Breastfeeding is vital for normal infant development

Here is a  link to an incredible amount of research that has come out from the Lancet about all of the amazing ways that breastfeeding supports normal infant development.

Many parents don’t meet their breastfeeding goals because they lack the support to overcome breastfeeding difficulties.  Looking for support from your local IBCLC, and peer to peer breastfeeding support, such as LLLC and the WE breastfeed program here in Guelph can make a huge difference in parents meeting their breastfeeding goals.

Lancet Breastfeeding Series January 2016

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Toys and Treasures Fundraiser for LLLC-Guelph

The Guelph-LLLC chapter is holding their annual Toys and Treasures Garage Sale on May 25 2013.  Contact Lydia if you are interested in booking a table to sell your gently used children’s items, household items or just come and shop.  There will also be local vendors and amazing raffle prizes.  All proceeds go towards supporting breastfeeding families in Guelph and across Canada.

 

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Breastfeeding When the Lactating Parent Needs Medication

Many lactating parents can have ongoing medical issues that require them to take daily medications to maintain their health.  Some of these parents are told they have to choose between taking these medications and nursing their babies.  Often this doesn’t have to be the case.

 

Knowing where to find accurate information on taking medications while breastfeeding is important.  The Physicians Desk Reference or PDR is not a good source of accurate information on medications and breastfeeding.

 

Dr. Thomas Hale http://www.infantrisk.com has created the infant risk  centre for doctors and parents to get accurate current information on breastfeeding and medications.

 

LactMed http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/htmlgen?LACT is another great resource for combining medications and breastfeeding.

 

Please encourage your doctor to check these resources before suspending or stopping breastfeeding due to the use of medications.

Breastfeeding Triplets – of course you can!

Here is a great blog on breastfeeding triplets.

 

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Nancy Mohrbacher Breastfeeding Info App

Nancy Mohrbacher  has a new breastfeeding info App.  It is full of great information for new parents and healthcare providers who are working with breastfeeding parents.  It is available through Google Play and the App Store.

How you can support a breastfeeding parent and baby

Establishing a good breastfeeding relationship can be a challenging time for a new parent, even if things are going very well.  Adjusting to being a parent, learning all about your new baby”s likes and dislikes, balancing your partners needs, and possibly balancing the needs of other children can be really taxing and overwhelming for a new parent.

Often the partner can feel left out as so much attention is focused on the birth parent and the new baby.  The partner is also adjusting to all the changes that a new baby brings to a family.  As the partner of the lactating parent your main job is to support your partner.  You are their world of support both physically and mentally.  As they heal from childbirth they will need help making sure that they are well nourished both physically and mentally.  They need a sounding board as they figure out how to breastfeed, how to trust their parenting instincts, and how to navigate the healthcare system to advocate for them and their baby.

So, what can you do to help?

  • First of all listen.  Listen to their wants and needs and fears.  Empathize with them as they make order of their new world.
  • Bring them healthy snacks and drinks.
  • Offer to hold and rock your sleeping baby so your partner can rest.
  • Find out the contact information for local breastfeeding support.  La Leche League Canada is a great resource for peer support.  Find your public health breastfeeding clinics and your local IBCLC.  All of these are great resources to help figure out any breastfeeding issues they may be having.
  • Encourage them to ask for breastfeeding help early on if things don’t feel right.  It is a lot harder to solve breastfeeding issues if they have been going on for weeks as opposed to days.
  • Do not offer to feed the baby by bottle so they can sleep.  This sabotages the establishment of their milk supply and can lead to many breastfeeding complications.
  • Encourage them to practice breastfeeding in many situations.  Encourage them to breastfeed in public.  Asking them to cover up in front of family, friends, and strangers only makes breastfeeding seem like something shameful that needs to be hidden.  It also makes it another barrier for parents to get out of the house.
  • If you need to return to work soon after the baby is born, help arrange for some assistance  with the household chores.  Taking care of a new baby is overwhelming and time consuming.  Having help with cooking, cleaning and older children for the first few weeks is very useful.
  • Most of all bond with the new baby yourself.  Skin-to-skin snuggling with you is just as important as it is with the lactating parent.  Wear your new baby is a wrap or sling, change diapers, give baby a bath.  All of these are wonderful ways for you and baby to get to know each other and establish your own rituals and routines.

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Nipple Pain & Slow Weight Gain – Undetected Tongue Tie?

Two of the most common reasons parents contact me for help have to do with severe nipple damage in the first days/weeks after birth and slow weight gain in their newborn.  Nipple pain and damage is caused by a shallow latch.  If the baby isn”t latched on deep enough then the nipple becomes trapped between the hard palate and the baby”s tongue.  Shallow latch can also cause the baby to not effectively drain the breast leading to low milk supply.

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Shallow latch can be from poor positioning, engorged breasts, or tongue ties.  Today I would like to talk a little about tongue ties.

 

During embryonic development the tongue and lower jaw start out as one.  Much like our webbed fingers and toes, as your fetus matures the cells between the tongue and the lower jaw mature and some die off, leaving the tongue as a separate muscle in the mouth.  In some infants this separation doesn”t happen completely and what we are left with is a tongue tie.

Normally, when a baby latches on to their parent to breastfeed, they open their mouth wide, stick their tongue out over their lower gum, and draw the nipple back into their mouth far enough so the nipple is about at the junction of the soft and hard palate.  If you run your tongue along the roof of your mouth you can feel where the bones in the roof of your mouth end and the soft tissue begin.

There is range of tongue ties that are classified based on where they are tied down and how much the movement of the tongue is restricted.  This system of classification was created by Dr. Elizabeth Coryllos.

One type of tongue tie that is commonly noticed is a classical or type I or type II tongue tie.  In this type of tongue tie the tongue will look heart shaped and is tied down behind the lower gum.  The baby will be unable to stick their tongue out of their mouth or past the gums.  This type of tongue tie is fairly obvious to notice and often healthcare providers will mention it at birth.

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Posterior tongue ties tend to be a bit trickier to spot.  In these tongues a small portion of the front of the tongue may not be tied down but a large part of the underside of the tongue may be stuck to the bottom of the mouth.  Sometimes people may mistakingly call these tongues short.  These babies might be able to stick the tip of their tongue out of their mouth when their mouths are partially closed, but when the baby opens wide (like they need to do for breastfeeding or crying) the tongue can”t move off of the bottom of their mouth.  Often only the edges of the tongue will lift when they are crying.

 

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Babies who are tongue tied often have difficulty breastfeeding effectively.  As with all aspects of breastfeeding every parent-baby pair is unique.  This is also true when it comes to tongue ties.  Sometimes tongue tied babies can breastfeed fine.  They don”t damage their parent’s nipples and they gain weight well.  Often though, that isn”t the case.

Typical symptoms in the lactating parent and baby that lead me to think to look at the baby’s mouth for a tongue tie:
žSevere nipple trauma within a few days of birth
žBaby refusing to latch
žBaby with noisy latch
—Smacking, clicking, breaking suction
—Baby feeding for extended periods of time (45 min – 1 hour)
—Baby not satisfied after feed
—Possibly baby not gaining weight well
Lactating parent notices their milk supply quickly disappearing
—Parent had difficulty getting comfortable latch with previous baby
If the lactating parent has a large milk supply, baby may gain fine for a few weeks or months, then the parent’s supply can crash from poor nipple stimulation.  The baby was drinking the initial let down, but wasn”t actually suckling enough to send the nerve signals to the brain to keep up milk supply.
If a baby is suspected of having a tongue tie a paediatrician or dentist experienced in releasing tongue ties can clip the tongue tie and release the tongue.  Many parents find that breastfeeding improves immensely once the tongue is released.  I find that the younger the baby is when the release happens, the quicker breastfeeding improves.  Babies also often benefit from body work after the tongue tie release.
A Cranial Sacral Therapist, Osteopath, or Chiropractor who specializes in babies can help loosen the tight muscles in the head, jaw, and neck allowing the baby to get full range of motion back.  Often the muscles are tight from being held in the wrong position by the tie, or by the position the baby was in when in utero, or from a difficult birth.
Here are some great resources to learn more about tongue ties:

 

 

La Leche League Canada Health Professional Seminars 2013

Are you looking for a great way to learn more about breastfeeding?  Do you need CERPS to renew your IBCLC certification?  Check out the La Leche League Canada Health Professional Seminar coming to a city near you!  Here is the information forwarded to me by LLLC.  Please feel free to contact me and I can pass on the brochure if you are interested.

Registration is NOW OPEN for La Leche League Canada Health Professional Seminars presenting Nancy Mohrbacher, IBCLC, FILCA.  You can register online here: http://www.lllc.ca/health-professional-seminars

The Seminars will be presented in:

Spring 2013

Victoria, BC on Monday May 27

Calgary, AB on Tuesday May 28

Winnipeg, MB on Thursday May 30

Oshawa, ON on Friday May 31

Antigonish, NS on Monday June 3

Fall 2013

Regina, SK on Monday September 9

Ottawa, ON on Wednesday September 11

Guelph, ON on Thursday September 12

St. John’s, NL on Saturday September 14

This year the Series will be entitled: Using the Natural Laws to Find Breastfeeding Solutions

Nancy Mohrbacher is author of the books for breastfeeding specialists, Breastfeeding Answers Made Simple (BAMS) and the BAMS Pocket Guide Edition.  She is co-author (with Julie Stock) of all three editions of  The Breastfeeding Answer Book, a research-based counseling guide for lactation professionals, which has sold more than 130,000 copies worldwide, and author of The Breastfeeding Answer Book Pocket Guide Edition. She is also co-author (with Kathleen Kendall-Tackett) of the popular book for parents, Breastfeeding Made Simple: Seven Natural Laws for Nursing Mothers.   She also has a new book for parents debuting in April 2013, Breastfeeding Solutions: Quick Tips for the Most Common Nursing Challenges.  Nancy has written for many publications and spoken at breastfeeding conferences around the world. For more information, please visit www.nancymohrbacher.com

The Seminar topics will include:

  • The Natural Laws of Breastfeeding
  • Concerns about Milk Production
  • Breastfeeding Behaviours
  • Nipple Pain and Trauma

LLLC Health Professional Members receive a 10% discount off their seminar registration fee. Remember to purchase your LLLC Health Professional Membership (if you are not already a member) BEFORE you register for the seminar (http://www.lllc.ca/lllc-health-professional-membership).

Early Bird Registration                                             

Spring (before May 13, 2013)             $160.00

Fall (beforeAugust 26, 2013)              $160.00

LLLC Health Prof Member:                 $144.00

Regular Registration

Spring (after May 13, 2013):              $185.00

Fall (after August 26, 2013):               $185.00

LLLC Health Prof Member:                 $166.50

CERPs have been submitted

Why would I want to breastfeed my toddler?

A year has nearly come and gone since your sweet little baby was born.  You have survived the fog of the early days as you both figured out breastfeeding.  You have figured out how to breastfeed through teething, nursing in public, and all the other new challenges that come with the first year of a baby”s life.

Maybe you will be returning to work in a couple of weeks and starting to worry about how your little one will cope being separated from you for the whole day (or how you will cope being separated from them).  Maybe you have been wondering how breastfeeding fits in with all these changes.  Maybe you never pictured yourself breastfeeding a walking and nearly talking toddler.

The World Health Organisation (WHO)  and the Canadian Paediatric Society state that breastfeeding, along with complementary foods should continue for at least 2 years and beyond.

So, why breastfeed a toddler?

First of all, biologically, toddlers are designed to still need human milk.  Toddlers are beginning to eat just about everything that their parents eat, but they still need the nutrition of breastmilk to fill in those gaps while their diet expands.

The immunoglobulins and other components in breastmilk help supplement their still developing immune system.  Their immune systems are not fully developed until sometime between the age of 2-3 years.  Toddlers are by their inquisitive nature exposed to a wide variety of germs.  They are constantly putting things in their mouths, putting their fingers in other peoples mouths, and in general are great little germ factories.  By continuing to breastfeed your toddler you are not only passing on immunoglobulins and other immune factors to germs in the environment that you share, your toddler is bringing home germs from their world (daycare, Grand parents house etc.) and your body then makes immune factors to help protect them.  Our breasts have an amazing antibody factory in them which takes germs from your baby and creates antibodies to them.  The Enteromammary Immune System  is an amazing system where the saliva from your nursing baby allows germs to travel into your breast and then trigger your immune system to make antibodies to those germs.  Then, when you make milk those antibodies are returned to the baby, allowing them to fight those germs.  It really is an amazing system which allows your immune system to follow your toddler, even if they have to be away from you for a while.

As nursing parents we all know that breastfeeding is about more than nutrition and antibodies.  The closeness of the breastfeeding relationship is just as important as the nutrition and antibodies.  Nursing is the perfect way to reconnect after being separated all day.  Nursing also is a great way to calm toddler tantrums, slow down tears from skinned knees, and drift off to sleep.

 

If breastfeeding is so natural, why do so many parents struggle to breastfeed?

If you ask parents prenatally how they intend to feed their babies, about 90% of pregnant people in this area say they intend to breastfeed.  They have heard the public health info on the importance of breastfeeding, they have heard the science about the short term and longterm risks to the gestational parent and baby of not breastfeeding.  They want to do this for themselves and for their babies.  But in public health surveys of what happens after birth, it is shown that only about 48% of babies are exclusively breastfed (88% get any breastmilk).  What is happening in those critical first few hours after birth to derail these breastfeeding relationships?

So, what happens between pregnancy and when they give birth?  The answer is many of the things that are commonly part of birth in our culture today have serious impacts on a parent and baby’s ability to breastfeed.

The first thing is the timing of the baby’s birth.  Premature and even late term (36 weeks) babies can have a more difficult time initiating breastfeeding than a full term 40 week newborn.  Sometimes there are serious health complications with the gestational parent and/or baby.  There can be long periods of separation if the baby is in the NICU or hooked up to medical equipment.  Sometimes the initiation of breastfeeding is put on the backburner while more pressing medical issues are being dealt with.  Sometimes these babies are just a bit more sleepy, tire quicker, and need more coaxing to breastfeed. Skin-to-skin contact (Kangaroo mother care)  between birth parent and baby is critical to help these babies (and all babies) lower their stress levels, maintain their body temp, kickstart their rooting and suckling instincts.  Even babies born at 38 weeks can have more difficulties getting feeding on track.  This is why it is so important that these parents and babies have access to an experienced IBCLC around the clock.  These babies need their parent’s milk to stay healthy and grow.  Parents and healthcare providers really need to consider all the ramifications of inducing labour before 40 weeks.

The next thing that can interfere with breastfeeding during birth is whether the birthing parent received any IV fluids.  After birth, people who had IV fluids can be quite swollen until those extra fluids pass through their body.  This swelling can last for several days.  This fluid gathers in the breasts as well.  The extra fluid between the cells in the breast can compress the milk making cells (lactocytes) and ductwork and make it difficult for the colostrum to get out to the baby (think of it like pinching a garden hose shut).  Pumping will only make things worse by drawing more fluid to the areola.  Reverse pressure softening (technique developed by Jean Cotterman) helps move those extra fluids back away from the areola, making it easier for the baby to latch.

Epidurals can also interfere with breastfeeding.  Not only will these parents have had IV fluids, some babies find that their rooting and sucking instincts are inhibited by the medication in the epidural.  This doesn”t happen with all babies, but it can happen.  These babies need lots of skin-to-skin contact to keep them interested in feeding.  They may appear sleepy and difficult to wake for feeds.

Health care providers who are uneducated or unsupportive of breastfeeding can make a huge difference in whether a parent and baby can successfully breastfeed in the hours and days after birth.  Little things like providing pacifiers, swaddling babies, making negative comments about a parent’s ability to breastfeed all undermine the parent’s confidence and ability to successfully breastfeed their baby.  In my opinion any healthcare worker working with birthing parents and babies should be well versed in normal infant behaviour and breastfeeding and should know when they need to refer a parent and baby out for more detailed breastfeeding support from an IBCLC.

Whew!  That is a lot to consider in your babies first 24 hours.  Your mature milk hasn’t even started to increase in volume yet! 🙂