Here’s a little food for thought for those of you with alternative diet choices, or interested in making some changes to your consumption repertoire while lactating.
I’ve noted several popular ‘restricted’ nourishment styles on the table among breastfeeding mothers’ discussion groups: dairy-free diets; fad, crash and weight-loss diets; religious fasting; and vegetarian or vegan diets.
Let’s take a closer look…
*Please keep in mind that although I’ve been on the hiring end of nutritionists/dieticians for a number of years and aced a few human nutrition classes in university (ahem, just let me be proud), I am NOT a nutritionist, dietician, doctor, or licensed to give medical advice in any way. The following information is shared for educational purposes only. What you choose to do with it is strictly up to you. See my general Disclaimer for more details.*
Is circumcision the ‘Voldemort’ in a conversation about early breastfeeding difficulties? Though it’s a studied certainty that infant circumcision can have ruinous effects upon breastfeeding, it seems only the rare or high-profile breastfeeding expert dares to mention this risk by name, much less maintain an official protocol for assistance if challenges arise.
I have a lot of trust these days.
Mothers in our culture are told she should wean her older child when she’s pregnant (“or else you’ll miscarry!”); that the older one will take all the important nutrients away from the new baby if they tandem nurse; that the older kid should be eating “real” food so nursing is no longer a “need” (as if breastfeeding is alone defined by its nutritional profile); that the older child will never wean on his own.
I was forced to confront the truth-to-myth ratio in these things I really had no idea about. I wondered if I’m doing things right, I consulted with my intuition (and my children because they’re wiser than we give them credit for — and, I’ll admit, online forums and a Tarot deck more than once).
I realized tandem nursing just happens however it does, despite any careful planning or controlling I may have preferred. On a deeper, more trusting level, I know this is happening as its meant to.
I know my almost four-year-old MaiTai isn’t going to bogart all the milk that my newly four-month-old Julep needs. I know it’s okay for me to nurse my older kid in public. I know I’m not the first or last mother to tandem nurse children aged several years apart.
But the logistics of it all… the logistics! There’s no map for this.
Babies are born with a natural skin-protecting substance called vernix. This should not be wiped away from the skin; rather, it can be rubbed into the skin for maximum absorption. This covering, which was laid down in the third trimester of pregnancy, has many important functions: easing transition to life outside the uterus, offering body temperature control, “skin surface adaptation,” plus antioxidant, anti-infective, wound-healing, and moisturizing properties, and it has been shown to be a more effective skin cleanser than commercial soaps. A study published by American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology called Antimocrobial Properties of Amniotic Fluid and Vernix Caseosa are Similar to Those Found in Breast Milk came upon some rather fascinating and groundbreaking findings, some of which unveiled some new information about vernix.