Tag Archive | world breastfeeding week

The Big Latch On

The Big Latch On is an event where a bunch of mamas get together with their nurslings and try to get them latched on at a specified time for one minute. There are people there to count how many children are latched. It is a fun way to try to break a record and more importantly, raise breastfeeding awareness.

The event takes place today, August 3rd (sorry about the late post) and tomorrow, August 4th,  in various locations around the globe. The count takes place at 10:30 am, so you are encouraged to get there a half hour before to register and get settled. Check here to see if there is an event in your area.

The Big Latch On originated in New Zealand as an event to celebrate World Breastfeeding Week in 2005. It spread to the US, specifically Portland, Oregon in 2010. Last year, it spread to the rest of the US.

Last year 5687 women participated in the event! Let’s see if we can beat that number this year.

Will you be participating?

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World Breastfeeding Week-Understanding the Past, Planning for the Future

Today marks the start of World Breastfeeding Week. Yay! Be prepared for all things breastfeeding 🙂

World Breastfeeding Week started 20 years ago in an effort to educate and bring up the number of breastfeeders. It started with a campaign for the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative.

“The BFHI [Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative] assists hospitals in giving mothers the information, confidence, and skills needed to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding their babies or feeding formula safely, and gives special recognition to hospitals that have done so.” ~from BFHI USA

Here are those 10 steps (again from BFHI USA)

The Ten Steps To Successful Breastfeeding

The BFHI promotes, protects, and supports breastfeeding through The Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding for Hospitals, as outlined by UNICEF/WHO. The steps for the United States are:

1 – Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff.
2 – Train all health care staff in skills necessary to implement this policy.
3 – Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.
4 – Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth.
5 – Show mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation, even if they are separated from their infants.
6 – Give newborn infants no food or drink other than breastmilk, unless medically indicated.
7 – Practice “rooming in”– allow mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day.
8 – Encourage breastfeeding on demand.
9 – Give no pacifiers or artificial nipples to breastfeeding infants.
10 – Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or clinic

If you want to see the complete history of WBW and the topics focused on each year, go here

Why does breastfeeding get so much attention?

Some may wonder why breastfeeding needs a whole week dedicated to it, but breastfeeding women need support. Breastfeeding is a learned behavior. Yes, some mamas and babies take to it no problem, but for others it requires patience and help.

Formula is shoved in our faces day in and day out. I had coupons and whole cans of formula show up in my mail box when I was pregnant with Munchkin and I had never expressed an interest in using formula. There are ads everywhere touting that formula is just what your baby needs.

Formula isn’t horrible (and neither are the mamas who choose to feed it), but the formula companies, well, they are rather horrible. New mamas are very susceptible to doubts. All those hormones flying around, not getting enough sleep, trying to sync with the new baby and balance the rest of life, all wear on a mama. Formula companies take advantage of this.

This is where breastfeeding support comes in. When mamas are experiencing these doubts, they need breastfeeding advocates there to support them. No offense meant to formula feeding mamas, but you haven’t experienced it. When I was having problems with Munchkin, I would get advice all the time from formula feeding mamas telling me to just give formula . That wasn’t the advice I wanted or needed.

Breastfeeding needs to be seen as normal as formula or bottle feeding. It is the biologically normal way of feeding our children. Formula is artificial, not normal. A baby’s GI system isn’t meant to digest artificial ingredients. Heck, our systems as adults aren’t designed to digest them either.

Breastmilk provides our babies with everything they need. It is chock full of vitamins, minerals, fats, protein, antibodies, and everything else their little bodies require for growing.

Did you know that if/when your baby is exposed to an illness that your baby’s body communicates with your body via mouth to nipple? By the next feeding, your body is already developing antibodies for them. Here is a really interesting article by Dr Jack Newman on antibodies in breastmilk.

Did you know that the composition of breastmilk changes according to your baby’s needs? The milk your newborn gets is different from the milk your infant gets, is different from the milk you toddler gets. Milk changes from the beginning of a feed to the end of a feed. The first bit of milk contains more water to quench thirst and then it becomes fattier to satiate hunger. Breastmilk also changes in composition from morning to night. You produce less at night, but it is higher in fat content to help baby sleep. It also produces sleep inducing hormones.

Just because baby is cranky and wants to nurse frequently does not mean you aren’t producing enough milk. Babies go through growth spurts where they nurse more to tell your body to produce more milk. Babies also go through a period at the end of the day where they are cranky. They want to be held and to nurse almost constantly. They are taking in milk, but it is also for comfort and to help them unwind from all the stimulation of the day. The percentage of women who actually can’t breastfeed or don’t produce enough milk (due to things like IGT and PCOS) is actually pretty small. There are many places to get help if you are having problems, all you have to do is ask 🙂

Breastmilk is seriously amazing. I have a combined lactating experience of 35 months (between both boys) and I am still amazed that my body is responsible for growing and nourishing living beings.

Making informed decisions is the most important thing you can do for children and yourself. Make sure you have all the information. Don’t take just one person’s word for it. Your pediatrician/family dr/OB/GYN can’t possibly know everything there is to know about everything. There is a lot of misinformation out there, on most topics. Educate yourself as much as you can.

Remember, just because you didn’t/couldn’t breastfeed one baby, doesn’t mean you won’t be able to do so with the next.

We need to Understand our Past so that we can Plan for our Future.

 

I linked up with the Breastfeeding Blog Hop this week. (see patch to the right) It is now being hosted by the wonderful ladies at Sisters N’ Cloth. Go check them out and read some of the other blog hop participants blogs as well. 

Wordless Wednesday : My breastfeeding pics

Just a few pictures to celebrate the week!

My Breastfeeding Journey part 1

My little Munchkin, only a few weeks old.

In honor of World Breastfeeding Week, I am going to try to post something breastfeeding related each day. Today I am going to start with mine and Munchkin’s breastfeeding experience.

Before Munchkin arrived, I tried to prepare myself as best I could. I read a bunch of pregnancy books and went to a birthing class. I read a breastfeeding book and attended a class. Hubby and I discussed our parenting philosophies and we were pretty much on the same page. We didn’t see anything wrong with “cry it out” or spanking because that’s how our parents did it.  Our children were never going to sleep in bed with us. . . Of course that all went out the window as soon as Munchkin made it earthside. There was no way in hell I was letting this precious little baby cry it out or sleep by himself.

I can’t remember exactly what made me decide to breastfeed. My sisters and I weren’t breastfed and didn’t know anyone who did. It was just something I was going to do because it was healthy for the baby and it was free. 😉

While at the hospital, Munchkin seemed to be nursing well. He was producing wet and messy diapers. They sent us home Christmas day(Thursday). The following day I woke up to incredibly swollen breasts. My milk had come in over night. Munchkin would not nurse. He’d throw himself back away from my breasts screaming. It was awful. I called the dr’s office to make an appointment for Munchkin. I told them he wasn’t nursing and he hadn’t had a poopy diaper since we got home. They said it was fine!? I had to insist on a Saturday morning appointment. When I went in, the pediatrician who saw Munchkin(not the one we were going to see on a regular basis) freaked because he had lost too much weight. He freaked us out and sent us back to the hospital. I won’t get into the details (you can read them here), but it was a very traumatic 4 days for everyone. We didn’t get much support in the breastfeeding department. We did have a very nice hospital lactation consultant, but she had other patients to see and couldn’t devote much time to us. She did get us a pump and showed me how to use it.

Once we got home, I tried and tried to get Munchkin to latch and for a while the only way he would latch is if he was half asleep. This was only on occasion and eventually he stopped doing that too. I became an exclusive pumper. I hated it. I was determined to give Munchkin breast milk though so I stuck it out. I made it to 16 months and then my supply dried up, which I later found out was due to the fact that I had become pregnant. 🙂

I wouldn’t have made it all those months without the support of my husband. He really was great through the whole ordeal. The first 6 weeks I was in agony every time I pumped. My nipples were cracked and sore. The first 12 weeks, I pumped every 2 hours around the clock. Then I went to every 3 -4 hours. I pumped and pumped and pumped. . . Some days it felt like that is all I did. I struggled to keep my supply up. I had to supplement with formula for the first 2 months. You know the expression “Don’t cry over spilled milk”? Well I definitely cried when I spilled, which did happen a few times. I worked so hard to pump what I could.

Somewhere in there I discovered hands free pumping. I was finally able to interact with Munchkin while I pumped. I could also eat, drink, use the computer, well you get the idea. This also resulted in my supply increasing. I was able to relax while I pumped and I wasn’t sitting there watching the clock.

I found a Yahoo! group called Pump Moms. They were an incredible resource for me. I learned so much from those women. One of my favorite things I learned about is a fantastic book called Mother Food by Hilary Jacobson. It is all about diet, herbs and lactation and your health. I absorbed so much information from that book and highly recommend it to any breastfeeding mama.

I finally joined La Leche League when Munchkin was 10 months old. I think that is my only regret, that I didn’t join them sooner. Like waaay sooner. I wish I had joined before Munchkin had been born. Then I would have had a support system when I ran into problems. Hindsight is 20/20 right?

The up side to all of this is that I learned an amazing amount of information about lactation, supply, breastfeeding and all the issues that can go along with it. It made me want to pursue becoming a La Leche League leader and a lactation consultant. I want to be able to help other women breastfeed whether they can afford it or not. So this is the next task on my list.