Tag Archives: Lactation consultant

It’s Good For All Involved

4 Aug

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof is traveling through Africa now, reporting on malnutrition.  Here’s an excerpt:

What if nutritionists came up with a miracle cure for childhood malnutrition? A protein-rich substance that doesn’t require refrigeration? One that is free and is available even in remote towns like this one in Niger where babies routinely die of hunger-related causes? Impossible, you say? Actually, this miracle cure already exists. It’s breast milkWhen we think of global poverty, we sometimes assume that the challenges are so vast that any solutions must be extraordinarily complex and expensive. Well, some are. But almost nothing would do as much to fight starvation around the world as the ultimate low-tech solution: exclusive breast-feeding for the first six months of life. That’s the strong recommendation of the World Health OrganizationThe paradox is that while this seems so cheap and obvious — virtually instinctive — it’s also rare. Here in Niger, only 9 percent of babies get nothing but breast milk for the first six months of life, according to a 2007 national nutrition survey. At least that’s up from just 1 percent in 1998. (In the United States, about 13 percent of babies are exclusively breast-fed for six months, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Then again, most of the rest get formula, which is pretty safe in America.)… The challenges with breast-feeding in poor countries are not the kinds that Western women face, and many women in the developing world continue nursing their babies for two years. The biggest problem is giving water or animal milk to babies, especially on hot days. Another is that mothers often doubt the value of colostrum, the first milk after childbirth (which is thick and yellowish and doesn’t look much like milk), and delay nursing for a day or two…

This week, August 1-7, is World Breastfeeding Week! What does that mean? It’s a week to promote awareness of global breastfeeding concerns, created by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action(WABA) and celebrated by breastfeeding advocates in more than 170 countries across the world with this years theme being, communication.

Breastfeeding supports each of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG)and has a large impact on the future well-being of our society. Here’s a quick snapshot:

  • MDG 1 (hunger and poverty): The first step towards reducing undernutrition of children is optimal exclusive breastfeeding, enabling them to grow well from the first days of life; and continued breastfeeding when complementary foods are introduced, to improve the quality of the mixed diet. This also contributes to reducing household costs particularly in poverty-stricken economies.
  • MDG 3 (gender equality): Children receive an equal star t through breastfeeding regardless of family income. Breastfeeding also empowers women by enabling them to be in control of their reproductive lives and be self sufficient in nourishing their infants (without spending money on breast milk substitutes).
  • MDG 4 (reduce child mortality): If all infants were placed immediately skin-to-skin, breastfed exclusively for six months and then up to two years or longer with age appropriate complementary feeding, under five mortality would be reduced 13-20% worldwide.
  • MDG 5 (maternal health): Mothers’ risk of postpartum hemorrhage is reduced by early initiation of breastfeeding. Breastfeeding also protects against anemia and maternal iron depletion due to lactational amenorrhea, and reduces the risk of breast and ovarian cancers, and diabetes. (taken fromhttp://worldbreastfeedingweek.org/pdf/wbw2011-af.pdf)

So while in our simple lives we may think of breast-feeding as a chore that will make our breasts hang lower than the south pole, the truth of the matter is that it can be the cheapest life-saving resource that we have at our disposal, GLOBALLY. If it was your baby, or someone special close to you whose baby needed help, I’m betting you would go out of your way to help, and you can – just spread the word – simply put, breast-feeding is good for all involved.

Oh my word!!!!!!!! What I thought would be a few lines turned out to be one big love fest in a very strange sort of way – a way that should be natural. It makes me smile when I realise that God in His infinite wisdom has given women the natural ability to feed, nourish and care for our children. This post is not about the how to’s but about the stereotyping and strange stigma that comes with it. Please don’t feel bad at all if it’s not for you, as mothers, we have the right to raise our kids the way we see fit so relax, there are many other things we do or don’t do that impact our children’s lives, but hey, we all turned out okay in the end.

I had fun searching the net for information on the subject, you would not believe that amount of photos on the web showing mothers breastfeeding their babies AND toddlers, anywhere and everywhere, even in the middle of a bike ride – how’s that for a pit stop??? Or at events called “The Big Latch On”. I can see why some people would think that those images should be private and it’s probably because breastfeeding in itself has become taboo, while modern society almost dictates that it’s NOT the done thing or too much work – if you take the time to de-sensualise breasts, it then becomes one of the most beautiful sights to behold, a nursing mother and child.

Samuel is now 9 months old and still breastfeeding and I think, rather I know for a fact that I enjoy it more than he does there, I said it! From the moment I knew that I was pregnant, it was never a question whether or not I would breast feed and that feeling became even more intrenched when he refused to latch for the first few days of his life. Yes it was tiring in the beginning when I had to feed every two hours on the dot, especially because he was a summer baby and a thirsty one at that, but now we have our quiet time. At the heart of the matter, I am a person who loves touch, so to look into my baby’s eyes and have his hand stroke mine (or play with my love handles) while I look into his eyes and play with his hair; it’s the purest form of love and touch that I have ever experienced. Visit Breastfeeding Is Beautiful to see what I mean.

The message that I want to pass on to you my readers is that whether you have kids or not or whether they were breastfed or not is irrelevant!!! We can all pass on the message that its good for all involved – besides I am yet to hear a father complain about feeling left out at a 2am feeding session…. I love this feel-good tribute to breastfeeding… enjoy.

The views and opinions of this blog are just that – mine. If by any chance you have taken some offense, I apologise for the offence, not my views.


Bottoms Up!!!

9 Jun

From the moment I had decided to fall pregnant, I knew what kind of birth I wanted to have and how things would be run in terms of Samuel’s care thereafter. My birth plan involved a doula and midwife present at an active birth unit and breastfeeding from the moment Samuel was born! I count myself fortunate enough to have the birth I wanted but the breastfeeding thing totally fell apart!!!

From attending ante-natal classes, I had learned about the infamous “golden hour“. Here’s what a birth doula writes – healthy infants should be placed immediately on the mother’s abdomen or chest when they are born and remain in direct skin-to-skin contact until the first feeding is established. Allowing the new mom and baby to enjoy the first breastfeeding together and experience the intimacy of skin-to-skin contact before anything else is done eases baby’s transition from the womb into the world. It stabilizes baby’s heart rhythm, body temperature and breathing. Spending that first hour enveloped in each other’s presence lets you both know that everything is right with the world. It awakens the mother inside you, bonds the baby to his primary caregiver and sets the stage for the coming hours, days and years. A Dad can also get involved by placing his hands on baby, talking quietly, letting baby gaze at his face and spending time holding baby after the first feeding is done. It is during the first hour of life, a healthy baby shows a high level of alertness and an ability to interact with its parents; an infant recognizes his/her parents’ voices and smells and it is the ideal time for the baby to be introduced to the parents through snuggling and breast-feeding. Picture Perfect. After Samuel was born, he was wiped down gently and placed on my chest. All the necessary tests were done from there but the three of us were given a chance to look into each others eyes and bond. While I was pregnant, I used to sing “You are my sunshine” to him all the time so as soon as he started to cry I thought that was a fitting lullaby to calm him.

While I sang to him, my midwife cleaned me and then came the moment I had anticipated almost as much as giving birth. Ta daa!!!! You must understand that I had even attended a special breastfeeding workshop, that’s how determined I was to do this thing!!! So we tried, and we tried, and we tried and Samuel screamed but we just kept trying… and for six days solid he refused to latch on! This was horrifying for me because he was not following my well executed plan and none of my friends (they all had cesars) had problems breast-feeding. There I was thinking, I had done it the way nature intended and now it’s bitten me in the behind!!! While at Genesis, the midwives on duty helped me hand express every time he needed to feed but we had to call in the big guns or lactation consultants as they are known to help get the show on the road. One whole blessed week of pumping every three hours (yes that includes four in the morning as well), letting someone else feed and bond with my baby and then there was the never-ending chore of sterilizing bottles and my pump!!! If I was a normal human being, I would have given up at this stage. My lactation consultant, Brenda Pierce and my doula, Hailey Fudu finally got Samuel and I on our path of breast-feeding success.

So on to the reason for this post. Other than that first week of his life, Samuel only had to get used to a bottle when I started working again and it was once a day. From what Brenda had told me about breast and bottle feeding, to have success, Samuel had to associate breast with me and bottle with anyone else. With that burned into my mind, I had determined never to give him a bottle myself, in hindsight, a little over the top if you ask me. So yesterday, I had a chance to go home for lunch and Samuel hadn’t been fed yet. I pumped (yes I still do it so that he has bottles of breast milk when I’m not around) before I left work and he was not interested in letting his nanny feed him while I was around.  For the first time in a long time, I was stumped. I know it sounds weird because I should have just picked the bottle up and fed him right? Well when I did that, I certainly didn’t expect him to let me feed him and yet there we were doing it like it was any other normal feeding session.

It was in that moment that I felt a little sad because breast-feeding him had become our thing that no one else could be a part of. It was after midnight feeds that I would catch glimpses of him smiling in his sleep; it was then that my oxytcin-induced love fest began while I watched him sleep; he was my only company while his father snored the night away; he was the reason I could leave unwanted company and it somehow boosted my self-confidence as a mother but let me not leave out the absolute convenience of it all as well.

The World Health Organisation recommends breast-feeding until the age of two. I’m not sure that I would go that far but I do know that when our little love fest comes to an end, it would be bitter-sweet. Don’t get me wrong here, there will be some happiness at the prospect of getting my boobs back but not really sure in what condition they will be in!!! Yikes!The silver lining is that while Mr may have more bottles in time to come, so will I…. and I’ll say, bring on the chardonnay baby yeah!!!

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