Supporting Breastfeeding

La Leche League Canada

Healing Breastfeeding Grief

There are times when, due to individual circumstance, parents are unable to breastfeed or feel that it is really not what they want to do even if things are objectively going well. When our breastfeeding hopes or intentions don’t come to fruition we can struggle with feelings of loss, sadness, anger, grief and shame. When we are at this point we tend to think we are the only person feeling this way but in reality these feelings are not unusual or abnormal.

Hilary Jacobson, writer, researcher, holistic breastfeeding consultant and hypnotherapist, has written a book called “Healing Breastfeeding Grief” in which she shares from her own and the experience of hundreds of mothers what it can mean to experience these devastating emotions. Applying techniques of mindfulness and neuroplasticity, Jacobson offers a way out of the feelings of heartbreak and failure that overcome mothers when breastfeeding doesn’t go as they had imagined it would.

“I want to help mothers heal,” Jacobson says. “Each year, thousands of women enter motherhood carrying a deep wound. My intention for this book is that they heal and feel whole, and step fully and vibrantly into their life as a mother — no matter how they feed their baby.”

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The book looks at five steps which can help mothers understand the root of their feelings and give them tools to taking steps forward to deal with those feeling so they can love and enjoy their babies.

• Build your support team

• Understand your issues

• Find remedies

• Feel and process your emotions

• Focus on the love

The first two steps, building your support team and gathering information so you have a good understanding of how breastfeeding usually works, are both things that parents can do before baby arrives. A La Leche League meeting is a great place to get to know others who can be your supporters and to learn about breastfeeding. If you experience challenges or breastfeeding isn’t what you expected you will have people to turn to who can help you with step three: finding remedies that work for you and your circumstances. LLLC Leaders can provide a listening ear for parents to talk about their feelings and concerns in a non-judgemental atmosphere. We don’t offer advice as every parent/baby relationship is unique and what is right for one family will not be right for another. We offer information that empowers parents to make decisions that are right for them.

In part three of her book Jacobson bridges the gap between mothers and the professionals who have dedicated their lives to support families, and interviews seventeen mother-baby professionals and practitioners who share from their personal and professional experiences with breastfeeding grief. The book shares the experiences of a number of mothers including two who share the details of their personal stories and the different paths they took to feeling whole again.

Learn more at healingbreastfeedinggrief.com

At the time of publication of this post there is a sample chapter available for free download on a Kindle, PC or Mac here.
http://www.lllc.ca/thursdays-tip-healing-breastfeeding-grief

 

 

If you need more information or have a breastfeeding problem or concern, you are strongly encouraged to talk directly to an accredited La Leche League Leader. In Canada, Leaders can be located by clicking http://www.lllc.ca/find-group or Internationally http://www.llli.org/.

If you have found this article helpful, La Leche League Canada would appreciate your support. Your donation is essential and very much appreciated to help LLLC cover the cost of producing breastfeeding resources: https://www.lllc.ca/donate or become a LLLC Friend http://www.lllc.ca/join-lllc-friends

 

 

 

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Radiologic Procedures While Breastfeeding

Mothers often ask if they must wean before having a medical diagnostic scan or x-ray. In most situations, weaning is not necessary.

The first step is to gather information about the type of testing that is being recommended. Useful information to collect is the name of the test and the name of the radio-contrast compound or radio-opaque contrast media (i.e. the drug taken or injected to make parts of the body show up when x-rayed or scanned) being used.

 

MRI Scan (magnetic resonance imaging)

  • Best for looking at soft tissue (brain, muscle, cancers, blood vessels, etc.), and can be used for looking at bone.
  • Does not use radioactive material, but does use radio-contrast medium that under magnetic field shows up body parts.
  • Contrast is not always used but does enhance the image. Contrast substance used most commonly is gadopentetate and it is not radioactive
  • Less than 0.04% of the dose of gadopentetate will appear in a mother’s milk and only 0.8% of that is absorbed by the baby.
  • Those with claustrophobia are given conscious sedation.

 

CT Scan (computerized axial tomography) or CAT scan.

  • Gold standard for looking at bleeding (clots), tumours, inflammation, bone or tissue injury, guiding passage of a needle etc.
  • Person takes a compound that contains iodine. Multiple x-rays are taken encircling the body, and the iodine reveals bones or tissues.
  • Contrast medium used is not radioactive. Contrast is not always used. Like for MRIs it is used to enhance imaging.
  • The iodine in the contrast material is bound to a molecule forming the compound.  The compound does not enter the milk in any noticeable amount. The compound does not release enough iodine to alter the infant’s thyroid function.

 

IVP (intravenous pyleogram), or lymphangiogram

  • Uses contrast media similar to MRI (see above)
  • Contrast medium is delivered by intravenous to show under x-ray the kidney, lymph nodes or blood vessels.

 

Radioactive Scans

  • A radioactive form of gallium (Ga), technetium (Tc), or iodine (I) is sometimes given to a mother before a test or used as a treatment.
  • In order to protect the baby from ingestion of the radioactive compound in breastmilk, weaning for a period of time is recommended.
  • Appropriate times for being off the breast are listed in Hale
  • Mother will need to express her milk during this time to maintain her supply.

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Consider Other Options

If a mother has been told to wean her baby for one of the first three scans, she may be able to consider other options. Printed information can be shared with the doctor, such as pages from Medications and Mother’s Milk, Breastfeeding Answers Made Simple, or other references.
Has she asked her doctor if the test can be postponed or if another less invasive procedure is possible?  Has the doctor shown her evidence indicating that the baby must be weaned? Has she discussed with her doctor the risks of temporary weaning?

 

Support For Temporary Weaning

In the case where weaning is unavoidable, because the scan requires a radioactive contrast medium (the fourth scan above) which is not compatible with breastfeeding, a mother will require support as she decides how to cope with the situation. She may wish to prepare ahead by pumping and freezing breastmilk for use during the hours or days it takes the radioactive substance to leave her body. “Decay time” is the total time needed for the medium to leave her body. The term “half-life” refers to both the length of time it takes for ½ of the contrast medium to leave the body and the time it takes for the level of radioactivity to decrease by 50%. Decay time is usually 5-10 half-lives. You can prepare for pumping during the decay time and discarding breast milk safely should that be necessary.

In some cases, a mother may have to arrange for a caregiver for the baby during the “decay time”. Decay times and half-lives of many radioactive contrast agents are available from Hale or from the x-ray laboratory where the test is being done.

 
Note: This article was published in 2010. Updated resources may be available. For more detailed information and references, please refer to the article.

http://www.lllc.ca/sites/lllc.ca/files/Keeping-in-the-LLLoop-Fall-10.pdf

 

 

 
If you need more information or have a breastfeeding problem or concern, you are strongly encouraged to talk directly to an accredited La Leche League Leader. In Canada, Leaders can be located by clicking http://www.lllc.ca/find-group or Internationally http://www.llli.org/.

If you have found this article helpful, La Leche League Canada would appreciate your support. Your donation is essential and very much appreciated to help LLLC cover the cost of producing breastfeeding resources: https://www.lllc.ca/donate or become a LLLC Friend http://www.lllc.ca/join-lllc-friends

 

 

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Dealing With Thoughtless Remarks

Even when you are feeling comfortable with your breastfeeding choices, other people’s thoughtless remarks can make you feel anxious or upset. Remember that the remark is a statement about the speaker’s feelings or experience and not about you.  When you are feeling challenged by other people’s feeling about your breastfeeding relationship, talking with a La Leche League Leader can help you frame your replies and renew your confidence.

The following is a collection of remarks that might be made and some examples of responses.

Remark:  “How long are you going to breastfeed that baby?
Responses:
* You’re wondering when he will wean? I’m curious about that too.
* That is up to him and how long he seems to need it.
* Partner’s name and I are not worried, we are in no hurry to stop.

 

Remark:  “Didn’t you just nurse him?
Responses:
* We love to cuddle.
* He evidently forgot!
* That is the nicest part; we’re not tied to a schedule.

 

Remark:  “Aren’t you awfully tied down?
Responses:
* I’m indispensable and I like it that way.
* I appreciate your concern but no I don’t feel tied down.
* A nursing baby is so portable it is really the opposite of being tied down.

 

Remark:  “If you weren’t nursing him I could help you more.
Responses:
* But you have been so much help already! If you hadn’t <fill in the blank> we couldn’t have made it this far.
* You’d probably like to spend more time with him. How about giving him a bath later?

 

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Remark:  “Don’t be a martyr. You don’t have to breastfeed to be a good mother.”
Responses:
* You are right, there a lots of wonderful mothers who don’t breastfeed.
* Who’s a martyr? I really enjoy breastfeeding.

 

Remark:  “He’ll never let you go, you are making him overly dependent!
Responses:
* I understand that you see it that way but we each have our own way of doing things.
* Our closeness now will make him secure enough to be independent when he is older and ready for it

 

http://www.lllc.ca/thoughts-parenting

 
If you need more information or have a breastfeeding problem or concern, you are strongly encouraged to talk directly to an accredited La Leche League Leader. In Canada, Leaders can be located by clicking http://www.lllc.ca/find-group or Internationally http://www.llli.org/.

If you have found this article helpful, La Leche League Canada would appreciate your support. Your donation is essential and very much appreciated to help LLLC cover the cost of producing breastfeeding resources: https://www.lllc.ca/donate or become a LLLC Friend http://www.lllc.ca/join-lllc-friends

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Breastfeeding is My Superpower

I recently saw a bumper sticker that said, “I make milk. What’s your superpower?” I chuckled out loud to myself in the car, because I have been breastfeeding almost continuously for nearly eight years, for three children, all with very different experiences. And it really can be a superpower with a little support and a lot of determination.

When my first child was born, I knew I wanted to breastfeed and even took a class at the hospital about it. I perused numerous books on the topic, and consulted with other breastfeeding mothers. I thought I was prepared and was even able to leave the hospital just four hours after my son was born. But shortly after I arrived home, the trouble began, and it continued for two miserable months.

I knew nursing wasn’t supposed to be painful, but it seemed that my son was latching on beautifully and he was gaining weight like a pro, so I figured I was just being wimpy. For all those weeks, I nursed roughly every three hours, literally crying through every feeding and biting a towel as stabbing pains shot through my chest. When I couldn’t take it anymore, I contacted a local La Leche League Group. I also saw a lactation consultant and my obstetrician. It turns out that while my son remained asymptomatic, I had mastitis and thrush—with no other typical symptoms—and was treated with two full rounds of strong antibiotics and three full rounds of an antifungal. Within a couple of weeks, I was free of pain!

 

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My daughter, who has Down Syndrome, was born shortly after I weaned my son. The nurses discouraged me from nursing her, stating reasons ranging from aspiration to low muscle tone. Once again, I was quickly discharged from the hospital, fully intent on breastfeeding and realizing I would need to look elsewhere for support. I found a La Leche League pamphlet about breastfeeding a baby with Down syndrome (here) and began the process of helping my baby learn to nurse despite having many of the concerns described in the pamphlet—hypotonia (low muscle tone), a weak suck, slow weight gain, and swallowing issues.

At the recommendation of a general pediatrician and a developmental pediatrician, I even tried to supplement with bottle-feeding her with breast milk thickened with formula and melted butter, but my daughter just chewed on the plastic nipple despite support from a speech language pathologist and a lactation consultant who specialized in feeding issues in infants. We even endured numerous swallow studies prescribed by her pediatrician because of aspiration concerns, but those studies involved barium-infused liquids given by bottle, which my daughter would not take, so she choked and gagged and sputtered, with documented episodes of penetration into her airway and aspiration. The results, the doctors said, warranted that I discontinue breastfeeding and that she be fed through a nasogastric tube inserted into her nose and down to her stomach.

While I respect the opinion of physicians, I had strong instincts that breastfeeding remained the best option. So I politely declined the suggestion that she be fed via nasogastric tube and found different feeding positions that helped minimize her choking episodes. For example, I would sit her up on my lap and her head would remain vertical, so that the milk did not just automatically run down to the back of her throat. I used other strategies like starting the flowing of milk by massaging the breast tissue so that she would not have to expend calories sucking and waiting for let-down, and I also waited to latch her on until the initial let-down passed so that she didn’t have too much milk in her mouth at any given time. This made it more manageable for her to swallow on her own without aspirating. I learned to clap my hand on her back when I did notice some noisy breathing so that she could clear out the wayward milk quickly and easily.

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All that being said, I feel as though I breastfed my daughter against all odds, and I can tell you the benefits were unexpected and tremendous. She spent the first three years of her life in and out of hospitals for numerous diagnostic procedures, surgeries, and illnesses. During every hospitalization, she would go on a total “hunger strike”—refusing all food and drink—but she would always nurse. The benefits of nursing during these hospital visits went beyond simple nutrition and hydration. They were a source of great emotional comfort for her (I have photos of me lying beside her, my head and torso in the oxygen tent with her!). I believe this sense of comfort had physiological ramifications, as it likely reduced her own perception of her pain and discomfort, and accelerated the healing process. There was the added bonus that she was receiving my antibodies in the breast milk, providing her an immunity boost. I nursed her for about 3½ years, until the third trimester of my pregnancy with my third child.

When my second daughter was born, I really felt I had paid my dues and that nursing her should be second nature. But as luck would have it, I experienced pain from the very first latch-on and requested assistance right away from a lactation consultant. My daughter had difficulty latching on properly and was diagnosed with a tongue-tie. The pediatrician recommended clipping her tongue, but I asked to wait to see if we could breastfeed successfully without having the procedure. The doctor agreed to wait for two weeks. At the end of the two weeks, my daughter was breastfeeding well enough that we continued to nurse without clipping her tongue.

In my mind, these three very different breastfeeding experiences serve as a strong indication that lactation really is a super power! So, what’s yours?

By Cyndi Johnson.  Used with permission from LLL USA New Beginnings http://www.lllusa.org/breastfeeding-is-my-superpower/

 

 

If you need more information or have a breastfeeding problem or concern, you are strongly encouraged to talk directly to an accredited La Leche League Leader. In Canada, Leaders can be located by clicking http://www.lllc.ca/find-group or Internationally http://www.llli.org/.

If you have found this article helpful, La Leche League Canada would appreciate your support. Your donation is essential and very much appreciated to help LLLC cover the cost of producing breastfeeding resources: https://www.lllc.ca/donate or become a LLLC Friend http://www.lllc.ca/join-lllc-friends

 

More resources:

https://supportingbreastfeeding.wordpress.com/2015/05/25/babies-with-down-syndrome-can-breastfeed/

https://supportingbreastfeeding.wordpress.com/2016/10/31/overcoming-mastitis-and-tongue-tie/

https://supportingbreastfeeding.wordpress.com/2015/06/01/mastitis/

https://supportingbreastfeeding.wordpress.com/2016/08/22/breastfeeding-inflammation-infection/

https://supportingbreastfeeding.wordpress.com/2016/04/11/thrush-the-breastfeeding-family/

http://www.lllc.ca/Information-sheets

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Breastfeeding With Diabetes

 

My first daughter, Katharine, was born four-and-a-half years ago. She literally kicked her way out of my womb, and my husband says when he saw her face for the first time, as she screamed at the top of her lungs, he felt a sense of fear: she was a force to be reckoned with. Katharine was demanding in every way, not the least of which was nursing. I was determined to nurse her exclusively for as long as possible. I have been an insulin-dependent diabetic for 15 years, and I knew that nursing her would reduce the risk of her getting diabetes but it was a challenge from the start.

Katharine wanted to be at my breast all the time. She rarely napped for more than half an hour. Like many needy babies I’ve learned about since then, she wanted to be held, comforted, and nursed most of the time. It seemed as if I never had enough milk for her. I remember one day when she was three weeks old, I had had her on my breast for five hours without more than a couple of 15 minute breaks all afternoon. At 5:30 PM, my husband, Lazaro, walked through the door and I burst into tears. I was exhausted, mentally, emotionally, and physically. We decided to give her a bottle of formula. After four ounces, she was finally contented and peaceful and she slept for the first time all day. I felt so inadequate as a mother. That day was truly a low point but, luckily, things became easier after that. I persevered, determined to nurse Katharine exclusively. Slowly but surely, my milk supply began to increase to the point where, at three months, she was satisfied and happy.

Katharine weaned at eight months, earlier than I wanted but I was happy that it was her decision. Today, Katharine is an incredibly bright, healthy four-year-old who speaks fluent Spanish and English and is a joy to behold. She is (and always will be, I’m sure) demanding, energetic, and often difficult.

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My baby, Elizabeth, is just the opposite. She was born just over a year ago and her laid-back disposition was evident at birth, just as Katharine’s fiery personality was. Elizabeth has always been easy but when she was four days old I feared she was too easy. She was simply sleeping too much and not as alert as she should be. I knew something was wrong but I didn’t know what. My LLL Leader, Faith, was the one who noticed Elizabeth’s jaundiced appearance. Faith told me not to worry but to be sure and wake her frequently for feedings. I was worried and called my pediatrician, who was my husband’s cousin and godmother. When I described the jaundice, she said immediately, “Stop the breast. She has breast milk-induced jaundice. Give her formula. If you insist on breastfeeding, give her lots of bottles of water.” I knew from reading baby-care books that that type of jaundice was extremely rare and didn’t appear until two weeks and my baby was only five days old. My mothering instinct told me that what my baby needed was more of my milk, not less. I had read that giving her bottles of water would make her jaundice worse by starving her of the calories she needed. I decided to take my baby out into the sunlight and breastfeed her as much as possible. To my husband’s family’s horror, I decided to find a new pediatrician, one who would support my commitment to breastfeed my baby exclusively.

Elizabeth improved and within a few days was healthy and gaining weight like crazy. She did not have a drop of formula from the day she was born until she was ten months old. Even though I went back to work part-time when she was six months old, I had built up a supply of frozen milk from the early weeks by pumping every morning.  Elizabeth began to wean last month (at thirteen months) and is incredibly healthy.  I am so grateful that I had Faith’s support and counsel and that I had the determination to do what I knew was best for my baby – to give her my milk.

 

By Lauren Priegues

Used with permission from LLL USA http://www.llli.org/nb/nbmayjun00p84.html

Readers should remember that research and medical information change over time.

 

NOVEMBER IS DIABETES AWARENESS MONTH

 

 

 

If you need more information or have a breastfeeding problem or concern, you are strongly encouraged to talk directly to an accredited La Leche League Leader. In Canada, Leaders can be located by clicking http://www.lllc.ca/find-group or Internationally http://www.llli.org/.

If you have found this article helpful, La Leche League Canada would appreciate your support. Your donation is essential and very much appreciated to help LLLC cover the cost of producing breastfeeding resources: https://www.lllc.ca/donate or become a LLLC Friend http://www.lllc.ca/join-lllc-friends

 

 

 

 

 

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La Leche League: Who We Are… and What We Do

You know that La Leche League Canada provides breastfeeding support because that is what got you reading this page but do you know what happens when a mother contacts LLLC?

Anyone can access the support of a La Leche League Canada Leader by phoning the central LLLC phone lines or the National Referral number at 1-800-665-4324. You can also find a local group by checking the provincial listings here. In many parts of the country, Leaders also post information in public locations or at healthcare facilities.

 

When a Leader receives a call, she will:

  • Listen empathetically
  • Help the individual determine what their priority is
  • Provide information about what to expect from a breastfeeding baby (e.g. diaper counts, weight gain)
  • Offer ideas for improving breastfeeding management
  • Consult with the her resource Leaders if the question or concern is more complex, or of a medical or legal nature
  • Read medical information to the mother verbatim; a Leader does not interpret the information, nor does a Leader offer alternative therapies or treatment options – she is not qualified to diagnose or prescribe
  • Recommend that a person contact an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) or other health professional for an assessment, when appropriate
  • Encourage the individual to maintain open lines of communication with their healthcare professionals who are following them and the baby

 

Leaders also answer questions via email, using a similar process to that which they would use when talking on the phone.

In many part of the country, La Leche League Canada holds in-person meetings.  Parents can find information about times and locations of local meetings, drop-ins or gatherings from either www.LLLC.ca or by contacting local Leaders.

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Meetings:

  • Are held at least monthly (some LLLC Groups hold them more often)
  • Are informal, facilitated discussions, which take into account the questions and experiences of those in attendance
  • Are respectful of a parent’s choices wherever they are on the continuum from exclusive breastfeeding to weaning
  • Usually follow a set of four topics: “The Importance of Breastfeeding”; “The Family and the Breastfed Baby”; “Preventing and Overcoming Difficulties”; “Nutrition and Starting Solids” but always make sure to deal with the current questions and concerns brought by the parents attending the meeting.
  • Are open to all women who are interested in breastfeeding information and support; women are encouraged to attend during pregnancy and babies are always welcome at meetings.
  • Some Groups are open to couples and welcome partners to regular meetings. Other Groups hold separate couples meeting nights. Transgender, pregnant, breastfeeding parents, and parents in same-sex relationships are welcome. Contact your local Group Leader.
  • Provide access to the Group’s lending library from which attendees can borrow books on a wide variety of breastfeeding and parenting topics

 

If you would like more information about what happens at a meeting, you can view the Mothering through Breastfeeding video prepared by the LLLC-Halifax Chapter here.

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Or you can watch the National Awareness Campaign videos featuring actress Sitara Hewitt:

  • 1 minute Public Service Announcement here.
  • 11 minute movie here

 

We look forward to seeing you at an LLL meeting whether you want to ask a question, gather some information or share your own breastfeeding experiences.

 

http://www.lllc.ca/thursdays-tipla-leche-league-canada-who-we-are%E2%80%A6-and-what-we-do

 

 

If you need more information or have a breastfeeding problem or concern, you are strongly encouraged to talk directly to an accredited La Leche League Leader. In Canada, Leaders can be located by clicking http://www.lllc.ca/find-group or Internationally http://www.llli.org/.

If you have found this article helpful, La Leche League Canada would appreciate your support. Your donation is essential and very much appreciated to help LLLC cover the cost of producing breastfeeding resources: https://www.lllc.ca/donate or become a LLLC Friend http://www.lllc.ca/join-lllc-friends

 

 

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Breastfeeding and Cigarette Smoking

La Leche League Leaders are often asked whether smoking cigarettes impact a mother’s ability to breastfeed. It is not the role of La Leche League to judge a parent’s decision to smoke. We are here to provide fact based information which allows parents to make their own decisions. So what does some of the research say?

What people believe about smoking and breastfeeding: a study that looked at the factors which contribute to intention to breastfeed and breastfeeding outcomes examined how smoking status affected the decision making. The conclusion of the researchers was “Women perceived that a strong risk of harming the baby was posed by smoking while breastfeeding and received little encouragement to continue breastfeeding despite an inability to stop smoking. The perceptions of the toxic, addictive, and harmful effects of smoking on breastmilk constitution and quantity factored into reasons why women weaned their infants from breastfeeding much earlier than the recommended 6 months.”

Breastfeeding duration: a 2006 study followed mothers who had smoked during pregnancy and mapped how long they continued to breastfed. The results showed a lower rate of initiating breastfeeding and a shorter duration (average of 11 weeks vs 28 weeks) when compared with the non-smoking mother control group. The statistical difference persisted even after adjusting for mother’s age, education, income, father’s smoking status, mother’s country of birth, mother’s intention to breastfeed for more than 6 months and baby’s birth weight.

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Does breastfeeding change smoking behavior? A 2012 study done in Italy showed that women who had stopped smoking during pregnancy were less likely to resume smoking after giving birth if they were breastfeeding. Women who had continued to smoke during pregnancy and breastfeeding smoked less at the interview check points than the mothers who were not breastfeeding. A similar study concluded that early prenatal care and breastfeeding is associated with postpartum smoking abstinence.

Infant sleep: a 2007 study looked at sleep duration in a group of infants on two separate occasions: after their mothers had smoked and when their mothers had refrained from smoking. They found the babies spent less time over all and the longest sleep session was shorter.

Lower respiratory tract infections: Lower respiratory tract infections (LRTIs) considered in this study were pneumonia, bronchitis and bronchiolitis. This study looked back at a large group of children born over a two year period in Oslo Norway and tracked health information from physicians. Their data showed that the babies of non-smoking breastfeeding mothers who breastfed for more than six months had the lowest risk of having a LRTI in the first year of life. Babies of mothers who smoked and breastfed for more than six months had an increased risk of an LRTI in the first six months of life. The risk decreased in the second six months although not to a level as low as that of the non-smoking group. Short term breastfeeding (less than six months) and smoking had an increased risk of LRTIs compared with short term breastfeeding without smoking. The results suggest that breastfeeding has a protective effect for babies who are going to be exposed to environmental tobacco smoke. A 2008 study on a similar topic looked at breastfeeding, maternal smoking, recurrent LRTIs and asthma in children.

http://www.lllc.ca/thursdays-tip-breastfeeding-and-cigarette-smoking

 

If you need more information or have a breastfeeding problem or concern, you are strongly encouraged to talk directly to an accredited La Leche League Leader. In Canada, Leaders can be located by clicking http://www.lllc.ca/find-group or Internationally http://www.llli.org/.

If you have found this article helpful, La Leche League Canada would appreciate your support. Your donation is essential and very much appreciated to help LLLC cover the cost of producing breastfeeding resources:  https://www.lllc.ca/donate or become a LLLC Friend http://www.lllc.ca/join-lllc-friends

 

 

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Breastfeeding, Inflammation & Infection

We have long known that babies who are breastfed have a lower risk of getting an infection and that their immune systems develop differently. The biological mechanisms behind these differences are still under investigation by scientists.

 
A recently published study by Arnardottir, Dalli and Sehan into a class of molecules called “specialized pro-resolving mediators” (SPMs) found that these inflammation resolving molecules are found in high numbers in human milk. This group of molecules is involved in clearing infections, reducing inflammation, combating pain and healing wounds.

 
The highest levels of these SPMs were found in the breastmilk of healthy mothers. Mothers who had an active case of mastitis (a breast infection) had much lower levels in their milk samples. When their milk was tested it did not have the same ability to resolve inflammation and infection. Cow’s milk and artificial infant formula showed no detectable level of SPMs.

 

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Further study will be needed to see how these SPMs have a role in the protection of the infant from infection and the development of the babies’ immune system. For now it would appear that they play a role in the mother in protecting against or resolving mastitis.

 
For more information about avoiding or resolving mastitis check out:

⦁ La Leche League Canada’s FAQs

⦁ La Leche League International’s Breastfeeding Today

⦁ Talking things over in-person with a La Leche League Leader is always the best way to get support and information that is right for your situation.

 
http://www.lllc.ca/thursdays-tip-breastfeeding-inflammation-infection

 

If you need more information or have a breastfeeding problem or concern, you are strongly encouraged to talk directly to an accredited La Leche League Leader. In Canada, Leaders can be located by clicking http://www.lllc.ca/find-group or Internationally http://www.llli.org/.

 

If you have found this article helpful, La Leche League Canada would appreciate your support. Your donation is essential and very much appreciated to help LLLC cover the cost of producing breastfeeding resources: https://www.lllc.ca/donate or become a LLLC Friend http://www.lllc.ca/join-lllc-friends .

 

 

 

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Breastfeeding Beyond Toddlerhood: Why Support Matters

From my experience supporting breastfeeding mothers, many do not set out to breastfeed beyond toddlerhood. While these mothers know they are doing what they feel is right for their families, each of them struggled at points with personal expectations, outside pressure to wean, and doubt about whether to set limits with their child.
But each one also has reached out for support when it was needed. Breastfeeding support is critical, no matter where a mother is on her parenting journey—even, or perhaps especially, when breastfeeding beyond toddlerhood.
My first baby was an early preemie and never did latch on, so I exclusively pumped for about six months until I, regrettably, became overwhelmed and stopped pumping. I was shocked at the cost of artificial infant milk and dismayed when she developed an allergy to cow’s milk.
Seven months later, I had my second baby. I was determined to breastfeed and I did. But I struggled with low supply until I finally lost my milk supply when she was nine months old. I was shocked again, this time by how much I missed breastfeeding.

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Four years later when I had my third child, I was determined to breastfeed for a full year and to avoid struggling with low milk supply. Early on, I had problems with poor latch, sore nipples, mastitis, thrush, and an abscess. After a few months, I felt I had the easier breastfeeding relationship I had been looking for since my oldest was born.
I set a goal of one year. When his first birthday arrived, he was still breastfeeding at least six times a day and a couple times at night. So I decided to set 18 months as a new goal as he was clearly not ready to wean. At 18 months, I set a new goal of two years. And at two years, I made a firm decision in favor of child-led weaning.
But a few months later, I was surprised by my feeling of being touched-out and tied-down. I felt ready to wean, but at the same time, I was very sad at the thought. It was quite evident that my son was not ready to wean. I never thought that I would be struggling with these feelings.
And then I reviewed the book To Three and Beyond: Stories of Breastfed Children and the Mothers Who Love Them by Janell Robisch.
A former La Leche League Leader, Robisch put together breastfeeding stories from mothers who have engaged in child-led weaning and breastfeeding beyond three years. Robisch breastfed her three children until the ages of five, four and one-half, and three and one-half years.
The support I received from these stories helped me work through my conflicting emotions about breastfeeding. I continued to breastfeed my son for another year and some months: he weaned completely on his own terms. I was happy with how it all went. Not a tear was shed by either one of us!

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I find support, especially local and in-person from other mothers who’ve “been there, done that” to be empowering for every breastfeeding mother. So does Robisch, who had this to say about supporting mothers who are breastfeeding beyond the age of three:
Remember why you have made the choice to continue breastfeeding.
You are not alone, not by far. I feel comfortable saying that, at this moment, there are thousands—if not more—mothers nursing beyond infancy and even toddlerhood.
One of the most important things to do is to find support. It means the world, even if it is only online or from one friend or family member in your life.
While no two mothers’ experiences are the same, one of the main threads running through their stories is of individual mothers carefully considering their children and their families and making decisions about breastfeeding and parenting based on the family’s needs as a whole and the children’s needs in particular. There is compassion and respect here for children’s needs, even when they contrast with what society presents as the ‘right’ way to do things, and there is balance as well.
I just want to give a shout out to all the brave mamas out there who fly in the face of tradition, not to rebel but to parent in the best way they know how, those who are brave enough to question parenting practices that ignore the needs and developmental stages of children and do what feels right for their children and families.

by Rita Brhel, Hastings
Used with permission from New Beginnings http://www.lllusa.org/breastfeeding-beyond-toddlerhood-why-support-matters/

 
If you need more information or have a breastfeeding problem or concern, you are strongly encouraged to talk directly to an accredited La Leche League Leader. In Canada, Leaders can be located by clicking http://www.lllc.ca/find-group or Internationally http://www.llli.org/.

If you have found this article helpful, La Leche League Canada would appreciate your support in the form of a donation at http://www.lllc.ca/join-lllc-friends so we can continue to help others breastfeed. Thank you!

 

 

 

 

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Creating Your Nursing Nest

In the early days of breastfeeding, you are going to spend a lot of time sitting and nursing. It is helpful to create yourself a nursing nest spot (or two) so that everything you might want is within arm’s reach once you get baby latched on. Here are some tips from other mothers of the things they think found important to have at hand:

1) Something to drink: Keep a full unspillable water bottle or cup by your nursing nest. It is amazing how thirsty you can feel when your milk lets down. If you forget to put a drink close by, you will feel like you are in the desert watching for a waterhole and never getting there. The kitchen tap will seem like a mirage and you will be sure the nursing session will never end!

2) Something to eat: You are producing 500- 700 calories of milk a day for your baby; feeling hungry is justifiable. You may be sitting in your nursing nest for a while so be prepared with healthy snacks. Nuts, granola bars and fruit can all sit at room temperature which means they are ready to eat when you need them. Some mothers make a sandwich or cut up cheese to keep in a container in the fridge. This gives them a snack that can be grabbed with one hand on the way to the nursing nest.

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3) Something to entertain your mind:  Mothers figure out how to breastfeed while reading books, working on their computers or using a smart phone. Television can be a distraction option and older children are guaranteed to keep your mind occupied. Gazing in awe at the most beautiful baby in the world is one of the best parts of breastfeeding so don’t forget to put aside the gadgets for a while. Whatever stage your nursing child is at won’t last long and this time together in your nursing nest will quickly become a memory.

4) A towel, receiving blanket or burp cloth: in the early days you may be leaking and baby may be overflowing at both ends. Having something at hand that is intended for mopping up soggy spots will come in handy.

5) A really good breastfeeding resource book:  You are sitting in your nursing nest and breastfeeding; as the milk flows the questions start to flow through your mind. You could poke around the internet for answers but how do you evaluate the quality and applicability of the advice and information you will find there?  The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding  is a book you can read from front to back or you can dip in and find information about almost anything to do with breastfeeding. Having it at hand is like having a breastfeeding buddy in the room with you.

6) Your La Leche League Leader’s phone number or e-mail address: If you have your smart phone in your hand and you have a question now is a good time to contact LLL.  A conversation with a Leader is better than searching the internet for answers to your questions because she can help you figure out what information is relevant to your specific situation and what is not. If you have the number at hand you won’t need to search for it on the day you decide you really want it. There are no foolish questions and Leaders don’t mind if you are crying when you call.

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Because breastfeeding isn’t always easy, we’re here to help.

 

http://www.lllc.ca/thursdays-tipcreating-your-nursing-nest

 

If you need more information or have a breastfeeding problem or concern, you are strongly encouraged to talk directly to an accredited La Leche League Leader. In Canada, Leaders can be located by clicking http://www.lllc.ca/find-group or Internationally http://www.llli.org/.

If you have found this article helpful, La Leche League Canada would appreciate your support in the form of a donation at http://www.lllc.ca/join-lllc-friends so we can continue to help others breastfeed. Thank you!

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