Mama Knows Breast




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Mama Knows Breast Book Excerpt on The Celebrity Baby Blog

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A number of months ago a friend got me a subscription to US Weekly magazine. I never knew, until the magazine started showing up in my mailbox, that I had a celebrity fascination. Likewise, I never knew, until I discovered The Celebrity Baby Blog, that I actually wanted to read about celebu-tots.
If you haven’t read Celebrity Baby yet, check it out. I recently met the founder, Danielle, and she is really impressive. She’s got a whole team working for her now, and they are the go to site for celebrity baby news. The site even has a page devoted to celebrity breastfeeding stories.
And best of all…Celebrity Baby is running an excerpt of my book right now. It’s a synopsis of the first chapter. So for a sneak peak, click here. And while you’re reading the post, check out the rest of the Celebrity Baby site. You, too, may find yourself hooked.

What a Cute Kid!

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Check out this adorable photo, submitted by Robin Elise Weiss, the About.com Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth. She’s a lactation counselor, doula and she has 7 kids.
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A World Breastfeeding Week Story

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Here’s another fantastic story I received for World Breastfeeding Week. Here’s what Amy, of the blog Musings of A Crunchy Domestic Goddess had to say:
Written on Feb. 11, 2007
One of Ava’s books about nursing (Breastmilk Makes My Tummy Yummy) contains a picture of a mom nursing a toddler and a baby and states: “Two can breastfeed without fuss, there is room for both of us.” On Wednesday night, we – me, Julian and Ava – experienced that for the first time.
Jody had to work an unusually long day yesterday and wasn’t planning on getting home until after 8 p.m. Since I knew Ava was really tired I decided to try to put her to sleep while Julian slept in the swing. Seems easy enought, right? Well, wouldn’t you know it, just as I got Ava undressed, Julian woke up crying. So much for easy. I brought him in the bedroom with us, hurriedly put Ava in her PJs, washed her face and hands (we skipped brushing teeth) and we all laid down on Ava’s twin bed (it was cozy) so that I could nurse Julian and hopefully, get Ava to sleep. She thought it was quite fun that we were all laying on her bed together. When I asked her if she wanted “na-na” (to nurse) with Julian, the giggles started. It took a bit of acrobatics on Ava’s part to nurse since I had Julian in the side-lying position, but she/we managed it. She giggled a lot as she nursed and thought the whole thing was quite funny, and I started laughing a few times too appreciating the comedic value of the scene. After the giggles subsided, she stroked Julian’s cheek and then held his hand as they both nursed, and it was a very sweet moment. Then the giggles started back up again. ;)
It was all going quite well (other than being a bit uncomfortable for me), when Ava remembered that we hadn’t read any books yet – something that daddy generally does as part of her nighttime routine. Since Julian was asleep at that point, Ava and I got some books, turned on the closet light and read in the little hallway by the closet while we sat on the floor. She thought that was pretty fun too. ;) Then Julian woke up so I brought him to our storytime on the floor as well.
It was about that time that daddy got home, so he came in and proceeded to brush Ava’s teeth, then took Julian downstairs so I could finish putting Ava to bed. She had a bit more na-na though not without first saying she wanted to do it with Julian again. Aww. I explained to her that it was a special occasion that she had na-na with Julian because daddy wasn’t home yet. She seemed OK with that, had her na-na, rolled over and drifted off to sleep.
Never a dull moment in this house. ;)

World Breastfeeding Week Book Contest — An Additional Winner

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Here is one additional winner of my book contest …. Erica of NY, NY sent me her breastfeeding story, and as a prize she’ll receive a copy of “Mama Knows Breast: A Beginner’s Guide to Breastfeeding.” Here’s Erica’s tory:

Thank you, Elizabeth (the August 1st winner), for dispelling the myth that every mother is born with confidence and maternal instincts, and for sharing your journey to achieving both. My journey began 12 weeks ago when my husband and I brought into the world a beautiful, healthy, baby boy. Weighing-in at 8 pounds, 8.8 ounces, our son was also quite robust. The pictures of his first bath still make me laugh – his eyes mere slits above his chubby little cheeks. My husband and I knew we wanted to breastfeed our baby, so from the moment our son latched onto my breast in the operating room, I had the terrifying responsibility of being responsible for his nutrition.
Within 48 hours, his weight started to drop. His security bracelet, at first snug around his ankle, readily began falling off. This should have been the first indicator of the weight loss, but we missed this obvious sign. By day three, our baby’s weight loss had dropped over 10%, and the pediatrician instructed us to start supplementing the breastfeeding with formula by using a supplemental nursing system (SNS). Although my husband and I were disappointed that my breastmilk was not providing our baby with the calories he needed, our primary and immediate concern was our baby’s health. So without hesitation, at 12:00 a.m., we filled up the SNS with formula, taped the feeding tube onto my breast, and tried supplementing with formula while I was nursing. The SNS is an amazing way to supplement with formula while establishing breastfeeding, but it certainly isn’t the easiest system to use. It’s a two-man job. We must have been a sight to see, trying to latch the baby onto my breast and get the SNS tube into his mouth, all the while dripping formula everywhere!
The next supplement was due at 9:00 a.m. My husband was at home, so I was at the mercy of the nursing staff to assist with the SNS. At the time of the feeding, a lactation nurse barged into my room, and, without even glancing at my baby or consulting his pediatrician, promptly declared that my son’s pediatrician was wrong and that we did not need to supplement. Although my instincts were compromised by exhaustion and fear, they must have been somewhat intact because I told the nurse that I would not stop supplementing until instructed by the doctor. Refusing to be second-guessed, however, she threw the SNS onto the bed so that it was no longer sterile or usable, and left to call the doctor. Her response to the situation felt wrong, but I was very tired, and felt helpless. We did not supplement the baby again during my hospitalization.
As it turned out, it took my son one month to arrive back at his birth weight. During that month, we worked with our wonderful pediatrician and her lactation nurse, and underwent a manic feeding schedule. We nursed the every two hours around the clock, pumping and supplementing with breastmilk during every other feeding.
I pay homage to the mantra of Mama Knows Breast… “Breastfeeding may be natural, but it certainly isn’t easy.” In my prenatal class, I was told that our baby would control the milk supply, but was never taught that my milk supply could take time to come in, or be insufficient. I never learned that breastfeeding may cause a host of uncomfortable medical problems (mastitis, yeast infections, clogged milk ducts). Certainly no one told me that all these painful problems are solved by…you guessed it…more breastfeeding! As I continue to build my confidence and start to trust my instincts, I have learned a lot by getting the right help and talking to other moms. I laud my friends who, unlike my hospital nurse, are willing to admit that breastfeeding is difficult, and recognize that it is a choice to be made. Of my own experience, for my baby, my husband, and me, breastfeeding has been worth the journey.

World Breastfeeding Week Book Contest — Winner 7

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Here is the seventh winner of my book contest …. Covey, from the blog Denton Doings. She sent me her breastfeeding story, and as a prize she’ll receive a copy of “Mama Knows Breast: A Beginner’s Guide to Breastfeeding.” Here’s Covey’s story:

When my son was 9 months old he decided that teething in his top teeth was best done by chomping on my breast. No amount of gentile persuasion deterred the little vampire! He was bound and determined to bite me even though I would break his latch and put him down and tell him “No-that hurts mommy. Boobies are for eating not biting.”
We were on our way back from the International Day of the Midwife Celebrations in Raleigh and I decided to risk nursing him on the bus because he was tired and hot and we had an hour car ride ahead of us to get back home. We were bouncing along when suddenly he bit down as hard as he could. Blood squirted everywhere and I did my best not to scream. I pushed his face against my chest to get him to let go and he did, after about 30 seconds. He pulled off marvelously happy with himself that he had bitten me so thoroughly! I quickly grabbed some wipes from the diaper bag, packed them in my bra and put things away. When we got home it was off the doctor for 3 stitches–ouch! Little teeth can sure make some big holes!
In order to let the injury heal I had to pump on that side for 7 days. My little man proceeded to try and bite every time my other breast was presented so we switched to bottles. I was distraught! I only had a manual pump, I didn’t want to wean him, he missed the closeness of breast feeding and I am WAY too lazy to bottle feed!! After calling my LLL leaders and searching the internet and deciding this was just a nursing strike I proceeded the long journey of getting him back on the breast.
It started at midnight. I would sneak into his room, pick him up out of his crib and slip him on the breast. He nursed away–no biting–no waking up. I then snuck in again at 5:45 (a good 30 minutes before my little man typically woke up) and nursed him again. He would usually wake up sucking my breast and go ahead and finish without biting. After 3 or 4 days of doing this successfully I moved in on the morning nap. I snuck in about 30 minutes before he normally woke up from his nap and nursed him awake again. After 4 days of this I moved in on the afternoon nap. Finally, after a long 11 days, I braved a daytime nursing. The JAWS theme was playing in my head as I settled into our nursing chair. I tried to be as relaxed as I could and we succeeded!! My little man started nursing again full time!! No more bottles-no more pumps!
After getting him back on the breast we continued to have a great nursing relationship with only the occasional nibble.

World Breastfeeding Week Book Contest — Winner 6

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Here is the sixth winner of my book contest …. Jennifer, from the blog Mental Hijinks. She sent me her breastfeeding story, and as a prize she’ll receive a copy of “Mama Knows Breast: A Beginner’s Guide to Breastfeeding.” In July, Jennifer wrote a post about all the trouble she had while on a business trip, and trying to get her pumped breastmilk through airport security. She’s updated the post to reflect the new TSA rule that allows a mom to (at long last) take an unlimited amount of breastmilk on board. Click on this link to read Jennifer’s story.

Fundraiser for A New Milk Bank in New England

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Boston had the very first milk bank in the country, opened in the early 1900′s at Floating Hospital (Tufts-NEMC). Many milk banks closed in the 1980′s due to fear of HIV, and today, there are only ten milk banks in the U.S. But once again, in Boston, efforts are underway to open up the Mothers’ Milk Bank of New England.
Tanya, of the Motherwear Blog, is working with a breastfeeding coalition in Western Massachusetts to establish a collection station, so that moms who live outside of the Boston area can still donate milk to the Mother’s Milk Bank of New England. She’s raising money to buy a freezer. Click here to learn more and make a donation.

In Botswana, Using Infant Formula Instead of Breastmilk Proved Deadly

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This is a truly tragic story. More than 500 children in Botswana died during a diarrhea epidemic, most likely because they did not breastfeed. Their moms were using formula because of a government health campaign aimed at stopping the spread of HIV. Here’s part of a Boston Globe story.
Doctors noticed two troubling things about the limp, sunken-eyed children who flooded pediatric wards across Botswana during the rainy season in early 2006: They were dying from diarrhea, a malady that is rarely fatal in Nkange. And few of their mothers were breast-feeding, a practice once all but universal.
After the outbreak was over and at least 532 children had died — 20 times the usual toll for diarrhea — a team of US investigators solved the riddle.
A decadelong, global push to provide infant formula to mothers with the AIDS virus had backfired in Botswana, leaving children more vulnerable to other, more immediately lethal diseases, the US team found after investigating the outbreak at the request of Botswana’s government.
The findings joined a growing body of research suggesting that supplying formula to mothers with HIV — an effort led by global health groups such as UNICEF — has cost at least as many lives as it has saved. The nutrition and antibodies that breast milk provide are so crucial to young children that they outweigh the small risk of transmitting HIV, which researchers calculate at about 1 percent per month of breast-feeding….
Botswana, with an extensive public water system, good roads, and a legacy of competent governance, joined the UNICEF-led effort and agreed to pay for the program as a standard service to new mothers.
There were skeptics. Some international public health specialists, including Coovadia, cautioned that few Africans had the means to prepare formula in a sanitary manner — a process that requires access to clean water, utensils, formula powder, and heat for sterilization.
And even for those who could make formula safely, some specialists warned, breast-feeding’s other health benefits could not easily be replaced.

World Breastfeeding Week Book Contest — Winner 5

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Here is the fifth winner of my book contest …. Joy, a mom of 5 kids. She sent me her breastfeeding story, and as a prize she’ll receive a copy of “Mama Knows Breast: A Beginner’s Guide to Breastfeeding.” Here’s Joy’s story:

I am currently 42 years old and nursing my fifth child who is a delightful 8 months old. With seven years of cumulative breastfeeding experience under my belt I feel like a breastfeeding expert. But when I think back to my first child 19 years ago, I did not start my breastfeeding experience quite so confidently.
The year was 1988 and I was 22 years old. I was just a babe in the woods with no childcare experience, the first of my circle of friends to have a baby. It was my plan to breastfeed for the altruistic reason that we had very little money and I wanted to save the cost of formula so we could pay our rent. My knowledge about breastfeeding was almost nothing. I had to skip my prenatal classes due to bed rest. There was no Internet for online breast feeding support. I did not even know that the La Leche League existed. I figured breastfeeding was natural and would come to me by osmosis when I had the baby.
The big day arrived and I delivered my daughter. While in the hospital no one gave me any serious help with breastfeeding. Lactation Consultants were not part of the nursing staff in 1988. I was not encouraged to put the baby to my breast until several hours after birth. I just sat and stared at my sweet little girl oblivious that I should let her suck my breasts when they felt empty and useless.
It seemed the trend at this hospital was to give nursing babies bottles of glucose water, so we happily complied. I brought home several extra bottles of water and waited for my milk to come in. That first night home was horrific. The angelic little babe who had barely peeped in the hospital awoke with a fury that no glucose water bottle could dissipate. I was exhausted and sore with inverted nipples that made for poor latching. My baby was hungry and cranky. My poor husband spent that whole night awake walking the baby and I spent it crying because I did not know what to do. In the morning I frantically called my mother and asked her to come. I was desperate and afraid I would starve my sweet child.
My wonderful mom called in sick to work and came right over. She was a product of the 50’s and 60’s when Mom’s were discouraged from breastfeeding and had no advice to offer except to suggest we try formula. If I had any idea how to use formula or some available in the house I’m certain that would have been the end of my breastfeeding experience. However; I was as clueless about formula as I was about nursing. As a last resort my Mom called my sister in law, the only person either of us knew who had breastfed.
Good bless my SIL. We were not particularly close at the time and she was significantly older than me but she packed up her kids and made the trip over to visit. I don’t think her comments were exceptionally earth shaking but they were just what I needed. She calmed me down and said, “It will get easier.” “Keep putting the baby on the breast to suck, she is getting something.” “Your milk will come in eventually, don’t give up.” “The soreness will go away.” It got me through those first days home. My milk did come in and soon I was overflowing. The baby learned to latch on and suck well with practice. It was only a short time later that breastfeeding went from impossible to enjoyable. I continued on to nurse my daughter for 20 months and have nursed four more children over the past 20 years.
I credit my transformation from a crying frustrated new mom to a confident nursing mama to one person taking the time to share her breastfeeding experience. I hope that along the way I can do the same for some other new mother who is struggling. Breastfeeding is not always easy but it is definitely rewarding.

World Breastfeeding Week Book Contest — Winner 4

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Here is the fourth winner of my book contest …. Stephanie, from the blog Adventures In Babywearing. She sent me her breastfeeding story, and as a prize she’ll receive a copy of “Mama Knows Breast: A Beginner’s Guide to Breastfeeding.” Here’s Stephanie’s story:
I absolutely love nursing my toddler. Gray is 21 and a half months old now and he calls it Boo. I don’t know why he calls it that, but it’s what he came up with and oh, does he love his Boo. He’s lately been more social and in a sharing mood, so often he’ll ask if he can give the “guck Boo?” (Gucks are geese but he thinks they are ducks.) Or “dog Boo?” I just tell him that’s sweet he wants to share his Boo, but it’s just for Gray.
We went to the county fair tonight. Upon this sweet sight, Gray yelled “Boo!” quite excitedly. I whispered “I feel ya, sister” to the Mama pig. Although I’ve never had 5 nurslings at the same time, there have been moments I’ve felt just like this.

Click on this link!!