Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The benefits start from day one and build as you go

This is from the I Make Milk, What's Your Superpower facebook page. The administrator took it from her local paper.

"What If I Want To Wean My Baby? taken from a *Babies First* article printed in my local paperIf you breastfeed for a few days, your baby will have received your colostrum or early milk. Packed with optimal nutrition and antibodies, it helps get your baby's digestive system going and give him his first - and easiest - immunization.If you breastfeed for four to six weeks, you will have eased him through the most critical part of his infancy. Breastfed newborns are much less likely to get sick or be hospitalized and have fewer digestive problems than artificially fed babies.If you breastfeed for three or four months her digestive system will have matured a great deal and she will be much better able to tolerate the foreign substances in artificial baby milk. If you breastfeed for six months, she will be much less likely to suffer an allergic reaction to artificial baby milk or other foods. A new study indicates that nursing for more than six months may greatly reduce the risk of childhood cancers as well. If you breastfeed your baby for nine months, you will have seen him through the fastest and most important development of his life on the most valuable of all foods - your milk.If you breastfeed your baby for a year you can avoid the expense of artificial baby milk. Many health benefits during this year of nursing will last her whole life. She will have a stronger immune system, less chance of childhood and adolescent obesity and will be much less likely to need orthodontia or speech therapy.If you breastfeed your baby for eighteen months, you will have continued to provide the highest quality nutrition and superb protection against illness at a time when illness is common in other babies. The US Surgeon General says "It is the lucky baby that nurses to age two".If you breastfeed your baby until he is ready to wean, you can feel confident you have met your baby's physical an emotional needs in the most natural, healthiest way possible. In cultures where there is no pressure to wean, children tend to nurse for at least two years. Mothers who have nursed for two or more years have a lower risk of developing breast cancer.Don't worry that your child will nurse forever. All children wean eventually no matter what you do and there are more nursing toddlers around than you might guess."

There are a lot of great resources out there, if you are on facebook they have a few breastfeeding groups where you can post questions and get answers from other moms. Plus it's fun being a member and talking about what you love.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Flush with Thrush

I thought it might be a good time to tackle some common problems I’ve faced throughout my 19 months of breastfeeding. Thrush wasn’t the first problems, but it has been the most persistent one so I choose this to discuss first.

What is Thrush?
Oral thrush is a condition in which the fungus Candida albicans accumulates on the lining of your mouth.
Oral thrush causes creamy white lesions, usually on your tongue or inner cheeks. The lesions can be painful and may bleed slightly when you scrape them or brush your teeth. Sometimes oral thrush may spread to the roof of your mouth, your gums, tonsils or the back of your throat.
Although oral thrush can affect anyone, it occurs most often in babies and toddlers, older adults, and in people with compromised immune systems. Oral thrush is a minor problem for healthy children and adults, but for those with weakened immune systems, symptoms of oral thrush may be more severe, widespread and difficult to control.

What and the symptoms?
Oral thrush usually produces creamy white lesions on your tongue and inner cheeks and sometimes on the roof of your mouth, gums and tonsils. The lesions, which resemble cottage cheese, can be painful and may bleed slightly when rubbed or scraped. Although oral thrush symptoms often develop suddenly, they may persist for a long time.
In severe cases, the lesions may spread downward into your esophagus — the long, muscular tube stretching from the back of your mouth to your stomach (Candida esophagitis). If this occurs, you may experience difficulty swallowing or feel as if food is getting stuck in your throat.
Signs and symptoms in infants and breast-feeding mothersHealthy newborns with oral thrush usually develop symptoms during the first few weeks of life. In addition to the distinctive white mouth lesions, infants may have trouble feeding or be fussy and irritable. They can also pass the infection to their mothers during breast-feeding. The infection may then pass back and forth between mother's breasts and baby's mouth. Women whose breasts are infected with candida may experience the following signs and symptoms:
Unusually red or sensitive nipples
Shiny or flaky skin on the areola
Unusual pain during nursing or painful nipples between feedings
Stabbing pains deep within the breast

Personally my symptoms where subtle and we first saw them in my daughter. She had to have an antibiotic shot for an infection and about a week later I noticed her tongue has white splotches on it. About the same time she started having problems at the sitter, being very fussy and clingy. At first I just dismissed it for the natural separation anxiety infants begin to feel at about 6 months, but I finally took her to the doctor where he said part of the problem might be the thrush which could cause her a little pain and discomfort.
I found about two weeks later I started having some subtle nipple pain while pumping. Then I noticed little tiny bleeding spots on my nipples and a little blood on my breast pad after I would pump. Finally came the unbearable itching, I would want Emily to nurse just to soothe it as scratching your nipples isn’t the best idea.

What is the treatment?

At this point I made several mistakes. The doctor told me to get her some infant probiotics, which I had a very hard time finding. I asked is Acidophilus would be ok, but the doctor told me if I couldn’t find it them don’t worry about it. Well it only got worse. I was finally able to find infant probiotics in powder at a Whole Foods store and began giving her one serving a day. These are perfectly safe to give more than once a day and I didn’t see any improvement until I gave her three servings a day. My next mistake was not insisting on getting her treated with some medicine (Nystatin or similar). The thrush had gone so long that I finally had to get her doctor to prescribe something. This goes into my third mistake, not treating myself. The thrush will transfer from mom to baby and back if both aren’t treated at the same time. The best way to do this I found is take a little of the medicine prescribed for your baby and put it on your nipples. Also use cotton nursing pads and be sure they get washed in hot water and clean all the toys your baby puts in his or her mouth until both your symptoms are gone. You’ll have to be sure the sitter does this also otherwise you will have multiple outbreaks.

Can I prevent this fun experience?

Yes you sure can. I personally believe if I had been better informed and knew what I was doing I would have not had problems with it at all. First I read to take Asidophilus while taking antibiotics to replace the good bacteria that is getting killed along with the bad. A good way to help your infant is getting the power probiotics and including it once a day while on antibiotics. This can also help to prevent the antibiotic diarrhea that seems to accompany some treatments. If anything just eat one yogurt a day, it is packed with the healthy organisms you need and good for you too. You can even find infant yogurt now. If you are still concerned, or like me have bad luck with reoccurrences, you can clean your nipples a couple times a day with a solution of vinegar and water. I used about a half mL of vinegar to 10mL of water or more water if that seems to irritate your skin. Just dap it on once or twice a day. This will dry out your skin though so I also suggest adding a dap of Lanolin cream after each application to avoid a different kind of soreness.

On an ending note these are just my personal experiences, yours may be different. It is common to get, but you will probably find a lot of nursing moms who have never had problems with it. Everyone is different. You can find lots of good tips and information online too, I just did a Google search and found a plethora of information in just one search on “thrush”.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

World Breastfeeding Week


It's so nice to have a full week dedicated to celebrating such a wonderful thing!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Donating Milk

I have plenty of extra milk from pumping at work and my daughter refusing anything except straight from the tap so I donate it all. First I used the National Milk Bank, which is a great service, and then I decided I wanted to help someone locally so I found a family in Tucson looking for milk and they get all my extra. It's never been a problem donating, I know I am perfectly healthy and I am happy to help, but my friend asked me the other day "Would you take someone else's milk if your baby needed it?" I had to stop and think of it and I realized how heart wrenching it must be for a mom who wants to nurse, but for whatever reason can’t. In the end my final answer was yes, I know breast milk is the best and if I couldn’t provide it I would hope I could find someone who could.