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What do I need to know about infant feeding?

by Maxine
Posted July 27 2010 01:27pm
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In this age of information, separating facts from myths can be a challenge for anyone. 

In this age of information, separating facts from myths can be a challenge for anyone. This can cause confusion for expectant and new parents who have many decisions to make, not the least of which is how to feed their baby.

Fact: Newborns need to eat often - at least every 2 to 3 hours
Newborns need to feed at least every 2 to 3 hours because their stomachs are small. A day-old baby’s tummy can hold about 5-7 ml (1-2 tsp) of milk; by 3 days 22-30 ml (.75-1 oz); and by 7 days 22-60 ml (1.5-2 oz). So, it doesn’t take a lot to fill their tummies and their tummies need to be filled often because they empty often. As your baby gets older, feeding tends to be more like every 3 to 4 hours, but will become more frequent again during growth spurts—at 3 weeks, 6 weeks, 3 months and 6 months. Breast milk is also very easily digested and with small stomachs baby needs to eat frequently.

Fact: There are ways to determine that your baby is well fed and hydrated.
It’s true that you cannot measure the amount of milk your baby drinks during breastfeeding. But the important thing is recognizing that your baby is well-fed and hydrated. In the first months your baby will:

  • Eat every 2 to 3 hours.
  • Continuously suck and swallow for at least 10 to 20 minutes during breastfeeding.
  • Have at least one wet diaper for each day of age up to 3 days. After day 4, there should be at least 6 to 8 heavy wet diapers each day. A heavy diaper feels like 40-60 ml (2-3Tbsp) of liquid on a cloth or disposable diaper.
  • Have at least 2 to 3 stools each day; by day 3 there should be at least 3 stools per day. Some breastfed babies pass stool every time they’re fed, meaning 10 to 12 stools per day, which is normal, too.
  • Have a moist look to their mouth - as if they were wet.

If, your baby is not showing these signs, your baby is becoming dehydrated and needs immediate medical attention. Take your baby to the hospital emergency.

Fact: Dry skin, a sunken soft spot on baby’s head and dry mucus membranes are also signs of dehydration.
These are late signs of dehydration in your baby, your baby needs to be in hospital and getting medical care. The soft spot on the top of a well-fed baby’s head should be flat and not sunken. Skin that is dry and does not have much elasticity indicates that your baby is not getting enough fluid. Gently pinch the skin on your baby’s thigh or tummy and let it go: it should lie back down, not remain pinched together. Mucus membranes should be moist or wet.

Fact: Babies under six months do not need baby food.
The recommendations from Health Canada on infant feeding indicate that solid baby food be delayed until your baby is six months old. By six months, your baby’s stores of iron start to diminish. Before six months your baby’s bowels are still maturing and the muscle coordination in your baby’s mouth, head and neck are not developed enough to manage solid food. Giving solid food to early may lead to the development of food allergies and obesity.

Fact: Breastfeeding allows you to bond with your baby.
Breastfeeding is a good way to bond with your baby but it isn’t the only way. Dad or your partner can have the same skin-to-skin contact by placing your baby, dressed only in a diaper, on his bare chest. Include snuggling, talking, singing and reading in your everyday routines with your baby as these are other ways that you and others can use to bond.

Fact: Colostrum is baby’s most important first food.
Colostrum, the yellow or orangey-coloured first milk, is considered the perfect first food for babies. It is easily digested, low in fat, high in carbohydrates, high in proteins and contains antibodies to keep your baby from getting ill. This first milk helps to protect your baby’s tummy and bowels. It also helps her to poo in the first few days after birth and may help prevent jaundice.

Fact: Breastfeeding takes time for you and baby to learn.
Although breastfeeding seems like the most natural thing in the world, this doesn’t mean that it will all fall into place naturally for every mom and baby. It is a learned art and it may require time and patience to learn. However, there is a lot of support available to you, beginning with the nurses and lactation consultants in the hospital, to public health nurses and breastfeeding clinics in the community and the La Leche League hotline 24 hours a day. The payoff? Never having to wash, sterilize, prepare, store and transport bottles for the next year. Just breastfeed whenever and wherever your baby needs to feed. What could be easier?

Fact: Small-breasted women are able to breastfeed.
Breast size has nothing to do with a woman's ability to breastfeed. In fact, larger breasts are due to more fat tissue. Breast milk is made by special milk-producing cells, not fat cells.

Fact: Most women make enough milk to breastfeed.
Most women make more than enough milk to breastfeed their babies. Early and ongoing breastfeeding guidance and support can help to avoid poor latching, the main reason for a low milk supply. Short and infrequent breastfeeding may also cause low milk supply. In rare cases, some women have a medical condition and may be unable to breastfeed.

Fact: Women who have flat or inverted nipples are able to breastfeed.
Latching your baby onto the breast may be more of a challenge with a flat or inverted nipple but it is possible. Your baby needs to have as much of the areola, the brown part around your nipple, in her mouth as possible in order to drink your breast milk. So, although your nipple helps to guide this process, it is not absolutely necessary to it. Once the areola is in your baby’s mouth, the nipple will come out as she sucks.

Fact: Breastfeeding should not cause pain.
Although the first weeks of breastfeeding may cause nipple tenderness – after all, this is new – there should be no pain during breastfeeding. Pain is usually the result of an incorrect latch. Correcting the latch should ease the pain. If pain persists during feeding, however, consult your a lactation consultant or your baby’s doctor. A lactation consultant is a specialist in breastfeeding. Some moms and babies share a yeast infection that requires both mom and baby to have treatment.

Fact: Women who have had breast surgery may be able to breastfeed.
A woman’s ability to breastfeed will depend on the type of surgery and the part of the breast that’s involved. For example, if the areola and/or nipple were affected, there is a greater chance of problems with breastfeeding than if the surgery was in a different area of the breast. Speak with the doctor who did the surgery they may help you to understand what part of the breast was affected from the surgery.

Fact: You do not need to wash your nipples before each feeding.
Washing your nipples before feeding your baby is not necessary. Frequent use of soap and water will dry your nipples out. Leaving breast milk on your nipples, on the other hand, protects your baby from infection and promotes healing of any soreness and cracks that may have developed.

Fact: Breastfeeding can be done at anytime, in anyplace and needs no special equipment.
In many ways, breastfeeding is liberating—it can be done anytime, anywhere and without any special equipment. It means you don’t have to clean and prepare bottles, which takes time. It means you can take your baby with you without having to carry formula. It is always at the right temperature, you do not need to worry about having to heat it or find a place to warm your baby’s food. It does mean you are the sole provider of food for your baby for the first 6 months. It all depends on your perspective.

Fact: Mothers are allowed to breastfeed their babies in public.
If you are comfortable breastfeeding your baby in public, there is no reason why you shouldn’t. In fact, it is a human right. This means that breastfeeding moms and babies are welcome to nurse anywhere, anytime. No one can tell them not to breastfeed. Some communities post signs to openly acknowledge that they are breastfeeding friendly.

Fact: Breastfed babies do not need extra fluids, like water and juice, in hot weather.
Breastfed babies do not need any other liquids, even in the summer heat. Breastfeed your baby more frequently to keep her hydrated in hot weather. Other liquids may fill your baby without providing the nutrients that breast milk provides and that your baby needs. It is especially recommended that babies under six months of age not be given juice and water.

Fact: A woman can use breastfeeding to help with child spacing.
This method is known as the Lactation Amenorrhea Method (LAM). Breastfeeding can be used for child spacing but only under the following conditions:

  • Your baby is under six months of age
    Your baby is exclusively breastfed and you are feeding her at least every 3-4 hours
    You have not had a menstrual period.

This is not fool-proof, though. Sometimes, your baby sleeping through the night can have an affect on this method. You may therefore want to use another type of birth control.

Fact: You do not need a special diet if you are breastfeeding.
It is recommended that nursing Moms eat a well-balanced diet, for their own health and for recovery from pregnancy and birth. Your body will produce milk, even if you occasionally consume fewer calories than recommended, provided this is not long-term.

Fact: You do not need to drink milk to breastfeed.
Although milk is a good source of calcium you will continue to make milk, even if you do not drink milk. There are other foods you can eat to obtain calcium. Continue to make sure you are drinking enough fluids during the day. If you are experiencing thirst, you are not taking in enough fluids.

Fact: In most cases you can breastfeed if you are ill.
With the exception of HIV, mom should continue to breastfeed during illness, even if this illness is mastitis. Generally speaking, people are contagious before they actually become ill, so that a baby would have already been exposed. Breast milk contains antibodies and other infection-fighting substances. By continuing to breastfeed your baby, you will continue to pass these on. If your baby becomes ill, chances are the illness will be mild due to the protection that breastfeeding offers.  

Fact: You should check if it is safe to take medicine when you are breastfeeding.
There are few medications that may require you to stop breastfeeding. Most medications are not a concern. Check with Motherrisk if you have concerns about any drugs. They have the most current information. Read medication information and consult your pharmacist with any questions or concerns

Fact: Exercise does not affect the breast milk.
Exercise does not affect breast milk in any way. Therefore, you can breastfeed after exercise.

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Coping: What If I Feel Like I Can’t Manage with My New Baby?

by Guest
Posted August 5 2010 11:33am
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It is very important that you find ways to get some help with your new baby, even though it isn't easy.

 

Try the following to help you cope with your new baby:

  • Get out of the house for fresh air, exercise and to change your environment. Exercise helps to improve mood and is a way to deal with stress. 

  • Find community resources such as exercise classes (e.g. stroller fitness), and parent and child groups as a way to meet others and to build your support system.

  • Check out local parks, libraries or even coffee shops and try to meet other new parents in your neighbourhood.

  • Arrange to have some time alone on a regular basis, time when you are responsible only for yourself.

  • Arrange for time alone with your partner.

  • Eat well.

  • Structure your day, setting small goals. For example, getting one load of laundry done and a rest in the afternoon. Going to the parent drop-in centre and making a large pot of stew for dinner and freezing the rest for a dinner next week. Don’t expect to get a lot of tasks completed – caring for a new baby takes a lot of time.

  • Sleep when you can and every time your baby sleeps. Getting more rest will help you to cope.

  • Ask for help with your baby and household chores.

  • Find someone to talk to who is a really good listener.

  • Try to accept and express negative feelings and thoughts. Think about keeping a journal.

  • Encourage yourself to think positively – write down the good or funny things that happen to remind yourself of them during bad moments.

 

If you find yourself feeling close to the breaking point, having a lot of trouble dealing with day to day activities, crying a lot, having trouble eating and sleeping, or feeling all your relationships are in trouble, it's time to get some outside help. Discuss this with your physician or health care provider. Don't hesitate.

In addition, you may want to contact a service, like Postpartum Adjustment Support Services-Canada. If you are in Canada, call 1-800-897-6660 for information on services near you. The earlier these problems are treated, the easier it will be on you, your baby and your family.

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Birth Control - Natural Methods

by Maxine
Posted August 19 2010 02:38pm
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Natural methods do not use chemicals or barriers to prevent pregnancy. Natural methods include abstinence from intercourse, fertility awareness methods (FAM), lactational amenorrhea method (LAM) and withdrawal.

Fertility Awareness Method (FAM)

This method involves the couple charting Mom's fertility signs to determine when she is fertile. The fertility signs used include Mom's waking temperature, cervical fluid and position of her cervix. Couples can choose to abstain from intercourse at the time of Mom's fertility or to use a barrier method at this time. This method may also be used to help a couple plan a pregnancy.

Effectiveness:
The effectiveness rate is about 90% if a motivated couple uses the method consistently and abstains during a Mom's fertile phase.

Benefits:

  • Promotes communication and responsibility between the couple.
  • Has no health risks or side effects.
  • May increase a woman's awareness and understanding of her body.
  • Has minimal costs- only the purchase of a basal thermometer (Glossary term: Basal thermometers are very sensitive thermometers that can detect the smallest shift in the body’s temperature. and charts to plot her symptoms.) and charts to plot her signs of fertility.

      
Limitations:

  • Failure rate is higher than some other methods of contraception.
  • Requires time to take a class or read a book about the principles of FAM.
  • Takes about 2 menstrual cycles for Mom and Dad to become comfortable with applying the principles.
  • Requires commitment and cooperation from Dad.
  • May be challenging and less reliable when breastfeeding due to periods of fertility.
     

Lactational Amenorrhea Method (LAM) or Breastfeeding Method

Breastfeeding can act as a natural form of child spacing The hormones that are released during breastfeeding can prevent ovulation. For this method to work effectively for a couple, all three of the following conditions must be met: 1.Mom must be breastfeeding her baby exclusively; 2. Mom's menstrual period has not returned; and 3. Their baby is less than 6 months old. Exclusive breastfeeding means that mom is not giving baby anything other than her breast milk, every 4 hours or less.
 
Effectiveness:
LAM is 85% effective if the criteria listed above are followed consistently.
 

Benefits:

  • No health risks to Mom.
  • No prescription is needed.
  • No cost of supplies
  • Mom can use this method before her 6 week medical check-up.
  • This method can be combined with Fertility Awareness Methods.

Limitations:

  • Mom is not protected against sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Once their baby is not exclusively breastfed at least every 4 hours or less, Mom's period returns, or their baby is 6 months old, then Mom and Dad need to use another method of birth control.
     

 There are other methods of birth control. Learn More >>

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What Impact Does An Involved Mother Have On The Life Of The Child and Mother?

by Guest
Posted August 26 2010 12:11pm
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Some people believe that you become a mother upon giving birth. And, providing a safe, dependable home in which your child will grow and develop also defines motherhood. But being a mother is a much greater journey than this. As a mother, you have a deep and lasting impact on your child.

The early years are critically important to a child’s healthy development.  Yet, nearly 30% of Canadian children under the age of 6 have a social, emotional or learning problem that is related to the kind of parenting they experience. There are many positive benefits for both mother and child when the mother is involved in her child’s life right from the start. And positive parenting is the most powerful path to ensure a child’s healthy development.

Bond with Your Baby before Birth

From the moment of conception, a mother's womb is an amazing home for a growing baby. Everything you eat, feel and do has a direct effect on your unborn child. More and more, doctors and researchers are beginning to understand just how important it is for mothers to connect emotionally and physically with their babies throughout pregnancy. They believe that mothers who talk to and touch their growing babies have healthy pregnancies and are bonding with their babies long before they are born.

The connection that mothers have with their newborns is one of the most critical ingredients in babies' growth, development and view of the world. Here are some ways to be a positive parent to your child.

Be Warm, Affectionate and Responsive

Many studies have found that babies whose mothers are openly warm, affectionate and responsive to their needs are more likely to have:

  • Greater academic achievement
  • More positive self-esteem
  • More positive relationships with other children
  • Less depression
  • Fewer behaviour problems
  • Greater ability to manage their feelings
  • Greater empathy towards others
  • Less incidence of substance abuse later in life


Read and Talk to Your Baby

Mothers who read or talk frequently to their babies have children who tend to have the following qualities:

  • Greater vocabulary during the first three years of life
  • Higher IQs
  • Are more prepared for school at age three
  • Greater cognitive and literacy development


Be Supportive and Involved

When mothers avoid using harsh discipline, but instead are more supportive and involved, their children are more likely to exhibit the following behaviours:

  • Greater positive social skills
  • Less negative moods and behaviours
  • Greater self-esteem

Being a positive mother—or father—is not based on instinct alone. It comes with preparation, learning and then experiencing the trials and tribulations of raising a child. Develop a real connection with your baby before and after birth. Value motherhood greatly, as you journey forward with your child and with your family.

 

 

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