Archive for the ‘Infant Sleep’ Category

Breastfeeding Myths Galore!

June 19, 2011

These are things that I see or read every day: From my clients, from professionals and websites focusing on newborn issues. I know that one post cannot squash these myths completely, but if this helps just a few moms obtain correct information, I’ll be very happy! Each one of these statements could be an entire post. As time goes on, I hope to link each myth with a thorough explanation as to why it’s a myth. But for now, read these and remember they are MYTHS!

Breastfeeding is painful for the first few weeks.

Engorgement is normal and is a sign that everything is going well.

There is not enough milk during the first few days after the birth, so most babies need some formula until the milk “comes in.”

Many women do not produce enough milk.

A baby should be on the breast for a certain amount of time.

A mother should wash her nipples with soap before feeding the baby.

Pumping is a good way of knowing how much milk you have.

If your breasts don’t feel full, that means your milk supply is inadequate.

If a mother is planning to breastfeed, she should buy a pump.

Infant formulas are almost the same as breast milk.

Doctors know a lot about breastfeeding.

Some babies are lactose intolerant.

Nipples need to “toughen up” in order to breastfeed.

If you give a baby a bottle, he will not like the breast any more.

If you breastfeed you will sleep less than if you bottle feed.

You can’t eat your favorite foods if you breastfeed.

You can’t have a glass of wine if you breastfeed.

Breastfeeding makes your breasts sag.

Breastfeeding takes a lot of time.

Dads can’t bond with the baby if baby is breastfed.

If you breastfeed, everyone can see your breasts.

After 6 months, breast milk provides no more benefit to the baby.

If you have twins or more, you will definitely need to use formula.

If your baby is gassy or cries a lot, it means he is allergic to your milk.

Your baby will sleep longer at night if you give her a bottle of formula.

If your baby doesn’t breastfeed in the first week, he probably never will.

If you have flat nipples, your baby won’t be able to breastfeed.

If your nipples are too big, your baby won’t be able to breastfeed.

If your breasts are too small, too big, too (fill in the blank), you won’t be able to breastfeed.

Have you encountered any myths about breastfeeding? Have you heard some things that just don’t sound right? Please, post them here in the comments box. I would love to hear from you!

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To Swaddle or Not to Swaddle?

June 1, 2011
Halo SleepSack Swaddle

Halo SleepSack Swaddle

Many parents find that swaddling helps their newborn sleep for longer stretches. For sleep deprived parents, this is a good thing. But is swaddling good for babies?

Swaddling done correctly should not cause any problems for your baby’s physical development. A recent study published in the journal, Pediatrics, demonstrated that the practice of baby wrapping for extended periods in Mongolia, caused no harm. The Mongolian infants reached motor milestones right on target. Still it’s important to follow some common-sense guidelines to make sure your swaddling technique does not interfere with your baby’s development.

Dr. Charles Price, director of the International Hip Dysplasia Institute (IHDI) in Orlando, offers the following words of wisdom:

  • Swaddle so that your baby can move her legs a bit. Pinning her legs down or pressing them together forces her hips and knees into an extended position. This extension can lead to hip problems.
  • Look for a a swaddle blanket that is approved by the IHDI. One example is “Halo SleepSack Swaddle.” Baby’s arms can be snug, but her legs can move.
  • Use cotton or other light fabric that allow breathability and movement.
  • Swaddling should stop when your baby can roll over.

And here’s a tip from me: It’s easy to over-heat a baby with swaddling. Make sure your baby is warm, of course, but she should not be sweating when she’s sleeping. Many babies are very comfortable with a light sleeper covered with a swaddle. Too many layers—especially with synthetic fabrics– makes for a too warm baby! 

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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)

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