Posts Tagged ‘breastfeeding’

Breastfeeding a baby with a cleft lip/palate

Monday, August 11th, 2014

mom loving babyA cleft lip is a birth defect in which a baby’s upper lip doesn’t form completely and has an opening. A cleft palate is a similar birth defect in a baby’s palate (roof of the mouth). A baby can be born with one or both of these defects. If your baby has a cleft lip, a cleft palate, or both, he may have trouble breastfeeding. It is normal for babies with a cleft lip to need some extra time to get started with breastfeeding. If your baby has a cleft palate, he most likely cannot feed from the breast. This is because your baby has more trouble sucking and swallowing. You can, however, still feed your baby pumped breast milk from a bottle.

Your baby’s provider can help you start good breastfeeding habits right after your baby is born. The provider may recommend:

• special nipples and bottles that can make feeding breast milk from a bottle easier.

• an obturator. This is a small plastic plate that fits into the roof of your baby’s mouth and covers the cleft opening during feeding.

Here are some helpful breastfeeding tips:

• If your baby chokes or leaks milk from his nose, the football hold position may help your baby take milk more easily. Tuck your baby under your arm, on the same side you are nursing from, like a football. He should face you, with his nose level with your nipple. Rest your arm on a pillow and support the baby’s shoulders, neck and head with your hand.

• If your baby prefers only one breast, try sliding him over to the other breast without turning him or moving him too much. If you need, use pillows for support.

• Feed your baby in a calm or darkened room. Calm surroundings can help him have fewer distractions.

• Your baby may take longer to finish feeding and may need to be burped more often (2-3 times during a feed).

• It may help to keep your baby as upright as possible during his feeding. This position will allow the milk to flow into his stomach easier, which will help prevent choking.

How breastfeeding can help your baby:

• His mouth and tongue coordination will improve, which can help his speech skills.

• His face and mouth muscles will strengthen, leading to more normal facial formation.

• If your baby chokes or leaks milk from his nose, breast milk is less irritating to the mucous membranes than formula.

• Babies with a cleft tend to have more ear infections; breast milk helps protect against these infections.

If your baby is unable to breastfeed: 

• Feed your baby with bottles and nipples specifically designed for babies with clefts. Ask your baby’s health care provider for recommendations.

If you are concerned if your baby is getting enough to eat, or if he is having trouble feeding, speak with a lactation counselor, your baby’s provider or a nurse if you are still in the hospital.

If you have any questions about feeding your child with a cleft lip or palate, email us at AskUs@marchofdimes.org.

 

Breastfeeding your baby in the NICU can be challenging

Monday, August 4th, 2014

feeding in the NICUMost babies, even those born very premature can learn to breastfeed. Breast milk provides many health benefits for all newborns, but especially for premature or sick babies in the NICU. Feeding a preemie may be much different than what you had planned. If you must pump, you may feel disappointed that you are not able to feed your warm baby on your breast. But, providing breast milk for your preemie is something special and beneficial that you can give him.

Here are tips to help you breastfeed your preemie while in the NICU.

If your baby is unable to feed or latch:

• Start pumping as soon as you can to establish your milk supply. Ask a nurse for a pump and assistance.

• If your preemie is tube feeding, your baby’s nurse can show you how to give your baby his feedings.

• Pump frequently, every 2 to 2-1/2 hours around the clock for a couple of days and nights (or 8 to 12 times during the day, so you can catch some sleep at night).

• Practice skin to skin or kangaroo care if your nurse says it is ok. Both are beneficial, even if your baby is connected to machines and tubes.

If your baby is able to suckle:

• Ask to feed him in a quiet, darkened room, away from the beeping machines and bright lights.

• Many mothers find the cross cradle position very helpful for feedings. Start with kangaroo care. Then position the baby across your lap, turned in towards you, chest to chest. Use a pillow to bring him to the level of your breast if you need to.

• Preemies need many opportunities at the breast to develop feeding skills regardless of gestational age. This requires practice and patience.

• You may need increased support to breastfeed your preemie. Look for support from your nurses, the hospital’s lactation consultant, friends or family.

Not every tip will work for every mom. Try to find the feeding methods and solutions that work best for you and your preemie. More information on how to feed your baby in the NICU can be found here.

If you have questions about how to feed your baby, email us at AskUs@marchofdimes.org.

Breastfeeding myths debunked – part 2

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

mom breastfeeding1. Your baby needs water too.

False: Supplementing with water is not recommended for babies. Breast milk or formula contains all the water a baby needs and will keep your baby hydrated even in hot, dry climates.

2. You don’t produce enough milk.

Often False: The amount of milk you produce depends on a number of factors, including how often you feed and how your baby sucks at the breast. You can check if your baby is getting enough to eat by the amount of wet or soiled diapers in a day. The American Academy of Pediatrics tells moms to “expect 3-5 urines and 3-4 stools per day by 3-5 days of age; 4-6 urines and 3-6 stools per 5-7 days of age.” Your baby’s health care provider will check if your baby is gaining weight at his well-baby visits.

3. Breastfeeding is easy

False: Breastfeeding can be very challenging. Many moms face sore, cracked and bleeding nipples. It can hurt when you try to feed your baby. It’s important that when you start to feel pain or discomfort you seek help from a lactation counselor or support group. Many times the soreness can be relieved if the latch or position is changed. Some moms are able to breastfeed right away and others experience discomfort for months. Breastfeeding is learning a new skill; it takes lots of practice, time and patience.

4. Breastfeeding reduces the risk of SIDS

True: Breastfeeding can reduce the risks associated with sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Feed your baby only breast milk for at least 6 months. Continue breastfeeding your baby until at least her first birthday. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says “Breastfeed as much and as long as you can. Studies show that breastfeeding your baby can help reduce the risk of SIDS.”

5. My baby should always breastfeed from both breasts

Not always true: Babies, especially newborns may have periods of preferring only one breast. Your baby may cry, become fussy or refuse to feed on one breast. If your baby is getting enough milk and you are not having any other trouble, it is fine for your baby to feed from only one breast. If you are having problems with your milk supply, or experience engorgement or pain, there are tips to get your baby back on both breasts.  For example try starting your baby on the preferred breast, and then slide him over to other side without changing the position of his body. To learn more, ask a lactation specialist.

Did you have an assumption about breastfeeding that was false? Or did someone give you advice that helped? We’d love to hear from you.

Check out the first 5 breastfeeding myths from last week.

Breastfeeding myths debunked

Monday, June 9th, 2014

woman breastfeedingWhether you are currently breastfeeding or planning to breastfeed in the future, there are many myths that could lead you toward or away from breastfeeding.

1. Breastfeeding will ruin my breasts.

False: breastfeeding does not affect the shape of your breasts. Your breasts may become engorged while breastfeeding, but your breasts will return to their usual shape once you have weaned feedings. Aging and gravity are the culprits of changing breast shape!

2. Breastfeeding will make my nipples sore.

True and False: Breastfeeding may make your nipples sore, but there are things you can do to prevent or solve the soreness. Sore nipples may happen when the baby is not latched on properly. You can seek help and support from a lactation counselor or support group.

3. Breastfeeding may help you lose your baby weight.

True! Breastfeeding burns extra calories (up to 500 a day), helping you return to your pre-pregnancy weight in a gradual and healthy way.  Remember pregnancy weight was not gained overnight so it will not disappear quickly. It is important to maintain a healthy diet and to wait until you feel ready and for your health care provider’s OK to purposely lose weight.

4. You must drink milk to make milk.

False: You do not need to drink milk to make milk. However it is important for you to maintain a healthy diet of vegetables, fruits, grains, proteins and water. These are the only nutrients you need to produce milk. If you are concerned about getting enough calcium, you can drink milk or eat non-dairy foods that contain calcium such as dark green vegetables or nuts.

5. My milk isn’t good enough.

False: Breast is still best. Breast milk composition changes within the feeding, within the day and over the course of lactation, but breast milk has higher amounts of nutrients than other foods or supplements, including formula. Your breast milk can help protect your baby from things like diarrhea and infections, and help brain development.

These are the first 5 myths debunked. Stay tuned next week for more.

Did you have an assumption about breastfeeding that was false? Or did someone give you advice that helped? We’d love to hear from you.

Inside your baby’s diaper

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

diapersThe following is an excerpt from Dr. Siobhan Dolan’s book, Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby.

New parents are often surprised at what they find in their baby’s diapers. A newborn’s stool looks much different than the stool of an older baby, toddler, or child. New parents may also be surprised to learn that a newborn needs a diaper change as many as eight times a day. Every time you baby eats, his brain sends a signal to his digestive system to release urine and stool. But don’t worry – feedings and diaper changes go down in number as your baby grows.

Just after birth, your baby’s stools are loose, black, and sticky. After a day or two, the stools of breastfed babies turn loose and mustard-colored, and contain what look like small seeds; formula-fed babies have soft, tan stools. After about a week your baby’s stools become slightly firmer.

Normal newborn stools can look like diarrhea, so if your baby actually has diarrhea, it can be hard to detect. A change in frequency or consistency of stools, an unusual smell, or blood in the stools can be a sign of diarrhea. If you’re not sure whether your baby’s stools are normal, call your baby’s provider.

You can learn more about Dr. Dolan’s book, watch a video, read excerpts, and even order a copy through this link.

Keep your breasts healthy

Thursday, October 17th, 2013

breast self-examLadies, let’s remember to take care of the girls.  We have talked often about how breast milk is the best nutrition for your baby, how milk banking helps others, how you need to be careful with medications you take while you’re breastfeeding.   We have noted the weight loss benefits of breastfeeding, how employers now need to provide you with a place to pump when you return to work, and how some scientists think breastfeeding may reduce the risk of breast cancer.  
 
These are all important things that you’ve heard more than once.  So, how come many women don’t receive or perform annual breast exams?  These should be performed at your annual well woman checkup. But you also should be protecting your health and your baby’s source of nutrition by doing breast self-exams.  Not sure how?  Click here for more information.

Breastfeeding is not easy

Friday, September 27th, 2013

breastfeedingIt seems like a secret that no one tells first time moms. Info abounds about how good breastfeeding is for your baby so you’ve decided that, since you only want what’s best for your baby, you’re going to breastfeed. You’ll be the breastfeeding champ – the poster mom for breastfeeding! And then after three or four days of trying it, you’re almost ready to give up. HELP!

Breastfeeding problems are extremely common among first-time moms, often causing them to introduce formula or completely abandon breastfeeding within two months, report researchers at the University of California, Davis, and the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

The study found that although 75 percent of mothers in the United States initiate breastfeeding, only 13 percent of those women ultimately breastfeed exclusively for the recommended first six months of the child’s life. The most common concern was that the babies were not feeding well at the breast (52 percent), followed by breastfeeding pain (44 percent) and perceived lack of sufficient milk (40 percent). Education and support are key to turning these numbers around.

If you’re pregnant for the first time or planning a pregnancy, get some upfront facts about breastfeeding challenges. Talk to a lactation consultant, contact La Leche League, before you deliver as well as once the baby arrives.  The first two weeks of breastfeeding are crucial for getting good guidance and support. Don’t feel like you should be able to do this on your own. It’s not like falling off a log – it takes education and work. Prepare for challenges because there likely will be some. (Who would have thought breastfeeding could hurt?!) Don’t despair and throw in the towel. Be prepared to work through ups and downs. With help and after perhaps several weeks of effort, for most women, everything should click into place.

Breastfeeding chat

Monday, August 5th, 2013

breastfeedingBreastfeeding can be a wonderful experience, but it’s not as easy as it looks. It may be hugely beneficial to your baby, which it is, but there’s plenty to learn before your little one arrives. Join the experts: Robin Weiss, a doula, lactation consultant and author of Pregnancy & Childbirth at About.com; Dr. Abieyuwa Iyare, a pediatrician and co-chair of the Breastfeeding Committee and Paula Ferrante, R.N., lactation consultant at Montefiore Medical Center; and our good friends at Text4baby.

Let’s talk. Did you breastfeed? If so, for how long? Did you continue to breastfeed after going back to work? What tips can you share with others? Where can we go for help?

According to new data released by the CDC, nearly 1 out of every 2 women in the U.S. is breastfeeding her baby up to the age of six months. That’s excellent news, but it doesn’t mean we can’t use some help in doing it right and getting more support.

Aug. 1 through 7 is World Breastfeeding Week. Join the conversation on Tuesday, August 6th at 1 PM ET. Be sure to use #pregnancychat to fully participate and get your questions answered.

Your body after baby

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

young-woman-walkingKate, the Duchess of Cambridge, looked radiant as she presented her little Prince to the world for a first glimpse. You may have noticed her baby bump. It begs the question…what happens to your body after you give birth?

Lots of things are happening to your body right after you give birth, especially for the first 6 weeks! Your body is changing again. Some of these changes are painless; others may be uncomfortable.
 
During pregnancy, your uterus grows to hold your growing baby. After your baby is born, your uterus shrinks back to its regular size. But, it takes some time for your belly to get back to its regular shape after pregnancy. It took time to gain the weight and it will take time to lose it. But don’t get discouraged! Be active and eat healthy foods to help you lose the baby weight. Start slowly, perhaps with a daily walk, and listen to your body as you gradually become more active. And, be sure to ask your provider if you have any issues that you need to be aware of before you increase your activity or begin to exercise.

If you had swelling while pregnant, it may take a while for it to go away after giving birth. Lie on your left side or put your feet up. Stay cool and wear loose clothes.

Your breasts swell, too, as they fill with milk. This is called engorgement, and it can be painful. Once you start breastfeeding, the swelling should go away. If you’re not breastfeeding, it may last until your breasts stop making milk.
 
Breastfeeding your baby helps your body, too. It increases the amount of a hormone in your body called oxytocin. This helps your uterus (womb) go back to the size it was before you got pregnant. It also helps stop bleeding that you have after giving birth. And, it burns extra calories. This helps you get back to your pre-pregnancy weight more quickly.
 
Many women feel unprepared for postpartum health issues. For instance, many experience breastfeeding problems, hair loss, hemorrhoids, mood swings, and anxiety. Not all women have these problems, but they are fairly common. All the physical changes and demands of your new baby can make you really emotional, too. Feeling stressed and tired all the time are common for new moms. Some women have the baby blues for a few days after giving birth. If these sad feelings last longer than 10 days, tell your provider. You may need to be checked for postpartum depression.

Remember, it’s normal to feel some discomfort, like soreness and fatigue, as your body heals after giving birth. However, other discomforts and health problems may be a sign that you need medical care. Know the warning signs and be sure to seek help when you need it.
 
In time, your body should return to “normal.” Every woman is different – there is no one time clock or standard that you should compare yourself to. If you know what to expect, give yourself time and are patient, you will find that it will happen. In the meantime, enjoy every luscious moment with your little prince or princess!

Introducing solid food

Monday, March 25th, 2013

A new study from the CDC released in today’s journal Pediatrics revealed that 40% of mothers surveyed gave solid food to their baby before the age of four months. While the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and the American Academy of Family Physicians all recommend breastfeeding or formula feeding exclusively to the age of six months, many of the 1134 mothers involved in the study introduced cereal and fruit long before then, some as early as four weeks.

This early introduction of solid food occurred more than twice as often in women feeding with formula over breastfeeding women. The main reasons women gave for starting solids so early were “My baby was old enough,” “My baby seemed hungry a lot of the time,” “My baby wanted the food I ate,” “A doctor or other health professional said my baby should begin eating solid food,” or “It would help my baby sleep longer at night.”

This low adherence to infant feeding recommendations is of concern because, developmentally, younger infants are not prepared for solid food. Researchers have suggested that “early introduction of solids may increase the risk of some chronic diseases, such as diabetes, obesity, eczema, and celiac disease.” The health benefits of breastmilk (lower risk of ear and respiratory infections, diarrhea, diabetes, obesity, and sudden infant death syndrome) are significantly impacted when women cut back on breastfeeding as they introduce solids.

When beginning solid foods in your baby’s diet, it’s important to know that solid foods are meant to complement your baby’s overall nutrition, not replace breastmilk or formula. During this transition, your baby’s primary source of nutrition should still be breastmilk or, if he is bottle-fed, formula.

Speak with your baby’s health care provider before introducing solid foods into his diet. Remember these things when you do start:
    • Although you’re starting your baby on solid foods, you don’t need to wean him from breastmilk right away. Some babies may no longer have an interest in breastfeeding after 1 year of age. But breastfeeding can continue beyond the first year of life if mother and child wish.
    • Don’t feed your baby solid or pureed foods through his bottle. This takes away from your baby’s overall learning about how to hold and eat foods. It can also put him at risk for eating too much and becoming overweight. It’s best to use a teaspoon to feed your baby solid foods. Also, feeding baby with a spoon plays an important role in your baby’s language development.
    • Do not give your baby cow’s milk until he is at least 1 year old. At age 1, cow’s milk can become a major source of essential nutrients for your baby. Babies should be given whole milk until age 2.
    • Do not give food or sweets to your baby as a reward for good behavior. Instead reward him with praise, kisses, love and attention.
    • Practice good oral hygiene for your baby right away. As soon as he has teeth, start cleaning them with a small wet washcloth.