June 20th, 2009 • Comments: 0 • by Wendy • Breast is BestGiving BackInside Snugabell

Help Give Breastfeeding a Makeover!


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I was reading the Motherwear Breastfeeding blog the other day, as you know I so often do, when I followed a link in one of Tanya's posts and ended up on this site.  I have to say that I thought I'd died and gone to heaven!  The concept behind Best for Babes has lived in my head for some time now.  I always thought that I would find the time to start something like this (I know my friends and family are rolling on the floor laughing right now).  Having said that I am absolutely thrilled that it has already been brought to fruition!

Best for Babes - Breastfeeding FriendlyThe attitude, the approach, the images, the sass and their slogan - "Giving Breastfeeding a Makeover" totally resonated with me.  I immediately emailed the founders, Bettina and Danielle, and we scheduled a conference call to discuss how I could get involved!

To start we are proud to announce that $1 from the online sale of every PumpEase™ will be donated to the Best for Babes Foundation to help moms achieve their personal breastfeeding goals.

Here is a glimpse of the Best for Babes Mission Statement...

To give breastfeeding a makeover - to market, brand and mainstream it, acting as a catalyst to elevate this cause on par with Komen, Juvenile Diabetes, (Red)™ and others.

To shift the focus and pressure off moms and onto the “booby traps” - the cultural and institutional barriers to breastfeeding successfully - and to helping to remove those barriers through positive social pressure.

To harness the power of celebrities, corporations, foundations, fashion, advertising, the medical community and the media to bring about a cultural change that embraces, celebrates and supports breastfeeding moms.Best for Babes - Economic Stimulus Packages

I encourage you to visit their site and find out how you can get involved.  Donate, follow them on Twitter, join their Facebook Group and tell everyone you know about them!  Anything and everything you do will help.  It is an especially vital time with the recent introduction of the Breastfeeding Promotion Act in both houses of Congress as well as the Breastfeeding Petition to President Obama to make breastfeeding a high priority in his adminstration - to promote it as preventative care to save lives, reduce disease and save the US Health Care system billions if not trillions of dollars.

"Hey!" you say, "Are you not Canadian?"  Yes I am, born and raised.  However, it has to start somewhere and like it or lump it, we all look to the US for direction sometimes.  The situation in the US is critical with the skyrocketing Caesarian rates, the plummeting breastfeeding rates after moms and their babes leave the hospital and the lack of education and support for the breastfeeding mom.

Besides, I love my US customers and Best for Babes will help women worldwide, not just in the good ole USA.

So please visit the Best for Babes site and then come back here and tell me what you think!

May 9th, 2009 • Comments: 0 • by Wendy • Breast is BestResources

Early Initiation of Breastfeeding through Breast Crawl


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UNICEF, WHO, WABA and the scientific & medical communities all recommend initiating breastfeeding within one hour of birth.  Evidence shows this can prevent up to 22% of all deaths among babies less than 1 month old in developing countries.  It is also known that, like other mammals, human babies can instintively initiate breastfeeding on their own (provided they are kept between mother's breasts).  This is called the "Breast Crawl".

I just stumbled upon this amazing video detailing the breast crawl of a newborn - something that has been documented to take, on average, 30-60 minutes.  This particularly speedy little girl found mom's nipple in just over 10 minutes!  Everything that is happening here is so perfectly designed by nature:  the skin-to-skin contact helps keep baby warm and initiates mother-baby bonding.  Baby's "kicking" on mother's belly stimulates the womb to contract, which helps to deliver the placenta and reduce bleeding.  The baby smells the food close by, begins salivating and starts her "trek" to mom's nipple.   I was very moved by this video. Then I sat back and wondered why I was so moved... this is nature... this is how it should be.  Best for mom.  Best for baby.  Simple.

The Breast Crawl was first documented over 20 years ago (Widström et al, 1987) however, I don't think many people have heard of it.  I hadn't until today, have you?  I would be more than happy to see widespread recommendation of the baby crawl as "the method" for initiating breastfeeding.  Drop a comment below and tell me what you think.

May 6th, 2009 • Comments: 0 • by Stephanie • Breast is BestPumpingResources

Guest Post: Why Women Exclusively Pump


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Exclusively Pumping website

Exclusively pumping breast milk is best thought of as an alternative to formula feeding.  While there are some women who decide to exclusively pump even before their babies are born, they are by far the minority.  Instead, most women who exclusively pump fully intended to breastfeed and believe strongly in the benefit and value of breast milk.  When confronted with difficulties or situations that make breastfeeding difficult or impossible, these women turn to the use of a breast pump to ensure their babies receive breast milk.

The reasons women exclusively pump are extremely varied: the premature birth of a baby; the illness of the baby or the mother; problems with breastfeeding including such things as a poor latch, thrush, cleft palate, poor weight gain, a lack of milk (either real or perceived), and the early introduction of a bottle leading to nipple preference; and the separation of mother and baby including women who must return to work soon after the birth of their babies.  It is difficult to briefly discuss the many reasons women exclusively pump, but there do tend to be some similarities in most women's experiences.

Self-preservation is an often mentioned factor in the decision to exclusively pump.  New mothers are overwhelmed with emotions.  Hearing your baby scream every time you try to nurse, enduring extreme pain when nursing, or having a baby who is unable to get enough milk to satisfy her can add to an already tumultuous period.  Also, for women who are breastfeeding, bottle feeding to top up the baby's intake, and then pumping to maintain or increase supply while the baby learns to breastfeed or the mother is able to resolve difficulties she is experiencing, the cycle becomes overwhelming and, even with a strong support network, can make it extremely difficult to continue for very long.

Often a mother is not able to truly focus on mothering and enjoying her new baby, and instead, is solely focused on providing nourishment.  Life becomes consumed with feeding the baby, which can, in and of itself, add additional stress to the situation making breastfeeding all that more challenging.  The decision to exclusively pump can, for some women, bring back a balance in their lives and in their household and enable them to refocus on their babies while continuing to feed their babies breast milk.

The decision to exclusively pump is not made lightly.  The vast majority of women who decide to exclusively pump do work with lactation consultants before making their decision.  And although pumping and bottle feeding becomes the primary method of feeding, many women also continue to work on breastfeeding and solving problems that were making it difficult to breastfeed.

Yet, even though the hope of exclusive breastfeeding may still remain when a woman starts to pump, many women do get to a point where they no longer attempt to breastfeed.  Many struggle with the emotions they feel as a result of not breastfeeding and not having the breastfeeding relationship they thought they would have with their baby.  For many, the strong emotions felt when they do not see success breastfeeding are too difficult to continue reliving over and over again.  The disappointment and frustration often prove to be difficult to cope with on a continuing basis and as a result the decision to exclusively pump is made.  Working with a lactation consultant during these first few weeks of pumping is extremely important if a transition to exclusive breastfeeding is desired and an important time for lactation consultants to maintain close contact with women in order to assist them to breastfeed successfully.

Perhaps the strongest motivating factor for exclusively pumping is the strong belief that breast milk is the best way of nourishing a baby.  Most women who exclusively pump do not feel that formula is an option; it is something they would prefer not to feed their babies.  Therefore, when they are confronted with difficulties breastfeeding (or the inability to breastfeed), and are unable to resolve the situation, they turn to what is often in their minds, the only option available to them.  If the women who exlusively pump did not have this as an option, their babies would most likely be switched to formula.

Exclusively pumping is a viable alternative to formula feeding.  Knowledge is key, however.  A breast pump will not initiate or maintain a milk supply in the same manner as a baby.  Women who have been able to exclusively pump long-term tend to follow a similar set of guidelines.  Support and accurate information are extremely important indicators of success for women who are exclusively pumping.Exclusively Pumping Breast Milk by Stephanie Casemore

While breastfeeding is undoubtedly the best method of feeding a baby, the fact remains that certain circumstances make breastfeeding difficult, and sometimes, women decide to bottle feed.  The reasons for this decision and the emotions that surround the decision are varied, but in all cases, exclusively pumping can ensure that it is breast milk in the bottle instead of formula and provide more babies with the best start possible in life.

Stephanie Casemore is the author of Exclusively Pumping Breast Milk: a Guide to Providing Expressed Breast Milk for your Baby.  For more information on exclusively pumping or to purchase Stephanie's book, visit www.ExclusivelyPumping.com 

January 21st, 2009 • Comments: 0 • by Wendy • Breast is BestPumpingResources

Breastfeeding Protects You and Your Baby Against Disease

I think today's moms and moms-to-be are aware that benefits exist for themselves and their babies when they choose to breastfeed, however, I stumbled across this post from The Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog (one of my faves) which has an excerpt from a 2007 US Department of Health and Human Services meta-analysis with actual percentages - très cool (and I'm not even French!)

Breastfeeding reduces babies' risk of the following diseases as noted below:

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS):  36%
Type 1 Diabetes:  19-27%
Type 2 Diabetes:  39%
Leukemia (acute lymphocytic):  19%
Leukemia (acute myelogenous):  15%
Asthma:  27%
Gastrointestinal infections: 64%
Lower respiratory tract diseases:  72%
Atopic dermatitis:  42%
Acute otitis media:  50%

Breastfeeding reduces mothers' risk of the following diseases as noted below:

Type 2 Diabetes:  4-12%
Ovarian Cancer:  21%
Breast Cancer:  28%

OR if you want to see the flip side...it seems to have more impact:

Artificial feeding increases babies' risk of the following diseases as noted below:

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS): 56%
Type 1 Diabetes: 23-37%
Type 2 Diabetes: 64%
Leukemia (acute lymphocytic) : 23%
Leukemia (acute myelogenous): 18%
Asthma: 37%
Gastrointestinal infections: 178%
Lower respiratory tract diseases: 257%
Atopic dermatitis: 72%
Acute otitis media: 100%

Artificial feeding increases mothers' risk of the following diseases as noted below:

Type 2 Diabetes: 4-14%
Ovarian cancer: 27%
Breast cancer: 39%

You should be aware of the fact that this is NOT a complete list.  Breastfeeding protects against many more diseases and scientists continue to do research around this topic.  Enough said - BREAST IS BEST - always has been, always will be!

Do these numbers surprise you?  alarm you?  make you even happier that you are/did/plan to breastfeed(ing)?  Tell me what you think.

November 12th, 2008 • Comments: 0 • by Wendy • Breast is BestPumpingResources

The Benefits of Breastfeeding from A to Z

Alhtough I don't recall who first shared these words with me, I have been holding onto this little tidbit for years now.  It is a good reminder of the countless benefits of breastfeeding and therefore I thought I would now share it with you.

A - helps avoid allergies; immediately available; antibodies are passed from mother to baby through her milk; nutrients are more easily assimilated

B - creates close bonding between mother and child; reduces risk of breast cancer; contributes to optimal brain development; breastmilk doesn't stain clothing

C - comforting for baby; convenient; changes as baby grows; no constipation; colostrum is the perfect first food

D - digests more easily; cannot be duplicated; allows delay of solids; fewer dental problems (promotes proper jaw, teeth and speech development so there is less need for expensive orthodontics later)

E - easy; enjoyable; enhances relationship with your baby

F - fulfilling; always fresh; gives you a free hand for reading, etc; fewer health problems means a happier baby

G - giving of yourself; a great way of meeting emotional and physical needs; less garbage and other environmental wastes

H - breastfed babies are healthier; babies are meant to have human milk

I - inexpensive; immunity factors are only found in breastmilk

J - joyful experience; ready in a jiffy

K - spend less time in the kitchen (mixing, washing, sterlizing, warming...)

L - loving; you can join a fun mother's group like La Leche League; less spitting-up and stomach upsets

M - delays the return of postpartum menstruation (but not necessarily ovulation); something only a MOM can do for a baby

N - perfect balance of nutrients; night feedings are easier; natural

O - prevents overfeeding; less diaper odour; reduces the chance of obesity later in life

P - prolactin helps you feel motherly; helps prevent serious health problems; milk supply is pure

Q - quiet time together; best quality nutrition; pratically unlimited quantity

R - relaxing; less rashes for baby; recommended by the Canadian Pediatric Society, the World Health Organization and The Breastfeeding Committee for Canada; completes the reproductive cycle:  conception, pregnancy, birth, lactation

S - satisfies all the senses; superior infant food; saves time, effort money and resources

T - always the right temperature; travel is easier; time-tested through the ages

U - uniquely suited to each baby; contracts uterus helping to expel the placenta and control blood loss; universality of breastfeeding is a link with mothers all over the world

V - especially valuable in special situations (prematurity, jaundice); taste of breastmilk varies from skim to creamy during each feeding

W - helps mother's weight loss by using extra calories; no need to worry about baby's food supply; encourages normal weight gain for baby; called "white blood" because of the life-giving properties

X - x-tra cuddling builds strong ties of love

Y - it's yummy of course!

Z - these are only a few of the zillions of advantages to breastfeeding your baby!

I'd love to hear about any other ABC's of Breastfeeding that you can think of!

adapted by Sandra Yates, 2003, from the original by Mary Clarke, Andrea Meyer and Mary Jo Rodgers, Minot, ND, USA, with a few additions by yours truly, Wendy Armbruster Bell, 2008