Many new mothers expect that breastfeeding will go smoothly from the moment baby first latches on. And for some women this is true. For the majority of new mothers and babies there is a learning curve that takes from 4-6 weeks. ( think how long it would take you to learn to ride a unicycle, or juggle, or learn a new skill).
This is a useful webpage that lists some fo what you can expect in the early weeks of breastfeeding and how to set yourself up for success: practice, practice, practice, practice, a good support system, and knowing when to ask for help.
Leading researcher Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn who has brought mindfulness training to address issues of chronic pain and stress, talks here about how important it is to respond to your baby when your baby cries. He acknowledges how stressful parenting can be and how if you find yourself thinking that you are going to teach baby a lesson, that some extra support for the caregiver may be necessary (think family, friends, doulas…)
He states categorically that you can not spoil a baby (something that many parents fear) and that the best way to comfort a baby is by being with them.
Have a look.
We are so fortunate in the West to have access to safe motherhood– but this is sadly not the case for the vast majority of women who live in developing countries, ( or those in our own countries for that matter, who don’t have access to good primary health care) . Check out this new documentary on maternal mortality and what you can do to support improvements in maternal health.
Check out this video that quotes moms and dads on what they would have wanted to know about breastfeeding. Set to some great music!
Post partum depression is not uncommon. In fact many women experience it . Check out this useful site on post partum depression. There are resources for new moms, their partners and their care providers. The more we talk about post partum depression, the easier it will be to get support without stigma. I was so struck when one of my clients once told me how she used to get together with a group of new moms every week. She did this for 6 months and never once dared to share her feelings and experiences of post partum depression. She finally joined a support group and was shocked to see that another one of the moms whom she regularly socialized with was also there. What can we do as a society to make it safe for women to share their experiences and get the support they need and deserve?
Check out http://postpartumprogress.typepad.com/
So many of my recent clients have, at the advice of the hospitals their babies were born at, supplemented with formula. This was in spite of their determination to exclusively breastfeed. Surprising how many hospital staff continue to push formula even when their hallways are plastered with posters about the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding and the fact that babies should not be supplemented with formula unless it is medically necessary. So very frustrating. My clients were fortunately able to continue with breastfeeding but it took a tremendous amount of perseverance and ability to challenge the medical system. Here is a list of what you can do to boost your confidence before your baby has arrived…. setting up a strong social network can be critical in reaching your goals!
Check out :
I was disappointed to read today that there are several researchers who have published an article calling the World Health Organization’s recommendation that babies be exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months of their lives and up to 2 years and above. Three of the four researchers as it turns out are also on the payroll of the baby formula and baby food industry. The article does concede that there are higher health risks for babies who are given formula instead of breast milk. They are arguing for earlier introduction of solids. ( go to http://www.infactcanada.ca/whatsnew/who-recommendations-attack.html for more information) The article in question can be found http://www.bmj.com/cgi/doi/10.1136/bmj.c5955.. What the researchers DON’T say is that their conclusions are not based on a systematic review of the evidence, nor is their article based on new evidence. The WHO policy guidelines are based on a review of 3000 studies.
The World Health Recommendations response includes the following comments:
The paper in this week’s BMJ is not the result of a systematic review. The latest systematic review on this issue available in the Cochrane Library was published in 2009 (“Optimal duration of exclusive breastfeeding (Review)”, Kramer MS, Kakuma R. The Cochrane Library 2009, Issue 4). It included studies in developed and developing countries and its findings are supportive of the current WHO recommendations.
It found that the results of two controlled trials and 18 other studies suggest that exclusive breastfeeding (which means that the infant should have only breast milk, and no other foods or liquids) for 6 months has several advantages over exclusive breastfeeding for 3-4 months followed by mixed breastfeeding. These advantages include a lower risk of gastrointestinal infection for the baby, more rapid maternal weight loss after birth, and delayed return of menstrual periods. No reduced risks of other infections or of allergic diseases have been demonstrated. No adverse effects on growth have been documented with exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months, but a reduced level of iron has been observed in developing-country settings.”