Mama Knows Breast




Andi in the news

Watch Andi on the CBS Early Show: Click here.

Watch Andi on The NBC NIGHTLY NEWS: Click here.

Watch Andi on THE TODAY SHOW: Click here.



Moms Donate Breast Milk to Breast Cancer Survivor’s Newborn

Bookmark and Share

This is an amazing story from Brooklyn, New York.  A group of moms is donating breast milk to a new mom who can’t breastfeed her newborn because she had a double mastectomy.  Here’s an excerpt from the New York Daily News:

A 40-year-old cancer survivor is collecting breast milk from dozens of her Brooklyn neighbors to help feed her 3-week-old son.

Eva van Dok Pinkley can’t nurse Oliver herself because of a double mastectomy. Twenty-five women have already stepped up, pumping milk and donating it to the Carroll Gardens mom.

“What they are doing, it’s not easy to do,” Pinkley said. “I’m just stunned at the amount of trouble that they are going through for me. I think of them and what they have done and give thanks.”

The actress and researcher for “House Beautiful” magazine has endured multiple miscarriages and two rounds of failed fertility treatments. By the time she was diagnosed in April 2010 with noninvasive breast cancer, she had given up on having children of her own.

But a mere two months after her double-mastectomy, she got pregnant. Pinkley knew right away that if she carried the baby to full term, she wanted to use breast milk. She just hadn’t figured out how…

Getting Breastfeeding Help

Bookmark and Share

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.

What To Buy For Breastfeeding

Bookmark and Share

Here’s my latest post on the giggle Gab blog.  And a brief excerpt:

Babies can be expensive. At least their gear is. And it starts the moment you realize you’re pregnant. You’ll have visions of pink and blue nurseries dancing in your head. A crib, mattress and sheets? Check. Clothing? Check. Diapers and wipes. You bet. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with all the expenses, here’s something that may be re-assuring– breastfeeding is free! That’s right. Formula costs money. Boobs, well you have those already.Of course, there are some items you may want to buy even if you’re planning to breastfeed. As always, some are important and some optional. And this may be one area where you should consider hand-me-downs from friends and family (with the exception of a breast pump).

For my full list, keep reading here.

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

Bookmark and Share

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.

NYT Column on How Breastfeeding Could Save Lives in Africa

Bookmark and Share

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof is traveling through Africa right 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 milk.

When 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 Organization.

The 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…

Father’s Day Contest on Giggle.com

Bookmark and Share

Giggle is having a cool contest. The prizes are really great – a $1490 bunk bed from Oeuf, a $199 Flip Video Camera and a $150 Paperculture gift card.

Here’s how to enter: Share your favorite Father’s Day or Mother’s Day experience with giggle.com for a chance to win.

A Home Birth Story

Bookmark and Share

This blog post was written by a friend.  She writes about the home birth of her third child.  Click here for the entire post.  And here’s an excerpt:

Just past dawn she woke up moaning, lower back on fire and iron bands clenching and releasing in her core. Like an action-adventure movie, the telephone lit up and a control center was established: husband would take both oldest and youngest daughter on the much-anticipated, end-of-the-year field trip where his mother would meet them, freeing up husband to return to his wife. In the meanwhile, supermodel-friend and her nursing toddler would come stay with the laboring woman until the midwife came. The children came to kiss her goodbye. The three-year-old threw herself on her mother and clenched her fiercely, burying her sweet round face in the woman’s aching breasts as if laying claim to them for the last time. The five-year-old hung back shyly, feeling her mother’s discomfort but not understanding her place in it. When she kissed her, the woman saw the worry in the child’s almond eyes and cried for the first time since the pain began. Then they were gone, husband promising a swift return, and the woman was alone with the dog in the bright, hot, morning light. The sunlight was the type that burns into your memory, clear and bright and perfect like truth. The woman lay on the sun-drenched bed and gave in to the pain, feeling sorry for herself on this path she had chosen. Lying across her feet, the dog held her and reproached her with silent eyes.

Study: Prenatal Vitamins Can Reduce Autism Risk

Bookmark and Share

Here’s an interesting study, highlighted in the New York Times today. It appears that prenatal vitamins, taken 3 months before becoming pregnant, and during pregnancy, can reduce the risk of autism:

A new study reports that mothers of children with autism and autism spectrum disorders were significantly less likely than mothers of children without autism to have taken prenatal vitamins three months before conception and in the first month of pregnancy. The finding, published in the July issue of the journal Epidemiology, suggests that taking vitamins in this period may help prevent these disorders, reducing the risk by some 40 percent.

Importance of Carrying Infants to 40 Weeks

Bookmark and Share

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.

NYT: Some Baby Products Contain Chemicals Suspected to Cause Cancer

Bookmark and Share

It’s hardly a surprise when you hear that common household products contain potentially hazardous chemicals. But it’s especially disturbing when it’s baby products… especially ones you use everyday like car seats, high chairs and nursing pillows. The New York Times today has a story about chemicals that are in the foam on these products. (Important to note: No companies are pin-pointed). Here’s a quote:

More than 30 years after chemical flame retardants were removed from children’s pajamas because they were suspected of being carcinogens, new research into flame retardants shows that one of the chemicals is prevalent in baby’s products made with polyurethane foam, including nursing pillows, car seats and highchairs.

The research does not determine if children absorbed the chemical, chlorinated Tris, from the products. But in an article to be published Wednesday in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, the researchers suggest that infants who use the products have higher exposure to the chemical than the government recommends.

Earlier research by one of the article’s authors, Arlene Blum, a biophysical chemist, contributed to the elimination of Tris flame retardants, including chlorinated Tris, in children’s pajamas in the 1970s. Although the chemical was not banned at that time, the Consumer Product Safety Commission now says that it “may pose a significant health risk to consumers.”

The new research found that foam samples from more than a third of the 101 baby products that were tested contained chlorinated Tris. Over all, 80 of the products contained chemical flame retardants of some kind, some of which are considered toxic, though legal to use. In one instance, flame retardants represented 12 percent of the weight of the foam in a changing pad; most products were closer to 3 to 5 percent.

Among the products examined were changing table pads, sleep positioners, portable mattresses, baby carriers, rocking chairs and highchairs.