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Breastfeeding and Babies at Disney World

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We did the inevitable recently. We took the kids to Disney World in Orlando, Florida. They’re at just the right age… old enough to go on all the roller coasters, young enough to think it’s the greatest place on the planet. By the end of the trip, and hitting a park a day (Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Epcot and Hollywood Studios), we were wiped out.  We also had a mountain of dirty laundry, so it was time to come home.

 

As we went through the parks, I was amazed to see so many toddlers and babies.  When our kids were that age I think I was too tired to have enjoyed the trip.  But maybe I should just embraced the exhaustion.  In fact, the Disney parks seem designed with new parents in mind.  Well located bathrooms, plenty of benches and food at every turn.  But it’s not just that.  The parks also have designated Baby Care Centers.  I have a Flickr album with photos from each of the parks that you might want to look at.

You can of course breastfeed anywhere you’d like in the parks. But if you’re looking for a quiet, designated space, with soft lighting, the Baby Care Centers are a good choice. Some of the rooms even have signs welcoming breastfeeding moms.  The only thing I didn’t entirely like, was that the Disney website indicates that the Baby Care Centers are sponsored by Carnation formula.  This information isn’t anywhere in the parks.  Nevertheless, as with just about everything Disney, you’ll find what you need at the Baby Care Centers, and move on to the next adventure.

As for the kids, they only have one question of course… when can we go back?!

 

 

Disclosure:  Disney gave me some tickets for park entrance.

How Hospital Bags With Formula Can Undermine Breastfeeding

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USA Today has a great piece today about how those gift bags for new moms can influence breastfeeding rates.

“Hospitals need to greatly improve practices to support mothers who want to breast-feed,” Dr. Thomas Frieden said last month in releasing a CDC report card on breast-feeding. It showed that less than 5 percent of U.S. infants are born in “baby-friendly” hospitals that fully support breast-feeding, and that 1 in 4 infants receive formula within hours of birth.

Routinely offering new moms free formula is among practices the CDC would like to end. In some cases, hospitals agree to give out those freebies in exchange for getting free supplies for special-needs infants, Frieden said…

A nationwide study of more than 3,000 U.S. hospitals and maternity centers published last year in the Journal of Human Lactation found that 91 percent sent new moms home with free formula in 2006-07. A smaller 2010 study of 1,239 hospitals suggests that the practice has decreased, although most — 72 percent — still offered formula. That study is being released Monday in October’s Pediatrics.

“I don’t think hospitals are the right place to market anything and I don’t think hospitals should be marketing a product that is nutritionally inferior to breast milk,” said study author Anne Merewood, an associate pediatrics professor at Boston University medical school and editor of the Journal of Human Lactation.

“People do think if a doctor gives something it must be good for you,” Merewood said.

Written by: AP Medical Writer Lindsey Tanner can be reached at www.twitter.com/LindseyTanner

Breastfeeding in Public

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Here’s an excerpt from my latest “Nursing Know How” post on the giggle Gab blog

Welcome to newborn land. Your days and nights blend together. You can’t remember the last time you washed your hair. And you’re going a little stir crazy. We know. We’ve been there.

So, guess what. It’s time to put on some clean sweatpants and go for a walk.  Take that baby and get out of the house.  Sure, you may have to feed her while you’re out and about.  But breastfeeding in public… in other words, anywhere other than your own sofa… isn’t as hard as you may think.  Here are some tips for taking the show on the road.

Click here to keep reading.

Getting Breastfeeding Help

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Yes, you are the only one with the boobs, but your partner can help.  Here’s my latest post on the giggle Gab blog called “Ten Breastfeeding Tips for Spouses.” And an excerpt:

Everyone tells you that having a baby can change the dynamic in your relationship. How can it not? You have a mess, noisy and demanding new roommate. She’ll start to cry just as you’re about to get intimate for the first time in months. She’ll need to eat at 6 am, dashing your visions of a Sunday morning snuggled in bed.

So here’s the deal– you have to adapt.  And if you’re breastfeeding, there are ways, believe it or not, your partner can get in on the act.  You may be the one with the equipment, but you don’t have to go it alone. So here are some tips for spouses.  They apply whether you’re married or in a committed relationship, and whether your partner is a man or woman.

To read the rest click here.

I’m Writing For The New Blog For the Store Giggle

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So I’ve got a new gig… I’m a blogger for the new site Giggle Gab, brought to you by the store Giggle.  I’m writing the Nursing Know How pieces.  If you haven’t been to one of Giggle’s 14 stores around the country, or visited its website, take a few minutes to check it out.  They have everything from breast pumps to high chairs.  As for the Giggle Gab blog, they’ve got writers covering pregnancy, parenting, city living, baby style and fashion and having healthy home.

So my first post is about deciding whether or not to breastfeed. Here’s an excerpt:

You’ve been fixated on food for months.  One minute you’re ravenous.  The next, you’re repulsed. Mostly, you can’t get enough of those bite-sized brownies, right? Pregnancy does that to you.  Well guess, what– now it’s time to think about what someone else is going to eat.From the very first hour your baby is born, you’re going to be focused on feeding her. You’ll get to know that “feed-me-right-this-instant” wail oh, so well. But there’s a key decision you need to make: breast milk or formula? So how do you decide? There’s a lot to consider.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that moms exclusively breastfeed for the first six months. That means no juice, water, milk or solid foods. After six months the AAP recommends continuing to breastfeed, in addition to solids, for at least 12 months, or longer. The World Health Organization even recommends breastfeeding for 2 years.

But, there is no “right” choice here. Some moms exclusively breastfeed. Some only use formula. Some do a combination of the two. And there are even those who pump breast milk so that another caretaker can give the baby a bottle. Ultimately, you’re the parent and it’s up to you what works best for you and your baby.

Here are some pros and cons of breastfeeding. A little “food” for thought:

Now… click here for those pros and cons.

Importance of Carrying Infants to 40 Weeks

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I remember, when I was pregnant, thinking that once I got to 37 weeks all was safe.  And when one of our kids was born at 38 weeks, and the other at 36 weeks, I really didn’t think much of it at all.  And fortunately, everything was fine.

But new research is showing the risks to babies born in the 37th or even 38th week of pregnancy.  They have a higher risk of dying before their first birthday than babies who are carried full term.  From the New York Times:

Pregnancies lasting at least 37 weeks are regarded as safely full-term, but new research finds that babies born in the 37th or 38th week of pregnancy have a higher risk of dying before their first birthdays than those born after 39 weeks of gestation…

The new analysis, published online on May 23 in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology, is among the first to examine differences between so-called early term births and later births. In 2006, infants born at 37 weeks were twice as likely to die in the first year of life, with 3.9 deaths per 1,000 births, as those born at 40 weeks, with 1.9 deaths per 1,000 births.

The study was done by researchers at the National Institutes of Health, the Food and Drug Administration and the March of Dimes.  The group looked at data from 1995 to 2006.  During that time, the number of infants born before 39 weeks of gestation increased to almost one in three births, up from more than one in five.

Breastfeeding and Mom’s Sleep

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Babies don’t sleep through the night.  They just don’t.  Parents never get any sleep.  And that is never going to change.

I’ve often heard people claim that breastfeeding moms get the least amount of sleep because they have to wake up to breastfeed.  But that just didn’t ring true with my experience.  If I had been bottle feeding, I would have had to get up anyway.  I would have had to get out of bed, make the formula, stumble back to the bedroom… all with a screaming child.  Yes, my husband could have done some feedings, but there was little chance I was going to sleep through that.

So I wasn’t surprised to see the results of a new study which found that moms who breastfeed are not losing any more sleep than moms who formula feed.  Here’s a link to the study in the journal Pediatrics. And from Reuters:

Contradicting the suspicion that breastfeeding moms get less sleep, the results represent “good information to be able to tell women, (that) ‘not breastfeeding is not going to help you get better sleep,’” study author Dr. Hawley Montgomery-Downs of West Virginia University told Reuters Health. “And the benefits (of breastfeeding) for both mom and baby are tremendous.”…

There has been an “urban myth” that women who breastfeed get less sleep, Montgomery-Downs noted, which may cause some to hesitate to do so. Caring for a newborn is challenging enough, without being sleep-deprived, and some research has even suggested poor sleep after childbirth may increase the risk of postpartum depression…

When Montgomery-Downs and her colleagues asked 80 new mothers to report how often they woke up and how rested they felt, and to wear sensors that measured how long and efficiently they slept, they found no significant differences between those who relied on breastfeeding, formula, or both. They report their findings in the journal Pediatrics…This suggests that “there may be some kind of compensation” for breastfeeding mothers, Montgomery-Downs said in an interview.

For instance, babies who breastfeed may wake up more (and wake up their parents more), but those nighttime feedings may have less of an impact than if they were drinking formula, she suggested. In order to prepare a bottle, women often have to get up, turn on the lights, and move around quite a bit, all of which may make it harder for them to go back to sleep.

Alternatively, when breastfeeding, women may be awake for shorter intervals, and be less active, which makes it easier for them to go back to sleep. Women who breastfeed also have higher levels of the hormone prolactin, which facilitates sleep, Montgomery-Downs noted. And if the babies are sleeping next to the mothers, they may feed while the mother is sleeping, she added.