Not Having Enough But Still Being Enough

by LaTia Wilson Barrett 

Note from the editor: This guest post from a Leaky is sharing one person’s journey through breastfeeding. Her story isn’t a prediction for yours but like your story, her story matters. For those that can relate to LaTia’s story, we hope you find encouragement and support to know you are not alone, for those who can’t relate, may empathy and understanding be your guide.

LaTia Wilson Battett article- June 2016 pt.1

When I first found out I was pregnant, I was ecstatic. My mind was instantly flooded with all the hopes and dreams I had for myself as a parent. I was excited for the chance to experience that first flutter, first kick, first… everything. One of my first thoughts about giving birth, well, following wincing at some of the stories I’d heard about the process, was about the experience of breastfeeding. So many of the parents in the various online groups I was a part of talked about how much of a bonding time breastfeeding was, and how much their sweet newborn took to it right away, and how much pride they had in being able to exclusively breastfeed their baby. I read these kinds of stories with a kind of wonder and glee that one feels when thinking about the magic of Christmas. I mean, it all sounded so idyllic and perfect. I never had any reason to think that things wouldn’t be just as magical for me. As it turns out, it was not at all magical for me. I had always assumed that everyone could breastfeed their child if they chose, and it never occurred to me that I would have an issue. But I did. And it hurt. A lot. It shattered me, until I was able to redefine for myself what it meant to be a mother.

My daughter was born at 36 weeks and 3 days via emergency cesarean after 32 hours of labor and 1 hour of pushing. I had been induced due to severe pre-eclampsia, and by the time my daughter was actually born, I was too exhausted to fully enjoy the moment. But here she was, all 6 pounds 14 ounces of her, looking just as harried as I felt. But she was here and not too much worse for wear. While I was in the recovery area, one of the first things I asked for was a breast pump. I knew that if my daughter and I were going to be separated even for a just a few hours that I would need to try to get things started on my own.

However, a few hours turned into 5 days. Over the course of the days that we were separated I pumped, even during the 2 days that I spent in the ICU due to respiratory distress. I never got the “rock hard”/full feeling, I never woke up leaking, but I continued to pump, assuming that I was one of those women who took a little longer than a couple days for her “milk to come in”. I was so happy the first day I saw a few drops, and cried happy tears (and took pictures!) the first day I was able to pump a measurable amount (about 10mls)! I very clearly recall the day that I finally was able to put my daughter to breast. I cried because it was one of the moments I had been looking forward to the most since finding out I was pregnant. We were both tired and more than a little worn due to our experience, but we were finally together and all was right with the world.

LaTia Wilson Battett article- June 2016 pt.2

After 10 days in the hospital, we were finally released to go home. My milk still hadn’t “come in”, but maybe I was just one of those who was a little later than everyone else. I mean, I did have an emergency cesarean, an ICU stay, and was really sick following her birth. But, it was going to happen any day now, right? Right?? As it turns out, I did have milk, but it just wasn’t enough to feed my baby. It never dawned on me that I could actually have supply issues and that I wouldn’t be able to feed my daughter.

We are never really told what to do when breastfeeding doesn’t work out, aside from, “take fenugreek… pump more… drink more water…” But what about those of us who have serious supply issues that a simple cup of tea or oatmeal cookie just won’t fix? Why aren’t more women educated about what CAN happen, and how to address it? Why are so many of us made to feel like failures and told if we just “put baby to breast more often” or “pump more often” things will work out just fine? I spent many months and lots of money chasing my dream of breastfeeding my baby, when I really should have been more focused on just enjoying her.

LaTia Wilson Battett article- June 2016 pt.3

At the height of my breastfeeding journey, I produced roughly 2 ounces of milk PER DAY. My self-worth for quite some time was measured in ounces. It wasn’t until I developed tendonitis which required I stop pumping altogether around 5 months that I realized that my daughter loved me whether I gave her breastmilk or formula. She would smile just as bright and laugh just as long. She loved ME, not what my breasts could or couldn’t give her. And while I cried on the last day that I gave her my breast milk, I know that she has gotten not only what’s best for her, which is a full tummy, but I’ve also gotten what’s best for me, which is less stress. I still think about “what ifs”, and all the things I maybe could have done differently to produce more milk, and I still feel a slight pang whenever I see a parent nursing their child, but I know that our journey turned out “right” for us, and that’s just fine with me.
 

Concerned you may have low supply? Go here to learn more about what’s normal, what’s not, signs of low supply, what you can do, and when to seek help.

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LaTia's headshot- June 2016

 

LaTia lives in Maryland with her wife and daughter. She loves all things food and Disney, and tries to combine the two as often as possible. When not at Disney (or planning a Disney trip), she is a WAHM, babywearing educator, postpartum doula, and singer.
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Does Nourishing our babies have to be THIS hard?! Food drama and Allergies- there’s a difference.

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This email is generously sponsored by our friends at

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What do you do when feeding your baby makes them sick? When the very thing that they need to survive is hurting them, maybe even killing them?

Food sensitivities can be a huge challenge. Food allergies can be deadly. All of it can directly undermine a parent’s confidence, not to mention make every day life scary.

There are no easy answers but there are people who’ve been there.

Leaky, RN, and TLBC Facebook group admin Heather Mackles, shares her journey with us and some info on what parents need to be aware of as possible signs of allergies.

Read more here of her journey and information and support for others.

*This is an excerpt from our TLB email, to continue reading, click here.

And don’t miss out on the amazing giveaway featuring Mommy Moosli, Wean Green, 5 Phases bottles, Evenflo Feeding, Innobaby, and Belibea Bra all supporting you to be fully nourished.

Jessica Martin-Weber
Founder, TheLeakyBoob.com

 

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Pregnancy Sonograms: What You Will Learn- Part 2

by Elizabeth MacDonald
This post made possible by the generous support of My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear
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This article originally published on mybabysheartbeatbear.com on November 10, 2015.

 

In the article “Pregnancy Sonograms and What You Will Learn, Part 1” we talked about the different kinds of ultrasounds and their purpose, ending with more detail about the general anatomy scan common around 20 weeks of pregnancy. In this article, we’re taking a deeper look at the types of scans done prenatally and the reasons why your healthcare provider may recommend them as a diagnostic tool. These scans can provide valuable information on the health of your baby when necessary.

MBHBB- Preg. sonograms, June 2016

Your doctor or midwife may recommend one or more of the following sonograms throughout your pregnancy, for various reasons. You may not know when you conceived or may have suffered previous miscarriages. You may be over the age of 35 and your doctor requires extra screening. There may be genetic reasons for extra scans, or a low lying placenta that could threaten a vaginal delivery. Your little fetus may stubbornly decide to lay transverse and a late sonogram is needed to see position. There are numerous reasons to receive sonograms other than the 20 week anatomy scan.

  • Dating Scan: A dating scan is an ultrasound examination which is performed in order to establish the gestational age of the pregnancy. If you or your doctor/midwife is unsure of the date of your last menstrual cycle, if you have had an bleeding, are unsure of when you conceived or your estimated due date, you will receive a dating sonogram. This ultrasound will show you exactly how far along you are, and can see the start of a pregnancy as early as 4 weeks and 3 days along (but some pregnancy cannot be seen until 5 weeks). You will see the beginnings of a gestational sac, but no heartbeat or further fetal development yet at this stage. An embryo and fetal heartbeat can be detected as early as 6 weeks and 3 days, but may not be picked up until further along. You will also know the location of your pregnancy. If there is a chance that it is ectopic, you will find out now. At this stage of pregnancy, the dating scan will be done transvaginally, meaning the ultrasound wand will be inserted into the vagina to see the pregnancy. A dating scan can determine the number of gestational sacs present (which may decrease by the end of the 1st trimester, if there is more than one). Your cervix, uterus position, and ovaries will also be seen, and you will learn if there is any visible clotting or fibroids. A sonogram done before 9 weeks will be the most accurate to use for dating the pregnancy.
  • Breakdown of what can be seen:
    • At 5 ½ weeks gestation tiny sac can be seen in the uterus, but the baby and its heart beat may not be detected yet. 5 ½ weeks gestation means 5 ½ weeks from the first day of the last menstrual period, which is usually about 3 ½ weeks from the date of conception (confusing, isn’t it!).
    • By 6 to 7 weeks gestation the fetus is clearly seen on trans-vaginal ultrasound and the heart beat can be seen at this early stage (90 to 110 beats per minute under 6 to 7 weeks, then 110 to 200 beats per minute as the baby matures).
    • By 8 weeks gestationthe baby and its heart beat can be detected relatively easily with trans-abdominal and trans-vaginal examination.
    • This is presuming that the pregnancy is actually at this stage of development.
    • Sometimes a trans-vaginal examination shows that your pregnancy is less advanced than expected.
  • 1st Trimester Scan (Also known as a NT Scan): Having a transabdominal sonogram between 12-13 weeks is performed to confirm your baby’s heartbeat and conclude first trimester screening for chromosomal abnormalities. The screening is optional for one or all of the following: Down’s syndrome, Edward’s syndrome, and Patau’s syndrome. Down’s syndrome is also called Trisomy 21 or T21. Edwards’ syndrome is also called Trisomy 18 or T18, and Patau’s syndrome is also called Trisomy 13 or T13. The screening test offered at 11-14 weeks is called the combined test. It involves a blood test and an ultrasound scan. If a screening test shows that you have a higher risk of having a baby with Down’s, Edwards’ or Patau’s syndromes, you will be offered diagnostic tests to find out for certain if your baby has the condition. In addition to screening for these abnormalities, a portion of the test (known as the nuchal translucency) can assist in identifying other significant fetal abnormalities, such as cardiac disorders. The screening test does not detect neural tube defects. The combined accuracy rate for the screen to detect the chromosomal abnormalities mentioned above is approximately 85% with a false positive rate of 5%. A positive test means you have a 1/100 to 1/300 chance of experiencing one of the abnormalities.
  • Level II ScanWhile technically the anatomy scan is a Level II scan, there are other reasons to come in for a Level II sonogram. During your anatomy sonogram, you will learn if another Level II scan is needed. Level II scans are reserved for higher-risk mothers, but may be used to rule you out of the high-risk category. Common indications for a Level 2 ultrasound include family history of birth defects, maternal medical problems associated with birth defects (poorly controlled diabetes, for example), exposure to medications associated with birth defects, a maternal age of 35 or older, abnormal serum screening results, and birth defects suspected on a Level 1 ultrasound. While there is no ultrasound that can detect 100 percent of serious birth defects, most birth defects that are undetected with a Level 2 ultrasound usually are clinically less significant (such as a small hole in the heart which commonly closes on its own after birth or an isolated cleft palate with intact upper lip which can be fixed surgically after birth without any long-term complications). A survey of your baby’s internal organs will be conducted, as well as:
    • The umbilical cord
    • Amniotic fluid
    • Location of the placenta
    • Fetal heart rate

The total score will help decide the overall health and well-being of your baby and help your doctor or midwife determine if your baby should be delivered sooner than planned.

  • Bpp Scan (Biophysical Profile)This sonogram combines an ultrasound evaluation with a non-stress test (NST) and is intended to determine fetal health during the third trimester. This test is performed if there is a question about fetal health and well-being resulting from either an earlier examination, maternal/fetal symptoms, or if the pregnancy is considered high risk. There are two parts to the BPP, a Non-stress Test (NST) and an ultrasound evaluation. The NST involves attaching one belt to the mother’s abdomen to measure fetal heart rate, and another belt to measure contractions. Movement, heart rate and “reactivity” of heart rate to movement are measured for 20-30 minutes. The ultrasound portion may take up to an hour, and the technician will watch for a variety of signs that are important in measuring the health of your baby. Usually, five specific fetal attributes are studied and “scored” during the BPP:

Biophysical Attribute- MBHBB 06.16

  • NST Scan: The Fetal Non-Stress Test is a simple, non-invasive test performed in pregnancies over 28 weeks gestation. As mentioned above, The NST involves attaching a belt to the mother’s abdomen to measure fetal heart rate, and another belt to measure contractions. Movement, heart rate and “reactivity” of heart rate to movement are measured for 20-30 minutes. A NST may be performed if:
    • You sense the baby is not moving as frequently as usual
    • You are overdue
    • There is any reason to suspect the placenta is not functioning adequately
    • You are high risk for any other reason

The test can indicate if the baby is not receiving enough oxygen because of placental or umbilical cord problems; it can also indicate other types of fetal distressThe primary goal of the test is to measure the heart rate of the fetus in response to its own movements. Healthy babies will respond with an increased heart rate during times of movement, and the heart rate will decrease at rest. The concept behind a non-stress test is that adequate oxygen is required for fetal activity and heart rate to be within normal ranges. When oxygen levels are low, the fetus may not respond normally. Low oxygen levels can often be caused by problems with the placenta or umbilical cord.

Many pregnancies progress just fine without ever having an ultrasound and health care providers use a wide array of skills and tests to ensure the safety and health of both the mother and the baby through pregnancy and birth. Having any of these scans done isn’t immediately an indication of a problem, it is just an opportunity to check. It is a gift to hear your baby’s heartbeat and see them developing, one to treasure. While it can be exciting to hear your baby’s heartbeat and to see them on the screen, the purpose of ultrasounds is to be an important tool in your prenatal care, not an entertainment experience. They may provide some answers to questions and concerns, reveal a potential problem or that everything is developing normally, and provide reassurance. Be sure you are using a reputable ultrasound technician to perform your scans, your healthcare provider should refer you to one they trust and use regularly if it is out of office. If you feel that a scan is unnecessary and are unsure you want to go through with it, be sure to speak with your healthcare provider about your concerns to better understand the purpose of the scan. If at any point there is something you don’t understand, speak up and let your healthcare provider know you have questions.

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me
Elizabeth is mom to four breathtakingly-beautiful children, and wife to one lucky man. She is a research writer, blogger, and a ghost writer of books.  As a natural-minded woman, Elizabeth takes pride in spreading factual information that may benefit other mothers and future generations.  She has spent the last seven years (and counting) growing babies in the womb and/or with breastmilk.  When she is not writing, she enjoys drinking wine, running, cooking, reading, homeschooling, and loving her family and friends.
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When Food Makes Your Child Sick- Allergies and Parenting

By Heather Mackles, RN, BSN

When the food you’re feeding your child is making them sick, what do you do? One mother, a member of The Leaky Boob Community group admin team, shares her family’s journey with food allergies and how it has changed them. A registered nurse, the author shares some points for families on potential signs for allergies and how to proceed.

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It started with a crying baby, a “sensitivity” to my breastmilk, and a transition to soy formula under the direction of our pediatrician. Then it became vomiting, weight loss, and a hospitalization. Eight years later, we’re dealing with food anxiety, rebelling, and a struggle with autonomy. Somewhere in there was a major food overhaul.

Food allergies.

I am a parent of a child with multiple food allergies. We wield EpiPens, Benadryl and a rescue inhaler. We see a pediatrician, dermatologist and allergist every few months. We are one piece of candy away from a trip to the ER.

Food can kill my son.

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I was told while pregnant from a lactation consultant that babies rarely have an issue with actual breastmilk. Only babies with true milk protein allergies were unable to breastfeed due to the whey protein in breastmilk. My pediatrician agreed after we had several visits with complaints of horrible crying with no relief and constant diarrhea. He told me that my baby may have a sensitivity to my breastmilk and that it would be in my best interest to wean him immediately to soy formula. There was no mention of removing dairy from my diet first. Now knowing more than I did then, I probably could’ve tried removing all dairy from my diet and chances are strong that would have been a better option for my son. For more on breastfeeding a child with food sensitivities or food allergies, see this post here.

But I didn’t know then what I know now. I didn’t know how to fight and advocate for my son.

When we first got the diagnosis from the gastroenterologist, I made that first trip to Whole Foods. I was beside myself. I didn’t know what I was looking for. Then this saint of an employee came up to me, and asked if he could help me find something. I poured my heart out to him while he helped me navigate the store.

My child, who loved homemade fettuccine Alfredo (which starts with a stick of butter and a pint of heavy cream), now could not have anything that had the milk protein, casein, in it. It’s not a lactose-intolerance. He can’t just drink lactose-free milk and be fine. He can’t have any animal milks, butter, cheeses or whey protein. His reactions continued going up until his diagnosis had only been gut and skin related, but that doesn’t mean that the next exposure couldn’t affect his respiratory system.

The threat is very real.

My son can’t eat or have contact with:

  • Dairy
  • Gluten
  • Tree Nuts
  • Peanuts
  • Tomato anything
  • Nitrates
  • Fluoride
  • MSG
  • Artificial Colors
  • Preservatives

We now have to read every ingredient list for EVERYTHING. When he’s prescribed a medicine, or even if I go to give him over-the-counter medicine, I have to call the manufacturer and get the all clear that it does not contain dairy or gluten. Sometimes the manufacturer is closed, or won’t return my calls for days, but he needs the medication at that moment. So I have to take a deep breath, weigh the risks and benefits, pray, and give him the medicine. His allergy medicine prescribed by his allergist? I gave it to him for a month and couldn’t figure out why he was breaking out in hives and having diarrhea. It contained gluten as a main ingredient. Because his vitamins were cultured in milk, but they didn’t list it because they don’t contain milk, he had a reaction. Now he’s taking vegan vitamins to be sure they are dairy free. His allergies have evolved over the years, though he has yet to grow out of any, as many kids with one food allergy usually become allergic to other foods over time.

Every single thing that goes into my child’s mouth requires me to check the ingredient lists. Unfortunately, if something in it is milk-derived, it doesn’t have to list that according to the FDA. There’s a lot of ambiguity when it comes to artificial and natural flavors, colors and preservatives, and transparency is not required. So do I give him the food that should be okay and risk a reaction, or do I disappoint him and tell him it’s not safe? We play that game. Every. Single. Day.

Sometimes I hear him coughing in his room at night, one of his common early symptoms of a reaction, and the panic starts rising. “What did he eat today? Was it anything that we ate differently? Have I looked at our safe foods’ ingredient lists recently? Did they change their ingredients?” And then I mentally go back through everything he ate in the past 24 hours, because reactions can be delayed. His are usually around 8 hours after ingestion. Sometimes it could be anything, sometimes I may not even know for sure what he has eaten.

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I cringe when other kids offer him food because he SO BADLY wants to take it, but he does good most days on refusing. Sometimes he slips, but I have to give him some autonomy. I cannot keep him in a bubble forever. He has had to learn how to resist temptation in the most evil of ways. Food is more than eating. It’s a social and cultural enjoyment. Good food brings people together and celebrations often center around food. Many people take offense even, including family members, when we say that he can’t have whatever they’re offering, because we aren’t sure of the ingredients.

My son experiences discrimination every time he’s on some sort of a team or in a group activity. I’ve heard such things as “We don’t accommodate for people with food allergies.” and “Can’t you just bring him his own snack to every game?” told to me by other parents, teachers, and team leaders. But there’s always that one parent on the team that texts me to ask me for suggestions on my son’s safe foods because they want to make sure he feels included. One parent who shows they care. They are the shining beacon of light, and by being able to share in team snack with everyone else, just like every other kid, you made his day. It warms my heart to see him so happy. And it makes me so angry when people blow off his food allergies like they’re nothing.

My child’s food allergies aren’t a preference, they are a life and death risk. I know it is inconvenient, my family lives with and accommodates those inconvenient risks every day.

Our safe restaurants include Mellow Mushroom and Disney restaurants. That’s about it. Going out to eat is another adventure. It takes a lot of time and energy, because we have to call ahead and make sure they can make something for my son that he can actually eat. He’s not picky by any means, but he does have his preferences, and most places either have 1-2 things on the menu he can have, or none at all. Like most of us, he wants to enjoy eating beyond considering whether or not it will make him sick. Most times, the restaurant’s employee we talk to on the phone can’t guarantee that they’ll have a meal free of his allergens. By the time we call around to 3-4 places we’ve selectively picked, we usually throw in the towel and make something at home. We make 95% of our food at home from the most basic ingredients. It takes too much time, planning and effort to go to a new restaurant, where most of the time, the employees are very poorly educated on food allergies and cross contamination. Fast food is mostly out of the question. We don’t even try there. If we need fast food, we make him a safe option at home.

Do I want to be this controlling? HELL NO. I want to let him eat whatever he wants, and I would cut off my left arm if he could just have one slice of birthday cake at another kid’s birthday party. But his diagnosis requires vigilance and I must provide that.

Still, I refuse to allow food to define my child. He is a smart, funny, easy-going kid. He’s never met a stranger and will hold a conversation with anyone he meets. He is good at acrobatics, circus aerial arts, and baseball. He just signed a modeling contract through a worldwide agency. His smile is infectious and that lights up the room. Food allergies are NOT who he is. He may have them, but they are not him. He is Ian, a boy who has food allergies.

And I stand in the background, ensuring he stays safe as he blossoms into his own person.

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Right now, we take it one day at a time and we learn and grow with him. There will be more rebellion. There will most likely be more ER visits in the future. There will be times where he chooses to not bring his EpiPens with him because it’s not cool to have special needs. Hopefully that day, he won’t need it, as most days he won’t. Hopefully he won’t learn this lesson the hard way. But there will also be good friends that we meet along the way, and we will cherish them forever.

I went on to successfully breastfeed two more children. My middle child was breastfed until 18 months old, and my youngest is 19 months old and still breastfeeding with no end in sight. We introduced the top eight most allergenic foods at 6 months old under the direction of our (new) pediatrician and both of my youngest kids have no food allergies.

There’s a lot I wish I knew back in the day with my son that I know now. For new parents it can be overwhelming and scary. Most of the time I’m not scared any more, just vigilent. And I’m able to share what I’ve learned. There are boundaries to learn, together we can figure them out. In this post, another parent shares a few methods about food boundaries with her food sensitive child. 

Want to know what to look for and what could be a warning sign of an allergy in your child? Here are some of the most common things to look for when evaluating for food allergies in children:

  •      Rash around the mouth
  •      Flushed face
  •      Hives
  •      Vomiting and/or diarrhea
  •      Behavioral changes, mostly severe anxiety or restlessness after eating
  •      Fast heartbeat*
  •      Face, tongue or lip swelling*
  •      Constant coughing or wheezing*
  •      Difficulty breathing*
  •      Loss of consciousness*
*If your child exhibits any of these symptoms, call 911 immediately as these are signs of a life threatening medical emergency.

They could encounter the allergen once and react to it, or they could’ve been exposed to the allergen 100 times before and all of a sudden start reacting to it. There is no telling when or how bad they’re going to react to the allergen, if their body chooses to react to that particular food protein.

Many life-threatening food allergy reactions (called anaphylaxis) happen to kids who did not know they had a food allergy. If you suspect that your child has a food allergy, please consult your physician for further allergy testing. 

If you’d like to learn more about food allergies, please visit: www.foodallergy.org.

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Living with the reality that the very nourishment that should sustain us, bring us joy, and lead to health could make our child sick, endangering their lives, isn’t easy. If you get to enjoy life without these scary obstacles, please be patient with those of us who must learn how to navigate them. If you are just discovering that allergies may be a part of your child’s life, you’ve got this. It may require a lifestyle change but you’ve got this. With community and information sharing you can be your child’s strongest advocate and learn how to navigate this terrain without it stealing your joy. 

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Heather Mackles is a 32-year-old retired PICU RN, who is happily married to her husband, and stays at home with her three children, two dogs and an antisocial cat. In her minuscule amounts of free time, between changing diapers and homeschooling/unschooling her kids, she enjoys traveling, taking frequent trips to Disney, sewing, and critiquing medical TV shows. She believes in advocating for all women from all walks of life, and loves helping women achieve their breastfeeding goals.
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Cut the controversy, Fed IS Best!

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Dear Leakies, 

The number one rule in breastfeeding support is feed the baby.

Always.

Sure, how we feed them is important but nothing is as important as feeding the baby. With #TLBnourish we’re focusing on how we’re doing that together recognizing that pressure of how to do so can make that more difficult. Instead, we’re exploring the diversity of what nourishing really looks like.

From breast and bottle to introducing solids to the 21 meals a week (plus snacks), there is so much more involved than simply nutrition.

*This is an excerpt from our TLB email, to continue reading, click here.

And don’t miss out on the amazing giveaway featuring Mommy Moosli, Wean Green, 5 Phases bottles, Evenflo Feeding, Innobaby, and Belibea Bra all supporting you to be fully nourished.

Jessica Martin-Weber
Founder, TheLeakyBoob.com

 

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Pregnancy Sonograms: What You Will Learn- Part 1

This post made possible by the generous support of My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear
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This article originally published on mybabysheartbeatbear.com on November 10, 2015.

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There is something so exciting about seeing your little jelly bean bouncing around on the ultrasound screen! Counting down the days until you can watch your baby swim around is something almost all couples do.You get pictures and possibly a video with the heartbeat. All of it just solidifies that you truly are carrying a little life inside.

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Healthy, low-risk pregnant women are recommended to only receive a sonogram at 20 weeks, but there are times when other scans are needed to check on the baby. There are six common sonograms performed throughout pregnancies, and one or more may be recommended to you. I’m going to break them down and explain their individual purposes and what you can expect to leave knowing after having one.

Before describing the sonograms in the next article, in this first article we’re going to talk about the difference between a sonogram and an ultrasound and explain the most common sonograms utilized in prenatal care. A sonogram is the image generated during ultrasonography, which is a diagnostic imaging technique that uses ultrasound to visualize anything inside the body. Ultrasound is a sound frequency above the range audible to humans, which is about 20 kHz. Both terms are used interchangeably by most people, but in layman’s terms an ultrasound is using sound waves to see or hear something inside the body. A sonogram is the actual visual picture of what the ultrasound is picking up. There are seven types of ultrasounds that may be performed during pregnancy:

Standard Ultrasound  Traditional ultrasound exam which uses a transducer over the abdomen to generate 2-D images of the developing fetus .

Advanced Ultrasound – This exam is similar to the standard ultrasound, but the exam targets a suspected problem and uses more sophisticated equipment.

Doppler Ultrasound   This imaging procedure measures slight changes in the frequency of the ultrasound waves as they bounce off moving objects, such as blood cells.

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3-D Ultrasound  Uses specially designed probes and software to generate 3-D images of the developing fetus.

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4-D or Dynamic 3-D Ultrasound  Uses specially designed scanners to look at the face and movements of the baby prior to delivery.

Fetal Echocardiography  Uses ultrasound waves to assess the baby’s heart anatomy and function. This is used to help assess suspected congenital heart defects.

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Your doctor or midwife will likely use the Doppler during each prenatal visit to pick up the baby’s heartbeat. Generally, they keep it short and use this as reassurance to you that your baby is doing well. This is very common, but can be denied if you feel the urge not to have it done. (As an almost fourth time mom here, I’ll tell you just how amazing it is to hear that little heartbeat every few weeks!)

While many women will receive other ultrasounds during their pregnancy, other than the Doppler to check heart tone at prenatal exams, the standard ultrasound anatomy scan around 20 weeks is the most common. See below for more information about the anatomy scan.

  • Anatomy Scan: Between 18-21 weeks, you will have a more in-depth ultrasound done to determine the baby’s size, weight, and to measure growth ensuring the fetus is developing according to plan. In addition, the anatomic ultrasound looks at and takes measurements of many different anatomic parts of the fetus. The technician or the doctor will be looking for any signs of slower than normal development. The skeleton should be hardening at this point and the sex of the baby may be visible. In many cases, the baby may have its legs crossed or be facing away from the abdomen and thus the sexual organs will not be visible during the anatomic ultrasound. But fingers crossed, you will learn the gender! On the plus side, you’ll receive many pictures of your little one during this scan. The following fetal parts are checked during the anatomy ultrasound:
    • Face: Depending on the positioning of your baby, the technician may or may not be able to detect if your baby has a cleft lip. Rarely are they able to detect if there is a cleft of the palate.
    • Brain: The technician will be assessing the fluid-filled spaces inside the brain and the shape of the cerebellum, which is in the back of the brain. He or she will also be able to identify if any cysts are in the choroid plexus, which is a tissue in the brain that produces cerebrospinal fluid. Fetal cysts may indicate an increased risk for a chromosome abnormality; however, the majority of these cysts disappear by the 28th week of pregnancy with no effect on the baby.
    • Skull (shape, integrity, BPD and HC measurements)
    • Neck (nuchal fold thickness)
    • Spine: Your baby’s spine will be evaluated in the long view and in a cross section. The technician will be looking to make sure that the vertebrae are in alignment and that the skin covers the spine at the back.
    • Heart (rate, rhythm, 4-chamber views, outflow tract): Congenital Heart Defects are one of the leading causes of birth defects and infant death. A prenatal diagnosis can prepare you and your medical team to provide your infant with the best medical care possible throughout your pregnancy and after birth.
    • Thorax (shape, lungs, diaphragm)
    • Abdomen (stomach, kidneys, liver, bladder, wall, umbilicus, cord, abdominal circumference AC)
    • Limbs (femur, tibia, fibia, humerus, radius, ulna, hands, feet, femur length FL)
    • Genitals (gender, abnormality)
    • Cervix (length and opening)

Based upon the results of the measurements, the gestational age of the baby will be predicted based upon the average size of other babies scanned during the 20th week of pregnancy. If any abnormalities are found, additional examinations are indicated.

In our next article, we’ll go more in depth into the other Sonograms some women experience in pregnancy and their purpose. No matter what kind of scan you’re given, it can be an exciting time and a bit of an emotional roller coaster. Hearing and seeing how your baby is doing can be both nerve-wrecking and encouraging. Read here for more potential emotional impact of a prenatal ultrasound experience.

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me
Elizabeth is mom to four breathtakingly-beautiful children, and wife to one lucky man. She is a research writer, blogger, and a ghost writer of books.  As a natural-minded woman, Elizabeth takes pride in spreading factual information that may benefit other mothers and future generations.  She has spent the last seven years (and counting) growing babies in the womb and/or with breastmilk.  When she is not writing, she enjoys drinking wine, running, cooking, reading, homeschooling, and loving her family and friends.
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Ask the IBCLC Breastfeeding Help: Relactating, Back to Breast After Bottle, Once Low Supply Always Low Supply, and More

The Leakies with Shari Criso, MSN,RN, CNM, IBCLC

This post made possible by the support of EvenFlo Feeding

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We’ve asked Shari Criso to share her answers to Leakies questions about feeding their babies. If you have any questions you’d like to ask Shari, leave a comment!

 

Dear Shari,

I started breastfeeding my son when he was first born but we had a lot of difficulties and ended up switching to formula. He’s 2 months old now and I don’t think I have any breastmilk left but I’m really sad about stopping. Is there any way I can get him back on the breast and get my supply up for him? Is that possible or should I just accept that I screwed up?

Sad but hopeful

I am so sorry that you had so much difficulty.  This is unfortunately not uncommon and there are so many moms that face the same challenges having them stop breastfeeding way before they want to. You DID NOT screw up!  You did the best that you could with the information and support that you had.  This is not your fault although I know how disappointing it is. There are two questions you are asking here…One, is it possible after 2 months to get your baby back on the breast from the bottle, and two, can I increase my supply to go back to exclusive or partial breastfeeding?  The answer to both of these questions is YES…but it will take some work and the right support.  If you have been pumping and feeding your baby a combination of breast milk and formula, increasing your supply back up to exclusive breast milk is very doable.  It will require frequent pumping and/or feeding (possibly with a supplemental nursing system) and also supplements that can help to increase your supply.  If you have not been pumping at all, re-establishing your supply or “relactation” is possible but will also require work with pumping, feeding and supplements for you.  Getting your bottle fed baby back on the breast after 2 months is possible although not always.  I highly recommend that you seek out an experienced IBCLC that has worked with moms in this situation before and get the proper counseling and support.  This is not something to do on your own, as time is really of the essence if you want to have the best chance at success.  Lastly, there are lots of moms that exclusively pump and are still able to feed their babies breast milk even though they are not nursing at the breast.  Of course your baby will greatly benefit from this for as long as you are able to do it and for as much or as little as you are able to provide.  This is a third option to consider.

For those moms that are trying to make that final transition back to exclusive breastfeeding, here is a great video clip from my WebTV Show on “Weaning off formula back to exclusive breastfeeding” 

 

 

Dear Shari,

I was hoping you could tell me what could be causing me to feel nauseous when I nurse? It’s really bad at night, but always there when she nurses?! Is this normal? Will it go away? It is really putting a damper on breastfeeding because I feel sick every time.

Please help!

Feeling sick to my stomach

 

Hi…I know this feeling that you are describing since I had it myself when both of my babies nursed!  It is amazing how everyone feels different when they breastfeed.  Very often moms will have some sort of sensation or reaction to their milk letting-down.  It can feel different in different moms, and if you don’t feel anything it does not mean that you are not getting a let down…don’t go there!  This can be felt as nausea, which is usually caused by the hormones that are released when your baby begins to suckle.  Moms may feel something like nausea, slight dizziness, lightheaded, tingling,  etc… at the onset of the feeding and then it will subside as the baby continues to feed.  As I said this is not the same for everyone and it sounds like you may be feeling it the whole time. There is not much that you can really do about this since it is hormonal.  You may want to try a hard candy, closing your eyes and relaxing with the feeding, or maybe some fresh air or a fan, etc… Also, make sure that you are not hungry or that your blood sugar is not low, which will also cause you to feel nauseous, just as it can during pregnancy!  I wish that I had more to offer except that this is quite normal AND it may not last.  Your body (and your baby) is changing every day.  What you are experiencing one day may be completely different the next.  Hope it resolves and you can enjoy the experience a bit more.

Here is a video about relieving nausea (or morning sickness) in pregnancy…although the hormones that are causing it are different, the conversation about hypoglycemia may be helpful and especially for all the pregnant mamas out there. 

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Dear Shari,

I am 12 weeks pregnant with my second babe. With my son I wasn’t able to breastfeed, my supply never came in. I tried oatmeal, mother’s milk tea, and lots of water. But nothing helped. I really want to breastfeed with this one. Does anyone have any advice or suggestions that could help this time around? Anything I can do beforehand to make sure my supply comes in?

Thank you so much for your help.

Concerned but hopeful in the midwest.

 

Hi…It is great that you are asking these questions NOW in preparation for your baby’s arrival.  Way too often, moms will wait until their baby is born to educate themselves or try to find the support that they need.  This can be difficult when you have just given birth, trying to breastfeed and care for a newborn!  To answer this question it is important to identify what actually happened last time, identify any underlying medical issues, and also be cautious in comparing one experience with the next.  So yes there are real situations that can cause your milk to not either be delayed in coming in, have a decrease in supply, or not come in at all.  You need to discuss this with your doctor or midwife (and also consult with an IBCLC) to make sure that underlying causes are identified and addressed if they exist such as a hypothyroid, or IGT for example.  Sometimes the birth itself can be a cause for a delayed or insufficient supply…large blood loss, retained placental fragments, etc…can cause this among other things. Lastly, it is important to remember that while it is very possible to have a real situation with insufficient milk supply, my experience is that MOST issues are either perceived or created from the concern and then the unnecessary supplementation.  It is SO important to understand that your milk will take days to come in, that the drops of colostrum that you are producing is all your baby will need, and that babies are not really supposed to eat large volumes of milk in the first few days and are supposed to lose weight!  This misinformation and misunderstanding, mostly in the medical community, is what creates fear and doubt for moms and causes unnecessary supplementation, decreased feedings at the breast, and can cause the exact issue you are trying to cure.  Most importantly, get the information you need and really understand what is happening and what is not.  Yes the teas and the supplements can be helpful, but without the knowledge it will not make much of a difference.  One of the best ways to prepare yourself for success is to watch my online breastfeeding class “Simply Breastfeeding” where I go over this discussion on milk supply in the first week as well as so much more!

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Shari Criso 2016

 

For over 23 years, Shari Criso has been a Registered Nurse, Certified Nurse Midwife, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, nationally recognized parenting educator, entrepreneur, and most importantly, loving wife and proud mother of two amazing breastfed daughters.
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TLB Comic: Introducing Solids for the Breastfed Baby- Fed with Love? #TLBnourish

by Jennie Bernstein

9june16tlbcomic1a

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Breastfeeding During Pregnancy

by Shari Criso, RN, CNM, IBCLC

This post made possible by the support of EvenFlo Feeding

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Can I breastfeed throughout my pregnancy?

Breastfeeding during pregnancy is very normal. Throughout history and even today in many parts of the world, children survive because they continue to breastfeed throughout pregnancy. In MOST cases, it is extremely safe, completely normal, and very healthy to continue breastfeeding while you are pregnant with your next baby.

Where this whole concept of it being an issue came from is with people who have had recurrent miscarriages, and people who are bleeding early in pregnancy. Remember, when you breastfeed, there is a hormone called oxytocin released from your brain, and oxytocin can contract your uterus. If you’re a person with a history of early miscarriage or you’re bleeding in pregnancy, this may be a consideration. But for the vast majority of people, it’s completely fine to continue to breastfeed through pregnancy, not only at the beginning but throughout.

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What I find is that for most women, their toddlers will wean themselves during pregnancy, because as you get closer to the end, the milk is changing to more of a colostrum, getting ready for delivery. The taste changes and toddlers are like, “What’s this? This is not what it was before!” And there are others that are like, “I don’t care what this is, I want it anyway!” And that’s when you have people who are nursing two children at one time. And that’s totally fine.

One thing you do want to keep in mind if you’re tandem nursing is to make sure the newborn is always going first. That the baby is getting what they need first, and the toddler is getting more of a snack. Remember that your toddler is also eating solid foods at that point, and getting other nutrition, while your newborn needs to get the full majority of it.

I hope that answers the question, but overall, it is absolutely fine to keep nursing through pregnancy and beyond!

Shari Criso MSN, RN, CNM, IBCLC

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Find more from Shari supporting your parenting journey including infant feeding at on Facebook, My Baby Experts©

Thanks for Evenflo Feeding, Inc.‘s generous support for families in their feeding journey.

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Shari Criso 2016

 

For over 23 years, Shari Criso has been a Registered Nurse, Certified Nurse Midwife, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, nationally recognized parenting educator, entrepreneur, and most importantly, loving wife and proud mother of two amazing breastfed daughters.
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What is it to nourish ourselves- Let Love Flo? And 2 giveaways and a discount code

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Dear Leakies,

Around TLB we talk a lot about the oxygen mask principle, that you can’t help others if you haven’t taken care of yourself because you’re no good to anybody passed out.

But that’s often easier said than done. Our society has such high esteem for the boot strap mentality that self-care is interpreted as weakness when it is anything but.

Leakies, we need to be nourished though. Can we Let Love Flo for ourselves? Many of us are quite literally nourishing our children with our own bodies and coming from a place of being empty mentally, emotionally, and physically isn’t healthy for anyone, including our children.

So what can we do?

*This is an excerpt from our TLB email, to continue reading, click here.

Jessica Martin-Weber
Founder, TheLeakyBoob.com

 

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