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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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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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?

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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!

____________________

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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Breastfeeding During Pregnancy

by Shari Criso, RN, CNM, IBCLC

This post made possible by the support of EvenFlo Feeding

Brand-Ad_29APR16

 ____________________

 

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.

BreastfeedingDuringPregnancy_27MAY16

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

____________________

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.

____________________

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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Nourishing Gifts

So much of our lives revolve around feeding our families and sometimes that is fun, sometimes it’s draining.

Seriously, how can they be hungry again!

But nourishment isn’t the same thing as just feeding. Related, but not the same.

Nourishment is so much more than just nutrition for our bodies; our spirits find nourishment in connection, our relationships find nourishment in each other, our children find nourishment in our arms, our minds are nourished through learning and conversation, and our hearts are nourished by being with the people we love.

Which is why we’re hoping to nourish you with a giveaway to compliment your nourishment journey wherever it takes you. #TLBnourish giveaway is all about supporting you as your nourish those you love.

#TLBnourish Giveaway Bundle includes items from Mommy Moosli, BeliBea, Evenflo Feeding, Innobaby, 5 Phases,  and Wean Green!!

The giveaway!

 

Mommy Moosli.Mommy Moosli - Logo - CROPPED

Mommy Moosli, Title Sponsor for this #TLBnourish campaign, is a delicious, all-organic muesli cereal specially formulated to encourage milk production in nursing moms.  We’re a mom-owned company with a strong desire to #feedallthebabies, in whatever form is best for you & your little one!  Our moosli is a healthy, gentle way to naturally introduce known galactagogues to your diet.  Every bag is hand-mixed with love and care in Denver, CO.  Moosli is very versatile — it tastes great in milk, on yogurt, as a main ingredient in cookies/bars, or even on ice cream for a treat!  Check out our website for different ways to enjoy.
 

Retail Value:$12 per bag (shipping in US only)

For more information visit Mommy Moosli.



BeliBeaLOGO_MINTCORAL2-3
Feed your baby, feed your soul with support and comfort that gives you the access you need. Hands-free pumping and breastfeeding bra NOURISH is up to the task with smooth seamless stretch fit, removable cup pads, and v-neck scoop and ruching that separates and supports, fitting most pump flanges.

Retail Value:  $49.95 (shipping to US and Canada only)

 For more information visit Belibea

 

 Evenflo Feeding.

Evenflo Feeding Logo_Final-1
Evenflo’s Advanced Double Electric Breast Pump is the perfect solution for moms with frequent pumping needs. Whether at home or at work, the Advanced  Double Electric Breast Pump delivers all the premium features and benefits mom requires and deserves. This innovative pump’s PerfectlyPure™ design is a closed system that prevents milk back-up in tubing, which helps to keep tubing clean and dry, protecting mom’s breast milk and making pump cleaning more efficient. Each pumping session can be personalized with the AdvancedControl™ technology, which creates 32 unique setting combinations of speed and suction for optimal control.

To help ensure a successful pumping session, it’s important to have a comfortable, correctly sized flange fit. The Advanced Double Electric Pump includes 3 different flange sizes from our AdvancedFit™ flange system to help ensure the best fit, with additional sizes sold separately. Evenflo’s PerfectPosition™ design includes a shorter nipple tunnel and higher bottle-to-flange angle that allows mom to relax in a slouch-free pumping position. The integrated bottle holders keep mom’s milk safe after pumping, providing an extra “hand” to protect her precious milk from spills.

Access to expert resources can help ensure a successful breastfeeding experience. Evenflo is excited to include the ultimate breastfeeding education with the purchase of your pump. Developed by our partner, Breastfeeding Expert Shari Criso (IBCLC, CNM, RN), mom receives digital access to two practical and proven programs she can access anywhere! Both Simply Breastfeeding™ and Breast Pumps & Briefcases™ have helped thousands of moms successfully breastfeed and continue breastfeeding while returning to work and are included with purchase.

Retail Value: $109.99 (shipping in US only)

For more information visit Evenflo Feeding



 
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Aquaheat™ is designed to quickly warm food, liquids and bottles without need for a battery, electricity, or hot water, while on-the-go.  The collection includes the Aquaheat™ Stainless Bottle and Warming Pod, Aquaheat™ Food Warmers in various sizes and Aquaheat™ Heat Packs, which activate with water to create heat. This lightweight portable system is perfect for warming food or drinks instantly and creating a delicious, nutritious and warm meal anytime, anywhere just when you need it. With growing concerns amongst parents about healthy eating, and increasing number of kids with food allergies, more consumers are looking for an on-the-go solution for packing and heating food for their children. With Aquaheat™, you can warm or prepare food on the go just when you need it.  You can be more in control of what you are feeding your kids and offer something other than cold sandwiches or soggy pastas. Innobaby’s Aquaheat creates heat instantly and can warm everything from baby bottles to a nutritious meal in little as two minutes.

Retail Value:AquaHeat Bottle Warmer & 10 oz Stainless Bottle $34.99

For more information visit Innobaby

 

 

5Phases_logo_RTM
5 Phases is the first bottle feeding system to introduce an interchangeable glass insert.  Our unique design kept the Eco-mom in mind providing the healthful benefits of glass + the protection of BPA free plastic all while reducing the carbon footprint on the environment! Our “grow with me” feeding system truly makes our bottles the most eco-friendly bottle feeding system out there! The “interchangeable glass insert concept” is one of a kind! The recyclable translucent plastic sleeve guards against breakage but contains the broken glass and liquid mess if breaking occurs making it a safer alternative in glass bottle feeding. The ability to buy additional glass inserts adds convenience and affordability and reduces the carbon footprint in the environment because you use less plastic. A perfect storage solution for pumped milk and formulas, our glass inserts “grow with me” feeding system are ideal for homemade baby food when baby has moved on from their bottles.  Now that’s eco- friendly!

Retail Value: $18.99 (shipping in US only)

For more information visit 5 Phases.
 


WeanGreen_circle logo_no GL
This tempered glass food storage set includes the 3 basic sizes to prepare, store, and serve homemade baby food. The containers are also great for lunch bags, leftovers and condiment storage! The set contains 2 Wean Cubes, 2 Wean Bowls and 2 Wean Tubs.

Retail Value: $29.99

For more information visit Wean Green.
 

nourish bundle image

Prize Bundle Total Value : $255.91

Mommy Moosli – Moosli, $12 per bag

BeliBea – Nursing pumping bra, $49.95 value

Evenflo FeedingAdvanced Double Electric Breast Pump$109.99 value

Innobaby– AquaHeat Bottle Warmer & 10 oz Stainless Bottle, $34.99 value

5 Phases – 4 oz bottles, $18.99 value

Wean Green– Tempered-glass Food Storage Set, $29.99 value


Good luck to everyone!  Please use the widget below to enter. The giveaway is open from now through June 28, 2016. A big thanks to Mommy MoosliBeliBeaEvenflo FeedingInnobaby5 Phases, and Wean Green for their support of TLB and all breastfeeding women. This giveaway is open to participants in the USA.

 

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We All Need To Be Nourished- #TLBnourish Connection

WLTL quote image 2

We move, we love, we do safe… now we’re going back to our roots and talking about feeding with #TLBnourish.

#TLBnourish is a time to celebrate nourishing our families, ourselves, and even our community. From sharing recipes to sharing stories to sharing our photos, #TLBnourish us about feeding our whole selves well.

Nourishment is so much more than just nutrition for our bodies; our spirits find nourishment in connection, our relationships find nourishment in each other, our children find nourishment in our arms, our minds are nourished through learning and conversation, and our hearts are nourished by being with the people we love.

Nourish brings us all together as we hold space for each other in what this may look like in our lives, embracing the bravery required to open up about what and how we nourish ourselves and our families. With so much pressure to be a certain way with an expectation of perfection it can feel risky to say what we really do, but that’s exactly what we’re going to do together, supporting how our journeys are diverse and meaningful. Feeding our very souls.

Also, sometimes we’re just plain ol’ surviving! And we can laugh, cry, and joke about that reality. Nourishment isn’t always the stuff of cooking shows and feel-good-TV. What love tastes like is more of buffet of hasty snacks, complex dishes, and some total flops- like the time my brother used garlic oil on accident to make brownies and it was the laughter that nourished us.

Following the inspiration of #TLBmoves, #TLBsafeKids, and most recently #TLBloves, we are excited to share this new experience with you, The Leaky Boob and Beyond Moi communities, that focuses first on strengthening the connection we have with our families and ourselves, to key aspects that deeply impact relationships of all sorts. Join us on The Leaky Boob Facebook page, here; The Leaky Boob Community Facebook group, here; BeyondMoi.com and the Beyond Moi Facebook Page, here; the newly formed Beyond Moi Community Facebook group (where we talk about just about anything and everything- particularly relationships), here; and What Love Tastes Like, here.

#TLBnourish launches today, June 3 running through the month, though a meaningful focus on how we nourish ourselves and our families is never really limited to a set of dates. It’s what TLB does every day!  We will be focusing on what nourishes us with good food, meaningful experiences, opening up, and a lot of humor. All of this through the sharing of information, support, and most importantly, The Leaky Boob and Beyond Moi communities in action teaming up with you, our communities, and brands we trust including Title Sponsoring Brand Mommy Moosli, a delicious, healthy milk boosting granola for the whole family. Be on the lookout for the hashtag: #TLBnourish (and start using it too!), Leaky guest posts, a vocal presence across social media (Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook), posts from our campaign ambassadors, relevant information and interactions on our sister sites, BeyondMoi.com and What Love Tastes Like on Facebook, inspiring support within our community, involvement from our campaign sponsors, giveaways, and informative articles.

Let’s explore the depth and strength of love in our relationships together, with #TLBnourish.

____________________

Meet our ambassadors 

We’ve assembled a small team to provide a little daily inspiration and some real-life experiences as they focus on the love present in their relationships. Here are the four mamas (apart from myself) that will be sharing their #TLBnourish experiences with us this for the next month:

IMG_0112Hannah Buckley.

I’m Hannah!  I’m from a small town in NE Texas, but I currently live in New Port Richey, FL.  I am an extremely busy work at home mom!  Aside from the everyday Mama duties, I’m a local photographer. We also own a web design and marketing company in Tarpon Springs, FL, so I stay very busy!  For the past (almost) 4 years, I have been married to my best friend, Brian.  We have 2 beautiful and energetic boys, Dayton (2 years) and Madden (4 months).  I love being outside, grilling and playing in the water with the boys. We take frequent trips to the beach and love to try new local restaurants.  I have recently started to really enjoy cooking and baking, and I’m having a blast with lactation recipes!  My life is hectic at times, silly, fun, hard, and busy… but I wouldn’t trade one single minute of it!

 

image1Kelley Spencer. 

Kelley became a mom in April to her adorable son, Blake. She’s originally from Minnesota, but moved to the Clearwater, Florida area a few years ago with her husband, Sean, and two black labs. She worked as a hairstylist for 5 years, marketing coordinator for 3 years, and now she works part-time for her local church. She enjoys traveling, reading and writing, going to the beach, eating seafood, running and PiYo, and spending a day at Disney World or Universal Studios.

 

 

13383538_10157045234550038_1295936637_oBryttany Hyde.

My name is Bryttany, I am a work from home mom, blogger, and business owner from Woodstock, GA. I moved to Woodstock shortly after meeting my husband Cameron while now 6 years later we are proud parents to Killian (23 months) and AthenaRose (1 month). Coloring and reading are some of my favorite activities when I’m not wrapping babies and helping others learn about cloth diapers!

 

allysonAllyson Storey.

I am originally from California, moved to Delaware as a teenager, and am now located just outside of Portland Oregon! I am a stay at home mom but am starting a photography business. I love to go camping and rock climbing with my family. I have one daughter, her name is Savannah and she is 7 months old. I have been married for almost 5 years to my husband Richard. 
 
 
 

.

leanneLee Ann Meier.

My name is Lee Ann and I am from Wisconsin. I live in a suburb of Milwaukee. For my full time job, I am a Web Designer. For my other full time job, I’m a mom of 2 kiddos (3 if you include my husband). Leilani will be 2 on June 8th and Landon is 8 weeks old. My hobbies include: volleyball, bowling, watching sports, camping and just hanging out with my family. I am super sassy, kind of sarcastic and a little nerdy. My husband’s name is Kevin and he’s just as nerdy, maybe even a little more than me. 🙂
 

____________________

Meet our partners

Supporting our unique and diverse nourishment journeys, we are so grateful to partner with brands who value the mission of The Leaky Boob and we trust to share with our community. Leakies themselves, the brands below have made caring for families with quality products that we can trust a priority.

Mommy Moosli - Logo - CROPPED

Mommy Moosli. Mommy TLBnourish’s Title Sponsor, Moosli, is a delicious, all-organic muesli cereal specially formulated to encourage milk production in nursing moms.  We’re a mom-owned company with a strong desire to #feedallthebabies, in whatever form is best for you & your little one!  Our moosli is a healthy, gentle way to naturally introduce known galactagogues to your diet.  Every bag is hand-mixed with love and care in Denver, CO.  Moosli is very versatile — it tastes great in milk, on yogurt, as a main ingredient in cookies/bars, or even in ice cream for a treat!  Check out our website for different ways to enjoy.

 

BeliBeaLOGO_MINTCORAL2-3

Belibea.  Feed your baby, feed your soul with support and comfort that gives you the access you need. Hands-free pumping and breastfeeding bra NOURISH is up to the task with smooth seamless stretch fit, removable cup pads, and v-neck scoop and ruching that separates and supports, fitting most pump flanges.

 

Evenflo Feeding Logo_Final-1

Evenflo Feeding. Evenflo’s Advanced Double Electric Breast Pump is the perfect solution for moms with frequent pumping needs. Whether at home or at work, the Advanced  Double Electric Breast Pump delivers all the premium features and benefits mom requires and deserves. This innovative pump’s PerfectlyPure™ design is a closed system that prevents milk back-up in tubing, which helps to keep tubing clean and dry, protecting mom’s breast milk and making pump cleaning more efficient. Each pumping session can be personalized with the AdvancedControl™ technology, which creates 32 unique setting combinations of speed and suction for optimal control.

To help ensure a successful pumping session, it’s important to have a comfortable, correctly sized flange fit. The Advanced Double Electric Pump includes 3 different flange sizes from our AdvancedFit™ flange system to help ensure the best fit, with additional sizes sold separately. Evenflo’s PerfectPosition™ design includes a shorter nipple tunnel and higher bottle-to-flange angle that allows mom to relax in a slouch-free pumping position. The integrated bottle holders keep mom’s milk safe after pumping, providing an extra “hand” to protect her precious milk from spills.

Access to expert resources can help ensure a successful breastfeeding experience. Evenflo is excited to include the ultimate breastfeeding education with the purchase of your pump. Developed by our partner, Breastfeeding Expert Shari Criso (IBCLC, CNM, RN), mom receives digital access to two practical and proven programs she can access anywhere! Both Simply Breastfeeding™ and Breast Pumps & Briefcases™ have helped thousands of moms successfully breastfeed and continue breastfeeding while returning to work and are included with purchase.

 

Print

Innobaby.  Aquaheat™ is designed to quickly warm food, liquids and bottles without need for a battery, electricity, or hot water, while on-the-go.  The collection includes the Aquaheat™ Stainless Bottle and Warming Pod, Aquaheat™ Food Warmers in various sizes and Aquaheat™ Heat Packs, which activate with water to create heat. This lightweight portable system is perfect for warming food or drinks instantly and creating a delicious, nutritious and warm meal anytime, anywhere just when you need it. With growing concerns amongst parents about healthy eating, and increasing number of kids with food allergies, more consumers are looking for an on-the-go solution for packing and heating food for their children. With Aquaheat™, you can warm or prepare food on the go just when you need it.  You can be more in control of what you are feeding your kids and offer something other than cold sandwiches or soggy pastas. Innobaby’s Aquaheat creates heat instantly and can warm everything from baby bottles to a nutritious meal in little as two minutes.

 

5Phases_logo_RTM

5 Phases. 5 Phases is the first bottle feeding system to introduce an interchangeable glass insert.  Our unique design kept the Eco-mom in mind providing the healthful benefits of glass + the protection of BPA free plastic all while reducing the carbon footprint on the environment! Our “grow with me” feeding system truly makes our bottles the most eco-friendly bottle feeding system out there! The “interchangeable glass insert concept” is one of a kind! The recyclable translucent plastic sleeve guards against breakage but contains the broken glass and liquid mess if breaking occurs making it a safer alternative in glass bottle feeding. The ability to buy additional glass inserts adds convenience and affordability and reduces the carbon footprint in the environment because you use less plastic. A perfect storage solution for pumped milk and formulas, our glass inserts “grow with me” feeding system are ideal for homemade baby food when baby has moved on from their bottles.  Now that’s eco- friendly!

 

WeanGreen_circle logo_no GL

Wean Green.  This tempered glass food storage set includes the 3 basic sizes to prepare, store, and serve homemade baby food. The containers are also great for lunch bags, leftovers and condiment storage! The set contains 2 Wean Cubes, 2 Wean Bowls and 2 Wean Tubs.

____________________

 nourish4

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Ask the Sleep Expert- Rebecca Michi- Mothers, Restless Toddlers, and Newborn Nap Schedules – Sleep In Arm’s Reach

The Leakies with Rebecca Michi
This post made possible by the generous support of Arms Reach Co-Sleeper

Arms Reach Banner Logo

We asked sleep consultant Rebecca Michi to come help us all get some more sleep and we asked the Leakies to share their current sleep struggles. Here are a few of the responses, followed by Rebecca’s support.

 

Dear Rebecca,

With my first baby my mother came and helped. It was nice to have her but at night she wanted to have the baby in her room to let me get more sleep. I was uncomfortable with it for some reason I still can’t explain but it was nice to get a little more sleep. She would comfort my daughter when she would wake, bounce her, give her the pacifier, change her diaper, and try to get her back down. If that didn’t work, she would bring her to me to feed. Several times a night it did work so I did get more sleep. But it never felt quite right even though I appreciated the sleep. My daughter is a pretty good sleeper and my mom says it is because she taught her to sleep as a newborn.

This time I know she’s going to want to do that again and I’m torn about it. Is this ok to do or are is it potentially causing problems? I’m just not sure.

Thank you for your help,

Conflicted mom-to-be again.

 

Hi Conflicted Mom,

How lovely that you have family who come and stay and help you with your newborn. Don’t worry, your Mom helping at night will not cause any problems. Having said that. Don’t do anything that is making you feel uncomfortable. Maybe have your Mom do this once or twice a week, or after the first week or two. If you’re feeling uncomfortable you probably won’t be able to relax and sleep, always trust your Mommy instinct.

~Rebecca

 

____________________

Dear Rebecca,

Every night around 3am my 2.5 year old wakes up. I try taking her back to her bed but she’ll just cry and cry and I’m so tired I lay back down with her or let her get in bed with us. Sometimes she needs to go potty but not every time and she’s always very confused. If I let her in bed with me she’ll fall asleep and everything is fine but I wake up sore. If I take her back to her room she’ll be up repeatedly for the rest of the night. I don’t want to reject her but I need her to go back to her bed and sleep. How can we gently help her get there?

Sincerely,

3am Zmombie.

 

Hey Zmombie,

I would work on eliminating this wake up, as it is happening at the same time each night it is happening out of habit. That’s a good thing as we can work on breaking habits!

If she’s waking at 3am, you’ll want to set your alarm for 2:20am (sorry), go into your daughter and rouse her from her sleep, you don’t want to wake her, just bring her into a lighter sleep. Put your hands on her and rub her tummy/back until you see her move or make a noise. When you do, stop and creep out the room. She shouldn’t wake at 3am as she is going back down into a deeper sleep. Try this for 3 nights before seeing if she has eliminated the wake up herself. If she wakes as you expected her to you will need to wake her slightly more the following night as she wasn’t quite woken enough.

~Rebecca

____________________

arms reach image may

 

____________________

Dear Rebecca,

Naps, how do I get my 10 week old to nap somewhere other than on me? I love babywearing and I love holding my baby but sometimes I just need a break and would like to set him down to rest on my own or take a shower or something. He loves to sleep but only in my arms. At night he sleeps in the cosleeper next to me and I can transfer him pretty well after feeding but nap times during the day are an entirely different matter. It seems like he always wants to sleep during the day but it’s only in little bits here and there because if I try to transfer him he wakes up. I end up feeling stuck sitting there holding him until he wakes. Is there anything we can do or have we already made a bad habit we have to live with?

Trapped under a baby in the midwest.

 

Dear Trapped Momma,

This is very normal behavior for a young infant. I can guarantee that it will certainly not last forever. Sleep will really change at around 12 weeks of age (actually 52 weeks from conception).  At this point I would try for 1 nap a day in a swing or crib, the easiest is the first of the day. Don’t worry if naps are short, that is very normal as naps don’t develop until sometime between 4 and 6 months. In the meantime I would make sure you are swaddling your little one, making sure they aren’t getting overtired, dark room and have white noise playing as you work on a nap. You never know you may be able to pop them down whilst they are sleeping.

~Rebecca

 ____________________

Be sure to check out Rebecca’s book Sleep And Your Child’s Temperament and don’t miss out on the opportunity to participate in her Sleep Academy here.

If you have a question you would like Rebecca to answer next time, leave a comment.

____________________

small Rebecca Michi121

 

Rebecca is a Children’s Sleep Consultant who has been working with families for over 20 years. She is a gentle sleep consultant who doesn’t believe in leaving your child to cry-it-out when teaching them to fall asleep more independently. She is passionate about helping children and their parents build healthy habits so they can finally get some sleep. By transforming drama into dreamland, her mission is to help your children—and you—get a good night’s sleep.

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Breastfeeding When You Are Sick

by Shari Criso, RN, CNM, IBCLC

This post made possible by the support of EvenFlo Feeding

Evenflo-Feeding-Brand-Ad_25AUG15

When it comes to breastfeeding, one of the myths that drives me absolutely crazy and could actually be dangerous for your baby, is the idea that if you as a breastfeeding mom are sick, that you should discontinue breastfeeding until you feel better.

This is advice that is often given to moms by their pediatricians or obstetricians and it’s actually the complete opposite of what you want to do!

When you breastfeed, your body passes along the antibodies of what you’ve been exposed to, directly to the baby. When you get sick, antibodies are created and immediately passed into your breastmilk. So what that means for you and your baby is that if you are breastfeeding and you have a virus or you are ill, your baby is actually immediately receiving specific antibodies for the exact illness you have at that moment. This will actually help keep your baby well, rather than make your baby sick.

BreastfeedingWhenYouAreSick_15APR16

What CAN make your baby sick, is to stop breastfeeding during these times! Regardless of whether you are breastfeeding or not, your baby is going to be exposed to you, because you will be with your baby. They will have the exposure anyway, but without the protection of your milk they are much more vulnerable.

I’ll tell you a little personal story… when I had my first daughter my husband Joe and I got the flu really bad. We were sick in bed for days! We had this little 2 month old, and I was like “what am I going to do with her?” All we could do was put her in the bed between us, and just let her nurse, nurse, nurse, the whole time! Now, we were new parents at the time, and even with all the skills and knowledge that I had, we were still scared and nervous. I was so afraid she would get sick. That never happened! Here was this little one who just nursed away in this sick bed with my husband and me and never got sick herself.

This is very typical, very normal, and what you’ll usually see – and if they do get sick, the illness will be so much less than if you weren’t breastfeeding.

So whether it’s stomach flu, regular flu, or any other kind of illness, especially if you’re sick or anyone in the home is sick, make sure you continue to breastfeed, because that is going to be the best way to keep your baby healthy.

Shari Criso MSN, RN, CNM, IBCLC

____________________

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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The Serious Injury No One is Talking About: Diastasis Recti

by Nicole Nexon, MSPT
This post made possible by the generous support of Belabumbum

BelabumbumLogo_200x60

____________________

Sometimes I feel like exercise has become a dirty word in the mommy sphere. I can understand that.

We get this message that we need to do everything – work, raise babies, maintain perfect households, create Pinterest worthy projects, not burn dinner… and erase any shred of evidence that our bodies have created life. Society settled on the idea that skinny = perfect and the backlash from that led to a movement of pride in our bodies. Which somehow turned in to “ real woman have curves “ and all kinds of craziness about skinny girls and curvy girls and…

It’s out of control.

And what has been missed in all of this is the truth of the matter – it’s not about skinny. It’s not about having curves or not having curves. It’s not about “mummy tummies” or thigh gap or muffin tops.

It’s about being healthy.

And not “healthy” in a way that has been co-opted by people meaning “stop eating junk food you fatty!” Healthy in way that allows people to live their lives in a manner they choose. Healthy in a way that allows you to lift babies and chase toddlers and carry laundry wherever you need to carry your laundry. Healthy in a way that makes you feel confident, that lets you sleep well and go about your life.

What happens when you’re injured…and you don’t even know it?

When I was pregnant with my second daughter, I began to feel a pretty distinct pain by my belly button. It was so specific that I was fairly certain I was developing an umbilical hernia. I brought it up with my midwife and was told it wasn’t a hernia. I was developing a diastasis recti – a split between the muscles and muscular tissue that runs down the center of the abdomen. The pressure inside from an expanding uterus/baby was just too much for the abdominal tissue to handle so the tissue and muscles were separating.

With my first pregnancy, I worked in an outpatient clinic that was less physically demanding. With this second pregnancy, my current position required a lot of physical lifting as a physical therapist in a subacute center for patients who were not sick enough for the hospital, not well enough to go home. I already had work restrictions due to the physical requirements of my job; working with those restrictions AND dealing with a developing case of Diastasis Recti made the restrictions even more difficult.

It was in this position that I recognized a growing group of people in need of support, awareness, and healing of Diastasis Recti: new moms.

Here were these women, trying to juggle new responsibilities, healing from the changes their bodies went through during pregnancy and subsequent post-partum recovery and there was little to no support or even awareness about the problems that Diastasis Recti presented.

Diastasis Recti can affect your body in some pretty drastic ways.

  • -Incontinence
  • -Irregular bowel movements,
  • -Lower back pain, spinal or hip injuries due to your abdominal muscle’s inability to support your body when you’re lifting or bending
  • -Pain during sexual intercourse
  • -Increased chance of sciatica or disc issues
  • -Increased chance of umbilical hernia
  • -Postural instability due to poor strength of the abdominal muscles

The effects are numerous.

Now it was MY body that was going to need to be supported.

My body that was going to need help carrying a car seat. A baby. My toddler. The laundry.

My body that was going to be more prone to injury- that would need me to completely rethink how I went about my day. I worked out through my pregnancy because I knew what was ahead of me. I knew my core was going to be compromised. I wanted to achieve a VBAC and I knew I would need endurance (among other things) to prevent a repeated OR experience. I went back to my books and read studies on exercise efficacy. I reviewed exercise programs for pregnant women, post partum women, and people who had just had abdominal or back surgery. I had a plan, and I HAD to be as physically strong as I could when I returned from maternity leave so I could perform my job effectively.

I ended up with a VBAC, a baby girl, and a three-finger diastasis.

*when I say “three-finger diastasis” I am describing how many fingers I can horizontally fit across the tissue separation. To find this, lay on the floor with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Lift up your head slightly and contract your abdomen muscles gently. Find your belly button and make the “scout symbol” with your fingers…see how many you can fit in there. i.e. 1 finger, 3 fingers, etc. Check the same line down by your pelvis, and again up towards your ribs. Different points along your abdominal muscles may be different fingers of separation.

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I feel blessed that my passion and my education allowed me to understand what my body needs to function well and heal from my condition. I am grateful for my colleagues and friends with whom I can discuss ideas or count on to help me with the hands-on techniques I can’t perform on myself. I know I am lucky to have access to the information that I have.

I want other women to have this valuable access to connections and resources that are out there for those recovering from Diastasis Recti.

I want women to know that sometimes “mummy tummy” can actually be caused by a medical condition.

I want women to know that the media are not medical professionals and there is a wide range of “normal” when it comes to our bodies.

I want other mothers to know that exercise and eating well are available to them.

I want women to know there are safe exercise routines that WON’T injure a body healing from Diastasis Recti. That recovering doesn’t need to be a series of scary, out-of-reach experiences. They don’t need to spend hours in the gym (Though you certainly can, if you enjoy it!).

Recovering means that you can take a walk, be it pushing a stroller or wearing a baby. You can do squats in your living room, jumping jacks, and eventually pushups and planks. (But until you’ve healed from your diastasis, it is best to do modified planks so that you don’t further separate your diastasis or have your abdominal muscles work against you or push on that separation while you’re healing!)

I feel sad when I hear people say “I can’t workout because…”

I feel sad because they are being taught that only the big efforts count.

That’s not true.

I work with people for whom sitting at the edge of their bed is enormous effort, and standing requires assistance of others. When you see the enormous joy on a person’s face brought by these small yet enormous victories, you begin to understand the true beauty of the movement our bodies are capable of. What may seem like a small victory may be an enormous triumph-a giant step towards hope and healing.

Misguided emphasis on skinny and perfect or the fear of never being _____ enough WILL STOP US in our tracks.

Enough.

You are enough.

It’s ok to start small.

It’s ok to fail.

It’s ok to not be perfect.

It’s ok to be YOU.

It’s not about meeting someone else’s standards.

It’s about taking care of yourself, teaching your family that our bodies are a great gift and we should treat them well. It’s about understanding that you are worthy of the time and energy it will take to begin, to HEAL, and to build healthy habits that facilitate that healing and well being.

Let’s get moving, because moving not only transforms your body, but it transforms your mind, no matter what size jeans you wear.

Some Exercises to Get You  Started:

Some Other Tips to Start Healing:

  • Sitting with the best possible posture: (Pull your belly button in towards your spine. Keep breathing while doing this. Pull your shoulder blades onto your back. Keep breathing!)
  • Kegels/pelvic floor exercises (contracting the pelvic floor muscles-the ones you use to stop your pee, if that makes sense!).
  • Standing on one foot while brushing your teeth while pulling your belly button in towards your spine.
  • Stretching before you get out of bed.
  • Taking a walk or parking further from the store.
  • You can climb your stairs.
  • Swim.
  • Dance.
  • Work out with a DVD program or take a class.
  • If pregnant, getting an abdominal/belly support band to help support your abdomen and relieve pain you may be experiencing.
  • If in post partum recovery, gently binding your belly to help pull the muscles together and support you in those first few weeks of initial birth recovery.

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Where am I now? I’m down to a one finger split at my belly button. I am confidently back to work full time with no restrictions. I’m still doing pelvic floor exercises and modifying my workouts to protect and strengthen my abdominal muscles so I don’t re-injure or reinforce the Diastasis Recti. I’m teaching my daughters that exercise and eating well are ways to treat your body with respect, to give it what it needs so when you need your body to work for you, it will. I’m teaching them that strong is beautiful, that healthy allows you to follow your dreams, that food is a tool and a pleasure and size is just another physical trait that varies from person to person.

Final thought… can we all agree to stop using the words “mummy tummy” ? Please? Your tummy is awesome, mommy. Growing a human is beautiful. A body that shows the results of growing a human is also beautiful!

For more information on Diastasis Recti click here.

*Want to know where to get the great active wear featured in this post?  In our video and corresponding exercise photos, Nicole is wearing the Belabumbum maternity and nursing active wear.

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nicole nexon image
Nicole Nexon is a mother of two, working full time as a physical therapist. Nicole has her master’s degree in Physical Therapy, and has been working for 9 years in both the inpatient and outpatient fields of physical therapy. She is a complete nerd when it comes to the human body and wants to encourage others to take the opportunity to treat their bodies well at whatever stage of life they are in. She is also a Beachbody coach and has found it to be a great platform to spread her mission of health and wellness. In her spare time, Nicole enjoys traveling and snowboarding. You can follow her at www.facebook.com/nicolerosenex )
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