Tag Archives: Breastfeeding

When should I give my baby solids?

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When should I give my baby solids?

natural-baby

Milk Monday
Milk Moment by Sacred Milk:

When should I give my baby solids?
The intestinal tract of babies is permeable (open) until they are about 6 months old. What does this mean? It means whatever baby eats has an open door into their blood stream until their intestinal tract closes. Why is this important? Baby’s body is designed to consume and digest only the milk of its mother until their bodies are mature enough (the intestinal tract is closed) to introduce other foods. When babies eat foods or artificial baby milk containing non human proteins and other components their body isn’t ready to digest, these substances damage their gut, enter the bloodstream and cause allergic and/or inflammatory responses.

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A baby shows outward signs they are ready for solids:
+ Baby is sitting up on his own
+ Baby can pick up food with the pincer grip- using the thumb and his forefinger
+ Baby can chew and swallow- does not thrust out food with his tongue

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For more information on beginning solids, The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, published by LLLI, Baby-Led Weaning: Helping Your Baby Love Good Food by Gill Rapley and Tracey Murkett, and My Child Won’t Eat! by Dr. Carlos Gonzalez.

Photo credit: Alexandra DeFurio, Elena Rego, and Tnah Louise

Surrender to the Serenity in Simple

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Milk Monday
Milk Moment from Sacred Milk:nn

Surrender to the Serenity in Simple:
Today as parents, companies market that we NEED so many products and gadgets to care for our new babies. As we walk down the isles at the baby stores we see items for the nursing baby we can buy or add to our registries. While shopping is fun, and so are gifts, it’s important to balance the marketing with reality. Some of these products are handy or comforting, others distract from bigger problems. It’s the distracting ones that can lead to an avalanche of challenges for a nursing mom. Knowing what is handy and what can be problematic puts mama ahead of the game and allows her to make informed choices about the goodies she chooses. balance

There are Pocket Nannies, Vibrational nursing alarms, and jewelry designed to remind Mom what side to nurse on, when to nurse, and for how long. Their intention is to help the new parents. But, research shows that Milk production is related to how often a baby is at the breast actively nursing. When feedings are restricted or infrequent supply is affected and decreases. When relying on the device or clock to bring the healthy baby to the breast it can have a negative affect. Don’t rely on the time or device, rely on the baby. Moms only need feeding cues as the timer for baby’s next feed. Below is a tear off sheet from La Leche League describing those feeding cues. http://www.llli.org/…/WAB_Tear_sheet_To…/04_feeding_cues.pdf

References:
Daly, S., Hartmann, R Infant demand and milk supply: Part 1 and 2. J Hum Lact 1995; 11(1):21-37.

De Carvalho, M. et al. Effect of frequent breastfeeding on early milk production and infant weight gain Pediatrics 1983: 72:307-11.

De Coopman, J. Breastfeeding after pituitary resection: support for a theory of autocrine control of milk supply. J Hum Lact 1993; 9(1):35-40.

Riordan, I. and Auerbach, K. Breastfeeding and Human Lactation. Boston and London: Jones and Bartlett 1993; 88.

A Warm Cuppa

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Milk Monday

Milk Moment from Sacred Milk :

When caring for a nursling it’s imperative to take time to nourish yourself. A warm Cuppa can provide you with that nurturing practice and assist in filling up your cup. This practice of opening space for yourself and taking time to prepare yourself a warm beverage is good for your peace of mind, and good for your soul. Choose a time early before your little ones wake up, or after they go down for a nap or at bedtime and make it a ritual. Choose a beautiful cup, saucer, and a special spoon. Do you have a daily ritual that includes a warm coffee or tea? Do you have a special cup just for you? Do you get up a tad earlier than your baby just to enjoy your warm Cuppa solo and while it’s warm?

warm-cuppa

Jennifer’s Milk Story- Going with the (MILK) Flow

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Jennifer’s Milk Story- Going with the (MILK) Flow

Going With The (Milk) Flow

By Jennifer Martel

Back in January of 1989, I gave birth to my first child, daughter Toni Michelle. Although I initially tried to breastfeed her at the hospital, I ended up giving up too soon which I credit to being so young at the time. In hind sight, I wished I had stuck with it.

Fast forward about twenty-four years. I felt called on a spiritual level to bring another precious life into this world. My current husband Andy and I decided we would in fact like children. This time around, I was wiser, healthier, and living holistically. I knew about GMOs and processed foods and knew that my breast milk was the perfect food for this baby that was entering the world. So I had every intention of solely breastfeeding our baby.

After our sweet Emma Rose was born in July 2014, I had to learn to go with the flow and learn to accept that despite our best efforts, sometimes things just don’t go as planned- and that everything will still work out okay.

When Emma was born, we initiated breastfeeding in the delivery room at the hospital. It would ebb & flow. We weren’t able to get her to latch consistently to get enough milk overall. Emma had dropped some weight initially so the hospital staff was monitoring her weight each night. At one point a staff member mentioned the possibility of formula at some point and I said no. When asked why I didn’t want to use formula, my reply was “the ingredients.” They did not understand my concerns about processed baby formula, nor my vow to NOT give up this time on breastfeeding.

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Fortunately we had attended a breastfeeding class by a remarkable woman Beth prior to giving birth. And it just so happened that she did private consultations. So the day after we arrived home from the hospital, we had this lactation specialist come to our home.

She helped with breastfeeding techniques, as well as setting me up to pump breast milk to increase milk supply (including fitting me for correct shield size, etc.). Additionally, she weighed Emma at each visit and expressed the importance of our main objective, which was to get Emma fed- regardless of the type of milk. Although it was devastating to me, we went out on day 4 and bought the best organic baby formula we could find after researching online.

Beth also suspected that Emma may have a lip or tongue tie (neither of which I had ever heard of). She referred us to a pediatric dentist that specializes in this. So at not quite a week old, we took Emma to this dentist, and it turned out that she had both a lip and tongue tie which was interfering with her ability to latch and breastfeed. Emma had the laser procedure that day and we continued our breastfeeding as best we could, in addition to supplementing with organic formula.

Due to delayed latching, my milk supply, once very abundant, had dwindled, so I worked to increase production by pumping. It added even more stress trying to find time to pump in between breastfeeding attempts. I pressured myself to make this work, vowing that I would not give up.

We rented a commercial breast pump, had several lactation consults, I tried acupuncture, frequent breast-pumping, and amidst all of this, I was realizing that the time I was spending trying to increase my milk supply was not only very stressful but also insanely time-consuming. I was ultimate losing time with my precious daughter because I could not pump and hold Emma at the same time. It deeply saddened me to be missing time holding my baby in an effort to give her the best most natural food- my breast milk. When I came to this realization, I had to decide what my priority was going to be.

I chose loving contact. I had to let go of feelings of failure and guilt and instead allow myself to be more relaxed and flexible with the process. I decided to pump less to reduce my stress level and get to cuddle my sweet Emma Rose more. Eventually I stopped pumping all together and let things flow as they would, knowing I had tried so many things and that this was not giving up- I was simply surrendering. Even the lactation specialist was impressed with my efforts, commenting on my devotion to making breast feeding a success.

10940609_10205908699182420_1238015613816792688_nEmma and I still breastfed each day (no matter how much or how little the milk output) for the remainder of my 12 week maternity leave. And although she did not receive enough breast milk to sustain her on that alone, we had the loving skin-to-skin time that was so very precious- and supplemented each feeding with organic formula.

I had to learn to go with the (milk) flow. Even with the best intentions, unforeseen circumstances can occur which derail our original plans. Our loving, healthy intentions for Emma are surely infused in her organic formula (just as the water crystal experiments demonstrated the effect of our thoughts and intentions on water).

Most importantly, our sweet Emma Rose is happy, healthy, strong and thriving. The love we nourish her with every day feeds her body and soul beautifully. My husband Andy and I are very blessed.

Photo credit: Stefanie Lynn Photography

There are no advantages to breastfeeding

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Allyson Frances photo Advantage noun

  1. a condition or circumstance that puts one in a favorable or superior position.

There are no advantages to breastfeeding.  No, that is not a typo; there are no advantages to breastfeeding.  Look at the definition of the word advantage above.  It is something that “puts one in a favorable or superior position.”  Nourishing our babies with our Milk is not an advantage, it is physiologically normal.  But, we have always heard, “Breast is Best.”  What does this imply?  It simply implies Artificial Baby Milk (ABM) is the baseline, and human Milk is just an additional, extra special add-on.   Words have meaning.  Milk is now considered the exception, not the norm. Wait!  There are no advantages? Consider the following questions:  How does Milk

  • reduce a Mother’s risk of breast cancer and postmenopausal osteoporosis?
  • reduce the risk of developing chronic conditions such as Type I Diabetes, Celiac Disease, and Crohn’s Disease in children?
  • lower the baby’s chance of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome in half?
  • protect your baby from infections and diseases such as respiratory infections, necrotizing enterocolitis, ear infections, urinary infections, late-onset sepsis in pre-term infants, and childhood overweight and obesity?

Milk is not an extra nutritional substance you give to simply help prevent infections or disease.  Rather, Milk is made naturally to grow an infant and help him thrive.    Think about this statement taken from a Pediatric Research article, “Thymus size is dependent on whether the infant is breast-fed; the thymus size of breast-fed infants is twice the size of formula-fed infants at 4 mo [months] of age.”  The thymus gland is vitally important to the development of a child’s immune system.  The thymus size should be baselined from that of Milk-fed infants, not the other way around.  This is a paradigm shift that needs to emphasized:  The thymus is not “extra large” because it is twice as large as the child who receives ABM; it is the normal size. As late as 2003, The World Health Organization established guidelines detailing the best alternative to an infant obtaining Milk at the breast.  The WHO prioritized these options as:

  • Milk from own mother by breastfeeding,
  • Milk from own mother, expressed,
  • Milk from a wet-nurse, or
  • Milk from a milk bank, or
  • Breastmilk substitute

However, when a baby is unable to be at the Mother’s breast, the next option offered tends to be the last on the list of alternatives.  If we embrace the paradigm shift by changing the language used to describe and detail the feeding of infants, all  of us (parents, caregivers, healthcare providers, lactation specialists) can better demand and defend the need for more acceptable and accessible postpartum care, lactation support, and more options for the advancement of donor Milk options.  Access to Milk Banks is far less than the number of those that want or need such services.  As such, we need to demand more Milk Banks.  Even though Artificial Baby Milk continues to be an option that has saved many lives,   it should not be the baseline; it is an alternative substitute.  I once had the opportunity to hear CNM Nancy Giglio share,  “We must respect technology, but preserve physiology.” We should say the same for Milk. We must preserve and protect what is physiologically normal.  It’s time for a paradigm shift.

In a society where there are many demands on new Mothers, who are often times away from extended family and support structures, there needs to be a shift back to what is normal.  When Milk is seen as something that is an extra or taken by new Mothers as an additional pressure to be a “good Mother,” then the biological needs of the dyad are strained.  Milk then becomes a concept of something that is viewed “above-and-beyond” or something that is “more than enough.”  As Mothers, just being “enough” – in and of itself – is challenging in its own right.  Using words like “best” or “superior” to describe Milk only goes to further create environments or situations that become almost unreal or unattainable to many new Mothers.  Under such scenarios, ABM companies can then find it easier to market their products and push their brands in efforts to alleviate these so-called burdens felt by  new Mothers.

Relying on words such as “advantage” or “benefit” when describing Milk insinuates a certain level of superiority or privilege.  We, as a community, need to be cognizant of language and how we use it.  Doctor Wayne Dyer states, “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”  I encourage all of us to undertake the paradigm shift of how to care for infants.  In doing so we can better articulate what is physiologically normal, and provide with is biologically intended for these Little Beings.

Austin Rees, IBCLC

Sacred Milk Co-Founder

http://www.sacred-milk.com

References: Newcomb PA, Storer BE, Longnecker MP, et al. Lactation and a reduced risk of premenopausal breast cancer. N Engl J Med. 1994;330:81-87 http://www.jaoa.osteopathic.org/content/106/4/203.full.pdf

http://whqlibdoc.who.int/publications/2003/9241562218.pdf ‘The Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding’, bullet 18 states: “The vast majority of mothers can and should breastfeed, just as the vast majority of infants can and should be breastfed. Only under exceptional circumstances can a mother’s milk be considered unsuitable for her infant. For those few health situations where infants cannot, or should not, be breastfed, the choice of the best alternative –expressed breast milk from an infant’s own mother, breast milk from a healthy wet-nurse or a human-milk bank, or a breast-milk substitute fed with a cup, which is a safer method than a feeding bottle and teat –depends on individual circumstances.” [] Hasselbalch H,

Jeppesen DL, Engelmann MD, Michaelsen KF, Nielsen MB 1996 Decreased thymus size in formula-fed infants compared with breastfed infants. Acta Paediatr 85:1029–1032 http://www.nature.com/pr/journal/v62/n1/full/pr2007178a.html

Bring them Back with our MILK

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Why Milk Is SacredThe journey of pregnancy into birthing our babies is indeed sacred, powerful. It is an inward harnessing of the force of universal creation.
We are confronted with what is raw and truly deep within us.
We surrender to what is.
We birth.
Once our babies are born our bodies begin to make milk, perfect nourishment drawn from us.
Rather than separate from our baby once the umbilical cord is cut, we draw them back to us with our milk.

Katrice’s Milk Story

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Sacred Milk Katrice's Milk Story

My Milk Story
Katrice Ross

“The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding” was placed in my hands when I was pregnant with my son back in 2004. I read the entire book and was confident in my decision to breastfeed. I thought to myself, “How hard can it be?” I would soon find out that it would be the hardest and at the same time, most rewarding aspect of motherhood.

Katie has been a family friend for a very long time. She is a former La Leche League leader and is the first person to notice my son wasn’t doing well. She decided to give the local La Leche League leader a call and that’s how I met Gini, Sara, and Austin of Sacred Milk. I remember my first visit with Gini and Austin. Gini realized right away that my son was severely tongue tied. It was so tied that he couldn’t lift his tongue at all. By this time, my son was about a month old and was severely dehydrated. Austin had some frozen colostrum and offered to give it to Ethan. I am so thankful for that precious liquid gold! Even after doctor visits and a hospital stay he struggled with feeding. All I can say is I thank God every day that Gini made the call that saved his life. I can’t even begin to imagine what would have become of my son if it wasn’t for her.

His tongue tie was released very quickly after that first meeting. Gini did call and set up his surgery for me. After it was over, he nursed like a champ. Gini and the other leaders helped me build my milk supply by renting a pump for me. I would nurse, then he was given a bottle of formula, and then I would pump. It didn’t take long for me to get a full milk supply. I discontinued my pumping and formula regimen. I did have to use a nipple shield the entire duration of our breastfeeding journey but that didn’t bother me. How I loved my bond with my little nursling! There is no greater feeling than knowing your child is comforted and nourished with your warm milk. I am thoroughly convinced that our bond is so powerful because of breastfeeding. It’s hard to put into words how much breastfeeding has transformed our relationship.

I was a single parent at the time and thought it would be best if I went back to college. I did it to secure our future. I would have done anything for my precious baby. We continued to nurse while I was in school. I am a firm believer in attachment parenting and it helped me tremendously during that time. I could still bond with my child even though we had to be apart sometimes. We stopped nursing just after he turned two years old. That was also when I met the love of my life. Eric and I have been together for 7 years and married for 5 years. Eric told me that he loved Ethan as his own the minute he laid eyes on him. It melted my heart to watch them bond. We were meant to be a family.

We welcomed our daughter Rebecca into the world last April. I contacted Gini as soon as I noticed that nursing was becoming quite painful. Gini came to see me and knew right away that my daughter had both a lip tie and a posterior tongue tie. My baby basically chomped on my nipples. I had to start pumping to heal my very damaged nipples. We took Rebecca to get her ties snipped 4 days after she was born. The healing process was very long and painful for both Rebecca and me. After she healed I noticed that she still wasn’t feeding any better. I continued to work with Gini and used skin-to skin, nipple shields, and Supplementary Nursing Systems. (SNS) She wasn’t gaining any weight. I continued to pump after every nursing session and would also feed her a bottle of my pumped milk. When she wasn’t gaining weight I would add extra breastmilk fat to bottles.

I stopped nursing at every feeding. I would nurse her a few times a day and would feed her bottles the rest of the time. Rebecca is 16 months old and I’m happy to say that she still nurses in the morning before we get out of bed. I couldn’t give it up even though it varies how long she will nurse for me. Those few precious minutes of blissful connection mean the world to me.
I tried everything I could to improve our nursing relationship. We enrolled her in Early Intervention, she went to feeding and occupational therapy, we had a swallow study done, we had a developmental specialist evaluate her, I started taking her to see a chiropractor when she was 3 months old, and I worked with my lactation consultant/developmental expert friends. Ultimately, we concluded that Rebecca was born with low muscle tone that has caused a few developmental delays. Pumping has never been easy. I have overcome many challenges. I am so thankful to have the support of my milky mama friends. My goal is to continue bottle nursing with love until my daughter turns two. My milk experiences have taught me that I can accomplish anything that my heart desires. All it takes is a little determination and a lot of love.

http://www.sacred-milk.com