What Is Meconium?

During pregnancy, an unborn baby ingests amniotic fluid and excretes it daily, which passes through the mother’s kidneys and urination. This built-up of material is called meconium and is the first stool a baby passes (1a).

Sometimes babies will pass their first stool, meconium, while they are still in utero. Depending on how soon it is before the mother gives birth, it could be potentially dangerous. A baby who becomes stressed for some reason during pregnancy may pass the meconium which then becomes mixed with amniotic fluid and something the baby can get into the lungs if not handled properly (1b).

There is no way to know if meconium has passed until the birth of the baby. When the amniotic sac, or water, breaks, the color of it tells the story. A normal color would be a clear one and one with meconium could be either green or yellow. A yellow color indicates the meconium is very old and has been inside the uterus for an unknown amount of time. A green color means it is more recent and if it has particles to it, poses more of a health risk to the baby (1c).

When meconium is noticed during labor and delivery is imminent, the practitioner will be ready with what is called a DeLee suction which is used before the baby takes the first breath after birth. Any meconium that might be present in the baby’s airway needs to be suctioned out before the lungs expand or the meconium will be aspirated into the respiratory system (1d).

The baby may gasp, from distress, in utero and cause meconium to go further into the airway since babies do not fully expand their lungs until after birth and doing so prior is dangerous.Once meconium has been aspirated into the lungs, it can cause a chemical pneumonia. These babies are at high risk of becoming very sick rather quickly. Babies with meconium aspiration will need antibiotics to treat infection and oxygen to help them breathe until they can do so unassisted (1e).

There is no way to prevent meconium from being passed before birth so new mothers should spend no time worrying about it. If it does happen, having a competent practitioner who can handle the situation is the best prevention of further difficulties.

Citations:

1: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meconium

What is the Clutch Hold?

While breastfeeding your baby there are many ways to hold your baby. Each position has it’s own nuances that may be better suited for your needs.

In the clutch hold, baby is positioned to the side of mother during breastfeeding, tucked under her arm. It is especially helpful for babies who have difficulty latching on; babies who arch their back and squirm at the breast; babies who come off the nipple frequently during breastfeeding; and babies who are small or premature (1a).

In this position you get a good view of baby latching onto the breast, while your hand at the nape of his neck gives you control of his head. Baby is bent at the waist, which helps tense babies relax better. If his body is relaxed, he’ll latch on better.

To achieve best results, sit up in bed or in a comfortable armchair with your back and shoulders well supported. Position one or more pillows at your side to bring baby up to breast level. If you’re sitting in a chair, wedge the pillows between you and the arm of the chair.Place baby on the pillow, tucked under your arm, with your hand on that side supporting his neck and shoulders. Bend him in the middle, so that his legs are pointed upward and his bottom rests against the pillow supporting your back, or against the back of the chair. Be sure that baby does not push his feet against the back of the chair, causing him to arch his back (1b).

Cup the nape of his neck in your hand. Avoid holding the back of baby’s head, as this stimulates some babies to arch away from the breast. If baby finds your touch too stimulating, put a cloth diaper or a receiving blanket between your hand and his skin.Pull baby in close to you. Once baby is sucking well, wedge a pillow under the hand and wrist that are supporting baby at the breast to help hold him close. Lean back into the pillows behind your shoulders, rather than hunching forward over your baby. Remember, bring the baby to the breast, not the breast to the baby (1c).

 

Citations:

1: http://babies411.com/information-station/breastfeeding/breastfeeding-positions-the-football-hold-the-clutch-hold-new.html

Are There Laws About Breastfeeding?

Breastfeeding in public deals with the social attitudes to nursing mothers breastfeeding their babies in a public or semi-public place and to laws which either deprive them of the right or which recognize their choice to do so.

Some people are uncomfortable with seeing a mother breastfeed her baby, and some societies consider breastfeeding in a public place to be indecent.Some nursing mothers may feel reluctant to breastfeed in public, either because of their upbringing or because of their own attitudes to exposing their breast in public to breastfeed, or because of anticipated reactions of others. Many countries have laws which make breastfeeding in a public place legal and disallow businesses from prohibiting it in the workplace (1a).

There are no laws in the US forbidding breastfeeding outside of the home, and only two states in which laws place any limitation on the way in which public breastfeeding may be done.1 However, in the absence of a law establishing and protecting the right, a woman who breastfeeds in a public accommodation, a privately owned place open to the public, such as a restaurant or shopping mall, might lawfully be asked to leave, either by the owner or in accordance with the owner’s instructions. If she refuses, she might be removed by the police or placed under arrest for trespass. Without a law to protect her, a woman breastfeeding in a public place such as a park, or state-owned properties (e.g., a courthouse), risks removal by the police and potentially (though this is rare) a charge of some form of indecent exposure. A basic maxim of American law is that a right without a remedy is no right at all.In plain terms, this means that although you may have a right to do anything not otherwise forbidden by law, if you do not also have a legal protection against someone interfering with that right, your ability to exercise it may be limited (1b).

Citations:

1: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breastfeeding_in_public

What are the Disadvantages of Breastfeeding?

Breastfeeding can be a very powerful bonding experience for mothers with their babies. However, it’s a discipline that a mother must respect. It comes with its share of hardships.

You may have trouble with sore or cracked nipples, engorged and painful breasts and mastitis. All of these are uncomfortable for the mother and mastitis will require treatment, but it’s quite common and can be treated effectively.

As you are continuing as your baby’s source of nutrition you have to be careful about your own nutrition and continue to avoid certain food and limit your intake of others, eg. alcohol and caffeine.

Breastfeeding releases hormones that make you feel good, but the continuing fluctuation in hormones after pregnancy can also play havoc with your emotions (1a).

While in some ways breastfeeding is incredibly convenient in that you can in large part dispense with hauling around bottles and sterilizing equipment everywhere you go, it’s less convenient when you’re not at home and trying to find a suitable quiet place to feed. Breastfeeding may also make you feel a little trapped as your breasts are in frequent demand.

Breastfeeding is obviously something that dad can’t take part in and he may feel left out (though probably not at 3.30 in the morning when baby’s demanding a feed), to compensate for this you can express milk with a breast pump so dad can bottle feed your baby while you get chance to be somewhere else for a change

Some mothers find that they have lower libido when breastfeeding and it may interfere with your sex life in other ways, for instance by changing the way you view your breasts.

To balance this you really should have listed under cons of formula feeding which are increased risk or eczema, asthma, obesity, cot death, diabetes and lower IQ. Breastfed babies are far healthier than formula fed babies and this should be highlighted (1b).

 

Citations:

1:http://www.google.com/interstitial?url=http://www.methodsofhealing.com/top-10-disadvantages-of-breastfeeding/

Imodium While Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding Questions: Can I Take Imodium While Breastfeeding?

When the mother is sick her baby will almost always benefit from continuing to breastfeed. There are very few illnesses that require a mother to stop nursing. Most illnesses are caused by viruses that are most contagious before you even realize you are sick, your baby has already been exposed before you even develop symptoms such as fever, diarrhea, vomiting, rash, runny nose, cough, etc. Continuing to breastfeed will help protect your baby from the infection, because your body produces antibodies to the specific bug that is causing the infection, and you pass them on to the baby in your milk. Often, a breastfed baby will be the only member of the family who doesn’t get sick. If he does get sick, he will usually have a much milder case than the older members of the family.

In cases of diarrhea, it can really get in the way of nursing and reduce your milk supply and dehydrate you.  Antidiarrheal preparations containing loperamide, such as Imodium, are usually considered safe.

Loperamide works by slowing the muscular contractions of the intestine and so is called an ‘antimotility’ medicine. Loperamide works by acting on opioid receptors that are found in the muscle lining the walls of the intestines. By acting on these receptors, loperamide reduces the muscular contractions of the intestine (called peristalsis) that move food and fecal matter through the gut. This reduces the speed at which the gut contents are pushed through the intestines, allowing more time for water and electrolytes to be reabsorbed from the gut contents back into the body. This results in firmer stools that are passed less frequently.Loperamide can be bought without a prescription to treat acute (sudden and short-lived) episodes of watery diarrhea in adults.

Loperamide can also be used to control flare-ups of chronic (long-term) diarrhea, however it should only be used for this purpose on the advice of a doctor. It should only be used to treat diarrhea associated with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) after initial diagnosis of IBS by a doctor.

Find Out More About Medicine and Breastfeeding:

Breastfeeding With Diarrhea
Finding Safe Medications While Breastfeeding
Herbal Remedies and Breastfeeding
What is a Galactagogue?
Meditations to Avoid While Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding While Sick
Imodium

Am I Putting My Baby in Danger Breastfeeding While Sick?

If a mother gets sick, you may think that her breast-milk becomes infected and shouldn’t be given to the baby. It’s actually quite the opposite. It is very rare for a mom to need to stop breastfeeding for any illness.  There are only a few very serious illnesses that might require a mom stop breastfeeding for a period of time or permanently, such as HIV and HTLV-1. That being said, illnesses such as a cold, sore throat, flu, upset stomach, fever, mastitis, etc. you should still continue to breastfeed. If you begin to take on medication, make sure that it’s compatible with breastfeeding (1a).

Even if the mom has food poisoning, breastfeeding should continue. As long as the symptoms are confined to the gastrointestinal tract (vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps), breastfeeding should continue without interruption as there is no risk to the baby.However, if the food poisoning bacteria passes into mom’s bloodstream, breastfeeding should be stopped immediately. Besides, if that were to occur, the mother would most likely be hospitalized (1b).

The best thing you can do for your baby when you’re sick is to continue to breastfeed.When you have a contagious illness such as a cold, flu, or other mild virus, your baby was exposed to the illness before you even knew you were sick. Your milk will not transmit your illness to the baby, but it does have antibodies in it that are specific to your illness, plus anything else you or your baby have been exposed to. They’ll help prevent baby from getting sick, or if he does get sick, he’ll probably not be as sick as you (1c).

It seems counter-intuitive, but withholding your breastmilk during an illness increases the possibility that the baby will get sick, and deprives the baby of the comfort and superior nutrition of nursing.You can also take measures to prevent your baby from getting sick by washing hands often, avoid sneezing/coughing on baby, limiting face-to-face contact, etc (1d).

Many times moms don’t nurse frequently enough and don’t get enough fluids to keep the milk supply going. Sometimes medications can cause your milk supply to diminish, as well. To avoid a decreased milk supply, drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration, continue to nurse often and avoid/limit medications, like antihistamines, that tend to decrease milk supply (1e).

Citations:

1: http://kellymom.com/bf/can-i-breastfeed/illness-surgery/mom-illness/

Can I get a tattoo while breastfeeding?

Tattoos can be fun and addicting. Some mothers like to get the name of their child tattooed to their skin. But one must remember, anything that is applied to the skin is absorbed and goes into your body anyway. You may want to do your homework before you decide if it’s okay to proceed with a tattoo.

Tattoos are created by injecting ink into the dermal (second and third) layer of the skin. Tattooists use a hand-held electric machine that is fitted with solid needles coated in the ink. The needles enter the skin hundreds of times a minute to a depth of up to a few millimeters. The ink that is used in tattoos in the United States is subject to FDA regulation as cosmetics, but none are approved for injection under the skin. The ink molecules are too large to pass into breastmilk (1a).

The ink used for tattoos will be safe, as it primarily stays in the skin and does not get into the circulation. The needles used for the tattoo may pose a very small risk of transmitting hepatitis C. Recent research shows that a larger, multicolored tattoo poses a higher risk than small black tattoos. Another study showed that the risk of contracting hepatitis is actually higher during a dentist visit than while getting a tattoo, so this subject remains controversial (2a).

Local and systemic infections are the most prevalent risks of tattooing. Local infections can occur when the recommended aftercare regimen is not followed. Aftercare includes keeping the tattoo clean with mild soap and water, not picking at the scabs and keeping the tattoo out of the sun. Tylenol is often prescribed for the pain, if needed. Systemic infections occur when universal precautions are not followed by the tattoo artist and can include such diseases as hepatitis, tetanus and HIV (1b).

In conclusion, is it not 100% sure that everything will go smoothly. It is not an emergency to get a tattoo. Your baby’s health is top priority.

Citations:

1: http://www.llli.org/faq/tattoos.html

2: http://www.askdrsears.com/content/safe-get-tattoo-while-breastfeeding

How can your family help while you breastfeed?

The family’s role

The family plays a major role in the breastfeeding relationship between you and your baby. One of the most precious gifts a family can give is to take care of you and encourage and support a healthy breastfeeding relationship.

For example, family members can do the many household tasks that take your energy away from nursing the baby. They can also call your health care provider or look in the phone book for community breastfeeding (lactation) resources if you have any problems breastfeeding once you get home.

There are many rewarding ways for family members to be involved in caring for the baby. Burping, diapering, playing, giving the baby massages, comforting (holding and rocking, etc.) and taking the baby for a walk are wonderful ways to help. They are also a good way to get to know the baby. Bath time is a great opportunity for eye contact and play for the whole family.

As the mother, having people help and encourage you are some of the most important things you will need to breastfeed successfully. The first few weeks of breastfeeding are important. It is a time for learning what works best for you and your baby. It is also when your milk supply is being established. It can be a very frustrating time as well. You have just gone through labor and delivery and may be physically tired and emotionally drained. You and your baby may need to try several breastfeeding positions before you find ones that work. With strong support from family, friends, health professionals and volunteer counselors, mothers who may otherwise have given up on breastfeeding during the first weeks are able to succeed.

A good support network can help in many ways, such as providing accurate information about breastfeeding and helping you resolve any problems quickly. By doing other “duties,” your support network enables you to put all your energy into breastfeeding and getting to know your baby. Most important, they can help you feel confident in your ability to breastfeed your baby.

The most important support person for most new mothers is their husband or partner. Other support persons may include your mother or mother-in-law, other family members, friends who have breastfed, and health professionals, such as your physician, midwife, pediatrician or lactation consultant. Volunteer counselors from the Nursing Mothers Counsel, LaLeche League, WIC and other local breastfeeding support groups are also great resources.

How can your family and friends provide the best support for you?
The best thing they can do is to attend a breastfeeding class with you. In this class, they will learn about the benefits of breastfeeding, how to establish a good milk supply, and how to manage common breastfeeding problems. Your own mother may or may not have breastfed you. Either way, she can learn new things from a breastfeeding class, as there is a lot of new information on breastfeeding and its benefits. Sometimes even well-meaning family and friends can put your milk supply at risk by giving your baby bottles and pacifiers or advising you to limit nursing time or to “get the baby on a schedule.” The more your partner and family know about breastfeeding, the more they can help you.

It is very important for your support people to provide encouragement and emotional support during the first days when you and your baby are learning how to breastfeed. Many mothers decide to give up on breastfeeding during this period. Remember that it will take time for both you and your baby to get comfortable with breastfeeding. Even if you have breastfed before, each baby is different. You and your baby will learn what works best for the two of you during the first several days or a week or two together.

Your support people can help you with other household tasks, such as cleaning, laundry, shopping and cooking. Physical fatigue from trying to do too much can affect your milk supply. Nap when your baby sleeps to help in your physical recovery. Some women feel “low” or “depressed” after delivery. Exhaustion can make this feeling worse. Let others do things for you. Only you can breastfeed your baby. You should put all of your energy into recovering from your delivery, breastfeeding and getting to know your baby.

Finally, you and your partner should both be patient about resuming intimacy. You may temporarily lose interest in having sex after giving birth. This is common and can happen whether or not you are breastfeeding. You may have concerns and negative feelings about your body after pregnancy and delivery. Breastfeeding does not “ruin your breasts.” Although you may experience breast changes after childbirth, these changes were caused by pregnancy, not by breastfeeding. Breastfeeding does not make you gain weight. In fact, it may make it easier to lose your pregnancy weight when combined with proper diet and moderate exercise.

How can I tell if my baby has latched properly?

To know if your baby is latched on properly, look, listen and feel.

Look for alignment, position at the breast
Listen for swallowing
Feel uterine cramps, drowsy, tugging/pulling on nipple (not biting/pinching)

Look

Watch for cues baby is ready to nurse, then put him to your breast. Feed your baby before he cries.

Hold baby close with his nose level with your nipple

Support your breast by holding your hand in a “C” (football) or “U” (cross cradle) shape. Your fingers and thumb should be back from the areola.

Lightly touch (tickle) or stroke baby’s bottom lip/chin with your breast. Watch for his mouth to open wide and his tongue to be down and scoop-shaped. Be patient, it may take a few minutes.

Support your baby at your breast as described in the positioning guidelines. Avoid pushing his head into your breast; that will cause him to push away from your breast.

Look for baby’s mouth to cover part of your areola; his lower lip should curve outward and his tongue should cup under the breast.

Look for smooth, rhythmic sucking with active, long jaw movements and pauses to swallow.

Look for your breast to move with baby’s sucking action.

Listen

After the first few days, when your milk flow increases, you will hear your baby making swallowing or gulping sounds.

Smacking, clicking or slurping sounds may indicate an ineffective latch-on.

Feel

You will feel your nipple and breast being tugged into baby’s mouth.

Your nipple may be tender, especially during the first 30 seconds of a nursing session.

After a minute or two, you may feel mild uterine cramps.

After five minutes you may feel:

Sleepy

Thirsty

Hot flashes

Cramps

After nursing for three to five days, you may feel letdown in your breasts. A tingling, pins-and-needles sensation may occur.

To remove your baby from your breast:

Break the suction by sliding your little finger down your breast to the corner of baby’s mouth.

Gently pull out the corner of baby’s mouth.