Posts Tagged ‘breast feeding’

Are rented breast pumps safe?

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

breast-pumpI wrote a post not long ago for nursing moms on types of breast pumps and whether buying or renting was better. Both can be safe and a good option – it really depends on your needs and what your insurance company will cover. A number of breastfeeding women choose to rent or share their friend’s pump and that’s great.

A news release from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (Jan. 14, 2013) reiterates the importance of understanding what type of machine you’re renting and if it is safe for multiple users. If you are going to use a pump that someone else has used, make sure it is a closed system type designed for multiple users. The FDA advised all women who use rented or second-hand pumps to buy an accessory kit with new breast shields and tubing — even if the existing kit looks clean.

To learn more about breast pumps, visit the FDA’s recently released website on breast pumps.

Breast pumps – buy or borrow?

Friday, September 16th, 2011

Mothers who are returning to work or school usually need a breast pump. How often you’ll need to pump milk depends on whether you’re feeding your baby only breastmilk or if you’re switching between breastmilk and formula.

There are a variety of pumps available. Women who pump infrequently often prefer manual pumps, while working women commonly like electric double pumps because they shorten the time it takes to use them. There are “open system” and “closed system” pump designs. In both designs, breastmilk flows through the breast shields and tubing and is deposited into containers. In an “open” system, it is possible for some milk to come in contact with parts of the machine.  In a “closed” system, none of the breastmilk can enter the machine, so it is safe for several women to use it by simply changing the shields, tubing and containers. A lactation consultant can help you evaluate your needs and choose wisely.

Shop around until you find the pump that works best for you. Prices for breast pumps vary depending on their features. Be sure to compare costs. Some health insurance companies help pay for a breast pump. Find out if your insurance covers the purchase of a breast pump. Many women will add a breast pump to their baby shower registry so that a few friends can pitch in together. But don’t forget that you will also need to purchase bags or bottles to store the pumped breastmilk.

You may also want to think about renting a breast pump. For many families, this is a cost-effective solution. If you choose to go this route, make sure you rent a “closed” system pump. Talk to your health provider or hospital staff for more information about where to rent a pump. Reusing a friend’s pump is safe, too, as long as you buy new accessories (tubing, storage bags, bottles, nipples). Talk to your health care provider if you’re interested in this option.

Does breastfeeding reduce the risk of breast cancer?

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009

breastfeeding-3New research suggests that breastfeeding may help protect some women from breast cancer. In the study, women who had breast cancer in their family and who breastfed were less likely to get breast cancer.

Other research has also found a link between breastfeeding and reduced risk of breast cancer. But medical experts still aren’t sure. It could be that women who breastfeed share something else that protects them.

The authors of the new study are careful to point out that we need more research to understand what’s going on. The research was published in the medical journal Annals of Internal Medicine.

Meanwhile, we know breastfeeding is good for babies. That’s reason enough for women to do it.

Moms benefit from breastfeeding, too

Friday, April 24th, 2009

breastfeeding-picWe know that breastfeeding is the best food for most babies. But did you know that breastfeeding can have benefits for moms, too?

The New York Times recently reported on a study showing that women who breastfeed at some point during their lives have a lower chance of facing high blood pressure, diabetes and cardiovascular disease later on in life. And the longer a woman breastfeeds her baby, the better her chances are of avoiding these health issues during her lifetime. It’s still not clear how this relationship works, but it’s one more reason to breastfeed if you can!

Will your hospital help you breastfeed?

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

breastfeeding-2-smSo you’re pregnant and want to breastfeed your baby. Great choice! Breastmilk is the best food for most babies during the first year of life.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies exclusively breastfeed for about the first 6 months of life. That means the baby has only breastmilk and no other form of food. In other words: No formula.

A new study published in the American Journal of Public Health looked at whether hospitals support women who want to exclusively breastfeed their babies.

Researchers found that most hospitals encourage women to breastfeed and support those who choose to do so. But hospitals are less helpful when it comes to exclusive breastfeeding.

For instance, many of them give formula to moms who want to exclusively breastfeed. They may also give newborns pacifiers, which can interfere with exclusive breastfeeding. So it can be confusing to the new mom who’s trying to learn how to do this.

So if you want to exclusively breastfeed, you will need to say “No, thanks” to hospital staff when they provide formula and pacifiers.

The March of Dimes article on breastfeeding lists resources that can help you prepare before your due date arrives.

Botox, pregnancy and breastfeeding

Thursday, March 19th, 2009

skin-smThe rumor mill churns. Which celebrities have had Botox injections to help erase those wrinkles? Nicole Kidman? Victoria Beckham? Lindsay Lohan? I really don’t care, do you?

But I do worry about pregnant and breastfeeding women who might be thinking about Botox and other cosmetic treatments. Probably not a good idea.

Doctors know very little about the risks of Botox during pregnancy and breastfeeding. The research hasn’t been done. Some worry about the risk of birth defects.

Removing wrinkles is not a good medical reason for a woman to have cosmetic Botox while she’s pregnant or breastfeeding. The same goes for plumped up lips and collagen.

In Australia, the association of cosmetic physicians has advised women not to have Botox injections when they are pregnant. ABC News did a story about this topic in January. The doctors they spoke to overwhelmingly said, “No way.”

Here’s the question to ask about any treatment during pregnancy, “Do I need this right now for my health and the health of the baby?” For cosmetic procedures, the answer is almost always no.

For more on beauty treatments during pregnancy, see Questions and Answers from the March of Dimes.

Mastitis – ouch!

Monday, June 9th, 2008

Mastitis is an infection in the breast that can really hurt. It occurs when a milk duct becomes inflamed from germs that enter the breast, usually during breastfeeding. Nipples sometimes become cracked or sore, especially if the baby isn’t latching on properly, and germs take advantage of the opportunity to set up house.

When a breast becomes infected, it’s often very sore, swollen and hard to the touch and sometimes feels hot. The area may redden and you might come down with a fever.  If you develop any signs of mastitis in one or both breasts, call your doc.  She can prescribe antibiotics to tackle the infection before it gets worse.

Acetaminophen (Tylenol, etc.) can help reduce your fever and take the edge off the pain. So can applying warm compresses several times a day. While you might be tempted to stop breastfeeding, it’s actually better if you continue to nurse or pump your milk. Emptying your breast will relieve the pressure and make you feel better.  And don’t worry about the infection reaching the baby.  It won’t cross over into your milk.  The antibiotics you take won’t harm your baby either, but his poop might change color a bit.

Make sure your breasts are clean and dry between feedings.  Be sure your baby is latching on correctly when he nurses (putting his lips and gums around the areola, not just the nipple).  Call your doc if you come down with any symptoms of mastitis.  Left untreated, an abscess could form that might require surgical drainage under local anesthesia. The sooner you nip it in the bud, the more comfortable you will be.


Will drug labels change for pregnancy and breastfeeding?

Monday, June 2nd, 2008

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA)  is proposing major changes in drug labels to provide more information about the effects of medicines used during pregnancy and breastfeeding. If the changes take effect, they would help doctors and women make more informed decisions.

Comments on the proposed regulations are due on August 27.  After reviewing the comments, FDA will decide whether to go ahead with the changes.

Meanwhile, if you’re pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding, take only medications prescribed to you or recommended by a health care provider. But don’t stop taking a prescription drug without your health care provider’s okay.



Safety Alert: Mommy’s Bliss Nipple Cream

Monday, June 2nd, 2008

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned women not to use Mommy’s Bliss Nipple Cream. Ingredients in the cream may cause breathing problems, vomiting and diarrhea in babies. According to its maker, Mommy’s Bliss helps soothe and heal nipples that are dry or cracked from breastfeeding.

For more information, read the FDA warning.