Friday, August 06, 2010

Mommy MD Guide to Pregnancy and Birth

Soccer Moms. Helicopter Moms. Mama Grizzlies...the list goes on. Moms carry many titles and have many roles, and as the saying goes, "Mom knows best."

That's what makes one of the newest pregnancy books somewhat unique. Titled Mommy MD Guide to Pregnancy and Birth, it includes unique tips that doctors who are also mothers used during their own pregnancies. Here's what Dr. Dianna Kim, an ob-gyn and mother of three, shared about why she decided to bank her children's cord blood:

"My husband and I decided to bank each of our children’s cord blood. We thought we would do that just in case something happened. Researchers are finding more and more applications for stem cells, so I think that in the future cord blood may be even more useful…"

Visit the MommyMD Guide to Pregnancy and Birth website to learn more or to order a copy.

The Mommy MD Guide to Pregnancy and Birth is just one of a growing number of pregnancy guides that addresses cord blood stem cells. Other great books that provide perspective on this topic for expectant parents include The Hot Mom to Be Handbook by Jessica Denay, YOU: Having a Baby by “America’s Doctor” Dr. Mehmet Oz, and Dad’s Pregnant Too by journalist Harlan Cohen.


Amy Poehler & Will Arnett Welcome a Son!

Amy Poehler and Will Arnett have welcomed their second son, People reports.

The Parks and Recreation star, 38, gave birth to Abel James Arnett this morning (August 6). He weighed in at 7 lbs., 13 oz., and joins older brother Archie, who was born in October 2008.

"Amy, Will, Abel and Archie are all healthy and resting comfortably," the rep states.

Proud papa Will, 40, has raved that parenthood is "just the best."

"It's a human being that you're responsible for," he said. "That's scary, but even in its scariest moments it's fantastic."

Congratulations to the Poehler-Arnett family!


Breastfeeding During Pregnancy

Can I?

Breastfeeding during pregnancy is perfectly safe. As long as you eat reasonably well, then your unborn baby will not be deprived of nutrients. Even if you suffer from morning sickness and find eating very difficult, your body will naturally go into overdrive to efficiently use all the nutrients it has access to in order to prevent you and the baby from being deficient. Once you are feeling better, then you can make up by eating plenty of nutritious food -- and lots of it!

It is important to eat well. Depending on how old your nursing child is, you may need an additional 650 calories a day if he is under six months, or about 500 if he is now eating other foods. This is on top of the additional 350 (second trimester) and 450 (third trimester) calories you need during pregnancy. (No additional calories are needed during the first trimester, which is a big relief to know when you simply can't face any food at all.) In malnourished populations, pregnant, nursing mothers do have lower weight gain and lower weight babies, as well as lower weight nursing siblings, than those who wean.

You may also be concerned that breastfeeding is stimulating uterine contractions. These pose no risk to the unborn baby and in most cases do not increase the risk of having a miscarriage, or of going into premature labor. This is because the amount of oxytocin normally released during breastfeeding (the hormone that also stimulates labor) is not usually enough to cause the cervix to open before it is ready to do so.

However, if you are having a difficult pregnancy and are at risk for early labor, and in particular have been told to avoid sex during pregnancy, then weaning would probably be advisable. (Oxytocin is also the hormone released during female orgasm.)

Your milk is safe for your breastfeeding child. Although very small amounts of pregnancy hormones pass into your milk, they are not considered to be harmful.

Should I?

To continue breastfeeding your child while pregnant again is your decision to make. There may be a physical reason why it is not a good idea to continue nursing, but this is very rare. Otherwise, your choice depends on how you feel about continuing to provide your milk to an older sibling, while growing your new baby.

Only you know how your older child might cope with weaning, and also how you feel about meeting your child's needs at the breast. It may be that you feel your child is ready to be gently encouraged to wean, in which case, now may be a good time as you begin a new chapter in your lives. On the other hand, your child may be particularly attached to the breast, in which case the prospect of weaning may be more than you can handle as you deal with your pregnancy, too. If you are unsure, take each day as it comes and see where it leads you.

Will I?

Although many mothers do not hesitate to say, "Yes, of course I will continue to breastfeed," it often happens that unexpected challenges can arise.

For example, increased fatigue, a normal factor of all pregnancies, may make you more reluctant to breastfeed, fearing it is a drain on you physically. Be assured that there is nothing inherently draining about breastfeeding, and indeed having to sit down (or lie down) to nurse is a good way of ensuring you get to rest.

There may also be physical discomforts that you may or may not be able to tolerate. Nausea caused by the let-down of the milk may happen, especially on an empty stomach. Another, more common complaint is sore nipples. Indeed almost three quarters of mothers will experience this. Some moms find this more difficult to deal with than others. Methods using distraction, such as watching TV, listening to the radio, or reading a book may help you focus elsewhere while you nurse your child. Or using some pain management techniques for coping with labor may be helpful.

Many mothers feel very restless and agitated when nursing. Some describe it as making their skin crawl. Whether you choose to wean or not depends on how you feel about nursing. Remember, the discomfort is only there when the baby is at the breast.

Something that may make you feel uncomfortable is sexual arousal during a nursing session. As pregnancy can be a time of more heightened sexual feeling anyway, the effect of intense nipple stimulation can provoke what is (for many women) unwelcome arousal. Be assured that these complex feelings are not inappropriate: they have nothing to do with your child and are perfectly normal. How you deal with this is a personal decision, whether you distance yourself mentally, decide to cut back or set limits on nursing session, or ultimately, wean.

Will my child?

Of course there isn't just you in the nursing relationship and your plans to continue may be different than those of your nursling. A decrease in milk supply is very common during the fourth and fifth months of pregnancy. The taste of your milk will change, too, and some children will decide that the milk is past its sell-by date! You may feel sad that your pregnancy has brought your nursing days to a premature end, but in this case, your child has outgrown the need.

Talking to a La Leche League Leader and other mothers who have found themselves pregnant while breastfeeding may be very helpful to you.

Read more about breastfeeding at the La Leche League website.


Thursday, August 05, 2010

How Can I Increase My Milk Supply?

This is one of the most commonly asked breastfeeding questions. When mothers observe certain normal changes and behaviors, they may assume their milk supply has decreased. This is often a "false alarm." Other times, a mother's milk supply may truly need to be increased.

At times, mothers are unnecessarily alarmed about their milk supply. They may not be aware of the normal process of breastfeeding. For example, by about the time a baby reaches 6 weeks to 2 months in age, mother's body has learned how much milk to make. Around this time, many women no longer feel "full." In addition, baby may be only nursing for five minutes at a time. These are not signs of decreased milk supply. They simply mean that both mother and baby are becoming more adept at breastfeeding. Mother's body has adjusted to the requirements for her baby and baby has become very efficient at removing the milk.

Some mothers become concerned about their milk supply if their baby begins to have fewer bowel movements. By about 6 weeks after the birth, colostrum is no longer present in a mother's milk. So this may mean that baby's bowel movements will decrease to one every day or even a few times each week. This is normal.

Another age-related "false alarm" is that babies will experience several "growth spurts" in the first few months of life. Generally, these occur around two to three weeks, six weeks and three months of age or they may happen at any time. These are days when baby wants to nurse longer and more frequently to build up mother's milk supply. Follow baby's lead on this by letting him breastfeed as often and as long as he wants. This will help bring up milk supply quickly. The breasts work on the law of supply and demand. The more baby "tells" mother's breasts to make milk, the more milk she will have.

By allowing your baby to nurse more frequently for a few days, your body will receive the message that more milk is needed for your growing baby. Once your supply has increased, your baby will usually return to his usual routine.

If your baby is not gaining well or is losing weight, you will want to keep in close contact with your baby's doctor. Often, improving breastfeeding techniques will help resolve the situation quickly, but in some cases slow weight gain may indicate a health problem.

Here are some ideas that may help you to increase your milk supply. Look them over and consider which might work for you.

  • Contact a local La Leche League Leader for information and support.
  • Encourage your baby to breastfeed frequently and for as long as he will.
  • Offer both breasts at each feeding. Allow baby to stay at the first breast as long as he is actively sucking and swallowing. Offer the second breast when baby slows down or stops. "Finish the first breast first," is a good general rule. (This technique gives baby lots of the fatty "hindmilk.")
  • Baby should end the feeding. He may do this by falling asleep and detaching from the breast after about 10 to 30 minutes of active sucking and swallowing.
  • Be sure baby is latched on and positioned correctly at the breast, that is, lips should be on the areola (the darker skin area), well behind the nipple. An LLL Leader can help fine-tune positioning as well as suggest ideas to ease soreness. Breastfeeding isn't supposed to hurt.
  • A sleepy baby may benefit from "switch nursing" that is, switching breasts two or three times during each feeding. Switch breasts when baby's sucking slows down and he swallows less often.
  • All of baby's sucking should be at the breast. Limit or stop pacifier use while encouraging baby to nurse more effectively. If you are supplementing, even temporarily, you can give the supplement by spoon, cup, or with a nursing supplementer. Contact an LLL Leader for assistance in using these.

This may be a stressful time. Take care of yourself. Pay attention to your own need for rest, relaxation, proper diet and enough fluids.

If you have more breastfeeding questions, visit the La Leche League website.

Top 10 things they really should warn you about before you get pregnant

You hear about the morning sickness, the wacky cravings, and even the swollen ankles before you get pregnant. But let's be real, those symptoms are child's play when it comes to what you'll really have to deal with. asked moms-to-be to spill even the most TMI symptoms they wish they'd known were coming.

  1. You might grow a beard.

    Okay, so maybe we're exaggerating a tad. You probably won't be sporting a full-on beard (hopefully!), but facial hair growth in general is a very real pregnancy symptom - so be on guard. Your raging hormones can be blamed for this one, since they're what's causing your hair to grow at super-fast speeds and maybe even in some new (and embarrassing) places. But at the end of the day, it's a small price to pay for baby; so buy a home waxing kit and remember, it will all end soon.

  2. A good bowel movement could feel like a distant memory.

    Sadly, constipation plagues many mamas throughout their pregnancies, since the flow of hormones can make your belly muscles relax, turning defecating into a rough process. Your uterus is also growing and putting added pressure on your bowels, which may be yet another factor why things aren't quite in working order. Try to fight back by adding more fiber to your diet, drinking extra water, keeping active, staying on top of your prenatals, and living by this motto: "When you gotta go, you gotta go..."

  3. You'll have insane gas you can't even blame on the dog.

    Let us just start with: It happens to the best of us. With that said, crazy pregnancy gas is, unfortunately, not always something you can avoid. With your body working double-time making hormones like progesterone and relaxin, muscle tissue around your bod will start to relax - especially around your GI tract. This causes the food you eat to move through your system more slowly, thereby causing you to bloat. Altogether, these factors can prove to be a pretty nasty combo. Our advice: Lay off the gassy foods for awhile, since they'll just add to your troubles. Other than that, all you can do is grin and bear it - and hope that your partner's a good sport.

  4. Two words: Uncontrollable drooling.

    Nighttime drooling certainly isn't sexy, but hey, sometimes you just can't avoid it. Nobody knows exactly why, but it's pretty common for your hormones to cause your body to produce way more saliva than normal when you're pregnant. This can definitely lead to some pretty gross situations on your pillow, but also be embarrassing during the daytime too - because yes, the drooling isn't just a problem at night. So what can you do? Brush your teeth more often, swish around some minty mouthwash, and pop in a piece of sugar-free gum to try and get dry in the mouth.

  5. You'll burp like a frat boy.

    If you're burping like crazy these days, chances are it's for the same reasons that you're so gassy. Everything's getting a bit crowded in there, making it hard to avoid some of the nasty side effects and discomfort. But at least baby doesn't feel your pain. Yep, that's right, even though you may be letting out teenage-boy-style burps, baby remains blissfully unaware of all your gas problems from inside your belly. Though you may not be able to get rid of the burping altogether, all you can do is steer clear of drinks with a lot of fizz (aka soda) and hope for the best.

  6. Grooming your lady bits could become the bane of your existence.

    Sad but true: With your belly growing by the minute, it's inevitable that there will come a time when you won't be able to see what's going on down there - or tend to it. And this definitely presents problems when it comes to personal grooming, since (as we've already established) your body kicks things up a notch in the hair-growth department when you're pregnant. If you're going into panic mode about what someone might encounter if you don't get things taken care of - stat, you're not alone. But that doesn't mean there isn't hope - it's time to start shopping around town for a good waxer. Trust us, you'll thank us later. (And we're pretty sure your partner will too.)

  7. There will be more discharge.

    Gross, we know. But it's the truth. Your bod is making way more estrogen now and causing more blood to flow down to your lady bits, which means excess discharge is bound to happen. And while it's totally normal, it sure ain't pretty. So if you haven't already been introduced, it's time to meet your new best friend: the pantiliner. You're welcome.

  8. The term "lightning crotch" will become a painful reality.

    Next to labor, you really haven't felt true pain until you've been kicked in the vagina by your unborn baby. Of course, there are lots of different possibilities for why this might be happening to you, depending on what stage of pregnancy you're at. It could be due to baby's repositioning in your uterus, or maybe what you're feeling will turn out to be some early Braxton Hicks contractions. Whatever the case, "lightning crotch" pretty much happens to all of us and isn't necessarily a sign of anything bad. Consider it a rite of passage and try working on looking less shocked when it happens in public (because it will).

  9. Kindergarten wasn't the last time you'll pee your pants in public.

    It's true, "snissing" as it's affectionately known on message boards, is an annoying and sometimes embarrassing side effect in the later stages of pregnancy. Baby's resting on a lot of internal organs in there, including your bladder, which is why your body can't help but leak a little. But don't worry, you won't need to throw on a pair of Depends any time soon. A mini-pad or even a pantiliner should do the trick for now, along with a good sense of humor.

  10. Your vagina will actually grow.

    It's a scary thought, but yes, your vagina could likely get bigger - even swell a bit - as you near that nine-month mark. No, it's not pretty (whoever said pregnancy was?), but it doesn't happen to everyone and it shouldn't last too long. In short: Your body's producing more blood now that you're pregnant, and trying to re-route most of it to your uterus so baby can get enough nourishment. Unfortunately, your vagina may bear the brunt of the increased bloodflow you're getting down there, which is what's leaving you feeling tender or sore.


Lily Allen Is Pregnant

Singer Lily Allen has announced that she's pregnant with her first child with boyfriend Sam Cooper! The pop singer has been dating Sam since last summer.

"It brings me great pleasure to tell you that Sam and I are expecting our first child. It goes without saying that we are both absolutely delighted."

Reports say that Lily is around three-months along, which would put the baby's due date sometime in early 2011.

This is joyous news for Lily, who suffered a heartbreaking miscarriage in January 2008 after becoming pregnant by Ed Simons of the Chemical Brothers.

Congratulations to the soon-to-be parents!


Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Breast Milk Sugars Give Infants a Protective Coat

A large part of human milk cannot be digested by babies and seems to have a purpose quite different from infant nutrition - that of influencing the composition of the bacteria in the infant's gut.

The details of this three-way relationship between mother, child and gut microbes are being worked out by three researchers at the University of California, Davis — Bruce German, Carlito Lebrilla and David Mills. They and colleagues have found that a particular strain of bacterium, a subspecies of Bifidobacterium longum, possesses a special suite of genes that enable it to thrive on the indigestible component of milk.

This subspecies is commonly found in the feces of breast-fed infants. It coats the lining of the infant’s intestine, protecting it from noxious bacteria.

Infants presumably acquire the special strain of bifido from their mothers, but strangely, it has not yet been detected in adults. “We’re all wondering where it hides out,” Dr. Mills said.

The indigestible substance that favors the bifido bacterium is a slew of complex sugars derived from lactose, the principal component of milk. The complex sugars consist of a lactose molecule on to which chains of other sugar units have been added. The human genome does not contain the necessary genes to break down the complex sugars, but the bifido subspecies does, the researchers say in a review of their progress in today’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The complex sugars were long thought to have no biological significance, even though they constitute up to 21 percent of milk. Besides promoting growth of the bifido strain, they also serve as decoys for noxious bacteria that might attack the infant’s intestines. The sugars are very similar to those found on the surface of human cells, and are constructed in the breast by the same enzymes. Many toxic bacteria and viruses bind to human cells by docking with the surface sugars. But they will bind to the complex sugars in milk instead. “We think mothers have evolved to let this stuff flush through the infant,” Dr. Mills said.

Dr. German sees milk as “an astonishing product of evolution,” one which has been vigorously shaped by natural selection because it is so critical to the survival of both mother and child. “Everything in milk costs the mother — she is literally dissolving her own tissues to make it,” he said. From the infant’s perspective, it is born into a world full of hostile microbes, with an untrained immune system and lacking the caustic stomach acid which in adults kills most bacteria.

“We were astonished that milk had so much material that the infant couldn’t digest,” Dr. German said. “Finding that it selectively stimulates the growth of specific bacteria, which are in turn protective of the infant, let us see the genius of the strategy — mothers are recruiting another life-form to baby-sit their baby.”

The complex sugars are evidently a way of influencing the gut microflora, so they might in principle be used to help premature babies, or those born by cesarean, who do not immediately acquire the bifido strain. It has long been thought there was no source of the sugars other than human milk, but they have recently been detected in whey, a waste byproduct of cheesemaking. The three researchers plan to test the complex sugars for benefit in premature infants and in the elderly.

The proteins in milk also have special roles. One, called Alpha-lactalbumin, can attack tumor cells and those infected by viruses by restoring their lost ability to commit cell suicide. The protein, which accumulates when an infant is weaned, is also the signal for the breast to remodel itself back to normal state.

Such findings have made the three researchers keenly aware that every component of milk probably has a special role.


This Week's Celebrity Baby Bumps

Kyla Vaughn bumps it up in pink plaid, Jodie Sweetin stays cool in shorts, Doutzen Kroes looks flawless in a black coat and heels, Alicia Keys got married, Ali Larter looks sleek in a fitted black dress and Christina Applegate had a good workout.

Source Source Source

Due Maternity's White Hot Summer Sale

If you're looking for some last-minute summer maternity clothes or even some office staples, Due Maternity is hosting their White Hot Summer Sale right now. Find lots of great deals on jeans, tops, dresses and swimsuits.

Due Maternity Sale

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Cord Blood Infusion Assists in Recovery of Drowned Toddler

Drowning is the second leading cause of injury-related death of children under 14 and the leading cause of death for children under four. Nearly as tragic are the statistics for children who survive a near drowning. At least one third of near-drowning survivors sustain moderate to severe neurological damage.

According to Tonya Morris during an interview on Keeping It Together, that was the case for her daughter, Sparrow, who fell into the family’s backyard pool trying to fill a watering can when she was just shy of two-years-old. Tonya estimates that Sparrow was unresponsive for about 45 minutes after being pulled from the water until rescue workers were able to revive her using CPR. Because of severe oxygen deprivation which resulted in damaged tissue in her brain, doctors did not expect her to live, let alone recover near age-appropriate mental and physical capabilities.

One year after the incident, Tonya contacted the cord blood bank where she stored Sparrow’s cord blood simply to find information for her daughter’s pregnant physical therapist. She asked the phone representative if there was any work being done with children who had undergone similar circumstances as her daughter. The representative put her in touch with a doctor at Duke University, where trial experiments on the use of cord blood to treat brain injuries are ongoing. Sparrow was accepted into their program.

Immediately after an infusion of Sparrow’s own cord blood, Tonya says that her daughter was suddenly energetic and it wasn’t long before the child began initiating conversations instead of just responding. Months after the treatment, the parents witnessed a continuous spike in the child’s progress. Her mother reports that today Sparrow is a thriving four-year-old who does everything from jumping on the trampoline to attending mainstream preschool. Her journey to recovery has involved physical therapy and tutoring as well as the infusion of her own cord blood stem cells.

Listen to the mother’s heartfelt story here.


Michelle Duggar Chats About Her Breast Milk Ban and Losing the Baby Weight

Michelle Duggar recently returned to her Tontitown, Arkansas home with her newborn Josie, who arrived three months early. Like any mom of a preemie, there's a lot of "don't touch the baby" going on in the Duggar household, what with 18 others germing up the joint.

But the reality TV star of 19 Kids and Counting has got it covered. The 43-year-old uber mom spoke to ParentDish by phone yesterday about life with a preemie, the surprising cause of her baby's upset tummy and her own plans for losing the (19th) baby weight.

PD: Tell me about Josie? Is she your first preemie?

MD: Our second set of twins, Jedidiah and Jeremiah, came at about five weeks before their due date, but they were 5 lbs. each. They were in the hospital for about nine days. Jeremiah's lung collapsed and he had antibiotics. They're 11 years old now and just fine.

PD: Now about Josie.

MD: We are so thankful. It could've been much more serious. We're grateful that it was a diet change that made the difference for her. We changed from breast milk to a predigested formula that has no lactose, and within 12 hours she was better. And, within a week, she was pooing on her own, without us having to give her an enema. She was a totally different baby a week later.

PD: Wow, breast milk was the culprit?

MD: Typically, they never want to take a preemie off breast milk, but in her case the lactose in my milk was causing a problem. Her body was not producing lactase, which breaks down the lactose.

PD: Whose idea was it to suggest a possible lactose intolerance?

MD: Dr. [Robert] Arrington, he is such an ace doctor. And he encourages moms to breast-feed, so for him to resort to this was a big deal. He wanted to try this, and he asked me if it was okay and I said, 'Yes, anything to help Josie.' He said that breast milk intolerance is a rare occurrence for babies, maybe one percent or less, but he said we're going to try it for a week and see.

PD: What did he see?

MD: Well, in the hospital the technicians were watching her digesting milk on a screen. They were like, 'Whoa did you see that?' Her stomach would flip up when she was digesting. She doesn't have the ligament to hold things down.They have this big, long name for it, like rotating axial stomach [organoaxial malrotation of the stomach, as per Michelle's publicist] and it kinds of flips up and down. They agreed that it's not life threatening, and they don't want to do the surgery to tack it down. It's still there and she'll live with it the rest of her life.

PD: Will there be any lasting effects of her stomach issues?

MD: I wonder if it would be uncomfortable for her to do cartwheel one day or go on roller coasters. They say preemies sometimes have reflux, and when she burps and coughs at the same time her whole body goes. As she gets bigger, we will see. She'll learn to live with this. The doctor said a lot of people walk around with it and they don't know they have it.

PD: So, what's she like, personality-wise?

MD: She's 11 lbs., 1 ounce, a happy baby. She's 7½ months, with the adjusted age of 4½ months, because she was premature. She hardly ever cries. And when she's hungry she smacks on her fingers. She doesn't really get suction, she kind of lays them in her mouth and smacks on them. It's the cutest thing. She wakes me up when I hear that. But she very rarely cries anymore. She probably got it all out at the beginning when her tummy hurt. She's smiling and she started this new thing where she's cooing and it startles her. She's realizing she can make loud noises.

PD: It must be hard with so many siblings to get face-time with the baby?

MD: Joseph said, 'You know, I've only held her three times.' I said, 'Yes, all your siblings are getting in front of you.' Joseph is not the type to barge in and ask. But when he talks to her, her eyes light up. Joseph is 15.

PD: And the sisters?

MD: The older girls are wanting every minute that she's awake. The big girls tend to monopolize the baby time. The little guys come up and ask. The two younger ones have a runny nose so they can't get near her.

PD: Right. How do you handle the germ thing at home?

MD: People have to get screened before they come into our bedroom. And we have the Germ-X stations around the house.

PD: Wait, really? Like they have in public bathrooms?

MD: Yes, with the pump. We also have them at our food-serving line. With Josie, they have to have clean hands, and not touch their nose, eyes or face while they're holding her. Runny noses, sore throats, we have so many little ones that are incubators for germs. They're always swapping spit and chewing on each others' toys.

PD: And how's grandparenting going?

MD: It's so much fun. Mackynzie is two months older than Josie, and she's the happiest baby, such a butterball. Anna [Michelle's daughter-in-law] has done such a good job. She's the cutest, chunky thing and she's about to pull up and stand on her own.

PD: Ah, baby exercise. And how's your postpartum wellness going?

MD: I'm still sticking to my Weight Watchers program. I'm not at my goal weight and I need to get to my meetings and do some exercise. I'll get there.


Where to Find Mom Friends

Here's a primer on the top seven places to pick up moms, with a description of the type of mommy you're likely to meet at each locale:

  1. Gymboree/Little Gym/My Gym classes - She's a soccer-mom in the making, driving her 2-year-old to dance, gymnastics and story time at the library in her SUV. She never travels without snacks, usually Goldfish crackers.

    Plus: You'll always have a scheduled play date with built-in activity. Con: If you get caught up in conversation, your child could fall off a balance beam and bust her head.

  2. Stroller fitness - She's ready to ditch her maternity jeans and get back to her 5-mile runs. She couldn't wait until her six-week postnatal checkup, so she could get her doctor's permission to hit the gym. She can easily run over small mammals with her top-of-the-line jogging stroller.

    Plus: You can shed baby weight together. Con: As if your own body image issues weren't bad enough, now you have to hear her complain about her post-baby boobs, stomach and butt, too.

  3. Early childhood development classes and events offered through your local school district - She read "What to Expect When You're Expecting" and dog-eared the parts requiring further research. She has a running mental checklist of milestones and will use your child as her measuring stick. Plus: She's a walking mamapedia. Con: See plus.

  4. Mom groups - She's either the super-star Queenbee organizer/socialite or the Wannabee hanging on QB's every word. There's a preplanned roster of regular activities, an e-mail list and monthly meetings.

    Plus: With a whole group of mommies to choose from, you're more likely to make a match. Con: Welcome back to high school.

  5. Kangaroo Kids (or any La Leche League meeting site) - She uses cloth diapers and makes her own organic baby food. She stocks up on holistic remedies and may try to talk you out of vaccinations.

    Plus: She'll encourage you to keep nursing through engorged breasts and plugged milk ducts. Con: You'll have to hide your stash of Pampers when she comes over.

  6. McDonald's Playland - Her favorite vegetable is french fries. She is willing to crawl into a small net tunnel to rescue a stuck baby. She carries an extra pair of socks in her diaper bag in case someone forgets a pair at home.

    Plus: She's laid-back about snacks and fine with high fructose corn syrup. Cons: Childhood obesity much?

  7. Mall play area - She still wears cute shoes and has a knack for finding sales on designer baby outfits. She'll watch your baby while you run into Sephora to pick up a new tube of mascara.

    Plus: Let the babies play, and then you've got a shopping buddy. Con: The economy hasn't recovered just yet. This friendship could take a toll on your bank account.


Pregnant Man Welcomes Baby No. 3!

Thomas Beatie - who the media has labeled as the 'pregnant man' - and his wife Nancy have welcomed their third child, RadarOnline reports.

A source close to the family reveals that it's another boy for the Beaties:

"He's got light brown hair and blue eyes. He's very handsome and adorable, and he's big and healthy," revealed the source, who added that Beatie was only in the hospital on Sunday, July 25 for 24 hours before he was discharged.

The baby came so quickly, Thomas almost didn't make it to the hospital. “It was a very quick labor. He nearly didn’t make it to the hospital and almost had him in the car!” the source revealed.

“With their first child, Susan, Thomas was in the hospital for four days, and the next time with Austin he was there for two days,” the source said of Thomas' stay at the Oregon hospital where he gave birth to all three of his children naturally. “This time, their son was completely healthy so there was no reason to stay longer.”

Thomas and Nancy are already parents to daughter Susan, 2, and son Austin, 1.

Thomas, 35, was born a woman and had his breasts surgically removed. He legally changed his gender from female to male. Thomas said that he retained his female sex organs because he intended one day to get pregnant. Nancy, 46, is unable to have children because of a hysterectomy.


Monday, August 02, 2010

Tips for Breastfeeding Success

Breastfeeding Positions

The cradle position feels the most natural for many mothers, and because it keeps breast exposure to a minimum, it's ideal for public nursing. Cuddle your baby with her head resting in the crook of your arm and her tummy against yours. Her lower arm should be tucked out of the way.

Positioning your baby in a cross-cradle allows for good control of her head, so it's useful with a newborn who's having trouble learning to nurse. As in the cradle hold, position your baby tummy to tummy, but hold her head with your hand and use your forearm to support her bottom.

A good choice for mothers recovering from C-sections, the football hold minimizes pressure on the incision. It's also practical for those nursing twins simultaneously. Lay your baby along your side so her back is supported by your forearm and her head is cradled in your hand, the way a running back would carry a football.

The side-lying option is good for those middle-of-the-night feedings. Lie on your side with your head on a pillow. Nestle your baby close to you, with her head in the crook of your arm, her mouth level with your nipple, and her tummy against yours.

Steps to Latch Success

If your baby isn't latched onto your breast correctly, he won't be satisfied with his meal, you may develop sore nipples, and your breasts may not produce adequate amounts of milk. Remember to bring your baby to your breast, not your breast to your baby. The best thing is to wait for baby readiness rather than trying to wake him on a predetermined schedule (like every three hours). If your baby is rooting -- turning his head and opening his mouth widely when you touch his cheek -- he's ready. Make sure he has a good deal of your areola -- the dark area around your nipple -- in his mouth. "Don't be afraid of blocking his nose," says Jan Barger, R.N., a lactation consultant in Wheaton, Illinois. "Babies can breathe well even if the tip of their nose seems to be buried in your breast." If your baby has trouble latching on because your breasts are engorged, express milk (by hand or with a pump) until they soften. Then follow these simple steps for latch-on success:

When you offer your breast, support it with your fingers underneath and your thumb on top. Use your dominant hand to support baby's head and the other hand to support your breast. Place your nipple between his nose and upper lip, and when he opens widely, pull him quickly onto the breast, leading with his chin so his chin is making solid contact with your breast. That will keep the nose free, and he can get a big mouthful of breast. If you wait for his rooting, his tongue will automatically come down and out, and you don't have to do anything but pull him on to the breast.

Let him nurse as long as he is taking long, drawing sucks. When he slows down and his eyes close, you can compress your breast deeply for about five seconds to get him sucking again. If he doesn't respond to that, you can switch sides. There is no particular number of minutes that he has to breastfeed -- most newborns will nurse 10 to 20 minutes on the first side, and 10 to 15 on the second. They get a lot more efficient as they get older and may not breastfeed as long.

When it's time to switch sides, slide your pinkie between your breast and your baby's gums to break the suction. When you hear a soft pop, extract your nipple from his mouth and position him on the other breast.

Hey Baby, Meet Bottle

When baby's milk arrives without the mama, your baby may need some coaching

  • Wait three to four weeks until breastfeeding is well established. Introducing a bottle too soon can interfere with your milk supply.
  • Let someone else offer the first bottle. A breastfed baby knows mom has the "real stuff."
  • Give the bottle when your baby isn't extremely hungry. Bottles are a novelty to babies. He won't understand that this piece of plastic will alleviate hunger pains, and may become too upset to eat.
  • Gently introduce the bottle nipple. Use it to tap a little milk onto his lips. Wait for him to open up and draw the nipple in.
  • Try different positions. Some babies prefer being held in a nursing position. Others will do better with a bottle if they're facing outward. You can also try standing and swaying gently during the feeding.
  • Use your baby's sense of smell. Have the person who is bottle-feeding wrap the bottle in your nightgown or nursing bra. That person should avoid wearing perfume or other strong scents.
  • Be patient. Some babies will take to bottle-feeding immediately; others need practice. If your baby becomes frustrated, stop and try again later.

Solutions to common nursing challenges

The Challenge: Sore Nipples

Although the major cause of severe or chronic sore nipples is trauma from incorrect latch-on and sucking, other factors can exacerbate the problem. Inappropriate nipple care (such as overdrying or excessive moisture) can delay healing, and nipple cracks can become infected by bacteria or yeast in the baby's mouth.

The Solution: Nurse 'Em!

Once you're certain that your baby is latched correctly, try applying medical-grade purified lanolin after feedings or wearing moisture-retaining hydrogel dressings (such as Ameda Comfortgel Hydrogel Pads, $25 a pair at between feedings. Your doctor can prescribe an antibiotic or antifungal medication if an infection is present. Begin breastfeeding on the least sore side to trigger your milk-ejection reflex. Once milk flow has begun, baby should suck less vigorously when brought to the second, more irritated breast. Frequent, short feedings are preferable, since delaying the interval between feedings results in greater breast engorgement and a ravenously hungry baby -- a combination that can cause further nipple trauma. If your nipple pain is so severe that you must interrupt breastfeeding, temporarily express your breast milk using a fully automatic, electric breast pump.

The Challenge: Blocked Milk Ducts

A plugged duct, also known as a blocked duct or a caked breast, results when one of the milk ducts draining the lobes of the breast becomes partially obstructed. It creates a firm, tender, engorged area of the breast, and often forms a lump near the armpits. If not quickly remedied, a blocked duct can progress to a breast infection. This usually occurs when you haven't breastfed your baby often or long enough. Women who produce abundant milk are particularly prone to it, and being separated from your infant or going for long periods without nursing is another common risk factor. Wearing constrictive clothing, such as a tight underwire bra or straps from a baby carrier that are pulled too tight, also can interfere with milk flow.

The Solution: Nursing as Much as Possible

Begin several consecutive feedings on the affected side, since babies nurse more vigorously and take more milk from the first breast. You can also place your baby so that her chin points toward the plugged duct, a position that will help promote drainage. Warm compresses or a warm shower can trigger your letdown reflex and improve milk flow, and gentle massage of the blocked area can also be effective. Be careful not to press too firmly, however, as causing trauma to your breast increases the risk of an infection called mastitis. Recurrent clogged ducts can be a sign of breast inflammation or low-grade infection; treatment with antibiotics sometimes curbs the problem. Occasionally, a breast lump is mistaken for a clogged duct. If a lump persists for more than several days, have it checked by a doctor.

The Challenge: Mastitis. Click the link to learn more.

The Challenge: Thrush. Click the link to learn more.

Plan to pump at work? Supplement with bottles?

Serving expressed breast milk in a bottle allows a mom to give her baby the best nourishment possible even when she's not around. It also gives dad and grandma a feeding role—and can help mom snag some zzzzzs while dad picks up those 3 a.m. feedings. Luckily, there's a pump for just about every mom.

If you're not sure how long you'll breastfeed You might want to start by renting a hospital-grade electric double breast pump (around $1 to $3 a day and up to $60 for your own collection kit), especially if your baby is unable to nurse. Hospital-grade pumps are the most efficient because they closely mimic the natural suck and release cycle of a baby. Best bet: To find out about rentals, call your hospital or local La Leche League International (

If you're going back to work You won't want to lug a heavy hospital pump into the office. You'll need something more portable. Machines that allow you to pump both breasts simultaneously, hands-free, work the hardest and the fastest. Best bets: the Medela Pump In Style Advanced Breast Pump ($280; or the Philips Avent Isis iQ Duo Twin Electronic Breast Pump ($250; Both can pump both breasts at the same time and come with an insulated milk-storage bag and a carrying case. Attach nipples to the storage bottles and they're ready for baby.

If you don't plan on pumping much A single pump operated by hand will do the trick at a low cost. Best bets: the Simplisse Manual Breastfeeding Companion ($40; or the Ameda One-Hand Breast Pump with Flexishield ($34;

If you plan to store milk, Expressed breast milk should be kept chilled, so if you're pumping at work, for example, you'll need access to a refrigerator or cooler, an insulated bag and a cold pack for transport home. The AAP recommends storing your milk in hard plastic cups with tight caps or heavy-duty bags that fit directly into a baby bottle. Best bet: Playtex Nursing Necessities One Step Breast Milk Storage Kit ($8; For more on safe storage of breast milk, visit the AAP's website,


Too Many C-Sections: Docs Rethink Induced Labor

The rise in cesarean-section deliveries in recent years has been characterized by some as a key indication of the over-medicalization of childbirth. While the procedure undoubtedly saves lives and leads to better health outcomes for mothers and infants who face problems during pregnancy and labor, many experts say the procedure is being performed too often, and in many cases for non-medical reasons, putting healthy women and babies at undue risk of complications of major surgery.

The rate of C-sections has reached more than 31% in the U.S., a historical high, according to 2007 data from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). The reasons for the increase are many and have been widely discussed: the rising rate of multiple births, more obesity in pregnant women, the older age of women giving birth. In fact, C-sections have become so common that many women may have an inflated sense of safety about them. "For the most part, moms and babies go through the process healthy and come out healthy, so maybe there's this sense that we're invincible," says Dr. Caroline Signore of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute for Child Health and Human Development.

But C-section carries all the attendant risks of major surgery; and data show that compared with vaginal birth, cesarean delivery increases the odds that a mother will end up back in the hospital after birth with complications such as bleeding or blood clots.

Now obstetrics experts are actively seeking ways to drive down the number of C-sections. On July 21, the ACOG issued new guidelines recommending that hospitals allow most mothers who desire vaginal birth after cesarean, or VBAC, to attempt a trial of labor, including some mothers who are carrying twins or have had two prior C-sections. Despite studies showing VBAC to be safe for most women — ACOG data suggests that 60% to 80% of women who attempt VBAC will succeed — many hospitals have urged women to undergo a repeat cesarean over the past decade, largely to avoid medical risks and malpractice suits. (Read how postpartum depression can strike fathers.)

Another factor contributing to high C-section rates is the increase in induced labor, especially between 37 weeks and 38 weeks of gestation — a period obstetricians describe as "early term." (While any birth between 37 weeks and 41 weeks is considered full term, some experts distinguish the earlier period.) The use of labor induction in the U.S. has risen from less than 10% of deliveries to more than 22%, between 1990 and 2006, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and research suggests that induced labor results in C-sections more often than natural labor. A study published in the July issue of the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology found that among more than 7,800 women giving birth for the first time, those whose labor was induced were twice as likely to have a C-section delivery as those who experienced spontaneous labor.

The rate is significant because ACOG guidelines, which have been in place since 1982, recommend against elective inductions in the early term, or anytime before 39 weeks. Research shows that after 41 weeks' gestation, at which point it is standard policy to induce labor, it may lower the risk of medical complications for mother and baby — including the risk of stillbirth — and even decrease the likelihood of C-section delivery, but those same effects are not seen in women who induce labor before the 41-week mark.

Medical reasons for earlier induction may include advanced size or lack of proper growth of the fetus and maternal issues like diabetes. But in an editorial, Signore also suggests that the high rate of early-term induction may reflect lifestyle choices: health care providers' and new parents' desire to control the timing of delivery. "Many women believe that delivering a few weeks early is just as safe as delivering on the projected due date and may request delivery for any number of reasons of comfort or convenience," Signore writes. "However, we must remember that incautious use and timing of interventions — particularly in elective cases — can lead to unnecessarily poorer outcomes for women and newborns."

Several hospitals have already begun reducing medically unnecessary induction as a way to lower the rate of cesareans. In 2006, the Magee-Womens Hospital in western Pennsylvania began limiting the pool of women eligible for elective inductions to those delivering after 39 weeks. The hospital also established stricter protocols for elective induction in women after 39 weeks — insisting on high levels of cervical "ripeness" as measured by the standard Bishop score before induction — and prohibited other labor-hastening efforts, such as the use of cervical ripening agents. Additionally, the hospital instituted a new scheduling system requiring physicians to document specific reasons for induction when used.

Researchers found that under the new policy the overall induction rate dropped 33% and the rate of elective inductions fell by roughly the same amount. What's more, the total number of C-sections among first-time mothers who underwent elective induction dropped 60%. The results of the Magee-Womens study were published in April 2009 in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology.

If a relatively simple policy shift based on medical evidence can successfully cut the rate of induced labor and C-sections at a single hospital, experts say similar changes applied broadly may help lower the rate of C-sections on a national level.


'Twilight'-inspired baby names have supernatural appeal

You can watch the "Twilight" movies and read the books, but why stop there?

Thousands of Americans are giving their babies "Twilight"-related names.

Bella, the name of the love-struck heroine of Stephenie Meyer's vampire novels, hadn't quite cracked the Social Security Administration's list of the top 200 girls' names in America when the first "Twilight" book was published in 2005. Today, it's at No. 58, higher than Miley, Kingston or Maddox. Cullen, the last name of Bella's vampire beau, Edward, is in the top 500 boys' names for the first time in more than a century.

"This is actually a big deal in the baby name landscape," says Laura Wattenberg, creator of

A total of 8,171 U.S. babies received key "Twilight"-related names (Bella, Cullen, Jasper, Alice or Emmett) in 2009, compared with 3,516 in 2005, Social Security data show.

"The interesting thing is, this follows perfectly in a tradition" of naming trends stemming from shows with supernatural themes and attractive young women, Wattenberg says. "The TV show 'Bewitched' had a huge effect. 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' — huge effect. Even the TV shows that didn't become such big cultural phenomena like 'Charmed' spawned hit baby names."

Yes, she did say "Charmed." The show's heroines include Piper, a good witch with great hair portrayed by Holly Marie Combs.

When the show debuted in 1998, Piper wasn't even in the top 1,000 girls' names in the U.S. The next year, it appeared at No. 700; now it's at No. 147.

"Piper is an interesting one because it really is an example of the phrase I always repeat, 'It's not the fame, it's the name,'" Wattenberg says.

It's difficult to pinpoint the precise degree of "Twilight's" influence on the more than 4 million baby names chosen annually in the U.S., in part because Meyer chose names for her characters that were either already high on the hot list (Jacob), rising (Bella, Alice, Jasper, Emmett) or related to those that were. Isabella was already a top-10 girls' name in 2005, and Bella was at No. 208 and rising at a nice clip.

Cullen was at No. 727 in 2005 and falling, but using last names as first names was already a powerful trend. Emmett, at No. 594 but rising in 2005, is now at No. 332.

"If you want (to find) the really hard-core "Twilight" fans who were really inspired by the book and not just the name, there were 17 baby girls last year named Renesme (pronounced Ruh-NEZ-may)," Wattenberg notes.

"That's not a name that you say, 'Oh, yeah, I've always liked that name.'"

The same might be said for Carlisle, a name chosen for precisely zero U.S. boys in 2005. In 2009, 12 male babies got the name.

The reasons Carlisle might not be as hot a name as, say, Cullen, are complex. But Cullen fits several modern naming trends, including the popularity of boys' names that end in "en" (Jayden, Aiden). Carlisle may sound feminine to an American ear and contains consonants unseparated by vowels (think Gertrude) — a definite negative for modern parents.

In 1964, when a nice young witch named Samantha ( Elizabeth Montgomery) first twitched her nose on TV in "Bewitched," Samantha, a name that didn't even appear on the top-1,000 list in 1963, shot up to No. 472. By 1972 it was at No. 137. Tabitha, the name of Samantha's daughter, did even better, coming out of nowhere to crack the top-300 list for girls' names by 1969.

Tabitha has since gone into decline, but Samantha proved a powerhouse. Today, it's the No. 15 girls' name in America, beating out Bella, Cullen, Jasper, Alice and Emmett — combined.