Archive for March, 2011

Breastfeeding and Work-Clothing Crisis?

March 30, 2011

My friend and teaching partner, Holli Harris,  generously shared the following article.  Thank you, Holli, for your contribution and insight!

If you plan to combine breastfeeding with a job, double the need for breastfeeding and pump-friendly clothes. It’s one thing to not want to bare your breasts to your family and friends, and/or want to retain your sense of pre-motherhood style, but it’s another situation completely when you require combining the need for looking professional with quick and discreet access to breasts for pump (or breastfeeding) breaks in often semi-private locations…and in a situation where every minute away from work counts.   It’s no wonder there is a steep decline in breastfeeding when women return to work.

I think it was while pumping in a hotel room naked because I was wearing an impenetrable wool sheath dress/suit, that the inkling of HadleyStilwell was born. No wait, maybe it was the time I was sitting in a parked car with an unbuttoned blouse and a shawl for a semblance of privacy. I can’t remember anymore. At any rate, if you plan to breastfeed for a year,  you will get more mileage out of investing in wardrobe staples that mix and match with your current wardrobe and with each other than you did with maternity clothes that you wore for about six months.  And my goal with HadleyStilwell designs is that you will want to wear them whether or not you are still breastfeeding. Lately I’ve been wearing the Signature Tunic with the matching skirt and either the Signature Jacket for more formal situations, or dress it down with a denim jacket, or switch out the skirt altogether for leggings or wide bottom pants. The other piece I’ve been living in this winter is the Fleece Cowl Neck Nursing Tunic.   It’s like wrapping a blanket around yourself except that it’s also tres chic…

HadleyStilwell designs help busy moms breastfeed or pump outside the home, not to mention provide quick pulled-together looks, but it’s not just about the clothes. Read Milk Notes for detailed guidance on combining breastfeeding with work, and watch for guest posts from various experts.–Holli Harris

Do you need help preparing to return to work?  Wondering how to combine breastfeeding with your work life? You don’t have to live in Seattle to receive expert guidance from a lactation consultant. I am available for phone consultations for moms anywhere. You may reach me at www.second9months.com.  Send me an email and I’ll call you the same day to set up a “meeting.”

Is Breastfeeding Good for Business?

March 21, 2011

Are you wondering if health care legislation that includes provisions for breastfeeding is a good idea?  How do you feel about requiring businesses to accommodate mothers who want to pump at work? Consider the following:

Every year, more than 3 million mothers in America breastfeed. These provisions are good public policy for not only the baby and the mother, but also for the business community and our overall economy. Breastfeeding can improve more than 10% of the Healthy People 2020 health goals for the nation.

Promoting and increasing the rate of breastfeeding in the United States can provide upwards of $14 billion per year in cost savings related to just the treatment of several childhood ill- nesses seen in higher rates in those infants who are not breastfed. Research shows that breastfeeding lowers the baby‘s risk of infections, diarrhea, SIDS, obesity, diabetes, asthma, and childhood leukemia. A 2009 study of nearly 140,000 women found that women who breastfed for at least one year were 10-15% less likely to have high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, and cardiovascular disease compared to mothers who never breastfed. Breastfeeding also lowers the mother‘s risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer and osteoporosis.

Companies providing lactation accommodations reap a 3 to 1 return on investment and can save hundreds of thousands of dollars every year on reduced health claims, lowered employee turnover, decreased absenteeism, and less money spent on recruitment and training of new employees. At the same time, The Business Case for Breastfeeding, a program created in 2008 by the Department of Health and Human Services, showed that employees whose com- panies provide breastfeeding support consistently report improved morale, better satisfaction with their jobs, and higher productivity.

Excerpt from the United States Lactation Consultant e-newsletter.

Crying Babies

March 15, 2011

You may wonder why a lactation consultant–someone who considers herself somewhat of an expert in the art and science of breastfeeding–is writing an article about crying babies.  I have been moved to address this topic because every day parents ask me about hunger cues, sleep and crying.  Specifically, new parents want to know, what does that cry mean?

Crying is your baby’s way of letting you know that something is not right.  She may be hungry or thirsty, lonely, cold, afraid, uncomfortable or maybe she doesn’t even know.  She just knows she needs something–now!  Parents are sometimes told to ignore their baby’s cries–particularly as a way to “train” the baby to sleep longer or go longer between feedings.

There are probably dozens of books written about babies and sleep–many of them promising that your baby will “sleep through the night” if you follow the rules outlined by the authors.  Thankfully, there is a different point of view!  The following quotes are from pediatricians who have written about babies and sleep. The name of the book follows each quote:

“A crying baby’s needs are so simple, and they are so simply supplied.  A baby cries to communicate to you his need for the touch, warmth, comfort, security and love that only you can provide.  Why would anyone deny such a simple, human request?…When a baby fails to call out for his parents when he is in distress at night, it cannot be because he has ‘learned’ a useful behavior.  It is more likely that he has just given up on his parents.”  Dr. Paul Fleiss, Sweet Dreams.

“Putting your baby through cry-it-out sleep training isn’t the worst thing you can do to him, but it’s far from the best.  We know of no studies on short-term effects or even …long-term effects of crying it out in humans.  But studies of parent-infant separation involving ‘crying’ in nonhumuan primates show that the hormonal stress response of babies in these situations can be ‘equivalent to or greater than that induced by physical trauma.’”  Dr. Jay Gordon, Good Nights.

“Letting the baby cry undermines a mother’s confidence and intuition…not responding to a baby’s cries goes against most mothers’ intuitive responses. If a mother consistently goes against what she feels, she begins to desensitize herself to the signal value of her baby’s cries. …  A mother who restrains herself from responding to her baby gradually and unknowingly becomes insensitive….Once you allow outside advice to overtake your own intuitive mothering you and your child are at risk of drifting apart.”  Dr. William Sears,  Nighttime Parenting.

Finally, my favorite quote from Dr. Lee Salk, author and child psychologist wrote,  “There’s no harm in a child crying: the harm is done only if his cries aren’t answered … If you ignore a baby’s signal for help, you don’t teach him independence… What you teach him is that no other human being will take care of his needs.”  (Lee Salk)

Pacifiers and Newborns

March 6, 2011

Nearly every new mother I see asks the question, “Is it ok for my baby to use a pacifier?”  Here is the simple answer: Yes and no!

What these mothers want to know is whether pacifier use will interfere with breastfeeding. I can say with confidence that I have never seen a baby prefer a pacifier over a breast filled with nummy milk! In addition, in over 20 years of helping resolve breastfeeding issues, I have never named the pacifier as the source of the problem.

Even though pacifiers are not necessarily the cause of breastfeeding difficulties, they should be used with caution—especially during the first few weeks of life. Newborns don’t necessarily know when they are hungry or thirsty. Thankfully, they don’t need to figure that out. All they know is they need to suck.  Frequently! When that suckling is at the breast, it ensures that babies get plenty of milk and moms have an abundant milk supply.

Conversely, when a baby uses a pacifier to get her sucking needs met, there is a danger that she will not spend enough time at the breast. My primary concern about pacifier use is this: All that sucking requires energy.  Newborn sucking is actually an aerobic exercise.  A baby exhausted from sucking on a pacifier may not have the energy to obtain nourishment from the breast. In addition, she may “fool” her parents into thinking she is getting enough to eat, as she falls asleep while using a pacifier.

Occasional pacifier use for very brief periods of time will not likely interfere with breastfeeding. But keep in mind that a pacifier is a breast substitute and use with caution. If your newborn baby needs to suck, she probably needs to eat!


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