The Nursing Baby Runs the Show

August 18, 2014
nursing baby houston

By: Renee Bowling RN, Certified Breastfeeding Educator

Babies are born to breastfeed, and when they are unable to do their job it might be due to difficulties with their suck. Babies need to be able to move their tongue freely in their mouth. They need good elevation to where the tongue tip can touch the top of their mouth and extend past the lips when their mouth is wide open. They need to be able to cup the breast with their tongue to make a vacuum to extract the milk and keep a good seal on the breast. Good function and mobility of the baby’s tongue make breastfeeding painless for mom and transfer of milk easy for the baby. 

photo by Janelle Aby, MD

photo by Janelle Aby, MD

Tongue ties can affect the mobility of the tongue. There are 4 types of tongue ties. Type I and type II are easily seen because the attachment of the frenulum is at the tip of the tongue or just beyond the tip of the tongue. Type III and IV tongue ties are known as the posterior “hidden tongue ties”. This is where the frenuylum is attached distal to the midline and may not be obvious and only found with palpation of the frenulum. The frenulum may feel very tight and taunt.

Another part of the baby’s mouth that can contribute to breastfeeding difficulties is the frenulum that attaches the upper lip to the upper jaw. This is called a maxillary lip-tie and there are also 4 classifications. The classifications range from minimal visible attachment to the attachment extending into the hard palate or anterior area. Maxillary lip ties can prevent the baby from making a good seal on the breast because they are not able to flange their lip appropriately.

Both tongue ties and lip ties can not only cause pain and nipple trauma for mom, but they can cause the baby to be inefficient at nursing, potentially causing infant weight loss and low milk supply. Remember the nursing baby runs the show. Other potential problems that could occur if the tongue and lip ties are not corrected are speech issues, dental and orthodontic issues, social issues like smiling and kissing, sleep apnea, spaces between the front teeth and reflux due to the baby swallowing air due to the poor latch.

The recommended treatment for a lip or tongue tie is water laser to cut the tissue. Infants do not need anesthesia for the treatment, as they have little blood supply and nerve tissue to the area. Research studies have shown that after treatment moms report better latching and milk transfer. A lactation consultant can help to identify if this is the problem that is making nursing difficult and help with teaching mom the follow up tongue exercises that are needed to ensure your baby relearns how to use their tongue effectively.

To find out more about Motherhood Center’s lactation consultants, breast pump rentals and breast feeding support, click here: Breastfeeding Support

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Breastfeeding Myths – Part 2

July 31, 2014
breastfeeding houston

By: Renee Bowling RN, Certified Breastfeeding Educator

Nursing a baby can be one of the greatest experiences a mother can have, but can also be one of the hardest jobs she might undertake. Many of the following myths surround breastfeeding.

breastfeeding, motherhoodcenter, breastfeeding class, myths, breastfeeding myths, lactationMom cannot take any medications while nursing:

Moms should always tell their doctor that they are nursing before being given a medication. However, it is very rare that mom must stop nursing while taking medications. If your doctor recommends you stop nursing while on a medication, ask them to find an alternative drug to take or look at the timing of the drug delivery and work it out around feeds. There is a lot of research that has been done on medications and breastfeeding. Dr. Thomas Hale’s book Medications in Mothers Milk is a great resource that physicians may use when prescribing drugs to breastfeeding moms.

Mom should not nurse the baby when she is sick:

The best thing mom can do for her baby when she is sick is to continue nursing. The baby has already been exposed to whatever illness mom is sick with, and mom is now making her own antibodies to help her overcome the illness. These antibodies will be passed to the baby to help protect them against becoming ill.

A breastfeeding baby requires water during hot seasons:

No. Breastfeeding babies get all the water they need from nursing. Giving the baby solids or formula at night will help the baby to sleep better: There have been two studies done on this subject and they both say that this is not true. Sometimes the baby even sleeps worse due to intestinal discomfort from the formula or foods, especially if younger than 6 months of age. While it is true that formula is much harder to digest than breastmilk, so the baby may not be hungry as soon, we know that babies are made to get up and eat throughout the night. Research done by Dr. James McKenna shows that babies who sleep longer stretches may be more vulnerable to SIDS, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

Breastfeeding is inconvenient and ties mom down:

It is probably true that in the early weeks of breastfeeding it would be much easier to just give a bottle of formula. But as breastfeeding becomes better established, around 4-6 weeks of baby’s age, the work load of a mom who is nursing is much less than the work load of a mom who is doing bottles with either breastmilk or formula. As babies get older they become much more efficient on the breast and their feeds become fast. They also don’t nurse 8-12 times in 24 hours for forever. But nursing allows mom to be able to leave the house with her baby and be able to feed them when needed without having to do any prep work, like pumping, making bottles, keeping the stored milk cold when out and then cleaning all those bottles. A breastfeeding mom’s workload is much less in the later months than a mom who is bottle feeding.

Never wake a sleeping baby:

Newborns need to eat 8-12 times in 24 hours for probably the first 4 weeks or longer. If the baby is not going to demand on their own at least 8 feeds, then the baby should be woken up to feed. Dad needs to be able to feed the baby a bottle in order to bond with the baby: Babies require 24/7 care and there are multiple ways that dad can help and bond with his baby without feeding the baby. Dad can do skin to skin time with the baby. He can assist mom during breastfeeding sessions, by supporting her by bringing her the baby, food, or water and they helping change diapers and settle the baby back down to sleep etc… There is a life time for bonding.

Mom needs to “pump and dump” after drinking alcohol:

If mom is feeling the effects of the alcohol then it is in her milk. Generally if mom has one drink the alcohol will be out of her system in about 2 hours. There are test strips you can purchase to check to see if alcohol is present in your milk. Obviously we don’t want the baby to have milk that has alcohol in it, but the occasional drink is probably ok.

To find out more about Motherhood Center’s lactation consultants, breast pump rentals and breast feeding support, click here: Breastfeeding Support

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Breastfeeding Myths – Part 1

July 16, 2014
lactation consultant houston

By: Renee Bowling RN, Certified Breastfeeding Educator

Nursing a baby can be one of the greatest experiences a mother can have, but can also be one of the hardest jobs she might undertake. Many of the following myths surround breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding is painful:

Breastfeeding should never be painful. Yes, you will be sore for the first 7-10 days, but PAIN is never normal. Pain is your body’s way of telling you that something is not right. The soreness in the beginning is due to hormonal changes and “repetitive motion disorder”. You do not have to wait till your nipples toughen up and build calluses like so many people say. Your nipple tissue is made to breastfeed and the shape of your nipple should look just the same after nursing as before. Nipple pain is generally attributed to a poor latch, but other factors like the baby’s mouth, tongue, palate and suck could also contribute to nipple pain. If you are experiencing more than just soreness, then seek professional assistance as soon as possible. We don’t want those painful nipples to become cracked and bleeding nipples and early help is critical. Nipple trauma and pain is NOT normal!breastfeeding, lactation consultant, breastfeeding help, breast pump

Using a breast pump is painful:

There should never be any pain associated with pumping. If you are having pain while pumping, then be sure the breast shields you are using with the pump fit properly and the suction on the pump is not too high.

Pumping is a good way to measure milk production:

A good efficient baby on the breast will always be better than a pump at getting the milk out. Pumping is a learned body relaxation technique. Some mom’s may not be able to get a good letdown with the pump that they would be able to get with the baby. Some pumps, especially the ones that the insurance companies are giving out for free, may not be that effective in milk removal. An evaluation on how the baby is doing on the breast and how much the baby transfers is always a better indication of milk supply than just pumping.

Breastfeeding causes weight loss:

While it is true that nursing burns a lot of calories, it is still how many calories the mom consumes and her level of activity that will help with weight loss. But those calories burned while nursing do add up! It is recommended that breastfeeding mom’s need an extra 500 calories in 24 hours. I do not recommend dieting because mom needs those calories for energy when getting up to feed a baby around the clock.

Breast size determines whether or not you will make enough milk for your baby:

Breast size is determined by fat tissue. Basically larger breasts have the more fat tissue. It is the glandular tissue in the breasts where the milk is made. Moms actually grow more glandular tissue with each pregnancy and nursing experience. So, small vs. large breasts does not matter in terms of milk production.

Breastfeeding causes restrictions on what mom can eat:

A breastfeeding mom needs a well-rounded, healthy diet. There are no restrictions on what mom can eat as long as there is not a strong food allergy in the immediate family. If so, then mom should avoid that food while nursing. So eat all the spicy foods, beans, onions etc… that you desire. All babies are gassy because the digestive tract is maturing, but a baby having prolonged periods of inconsolable painful crying is not normal. If mom thinks it is something she is eating, then she should keep a food diary and eliminate for 2-3 weeks the ONE food she thinks may be causing an issue, and then reintroduce that food again and see what happens.

Women who have had breast surgery or nipple piercings cannot nurse:

Women, who have had breast surgery, whether it is augmentation surgery where implants are placed, breast reduction surgery or nipple piercings can all nurse a baby. Generally breast implants and nipple piercings do not cause any issue with nursing or milk production. Women, who have had breast reduction surgery, need to be closely followed for adequate milk production and normal infant growth. They may be able to produce a full milk supply, or they may not, so close monitoring is required.

Find out more about Motherhood Center’s lactation consultants, breast pump rentals and breast feeding support, click here: Breastfeeding Support


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Breastfeeding and the New Health Care Reform

March 17, 2014
Breastfeeding Classes | Motherhood Center

Medela Breast Pump RentalThe new Health Care Reform is helping to increase breastfeeding rates for mothers and babies. In order to assist women with breastfeeding difficulties, most insurance companies are covering multiple visits with breastfeeding specialists. If your insurance company does not have an in network breastfeeding provider, which is generally the case since most breastfeeding specialists are not part of insurance networks, then the insurance company will generally still provide benefits based on plan allowances. If the insurance company has no one in their network to provide specific medically necessary care, care is generally covered under in network benefits.

Our lactation consultant at The Motherhood Center is an RN and a Certified Breastfeeding Educator, and either one or both of these credentials are accepted by insurance companies. Lactation consultation services at The Motherhood Center require payment at the time of the visit. A receipt will then be given to mom with the appropriate diagnosis codes based on her and the baby’s breastfeeding problems that can then be submitted to your insurance company for reimbursement. Also if a mom has a medical reason for needing to use a hospital grade breast pump, she may obtain an order from her pediatrician to submit to the insurance company along with her receipts from her payment for the rental charges. The Motherhood Center rents The Medela Symphony hospital grade breast pump.

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Stop Breastfeeding? Want to Begin Again?

February 28, 2014
houston breastfeeding

breastfeeding supportHaving second thoughts after stopping breastfeeding? The road to re-lactation will require a lot of time, energy and patience, but will definitely be worth the effort for you and your little one. First get help from a lactation consultant. Valuable information will be shared on increasing your supply and bringing the baby back to the breast. Mom will need to use a hospital grade rental pump for 20-30 minutes every 2-3 hours after nursing if possible.

There are special tricks to getting more milk with a pump and techniques on helping the baby to get a great latch which will increase your supply. If your baby is happy going to the breast that is a great start! If the baby has found the breast to be a frustrating experience then help will be needed to get the baby to realize that the breast is a great place to be. For a frustrated baby the first step is to spend a lot of time skin to skin with them. That means a baby in a diaper only and mom bare chested. This will help them to feel happy and secure and will give your hormones a boost to increase supply. You may also find that doing skin to skin will help the baby to instinctually seek the breast. Once the baby is happy being in the nursing position, the next step is that good latch. Getting help with this is critical. Putting the baby on the breast every 2-3 hours will help the baby practice nursing and help increase your supply.

Sometimes when mom’s supply is low the baby gets upset with the slow flow of milk. A supplemental nursing system may just be the trick you need. A lactation consultant can help you with this system in which the baby receives supplementation through a tube while nursing from the breast. This increase in flow will encourage the baby to stay on the breast longer with active eating and thus will help increase your supply. If mom decides not to use the supplemental nursing system, then proper bottle feeding techniques can be taught that support the baby going back to the breast. As the baby becomes better on the breast as supply is increasing, mom will switch to less time pumping and more time nursing.

There are many foods that can be eaten to increase milk supply, and herbal supplements that can be taken. Mom will need a lot of help during this time as she commits all her time and energy to the process. It may take a month for her to see a significant increase in supply. She will be able to determine that her supply is increasing because the baby will be having more active swallowing on the breast and will start to require fewer supplements. Her breasts will feel fuller and then become softer after she nurses, and the baby’s stools will become more yellow and seedy. It is important to be sure to weigh the baby very often when the supplement is being reduced to insure the baby is getting enough milk directly from nursing.

The Motherhood Center is here to help you with the process. We have a lactation consultant, hospital grade breast pump rentals, a baby scale in house and scales available for rent. Herbal supplements are available and postpartum doula help for mom in caring for herself, the baby and anything else she needs.

Renee Bowling RN, CBE

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November is Premature Birth Awareness Month

November 13, 2012
premature babies houston

by: Renee Bowling RN, CBE

November is Premature Birth Awareness month. In 2006, the Preemie Act was initiated by the Federal Government to improve the treatment and health of premature babies and to create programs to give families additional support.The March of Dimes has implemented an initiative called “Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait.”This initiative focuses on preventing medically unnecessary preterm deliveries and elective inductions and C-sections prior to 39 weeks gestation. On the Premature Birth Report Card just released by the March of Dimes, Texas scored a “D.”Texas’ premature birth rate is 13.1% with the goal being 9.6%.

Between 1981 and 2005, the rate of preterm deliveries increased almost 35%, with the largest increase being babies born between 34-37 weeks.Research and clinical experiences are showing that babies born just one week early, 39 weeks, increases their risk for morbidity and mortality.

Babies are categorized as:

Less then 34 weeks are called preterm

34-36 6/7 are called late preterm

37-38 6/7 weeks are called early term

39-41 6/7 weeks are called term

42+ weeks are called post term

Late preterm to early term infants can experience an increase risk of feeding difficulties, respiratory distress syndrome, large weight loss, dehydration, temperature instability, increased use of formula, unstable blood glucose levels, jaundice, infection and an increased risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.They are physiologically, neurologically and metabolically immature, even if they “look term.”More than 1/3 of brain volume develops during the last 6-8 weeks gestation, with huge growth occurring during the last 4 weeks.

Skin to skin contact with their mother is extremely important for these babies.That means a baby is in a diaper only and mom bare chested.They maintain their body temperature better, cry less, breast feed more and stabilize better.If taken away from mom they in act a “protest-despair” signal that is a survival response raising their stress hormones and will calm back down when given to mom. These babies were supposed to be carried by their mothers until 40 weeks, so they need intense skin to skin contact with them.Put them skin to skin against their mom with the baby’s chest, abdomen and legs closely flexed around mom’s body with unrestricted access to the breast.This is known as the biological nurturing position.They feel very secure and balanced when in this position.

Breastfeeding management needs to be closely monitored.We want to monitor for and decrease any health risks, be sure mom develops and maintains an adequate milk supply and continue observance to be sure the infant is growing adequately.Breastfeeding sessions should be reevaluated periodically so that changes to the feeding plan can be made based on the individual baby’s developmental stage and ability. The infants may lack feeding skills due to low energy stores and inadequate muscle tone.They may become too tired when nursing to obtain adequate milk transfer, have a weaker muscle tone and uncoordinated sucking swallowing and breathing ratio.They need to be able to maintain their airway, maintain a good latch and the vacuum pressure needed to transfer milk at the breast.These babies need a lot of practice opportunities at the breast, monitoring for signs of fatigue and milk transfer.Most of these babies will need additional supplementation until they are at their due date or several weeks beyond.There are various ways you can supplement babies.You can use a cup, syringe, supplemental nursing system, or specific bottles.Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages and is chosen based on that mom and baby.The feeding technique needs to be taught to mom and other care givers.

Moms that deliver prior to term may experience a delay in their milk coming in and problems with building a full milk supply.It is very important for moms to maintain a good pumping program to build their milk supply.This should be kept up until the baby is able to take over this job completely on their own.This generally occurs at term or 2 weeks post term. Proper pumping routine and procedures should be taught to mom.Moms should be observed during a pumping session to assess proper pump use and techniques.If the baby is in the hospital for health reasons, mom should be encouraged to spend time with her baby.As soon as the doctors allow, skin to skin contact and breast exposure and practice should be initiated.Early implementation is shown to improve milk production and breastfeeding skills.

It is a very stressful situation for families when babies are born early.The work caring for and feeding these babies is very time intensive. It may be many weeks before the baby is able to breastfeed efficiently. A lot of support and information needs to be available to these families. I would like to wish all those going through these challenges the best of luck.We at The Motherhood Center are here to help! Give us a call at 713-963-8880.

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2012 Breastfeeding Conference: The Latest Research

September 24, 2012
breastfeeding houston

by: Renee Bowling, RN, CBFE

Breastfeeding ConferenceI was extremely lucky to be able to attend a breastfeeding conference recently in San Antonio, TX. The 3 presenters included Dr. Thomas Hale, Dr. Jack Newman and Barbara Wilson Clay. They are considered to be some of the leaders in breastfeeding research and clinical care.

Dr. Hale is a clinical pharmacologist with Texas Tech University and runs the Infant Risk Assessment Center in Amarillo, Texas. He is also the author of Medications in Mother’s Milk, along with many other lactation books. He is considered a world expert on medications during pregnancy and breastfeeding. He is currently doing research on many different drugs and breastfeeding including Domperidone, which is a drug used to increase milk supply. He has an excellent website with information on depression medications during pregnancy and breastfeeding, nausea during pregnancy and much more. Health care professionals and patients can both contact The Infant Risk Center to get answers on medication safety during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

His lectures at the conference included:
• Control and Production of Human Milk – Medications that Increase Milk Production
• Anesthetic and Epidural Medications in Breastfeeding Mothers
• Antidepressant Drugs in Pregnant and Breastfeeding Mothers
• Managing various Diseases in Breastfeeding Mothers

These are just a few of the things he talked about that I would like to share with you.
• Mothers with gestational diabetes have a higher risk of postpartum depression
• Mothers who breastfeed get more sleep than mothers who formula feed. (My thought is that this does not happen in the very beginning.)
• Breastfed babies need 400 IU/day of vitamin D. There is no vitamin D in breast milk.
• Epidurals are systemically absorbed, so the level in mom’s plasma is the same level in the baby’s plasma. If you get an epidural, wait till you are at least 5 cm. There are less side effects and fetal sedation.
• The more Pitocin drug used (used to induce labor or increase contractions) the less oxytocin (hormone that causes the milk to let down) released the first 3 days.
• The breasts produce the same amount of milk around the clock.
• A graph on his website can be found to determine the length of time it takes to eliminate alcohol from breast milk, based on mother’s weight.
• Every ounce of formula used is one ounce of breast milk you will not make.

Breastfeeding Conference Dr. Jack Newman is a pediatrician in Canada that runs the Newman Breastfeeding Clinic and Institute, which is part of the International Breastfeeding Center. He has a wonderful website with client handouts on numerous breastfeeding issues, including latching. There are many videos, including one on which shows how to tell the baby is drinking milk from the breast. He also has a protocol to follow for mom’s who want to breastfeed their adopted infant.

His talks included:
• When the Baby Does Not Latch On – How Birthing Practices Affect Breastfeeding
• Hypoglycemia and Jaundice
• Late Onset Decreased Milk Supply
• Numbers on Demand – How Feeding Babies by the Numbers Is a Disastrous Approach

Here is some information he shared:
• Babies should never leave the hospital with a nipple shield, because almost all babies will latch when mom’s milk comes in, or by 2-3 weeks
• The Montgomery glands on the areola secrete a smell that encourages the baby to latch
• Babies can pick out their own mom’s breast pads even when there is no milk on them
• Heel sticks for hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) are not accurate. If the baby is showing symptoms of low blood sugar, a plasma level should be drawn. If a baby is truly hypoglycemic the best thing to give them is:
1st: colostrum
2nd: Pumped milk or donor milk
3rd: An I.V.
4th: Formula
Healthy full term infants born after a normal pregnancy and delivery, and who are not showing clinical signs of hypoglycemia do not require routine monitoring of glucose levels.
• Breastfed babies who have jaundice are babies who are not nursing well, and should be called “Not enough breast milk jaundice”
• Sleepiness associated with jaundice is more likely to be related to a decrease in calorie intake than to the jaundice itself
• “Most exclusive breastfed, well gaining babies are slightly jaundiced and this is normal. What is not normal is the absence of jaundice in formula feed infants. The breastfed baby is the norm.”
• When babies spit up breast milk, it coats their digestive track and protects it.
• Babies respond to milk flow, not the amount of milk in the breast.
• “Breastfeeding poorly 12 times a day is no better than feeding poorly 8 times a day”
• “Nursing Strikes” may actually be caused by a reduced milk supply

Barbara Wilson Clay is a lactation consultant in private practice in Austin, Texas. She helped found the Mother’s Milk Bank in Austin, and is a researcher, and author of many lactation books and educational material, as well as an active lobbyist with the Texas Legislature promoting breastfeeding as a health policy issue.

Her lectures included:
• Tricks of the Trade – Rousing the Sleepy Newborn
• Breastfeeding Management of the Late Preterm and Small for Gestational Age Infant
• Nipple Shields: What is the Evidence Basis?
• Lactation Case Studies: Breastfeeding Management of Infants with Special Feeding Issues

Here are some of the things she shared:
• “There is no sale by date on breastfeeding”
• Keep the baby skin to skin to increase breast focus
• When doing paced bottle feeds, give 3 swallows and then stop and allow for a breathing break. If milk is dripping out their mouth, then the flow is to fast.
• Medicaid covers donor milk and no one is turned away from the milk bank due to lack of ability to pay.
• A baby who has lost greater than 7-8 percent of birth weight will conserve energy by sleeping and is a red flag for failure of milk production. They need to be evaluated on the breast and improvements with nursing need to be made at this time.
• The most common reason for lactation consultants to use nipple shields was to help the less than 35 week baby latch and breastfeed
• Promotion of fast growth in small for gestational age infants by nutrient-enriched formula increases the risk of high blood pressure and obesity in later life. There are no advantages of using nutrient-enriched formula with regard to intellectual development.

I hope you enjoyed me sharing with you just some of the great information I received!

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Stand Tall Mama

September 4, 2012
mom and baby bootcamp houston

by: Kimberly Bowman

` This likely has its root in the havoc played on your abs during pregnancy. Add in the hunched over state of many a newly breastfeeding mom. Then watch as she rocks on her feet, legs apart, hips shoved forward, belly out to support the little pumpkin as arm muscles give out. The look gives Quasimodo a run for his money. How do they always know when we sit down?

All these subtle moves towards the mommy slouch can be remedied. Posture while breastfeeding, in particular, not only affects your comfort but baby’s latch as well. Baby should be brought to the breast, not breast leaned into baby’s mouth. We are upright humans with our mammary glands near our faces, for a reason. We will not call upon our inner cows and nurse while staring across the landscape instead of at our babes. No offense to cows meant. When you nurse, sit comfortably with your back straight and pull the baby towards your breast, stomach to stomach and take in the wonder that is them while they return the favor.

When rocking ceaselessly on your feet, keep your carriage lifted, lock your abs by drawing your belly button back and up, or belly button to spine. Also, keep your shoulders away from your ears and scapula (or shoulder blades) in your back pockets. These are all Pilates’ mantras and have to do with the strength of your core. These simple tricks can help you to better identify those parts of your body and call upon them when needed and also help to alleviate the stress we carry in our necks and shoulder muscles.

When it comes to your belly, the goal right now is not a lean six-pack. Pregnancy gives many women about ten pounds to use as lactation fuel. You may keep this extra weight for the duration of breastfeeding; however, the longer you nurse the more likely you’ll be to lose those ten pounds and maybe more. How comfortable would that itty little baby be while breastfeeding if they rested on the spears of your pelvis? Embrace your motherly padding for the time being. You will have plenty of time later for shedding it.

That said, continuing to strengthen the deep abdominal muscles that took such a stretching out during pregnancy is a great idea. It will make you feel strong and will support your back. Your baby will get big very fast and hauling him around will use all those strengths. Be a tree for yourself and your family and see how much better it feels than a wilting daisy.  Check out our mom and baby or toddler yoga and keep fit after baby!

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Schedules and Your Baby

August 29, 2012
schedules and baby

by: Kimberly Bowman

Along with everything else to fret about, scheduling is one of the top issues where the typical breastfeeding and formula feeding moms differ. This is largely due to the reasoning behind on-demand nursing which entails feeding the baby anytime she desires. On-demand feeding is particularly beneficial in the first several weeks post-partum when you and mini-me are working together to establish your milk supply and pack on those fantastic rolls of baby fat. This baby-led schedule almost never follows your pre-parent days and nights. While this is good for starting off breastfeeding but not so good at increasing your level of sanity, it is important to remember that it, like a million other things, is temporary. Let yourself get through the first six weeks of life as you knew it having changed drastically and forever before you start worrying about schedules.

Once you are through that initial period of adjustment, and the first two growth spurts at three and six weeks, you can start thinking ahead. As with adults, each baby has an individual personality. Though there are similarities among infants, each new person comes with their own ideas about how they wish their days (and nights) to go. You are the one who is supposed to be in charge but in a bit of foreshadowing, you will find that baby’s opinions are not always as easily swayed as you would like.

You will begin to see the initial pattern of your baby’s chosen schedule within a few weeks. Working with that as a basis you can begin to affect the changes that will make a difference for you. Guarding your baby’s intake and weight gain is the primary thing to remember when scheduling. Any schedule that risks a baby’s ability to thrive is not a reasonable one. By keeping a regimen loose enough to accommodate growth spurts and comfort at the breast you will keep yourself and baby happy. Once any blips on the radar pass, get back to the routine quickly and consistently.

As your baby grows, using the same reasoning behind scheduling can be used for discreet nursing of an older child and sleep routines. Recently, a study of babies through their first several years found a connection between routines at a very young age and decreased anxiety further on. We hear all the time that toddlers thrive on routine, but they are not the only ones. While spontaneity is nice, having some predictability in life is comforting and you will find yourself seeking that comfort more and more as you and baby grow together.

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The Importance of Breastfeeding Support

April 5, 2012
breastfeeding houston

By: Stephanie Duhon

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization recommend that moms exclusively breastfeed their babies for at least the first six months, but preferably longer. And according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more moms are achieving that goal in the United States. In 2011, 14.8 percent of 6-month-old babies were exclusively breastfed in the U.S. That’s an increase of 4 percentage points since 2007.

But despite growing evidence of the benefits of breast milk for babies and increased efforts to offer support to moms, that’s still a small number and a recent study out of Scotland suggests increasing that percentage is not as easy as it sounds. According to the report, published in the journal BMJ Open, researchers interviewed 36 pregnant women and a significant other about what it would take to breastfeed exclusively and why the ones who stopped choose to do so. The report says some of the women said breastfeeding wasn’t the bonding experience they were expecting and was much harder than expected, while others said they lacked a support system.

I can definitely relate to women who planned to exclusively breastfeed and yet still struggled. While breastfeeding is indeed natural, it is far from easy for most women. Breastfeeding takes a lot of time, practice, commitment and support. I learned that I could be doing everything “right” and still encounter problems.

My daughter was born in September 2010 and I fully intended to exclusively breastfeed her for at least 6 months. I know the benefits of breastfeeding and was excited to be able to offer my daughter the very best. I took a class, I read up on nursing and what to expect and had access to an amazing lactation consultant. I knew going in that it may be a bit difficult at first, but I was terribly disappointed when breastfeeding turned out to be much harder than I expected. My daughter didn’t latch well and it took her a long time to nurse. Despite nursing for what seemed like forever sometimes, she was not gaining sufficient weight. Per doctor’s orders, I had to supplement her with formula because her weight was too low. I pumped, I took supplements such as fenugreek to increase my supply and I dealt with painful clogged ducts because my daughter wasn’t properly draining my milk supply. I was devastated and thought I was doing something wrong. Renee, the amazing lactation consultant at The Motherhood Center, was extremely supportive and showed me different nursing positions and helped me figure out how to effectively use the breast pump. Unfortunately, I was never able to get my supply up completely, so I had to supplement breastfeeding with formula, but with the amazing support of Renee, as well as my husband and friends, I am proud to say that I overcame some of the other early obstacles and was able to successfully feed my baby girl at least some breast milk for the first six months of her life.

The key aspect I learned from my experience is not to be afraid to ask for help. Women go through many emotions after having a baby and when you combine the hormonal changes, lack of sleep and commitment of breastfeeding, it can become overwhelming very quickly. The Motherhood Center has wonderful resources to help moms reach their breastfeeding goals. In addition to lactation consultants, TMC offers hospital grade breast pumps to rent and has a large variety of breastfeeding supplies, such as nursing tanks and bras, nipple cream, My Brest Friend nursing pillows, nursing covers and more. Experienced staff members can help you determine what you need and can also help you figure out the proper size of nursing tank or bra, which as many moms know can be difficult to figure out!

One thing that some people may not know is that The Motherhood Center also helps local businesses offer support to moms! You may have heard of some offices having a pumping room for moms. These rooms are invaluable for moms who need to pump at work. It gives them the opportunity to pump in private and not have to spend the 15-20 minutes pumping at their desk, in the bathroom or closet or in their car. Breastfeeding experts say to successfully pump, you have to be relaxed so your milk can let down. That’s hard to do if you are worried about someone entering the room mid-pump!

TMC founder Gabriela Gerhart says moms who have support from their employers not only have an easier time exclusively breastfeeding, which can cut down on medical costs because of the health benefits of breast milk, but they are also more productive because they don’t have to worry about finding time and space to pump during the day to feed their baby.

Are you an employer who wants to learn more about creating a pumping room? Call us at 713-963-8880 and ask us about our corporate membership and how we can help you help nursing moms at your office.

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