May 27th, 2009 • Comments: 0 • by Wendy • PumpingResources

Why Does My Expressed Breastmilk Smell Bad?


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I recently came across this fantastic resource on the Lansinoh website and wanted to share it with you!

"In very rare cases, some mothers who have meticulously expressed and frozen their milk for later use have discovered to their dismay that all their frozen milk has turned rancid.  This happens when a mother produces milk that is high in lipase, the enzyme that breaks down fat in the milk. Depending upon the level of lipase in her milk, some mothers notice this rancid smell after their milk has cooled in the refrigerator; others, notice it only after the milk has been frozen for a while.  Thankfully this doesn’t happen often, and this can be prevented. 
a freezer full of breastmilk
It is suggested that every mother who is planning to freeze her milk should freeze some test batches of milk and thaw it out after a week or so to be sure it has not become rancid.  If the mother finds that after freezing and thawing her milk that it has a rancid smell, she can prevent this from occurring in the future by heating her expressed milk to a scald right after collecting it and then quickly cooling and freezing it.  Scalding inactivates the lipase.  Once the milk has acquired the rancid smell, however, treating the milk will not help.  It is not known whether or not this milk is safe for the baby however, most babies refuse it because of the taste."

You can find more information on this subject on the KellyMom website.  She states that the milk is in fact NOT harmful to your baby, but the stronger the taste, the more likely that he or she will refuse it.

Have you ever found that your breastmilk "turned" after refrigerating or freezing?  If so, did you throw it out or did your baby drink it anyways?  I never encountered this personally, however I would love to hear your stories!  Please drop me a comment below.

{"Feeling More Secure with My Breastmilk Stash!" by Diana Schnuth is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0}

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 

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 7th, 2009 • Comments: 0 • by Melanie • Health & WellnessResources

Guest Post: Pre and Postnatal Fitness - Helping You Keep Your Resolution

Birds of a Feather Fly Better When They Stick Together - by Melanie Osmack

All of us can exercise on our own. So why don’t most of us do it? And if we do, why do most of us eventually stop?

Exercise psychology is a vast and complex area of study. Through research, experts have found that there are a variety of factors that effect exercise adherence. After almost 20 years in the fitness industry and six years specializing in pre and postnatal fitness, I have learned that a key factor is exercising in a group. Here are the top five reasons to exercise in a group:

You’ll work harder

Exercising in a group is energizing! Most people work an average of 20 per cent harder in a group or with a trainer than when on their own.

You’ll stick to it and so will your baby

People who attend fitness classes or play team sports are 50 per cent more likely to be lifelong exercisers. The children of lifelong exercisers are much more likely to be active themselves.

It’s good for your mental health

Exercise, whether alone or in a group, helps to prevent and manage depression. It clears our minds and releases our natural mood enhancers called endorphins. However, research shows that the mental health benefits are significantly greater when exercising with a supportive group of ‘like people.’ This is especially true for pregnant women and new mothers.

It’s efficient

Women who attend pre or postnatal specific fitness classes often praise the multiple benefits. Not only do they get a great workout, they also get to build relationships with other moms and moms-to-be, learn about their bodies, and gather helpful community information.

It’s good for your baby

While you are pregnant, you will begin to see the value of creating a support network. Having a community means having the support you need to be the best mom you can be. After baby arrives, he’ll benefit from the sights and sounds of coming with you to class. He’ll try to track your movements with his eyes and move with the music. He’ll even grow to interact with the other babies. After a while you’ll notice that attending class has become part of his routine too.

So get out there and find a group fitness class that works for you. You’ll be glad you did!

Melanie Osmack is the founder of Fit 4 Two® Pre and Postnatal Fitness, a BCRPA Registered Group Fitness Instructor/Personal Trainer and mom of two. You can contact her at melanie@fit4two.ca