Lactation Services

November 15, 2010

I offer breastfeeding help to families in Yamhill & Marion Counties. As an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) I am able to offer assistance to breastfeeding mothers who have questions concerning latch, positioning, supply, breastfeeding when returning to work or school and a variety of other obstacles. I have provided breastfeeding counseling for adoptive mothers, mothers of twins, and many mothers transitioning from pumping-nipple shields-bottle feeding back to skin to skin breastfeeding.

I travel to Salem, McMinnville, Dayton, Dundee and Hopewell Oregon to support breastfeeding families. If you have questions about my services or fees I can be contacted through this blog or my website.

Epidurals

November 12, 2010

A lot of the breastfeeding counseling that I do is for families who have had a hospital birth. It is rare that I work with mothers who choose to have their babies at home. I do not think this is a coincidence. I believe that most breastfeeding problems, like most birth issues are caused by high intervention births. I believe that many of these barriers can be easily remedied with preventative, holistic care.

Many mothers that I talk to prenatally are planning hospital births and they are often planning an epidural. Family & friends frequently encourage epidurals, joking with mothers as they doubt their abilities to handle labor. It is not supportive for people to question a mother’s ability to birth her baby. Although well-meaning family may believe that they are saving a woman from experiencing pain, it can often feel as though they are truly questioning her parenting abilities from the very beginning. After all, what better experience to prepare a woman to parent than birth. She will encounter lows, highs, love and the amazing empowerment that comes from thinking that she can’t go any further, then going there and becoming a mother.

The epidural is a domino effect consisting of a mother losing the empowering experience of a natural birth and often followed by difficulties with breastfeeding. Epidurals do lead to many interventions including cesarean sections. Epidurals affect a mother’s ability to be able to successfully breastfeed her child and shorten the duration of the breastfeeding relationship.

I do form my opinions from anecdotal experiences of hundreds of mothers that I have talked to concerning their birth and breastfeeding experience and I am also biased as I have experienced the wonder of birthing two of my babes at home. However, the effect of epidurals on women, babies, and their breastfeeding relationship is also well-documented.

In 2006, The International Breastfeeding Journal published a study which found that women who had epidurals were less likely to breastfeed in the first few days after birth and those who did were more likely to stop nursing within the first 6 months when compared to mothers who did not receive an epidural. Other studies have also shown a link between epidurals and an infant’s ability to organize suckling properly.

Cesareans typically create barriers to breastfeeding as well. Breastfeeding after a c-section will be another post topic. Cesareans often create challenges to successful breastfeeding due to separation of mom and babe, medication, delayed mature milk (which isn’t necessarily an issue, but will be in the hospital), difficulty with comfortable positioning for breastfeeding during recovery and a variety of other reasons. I am mentioning how a cesarean can affect breastfeeding in this post as epidurals can also lead to cesarean sections which I do not feel a lot of mothers are told in an open honest discussion with their caregiver about true informed choice.

In 1993 researchers began to study the effects of epidurals on first time mothers. However, this trial had to be ceased as the cesarean rate was so great, it was considered unethical to continue. Before discontinuing the study, they found increased rates of cesarean section to be 50% at 2cm, 33% at 3cm, and 26% at 4cm dilation. Risks do appear to lower as a mother reaches 5cm dilation. However, it is important to remember that the risk of cesarean is only lowered in correlation to the epidural, not overall.

I encourage mothers who plan to breastfeed their babies to research their birth options thoroughly. If you are expecting a baby and have any questions about how your birth plan might be related to your breastfeeding goals I would be happy to answer any that I can.

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Resources
Midwifery and Childbirth in America by Judith Rooks
International Breastfeeding Journal
http://www.childbirth.org/articles/episec.html
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/12/061211092622.htm
http://aamishop.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=17&products_id=256

Risks of Formula

November 7, 2010


Risks of Formula to Baby

asthma
allergies
eczema
diabetes (juvenile & adult)
some childhood cancers
crohn’s disease
colitis
necrotizing enterocolitis
obesity
cardiac disease
poorer cognitive development
poorer visual development


Risks of Formula to Mother

breast cancer
uterine cancer
ovarian cancer
adult onset diabetes
overweight
osteoporosis
iron deficiency
loss of empowering effect of successful breastfeeding

~per Dr. Jack Newman’s Visual Guide to Breastfeeding
I HIGHLY recommend this video to both parents & professionals.
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Postpartum Mental Health

November 5, 2010

First of all, I entitled this post ‘Postpartum Mental Health’ as I get tired of only hearing about postpartum depression. There is a wide range of perinatal mental health issues that are not only overlooked, but sometimes unknown to a new mom. A mother who is suffering from postpartum anxiety or obsessive-compulsive disorder might not realize that she may be dealing with a hormone-related temporary issue.

I have been thinking about this subject a lot lately as I have been asked to do a presentation for work and I have also been inspired by a great article in the Sept-Oct 2010 issue of Mothering magazine entitled ‘Breastfeeding Beats the Blues,” by Kathleen A. Kendall Tackett.

After doing a limited amount of research I came across some information that I wanted to share:

“A recent review of 49 studies found that rates of depression are lower in breastfeeding mothers than in their non-breastfeeding counterparts, and that formula feeding is a risk factor for depression.” ~Kathleen A. Kendall-Tackett (bibliography of study found in Mothering magazine)

Breastfeeding can aid in recovery from PPD and protect the bond between mamas & babes as it is an established reason for mom to continue to bond, connect with, look at, and touch her baby. This is vital not only for bonding and mental health, but also social-emotional development.

Three different studies in the latest issue (Sept-Oct 2010) of Mothering magazine have revealed that breastfeeding mothers get more sleep than formula feeding mothers and that quantity of sleep contributes to their positive mental health.
Co-Sleeping can be a way to get plenty of rest while breastfeeding (I recommend the book Sleeping With Your Baby by James McKenna, PhD)

Breastfeeding is a way for a new mom to feel validated as she continues to care for her child and meet their most important needs even when she is feeling down.

Postpartum Support International has a good overview on the different types of perinatal mood disorders. http://www.postpartum.net/Get-the-Facts.aspx

There are a variety of ways to offer support to a breastfeeding mother who might be suffering from postpartum depression or a similar illness. Often it is a good idea for 1-2 of mom’s support team to be aware of the symptoms of perinatal mood disorders so that they can assist the mother with getting any help that she needs.