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Breast Pumping: The Alternative Feeding Option

by Wendy Williamson

Breastfeeding has been a part of our culture since human existence, so why does it seem so difficult? Most soon-to-be-moms fantasize about the sweet, quiet moments that they will share with their precious bundle as they suckle at her breast, but moments after birth they find that the breastfeeding experience does not come as natural as was thought, but is a learning experience. Due to excruciating, long labors; post-partum depression; decisions to return back to work and many other problems that mothers are facing, some are turning to other feeding options.

breast-pumping-the-alternative-feeding-option.jpgIs this such a bad decision? Perhaps 30 or 40 years ago, when the fad of breastfeeding was not in, the only option was to use formula. However, we are very fortunate to have many feeding options to keep our beautiful newborns healthy, plump and happy: breastfeeding, formula, exclusive pumping, supplementing breast milk, supplementing formula, and many other combinations. But, why is it that we are instantly, right after the birth of our newborn, only given two options (breastfeeding and formula)? It is very rare for someone in our society, especially the medical community, to give you the option to pump, let alone give you a good explanation of how it works, the advantages and disadvantages, or recommend a good pump to use.

Today, our society pressures mothers to breastfeed because of the many benefits that have been proven. This pressure entails bringing baby to breast exclusively, and though this is an incredible way to create bonding with your baby while providing the best milk for your little one, this pressure can be detrimental to some mothers. Guilt, depression, inadequacy, anger, and many other emotions are felt by many mothers who feel this pressure, but are unable to successfully complete the beautiful fantasy of rocking quietly in a serene environment as baby suckles at a contented mother’s breast. Yet, instead of admitting that bringing baby to breast exclusively is not for every mother, and helping those discover the many other options, we impatiently thrust a can of formula in the confused mother’s arms.

Most of these mothers do not selfishly decide that their newly born child just does not deserve their time and sacrifice of bringing the baby to breast, it is usually quite the contrary. There are numerous reasons why a mother is unable to successfully bring baby to breast exclusively:

  • baby is not nursing well (sleepy, low blood sugar, jaundice);
  • baby is not able to nurse at all (premature, illness of mom or baby);
  • mom or baby has surgery;
  • postpartum depression.

And these are only a few of the many reasons that a mother is not capable of bringing baby to breast exclusively.

How many of these mothers are informed that they can still give their sweet babies their own perfect milk right from mom? Pumping has actually been around since the late 1700’s, with a glass bowl and brass syringe. Yet, the pumps of eras past are put to shame by the incredible breast pumps of today. You can choose from many different brands, styles, and usage requirements. Though it is not one of the first thoughts that come into one’s head when thinking of feeding options, there are many moms who breast pump exclusively, and are very proud of it.

There are many opponents of breast pumping who may inform others of the disadvantages, such as finding hours a day to do the pumping, risk of decreasing milk, or inconvenience of making and warming bottles. Yet, many mothers who find that the only way to provide their own milk to their infants is by breast pumping would argue that, although these are problems that need to sometimes be overcome, there are still many more benefits.

One benefit may include the emotional stability that some mothers experience when others are able to feed the baby while they get some extra sleep, the confidence of actually seeing how much milk the baby is consuming, or not becoming frustrated from latch-on problems, sore nipples, and biting. Another benefit is the financial cost, which is pretty minimal compared to the excessive prices of baby formula. Some babies may benefit from the length of time mothers will continue to pump as opposed to bringing baby to breast exclusively. Though 70% of mothers begin to breastfeed their baby in the hospital, only 36% continue to breastfeed their baby by 6 months, according to a study conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. This decrease can be contributed to mothers returning to work, the desire to begin to sleep longer periods of time, and many other reasons. However, because of the many benefits pumping moms encounter, these are also some of the reasons that they are able to continue to give their babies breast milk longer. One of the most important reasons to breast pump is the ability to help others in need. Many mothers who become experienced at pumping find that they are able to pump far more milk than their baby is consuming. For these fortunate mothers, they are able to share their milk with the milk banks across the U.S., which pasteurize and distribute the milk to sick and premature babies. This is one of the most satisfying and heart-felt advantages of breast pumping.

So, again, with the great advantages of breast pumping, why are we not promoting it as a major feeding option? We need to take it upon ourselves to educate others of the incredible benefits of breast pumping. Some very simple things that mothers can do to assist with breast pumping becoming a feeding option can be talking with other mothers, informing pregnant women about breast pumping as a feeding option, or asking your OB/GYN or baby’s pediatrician about their views of breast pumping. Those dedicated to making breast pumping a feeding option may contact government officials or charities to assist new mothers with funding for breast pumps, learn more and educate others about the wonderful services of breast milk banks, or get involved with educating the medical community about breast pumping and the benefits to both baby and mother.

One day, hopefully in the near future, mothers will be asked how they feed their baby, and instead of receiving strange looks when they profess that they exclusively pump, they will be greeted with a welcoming, “So do I! What type of pump do you use?”

About the Author:
Wendy Williamson has pumped exclusively for each of her children. Gabrielle, the last of three babies, received breast milk that was exclusively pumped for over a year. Thoughts of charity and giving pre-occupied Wendy for many years until she discovered breast pumping as her passion. She is determined to help other mothers realize the benefits of breast pumping for both baby and MOTHER, and hopes to help by creating a greater awareness of donating breast milk and donating breast pumps to mothers wanting to provide their own precious breast milk to their pre-mature or ill baby. More information on breast pumping can be found at her website,
www.gotbreastpump.com


What is Quickening?

One of the most exciting parts of the second trimester is feeling your baby move. Women, both new and repeat moms-to-be, wait anxiously for the first movements that they feel in their belly, coming from their baby. These first movements are often referred to as quickening.

In actuality, your baby begins wiggling and moving by the 8th or 9th week of pregnancy. However, he is too small for you to feel at this point. However as he gets bigger he starts to kick the walls of your uterus as he moves around. This can happen as early as the 14th week of pregnancy, normally for women in their second pregnancy or beyond, and as late as the 26th week of pregnancy for women who are in their first pregnancy or might be a little overweight.

Quickening is often explained away as gas bubbles, especially by first time moms who aren’t sure what it should feel like. Quickening may also feel like a woman has butterflies in her stomach, flying around, or someone inside, tapping on their uterus. Eventually however the kicks, punches, and elbows will become obvious to even first time moms-to-be, and the movements will start to come with more regularity than they have in the past.

Remember that once you feel the quickening, you will probably be able to feel it everyday, however some days it may not be as often or as strong as others. If you want to get your baby active, it is often suggested that you drink a big glass of orange juice and lay down to wait for your baby to move. When you are up moving around, it often rocks your baby to sleep, so when you stop moving, he is able to wake up and start moving on his own.

If you start to feel what you think is quickening, but has a definite pattern, like a tap every five to ten seconds, it could be that your baby has the hiccups! Hiccups, like the quickening are a sure sign that your baby is growing and is healthy inside your belly.


Loose Stools

What is the opposite of constipation? Loose stools are little talked about, but quite common part of pregnancy. Pregnant women everywhere will complain about how constipated they are, but they rarely mention when they are having loose stools, either out of relief, or embarrassment.

Why do some women have loose stools? In most pregnancies, women will experience times of both constipation and diarrhea. Loose stools are obviously easier to tolerate, considering the condition doesn’t cause pain and hemorrhoids or lead to hours sitting on the toilet trying to get relief.

Loose stools in pregnancy can symbolize different things at different times. During early pregnancy, it can be a sign you are pregnant, as your uterus starts to grow and pushes out the waste. It can also be caused by your prenatal vitamin, just as constipation can be caused by the prenatal vitamin. All pregnancies and women are different.

Loose stools after the 37th week of pregnancy can signify the onset of labor. As your baby shifts and begins to drop, taking pressure off of your intestines and colon, you may begin experiencing diarrhea. It doesn’t mean labor will start that day, but it is a good sign that labor will start soon!

Some people even complain of smelly stools while pregnant. This can be caused by hormone changes and the food you eat, but it might also be caused by a virus. If you have smelly stools you should talk to your doctor. Likewise, while some women will have diarrhea throughout their entire pregnancies, if you are bothered by it, bring it up to your care provider and see if they have any options for you.


When Does Your Body Start Producing Breast Milk?

Breastfeeding is an amazing, natural occurrence that women have been practicing since the beginning of time as a way to feed their babies. A woman’s breasts have milk glands in them which are activated by pregnancy and begin the process of producing breast milk almost as soon as a woman gets pregnant.

when-does-your-body-start-producing-breastmilk.jpgOne of the early signs of pregnancy is sore, painful breasts. For many women they will notice a dramatic increase in the size of their breasts early in the first trimester. The milk glands are a cluster of cells high up in your breast. When you have your baby and deliver the placenta, the estrogen and progesterone levels in your body decrease and the hormone prolactin will rise signaling these glands to produce and to send milk down to milk ducts.

However, some people report leakage from the areola prior to delivery of their baby. This yellowish leakage is called colostrum and can begin as early as the second trimester for some women, and not till after delivery for others. The colostrum is the first food your baby will get and the most important as it is full of antibodies to help protect and strengthen your baby’s immune system.

So when does your body actually start producing milk? It just depends on how you look at it. What do you consider the first step in production? If it is when the glands are triggered to start their job it is early in the first trimester. If it is when you first notice colostrum then it would occur at whatever point your body started leaking it, possibly in the second trimester, often not till birth. If it is when the white milk starts to flow then it happens within your baby’s first 72 hours of life. Have no fear though. Breasts were made for the sole purpose of feeding our children and in most cases will do their job and the milk will come when it is needed the most.


Unusual Baby Names – A Popular Trend

Unusual Baby NamesIf you’ve heard of celebrities giving birth lately, you’ve probably noticed that most of the names they decide to call their babies are unusual, and at times unpronounceable. A lot of celebrities take pride in their children’s unusual baby names. Says actress and Dancing With the Stars alum Brooke Burke to Celebrity Babies in a recent interview: “You know us celebrities, we gotta do all the weird names!”

Unusual baby names are given for many reasons: they may be named in honor of a relative with an unusual name too, may be given to ensure originality, to promote an independent, free-thinking child, and because the parents themselves just simply love the name Kal-El (Nicholas Cage’s son).

Think your ready to stick an uncommon moniker on your child (and ready to face their wrath later on in life)? Here are some names to get you started:

20 Unusual Celebrity Baby Names and Their Celebrity Parent:

  • Jermajesty – Jermaine Jackson
  • Pilot Inspektor – Earl star Jason Lee.
  • Sage Moonblood – Sylvester Stallone.
  • Audio Science – Shannyn Sossamon
  • Moxie Crimefighter – Penn Jillette
  • Petal Blossom Rainbow – Jamie Oliver
  • Poppy Honey – Jamie Oliver
  • Daisy Boo – Jamie Oliver (had to include all three kids!)
  • Bronx Mowgli – Ashlee Simpson and Pete Wentz
  • Shaya Braven – Brooke Burke herself and David Charvet
  • Neriah – Brook Burke and David Charvet
  • Brawley King – Nick Nolte
  • Cedella – Bob Marley
  • Destry – Steven Spielberg and Kate Capshaw
  • Duncan Zowie Heywood Jones – David Bowie
  • Fifi Trixibelle – Bob Gerdorf and Paula Yates
  • Seraphina – Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck
  • Gaia Romilly Wise – Emma Thompson and Greg Wise
  • Kyd – David Duchovny and Tea Leoni
  • Pax – Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt…okay and their whole brood: Shiloh Nouveau, Maddox, Zahara, Knox, and Vivienne.

Of course not all strange monikers are christened on celebrities, there are plenty of names out there for either gender that can still be claimed by a non-celebrity child, born of parents with a lot of gumption.

Unusual Boy Names:

  • Alban – from Alba, town names during Roman Empire
  • Chay – thought to be a nickname for Charles
  • Fergal – Irish; manly valor
  • Jago – Cornish form of James
  • Kyran – Irish, see a form of Kieran
  • Laban – Hebrew for white
  • Mabon – Celtic for son, or a Celtic god
  • Napier – French origin, used in England most; linen keeper
  • Ormond – Irish; red
  • Parsifal – German form or Percival of King Arthur’s round table knights
  • Somerled – Scottish; summer traveler
  • Trayton – English
  • Warwick – common English surname
  • Ximun -Hebrew, used by Basque; Simon
  • Yorick -Jester in Shakespeare’s Hamlet
  • Zeno – Greek, short for Zenon; root of Zeus

Unusual Girl’s Names:

  • Briony – English, a flowering vine
  • Cacey – Irish, female variation on Casey; alert or vigilant
  • Flick – English nickname for Felicity; good luck
  • Gaia – Greek; earth, mother earth
  • Kohinoor – Persian, mountain of light
  • Majella – Irish/English, for St. Gerard Majella
  • Nekane – Basque; sorrow
  • Saffron – yellow flower often used as a spice
  • Tarina – English; hill, seat of the high kings of Ireland
  • Valentia – Latin; healthy or strong
  • Wilda – English; form of wild
  • Xanthe – Greek; yellow, referencing Xanthos, Socrates’ wife
  • Yaffa – Hebrew; beautiful
  • Zinnia – English , the flower

Need some more ideas? Search for names of other countries or cultures. I’ve found beautiful names from Sanskrit, Persian, Arabic, Irish, Gaelic, Celtic.

You can also mash yours and your spouse’s name together. For example if your name is Amanda, your husband’s is Tony, your daughter could be…Amony. No?

Well, experiment some more. And comfort your kids if you need to, that they can always change their names later.

Editor’s Note: This article was re-written on June 2, 2009


You Are Nesting!

Something that is highly anticipated and can be incredibly exciting during pregnancy is the nesting instinct. This is a primal instinct that most if not all female mammals go through while preparing for their young, and can be seen in pregnant women as well.

For a pregnant woman nesting is an uncontrollable urge to clean and organize your house, while getting things ready for your baby. It can be as little as washing your baby’s clothes and bedding, to repainting your entire house because you all of a sudden don’t like the color theme you have. Some women will clean walls, baseboards, and door frames as an effort to make sure the house is clean. In some cases women who rarely have a “clean” house will be obsessed about having a spotless house.

It is believed that the act of nesting helps a woman feel more like she is in control. It can begin as early as the second trimester and last the duration of the pregnancy. The urge to have everything in “order” can wake a pregnant woman up at night, or keep her up all night while she completes her latest “project”. When the nesting instinct pops up at the end of pregnancy it can often signify the beginning of labor or that labor is just a couple of days away. It can take over the last hours of pregnancy with an urge to make sure everything is done and just right.

Nesting is normal and natural for a pregnant woman, even if her partner thinks she has gone insane when they find her bleaching down the kitchen cupboards at 3am. However, there are some precautions the pregnant woman should take.

Try To Avoid Paint Fumes
If you HAVE to have the nursery or house repainted at the last minute, try to get someone else to do the actual painting for you. Make sure you wear a mask when you are around the paint to minimize the paint fumes you breathe in.

Climbing On Furniture
When cleaning cupboards, reorganizing the closet and washing down your walls, try to stick to the areas you can reach without standing on a chair or climbing on other furniture. While you are pregnant your balance may be off, and you may fall or get light headed. If you keep your feet planted firmly on the floor then you won’t have to worry about an accident and the possibility of hurting yourself or your baby.

In The Garden
Most pregnant women know if they have a cat not to change the litter box as cat feces could harm the baby. However, you also must remember this and watch for feces and certain other pests you might find while gardening. In most cases anything you come in contact with will be safe, it is just best to take extra precautions.

Nesting can be a fun part of pregnancy for the pregnant woman, even if her husband doesn’t agree when his wife hands him a “honey-do” list and sends him out to pick up another roll of the wallpaper she used in the living room because she all of a sudden decided it would look great in the hall as well. When your partner roles his eyes because you are sending him out for supplies tell him it is all right, you will both be laughing about it in a year.


A 10 Month Pregnancy?

Is a pregnancy nine months or ten months long? This is a popular pregnancy debate with many women across message boards and in pregnancy communities today. Most people know that a pregnancy consists of the first, second and third trimester. The definition of a trimester is “A period or term of three months”. If this is the case, why do so many people consider themselves pregnant for ten months?  The answer is simple, even if not actually correct. Pregnancies are considered full term at 40 weeks, and many women count four weeks as a month while they are pregnant, making the result a ten month pregnancy. On average there are actually 4.33 weeks in a month, however that a third of a week tends to get lost in the pregnancy shuffle for much of us.

Many women also find it easier, when asked how pregnant they are, to answer in weeks instead of months, because pregnancy is generally a count down. “I am 24 weeks, only 16 weeks to go!” The most general deduction by a bystander would be that the woman is already six months pregnant, when in actuality, per the Gregorian calendar that most of the world lives by, she is only about five and a half months pregnant.

Women who consider themselves 10 months pregnant usually use this form of calculations:

WEEKS MONTH
1-4 1
9-12 3
17-20 5
25-28 7
33-36 9

For those that live by the Lunar calendar, this not only makes sense, but is absolutely correct. The Lunar calendar, which is the four weeks it takes for the moon to go from a new moon, to a full moon and back again, would make a pregnancy last for ten months.

For those that live by the Gregorian calendar, and counting by the date you started your last period (let’s say October 15), you would not be one full month pregnant until November 15 and the calculations generally look like this:

DATE MONTH
November 15 1
January 15 3
March 15 5
May 15 7
July 15 9

However, neither of these calculations is exactly accurate. The most common way to figure out your due date, including the way that most doctors calculate it, is to add nine months and seven days to the start date of your last menstrual period, which would actually be a week before you would have ovulated with a 28-day cycle. Therefore, if you started your LMP on October 15, you due date would be calculated as July 22, not July 15.

DATE MONTH WEEKS
November 15 1 4.33
January 15 3 13 (start of second trimester)
March 15 5 21.66
May 15 7 30.33
July 15 9 39

This would make your due date of July 22 be at 40 weeks exactly, or nine months and one week after you started your LMP. This being said, why would someone CHOOSE to be pregnant for ten months?

Another way to look at it is if you consider a pregnancy of 40 weeks to be ten months, and that a year has 52 weeks in it – which you also count four weeks as one month – wouldn’t this mean that your baby would be 13 months old before he turned a year, and you could celebrate his first birthday?


What is Round Ligament Pain?

During the second trimester,  some women experience a new pregnancy symptom:  pain in their lower abdomens, most noticeable during exertion.  This is sometimes referred to as round ligament pain.

What Are Round Ligaments?

The round ligaments are the bands of tough fibrous tissue that support your muscles and organs.  They expand and grow to help support your uterus as it gets bigger. As these ligaments stretch, some women find it painful and are concerned. Most doctors and midwives will reassure you that these  pains are a normal part of pregnancy.

During the third trimester this pain can increase as your uterus grows even bigger and the ligaments have to stretch more to support the weight of the baby, amniotic fluid, placenta and extra blood that your body is carrying in your belly. There are things you can do to reduce the discomfort.

How to Ease the Pain

  • Rest – Especially after extensive exercise.
  • Change Positions – If you are sitting when the pain sets in, try standing. If standing already, try bending or stretching.
  • Walking – Walking around after experiencing a ligament pain can also help.
  • Heat – Applying a heating pad on low can also make a difference. A warm bath or shower can have the same effect. Just be careful to not to over do it. Excessive heat is not healthy to your pregnancy and things like hot tubs or extremely hot water should be avoided.
  • Medication – If the pain is so great that you are losing a lot of sleep you may ask your doctor or midwife if Tylenol can be safely taken to reduce the discomfort.
  • Rubbing – Good old fashioned rubbing. We all tend to rub an area we are feeling discomfort in whether dealing with ligament pain or not. Rubbing the tender area can actually help in this case.

Be Sure It’s Not Something More Serious

Round Ligament pain should get better with time and come in spurts. If instead the discomfort you are experiencing only gets worse and worse, this could be a sign of something more serious. Common things that can at first appear to be ligament pain can actually be:

  • Appendicitis – The pain experienced by appendicitis will originate from your lower right abdomen and is typically followed by fever, nausea, and vomiting. Appendicitis is reported in 1 out of 2000 women and should not be taken lightly. If you suspect you have appendicitis seek medical attention immediately.
  • Kidney Stones – If blood turns up in your urine after experiencing abdominal pain you could be passing a kidney stone.
  • Ovarian Cysts or an ectopic pregnancy could be the cause of sharp abdominal pains, but this is more common in the first trimester.

Some women are concerned because they don’t have symptoms of round ligament pain, or they don’t seem to suffer from it as much as other women. Not every woman will experience a large amount of pain. Generally, in a first pregnancy, the pain won’t start as early or be as severe as it is in a woman’s second, third and subsequent pregnancies. This is normal and to be expected.

After you deliver the baby, remember that your body has “memory” so after your pregnancy is over, and as your belly shrinks and your body returns to normal, these round ligaments will return to their former, pre-pregnancy shape and size. This shrinking may also cause some pain, but it shouldn’t be as severe as when the ligaments originally stretched to make room for your baby.

What methods helped you deal with the discomfort of Round Ligament Pain?


Moving From Bottle to a Sippy Cup

One of the hardest stepping stones for a mother and her baby is moving on from the bottle to only a sippy cup. It is hard to know when the “right” time is to make this change, however most experts say the earlier the better. As a child approaches their second and even third birthday, they have formed an attachment to the nipple that gets harder to break, and is based more on comfort than getting nutrition.

moving-from-a-bottle-to-a-sippy-cup.jpgChances are, if you introduce the sippy cup to your baby with anything but juice, or another sweet drink in it, he will not be in a hurry to drink from it. Nipples are much easier for the baby to get formula or breast milk from, than a sippy cup. Most pediatricians will tell you NOT to give the baby sweet drinks in a sippy as a way to get them to drink from it because it can lead to the baby ONLY wanting to drink juice from that sippy cup, making the switch to formula or breast milk that much harder.

One way to break your baby from their bottle is gradually. Cutting down the number of bottles you give during the day and only offering sippies. This works well for some mothers, if you have the patience and time to do it. Most will start by cutting out a bottle at a time for a week, normally starting with the morning bottle and offering just a sippy cup. Every few days or week cut out one more feeding till you only offer a bottle before nap and bedtime as a way to help their baby relax and fall asleep. Eventually cut out that nap time bottle, teaching your baby to fall asleep without the comfort of the bottle, hopefully making it easier to remove the bedtime bottle as well. Some mothers believe this it he kinder, easier way to wean from the nipple to the sippy cup.

The other way to break your baby’s habit is cold turkey. Cold turkey however requires a lot of patience and willpower on the part of the mother. When my daughter was 9 months old I decided to wean her off the bottle cold turkey. At that point she had no interest in the sippy cup. To avoid confusion I took away the pacifier at the same time.

If you are going to wean your baby cold turkey, you have to be prepared. Stock up on your baby’s favorite food and snacks. However, don’t be surprised if your baby doesn’t want them at first. Have a sippy of formula or milk waiting for your baby and available to your baby at all times throughout the day. Offer him the sippy, and food, but do not give in when he cries for the bottle. Don’t be surprised if the first and even if through the second day your baby refuses the sippy cup and all most of the food you are offering him. Remember, if your baby gets hungry enough he will eat. At this point it is a battle of wills between you and your baby. The first day will probably be very hard for both of you. There will be a lot of crying and screaming from your baby. By the end of the day you will be exhausted if not screaming to yourself as well.

The second day will go about the same, hopefully by the evening though your baby will have started to give in a bit and be willing to drink some from the sippy, and eat the other foods you offer. By the time the third day comes to a close, the worst is over and your baby has probably completely given in. The sippy is as welcome to them the morning of the forth day, as a bottle would have been, and they are back to eating and drinking as normal. This cold turkey method works well for most, if the mother has the willpower to stick to it.

There is no “right” way to wean your baby off of the bottle. It is best to make the decision based on your family and on their needs, planning appropriately ahead of time.


Changing of the Areolas and Nipples

Besides a woman’s breasts being tender and swollen early in the first trimester of pregnancy, a woman may notice changes to her areolas and nipples. New hormones running through her body may cause your nipples to become bigger and darker than they normally are.

As your breasts get bigger, your nipples naturally get bigger as well. The darkening of the nipples is caused by a temporary increase of melanin, the natural pigment that your body produces that gives your hair, skin and eyes their color. For most women, within a few months of having their baby, the nipples will return to their normal color and size. If a woman is breastfeeding, the nipples may not return to their normal size until after she weans her baby.

Another change in the nipples that a woman may discover once she gets pregnant are the Montgomery’s tubercles (glands or little bumps surrounding the nipples) getting bigger, elevating and becoming more prominent. Not all women experience this, and some may not experience it till the second or third trimester.

If you do not believe you are pregnant, there are other things that can cause these changes in your nipples. Weight gain can cause your breasts to enlarge, therefore causing your nipples to enlarge. If you like to tan, your nipples may become darker. A hormone imbalance may cause your nipples to get darker, or left over melanin from a previous pregnancy may cause this darkening. If you are not sure what is going on with your body, be sure to ask your doctor.


Eight Signs Your Baby Has a Milk Allergy

Rashes, colds and upset stomachs are common baby ailments. But the occurrence of one or more of these symptoms can signal a serious allergy. If unrecognized, these symptoms can make an infant miserable and malnourished.

eight-signs-your-baby-has-a-milk-allergy.jpgMore than 100,000 babies each year suffer from milk allergy. The condition causes digestive, respiratory and/or skin problems and is often difficult to recognize.

“These babies cannot process the complex protein chains found in milk-based baby formula. And many also react to soy-based formulas,” says Dr. John Moissidis, a Board certified pediatric allergist at The Asthma Allergy Clinic in Shreveport, La.

Infant milk allergy is treated by either eliminating the milk proteins from the nursing mother’s diet, or by replacing the regular formula with an amino acid-based formula.

“An amino acid-based formula is safe for babies with milk and soy allergies because it is comprised of non-allergenic amino acids, the building blocks of protein, instead of partial or complete protein chains found in other formulas,” says Sarah O’Brien, nutrition specialist for Nutricia North America, the manufacturer of amino acid-based formula Neocate.

This specialized formula does not require a prescription, but infants taking it should be under the care of a physician.

Here are eight signs, provided by Dr. Moissidis, to help parents of infants identify a potential milk allergy.

1. Diarrhea
Diarrhea is common in babies, but if it is persistent (an average of two to four times a day for more than five to seven days) and/or if there is blood in the stool, it could signal a more serious milk allergy.

2. Vomiting
Babies often spit up bits of food, but vomiting beyond the typical mealtime regurgitation should be examined by a doctor. Reflux symptoms, such as spit-up and difficulty swallowing, can also be milk allergy symptoms.

3. Skin Rash
There are many causes for infant skin rashes like eczema. Milk allergy is one possible cause, especially if the rash occurs along with some of these other symptoms.

4. Extreme Fussiness
Every baby cries, but crying continuously and inconsolably for long periods of time is abnormal. When there is no apparent reason, this is usually called colic. Sometimes this extreme fussiness is actually caused by the gastrointestinal pain resulting from an allergy to the proteins found in milk.

5. Low or No Weight Gain
Most infants double their weight by six months and triple it by 12 months. But when babies are not getting the nutrition they need because of excessive diarrhea and vomiting, they are unable to grow like they should.

6. Gassiness
All babies have gas, but when it occurs along with several of these other symptoms, it can also signal an allergy to milk proteins.

7. Respiratory Problems
Colds are common for infants, but wheezing, struggling to breathe and developing excess mucus in the nose and throat is not. For some kids, these respiratory problems can be the baby’s reaction to the protein found in milk.

8. Failure to Thrive
Babies with milk allergy often suffer from a lack of proper nutrition characterized by dehydration, loss of appetite and lack of energy. This overall failure to thrive is often the result of the effect of the other symptoms effect on the infant’s body.

Parents can take the allergy test and learn more about infant milk allergy and amino acid-based formula at www.testforallergy.com.

Courtesy of ARA Content


Surviving a C-Section

by Lee-Anne Robert

After 42 weeks of pregnancy, two days of undergoing inducement and physical stress on the baby, my daughter was delivered via an emergency C-section. Oh, it was music to my ears when my gynecologist arrived in my hospital room at 4:30 a.m. and told me they were going to do an emergency C-section. I must have been in shock or delirious! However, after going through a traumatic two days, I had had enough and I wanted to meet this precious baby who lived inside of me for 9+ months. The time came and I was wheeled to the operating room, and what a blessed event it was to see my sweet new baby girl!

I wasn’t prepared for the aftermath of a C-Section but I am so grateful that I had a great family who were there for me and helped me every step of the way.

  1. Plan ahead. No one can predict whether or not you’ll need an emergency c-section. So prepare yourself with information.
  2. Try not to be upset if you are told you have to undergo a C-section to deliver your baby. I know that many new parents are less than thrilled at the prospect and have anticipated a natural delivery. Plenty of women feel put down and feel less like a woman because they did not deliver their baby through the hard work of labour. I know it is emotionally hard. Truly, the main concern is you and your baby’s health and that is more important than how you delivered your baby.
  3. Expect a brief hospital stay. My daughter and I were in the hospital for four days after the birth. If you require assistance at any time in caring for you or your baby, are uncomfortable due to the pain, or have any questions, do not be afraid to ask for help. There were times when I was too proud to press the buzzer to ask for assistance. But, believe me, their assistance is very much required, especially with the care of your newborn baby.
  4. When the time comes and the nurses and/or doctors tell you to walk around, do try. It may be difficult but do try to do a little walking if and when possible. It helps to alleviate the stomach gases that are very much a part of the discomfort you feel after a C-section.
  5. The day arrives when you and your newborn can finally go home. Enlist support! Ensure that you have family, friends or loved ones to assist you and, once again, do not be afraid to ask for help. Do not try to be supermom! I was fortunate to have a supportive family at home and could not imagine going through the recovery without them. It will take you 6 weeks to fully recuperate from a C-section, afterall, it is major surgery.
  6. Do not pick up heavy items. Remember, you have just had surgery and your incision is in the healing process.
  7. Ensure that you eat healthy and drink lots of water. This is important to ensure that your digestive systems returns to normal. Plenty of rest is vital for recuperation. Enjoy this period of relaxation because you have many years of motherhood to go!
  8. Enjoy this special time with your new baby!

I survived my first C-section and 18 months after the birth of my daughter, I gave birth to a healthy baby boy via a scheduled C-section. The second C-section was easier. I am grateful to have two healthy children who are the joy of my life, regardless of how I delivered them.

About The Author
Lee-Anne Robert, proud mother of two healthy young children and owner of
Cuddles ‘n Gifts,
Copyright 2004
info@cuddlesngifts.net


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