from family and friends
  • Lack of confidence
  • Concerns about diet and health practices
  • In adolescents, fear of pain

To breastfeeding initiation and continuation are:

  • Insufficient prenatal breastfeeding education
  • Health cares provider apathy and misinformation
  • Inadequate health care provider lactation management training
  • Disruptive hospital policies
  • Early hospital discharge
  • Lack of routine follow-up care and postpartum home health visits
  • Maternal employment, especially in the absence of workplace facilities and support for breastfeeding
  • Lack of board societal support
  • Media portrayal of bottle-feeding as the norm
  • Commercial promotion of infant formula through distribution of hospital discharge packs,coupons for free or discounted formula, and television and general magazine advertising.

Women who have been exposed to materials and products from formula companies prenatally are more likely to stop breastfeeding in the first two weeks. Use of these materials provide a subtle message that infant formula is equivalent to breast milk. In my opinion, I think the World Health Organization’s International/UNICEF code on the marketing of breast milk substitutes is the best invention to promote breastfeeding.

The code requires:

  • No advertising of breast milk substitutes and infant formula
  • No free samples or supplies
  • No promotion of products through health care facilities
  • No company sales representative to advise mothers
  • No gifts or personal samples to health workers
  • No gifts or pictures idealizing formula feeding, including pictures of infants, on the labels of the infant milk containers
  • Information to health workers should be scientific and factual
  • All information on artificial feeding, including labels, should explain the benefits of breastfeeding and the costs and hazards associated with formula feeding
  • Unsuitable products should not be promoted for babies
  • Manufacturers and distributions should comply with the code’s provisions even if countries have not adopted laws or other measures.
Posted by: linaqutob | November 18, 2010

Sore Nipples

Nipple discomfort is very common among women who are breastfeeding. In most women, the discomfort usually lasts during the first week. If you get severe nipple pain, pain that lasts throughout a feeding, or pain that is not improved by the end of the first week, it shouldn’t be considered normal and the a physician must be consulted. Painful nipples can lead women to become discouraged and lead to the early cessation breastfeeding.

The best prevention of nipple pain and soreness is proper positioning of the baby on the breast. In order to breastfeed your child effectively, he/she needs to draw the breast deeply into the mouth, so that the mother’s nipple approximates to the junction of the hard and soft palate. This enables the baby to use its tongue smoothly and rhythmically against the under surface of the breast and remove milk from the ducts. With a good mouthful of breast, the mother’s nipple is so far back in the baby’s mouth that it is beyond the reach of the compression wave of the tongue, so no pain is caused, and no damage is done. If a woman is experiencing pain, a lactation consultant or a health care professional well trained in lactation should observe the mother nursing her baby. The lactation consultant can determine whether the pain is simply related to early breastfeeding, or if a problem exists.

Persistent nipple pain usually results from trauma from poor positioning of the infant at the breast, improper release of suction after a breastfeed, infection, pumping with too much suction, a problem with the infant’s suck, and dermatologic abnormalities. Breast care and cleaning rituals can also contribute to nipple soreness. Cleaning of the breast involves daily washing with warm water. Some cleaning products can irritate the nipple, and some creams/lotions can cause a skin irritation and an allergic reaction. Plastic-backed breast pads that are used to prevent milk leakage can prevent air flow to the nipple and trap moisture.

women can manage nipple pain. Strategies that can be done include using warm compresses on sore nipples, letting breasts air dry after nursing, and rubbing expressed milk or an all purpose ointment on nipples. If the nipples are so sore, the mother can use a pump to express milk in order to maintain supply. However, the suction on the breast pump should be adjusted carefully. High suction can make nipples sore and red.

Posted by: linaqutob | November 17, 2010

How Do I Hold My Baby When I Breastfeed?

A key factor in ensuring proper breastfeeding is the positioning of the infant at the breast. Feeding mothers need to learn from health professionals the optimal positioning, since improper positioning can causes pain and possible damage to the nipples and breast tissue. Cushions, pillows, or a footstool may be used if necessary to increase comfort and to well to nurse the infant.

  • Support your breast with your thumb on top and four fingers underneath. Keep your Fingers behind the areola (the darker skin around the nipple). You may need to support your breast during the whole feeding, especially in the early days or if your breasts are large.
  • Brush or tickle the baby’s lips with your nipple to encourage the baby’s mouth to open wide.
  • Hug the baby in close with his or her whole body facing yours. Your baby will take a mouthful of all of the nipple and most of the areola. The baby should never be latched onto the nipple only.
  • Look for both of your baby’s lips to be turned out (not tucked in or under) and relaxed – if you can’t tell if the lower lip is out, press gently on the lower chin to pull the lower lip out. The tongue should be cupped under your breast.
  • You may see your baby’s jaw move back and forth and hear low pitched swallowing noises. your baby’s nose and chin may touch against your breast. Breastfeeding should not hurt. If it hurts, take the baby of your breast and try again. The baby may not be latched on right. Break your baby’s suction to your breast by gently placing your finger in the corner of his/her mouth.

If you are interested in more information about this, please check the Military Baby Wesbsite.

Posted by: linaqutob | November 16, 2010

Size of the Breast

Many women think that the size of the breast limits a woman’s ability to nurse her infant. However, the size of the woman’s breast does not determine the amount of milk production tissue (clusters of alveoli containing secretory cells that produce the milk). Much of the variation in breast size is due to the amount of fat in the breast. The size of the breast does limit storage because of limitations in the expansion of the ducts and lactiferous sinuses. However,daily milk production is not related to the total milk storage capacity within the breast.

This means that the amount of milk produced by breasts is the same regardless of size, however, woman with larger breasts is able to  deliver the same volume of milk compared with a woman with smaller breasts in less time. Typical milk production averages approximately 600 ml in the month postpartum and continues to increase to approximately 750-800 ml per day by 4-5 months postpartum. In women who are feeding one infant, milk production ranges from 450-1200 ml per day. There are many factors that affect the infant demand for milk, which include the infant weight, the caloric density of milk, and the infant’s age. In breastfeeding women, milk production increases to meet the demand of twins, triplets, or infants and toddlers who require more milk. It can also be increased by pumping the milk.

It is now known that milk synthesis is related to infant demand, but not to other factors such as how the infant feeds. That is, the removal of milk from the breast is the signal to produce more milk, and most women are able to increase their milk production to meet infant demand except in some rare cases.

Posted by: linaqutob | November 15, 2010

Maternal Diet

For a breastfeeding woman, her MyPyramid food plan would include:

  • Grains, 8 ounces
  • Vegetables, 3 cups
  • Fruits, 2 cups
  • Milk, 3 cups
  • Meat and Beans, 6.5 ounces
  • Oil, 7 teaspoons
  • Additional calories for desserts, fats, and sweets for the 2400 calories food plan is 360.

Energy needs for breastfeeding women depend on her physical activity. They average about 1900 kcal per day if the woman is inactive and 2500 kcal if she is active, raching up to 3100 kcal if the woman is very active.  State of the art studies on energy needs in breastfeeding women calls for a review of recommendations, citing a total energy cost of approximately 623 cal per day assuming 750 grams of milk produced at 0.67 kcal/g and 80% effeciency with mobilization of approximately 450 kcal per day.

Goldberg et al. found that women increased food intakes (56% of the need for milk production) and decreased physical activity (44% of the energy need for milk production) to meet the increase in energy needs for lactation. Assessment of adequacy of energy intake of breastfeeding women, should always be made within the context of the mother’s overall nutritional status and weight changes and the adequacy of the infant’s growth.

Posted by: linaqutob | November 14, 2010

Do you Smoke? Drink Alcohol? Take Medications?

Regardless of feeding choice (human milk or human milk substitute), maternal smoking presents significant health risks for infants. Babies who are exposed to second hand smoke usually have higher rate of upper respiratory infections. Hence, to avoid any complications, and to stay you and your baby healthy, it is always better to quit smoking especially during breastfeeding.

The level of alcohol in breast milk matches the maternal plasma alcohol levels at the time of the infant feeding; a nursing woman who drinks occasionally can limit her infant’s exposure to alcohol by timing breastfeeding in relation to her breastfeeding. Over the limit of alcohol is always bad to your body whether you are breastfeeding or not.  larger amounts of alcohol make your baby sleepy or dizzy and may affect his or her growth over time. Researchers, however, until now didn’t have any conclusions that light drinking by a breastfeeding mother could cause harmful effects to the baby.

Prescriptions or over the counter medication, including herbal supplements taken by the mother are discharged in the breast milk. For most maternal conditions, there are drug therapies  that will not  harm the breastfeeding infant. Actual discontinue of the breastfeeding to take a medication is rarely required.  The American Academy of Pediatrics has information about most prescriptions.

Posted by: linaqutob | November 7, 2010

Vitamin supplements for Breastfeeding Infants

Surprisingly, breastfed babies are at risk for vitamin D deficiency and rickets. Rickets is actually the softening and weakening of bones in children, usually because of an extreme and prolonged vitamin D deficiency.  People usually get vitamin D from sunlight as it is the major source of it. However, the amount of pigment in your baby’s skin, your baby’s amount of sun exposure, the latitude where you live,  and the use of sunscreen products all affect how much vitamin D your baby’s body can produce from sunlight.

Therefore, it is highly recommended that the baby get the required amount of vitamin D. The AAP recommends all babies and young children, including those breastfeeding and those who are fed formula, to have 200 international units (IU) of vitamin D per day beginning during the first two months of the baby’s life. it ‘s also recommended that an intake of 200 IU of vitamin D per day be continued throughout childhood and adolescence. Also, Vitamin D supplements of infants are available over the counter.

Moreover, all infants, whether they are fed human milk are vulnerable to vitamin K- deficiency bleeding. All infants in the world receive a vitamin K supplement (1.0 mg by injection) at birth because it is known to decrease the risk of vitamin k deficiency bleeding.