March 24th, 2009 • Comments: 0 • by Wendy • Breast is BestResources

How to Reduce the Risk of SIDS

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My husband is a worse worry wart than I am (he is sooo going to be in trouble when our girls become teenagers and start bringing the boys home).  One of his biggest worries when our girls were little was SIDS - Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.  Even though we tried to do all the right 'stuff' to reduce the risk - we are non-smokers and our house is smoke-free (check); we had very healthy pregnancies (check); we put our babies to sleep on their backs or sides (check); we breastfed (check); we used a baby sleeping bag and kept the babies' room at an appropriate temperature monitored by a thermometer (check).  We did what we could but of course we still worried.

The good news is, there are many, many more things you can do to reduce the chance of your baby dying of SIDS.  Here is a great complilation from Dr.Sears outlining the latest research on SIDS reduction - so you can perhaps worry just a teensy weensy bit less.  :-)

Drop a comment below with any questions or comments.  We love to hear from you!

March 2nd, 2009 • Comments: 0 • by Wendy • Breast is BestResources

The Facts about Environmental Contaminants in Breastmilk

"Contaminants are in breastmilk, but that doesn't mean stop nursing, it means stop polluting. That is the only real workable solution."  Steingraber, S. (2001). Having Faith: an Ecologist's Journey to Motherhood. New York: Perseus Publishing.

I'm always taken aback by people/corporations/doctors/governments that focus on the end-result of an issue instead of what caused it in the first place.  I will liken it to the medical practice of treating symptoms instead of finding out what is causing said symptoms and addressing that.  Take, for example, a person that suffers from chronic headaches.  Don't just give him/her a pain killer, rather FIND OUT why he/she is getting the headaches in the first place!  It could be a sensitivity to something they are eating or something in their environment, eyestrain, stress, dehydration, the possibilities are endless!  And yet, people seem to be OK settling for the "quick fix" - usually drugs.  It is nothing but a bandaid.  Maybe they don't know that they have other choices?

So the formula companies and other 'questionable parties' spearhead these studies about toxins in breastmilk while conveniently skirting around the fact that there are toxins in pretty much everything on earth INCLUDING FORMULA.  Unfortunately, it is an example of the classic scare tactic that is so commonplace in American culture today - another desperate attempt to market their product to the masses.  Their message?  "Don't breastfeed!  You will poison your baby!  Feed your baby formula!  Formula is safe!"

Sidebar:  Did you know that if you Google "help with breastfeeding" or "breastfeeding problems" the top (sponsored) search results are links to formula companies' websites? grrr....

I believe that the information that should instead be shared as a result of these studies and many others is, "The earth is polluted, so much so, that there are toxins in everything from soup to nuts including breastmilk AND formula.  What are we going to do to stop the pollution?"

Tell me what you think.

February 7th, 2009 • Comments: 0 • by Wendy • Breast is Best

Mr Rogers Talks About Breastfeeding

Thank you to Tanya Lieberman over at The Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog once again for tracking down such great material!  I don't know how you do it but I sure am glad you do!

I have a new-found respect for Mr Rogers after watching the elusive "Episode 364", (originally aired in 1968 - the show's first season) where he discusses how baby animals and human babies drink their mother's milk.  I stand corrected on the date of this episode; it was originally aired in 1984.  Thank you "MarFv"!  The clip includes wonderfully detailed footage of moms nursing their babies that ironically would most certainly be pulled from Facebook today.  Apparently Mr Rogers was a heckuva lot more open-minded and forward-thinking over 41 years ago, than a good percentage of people today.

Ever since I saw that clip I have been obsessed with finding out more about the much-parodied Fred Rogers and his "Neighbourhood".  I think I'm in love.  Mr Rogers and the Neighborhood Trolley

Fred Rogers wrote every episode as well as composed all the music for every one of his "Neigborhood" shows.  He regularly dealt with many issues that other children's programs glossed-over like divorce, war, competition, anger and death.  He was concerned with teaching children to love themselves and others.  In fact, research confirms that 'Mister Rogers Neighborhood' can help children develop the important skills they need for learning in and out of school.  How many of today's programs would even come close to this?  I think I'll be buying some DVD's for my girls to watch. 

Here are some other little-known facts (at least to me) about the famed Mr Rogers:  He was a vegetarian that swam every morning and neither drank or smoked.  'Mr Rogers Neighbourhood' had no commercials when it was on the air, running for 28 minutes solid.  He was an ordained Presbyterian minister.  One of his heroes was cellist Yo-Yo Ma whom appeared as a guest on his show.  'Mr Rogers Neighborhood' won four Emmy Awards and Fred Rogers won a 5th for Lifetime Achievement in 1997.  Fred Rogers was cited as one of the most prominent witnesses influencing the Supreme Court decison in the case Sony Corporation of America v. Universal City Studios, Inc (Betamax v. VCR).  He held 40 honorary degrees and won numerous awards.

Fred Rogers died on February 27, 2003 from stomach cancer, shortly before his 75th birthday.  'Mr Rogers Neighbourhood' aired for over 33 years (that's 998 episodes - the longest running program on PBS).

"Can you say 'breastfeeding'?  I knew you could."  (Sorry I couldn't resist).

Please share any special stories you have about 'Mr Rogers Neighborhood' and its beloved creator.  I'd love to hear more!

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 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