Mama Knows Breast




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Breastfeeding News

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Some tidbits from the news:
Actress Marley Shelton, of the show Eleventh Hour, talks about breastfeeding to The Celebrity Baby blog.
Bravado,the makers of some very comfy breastfeeding bras (I used them), has started a new breastfeeding resource called The Bravado Breastfeeding Information Council. There was a live webcast today of a breastfeeding discussion. You’ll be able to access a re-cap shortly at this link.
And finally, The American Dietetic Association talks about the benefits of breastfeeding for both mom and baby:

It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that exclusive breastfeeding provides optimal nutrition and health protection for the first 6 months of life and breastfeeding with complementary foods from 6 months until at least 12 months of age is the ideal feeding pattern for infants. Breastfeeding is an important public health strategy for improving infant and child morbidity and mortality and improving maternal morbidity and helping to control health care costs.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

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My brother (the doctor) sent me an email yesterday suggesting I do a blog post about National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I thanked him, and then realized that it was sort of troubling that I needed that reminder. It was troubling that, in essence, I needed a reminder to do a monthly breast self-exam.
For some reason I’ve always been a bit negligent in this department. Maybe it’s squeamishness. Maybe it’s that I can’t tell what’s normal and what’s not. Maybe I’m afraid I’ll find something wrong. So now, in recognition of this month, I’m resolving to be more diligent.
A while back, when I was still breastfeeding, I actually had a huge bump on the side of my breast. It really freaked me out. Fortunately, it went away as soon as I fed the baby and was no longer engorged. But I did go to the doctor anyway. She did a thorough check and determined that I was fine.

Breastfeeding can actually decrease your chances of getting breast cancer
, but you are still at risk. Heike Malakoff is someone who knows this all too well. She was diagnosed with breast cancer shortly after weaning her twin sons. She has now started an organization called Check Your Boobies. Her website can teach you how to do a breast exam on your self. It will even send you a monthly reminder to do so.
So take the time to think about this aspect of your health. Have your doctor do a breast exam at your next check up. Ask her if it’s time for you to get a mammogram. And sign up for the Check Your Boobies email reminder.
For more information on breast cancer, or to make a donation to a breast cancer organization, check out these sites:
The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation
American Cancer Society
National Cancer Institute

Answering Your Breastfeeding Questions

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I’ve been doing some guest writing on The Nest Baby, a cool site for new moms. Readers have been submitting questions about breastfeeding and I’ve been answering them. You can check out all of the answers on this link. You can also jump right to the specific questions from these links:
Breastfeeding Positions
Breast Lumps and Nursing
Dealing with Thrush
Inverted Nippes
Milk Blisters
Newborn Eating Enough?
Getting Help At Home
Prepping to Nurse?
Prepping to Pump?
Pumping and Work
Pumping Problems
Storing Breastmilk
Travel while Nursing
Weaning and Milk Supply
Pumping Extra Milk
If you have a specific question, feel free to email me any time at mamaknowsbreast@yahoo.com.

Breast feeding and Thyroid Problems

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Have you ever tried to take a baby with you to one of your doctor’s appointments? It might seem practical. You don’t need a sitter. You don’t have to worry that the baby will get hungry while you’re away…especially if he won’t take a bottle. So I do it all the time. Maybe not one of my smartest moves.
Invariably, there are the steps to drag the stroller up, a narrow examining room and the challenge of keeping the baby from trying to grab the stirrups in the Ob’s office. Lovely. As always, there’s the perfectly timed crying. Just as the doctor prepares to examine you, the screaming starts. And let’s not forget the last time I took The Bear (our now 7 month old) to the doctor with me– a plane crashed into a building a few blocks away. The appointment was cancelled.
So I had pretty low expectations when I went back to the doctor to try the appointment again. I was seeing an endocrinologist because it turns out my thyroid has decided to go haywire after this pregnancy. I have something called Hashimoto’s. Basically it’s an auto-immune condition where the immune system attacks the thyroid. This creates hypothyroidism, or an under-active thyroid. So now I’m taking thyroid replacement medicine.
Of course my questions were: (1) is the thyroid imbalance bad for the baby if I’m breastfeeding? (2) is it ok to take the medication, Synthroid, if I’m breastfeeding? As any good former reporter (or anal mom) would do, I checked multiple sources. I found this link about breastfeeding and thyroid conditions. And per the pediatrician, my general practitioner, my endocrinologist and my gynecologist (oh and a second endocrinologist I saw after The Bortskerini was born), Synthroid is just fine if I’m breastfeeding. In fact, it should make me feel better.
Now to be fair, I didn’t really feel all that bad. Just VERY tired. But then again I have two kids, and a baby who doesn’t sleep through the night. So we’ll see if the thyroid medication will help. (Exhaustion and depression are hypothyroid symptoms).
In the meantime, maybe The Bear will start to take pity on us and stop waking up at 4 in the morning…a mere two hours before his big brother, The Bortskerini decides to yell, at the top of his lungs, “HELP!!!”
If you’re concerned about any medication you may be taking while breastfeeding, check here.

Breast feeding Videos

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Welcome to my new weekly feature…The Boob Tube…or You Boob.
FrenchCommercial.jpg
We’ve all been hearing a lot about YouTube lately, you know the company that Google bought for $1.65 billion.
To see what all the fuss was about, I checked out YouTube, and did a test. I did a search for “breast feeding” videos and found 72 clips. They range from home movies to television commercials. Some are funny, some are serious. And so, starting today, I’ll do a YouTube breastfeeding video of the week.
To kick things off, I’ll salute my inner francophile and show you a clip of a breastfeeding commercial from the 1970′s. Click here to see the clip.
Now my French is not so great, but here’s a rough translation:
Gesture of love, Promise of health, Give them your milk, To feed better is to live better.
Wouldn’t it be a different world if we had commercials like this on the TV in the U.S?!?! And by all means, if your French comprehension is better than mine, please let me know!

Grey’s Anatomy– BreastFeeding and Breast Cancer

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Last night on Grey’s Anatomy one of the story lines follows a young mom who has breast cancer and is going to have a mastectomy. She arrives in the hospital with her husband and baby in tow. The husband tells the doctors she’s having a hard time, that she had to stop nursing and the baby won’t take a bottle. Talking amongst themselves, one of the doctors says she probably thought the lump was a plugged milk duct.
Hurray to Grey’s Anatomy for highlighting breast cancer during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This is television at it’s finest! A subtle reminder to all women, even breastfeeding moms, to take any lump seriously.
I wrote an entry last week about a Seattle mom who first found a lump while breastfeeding her twins. She now runs an organization called Check Your Boobies, which promotes doing regular self breast exams. If you sign up, you can get a montly email reminder to do a check.
Grey’s Anatomy has been noted before for promoting breastfeeding. One of the main characters, Dr. Bailey, is a new mom. Not only did we get to see her endure some wonderful (imagine sarcastic tone here) labor pains, but we also got to see her breastfeeding. I actually missed that episode, but ProMom.org (another breastfeeding website) encouraged people to write letters to the show commending the writers.
And who said the “boob tube” wasn’t educational?!?!

Yom Kippur, Fasting and Breastfeeding

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I am not good at fasting. I can barely go three hours without eating or drinking something. If I don’t eat, I get cranky and tired. So Yom Kippur, or the Jewish Day of Atonement, is always a challenge. One year, in fact, I actually got sick from not eating.
Last year I was pregnant and I didn’t feel well so I didn’t fast. Jewish law actually says you do not need to fast if you are ill. So what is the answer for breastfeeding moms? Are you required by Jewish law to fast?
I should state that I’m Reform; in other words, I’m flexible about my religious life. If I was Orthodox, or Conservative, I would probably know the answer to this question about fasting and breastfeeding right up front. Or I would have asked a Rabbi, family member or friend. In my case, I’ve turned to the internet. Bottom line, it seems that Jewish law says that both pregnant and breastfeeding women should fast unless their health, or the baby’s health, would be at risk.
Here is a good site with an explanation as well as guidelines on how to fast while breastfeeding. Nishmat: The Jerusalem Center for Advanced Jewish Study for Women.
Another source of information is Kellymom. www.Kellymom.com.
As always, make an informed decision. And if you do refrain from eating, have an easy fast.