Mama Knows Breast

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Need to Make Holiday Cards?

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Personally, I don’t send out holiday cards. Too much work given my administrative laziness. I can’t figure out how to do envelopes on my printer. My handwriting gets bad fast. And most importanly, I don’t keep an address book.
But if you are one of those super-organized people who does do holiday cards, I have two options for you.
The first option is to try CluuCards by Cindy Luu. Cindy is the illustrator of my book, Mama Knows Breast. CluuCards feature Cindy’s cool illustrations and can be personalized with your own message and photographs. Best of all, the cards are magnetic so they can stick to the frig. Cindy does cards for birth announcements, baby showers, bridal showers, save the date cards and of course the holidays.
The second option is to get a family photograph taken by Mercedes McAndrew. Mercedes is a Brooklyn based photographer who did the photograph I use on my blog. She also did family photos for us in Central Park this fall. This pictures of the kids are stunning, and I used them to make a 2008 calendar that I’m giving all the grandparents as gifts. Mercedes often travels outside of New York for work, so it’s worth contacting her even if you aren’t in NYC. Here’s the latest deal she’s offering.
$475 includes:
- An hour and 15 minutes of shooting time
- UNLIMITED color digital shots
- 2 rolls of film (color and/or black and white)
- Web contact sheet of all images
- CD of entire shoot
- (1) 4×6 and (1) 5×7 prints
$400 includes:
- An hour of shooting time
- UNLIMITED color digital shots
- Web contact sheet of all images
- CD of entire shoot
I realize it’s sort of last minute, and this may information me be a little too late for you. But you see what I mean…if I had my clerical act together, I would have done this post a few months ago. Oh well.

Epidurals and Breast Feeding

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I wrote thank you notes to the anesthesiologists who gave me my epidurals. Seriously. After both kids were born, I sent the doctors birth announcements and thanked them profusely for making my labor more comfortable. I’m a wimp, and there was no way I was going to “just say no” to drugs. I am the total opposite of my friend who had three babies at home, on the sofa and in an inflatable swimming pool.
So, I took particular interest in the results of a new study which says that women who have epidurals have more trouble breast feeding. Here’s a section from the study’s Abstract published in The International Breastfeeding Journal:
Anecdotal reports suggest that the addition of fentanyl (an opioid) to epidural analgesia for women during childbirth results in difficulty establishing breastfeeding. The aim of this paper is to determine any association between epidural analgesia and 1) breastfeeding in the first week postpartum and 2) breastfeeding cessation during the first 24 weeks postpartum.

Women in this cohort who had epidurals were less likely to fully breastfeed their infant in the few days after birth and more likely to stop breastfeeding in the first 24 weeks. Although this relationship may not be causal, it is important that women at higher risk of breastfeeding cessation are provided with adequate breastfeeding assistance and support.

Note the use of the word “opioid” above. The researchers were basically investigating whether the epidural made the babies so sleepy that they had trouble eating. (This is something I had heard about anecdotally before I had our kids). The researchers conclude that this is a possibility. But that it’s also likely that there could be a link between the choices women make about pain management and breast feeding.
As for me, I had epidurals and I breast fed. I was fortunate that both of my kids picked up on the boob thing pretty quickly. I breast fed The Bortski for eleven months, and The Bear and I are now going strong on our eighth month of boob milk.
Why was I able to succeed and some people have trouble? Quite honestly I have no idea. Maybe it’s just been just good luck. Or maybe it was my obsessive nature, which made me religiously feed the babies every two hours for a couple of weeks after birth. I remember doing everything within my power to wake The Bear when he was sleepy. I stripped him down to his diaper. I tickled his nose and lips. I pinched– or more accurately– dug my fingernail into the heel of his foot. I remember feeling like I had reached a milestone when he ate for more than 5 minutes without falling back asleep.
Perhaps these researchers are onto something that OB’s and anesthesiologists need to investigate further. Quite honestly, I don’t know anything about the medical aspects of epidurals. All I know is that without one, I might have bit my husband’s head off (oh, actually I did that when he was chewing nuts while I was having a contraction). I also threw up all over him before I got my epidural.
So, I really hope this study doesn’t deter women who plan to breast feed from getting pain relief if they really want it. There’s no medal for being a tough guy during labor. If you need help, get it. And as I tell all my friends who are about to have a baby, if you want an epidural, ask for it “early and often.” There’s no telling how long it will take for the doctor to show up once you request the epidural. So repeat after me…”early and often.”
And for goodness sake, if you have to have pitocin to get your labor going, get the epidural before the pitocin. With The Bortski, I had the pitocin first, epidural second. The pitocin made the contractions so unbearable I had a hard time staying still when they were trying to insert the epidural needle. With The Bear, I got the epidural first, pitocin second. Now that, was sheer bliss. And if you’re wondering about– or maybe passing judgment on– my decisions, please note that I had preeclampsia so my doctors had to induce me both times.
One more thing… send a Holiday card to your doctors…they’d probably be happy to hear from you.
Plus, to hear what other bloggers have to say about this study, check out The Lactivist and Breastfeeding123.