Breastfeeding Is Bipartisan: Tweet Your Candidates!

The U.S. Breastfeeding Committee, an independent nonprofit organization that protects, promotes and supports breastfeeding (and a sister organization to Lamaze), is encouraging everyone to tweet their candidates to tell us where they stand on the legislation and policies that moms need and deserve to be successful in reaching their breastfeeding goals. Right now, with the election looming, members of Congress and their opponents are out in our communities, talking to the public about the issues that matter. With just a few simple steps, you can ask them to stand up for breastfeeding families…while also educating them about why breastfeeding is a bipartisan issue, and what types of protection and support will really make a difference.


Take a few minutes to join the  ”Breastfeeding is Bipartisan: Tweet Your Candidates” campaign by using the nifty state-by-state tool with a built-in custom Tweet, pre-populated with the Twitter usernames for the candidates in each Congressional race. You might be thinking — why Twitter? The number of elected officials and candidates using Twitter to engage with their constituents is at an all-time high. It’s a direct and public way for you to let them know what issues are important to YOU. Politicians want to hear from their constituents! For this campaign, please use the hashtag #BreastfeedingIsBipartisan.
Need more ammunition for the importance of this issue? Consider the story of elementary school teacher Anna Johnson-Smith:
In preparation for the new school year, Anna notified school administration of her intent to pump breast milk during the school day for her 4½ month old daughter. Anna’s free planning periods were scheduled in the morning, so she only needed to request someone to cover her classroom for about 15 minutes each afternoon. The school was unreliable at finding someone to cover this short afternoon break, so she frequently missed pumping sessions. Two weeks into the school year Anna was told the school could not accommodate her request. By then her milk supply had already been reduced by half, and Anna made the decision to resign.
Asking your candidates to go on record in support of breastfeeding moms is just a few clicks away!  With your participation, you have the power to make sure every candidate knows the important role they play in supporting moms to reach their breastfeeding goals.

In the News: West Nile Virus and Pregnancy

Giving Birth with Confidence brings to you a new series called “In the News” where we will touch on health-related topics that are buzzing in the media and how they relate to pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, and early parenting. Look for this series to appear periodically on the blog.


As it does nearly every year, news of a string of West Nile Virus (WNV) cases has popped up. According to a report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on CNN yesterday, “cases of West Nile virus are up 25% over the past week and are expected to rise further over the next several weeks.” At Giving Birth with Confidence, we share this information not to increase your anxiety during pregnancy (pregnancy is a normal experience for your body!), but to provide information on maintaining health, safety and regular activities in spite of alarming media reports. We also aim to provide information from sound, evidence-based sources to help families wade through the overload of information available on the internet.

The following information and guidelines on WNV are reproduced with permission from the Organization of Teratology Information Specialists (OTIS), a non-profit organization dedicated to providing accurate evidence-based, clinical information to patients and health care professionals about exposures during pregnancy and lactation. While the information provided here is accurate, it does not take the place of medical advice. If you think you may have West Nile Virus or have additional concerns, contact your care provider.


What is West Nile Virus (WNV)?
WNV is a virus that can infect humans, birds, mosquitoes, horses and some other mammals. It is commonly found in Africa, West Asia and the Middle East. Since 1999 WNV has been found in the United States.

You cannot get WNV from birds or horses. If an infected mosquito bites a human, the human can become infected. The incubation period (the time from bite to the start of symptoms) is usually 2 to 14 days.

What are the symptoms of WNV?
Most people infected with WNV will have no symptoms or very mild symptoms. About 20% of infected people will develop more serious symptoms of WNV. These symptoms include fever, headache, being very tired, body aches, swollen glands and sometimes a skin rash on the trunk of the body.

Less than 1% of infected people will develop severe infection that leads to swelling of the brain or swelling of the area around the brain and spinal cord. These symptoms include headache, high fever, neck stiffness, confusion, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, paralysis and coma.

Generally, symptoms of WNV last only a few days but can last up to two weeks. Symptoms of severe WNV may last several weeks and some people may experience longterm illness.

How is WNV treated?
There is no specific treatment for WNV. Pain relievers such as acetaminophen may help relieve some minor symptoms. Individuals with severe WNV infection may need care in the hospital. You should contact your doctor if you think you have developed WNV.

I am pregnant. How do I prevent mosquito bites?
Pregnant women should protect themselves when outdoors by using a mosquito repellant that contains DEET or picaridin. With proper use, these products will not increase the risk of birth defects or other pregnancy problems.

It is suggested that pregnant and breastfeeding women follow the same recommendations that are given for children’s use of DEET. Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants, a hat and shoes with socks. Apply the lotion to the hands, neck, face and wrists, then spray your clothing and hat. Since these products can be absorbed, covering only small areas of skin with DEET is advised. It is essential to use DEET or picaridin if outdoors during mosquito’s active time, from dusk through dawn. Try to limit the time you spend outdoors when mosquitoes are most active.

To further decrease your exposure to mosquitoes, frequently change the water in birdbaths and outdoor water containers where mosquitoes might breed.

I am pregnant and have been diagnosed with WNV. Can this harm my baby?
Very little information is available regarding exposure to WNV during pregnancy. There is one known case of a pregnant woman passing on the virus to her unborn baby. The baby was born with serious medical problems. However, it is unclear whether the problems were caused by WNV infection or by other factors. No other cases of babies being born with problems have been reported despite many pregnant women having evidence of WNV infection. More research is needed before we can say whether a baby may have problems if a mother develops WNV during pregnancy.

I’m breastfeeding. Can I use DEET or picaridin?
Breastfeeding mothers must also protect themselves from mosquito bites by using DEET or picaridin. No reports or problems associated with using these products while breastfeeding have been noted. The application of DEET or picaridin while breastfeeding is the same as in pregnancy.

I’ve been diognosed with WNV. Should I continue to breastfeed?
The passing of WNV through breast milk is still being researched through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC). Infected infants and young children usually have mild symptoms and rarely developcomplications from WNV. In one case, a woman was infected with WNV after the birth of her child. The virus was present in both the baby and the breast milk. However, the child had no symptoms and remained healthy.

Because there are important benefits to breastfeeding and the risk for passing WNV through breast milk is unknown, the CDC recommends that women should not stop breastfeeding because of WNV infection. Talk with your pediatrician about continuing to breastfeed if you have a confirmed active case of WNV.

September 2009.
Copyright by OTIS.
Reproduced by permission. Click here to see references used in this fact sheet.

The Importance of “Hands-free” Breastfeeding

Creative Commons photo by Raphael GoetterIf you’re a new breastfeeding parent (or a parent newly returning to breastfeeding), you may have been instructed to keep your baby swaddled or otherwise tuck her hands down whilst breastfeeding. After all, those squirmy baby hands can get in the way of ensuring a good latch! As it turns out, however, current research shows that baby’s hands play an important role in facilitating breastfeeding in several different ways.

In a recent review on Science & Sensibility, blog administrator (and doula and Lamaze educator) Sharon Muza reviewed the research paper Facilitating Autonomous Infant Hand Use During Breastfeeding by Catherine Watson Genna, BS, IBCLC, RLC and Diklah Barak, BOT. In her review, Sharon points out:

[The authors] share that babies that hug the breast with their hands are helping to stabilize their neck and shoulder girdle, by pulling together the shoulder blades. Hand movements, by the infant on the breast, increase maternal oxytocin.  It also causes the nipple tissue to become erect, which facilitates latch.  Babies are best able to use their hands “against gravity,” lifting them up, when their hands are in their field of vision.  The hands are used along with the lips and tongue to draw the nipple into the mouth, a behavior that disappears around 3-4 months of age.

And if you think baby’s hands fluttering about are attempts at pushing your breast away, you may be right — but it’s for good reason:

Infants use their hands to push and pull the breast to shape the breast and provide easier access to the nipple.  Newborns and young infants also use their hands to push the breast away, possibly to get a better visual sense of the location of the nipple.  Genna and Barak also state that an infant may feel the nipple with their hand, and use the hand as a guide to bring their mouth to the nipple.

I encourage you to click through to Genna and Barak’s paper — it provides multiple photos demonstrating positioning and detailed instructions (in easy-to-read language) for facilitating hand use during breastfeeding.

The next time you sit down to feed your newborn (or if you’re reading this in preparation for a new little one), remember to unswaddle (and undress, if possible — skin-to-skin contact also helps facilitate breastfeeding and is beneficial for development and bonding) and allow your baby’s hands to wander as they see fit. She may be brand new, but her feeding instincts are innate and strong. Follow your baby’s cues!

Using Hand Expression to Support Breastfeeding

Did you know that you don’t need a breast pump to express milk? “Hand expression” refers to the act of manually pumping milk from the breast using your hands. Knowing how to effectively use hand expression can help relieve engorgement, encourage milk supply, and even pump enough milk to store and feed baby at a later time. For the best results, follow these steps for hand expression:


1. Wash your hands.

2. Massage your breast.

3. Position your hand in a “C” shape on the outside of your areola (or 1-1.5 inches from your nipple) using your thumb and two forefingers.

4. Press back toward your chest.

5. Roll your fingers forward toward your nipple, compressing your breast.

6. Release & repeat. Be sure to change positions of your “C” throughout your session so as to use all of your milk ducts. If your breast was a clock, move your “C” so your thumb hits 12, 3, 6 & 9 o’clock.


When collecting milk during hand expression, use a cup, bowl or any container with a wide mouth opening. And, keep a towel under your breast to help absorb any runaway drips.

Hand expression can also be used while feeding your baby and while pumping to encourage flow. For more information, including an excellent video demonstration, check out these resources:

1. Hand expression basic instructions PDF - La Leche League

2. Hand expression video – Stanford School of Medicine (best video I’ve seen, by far)

3. More tips for hand expression – Dr. Sears



World Breastfeeding Week – Supporting Moms

It’s World Breastfeeding Week and one of the best ways we like to celebrate — all year long — is by offering support to breastfeeding moms. Below is one of our favorite, basic breastfeeding information articles. If you’re seeking additional support right now, contact your Babies R Us store to find out if they are participating in the free event, “Nursing Basics for New Moms” this Saturday, August 4 from 12 p.m. – 3 p.m. The event, which is held in conjunction with Lamaze International, will answer basic “how-to” questions, provide informational handouts and give moms access to experienced Lamaze educators.


Nursing is Natural

Nursing is natural, but it helps to learn as much as possible before you start.

By Judith A. Lothian, Rn, PHD, LCCE, FACCE

Nursing is a natural and simple way to provide nutrients to your newborn. Nature intended your baby to drink breast milk, and your body is perfectly designed to produce it. During pregnancy your body has been preparing for breastfeeding, and colostrum (early Nursing Schoolbreast milk) will be ready and waiting. Right from birth your baby is able to let you know when he is hungry, to attach to the breast, and to suck, swallow and digest milk that meets his specific nutritional needs.

So how does it work? Your baby’s sucking at the breast stimulates milk production, so the more he nurses, the more milk will be available to him. Pacifiers and formula supplements will interfere with this process. Your baby should nurse at least eight to 12 times in 24 hours during the first weeks. (The exception to this is the first 24 hours after birth, when many babies sleep more.) He may nurse in clusters, rather than every 2 hours, and he should nurse until he’s satisfied. This ensures that he receives your hind milk, which is rich in fat and calories. Limiting nursing to 5 or 10 minutes on each side deprives your baby of this important and nutritious food. Let baby finish the first breast before offering the second. Watch your baby, not the clock.

Contrary to what you may have heard, you do not need to drink large amounts of fluid or avoid certain foods when you’re breastfeeding. Eat and drink to satisfy your thirst and your appetite, but aim to take in about 500 additional calories per day, for a total of about 2,700 calories daily (discuss your personal nutritional needs with your doctor). Most women find nursing helps shed some pregnancy pounds since it burns between 600 and 800 calories a day.

Your baby will let you know when he is ready to nurse, lastly by crying but first with a number of early feeding cues: rapid eye movements under the eyelids, an imitation of sucking, hand-to-mouth gestures and small sounds. If you wait until your baby cries, it may be difficult to help him settle down enough to latch on properly. Keep your baby close, and you’ll learn to spot his hunger cues.

Latching On

It’s instinctual for a newborn to attach to the breast. Studies have shown that a baby placed skin-to-skin on his mother’s chest right after birth can crawl to the breast and latch on. If you hold your baby in the traditional cradle position, he’ll be able to latch on properly when his head is level with your breast, aligned with his body, and he is facing you. You should not have to lean toward him, and he should not have to reach toward you to attach. Wait for your baby to open his mouth wide so that he attaches to the areola, not just the nipple.

Another option is the football hold, where your baby is tucked by your side. Hold him on his side, his nose to your nipple. Place your arm along his back, supporting his shoulders and neck with your fingers and thumb behind his ears. Don’t hold the back of his head; he will instinctively throw it back as he latches on. Be patient and let your baby lead you; don’t rush him or pressure yourself. Remember, he knows how to do this.

As he sucks, watch and listen for his swallowing. This is the ultimate assurance that he is getting milk. Your baby will let you know when he is finished by unlatching or falling asleep; he may not want to nurse on the other breast. If he doesn’t, it will feel full when he is ready to nurse again, so start with that side.

If you pay attention to your baby’s feeding cues, nurse him often and allow him to nurse until he is finished, you can be sure he is getting enough milk. Look for these signs:

  • You will notice the change in his sucking: bursts of sucking will be followed by a pause as he swallows. You can also see the neck muscles move as he swallows milk.
  • The color of his stool will change from the dark meconium to mustard yellow by day four if he’s getting enough milk. By day six, your baby should have at least six wet diapers and three or more bowel movements in a 24-hour period.
  • Your baby should be gaining weight, although it may take 2 to 3 weeks for him to regain his birth weight.

Some babies take a few days or even weeks to breastfeed effortlessly. If yours is not nursing frequently, you are unable to identify swallowing or he is not producing enough wet diapers and bowel movements, contact your health-care provider or lactation consultant immediately. Also, keep in mind that it’s common to experience some discomfort during the first few minutes of breastfeeding. However, your nipples shouldn’t hurt throughout the entire feeding. If they do, it’s likely that your baby isn’t latching on properly (see box at right). If your baby is latched correctly and you’re still experiencing pain after a few minutes, you should seek help. Most breastfeeding problems have simple solutions, but it’s important to get help sooner rather than later. Many pediatricians and hospitals have lactation consultants on staff – and may conduct regular breastfeeding classes. Your local department of health may also have a referral service.

You and your baby were made to breastfeed. Have confidence in yourself and your baby’s ability, and treasure this natural bonding time.

Have you been through the breastfeeding experience? What tips can you offer a new mom?

Broccoli with a Side of Amniotic Fluid

Imagine a world without finicky eaters, where even infants readily devour broccoli, kale, garlic, and onion.  Sound too good be true?  It appears that the key is to start out young–very young, as in before birth.  More and more evidence is showing that taste and flavor preferences, especially those for healthful food selections like vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, start in utero and continue forming in the first months of breastfeeding.  This positive impact on food preferences and willingness to try new fare is likely to continue into childhood and beyond.

The nuances of every morsel a mama puts in her mouth pass into the amniotic fluid.  The growing baby bathes and drinks in the fluid, in essence sampling foods from the outside world. From those first tastes, children are then more likely to crave similar foods when they begin eating solid foods in infancy. In addition, developing babies pick up on every spice, seasoning, and flavor from the food that their mamas eat, creating a palate that is open to a wide variety of foods. Thus, eating a healthy, varied diet translates into having a child who does the same. On the flip side, women who consume highly processed, fat-laden foods and/or a fairly bland diet throughout pregnancy could be more likely to have offspring with similar eating preferences.

This palate-shaping isn’t just taking place in the womb. After birth, a mama’s breast milk also possesses elements and flavors from the foods she eats, which then are passed on to baby.  Breast milk becomes an ever-changing taste sensation, preparing babies for the cuisine that is to come. The most formative time to shape tastes happens between months 2-5 after birth — yet another great reason for exclusive breastfeeding during the first 6 months or so.

This makes sense from the simple logic that, “If I give you A, you will like A. If I give you B, you will like B.”  Also, from an anthropological standpoint, an infant needs to be primed for the culture that it is being born into. For most, if not all, families, societies and ethnic groups, food is at the forefront.  Basically, if you want to fit in, you eat what the group eats.

Now, are you destined to have a child who only eats french fries and ice cream if that’s all you ate throughout pregnancy and breastfeeding? I think it depends on whether or not you continue to eat french fries and ice cream as your child grows. A huge influence on what a child prefers to eat comes from what food is available in the home and how a child’s role models (namely parents) eat. Looking at my own study group (i.e. my 4 children) I definitely see evidence of my prenatal eating habits and how they have influenced my children. While none of them are “picky eaters,” my 8-year-old, who was a product of a less-than-stellar diet including lots of pasta with a few veggies sprinkled in, definitely has more of a preference for junk food and is less adventurous when it comes to food. (I used to get a cheeseburger after each of my prenatal appointments and now he insists on one after every visit to his pediatrician. Coincidence?) My 18-month-old, whose amniotic fluid was doused with unending salad and spicy food, definitely prefers vegetables over mac & cheese and eats crushed red pepper without batting an eye.  Our family’s shift towards healthier eating in general has made a huge impact on what everyone eats. We all eat whole grains and vegetables–though some members of the family take a bit more convincing than others.

The bottom line?  Eat as healthfully as you can, as soon as you can, and pass that wonderful gift on to your child!

Here are some references to studies on the subject:

Bayol SA, Farrington SJ, and Stickland NC. 2007. A maternal ‘junk food’ diet in pregnancy and lactation promotes an exacerbated taste for ‘junk food’ and a greater propensity for obesity in rat offspring. Br J Nutr. 98(4):843-51.

Bilko A, Altbacker V, and Hudson R. 1994. Transmission of food preference in the rabbit: The means of information transfer. Physiology and Behaviour 56: 907-912.

Capretta PJ, Petersik JT, Steward DJ. Acceptance of novel flavours is increased after early experience of diverse taste. Nature. 1975;254:689–691.

Cooke LJ, Wardle J, Gibson EL, Sapochnik M, Sheilham A, Lawson M. Demographic, familial and trait predictors of fruit and vegetable consumption by pre-school children. Public Health Nutrition. 2004;7:295–302.

Gerrish CJ, Mennella JA. Flavor variety enhances food acceptance in formula-fed infants. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2001;73:1080–1085.

Hepper PG. Adaptive fetal learning: prenatal exposure to garlic affects postnatal preferences. Animal Behavior. 1988;36:935–936.

Mennella JA, Beauchamp GK. Maternal diet alters the sensory qualities of human milk and the nursling’s behavior. Pediatrics. 1991;88:737–744.

Mennella JA, Jagnow CP, Beauchamp GK. Prenatal and postnatal flavor learning by human infants. Pediatrics. 2001;107:1–6.

Mennella JA, Johnson A, Beauchamp GK. Garlic ingestion by pregnant women alters the odor of amniotic fluid. Chemical Senses. 1995;20:207–209.

Mennella JA, Turnbull B, Ziegler PJ, Martinez H. Infant feeding practices and early flavor experiences in Mexican infants: an intra-cultural study. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 2005;105:908–915.

Nicklaus S, Boggio V, Chabanet C, Issanchou S. A prospective study of food preferences in children. Food Quality and Preference. 2004;15:805–817.

Schaal B, Marlier L, Soussignan R. Human foetuses learn odours from their pregnant mother’s diet. Chemical Senses. 2000;25:729–733.

Skinner JD, Carruth BR, Wendy B, Ziegler PJ. Children’s food preferences: a longitudinal analysis. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 2002;102:1638–1646.

Sullivan S, Birch LL. Infant dietary experience and acceptance of solid foods. Pediatrics. 1994;93:271–277.

Varendi H, Porter RH, Winberg J. 1996. Attractiveness of amniotic fluid odor: evidence of prenatal olfactory learning? Acta Paediatr. 85(10):1223-7.

Breastfeeding Basics from Babies R Us & Lamaze on August 4

Breastfeeding is natural, but that doesn’t mean it always comes naturally. Before the arrival of your little one, it helps to prepare and gather information on practical tips for getting breastfeeding off to a good start. Next month, in celebration of World Breastfeeding Week, select Babies R Us stores in conjunction with Lamaze educators from around the U.S. will host the free event, “Nursing Basics for New Moms” on August 4 from 12 p.m. – 3 p.m. The event will answer basic “how-to” questions, provide informational handouts and give moms access to experienced Lamaze educators who really know their stuff!

Contact your nearest Babies R Us store to find out if they are participating.

Breastfeeding After Traumatic Birth


This article is part of the Traumatic Birth Prevention & Resource Guide by PATTCh. Access the complete guide to learn more about traumatic birth and find resources for women and families.

By Teri Shilling, MS, LCCE, CD(DONA), IBCLC

The image of a baby’s arrival into the world often shows a calm, romanticized picture of a beautiful baby being gently lifted into the waiting arms of the baby’s mother, followed by the mother putting the baby skin to skin, leaning triumphantly back while releasing a relieved sigh in the spirit of “I did it.” The baby is then supported in doing its dance to bop and wiggle to find the breast and latch on.

What if instead the journey has been fraught with challenges and struggles and separations or surgery? What if fears and trauma and suffering have colored the experience? What if the mother is overwhelmed or not supported or unable to deal with anything other than the basic survival of the experience? What happens then to early breastfeeding?

Cheryl Beck and Sue Watson (2008) in their research on the impact of birth trauma on breastfeeding, cited that over a third of all mothers have reported experiencing a traumatic birth. The breastfeeding research lists challenges to early and successful breastfeeding as unscheduled cesarean birth, psychosocial stress, and pain related to labor and birth. Other influences include loss of control, exceptionally long labors and dissatisfaction with care and support.

By closely looking at the impact of birth trauma on breastfeeding, there seems to be two paths — on one path women persevered and on the other path, breastfeeding is curtailed. What allows a woman to take the path toward a fulfilling breastfeeding experience? Beck and Watson (2008) identified three themes:

  • sheer determination
  • a motivation to make up for a baby’s less than optimal arrival or
  • the time spent breastfeeding was soothing

The path that led to less than the desired length of breastfeeding was influenced by:

  • a fear that breastfeeding was just one more way to fail
  • no emotional or pain-coping reserves were left to cope with possible breastfeeding pain and discomforts after the overwhelming physical pain of birth
  • a feeling that the traumatic birth created an insufficient supply of breast milk
  • flashbacks that intruded on the breastfeeding experience
  • a feeling of detachment from the baby created by the birth trauma

So what guidance is there for the women who have had a traumatic birth who want to follow their own path to a fulfilling breastfeeding experience?

  • Seek intensive one-on-one support to establish breastfeeding. Set short-term goals. Discuss options like pumping or substituting skin-to-skin time for breastfeeding or supplementing early feeding with donor milk.
  • Find respectful support. Often it’s preferable to find help from someone who can provide support and assistance while verbally guiding you and building your confidence vs. someone who grabs your breast and pushes the baby on for the sake of efficiency.
  • Locate non-judgmental help from someone who will support you in your choice to continue or stop breastfeeding without guilt or judgment.  This person should be someone who can listen to your birth experience and knows the symptoms of traumatic stress and knows to whom to refer you to for dealing with these feelings and reactions to a traumatic birth.

Find the support and resources to follow your path to feed your baby!


Beck, C.T., & Watson, S. (2008). Impact of birth trauma on breast-feeding. Nursing Research 57(4), 228-36.


Teri Shilling, MS, LCCE, CD(DONA), IBCLC is the director of Passion for Birth, the largest Lamaze accredited childbirth educator training program, creator of the Idea Box for Creative and Interactive Childbirth Educator, and instructor at the Simkin Center for Allied Birth Vocations at Bastyr University.  A past president of Lamaze International, she now focuses her volunteer work with PATTCh, Skagit Valley Breastfeeding Coalition and W.I.S.E. Birth (a 3 county Doula Collective.) She has a small private practice providing doula support, lactation support and birth education in her Mount Vernon, WA, community.



PATTCh is a not-for-profit, multidisciplinary organization dedicated to the prevention and treatment of traumatic childbirth. Our mission is to develop cross-disciplinary relationships, research, and programs that:

  • prevent PTSD following childbirth through education, interdisciplinary collaboration, and multidisciplinary research;
  • educate perinatal care providers and paraprofessionals in the prevention and treatment of birth and reproduction related trauma;
  • encourage the development of culturally appropriate therapeutic approaches to post-traumatic stress symptoms following childbirth;
  • promote healthy birth practices for all women and families;
  • promote evidence-based research regarding PTSD secondary to childbirth;
  • increase global awareness of the prevalence, risk factors, and effects of PTSD secondary to childbirth; and
  • support collaboration and understanding among all stake-holders, including: researchers, policy makers, medical and mental health care providers, educators, community members, volunteers, women, and families.


Tips for Establishing Breastfeeding

From The Official Lamaze Guide: Giving Birth with Confidence.

Breastfeeding is nature’s most powerful way of helping mothers recover from birth, learn mothering skills, and fall in love with their babies. It’s also nature’s way of ensuring that babies are well nourished, protected against disease, and allowed to develop optimally. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that babies be exclusively breastfed (no water, juice, formula, other fluids, or solids) for six months and continue breastfeeding until at least one year. Following are some ways you can get your breastfeeding relationship off to a good start.

Before Birth

  • Talk to women who are breastfeeding or have breastfed babies.
  • Watch babies at the breast.
  • Attend a La Leche League meeting.
  • Get the name of a lactation consultant.
  • Read about breastfeeding in Lamaze Parents magazine.
  • Buy a breastfeeding book.
  • Remember that your body knows how to breastfeed your baby.
  • Talk to your caregiver about delaying newborn testing and other routine procedures.

In the First Hours

  • Keep your baby skin-to-skin with you.
  • Watch for early infant feeding cues.
  • Nurse your baby within the first hour after birth.
  • Delay newborn tests and routine procedures until after the first breastfeeding.
  • Remember that colostrum is nutrient-rich and that your baby doesn’t need to eat much in the first hours and days of life.

In the First Days

  • Sleep in the same room with your baby and be together as much as possible.
  • Don’t limit your baby’s time at the breast or hold your baby off between feedings.
  • Let your baby finish the first breast before offering the other.
  • Learn how to tell if your baby is swallowing milk.
  • Become a confident nurser by learning how to tell if your baby is getting enough milk and trusting that you will produce lots of milk.
  • Learn how to position your baby for a good latch.
  • Don’t use bottles or pacifiers until breastfeeding is well established.
  • Be patient with yourself and your baby as you both learn to breastfeed.
  • If you choose to have your baby circumcised, wait at least twenty-four hours after birth and insist that he be given pain medication. Be prepared to provide extra soothing and wake your baby to breastfeed if necessary.
  • If you need to be separated from your baby, pump your breasts and store your milk.
  • Don’t supplement your breast milk with formula unless there is a clear, compelling health reason.
  • Remember that colostrum is nutrient-rich and that your baby doesn’t need to eat much in the first hours and days of life.

In the First Weeks

  • Remember that responding to your baby’s needs does not spoil him; rather, it’s the only way you can teach your baby to trust you.
  • Sleep in the same room with your baby and be together as much as possible.
  • Wear your baby in a sling or other soft baby carrier throughout the day.
  • Nurse your baby whenever he or she shows signs of hunger (eight to twelve times every t

    wenty-four hours).

  • Learn to nurse lying down in bed so you don’t need to wake fully to nurse at night.
  • Remember that breastfeeding is a top priority.
  • Be patient with yourself and your baby as you learn to breastfeed.
  • Stay confident, even if your breastfeeding journey is bumpy.
  • Call a lactation consultant, your local La Leche League leader, or the La Leche League hotline (847-519-7730) if you have breastfeeding problems or you’re concerned about whether your baby is getting enough milk.
  • Remember that breast milk is all the nutrition your baby needs for at least six months.

If You’re Not Able to Breastfeed
Here are some tips to promote bonding and development even if you’re not able to breastfeed your baby:

  • Sleep in the same room with your baby and be together as much as possible.
  • Wear your baby in a sling or other soft baby carrier throughout the day.
  • Respond to your baby’s needs before he or she cries.
  • Hold your baby, make eye contact, and talk to your baby during feedings.
  • Hold, look at, and talk to your baby even when you’re not feeding.

Breastfeeding in Public: Much Ado About Something

Breastfeeding has been in the news a lot lately. What’s making the news is not information about the health benefits or tips and tricks for new breastfeeding moms — the headlines are all about breastfeeding in public. It generally reads something like this: Mom breastfeeds in local store/restaurant/church. Mom told to cover up or leave. Several moms respond with nurse in. And then there are celebrity breastfeeding sightings that make headlines — just yesterday, it was reported that Beyonce was seen with her new baby girl, Blue Ivy, breastfeeding in public at a cafe in New York city.

So, why the excitement? Why has breastfeeding in public become such a hot button? Advocates assert that making a big deal out of breastfeeding in public helps to normalize a normal way of feeding babies — that it takes away the taboo. Yet others insist that calling excess attention to breastfeeding in public only heightens the controversy, turning something that is normal into a media spectacle.

Regardless of your views on breastfeeding in public, what it comes down to is basic human rights. Mothers have a right to feed their children; babies have a right to eat. And, women have a right to feed their babies — bottle or breast — where and when they need it.

Weigh in: What do you think about the media’s focus on breastfeeding in public — does it help or hurt the issue? Have you participated in a nurse in? Have you experienced discrimination for breastfeeding in public?