Posts Tagged ‘nursing’

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 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.

Thank a nurse today!

Thursday, May 9th, 2013

nursesHappy Nurse Appreciation Week to all the incredible nurses out there! Nurses play a critical role in advancing the mission of the March of Dimes. They serve the foundation in so many ways: as health care providers, educators, researchers, fundraisers, chapter volunteers and advisors. Nurses work tirelessly and we can’t thank them enough!

March of Dimes is pleased to honor nursing excellence and pay tribute to hundreds of nurses that are at the front lines of care and have had a tremendous impact on patients and their families. Each year, nurses with various specialties are nominated for Nurse of the Year awards by colleagues and families alike. A prestigious group of healthcare professionals review applications and make award selections in a number of categories. You can take a look at the amazing Nurse of the Year award winners for 2012 from around the country at this link.

Do you know an amazing nurse? Tell us about him or her!

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.

It’s National Nurses Week

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

nursesEvery year, National Nurses Week focuses attention on the diverse ways America’s 3.1 million registered nurses work to save lives and to improve the health of millions of individuals. Think of all the many ways nurses have helped you and your family.

Traditionally, National Nurses Week is devoted to highlighting the many ways in which registered nurses, who comprise the largest health care profession, are working to improve health care. From bedside nursing in hospitals and long-term care facilities to the halls of research institutions, state legislatures, and Congress, the depth and breadth of the nursing profession is meeting the expanding health care needs of American society. 

March of Dimes recognizes that nurses play a critical role in achieving our mission. Thank you for all you do to help women have healthy pregnancies and healthy babies.

Breastfeeding and medications

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

breastfeeding37468747_thmFrom over-the-counter to prescription, we need more research to know how each medicine can affect your breastmilk. Below are some basic guidelines, but it’s important to always talk to your baby’s health provider before taking any medication and to tell her you’re breastfeeding.

In general, most over-the-counter medications and those prescribed by a health care provider are probably okay to take while breastfeeding, (but check with your baby’s doc first.) Since the amount of medication transferred to breastmilk is very small and won’t affect a nursing baby very much, most over-the-counter medications (like pain relievers) are okay for mom to take, but be sure to read the label and package insert.

Medications that are given to you by a health provider are OK so long as your health provider knows you’re breastfeeding. Some prescription medicines (like those to treat cancer or that have radioactive ingredients) aren’t safe to take while nursing.  In most cases, if a medication was safe for you to use when pregnant, it should be okay for you to use when breastfeeding.   There are a few exceptions to this guideline (like some medicines used to treat anxiety or sleeplessness), so it’s important to check with your health provider first.

Other tips
• Stay away from extra-strength doses of medicine. When possible, take the smallest dose for the shortest amount of time. This lowers the chance your  baby will get the medication through breastmilk.
• Take the medication either right after breastfeeding or at least 2 to 4 hours before the next breastfeeding. This gives the medication time to clear your body before your baby’s next feeding.
• If you’re taking a long-acting medication, take the medication before baby’s longest sleep time but after feeding baby. This way, you give yourself the time you need to clear it from your body while your baby is sleeping.
Contact your baby’s health provider if she shows any signs of having a reaction (diarrhea, sleepiness, excessive crying, etc.).
• Read the label on the medication for any information about how it may affect breastfeeding. Some medications may affect how well your body makes breastmilk.

Breastfeeding rooms at work — it’s the law

Friday, April 9th, 2010

24720491_thb1Are you a working mom and still nursing? Well for some, a new health care bill that President Obama signed into law may make pumping at work a little easier. This law will require employers (who have more than 50 employees) to provide, “a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from co-workers and the public, which may be used by an employee to express breast milk.” That’s good news! Pumping while sitting on a toilet in a public restroom is truly unpleasant. I’ve done it. If I had to do that on a regular basis I definitely would not have breastfed for as long as I did. Click here to read more about this important milestone for moms and babies.

Breastfeeding your newborn in the hospital

Friday, September 11th, 2009

15082589_thbDo yourself and your precious little one a favor and start off on the right foot with breastfeeding. If you’ve done any reading about it then you already know that it’s “a learned skill” and “if you’re doing it properly it shouldn’t hurt.” These statements (although vague and not helpful at correcting a problem) are VERY, VERY true. It takes time, practice and help. Yes, help! Its one thing to see a diagram in a book or online, but it’s much more effective to have someone with trained hands at your bedside. You have to be in the right position. The baby has to be in the right position. There are different holds to experiment with. If you don’t get things down right from the start you and the baby could develop poor posture and latching habits. Take it from me. I’m the queen of sore, cracked, bleeding nipples. I held that title for more than two months before we got it right and it didn’t happen on its own. I spent hours on the phone with a lactation consultant. It wasn’t until I actually went to see a consultant (twice) at a nearby hospital that I had any success.

I hope the following tips help. If anyone has any other suggestions, please share!

Find a lactation consultant in your area. LLLI has leaders that host monthly meetings. Attend some before and after your baby is born.

During your tour of the hospital ask about lactation support. What days and hours does she work? Is this person a nurse? If so, is she only available during her shift? (That happened to me. When I was settled in my room and asked if they had a lactation consultant I was told, yes, but she wasn’t working again until Saturday. It was Thursday when I was admitted.)

Even if the hospital doesn’t have a lactation consultant ask the nurses for help at EVERY feeding. They’ll know what to do. Once you leave the hospital you’ll be on your own so take advantage of their knowledge and support.

Ask the staff for lots of extra pillows. Hospital pillows stink. They’re flat and plastic-y. You and the baby need to be well supported on all sides when you nurse.

Nursing in bed can be difficult. If you’re hospital room has a chair, try that. Again, support yourself with lots of pillows and use a foot stool. You need to feel “locked in” and comfortable at all times to nurse properly.

For home, have some lanolin, ibuprofen, a soft nursing bra and the number of a professional to call if you run into any problems.

Breastfeeding is demanding when you’re caring for a newborn.  You’re exhausted. Don’t add pain to that equation. Ask for help in advance to avoid problems.

TGIF and have a great weekend. See you next Friday.

Sore and cracked nipples

Monday, April 27th, 2009

breastfeeding37468747_thmWhy doesn’t anyone ever tell you that breastfeeding isn’t as easy as falling off a log?  It’s not.  It takes work and lots of effort.  There is a technique you and your baby need to learn, and since neither of you has ever done it before, there’s a lot of trial and error.  You eventually catch on, but often not without a few casualties, liked sore or even cracked nipples.

Nipples can become sore and cracked if the baby isn’t latching on properly.  Even if you’re doing everything “right,” you can still have very sore nipples in the first week or so.  (Think of wearing a new pair of shoes.  They may fit, but they may give you a blister in the beginning.)  Sore nipples can become cracked and very painful.  Here are some things you can do to prevent or treat this:
• Be sure your baby is latching on correctly when he nurses (putting his lips and gums around the areola, not just the nipple).  Take a look at this picture guide to breastfeeding.
• Before you remove your breast from your baby’s mouth, use your finger to break the suction.
• Change positions with each feeding so the baby’s mouth doesn’t always put pressure on the same part of your nipple.
• Make sure your breasts are clean and dry between feedings.  Exposing them to air and sunlight is helpful, as is just letting them air dry.
• Don’t wash your nipples with strong soaps or use perfumed lotions
• Avoid nursing pads with plastic linings or clothes made out of synthetic materials.  Sometimes a drop of baby lotion on each nursing pad is soothing.
• Nurse often, because your baby sucks harder when he’s really hungry.
• If nipples are very painful, try using a nipple shield.  It covers the areola and nipple and the baby sucks the milk through it.
• If the nipple becomes cracked, you may need to keep your baby off that breast for a few days to let it heal.  Express milk to avoid engorgement.

Call your doc if you come down with any symptoms of a breast infection, mastitis.

Learning to nurse before the baby arrives

Tuesday, January 13th, 2009

68657454_thb2I’ve read a lot about the benefits of breastfeeding. I’m sold. I’m definitely doing it and for as long as possible. I ordered a breastfeeding book online called The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by La Leche League International (LLLI). I hoping this book can help, but I need someone by my side to literally show me how to do it. I want to be prepared and comfortable by the time the baby is here.

I went on the LLLI website and found a Leader in my neighborhood. I went to a breastfeeding support group in her home. It was attended by about eight other women and their babies ranging in age from 6 weeks to 16 months. I was the only pregnant one which was wonderful. I was surrounded by a lot of experience.

The women went around the room, shared their stories, and openly nursed their babies. It was informal and relaxed. I asked a few questions, but I mostly enjoyed listening and watching. They all had very different experiences, but one major thing in common. They all loved breastfeeding.  There’s another meeting in a couple of weeks. I’m going back.