Monday, February 22, 2010

A Week of Links: News

I've read some great posts lately, and I want to share several of them with you. First, the news items:

From the Motherwear blog, Study: Common antidepressants can delay milk coming in. According to the study, women who were taking an SSRI drug like Prozac, Zoloft, or Paxil had a median onset of lactation difference of about 17 hours - 69.1 vs. 85.8. This is especially important given that milk is termed "officially" delayed if it takes more than 72 hours to come in.

Of course all this is not to say that mothers taking an SSRI drug should not breastfeed! Just that they should be aware that it may take a bit longer for their milk to come in, and that this longer length of time is normal for women taking an SSRI drug. Ideally, they would also be aware of the problematic sequence of events mentioned in the post, and take steps to prevent longer-term challenges:
"delayed milk "coming in" can have some serious consequences, especially if it isn't managed well. The drill goes something like this: delayed onset of mature milk leads to higher than normal weight loss in the baby, which leads to supplementation, which can lead to compromising of the milk supply and/or nipple preferencing if the supplementation isn't done carefully. It can also increase the risk of jaundice.
Talking to a local lactation consultant, a La Leche League leader, and/or doing some reading ahead of time are all suggestions I would make to moms who want to prepare for this potential challenge.

And, from a link from Woman to Woman Childbirth Education blog, a blog post from the San Diego Birth Network on Cervical Scar Tissue – A Big Issue That No One Is Talking About. This is an incredibly valuable post for professionals who work with women during pregnancy and childbirth, as well as for women themselves who may have scar tissue on their cervix, from cryo surgery or other surgeries.
The midwife proceeds to explain to my sister that she is going to try and massage the cervix and break the scar up. With some discomfort for my sister, she went from a finger tip dilated to 3 cms in a matter of minutes. An hour later she was 4 cms and an hour after that my nephew was born. Once the scar tissue had completely released, she flew to 10 cms.

As you can imagine, I asked that Midwife a ton of questions. I wanted to know all I could about this scar tissue stuff. Besides “massaging”, what can you do before hand? She shared her knowledge with me. Told me that HPV is so very common and more and more women are having these standard procedures done, but are never informed that it most likely will leave scar tissue. Although less common, this includes women who have ever had a D & C after a miscarriage or abortion.

Once I was armed with the knowledge, my successful VBAC rate shot up as did my vaginal birth rate in general. I would ask the question and if the answer was yes, I would tell them what I knew."
There is more useful information on the blog post, so I highly recommend clicking on the link and reading the whole post!

More links tomorrow!

Christina @ Birthing Your Baby
Independent Childbirth Classes for Central Maine
Mamas & Muffins: New Moms Group

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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Give Aways!

The Motherwear Blog just had an incredible give-away week. It's not too late to add your comment and be entered into the contests. Wonderful books and cds, gift certificates and more!

Also, if you're looking for nursing clothes, I highly suggest you check out their clearance sale. I can't tell you how many wonderful items I've gotten from these sales for incredible prices. Some, I still wear now - a long black skirt, and pj shorts, for example.

And, from Progressive Pioneer, a blog I recently discovered: Giveaway: The Sitting Tree. Beautiful, beautiful!

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Thursday, April 23, 2009


It can be such a challenge to purchase products and toys for infants - most of us want items that are safe, useful, and, if possible, aesthetically pleasing.

I received an email a few months ago about a new baby product called the HeartString Baby's Companion. I requested one so I could show my clients and share it with you because I hadn't seen anything like it before. I handed it to a six-month old at one of my New Moms Circle support groups, and she loved it - turning it over and over in her hands and then gumming it for quite a while.

I think new babies would enjoy looking at it too. I remember back to nursing my infants, and as much as I usually loved their kneading little fists, sometimes their pinchy little nails hurt as they patted and prodded me. It would have been nice to have something like this necklace as a distraction!

More information from the HeartStrings website:
HeartString Baby’s Companion evolved from a simple concept: Babies like to tug and chew on anything they can touch. In a world full of hazards (keys, metal jewelry, glasses, watches etc.), we designed HeartString to be a touchable, tuggable product for your baby and a wearable accessory for you. With many colours from which to choose, our safe and non-toxic product can be used as a breastfeeding and parenting aid that includes Dad, siblings and grandparents!

HeartString Baby's CompanionTM is a versatile accessory used by breastfeeding moms and concerned infant caregivers. Initially conceived to be a purposeful distraction while bottle feeding, breastfeeding or holding a baby, the HeartString Companions has also been designed to support bonding, ease caregiver transfers and include a male figure. With the infant in mind, the HeartString Companions is safe, non-toxic and unbreakable, acting as a tactile and visual aid to soothe baby and to encourage cognitive development.
Also important to know that the HeartString:
  • Does NOT contain lead, PVC, phalates, BPA, latex of any known harmful materials.
  • Materials and products are sourced and made in North America.
  • Personally, I think this would be a fun add-on baby shower gift, maybe even as the package decoration. I'm excited to add it to my collection of "show and tell" products (sling, cloth diapers, breast pump) for the postpartum class.

    Christina @ Birthing Your Baby
    Independent Childbirth Classes for Central Maine
    New Mothers Support Circle

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    Friday, March 27, 2009

    Breastmilk Pumping in the Workplace - Maine

    According to Represenative Melissa Innes, the Labor Committee voted unanimously to pass the nursing bill out of committee, and send it to the House floor for the big vote.

    This is the text of the bill:
    "An employer, including the state of Maine and its subdivisions, shall provide adequate unpaid break time or permit an employee to use paid break time or meal time each day to allow an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for up to three years following child birth. The employer shall make reasonable efforts to provide a clean room or other location, other than a bathroom, in close proximity to the work area, where an employee may express milk in privacy. No employer shall discriminate in any way against an employee who chooses to express breast milk in the work place."
    Definitely a great step forward. And as an extended-nursing mother, I love that the timeframe is three years!

    Christina @ Birthing Your Baby
    Independent Childbirth Classes for Central Maine
    New Mothers Support Circle

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    Wednesday, January 21, 2009

    Lecithin, Plugged Ducts & Mastitis

    I had not heard of lecithin until today, in the Midwifery Today e-newsletter, where they featured this information about it:
    Lecithin is present in many of the foods we eat, but it is most concentrated in foods that are high in cholesterol and fats. Organ meats, red meats and eggs are the most concentrated sources of dietary lecithin. With the current trend of reducing cardiovascular disease and improving overall health quality, many breastfeeding women lean toward low-calorie, low-cholesterol diets. People are limiting their consumption of organ meats and eggs, thus limiting their intake of lecithin (USDA 1979 and 1992). This reduction most likely results in an inadequate dietary intake of lecithin.

    The diet of the average American today also has less lecithin than that of the previous generation because purified and refined foods comprise the bulk of their diet. With the current demand for highly processed foods, refined sugars and hydrogenated fats, consumption of lecithin is further decreased, possibly even to the point where consumption of foods containing lecithin is at suboptimal levels for health.

    The average pregnant and breastfeeding woman eating the Standard American Diet (SAD), which is high in saturated fats, is not able to naturally produce enough lecithin to assist with the emulsification of fats in her blood stream and carry out milk duct cleanup.

    Scientists tell us that the body, without dietary sources, is not able to synthesize an adequate supply of lecithin. Lecithin is produced in the liver, and small amounts are present in foods such as brewer's yeast, grains, legumes, fish and wheat germ. People who eat the SAD, elderly people, breastfeeding women, infants, children and those who would like to improve memory, strengthen nerve growth and decrease buildup of fatty deposits in liver, heart and brain would benefit from supplemental lecithin.

    The best form of supplemental lecithin is the granular form. Avoiding liquid lecithin, usually found in gel capsules, is advisable. It is primarily designed for commercial use as an emulsifier in food, cosmetics, paints and so on. It is a bad-tasting, sticky material and consists of about 37% oil and only 60% phosphatides. This combination would add to the high dietary fat content that lecithin has to clean up in the body. Capsules are a high-calorie, low-potency supplement, but if a pregnant or breastfeeding woman cannot find granulated lecithin locally or has difficulty adapting to sprinkling granules on her food, taking lecithin in capsule form is far better than not taking it at all.

    — Cheryl Renfree Scott
    Excerpted from "Lecithin: It Isn't Just for Plugged Milk Ducts and Mastitis Anymore," Midwifery Today, Issue 76
    I thought it was particularly interesting in relation to plugged ducts and mastitis. Kellymom also has a page about plugged ducts and lecithin, Lecithin treatment for recurrent plugged ducts.

    Plugged ducts can be very uncomfortable and can lead to mastitis. Kellymom has some excellent general information on plugged ducts and mastitis: Plugged Ducts and Mastitis.

    These are the recommendations I share with my clients on how to avoid plugged ducts & mastitis:

    ** Do not wear bras that are too tight.

    ** Do not wear underwire bras.

    ** Take care of yourself: get some rest, and eat nutritious food.

    ** Breastfeed frequently, making sure to empty both breasts over the course of several feeding sessions.

    ** Pay attention to how you sleep – avoid compressing breast tissue overnight.

    ** Make sure to feed baby from both breasts during the night, too. Sometimes it’s easier to favor one breast if baby is sleeping with you.

    When I had mastitis (thankfully, only once) from a plugged duct, what helped me the most was hot showers and really hot compresses over the blockage and feeding my son from that side first, when he was hungriest. The trick that I didn’t hear about until later: point the baby’s chin toward the blockage (try different positions as necessary), as that tends to direct the most efficient pressure at the plugged duct.

    Christina @ Birthing Your Baby
    Independent Childbirth Classes for Central Maine

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    Friday, December 12, 2008

    Ignorance Meets Knowledge: Extended Breastfeeding

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    Friday, September 26, 2008

    Nursing Is Normal Media Project

    This slide show of nursing mothers is beautiful - brought tears to my eyes. Babies and young children nursing in a variety of settings - some on Mama's lap, others in baby carriers; mothers of various sizes and ages, too.

    The slideshow, by Kathy O'Brien, is currently being presented on the Mothering website, which introduces it this way:
    "The NIN Project is a photographic display of nursing moms in public settings. We believe the more often something is seen, the more accepted it becomes. These mothers have posed in various public settings to help other mothers feel comfortable nursing in public. Nursing is normal."
    NIN Slide Show

    Christina @ Birthing Your Baby
    Independent Childbirth Classes for Central Maine

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    Monday, August 18, 2008

    New Links & Resources

    Before I get to the safety issues surrounding different birth choices, I want to highlight several of the interesting resources and links I've come across lately.

    Some goodies from the Midwifery Today online newsletter "E-News 10:17", include a quote
    "We must relearn to trust the feminine, to trust women and their bodies as authoritative regarding the children they carry and the way they must birth them. When women and their families make their own decisions during pregnancy, when they realize their own wisdom regarding birth and its place in their lives, they have a foundation of confidence and sensitivity that will not desert them as parents."

    — Elizabeth Davis
    Excerpted from "Autonomy at Work: Woman-Centered Birth and Midwifery," Midwifery Today, Issue 42
    and a link to an excellent, excellent article, "VBAC & Choice: Many Questions and a Few Answers", by Nancy Wainer. I bet the whole article is amazing.

    The Mothering email newsletter also offered a great article, "Easing Tension and Fear in Natural Childbirth by Understanding Sphinct*r Law*: A Conversation with Ina May Gaskin" as well as information about how to attend a free "webinar" (I've done two through Lamaze so far, and they've been great) on cosleeping, presented by James McKenna and Dr. Paul Fleiss. To learn more and how to sign up, visit I'll "be there".

    In the Lamaze online newsletter for "Week 11" (no, I'm not pregnant - just checking out their resources!), there was an ask-the-expert question about pregnancy classes. The question was: "I’m in my first trimester with my first baby. I plan to take childbirth classes closer to my due date. But I feel like there is so much to learn about pregnancy—not just the birth. My doctor answers some of my questions during my prenatal appointments, but there isn’t enough time for all of them. Is there a class I can take about pregnancy?" I wonder if there is enough interest to do a pregnancy class here in Central Maine? I would love to do a class for moms/partners who are TTC or are newly pregnant - to answer questions about pregnancy, prenatal testing, exercise and nutrition, and also to talk about choices for care providers and hospitals. At the point when most of my clients' take classes, they have to be supremely unhappy with or uneasy about their care provider to change (though some still do!). I'd love to offer women/partners the information they need to think through their choices before their third trimester! Any thoughts on pregnancy classes? Oh - and if you're reading this and wondering, I would happily do a private pregnancy class - just send me an email!

    Also, my local LLL leader sent out an email with information about new resources from the US Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration regarding breastfeeding and employee/employer policies. They're free, too.

    "The Business Case for Breastfeeding. Steps for Creating a Breastfeeding Friendly Worksite: For Business Managers"
    Abstract: This manager’s booklet is part of a series of materials designed to create breastfeeding friendly worksites. It focuses on a company’s potential return on investment in the areas of employee retention, health insurance, absenteeism, productivity, and employee loyalty. The booklet includes profiles of companies with existing supportive lactation programs and references.

    "The Business Case for Breastfeeding. Steps to Creating a Breastfeeding Friendly Worksite: Employees' Guide to Breastfeeding and Working"
    Abstract: This employee’s booklet is part of a series of materials designed to create breastfeeding friendly worksites. It includes information on where to find breastfeeding help and support, how to begin breastfeeding at home, and how to adjust to breastfeeding at work. The booklet includes support websites, figures, and guidelines for addressing supervisors.

    The Business Case for Breastfeeding. Steps for Creating a Breastfeeding Friendly Worksite: Easy Steps to Supporting Breastfeeding Employees
    Abstract: This human resource’s booklet is part of a series of materials designed to create breastfeeding friendly worksites. It details an integrated approach to implementing a cost-effective lactation support program. The booklet gives steps to support breastfeeding employees, explains how to merge work requirements with employee needs, offers program options, and outlines the program’s return on investment for the company. It includes profiles of employers with existing supportive lactation programs.
    I ordered ten of each, completely for free (including S&H) just now, very easily.

    And lastly, The True Face of Birth blog has had some great posts in the past few days, including one about doulas ("Doulas Make a Difference"), which sites a RCT (randomized controlled trial) study about doulas; one about "The Dance of Breech" with great drawings and links; and a reminder that "The Birth Survey is Here!" - yay! There doesn't seem to be any information for Maine mothers yet, but hopefully there will be soon.

    Enjoy the links!

    Christina @ Birthing Your Baby
    Independent Childbirth Classes for Central Maine

    *Sorry about the asterisk - that word was attracting some unwanted attention from search bots.

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    Monday, August 4, 2008

    Books about Breastfeeding

    There are so many books about breastfeeding - here are a few that I've read, most of which are in my birth class library:

    Breastfeeding: Pure and Simple (2000)
    Gwen Gotsch

    Book Description: Offers information and inspiration that mothers need to begin breastfeeding and to continue for many months. It gives concise answers to common questions and provides practical solutions for problems mothers encounter such as avoiding sore nipples, dealing with newborn jaundice, breastfeeding after a cesarean, deciding when and how to wean, starting solids and finding time for mothers.

    My Note: An easy-to-read, brief but complete book published by La Leche League International. There are lots of helpful pictures too (in black and white, and a little dated, but still worthwhile).

    Breastfeeding Your Baby (1995)
    Sheila Kitzinger

    From Publishers Weekly: With a simple, short explanatory text and some 200 photographs (approximately 100 in color) of nursing mothers, the author of The Complete Book of Pregnancy and Childbirth sets out to dispel fears about breastfeeding and conveys practical advice about positioning the baby, interpreting the baby's sucking rhythms, maternal nutrition and breast care. The most valuable parts of the book, however, are not on honing "technical skills" but those that treat aspects of the intimate communication between mother and baby--during breastfeeding and beyond.

    My Note: This is an excellent book – providing reassurance and practical information about breastfeeding. I wish I’d had it when I started nursing Madelyn! Another good book for dads to look at.

    Don’t Miss: The photographs are wonderful – if nothing else, flip through this book together. The whole book is terrific.

    So That’s What They’re For: Breastfeeding Basics (2005)
    Janet Tamaro

    From Ingram, about an earlier edition: Filling the gap left in a market glutted with dated or dry books on breastfeeding, So That's What They're For! lends support and encouragement to those wondering whether they should try breastfeeding, for pregnant women who are sure they will breastfeed and for new moms who are having trouble and are considering stopping. With hilarious anecdotes and wonderful illustrations, this comprehensive guide offers a supportive, pragmatic view from the real world.

    My Note: This book does not sacrifice realistic, helpful information about breastfeeding by also including humor. A great read – maybe a book on breastfeeding dads might enjoy skimming as well.

    Don’t Miss: 29 reasons to breastfeed; Chapter 4, “Getting Ready for the Big Arrival” explains what to do to get the best start breastfeeding and what to expect those first few days at the hospital; Chapter 5, “Directions: Inserting Breast A into Mouth B” gets down to the basics of breastfeeding; you can find information about breastfeeding challenges in both Chapters 6 (“The First Few Days: Tackling Common Obstacles”) and 9 (“Problems: From Small Ones to Big Ones”).

    The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding (2004)
    La Leche League International

    From, about an earlier edition: The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding is a comprehensive resource guide providing just about everything you need to know about how--and why--to breastfeed your baby. Latch on to this book for step-by-step guides to early months, common concerns, problems, and weaning. Additional sections on general nutrition, sleep issues, going back to work, discipline, and fathering are useful for all breastfeeding mothers.

    My Note: This book is about so much more than breastfeeding, The information on breastfeeding is excellent, even though it doesn’t include a lot of illustrations/photos.

    Don’t Miss: Chapters 4 (“Your Baby Arrives”) and 5 (“At Home with Your Baby”) for basic information. The section on your baby’s nursing style (pgs. 71-73) is also helpful. Many other topics about breastfeeding and baby care are also thoughtfully covered.

    The Nursing Mother's Companion (2005)
    Kathleen Huggins, R.N., M.S.

    Product Description from Breastfeeding may be natural, but it is not always instinctive. The 20th Anniversary Edition of this classic guide to breastfeeding, beloved by a generation of women, has been completely revised and updated to provide even more practical, reassuring advice and support for today's expectant and nursing mothers. Easy-reference survival guides help identify and resolve problems at each stage. An appendix on drug safety is a unique feature among breastfeeding books.

    My Notes: I have an earlier edition (4th), and what stands out about this books is the practical way in which it has been organized, and the complete, reassuring information it provides. I especially like the appendix "The Safety of Drugs During Breastfeeding" and how the book is organized by time - preparing during pregnancy, the first week, the first two months etc.

    Nursing Mother, Working Mother (2005)
    Gale Pryor

    Product Description from The World Health Organization, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and other authorities on maternal-infant health all recommend breastfeeding exclusively for the first six months of a baby s life and continued breastfeeding through one to two years of age (or for as long as mother and baby desire). For working mothers of infants (more than half of all new mothers) meeting this goal can be challenging. The newly updated Nursing Mother, Working Mother offers you practical and reassuring advice on everything from choosing the right pump in every situation, to securing lactation space and respect at the workplace, to instructing childcare providers on feeding pumped breast milk, to continuing breastfeeding even when your job requires business travel. It also includes information on changes in workplace laws. As a breastfeeding mother, you need guidance and support to combine breastfeeding with your working life, and the reassuring and informative revised edition of Nursing Mother, Working Mother assists you at every step.

    My Notes: Sounds like this new edition is great! The edition I have is good too, with information organized by time-frame - "life on leave: the fourth trimester", which discusses the time mom has before returning to work; lots of preparation information for returning to work; and then the final chapter on returning to work. This is a very encouraging, supportive book with specific suggestions and advice for moms who will be working outside the home after baby is born.

    Adventures in Tandem Nursing (2003)
    Hilary Flower

    Book Description from Book Description
    There is no doubt about it—when breastfeeding and pregnancy overlap, the questions abound! In this, the first full-length book ever on the topic of tandem nursing, Hilary Flower gives comprehensive and in-depth answers to a wide range of questions related to breastfeeding during pregnancy and tandem nursing.
    Drawn from a great reservoir of mother wisdom, this book pools the stories of over 200 mothers from around the world. Extensive reviews of medical research and discussions with experts in the fields of nutrition, obstetrics, and anthropology have provided the author with a thorough understanding of what we know and what we can surmise on this important topic. Each mother’s experience will be a one-of-a-kind adventure, full of surprises and choices. Adventures in Tandem Nursing provides an essential source of support, humor, and information for the journey.

    My notes: This book was the reassurance for me while I nursed my first child during my second preganancy, and tandem nursed for almost a year. While I had the support of my midwife, and the child(ren)'s pediatrician, none of my friends had tandem nursed before... so this book filled a gap for me. There is lots of practical information, as well as stories and pictures from other tandem nursing moms. I especially loved the pictures, which I shared with my daughter, which helped her understand that she was going to be sharing her beloved "goody milk" with her new baby brother. I highly, highly recommend this resource for moms who nursing during pregnancy and/or beyond.

    Mothering Your Nursing Toddler (2000)
    Norma Jane Bumgarner

    Book Description from The classic handbook for mothers who breastfeed their children past infancy in an updated expanded edition. Norma Jane Bumgarner puts the experience of nursing an older baby or child in perspective, within the context of the entire mother-child relationship. She cites biological, cultural, and historical evidence in support of extended breastfeeding and shares stories gleaned from thousands of families for whom breastfeeding and natural weaning have been the norm.

    My notes: I don't own this book, but borrowed it several times from various sources. I remember finding it very reassuring and useful.

    There is also excellent breastfeeding information in several of the Sears' books: The Baby Book (2003) and The Breastfeeding Book (2000).

    I highly recommend reading through one or two books about breastfeeding during the end of pregnancy. Even if you're not sure you want to try breastfeeding, you have some information if you need it. Most of these books are available in excellent condition for less than $5 on through their used book sellers - some sell for less than $1, so are less than $5 including s&h. Most are also available through the Maine library system, though you may need to request what you're looking for if it isn't at your particular library. Either way, the book(s) that can help you during the breastfeeding process are available for minimal investment.

    If I've left off your favorite breastfeeding book, go ahead and add it in the comments - I'm always looking for new ideas for my library!

    Happy reading!

    Christina @ Birthing Your Baby
    Independent Childbirth Classes in Central Maine

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    Sunday, August 3, 2008

    Breastfeeding Basics - My Handout

    This is the first handout I provide to the families who take childbirth education classes with me. It is a summary of what I feel is the most important, basic information.


    Many newborns need to nurse every two or three hours, including the nursing session. So, a mom may breastfeed at 12pm for 45min, and then need to nurse again at 2pm or 2:30. The best way to make a good milk supply is to nurse a lot – whenever the baby displays any hunger cues or is fussy. It’s a lot easier to get a newborn to latch properly when (s)he starts to seem hungry instead of waiting for desperate “rooting” and crying. Offering the breast frequently, even if you’re not sure whether milk is what’s being requested, will not hurt. The “worst” that will happen is baby will fuss and turn away. Milk is made by supply/demand, so the more the baby empties the breast, the more milk is made.

    You may read or be told (by the peanut gallery, almost certainly not by a lactation consultant) that you should only nurse for five or ten minutes per side. There are many “reasons” a person/book might suggest this, mostly about decreasing the likelihood of nipple soreness or that ten minutes is all a baby needs, getting the baby on a schedule etc. In almost all cases, this is incorrect. Nipple soreness is primarily caused by a poor latch, not length of time at breast. Breasts are never empty – baby can always get a little more.

    In fact, it’s very important to let baby nurse as long as (s)he wants to: it increases milk supply and helps insure that baby is getting both foremilk (the milk that comes first has more sugar and protein; it is thinner and more “thirst-quenching”) and hindmilk (the fattier milk that helps make the baby full and gain weight). If a baby is moved from one side to the other on a schedule, (s)he may not have had time to get to the hindmilk on the first side, which can cause growth and digestive problems. Babies who get a good balance of fore/hindmilk typically have the typical “mustardy” color poops, with a seedy or curdy consistency (lovely, I know – but it smells much less than formula-fed baby poop).

    As babies get older, they typically become more efficient and are able to get more milk in a much shorter period of time, so these marathon nursing sessions decrease and/or disappear for the most part (common exceptions: during a growth spurt at three weeks, six weeks, three months and six months and sometimes as a baby gets better from being sick or stressed).

    All the nursing can be a little overwhelming for some new moms, or worrisome (why is baby nursing so much – is (s)he getting enough?) – do what you need to do to reassure yourself and know that all these feelings are normal. Do what you can to make the long nursing sessions comfortable (set up a comfy nursing station or two ahead of time; learn to nurse lying down; have good reading material/the phone/tv/music available) and remember that the long periods of time you may spend nursing in the beginning also give your body time to rest and heal, and are wonderful snuggle/bonding times with your new baby.

    Finally, here is a short list of issues that some moms experience at some point during nursing: sore nipples, engorgement, plugged ducts, mastitis (breast infection), oversupply (and much less commonly, undersupply), thrush (yeast infection) on nipple or baby’s mouth, inverted nipples. A good lactation consultant can almost always help mom overcome any/all of these issues and establish a successful breastfeeding relationship with her baby. There is also lots of information on reputable websites on these issues, as well as help available through La Leche League Leaders.

    Christina @ Birthing Your Baby
    Independent Childbirth Classes in Central Maine

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    Saturday, August 2, 2008

    Breastfeeding Resources for Central Maine Mamas


    The Augusta/Gardiner Group meets on the third Tuesday of each month. Contact Katherine via email or at 582-8250 for more information. I think Katherine is also organizing or has organized an evening meeting time as well.

    The Bangor Group meets on the first Wednesday of each month at 10am. Contact Melanie via email or at 942-2362 for more information.

    The Lewiston/Auburn Group meets on the second Wednesday of each month. Contact Nancy via email or at 782-6645 for more information.

    The Brunswick Group meets on the third Monday of each month at 9:30am. Contact Linda via email or at 221-

    Complete list of LLLI meetings in ME, including Bridgton, Camden/Rockland, Skowhegan, Norway and others.

    Many hospitals offer breastfeeding support groups, which can be a terrific breastfeeding (and parenting!) resource. Most are led by trained lactation consultants. You can also contact the lactation consultants listed for information on breastfeeding classes to take before your baby's birth. Some hospitals also sell breastfeeding supplies. I know MaineGeneral in Augusta does, and Mid Coast Hospital in Brunswick does as well.

    MaineGeneral Augusta Campus, offers a general breastfeeding support group, led by Janet Sirois (626-1426). This group meets four times a month at MaineGeneral Medical Center, Augusta Campus, 6 E. Chesnut Street, Augusta. Meetings alternate between Tuesdays, 6 to 8 p.m., or Wednesdays, 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. Call Janet for a schedule.

    MaineGeneral Waterville Campus, offers a general breastfeeding support group, led by Cheryl Bean-Moody (872-1625). This group meets twice a month, 12:30 to 2 p.m. or 6 to 7 p.m., in Dean 2, MaineGeneral Medical Center, Thayer Campus, 149 North Street, Waterville. Call Cheryl for a schedule.

    Inland Hospital offers a breastfeeding support group ,led by Connie Finley (861-3100). This group meets most Fridays at 1pm at the hosptial's birth center. Call Connie for a schedule.

    I think Central Maine Medical Center (CMMC) in Lewiston has a support group, but I can't find it on their website. For additional information, contact Gloria Oullette or Vicki Roy, their lactation consultants, at 795-2528.

    St. Mary's Hospital, in Lewiston, does not offer a support group, but you can contact their lactation consultant, Gail Martell, at 783-6987 to get breastfeeding class information.

    Mid Coast Hospital, in Brunswick, offers a range of breastfeeding services. These include a Nursing Mother's Tea held the 1st Wednesday of each month from 7-8:30 p.m. and the 3rd Wednesday of each month from 10-11:30 a.m. in Mid Coast Hospital’s Café Conference Room, 123 Medical Center Drive, Brunswick, breastfeeding classes, and a boutique that sells supplies. Jerri Walker is Mid Coast's lactation consultant, she can be reached on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 373-6530.

    WIC (Women Infants and Children Nutrition Program) also offers breastfeeding resources, including breastpumps for women who meet certain criteria.

    From their site: Who can apply for the Maine WIC Nutrition Program? Women who are pregnant, breastfeeding or had a baby in the past six months. Infants and children up to the age of five including foster children. Fathers may apply for their children. You must live in Maine or be a migrant working in Maine.

    Locations include:

    Midcoast Maine Community Action Program
    34 Wing Farm Parkway, Bath, ME 04530
    Tel: 442-7963 or 1-800-221-2221

    HealthReach Network
    263 Water St., 4 th Floor, Augusta, ME 04330 (621-6202)
    63 Eustis Parkway., Waterville, ME 04901 (872-1593)
    165 North Ave., Skowhegan, ME 04976 (474-7463)

    Western Maine Community Action Program
    1 Auburn Center, Auburn, ME 04210
    Tel: 795-4016 or 1-877-512-8856

    If you know of any other breastfeeding resources for Central Maine mamas, please leave a comment!

    Christina @ Birthing Your Baby
    Independent Childbirth Classes in Central Maine

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    posted by Christina Kennedy at 1 Comments

    Online Breastfeeding Resources

    There are tons of online resources to support breastfeeding mothers. Here is a list to get you started. It is not, of course, complete - what list could be!?? Feel free to comment with your suggestions...

    Breastfeeding Answers from La Leche League International's Answer Center - pretty mainstream
    How to Bring Baby to Breast - from US Dept of Health & Human Services
    Correct Latch - from US Dept of Health & Human Services
    Breastfeeding Holds - from US Dept of Health & Human Services
    Breastfeeding Help from Dr. Jack Newman
    KellyMom: Breastfeeding - an amazing resource
    Breastfeeding on the Ask Dr. Sears website - you can skip thru the newsletters
    Breastfeeding Articles from Mothering
    Breastfeeding Lying Down

    American Academy of Pediatrics: Breastfeeding and the Use of Human Milk
    Breastfeeding - from US Dept of Health & Human Services
    Breastfeeding Know-How, from US Dept of Health & Human Services
    American College of OB/GYN Breastfeeding Your Baby pamphlet
    Dr. Hale's Breastfeeding and Medications Forum - Dr. Hale is the expert on breastfeeding and medication
    Selected List of Medications approved by the AAP for breastfeeding mothers - on the Kellymom website
    Herbals and Breastfeeding - from the US Pharmacist
    Anatomy of a Nursing Breast
    Choices that Affect Breastfeeding - analysis of choices made during childbirth/post-partum that potentially affect breastfeeding
    Is This Safe While Breastfeeding - from
    Nursing During Pregnancy and Tandem Nursing - from
    Bra-Sizer Application - especially useful for online shopping...

    VIDEOS & CLIPS Informational Clips - a wide variety of topics
    Dr. Jack Newman's video clips
    Great Latch-on video from Ameda

    Find a La Leche League Leader or Group near you
    La Leche League Mother-to-Mother Forums Forums
    Motherwear Blog
    Breastfeeding Help Line - from US Dept of Health & Human Services
    KellyMom Forums
    Breastfeeding Forums at MotheringDotCommune - scroll down to find them

    Benefits of breastfeeding from La Leche League International
    101 Reasons to Breastfeed Your Child
    Benefits of Breastfeeding - from US Dept of Health & Human Services
    Breastfeeding is Priceless
    10 Reasons Why Breastfeeding Rocks - from girl-mom

    Motherwear - don't forget to check out their sale pages - I got a nursing bathing suit there for ~$15!!
    Bravado Bras - I liked their sports bras - where I got my washable nursing pads
    Nursing Nightgown Pattern from Elizabeth Lee Designs

    I almost forgot! EDITED TO ADD MY FAVORITE NURSING BRA (for daytime)- from Walmart, of all places (I almost never go, but someone told me they have the best nursing bra... I have in turn recommended it to many, who have thanked me because they love it too!): the Bestform Sports Nursing Bra, for all of $11!! It's cotton, comfortable, has no underwire, wide straps, easy to hook/unhook etc...

    Christina @ Birthing Your Baby
    Independent Childbirth Classes in Central Maine

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    Friday, August 1, 2008

    World Breastfeeding Week

    Summer is short here in Maine, and I've been busy in the garden and in the kitchen, freezing some of what I've picked (blueberries, raspberries, green beans, peas, cucumbers, lettuce and the first tomatoes!) for the winter and trying to find ways to prepare the rest. Just like in Blueberries for Sal, minus the bear and add another kid. I have so many ideas for posts! But there are only 24 hours in a day!! Next week I'm going to kick off a "Choices in Childbirth" series, discussing the many options women have for care during the childbearing year. But first, an entry to add my celebratory voice to World Breastfeeding Week...

    What is World Breastfeeding Week? The World Breastfeeding Week website explains that:
    "Breastfeeding results from a reproductive health continuum for the mother to the child with no beginning or end, from generation to generation. When a practice is disrupted, it must be restored. However, restoration of the breastfeeding culture demands more resources and mobilization.

    In conjunction with the Olympics next August, WBW 2008 calls for greater support for mothers in achieving the gold standard of infant feeding: breastfeeding exclusively for six months, and providing appropriate complementary foods with continued breastfeeding for up to two years or beyond.

    As every country sends its best athletes to compete at these global games, it is important to remind ourselves that, in a similar fashion, a healthy young athlete can only emerge from a healthy start on life. There is no question that optimal infant and young child feeding is essential for optimal growth and development.

    Supporting Mother = Supporting Her to Provide the Golden Start For Every Child!"

    Also, I loved viewing the beautiful results of the World Breastfeeding photo contest.

    I have breastfed two children, for a total of just over six years. One has been weaned for a while; the other is weaning. During those six years of offering the incredible nutritional benefits of breastmilk, I have experienced so many moments of joy:
    the contented milky smile;
    eyes rolling in ecstasy;
    the brief pull-off to grin that goofy "thank you grin"
    sweet baby paws kneading me;
    rocking my sleeping but still nursing baby (milk coma), drinking in the sight and smell of baby, baby, baby;
    the joy of reconnecting with a big baby or young child after a busy day;
    nursing in bed with the baby curled up against my belly;
    instantly solving fear, frustration, exhaustion, a temper tantrum, overstimulation etc. with mama-milk;
    listening to the contented murmurings and squeaks;
    the amusing bob of a frantically rooting infant;
    that intense loving gaze of a nursing child;
    long long gulping swallowing, gulping gulping;
    the surprise of my nursing child who is kicked by her sibling growing in my belly;
    baby's wiggle of anticipation as I get ready to nurse;
    the funny names my kids came up with: "the other side" "mama gah" "goody milk"
    there was even a song, the "goody milk" song - "goody, goody, goody, goody milk, milk MILK"...

    There were struggles, too: flat nipples; oversupply with lots (and lots and lots) of leaking; engorgement; baby with a tongue-tie but a good latch; long-lasting nipple soreness from my first baby, the one without a tongue tie (??); thrush (the baby, thankfully not me); one (just one, so thankful) bout of mastitis. The struggles, though, were all short-term, compared to the long-term gift of extended breastfeeding - my gift to my children, who gave me so many gifts back during our breastfeeding relationships...

    Baby snuggles:

    The last day + Weaning Party gift:

    Now he's a big boy, who still loves his "mama gah":

    Looking through my archives to find these pictures, I wish now I had a lot more... there are a few of my daughter as an infant that are not digital, but this is about all I have. I wish I'd taken a some every few months or so, especially as young babies. I don't have any tandem nursing pics at all (not surprising, since I only nursed them at the same time a few times, but still, now I really wish I had a few).

    I've breastfed my children in a lot of places - at home, of course; in restaurants; at the movies; outside in all four seasons while hiking, camping etc.; at the beach; in the airplane squished between other travelers; in all manner of stores and shops; in the stopped car and in the moving car, with both of us still buckled in; at church; in waiting rooms; at playgroups; at the library; etc & etc. I can happily report, too, that no one has ever asked me to stop or move, or even given me a nasty look.

    So that's an introduction, and a little of my personal history. The next post will be online resources and local resources for Central Maine Mamas.

    Happy Breastfeeding!

    Christina @ Birthing Your Baby
    Independent Childbirth Classes in Central Maine


    posted by Christina Kennedy at 0 Comments

    Wednesday, July 23, 2008

    Tandem Nursing and Colostrum

    When people realized that I wasn't intending to wean my first child before my second child was born, I got a lot of questions. First there were the questions about the safety of breastfeeding while pregnant. Those questions were fairly simple because overwhelming evidence supports the safety of breastfeeding while pregnant (as long as there aren't complicating risk factors, like a history of pre-term labor). Second I got questions about supply - would the newborn get enough once he was born? Well, since I've always tended toward over-supply, and I didn't plan to limit nursing sessions, I wasn't worried. The answer to that question is simply logistical: let the newborn nurse first, for as long as (s)he wants, and then the older child gets the "leftovers".

    The one question that stumped me was - will the new baby get colostrum? If you're asking yourself "what exactly is colostrum" or wondering about its benefits, check out the La Leche League factsheet on colostrum. I thought the new baby would get colostrum, but I wasn't sure exactly how it would work.

    In case you're considering tandem nursing and are wondering the same thing, I'm posting this information from email newsletters I received this week:

    First, from the Mothering weekly email, one of the questions of the week was re: colostrum and tandem nursing. The reply from Kathleen Bruce explains that "When a mother delivers a baby and the placenta separates from the uterus, the hormones of lactation take over and lactogenesis continues with the production of colostrum, and later, mature milk as your baby and toddler nurse frequently."

    A very similar question was highlighted in the most recent Midwifery Today email newsletter, which offered a similar response: "Typically the pregnant and nursing mother experiences a decrease in milk production sometime during second trimester, and then begins to produce colostrum sometime during third trimester. Colostrum production continues until about the third or fourth day after birth, when frequent nursing by the newborn baby brings in mother's milk. It is important during these first few days for the mother to limit the older nursling's time at the breast, to insure that the newborn receives plenty of colostrum."

    Some of my favorite tandem nursing resources include:
    Adventures in Tandem Nursing, by Hilary Flower
    Kellymom's pages on nursing during pregnancy & tandem nursing
    La Leche League's articles on tandem nursing

    Just for a data point, here is my experience: I tandem nursed for just short of a year before my older child weaned. There were lots of benefits for all of us - I never got engorged (unlike my first breastfeeding experience), my milk production stabilized quickly (instead of leaking for almost a year, I had stopped leaking after about a month), I didn't have anything like the nipple soreness I had with my first, I didn't feel that I was depriving my older child of something she needed, etc. My older child was still able to reap the many benefits of extended nursing (now, at six years old, she still has never had an infection of any kind, or any antibiotics - yay breastmilk!), and occasionally share nursing time with her brother; weaning didn't play into sibling dynamics or resentment.

    This is not to say tandem nursing is easy - I think it can be emotionally challenging to nurse two children, as well as physically draining. For us, though, I think it was easier to tandem nurse than to wean my older child who was so not ready, emotionally or physically.

    Anyway, since there were two articles in my email newsletters in the same week, I figured I'd share... Anyone else care to share tandem nursing experiences?

    Christina @ Birthing Your Baby
    Independent Childbirth Classes in Central Maine

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    posted by Christina Kennedy at 1 Comments