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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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Emergency Contraception

by Maxine
Posted August 19 2010 01:08pm
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It can take awhile for you and your partner to reconnect physically after the birth of your baby. When you do, it can be a wonderful and passionate experience, but often couples who are just getting past a pregnancy may forget to use any method of birth control when the moment finally arrives. If you’re not ready to have another baby so soon, what can you do?

“Don’t panic,” advises Karon Foster, a Registered Nurse and Parenting Expert. “There are emergency post-sex contraception options available if you’ve had unprotected sex.”

The emergency contraceptive pill (ECP), or morning-after pill, contains hormones that, if taken before ovulation has occurred, will prevent a fertilized egg from developing. They also may affect the lining of the uterus and prevent a fertilized egg from attaching. There are two types of pills available: the single dose pill and the 2-dose pill.

Another option is to have an IUD (Intrauterine Device) inserted into the uterus. The IUD prevents a fertilized egg from implanting into the lining of the uterus.

If you decide to use emergency contraception you will have 48-72 hours after unprotected sex to use an ECP, depending on the type of pill used. The sooner they are started the more effective they are.

An IUD needs to be inserted within 7 days of unprotected sex.

In Canada ECPs don’t require a prescription from a doctor. Emergency IUD’s require an appointment with a doctor or nurse practitioner in order for them to be inserted. In other countries, moms may need to see a health care provider, such as a doctor or nurse practitioner, in order to get a prescription.

In Ontario, ECPs are available from your pharmacy, from a family planning or sexual health clinic, or from your physician. IUDs are available from your doctor and from family planning and sexual health clinics.

As with any medication, you may experience some side effects from ECPs, including nausea, vomiting, breast tenderness, dizziness, abdominal pain and headaches. It may also affect the timing of your next menstrual period—it may come a few days earlier or later.

The emergency IUD comes with its own set of side effects. They include:

  • IUD can be expelled.
  • May cause heavier menstrual periods and cramping.
  • Low risk of perforation of the uterine wall. Perforation is a rare event and may happen at the time of insertion. There is less risk if the health care provider is experienced in inserting IUDs.
  • Over time the IUD can become imbedded into the lining of the uterus. This can be painful and may require surgery to remove it.
  • Women who develop a sexually transmitted disease while they are using an IUD may be at greater risk of having problems getting pregnant in the future.

Emergency IUDs are not recommended if a woman has experienced any of the following:

  • Current or recent repeated pelvic infections
  • A recent abnormal PAP test
  • Severe infections of the cervix
  • Unexplained vaginal bleeding
  • Genital cancer
  • Diabetes
  • HIV AIDS
  • Paralysis
  • Allergies to Copper
  • Anemia or history of severe menstrual cramping
  • Wilson’s disease

For more information on emergency contraception options, contact your health care provider or your local health unit.

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How Do Babies Learn Language?

by Guest
Posted August 26 2010 11:47am
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A baby’s brain is "wired" to seek out and learn language. Amazingly, they are born with the capacity not just to learn language, but to learn all languages. As researcher Patricia Kuhl from the University of Washington puts it, infants are "citizens of the world." They are able to perceive the different sounds and patterns of speech of all languages in the world. For example, at birth, Japanese babies can hear the distinction between "r" and "l,” although only the "r" sound exists in Japanese. They can still hear the distinction at 6 months of age, but cannot by 12 months.

Even in the womb, a baby turns towards the melody of their mother’s voice. The brain is setting up the circuitry needed to understand and reproduce language. Babies learn to talk by hearing language and by being spoken to. Between 6 and 12 months, babies begin to fine-tune their ability to perceive the speech sounds of their native language as opposed to non-native language.

Used with Permission
Talking Reasonably and Responsibly About Early Brain Development
Center for Early Childhood Education and Development, Irving B Harris Training Center for Infant and Toddler Development 2001

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Breastfeeding

by Maxine
Posted July 27 2011 03:29pm
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Our experts have developed a number of articles that will address the questions you have about properly breastfeeding your child.

There is so much information out there about breastfeeding and as a result, parents are overwhlemed when they look for the information they need about breastfeeding their baby. Our experts have developed a number of articles that will address the questions you have about properly breastfeeding your child.

 

Rest assured - you are not alone and we are here to help.

 

Ask Our Expert!
Do you still have questions about breastfeeding? Our expert, Attie Sandink, is a Registered Nurse and International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. Ask Attie a Question!

 

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