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In honor of World Breastfeeding Week, Shari Criso, Registered Nurse, Certified Nurse Midwife, and International Board Certified Lactation Consultant has provided the following 5 tips for successful breastfeeding. This week, Shari has launched her DVD series, Simply Breastfeeding: The Criso Breastfeeding Method, online – a FREE comprehensive resource for new and expecting parents on her website, My Baby Experts. The goal? To make Shari’s free class offer available year-round, so no parent should ever have to pay to learn how to breastfeed if they cannot afford the education.

Successful Breastfeeding Tips

By Shari Criso

1) Get the right education and professional support before you deliver.

Breastfeeding actually needs to start before your baby is even born. Your body has been preparing for it from the minute you got pregnant (one of the first signs of pregnancy is breast growth) and now you need to prepare your mind. Taking a good and comprehensive breastfeeding class with your partner is one of the best ways to ensure your long term breastfeeding success. Most pregnant couples will take a childbirth class to get ready for birth, but few will take a breastfeeding class. This is a big mistake! You will need this knowledge and information the moment your little one is born.

2) Choose the right pediatrician that supports breastfeeding and your decisions.

One of the most important decisions you can make when it comes to breastfeeding and your baby is choosing the right pediatrician. Find a doctor or a practice that fully supports breastfeeding. Almost all pediatricians will tell you they support you to breastfeed (it is the recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics to exclusively breastfeed for at least 1 year), however you have to look for other signs that your pediatrician may not be fully on board with your decision. Talking to you about supplementing before there is even a problem, giving you formula samples in their office even when you are telling them you want to breastfeed, or just not listening to you and your concerns. These are all signs that it may not be a good match. Just because you have started seeing one doctor does not mean you need to continue or that you can’t find another that is more compatible with your choices for your child. Don’t give up until you find the right one, as having that “partnership” is priceless!

3) Be committed!

Have confidence in yourself and your bodies ability to breastfeed. When I teach my students in my breastfeeding class, I always tell them that successful breastfeeding is 2% skill and 98% confidence and commitment! This is so true. Your body is perfectly designed to feed your baby. It is how our species has survived for thousands of years! The biggest issue that most new moms encounter is their lack of confidence or other people’s lack of confidence in their ability to fully nourish their baby. It is not possible that as mammals, half or more of the population has some genetic condition that makes them unable to produce enough milk! Other mammals don’t have this problem. Yet the current CDC statistics show that only 13% of American women are exclusively breastfeeding by 6 months! Trust yourself and your body. The chance that mother nature would have you grow and deliver this beautiful baby, and then just not be able to feed it are slim to none!

4) Always seek expert advice if breastfeeding is not going well.

Always seek breastfeeding advice from a breastfeeding expert. There are many people out there who claim to be experts and that is where there is a lot of conflicting and misinformation is being distributed. Friends who are successful at breastfeeding may be very valuable for support, but try to avoid advice from friends or family who were not successful at breastfeeding, something they did didn’t work and it may be the exact advice they are giving you. Be careful about what you read on the internet. So many of us turn to this as our main source of information, but you don’t always know where or who the information is coming from. Did you know that most of the formula companies have websites completely dedicated to “educating moms on how to breastfeed?” A major conflict of interest, don’t you think? Lastly, don’t assume that just because someone has a nursing license or a medical degree they have had the proper training in breastfeeding. Most nurses never get any breastfeeding education in nursing school and most doctors (even the pediatricians) get little to no education as well! Like anything in medicine, when you have a specialized problem always seek out the specialist. In this case, you want an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant). To find one in your area visit www.ILCA.org

5) Prepare beforehand with some essential equipment.

Although you may hear some moms saying “that all you really need to breastfeed is your baby and your breasts” and this is technically true, there are some products out there that can make your experience much, much easier and more enjoyable! With all the thousands of breastfeeding products on the market, it can be very confusing and overwhelming to decide what is important and what isn’t. That is why I created my “Breastfeeding Essentials” list (and video). It is based on the experience of thousands of successfully breastfeeding moms, and will help you to totally focus on just the products you really need. Waiting until after the baby comes so “you can see how it goes” before purchasing some of these essential items can actually be the reason for your lack of breastfeeding success!

Shari Criso’s entire DVD class is available for FREE streaming online at http://www.sharicriso.com/mybabyexperts as a comprehensive resource in honor of World Breastfeeding Week to support her passionate commitment to educate as many new & expectant parents for free as possible!

Shari Criso is a Registered Nurse, Certified Nurse Midwife, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, baby product expert, nationally recognized parenting educator and author, entrepreneur, and most importantly, mother of two amazing daughters. Her specialty boutique in New Jersey, the Birth Boutique, is a 5000 sq/ft oasis for new and expecting parents! The Birth Boutique features all the best brands and hard-to find products, baby gear and strollers, diaper bags, christening gowns, cloth diapers, maternity clothes, nursing bras and much, much more! Shari and her husband/partner Joe, teach amazing live classes to expectant couples together, and now offer their classes, DVD programs, education and consultations remotely through “My Baby Experts!”

*Images and article provided by Shari Criso.*

In honor of World Breastfeeding Week, Stacey H. Rubin, M.N., APRN, IBCLC, author of The ABC’s of Breastfeeding, offers her suggestions as to how a partner can support a new mom’s breastfeeding relationship. Here are her top tips:

1. Become aware of the benefits that breast milk provides to your baby. Breastfed babies are healthier then formula fed babies.

2. Encourage togetherness: Breastfeeding works best when a mom and her newborn are close to each other. After giving birth help mom to get comfortable so that she can hold baby skin-to-skin. After a difficult birth or a c-section stay with mom in the hospital so that her newborn can room-in [as opposed to spending long periods away from mom in the nursery].

3. Learn to recognize your baby’s signals: Read your baby’s hunger signals! Newborns communicate their hunger by turning their head to one side, opening their eyes, opening their mouth. Help a new mom to initiate a feeding when your baby shows these early signals. Crying is a late sign of hunger and it is difficult to nurse a crying newborn.

4. Be Patient: Remember breastfeeding takes perseverance in the beginning! Some frustration is normal along the way! Help mom through these difficult moments.

Stacey H. Rubin, M.N., APRN, IBCLC is author of The ABCs of Breastfeeding: Everything a Mom Needs to Know for a Happy Nursing Experience (AMACOM 2008). She is an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse and an Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant. After graduating magna cum laude from Villanova University with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree, she was commissioned as an Army Nurse Corp officer and served overseas during the First Gulf War. Following four years of active duty military service, she earned a Master of Nursing degree and moved to Connecticut where she works with the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, runs her own private practice, and lives with her husband and two children. Learn more at www.abcsofbreastfeeding.com.

*Image of the book cover and tips were provided by AMACON Books for this article.*

The following article was authored by Dr. Rosemary Shy, a pediatrician at Children’s Hospital of Michigan. Dr. Shy is also a fellow of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine, the breastfeeding coordinator for the Michigan chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the co-chair for the Michigan Breastfeeding Network, the state coalition for breastfeeding. A HUGE thanks to Dr. Shy for putting together this illuminating article for Tiny Green Mom.

Why Breastfeeding is Important

By Dr. Rosemary Shy

Why breastfeed? Breastfeeding is nature’s intended way to feed our infants. It is healthy, inexpensive safe, protects landfills and protects babies against risks of infection and autoimmune disease. Breast milk is always fresh, a perfect temperature, and ready when a baby wants it.

So why doesn’t every mother breastfeed?

Maybe they don’t know how different it is to feed their baby human protein, instead of cow protein, or if baby doesn’t tolerate the formula they may have grossly bloody stools;

or know that their body makes the immunity for their babies until the babies mature enough to protect their own bodies;

or know that the fat in their milk helps the babies’ brains mature. Fat is added to cow milk in formula to try to imitate breast milk, but studies show higher IQs for breastfed babies;

or that components in breast milk help the gut and immune system mature more quickly, and may help protect from some autoimmune diseases.

Human milk is a living, active entity which changes with a baby’s age and even with the time of feed.

Human milk has low iron that is highly absorbed and has another chemical which binds iron. This means the gut milieu is low in iron which make little available for viruses like RSV, Rotavirus and bacteria like E-coli, which need iron to grow .his low iron helps to protect the infant from these invaders. It also coats the gut with immunoglobulin A which keeps pathogens from attaching to the gut and causing diarrhea.

Getting off to a good start helps. Holding the baby skin to skin just after birth increases the likelihood of success. Skin to skin is having baby next to skin directly such as putting the infant on mother’s chest immediately after birth.

Some mothers are afraid that they will have pain or have had pain. Pain is not part of good breastfeeding. If there is pain the mother needs to get some help. Something is definitely wrong.

Breastfeeding is a learned experience so it may take a few tries to get it right.

Pain most often means that there is some positioning problem even if the baby seems to be latching and eating. Sometimes pain is caused by infection in or poor emptying of mother’s breast. If baby falls asleep before a full feed, they are probably not getting a good flow of milk. If the milk is not flowing then baby will stop eating.

Some common problems experienced:

1) Positioning problems:

When a baby falls asleep quickly at the breast then wakes soon to feed again they are probably not getting enough milk. A common positioning problem is leaning forward to the baby for latching and then sitting back when relaxed. This relaxation pulls the mother away from the baby, which allows the baby to have their chest and abdomen move away from the mother with the abdomen/chest facing out with the baby’s head turned. In this position the baby cannot latch properly and the milk flow slows or stops. To prevent this, the mother needs to make sure that baby is chest to chest with mother, with baby’s chest /abdomen always turned toward the mother.

Another problem in position is holding the baby’s head in a neutral or slightly forward position. The baby tries to position itself leading with the chin, with the head slightly back; if the mother holds the head forward, the baby then has its nose against the breast, and the nipple tips to the roof of the baby’s mouth. The nipple can then be traumatized by rubbing and latch is not good. This may cause pain and slow flow.

2) Near term babies, that is babies born between 35 and 38 weeks gestation, may have more difficulties with feeding:

This group of babies may be slower at learning to breastfeed, may fatigue easier, are more susceptible to get jaundice because of this bit of prematurity, and may have more difficulty latching onto the breast. If the babies are small, they may take less milk than the mothers make.

If the infant is falling asleep before being full, is jaundiced, or is not gaining well, one can use compression to get more milk to the baby and remind them to keep feeding. This works as well as bottle feeding if your milk supply is good. There is a good video and discussion of this technique on Dr. Jack Newman’s website, www.drjacknewman.com. If the infants are small the mother may make more milk than they need so they may only use one breast initially. Don’t switch breasts until the first empties (the breast should feel softer, less tense and less full); pump the other breast if necessary until baby grows big enough to need the milk in both breasts. The mother should try to avoid letting the breast get engorged. If the breasts get engorged, the baby may have difficulty latching, and the mother may have pain. The mother should empty the breast either by hand expression or pump.

There are many sites that are useful for a breastfeeding mother. To name a few, our state of Michigan breastfeeding coalition has a website, www.mibfnetwork.org, with many links to other useful websites. Dr. Newman has handouts and videos on his website, www.drjacknewman.com, and the Academy of Breastfeeding medicine has information to use with your physician and hospital nurses. The American Academy of Pediatrics has information on its site.

Breastfeeding should be enjoyable for both mother and baby. Problems should be addressed early and fixed. Many problems are worsened by not addressing them early.

It can be a challenging time in many ways to have your baby placed in the NICU. It isn’t the new beginning that a new mother had hoped for when she pictures her precious cherub entering the world! Dr. Alan Greene, a practicing pediatrician and the author of Feeding Baby Green offers some helpful suggestions to families whose young infant has been placed in the NICU. There are things that the new mother and her supporting family members can do to that can make a difference – as outlined below. For more information, please visit Dr. Greene’s website.

Helpful Tips for the New Mother Whose Infant Is in the NICU

By Dr. Alan Greene

1) Breast milk is a powerful gift for babies in general, and all the more so for babies who start life in the NICU. If possible, it’s well worth the effort (for your baby’s health and for your own).

2) Many babies in the NICU can’t feed by mouth yet. Others can take oral feeds, but aren’t strong enough to nurse. Others could nurse but need extra fortification mixed with their feeds. In all of these situations, start pumping and saving breast milk as soon as practical.

3) Ask to see a lactation consultant, even if you’re not ready to start pumping or nursing. This could easily fall through the cracks in a NICU, so don’t wait, ask. They’ll be glad you did. (So will you and your baby!)

4) Be sure the containers you use to store and feed breast milk are free of BPA and phthalates — like all of the products made by BornFree. This goes for the pump and tubing too. BPA and phthalates act like hormones. No one benefits from being exposed, but this is especially true for vulnerable babies.

5) Hold your baby when you can, as appropriate. Skin-to-skin contact, also known as “kangaroo care” is even better. Sometimes the only contact may be a brush of your finger, but even that can be powerful.

6) Get the rest, food, support, and help you need for yourself. You deserve it. And it will help your baby too. Airplane instructions remind us, in the event of an emergency, to put on our own masks first, and then help our children. This wisdom applies to the NICU. First taking care of yourself helps your baby (and your milk supply) in many ways.

These NICU days may seem very long right now, but they will end and soon become a memory. Hopefully these tips will help you make the most of these unrepeatable moments.

Dr. Greene is a practicing pediatrician, the author of Feeding Baby Green, and the founder DrGreene.com. He is a Founding Partner of the Collaborative on Health and the Environment, and on the Board of Directors of The Organic Center, and on the Advisory Board for Healthy Child, Healthy World. Intel named Dr. Greene the Children’s Health Hero of the Internet.

Dr. Greene is also affiliated with BORNFREE, BPA-Free feeding products for babies. BornFree’s bottles combine naturally with breastfeeding as the natural shape of the silicone nipples allows baby to alternate easily between breast and bottle. For more information, visit www.newbornfree.com.

Melissa Rojas is Certified Medical Assistant and a Certified Lactation Counselor working at a pediatric primary care office in Takoma Park, Maryland. She offers practical tips and suggestions as the new mother prepares to breastfeed her newborn infant. A BIG thanks to Melissa for providing such detailed tips for this article!

10 Steps to Simple Breastfeeding

By Melissa Rojas, CMA, CLC

1. Nurse often.

  • Feed my baby ON DEMAND.
  • Feed my baby every time she/he:

+ puts hands in mouth

+ turns head to the side and opens mouth

+ makes lots of eye movements while sleeping

  • Keep my baby close to me.

2. Get help.

  • Get help from a professional, (someone who has breastfed exclusively).
  • Make sure my doctors can inform me about breast milk and breastfeeding.

3. Enjoy my baby.

  • Spend time with my baby. SKIN to SKIN.
  • Politely ask friends and family to help with errands and housework.
  • Rest whenever possible.
  • Keep my baby close.
  • If I need a break, pump then take a break.

4. I have confidence in MYSELF and my milk.

  • My early milk IS enough.
  • I do not need to give my baby any artificial milk.
  • Keep my baby close.
  • Rest whenever possible.
  • I CAN do this! I CAN give my baby the best!

5. Tell the nurses at the hospital.

  • “I am going to breastfeed.”
  • “I want to keep my baby SKIN to SKIN until my baby latches on.”

6. Talk to breastfeeding moms.

  • Talk to moms who only breastfeed.
  • Ask questions.
  • Go to next La Leche Leaque Meeting: ______________ Call (301) 589-8675 for more information.
  • Check if my hospital/birth center has breastfeeding clinics.

7. Make friends with my breasts.

  • My breasts are a part of my body and were made to feed babies.
  • I should not be ashamed to feed my baby in public.
  • Wear comfortable bras and clothes.

8. Buy a good pump.

  • What pump is best for me?
  • How many hours will I be working?
  • How often will I use it?
  • Start pumping and storing 2-3 weeks before I go back to work. (Never pump while pregnant.)

9. Tell everyone I am going to breastfeed.

  • Tell my family and friends.
  • Tell my babysitter and my job.
  • Tell my OB and my baby’s pediatrician.
  • Let them know, “I am going to feed my baby.”

10. Make a plan.

  • Why do I want to breastfeed?
  • What is exclusive breastfeeding?
  • How long should I breastfeed? How long do I want to breastfeed?

In addition, Melissa Rojas also recommends the following as a basic starter kit for breastfeeding:

Baby wearing gear (sling, etc.)

Comfortable and ergonomic nursing bra

Breast pads

Dual electric daily-use breast pump (if you are returning to work for > 30hrs/week)

Nursing tanks (to be able to wear your regular clothes over and not expose your tummy)

A good support network (friends and family that are aware and support your commitment to breastfeeding, this means you must tell them before the baby is born)

A breastfeeding knowledgeable OB/pediatrician

Moms, drink to your baby’s good health! Mamatini™ is the first-ever, doctor-designed, ready-to-drink, organic herbal infusion created to help women breastfeed better, easier, and for longer. This lovely drink is best served chilled or over ice, so not only is it good for you and for your baby, but it is refreshing, as well! Mamatini™ contains fenugreek, fennel, chamomile and ginger – herbs that have been used for centuries to address the challenges that can accompany breastfeeding. Mamatini was designed by a pediatrician to help increase milk supply, increase energy and increase overall good health for mom and baby. Full of zip, with a delightful gingermint flavor from both organic ginger and organic spearmint – this will definitely become your postpartum drink of choice!

To learn more about the benefits of drinking Mamatini™, or to order, please visit www.drinkmamatini.com. Their website is chock full of tips and additional information for the breastfeeding mommy! Right now, you can get free shipping on your first order of Mamatini™ with the promo code SHIPFREE. Drink up!

Mamatini was created by Erica Duignan Minnihan, a former venture capitalist, MBA and mother of 3 who was frustrated by her inability to find a delicious and convenient beverage to support her body’s needs while she was breastfeeding. Tired of brewing fenugreek tea at all hours of the day and night, she decided to collaborate with her pediatrician on a formula that would support a woman’s milk supply and take a holistic approach to her needs as a new mom, helping her body absorb more vitamins and minerals and increasing her energy. The result is Mamatini.

*Company generously provided samples and images for this review.*

The Smart Solutions Toolkit for Working Mothers was created by Danielle Heller to provide solutions to everyday challenges facing working mothers. The Toolkit is filled with easy-to-use tools including planners, tear-off pads, a CD with downloadable templates, wallet-size forms, and much more.

Within the Smart Solutions Toolkit there are a number of resources to help new moms continue to breastfeed after returning to work. The creator of the Smart Solutions Toolkit for Working Mothers, Danielle Heller, is a working, nursing mother of two. She nursed both of her daughters for two years (as recommended by the World Health Organization) and pumped at work for 18 months with each child. When she re-entered the workplace after her maternity leave, Danielle, like so many other working mothers, returned to a workplace that did not provide adequate breast milk pumping space. She created a Breast Milk Pumping Space Proposal Template (one of the resources provided in the Smart Solutions Toolkit) to help gain the support of her employer as she worked to provide her daughters with the optimal nutrition that breastfeeding provides. As a major supporter of working breastfeeding mothers, Danielle has incorporated a number of resources to help other mothers successfully breastfeed/pump after returning to work. Among them are the following tips.

Breastfeeding and Returning to Work

Breastfeeding Tip 1:

Gaining worksite support for moms who wish to continue to breastfeed after returning to work can make a tremendous difference in decreasing the challenges associated with pumping at work. More and more, forward-thinking companies are realizing the significant benefits of providing support for their working mother employees. The Breast Milk Pumping Space Proposal Template outlines the business case for why employers should support breastfeeding mothers and how it can ultimately improve their bottom-line.

Breastfeeding Tip 2:

As my mother always told me, practice makes perfect. Pumping is no exception. One of the worst mistakes new mothers make is not “learning” how to pump before they go back to work. It takes practice, and trying to figure it out on the first day back in the office, or the week before starting, can be a recipe for failure. Nursing moms should start pumping weeks before returning to work, not only to store-up on breast milk for the baby, but also to get used to learning how to pump efficiently and effectively.

Breastfeeding Tip 3:

Thank goodness for convenience items when it comes to pumping at work. Some favorites: Microwavable Steam Sterilizer and Microwavable Sterilizer Bags (to sterilize bottle and breast pump parts at work), travel sterilization wipes, zip-lock breast milk storage bags, breast milk car adapter/battery pack. I would also suggest purchasing a hands-free pumping bra and a trendy pashmina or large scarf for extra security and privacy (perfect for pumping in the car or other less than ideal locations).

On a personal note from Danielle:

I am a firm believer that nursing (when possible) provides major health benefits for both the infant and mother. Expressing breast milk not only has a positive impact on the immediate health of the infant and mother, but also establishes the basis for a healthy future. It’s not easy, but it is worth the effort, and the Smart Solutions Toolkit is there to help.

To learn more, visit www.smartsolutionstoolkit.com. The toolkit is available online as of August 1st, 2010.

*Company provided information and images for this article. This is not a paid advertorial*

From Traditional Medicinals® comes Organic Mother’s Milk®, a delicious tea made of a combination of fennel, anise, and coriander that supports healthy lactation* and traditionally encourages breastmilk production* in the breastfeeding mama. Slightly sweet, with a hint of spice, Organic Mother’s Milk® is simply delightful and perfect for sipping while enjoying those first tender moments at home with your newborn. Certified USDA Organic, Traditional Medicinals® Organic Mother’s Milk® is recommended by lactation consultants and medical herbalists.

To brew a cup of Organic Mother’s Milk® properly, pour 8oz. of boiling water in a mug over the tea bag, cover, and let steep for 10 minutes. Gently squeeze the tea bag to allow any remnants remaining to be extracted, and sweeten lightly, if desired. Simply delightful!

Organic Mother’s Milk® can be found at retailers nationwide, such as Whole Foods and other health food stores. For more information, please visit their website.

*Please note: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

*Company generously provided samples and images for this review.*

In honor of World Breastfeeding Week, August 1-7, 2010, Traditional Medicinals®, the leader in medicinal teas, has launched MothersMilk.com – an online breastfeeding resource for new mothers. The new website, www.MothersMilkTea.com, provides helpful tips for nursing mothers, articles on breastfeeding techniques, instructional videos for nursing mothers, and the newest information from a panel of experts.

The Mother’s Milk website also includes deeper product information about its best selling Organic Mother’s Milk tea which has been trusted for over 35 years by nursing mothers and recommended by lactation consultants to promote healthy lactation. This European based formula, more popular today than ever, is a traditional formula of anise, fennel and coriander used for centuries. There are over 4 million babies born each year in the U.S, and of these babies, over 70% are being breastfed. More new moms are breastfeeding as studies continue to show that the antibodies in breast milk help boost babies’ immune systems.

As part of a mission to support breastfeeding, Traditional Medicinals® has partnered with International Board Certified Lactation Consultant and Certified Nurse Midwife, Shari Criso. Criso has spent the past 20 years working with couples throughout their pregnancy, birth and transition into new parenthood and has personally delivered over 600 babies. Criso is the first in a panel of experts providing content for the Mother’s Milk website and sharing her experiences with Mother’s Milk tea.

Criso is excited to offer her expertise with Organic Mother’s Milk saying, “I highly recommend Organic Mother’s Milk tea to my clients. It not only helps to promote healthy lactation, but creates a special moment between mother and baby. I have been recommending this product for decades and trust its formula and quality.”

Traditional Medicinals® also continues to partner with well known breastfeeding organizations such as La Leche League, Childbirth and Postpartum Professional Association (CAPPA), and the International Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA) to help promote and support breastfeeding among mothers. Traditional Medicinals® also partners with the Cottonwood Kids program, offering over 350,000 samples of Mother’s Milk tea to new mothers in hospitals across the country, revolutionizing the post-delivery care package a mother receives upon hospital release.

Please visit the new website at www.MothersMilkTea.com.

*Company provided information and images for this article.*

For all the mommas out there who have looked down at their shirt while out in public to find it soaking wet with breast milk, LilyPadz® offers an ingenious solution! This self-adhering, reusable and non-absorbent silicone nursing pad puts constant pressure on your nipple and actually prevents the breast milk from leaking. To clean, use their biodegradable LilyWash™ & water to wash the LilyPadz® by hand. Super economical, too! Find them online at www.lilypadz.com.

*Company provided samples for this review.*