Leaky boobs are more of an imposition upon convenience rather than a condition needing a “cure.” If your faucets just don’t seem to turn off, know that although your shirts will get damp, it shouldn’t put a damper on your breastfeeding success. Read More
Newborn jaundice is normal in most cases, appearing within 2-3 days post-birth, and affecting up to 60% of full-term babies.
Physiologic jaundice is caused by a buildup of bilirubin, which is produced when red blood cells are broken down. The liver is responsible for eliminating the bilirubin, but a newborn’s liver is often too immature to efficiently handle this process yet. This causes a yellow cast on the skin (which can be trickier to detect in dark-skinned babies) and the eyeballs. This resolves itself in a week or two as the baby matures further and red blood cell levels have lowered.
In a breastfed baby, jaundice is more common and tends to persist longer than a formula-fed baby (as breastfed babies are the standard, this means it’s the norm). True breastmilk jaundice, which only affects 0.5% to 2.4% of newborns, sticks around longer than one or two weeks, sometimes up to twelve (now, this shouldn’t be confused with breastfeeding jaundice, which is caused by starvation/lack of proper milk intake). Bilirubin levels might even increase at the two-week mark. None of this is a cause for concern in an otherwise healthy baby.
On how breastmilk and formula compare in causality of newborn jaundice, Dr. Sears says:
“The difference is thought to be due to an as-yet unidentified factor in breastmilk that promotes increased intestinal absorption of bilirubin, so that it goes back into the bloodstream rather than moving on to the liver. Higher rates of jaundice in breastfed infants may also be related to lower milk intakes in the first days after birth, because of infrequent or inefficient feeding.”
Hence, why medical treatments should be avoided unless truly necessary because they threaten to interrupt breastfeeding further. As breastmilk helps move the baby’s bowels to remove excess bilirubin, frequent feedings will hasten the normal bodily process.
If bilirubin levels have reached more than 20 milligrams, a health provider might recommend treatment with phototherapy (ask about fiber optic blankets, an especially good option for nursing moms).
What not to do: do not supplement with sugar water, and do not restrict the baby from breastfeeding.
- “Breastfeeding and Jaundice” – Jack Newman, MD, FRCPC, International Breastfeeding Centre
- “Babies with Jaundice” – Dr. Sears
- “Guidelines for Management of Jaundice in the Breastfeeding Infant Equal to or Greater Than 35 Weeks’ Gestation” – The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine Protocol Committee
Women with large breasts (and those who are also heavier all around) may face special challenges when it comes to breastfeeding.
Plus-sized women are less likely to breastfeed than normal-weight mothers, a study found. This may begin soon after birth as plus-sized mothers’ milk is often delayed to come in, causing these mothers to abandon it. Even if a mother is not curvy all around but simply has very large (DD-cup or bigger) breasts, she may struggle with unique problems that are typically not discussed in breastfeeding classes.
Unless you believe you might have gigantomastia (read about it in the links below), here are a few tips that can help.*
*Please note, I’m not plus-sized or large breasted. These tips were compiled from other sources that attest to their reliability, not from my own personal experience.
It comes on suddenly and leaves without a trace. I always forget how bad mastitis is until I get it again, then I’m surprised I’ve lasted this long with breastfeeding because I’ve felt hounded by those ‘quitting feelings’ during many a run with this illness.
I just recovered from my 8th (in 5 years) and hopefully final battle with mastitis; my second bout of the “boob flu” in two weeks.
Thankfully I’ve learned something new with each run of the boob flu madness… Read More
For one reason or another, some people feel awkward when they see a woman breastfeeding her child in public. This does not necessarily make them bad people. Their feelings can be perfectly valid; it takes a unique set of nature and nurture to arrive at the point of feeling awkward with a specific trigger such as this.
For those who aren’t accustomed to seeing breastfeeding in public and are largely uninformed about how it all works, a little patience may be needed as they adjust. After all, few of us have been spared from American culture’s mixed messages about women’s roles and heavy promotion of both infant formula and breasts as sex objects.
That said, misunderstanding and ignorance are acceptable; projection of fears and lashing out with harassing or discriminatory behavior are not.
Here are a few ideas about what to do and not do if you’re not yet comfortable seeing breastfeeding in public (but you’re working on it, right?).
Gather Your Bravery
Whether you’re a midwife, OB/Gyn, doula, childbirth educator, nurse, or pediatrician, you need to have this talk. You need to bring up circumcision and facilitate an honest, complete, educational discussion about it, just as you would any other birth or newborn procedure.
You routinely provide updated information about, say, epidurals and exclusive breastfeeding, right? Then you must give as much attention to this other elective birth ‘option’ of neonatal genital cutting.
I’m sure it can be difficult to balance the various aspects of your job description: unconditional support of a mother’s choices, preserving her and her baby’s well-being, matter-of-factly offering guidance with minimal personal bias.
Though it may seem that a neutral stance of ‘pro-parent’s choice’ (PPC) is the path of least resistance here, it is certainly not ‘pro-baby.’ As a birth worker, your responsibility of care covers a client’s child as well.
Think about this: Would you discourage a parent from circumcising a daughter if they expressed interest to do so? Or would you refer a pro- female circumcision parent to someone who’s willing to perform the procedure, locally or overseas?
Many PPC birth workers refer pro-male circumcision clients who are expecting sons to what they nickname ‘holistic circumcisers’ (though the very definition of circumcision absolutely defies the concept of holism), which deprives these parents the support and encouragement they need to make a better choice — that is, the choice to give their son HIS own choice.
Remember you might be the only person to ever bring this up with your client during her pregnancy. If she cannot count on her care provider to open up this relevant discussion, who can she count on?
A recent Centers for Disease Control public opinion study found “only 43 percent of U.S. adults believed that women should have the right to breastfeed in public places.” Theoretically, every time I go out with my baby, I can count every two people we pass and justifiably assume the next three people do not approve of my child breastfeeding there.
With this in mind, in my early public nursing days I felt too embarrassed to be seen struggling to breastfeed my little baby, especially with postpartum depression at a high, an anxiety disorder, and being the first among all my friends to become a mother.
I wanted so badly to live in a part of the world that was acclimated to the sight of normal infant feeding.
The sprawling, diverse metropolitan area where I live isn’t even a major hotspot for public breastfeeding oppression. That’s the frightening part. A quick Google search will guide you through countless stories of mothers across the nation being harassed, shamed, bullied, and discriminated against by strangers, coworkers, relatives, acquaintances, anyone with an opinion… because they breastfed their children in public.
With my first baby I started out nursing in my car. At the time, to me it felt pretty ‘public.’ I quickly realized this could only be a temporary solution to calm my nerves. Not only was it terribly inconvenient to retreat to my car for privacy multiple times per excursion, but it was also completely unnecessary. (And far from foolproof! Do you know where we were the first time I was harassed for nursing? Sitting in the front seat of my parked car minding our own business).
Out of the car and into actual buildings I emerged. I only felt at ease enough in low-crowd places and often found the corner of rooms to nurse so I could have privacy. Then I felt like a professional NIPer after working my way up to nursing on-the-go while babywearing.
Things became easier when I expanded my potential nursing spots to, well, anywhere we happened to be. I wore covers at first (I ditched them for good after that car harassment incident, and life got less complicated when I put those annoying things in storage).
It didn’t take long before I wasn’t giving a second thought to when and where I’d nurse my child because it was not an isolated event — it was just part of the flow of life, which doesn’t stop when you become a mother.
Four and a half years later, through babyhood, toddlerhood, another pregnancy, and tandeming, I don’t think a week has gone by that I haven’t nursed in public, and it’s been nearly that long that I’ve done so confidently.
Twenty helpful tips I learned along the way, in no particular order: