Friday, October 08, 2010

The 'State' of Midwifery: Pushing for Legalization

When women want out-of-hospital maternity care, they deserve legal access to midwives trained to provide it. In 23 states, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, and Guam, Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs) face prosecution for serving women who have decided not to give birth in a hospital. Families in these states are forced into an underground economy of providers whose training and credentials could be difficult to ascertain, and are left without any means to report a practitioner who lacks adequate skills. If they do opt to hire a midwife who is practicing illegally, smooth and efficient transfer to a higher level of care can be compromised in the event that it becomes necessary, putting mothers and babies at risk. That’s why more and more states, pushed by consumers and their allies who are part of The Big Push for Midwives Campaign, are passing legislation to license CPMs.

No federal law, Supreme Court decision, or Constitutional amendment can ensure access to CPMs, because licensing and regulation of health professionals occurs at the state level. The Big Push for Midwives engages with consumers in state-by-state efforts to secure a path to legalization and integration of CPMs. Advocates have been on the ground doing this work for years, and are gradually achieving success. Groups like the Alabama Birth Coalition, Ohio Families for Safe Birth, North Carolina Friends of Midwives, the Coalition for Illinois Midwifery, and Massachusetts Friends of Midwives, and others, are tireless grassroots organizers for women and families who chose to give birth outside of the hospital.

Aggressive, well funded forces of organized medicine seem determined to keep Certified Professional Midwives underground.  This includes the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the American Medical Association (AMA), organizations that wield their reputations and considerable financial influence over state legislators.

The medical journal The Lancet recently published an editorial that concluded “Women have the right to choose how and where to give birth, but they do not have the right to put their baby at risk.” This is a familiar message to reproductive health activists: women don’t have the right to value our own lives when babies are involved. And, if the opinion of a doctor or judge about the wisdom of a particular woman’s choice for maternity care differs from her own, she may be forced to accept medical treatment that she doesn’t want or need.

Punitive attacks on women’s rights in birth are not the sole province of the medical establishment. Child protective services in Illinois and Ohio have seized custody of newborns of women who chose home birth with midwifery care - even though the babies born at home were perfectly healthy.  Families have lost custody of their children or faced CPS investigations simply because the mother gave birth at home with a midwife in a state where her legislators have failed to regulate and license Certified Professional Midwives.

Whether or not state legislatures respect the wishes of their constituents and vote to legalize CPMs, women will continue to choose home birth. This is why licensing and integrating CPMs, trained and experienced experts in out-of-hospital birth, makes sense for American women.


Tests Show Significant Cadmium Exposure From Kids Cups

When McDonald's recalled 12 million "Shrek" beverage glasses in June because the designs contained cadmium, consumers were told the glasses weren't toxic but were being recalled out of an abundance of caution.

Regulators wouldn't disclose the amount of cadmium in the glasses.

But recently released regulatory records show that the recall was spurred after government scientists concluded a 6-year-old could be exposed to hazardous levels of the carcinogen after touching one of the glasses eight times in a day.

Oak Brook, Ill.-based McDonald's and the company that manufactured the glasses, ARC International of Millville, N.J., insist the products are safe.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said it stands behind the recall but indicated that scientists might use different standards for future recalls. The regulatory agency is expected to announce new cadmium standards this month to address concerns about the heavy metal in consumer products.

In addition to the Shrek glasses, children's jewelry has been recalled for cadmium, but at much higher levels.

Toys are the only children's product that have a standard for cadmium — 75 soluble parts per million in paint and coatings. But many products, including the Shrek glasses and jewelry, are not considered toys.

Scott Wolfson, a spokesman for the regulatory agency, wouldn't say if the new standard would be above or below the cadmium levels found in the McDonald's glasses. The glasses are still considered non-toxic because a child wouldn't get sick simply from touching one. The health concerns are centered on long-term exposure to cadmium.

Cadmium is a carcinogen that also damages kidneys, lungs and bones. The soft metal is used in paint and batteries. It's also in fertilizers, which means it ends up in soil and whatever grows in that soil. Humans take in most cadmium through their diet, especially leafy greens. Cadmium is also in cigarettes. There is no established amount of cadmium that is considered safe or unsafe for kids, but health officials and scientists worry about cadmium building up in the body over time.

"Making sure that children don't take in excess cadmium beyond the diet is a wise thing to do," said Jeffrey Weidenhamer, a professor of chemistry at Ashland University in Ohio.

Documents show that the agency chose an amount of 0.03 micrograms per kilogram of body weight for an "acceptable daily intake level."

That is about one-third the amount that is considered safe by the Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry. The amount is not specific to children, however.

Government scientists performed a "wipe" test on the Shrek glasses that was meant to simulate a child touching a glass. They moistened a paper or cloth wipe and rubbed the decal 10 times to see how much cadmium rubbed off. This was done three times on each glass and cadmium on the wipes was added up. The glass with the highest total of cadmium had about 15.83 micrograms.

Scientists made calculations about how much cadmium children might swallow if they licked their hands or touched food after handling the glass, which led to the estimate that eight strokes of the glass could cause a child to take in a hazardous amount of cadmium.

The Society of Glass and Ceramic Decorated Products, a trade association representing manufacturers and decorators, did its own testing that found none of the glasses leached detectable levels of cadmium. The glasses were washed before the test, however, and the decal was not wiped as many times as in the government's tests.

Fred Dohn, CEO of Americas for Arc International, which manufactured the glasses, said the enamels that are used for the decorative part of the glass are essentially melted into the glass. Cadmium is a must to make certain colors.

Dohn said his company complied with standards to keep the cadmium away from the lip of the cup.


Gum disease treatment recommended during pregnancy

Gum disease can be safely treated during pregnancy and appears to significantly reduce the risk of premature birth associated with periodontal disease, Pennsylvania researchers report.

"The present study has potential implications" for the calculations dentists make when deciding whether to treat gum disease during pregnancy, they write in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Gum disease - typically caused by a bacterial infection that deteriorates gum tissue and leaves it chronically inflamed - is a particular problem during pregnancy. Hormonal changes appear to make a pregnant woman more susceptible to developing it, yet the standard tetracycline-based therapy is not recommended because of its risk to the baby.

Nevertheless, considerable evidence points to gum disease itself raising the risk of premature birth.
Dr. Marjorie Jeffcoat of the University of Pennsylvania's School of Dental Medicine and her colleagues wanted to know if treating pregnant women with periodontal disease using non-drug methods would reduce their risk of early delivery.

The group recruited 322 pregnant women with gum disease for the study. Participants were randomly assigned to receive active treatment in the form of an aggressive teeth-cleaning method -- known as scaling and planning -- plus oral hygiene education, or to get oral hygiene education alone. (After delivery of their babies, all study participants were offered treatment for their gum disease).

At the study's conclusion, the researchers found no statistically significant difference in the number of premature births among the women who had been treated and the ones who were not. Of the untreated women, 52.4 percent delivered early, while 45.6 percent of women getting treatment had early births.
On closer analysis, however, treatment -- when it was successful in curing the gum disease -- appeared to reduce the likelihood of an early delivery considerably; "a very exciting finding," Jeffcoat said.

Among the women in the treatment group, 42 were treated successfully, meaning that on a second dental exam, their gum inflammation had disappeared and the separation of their gums from the teeth had not progressed any further. One hundred and eleven women in the treatment group continued to show signs of gum disease, representing unsuccessful treatment.

Just four of the 42 successfully treated women, or 10.5 percent, delivered prematurely compared to 69 premature deliveries, or 62 percent, among the 111 women who failed treatment.

"It's not enough to treat periodontal disease, however," Jeffcoat told Reuters Health. "The treatment must be 'successful' and why the scaling and planing treatment was successful in some women and not others isn't known yet."


Thursday, October 07, 2010

Morning sickness may signal healthier pregnancy

New research confirms that women plagued by morning sickness in early pregnancy are less likely to miscarry.

But women who don't experience nausea and vomiting during their first trimester shouldn't be alarmed, Dr. Ronna L. Chan of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, one of the study's authors, told Reuters Health.

"Not all pregnant women who go on to have successful pregnancies experience nausea and vomiting early on or at all," she said by e-mail. "In addition, pregnancy symptoms can vary from one pregnancy to the next, even for the same woman."
From 50 percent to 90 percent of women have morning sickness in early pregnancy, Chan and her team note in the journal Human Reproduction, and previous studies have found that women who have these symptoms are less likely to miscarry.

To investigate the relationship in more detail, Chan and her colleagues looked not only at the presence or absence of these symptoms, but how long the symptoms lasted, in more than 2,400 women living in three US cities.

"Our study had several advantages over some of the earlier studies because we recruited pregnant women very early in their pregnancies or when they were trying to become pregnant, so we were able to follow them over the course of their pregnancies and collect data regarding the timing and occurrence of nausea and vomiting early on," the researcher explained.

Eighty-nine percent of the women had some degree of morning sickness, while 53 percent had vomiting as well as nausea. Eleven percent of the women miscarried before 20 weeks.

The women who had no nausea or vomiting during their first trimester were 3.2 times as likely to miscarry as the women who did have morning sickness, Chan and her team found.

This relationship was particularly strong for older women; women younger than 25 who had no morning sickness were four times as likely to miscarry compared to their peers who had nausea and vomiting, while miscarriage risk was increased nearly 12-fold for women 35 and older with no morning sickness.
And the longer a woman had these symptoms, the lower her miscarriage risk, the researchers found; this association was especially strong among older women. Women 35 and older who had morning sickness for at least half of their pregnancy were 80 percent less likely to miscarry than women in this age group who didn't have these symptoms.

Still, because of the nature of the study, the authors could not prove that there was any cause-effect relationship between morning sickness and a healthier pregnancy, just that the two were linked.

A number of theories have been put forth to explain why morning sickness might signal a healthier pregnancy, Chan said. "Some postulate nausea and vomiting during pregnancy is a mechanism to help improve the quality of a pregnant woman's diet or a way to reduce or eliminate potentially harmful substances from the mother in order to protect the fetus," she explained.

While these ideas are "plausible," the researcher said, she thinks the symptoms reflect a pregnant woman's sensitivity to the sharp rise in certain hormones key for sustaining pregnancy that occurs during the first trimester.


Many Babies Born Online Before Real Life

Internet security firm AVG recently did a study on the digital information available for the youngest citizens of some of the world's most wired (or, really today, wireless) countries, including the U.S., Canada, the U.K., France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. The finding? More babies are becoming as visible on the Internet as those who can actually operate a keyboard.

Here are the startling digital milestones:

-- Nearly one-fourth (23 percent) of children were found to have had pre-birth scans uploaded to the Internet. In the U.S., some 34 percent had antenatal scans posted online.

-- The average age at which a child acquires an online presence, courtesy of the parents, is six months. By the time they are 2, 81 percent of children have some kind of "digital footprint."

-- A third (33 percent) of children have had images posted online from birth.

-- A quarter (23 percent) of children have had their pre-birth scans uploaded to the Internet by their parents.

-- Seven percent of babies even had an e-mail address created for them by their parents.

-- More than 70 percent of mothers said they posted baby and toddler images online to share with friends and family.

Unfortunately, Facebook's dodgy history with privacy is well documented, and a 2-year-old can hardly be counted on to make an informed review of the default privacy settings.

There are holdouts, however. According to the Pew Internet Project, even in Facebook-happy America about a quarter of people aged 12 to 17 don't use social networking, and that number rises to about 60 percent for adults 30 and older. Still, this study indicates that these numbers will likely rise as new generations grow up locked into the Internet.

AVG stresses that parents should be very considerate of the life they're dictating for their children by putting their lives online so early, and should always remember to track privacy settings.


Alana de la Garza Welcomes a Son

Congratulations to Law & Order star Alana de la Garza and husband Michael Roberts!

The 34-year-old Mexican actress welcomed the couple's first child, a baby boy named Kieran Thomas Roberts, on September 28, Latina reports.

The new addition weighed in at a healthy 9 lbs, 3 oz.

The ecstatic new mom gushed, "He is here! I'm in looooove!"


Wednesday, October 06, 2010

This Week's Celebrity Baby Bumps

Alanis Morissette wears a cute lace top and a blazer, Ali Larter wears a black form-fitting lace dress, Alicia Keys is gorgeous in gray, Miranda Kerr walked the runway but earlier was dressed down in a black blazer and black booties, and Penelope Cruz wears layers and boots for a casual fall look.

Source Source Source

Light Drinking During Pregnancy: No Harm to Baby?

Pregnant women who have up to two alcoholic drinks per week do not harm their children, a U.K. study shows.

More than 11,500 children and their mothers were included in the study. Mothers were first asked about their alcohol use when the kids were 9 months old. The children were last given a battery of behavioral and cognitive tests when they were 5 years of age.
Women were defined as light drinkers if they had no more than one or two drinks a week. A drink was defined as a very small glass of wine, a half pint of beer, or a small single measure of spirits, says study researcher Yvonne Kelly, PhD, of University College London.

"Our results suggest that children born to mothers who drank at low levels were not at any risk of social or emotional difficulties or any risk of emotional
impairments compared to mothers who did not drink," Kelly tells WebMD.

"But that is a world away from recommending that expectant mothers should drink," Kelly is quick to add.
Indeed, many of the women included in the "light drinkers" group had no more than a drink or two during their entire pregnancy.

In the U.K., women are advised not to drink at all during the first trimester of their pregnancy and to drink no more than a drink or two a week after that.

In the U.S., pregnant women are strongly advised not to drink at all, says Eva Pressman, MD, director of maternal/fetal medicine at the University of Rochester, N.Y.

Pressman points out that women who are light drinkers during pregnancy tend to be from households with relatively high incomes. Children in high-income households tend to perform better on behavioral and cognitive tests -- which could mask some possible harms from their mothers' light drinking during pregnancy.
"What we tell women is that we don't know of a safe threshold for drinking alcohol during pregnancy. So our recommendation is not to consume any alcohol at all," Pressman tells WebMD.

The Kelly study appears in the Oct. 5 online issue of the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.


Strap-on breast raises questions for breastfeeding advocates

If you've seen the movie Meet the Fockers, Christa Anderson's baby feeding invention may sound strangely familiar to you: a baby-feeding device that is worn by a parent or grandparent in an attempt to simulate the experience of breastfeeding. (In the hit comedy, Jack Byrnes, played by Robert DeNiro, invents an artificial breast so he can "nurse" his grandson Little Jack. He calls his product the The Mannary Gland.)

It wasn’t until after the Lower Sackville, N.S., mother of one had already invented Nurse Me Tender that she heard about The Mannary Gland. After watching Meet the Fockers, she concluded that her product, which features a custom-designed baby bottle and matching holster and a wearable body harness, was superior in design to the product the comedy geniuses in Hollywood had dreamed up.

Early in the product development process, Anderson ditched the idea of incorporating anything bra-like into her design, feeling that a baby-feeding device that reminded potential buyers of Frank Costanza and Cosmo Kramer’s Manziere would kill sales to the crucial dad and grandpa markets. (View the product prototype at, where Anderson is tweeting about her journey as a first-time inventor.)

Nurse Me Tender was inspired by Anderson’s own experiences as a mother. When she stopped breastfeeding son Anderson at 10 months, she found she missed the intimacy and the convenience of breastfeeding. “I felt very awkward and uncomfortable bottlefeeding after breastfeeding—really restrained.”
That’s a comment Teresa Pitman, spokesperson for La Leche League Canada and the co-author of numerous bestselling books about breastfeeding, hears time and time again. “I talk quite often to mothers who weaned and were disappointed by the results of the weaning. Pretty much any other way of feeding your baby is going to mean more work for you.” And forget those rumours about how you’ll have all kinds of extra freedom once you stop breastfeeding, she adds: “Your baby is still going to want you. Breastfeeding means more to babies than food."

So what are the odds of a product like NurseMeTender finding a market and making money for its inventor? “I tell clients that for every one that gets a patent, 99 will not be a commercial success,” says inventor and registered patent agent James Gastle of Gastle and Associates of Lakefield, Ont.

And what do mothers and those who work with them have to say about a product that attempts to mimic breastfeeding?

"I am always intrigued by products that attempt to make the experience of drinking from a bottle more like breastfeeding. However, I am also wary of them because I think they are often a marketing gimmick intended to convince moms to buy one product over another without any specific reason (like the infant formulas that claim to be 'closest to breastmilk')," says Annie Urban, mother of two and author of the popular parenting blog PhD in Parenting (

Sam Leeson, founder of BabyREADY (, a Toronto-based company that helps families prepare for baby’s arrival, is concerned about the way the product positions the baby in relation to the mother: “The product pushes baby further away from mom’s body than traditional bottlefeeding.” Pitman of La Leche League echoes that concern, noting that a mother who wants to enjoy an experience that feels like breastfeeding can strip baby down to his diaper, take off her shirt and feed baby skin-to-skin.

“The intention of the product is good, but I don’t think it’s really necessary,” says Desiree Kretschmar, a Peterborough mother of one, and author of the popular motherhood blog So Fawned.

“I don’t really see the value immediately in this product, because I think it is possible to bottle ‘nurse’ a baby without having the bottle on a harness that is attached to your body,” says Urban. “The only time I would see a product like this being useful would be in the case of a parent with a disability who could not hold both the baby and the bottle at the same time.”

What do you think of the product?


Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Making the Best of a C-Section

There is a great organization world wide focused on supporting mothers through their experience, and lowering the cesarean section rate. It is called The International Cesarean Awareness Network, or also known as ICAN.. A great piece of information that ICAN has put out through their educational white papers is an article on having a family centered cesarean. It offers a lot of great advice for women who want to make the experience more pleasant in the case that it does become medically necessary.

Become Familiar with the Procedure
Learn more about a cesarean section, what they will be doing, the reason you need to have a surgical delivery, and this also gives you the time to get a second opinion if it is not something you may agree with. The more knowledge you have, and the more research you do, helps to make you a more educated consumer.

Write a Birth Plan
Contrary to popular belief, you can still have a birth plan when having a surgical delivery, even if it may not be planned. Always talk to your provider before labor to know if they will support your ideas and what you would like for your delivery, cesarean or not. If they do not support, or accept the ideas you have for your care, and birth experience, look for a new provider. Having  an unsupportive provider can make for a horrible experience in some cases.

Discuss the type of anesthesia you would like to use and weigh out risks and benefits of an epidural vs. a spinal block, and the type of pain management after the delivery that would work best for you.

Talk about your options for holding your baby while they repair your uterus and during the closure.  Typically hospitals do not offer this, but many will allow it if the mother requests it before hand. This can help mothers to feel more connected to their newborn in the case that mother and baby are healthy enough to partake in the activity.

Get Help Post Cesarean
A big help to women who have had a cesarean, whether it is their first or third is having help around the house when they go home. From laundry, to helping with older children or even the new baby, you will need all the help you can get. One mistake mothers often try to make in their first days home is doing it all instead of asking for help. In the first 2 weeks, your recovery is incredibly important, and you should take time for yourself, and focus on your recovery, and your little one.

This help can come in the form of family members, friends, or even a postpartum doula.
While cesarean sections are not the ideal birth experience for many of us, there sometimes will be the need for them. Making the situation, and experience more pleasant can help in the long run to prevent negative feelings, or trauma.


Flu Shots Protect Pregnant Moms and Their Babies

It's flu-shot season, and new research released Monday shows that babies whose mothers were vaccinated during pregnancy were less likely to get the flu or to be hospitalized with respiratory illnesses in their first six months of life. At risk is the baby who's born during cold and flu season when people are cloistered indoors, sneezing and coughing on one another. Infants can't be vaccinated against flu until their six-month birthday, yet young kids are at greater risk of flu-related complications. Although babies younger than six months don't seem to come down with the flu as often as older babies, in severe flu seasons, death rates among infants younger than six months are greater than those associated with older babies.

"Because they're small and their lungs are small and their immune systems are immature, they're quite vulnerable," says lead researcher Kate O'Brien, a pediatric infectious diseases specialist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. "Very vulnerable infants don't have a good vaccination strategy."
But now they do: their vaccinated moms, who convey maternal influenza antibodies via the placenta and through breast milk.

The new research, posted online, is slated to be published in the February 2011 issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. O'Brien and her colleagues zeroed in on Navajo and White Mountain Apache Indian reservations, where children typically contract more severe respiratory infections than the general population.

They studied 1,169 women who delivered babies during one of three influenza seasons and took blood samples from 1,160 mother-infant pairs. After crunching the numbers, they found that infants whose mothers were vaccinated had a 41% lower risk of a confirmed flu infection and a 39% reduced risk of hospitalization from flu-like illness. Blood analyses revealed that babies whose moms had gotten a flu shot had higher levels of flu antibodies at birth — and at 2 to 3 months — than babies of unvaccinated mothers.

Pregnant women, experts say, should routinely opt for a flu shot. In September, a coalition of public-health groups including the March of Dimes, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists called for pregnant women to be vaccinated as a matter of course. "Based on expert medical opinion, we urge all pregnant women, and women who expect to become pregnant, to get their influenza immunization because the flu poses a serious risk of illness and death during pregnancy," says Jennifer Howse, president of the March of Dimes, in a news release.

Other studies, such as one from Emory University in Atlanta, have found that vaccinated women were 72% less likely to have a premature baby than those who did not receive the vaccine during a rampant flu season. And last year's H1N1 pandemic highlighted the vulnerability of pregnant women to influenza. The H1N1 flu strain disproportionately infected expectant mothers, proving fatal in some cases. Although only 1% of the U.S. population is pregnant at any given time, pregnant women accounted for about 6% of confirmed H1N1 2009 influenza deaths. Yet more than a few pregnant women were skeptical of the brand-new vaccine and chose not to get immunized.

“Maternal influenza vaccination targets two high-risk groups with one vaccine dose — we can't afford not to act,” wrote Justin Ortiz and Kathleen Neuzil, doctors at the University of Washington, in an editorial that accompanied O'Brien's research.


Breastfeeding Tips and Troubleshooting

The baby should start the feed soon after birth - within the first half an hour.

After the mother has assumed a position comfortable for her, she can nestle the baby in a cradle hold (cradling the baby with the mother's arm on the same side as the breast being presented). The baby's body should be on its side, so that the baby does not have to turn his or her head to reach the nipple.

First, manually express a few drops of milk to moisten the nipple.

Cup the breast with your hand and using the milk-moistened nipple, gently massage baby’s lips, encouraging the baby to open its mouth.

When the baby’s mouth is opened, the nipple is inserted into the centre of the baby’s mouth while pulling the baby in very close. The baby’s gums should take in at least a one-inch radius of the areola.

The mother may have to make adjustments for the baby’s breathing by changing the angle of baby’s position slightly or using the thumb to press gently on the breast to uncover the baby’s nose.

Hold the breast throughout the feeding so the weight of your breast does not tire your newborn’s mouth.

When feeding is over, to avoid trauma to your nipples, do not pull your nipple from baby’’s mouth without first breaking the suction by inserting your finger into the corner of baby’s mouth.

Clogged milk ducts may appear as small, red, tender lumps within the breast. Milk ducts may become clogged with dried milk or other material. The goal of treatment is opening these blocked ducts. This can be aided by increasing the breastfeeding frequency and offering the affected breast first, as well as pumping the breast after breastfeeding if the baby is not emptying the breast.

Moist heat packs can be applied to the affected area to increase blood flow and healing. A warm shower and massaging of the area may also enhance resolution of this problem.

Sometimes, the baby will refuse the affected breast because the milk develops a sour taste. Pump the breast and empty it as well as possible. Continue to offer that breast to the baby until the accepts the affected breast again.

Sore nipples can be relieved by exposing the nipples to the air as much as possible. Using a hair dryer on a low setting to dry nipples after breastfeeding may also provide relief. Nipples should be washed only with water, never with soap, alcohol, benzoin, or premoistened towelettes. Petroleum-based ointments and other cosmetic preparations should not be used, but unmedicated lanolin may help alleviate nipple cracking.

It is important to call your health-care provider if the above techniques do not alleviate the problem, or if you develop serious symptoms such as fever or signs of mastitis (a breast inflammation that may be caused by an infection). Symptoms of mastitis include increasing pain in the breast, fever, chills, sweats, breast swelling and/or hardness, and redness of the skin over the affected area. A delay in treating mastitis could lead to a more severe infection and possible breast abscess.


Monday, October 04, 2010

Benefits of Teas While Breastfeeding

Tea bags for sore nipples: Dip tea bags in warm (not boiling) water, squeeze most of the water out of them, and then tuck them into a nursing bra with a breast pad.

Fenugreek for milk supply: This tea, often called "Mother's Tea," is a very mild substance that increases milk supply. Some women find that drinking several cups a day is all that's needed to boost their supply.

Tea as a diet-friendly drink with the diet: Tea is calorie-free unless you add sweetener or milk. If you've got a few pounds of baby weight that you're staring down every day, drinking tea can be a satisfying, calorie-free beverage with the diet chemicals.

It's self soothing: Herbal teas like Chamomile can soothe your stomach or minor muscle aches, not to mention your nerves.

It's a good substitute for coffee: Most breastfeeding mothers can, and want to, drink caffeine in moderation. A cup of Green Tea has less caffeine than coffee, so there is less of it for you to transfer to your baby through your breast milk.


Understanding the power of birth order

How do three kids with the same parents, living in the same house, develop such distinct personalities? A key reason seems to be birth order. Many experts believe that a child's place in the family is intertwined with the hobbies he chooses, the grades he'll earn in school, and how much money he'll make as an adult. "For siblings, the differences in many aspects of personality are about as great as they would be between a brother and a sister," says Frank Sulloway, Ph.D., author of “Born to Rebel: Birth Order, Family Dynamics, and Creative Lives.” Birth order isn’t the only factor that contributes to how a kid turns out, but giving it consideration can help you understand your kids’ personalities — so you can help them succeed in their own unique ways.

The firstborn
Famous firstborns: Zac Efron, Beyonce Knowles, Dakota Fanning
Innate strengths: The firstborn is often used to being the center of attention; he has Mom and Dad to himself before siblings arrive (and oldest children enjoy about 3,000 more hours of quality time with their parents between ages 4 and 13 than the next sibling will get, found a study from Brigham Young University in Provo, UT). “Many parents spend more time reading and explaining things to firstborns. It’s not as easy when other kids come into the picture,” says Frank Farley, Ph.D., a psychologist at Temple University in Philadelphia, who has studied personality and human development for decades. “That undivided attention may have a lot to do with why firstborns tend to be overachievers,” he explains. In addition to usually scoring higher on IQ tests and generally getting more education than their brothers and sisters, firstborns tend to outearn their siblings (firstborns were more likely to make at least $100,000 annually compared with their siblings, according to a recent survey).

Common challenges: Success comes with a price: Firstborns tend to be type A personalities who never cut themselves any slack. “They often have an intense fear of failure, so nothing they accomplish feels good enough,” says Michelle P. Maidenberg, Ph.D., a child and family therapist in White Plains, NY. And because they dread making a misstep, oldest kids tend to stick to the straight and narrow; “They’re typically inflexible — they don’t like change and are hesitant to step out of their comfort zone,” she explains.
In addition, because firstborns are often given a lot of responsibility at home — whether it’s helping with chores or watching over younger siblings — they can be quick to take charge (and can be bossy when they do). That burden can lead to excess stress for a child who already feels pressure to be perfect.

Necessary nurturing: Firstborns are constantly receiving encouragement for their achievements, but they also need to know it’s okay if they don’t succeed at everything, says psychologist Kevin Lerman, Ph.D., author of “The Birth Order Book.” So tell your eldest about that time you didn’t make the cheerleading squad or got fired from your first job — any situation in which you tried something and it didn’t work out exactly as you planned. Be sure to emphasize why it was okay in the end and how you learned from your mistakes. You want her to see that making a few of her own is nothing to worry about and can actually be a good thing.

The youngest
Famous youngest kids: Cameron Diaz, Prince Harry, Blake Lively
Innate strengths: Lastborns generally aren’t the strongest or smartest in the room, so they develop their own ways of winning attention. They’re natural charmers with an outgoing, social personality; no surprise then that many famous actors and comedians are the baby of the family (Stephen Colbert is the youngest of 11!), or that they score higher in “agreeableness” on personality tests than firstborns, according to Dr. Sulloway’s research.

Youngest also make a play for the spotlight with their adventurousness. Free-spirited lastborns are more open to unconventional experiences and taking physical risks than their siblings (research has shown that they’re more likely to play sports like football and soccer than their older siblings, who preferred activities like track and tennis).

Common challenges: Youngests are known for feeling that “nothing I do is important,” Dr. Lerman notes. “None of their accomplishments seem original. Their siblings have already learned to talk, read, and ride a bike. So parents react with less spontaneous joy at their accomplishments and may even wonder, ‘Why can he catch up faster?’ ”

Lastborns also learn to use their role as the baby to manipulate others in order to get their way. “They’re the least likely to be disciplined,” Dr. Lerman notes. Parents often coddle the littlest when it comes to chores and rules, failing to hold them to the same standards as their sibs.

Necessary nurturing: The long-term result of too much babying could be an adult who is dependent on others and unprepared for the world. So don’t underestimate your child. Youngests are masters at getting out of chores and are often seen as “too little” to participate. But even a 2-year-old can manage tasks like putting away toys, so be sure she has responsibilities.

The middle one
Famous middle children: Anne Hathaway, Joe Jonas, Owen Wilson
Innate strengths: Middleborns are go-with-the-flow types; once a younger sibling arrives, they must learn how to constantly negotiate and compromise in order to “fit in” with everyone. Not surprisingly, Dr. Sulloway notes, mid kids score higher in agreeableness than both their older and younger sibs.

Because they receive less attention at home, middletons tend to forge stronger bonds with friends and be less tethered to their family than their brothers and sisters. “They’re usually the first of their siblings to take a trip with another family or to want to sleep at a friend’s house,” says Linda Dunlap, Ph.D., professor of psychology at Marist College, in Poughkeepsie, NY.

Common challenges: Middle kids once lived as the baby of the family, until they were dethroned by a new sibling. Unfortunately, they’re often acutely aware that they don’t get as much parental attention as their “trailblazing” older sibling or the beloved youngest, and they feel like their needs and wants are ignored. “Middle kids are in a difficult position in a family because they think they’re not valued,” says Dr. Maidenberg. “It’s easy for them to be left out and get lost in the shuffle.” And there is some validity to their complaint. A survey by The, a British parenting resource, found that a third of parents with three children admit to giving their middle child far less attention than they give their other two.

Necessary nurturing: Find small ways to put your middleton in the spotlight. The biggest complaint among middle children is that they aren’t “heard” within the family. But making simple gestures — like letting her choose the restaurant or the movie that everyone goes to — can mean the world to her. “A lot of the time, middle children end up deferring to the oldest’s wants and the youngest’s needs,” Dr. Maidenberg says. So do what you can to make her feel empowered.

Special order
All in one: You’ve probably heard that “lonely onlies” grow up selfish and socially inept. Not true, says Dr. Frank Sulloway: “Only kids learn people skills from their parents and peers.” In fact, most only children turn out to be movers and shakers with similar traits to firstborns: They’re ambitious and articulate. And since they spend so much time with their parents, they’re comfortable interacting with adults. The downside: Onlies may have difficulty relating to kids their own age. “So make sure your child spends time with his peers from early on,” says Dr. Michelle Maidenberg. Sign him up for playgroups, sports teams, and other organized activities — so he’s guaranteed a lot of kid time.

Double happiness: Even if they have other siblings, twins (and other multiples) generally grow up as an entity unto themselves — because that’s how others see them, says Dr. Kevin Lerman. The firstborn twin typically acts as the older child in the twosome, while the secondborn will have traits of a younger sib. Outside of their relationship, however, they often get lumped together as “the twins.” This can be a source of frustration when twins get older and each seeks to carve out an individual identity. So encourage your duo to develop their own passions. While they might prefer to do things together, it’s important for each kid to establish his or her own interests and personality.


The birth of IVF

It was in the late 1950s that British scientists Robert Edwards first came to realize the potential of IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) as a treatment for infertility.
The keen biologist knew from the work of others that it was possible to take an egg from an animal, like a mouse or a rabbit, and fertilize it with sperm in a test tube.

Armed with this knowledge, Edwards made it his mission to find out if the same could be done using human eggs.
Some 30 years later, his dream was realized with the birth of the world's first human test-tube baby in 1978. Since then nearly four million babies have been born using the technology that takes a mature egg from a woman's ovary and mixes it with sperm in the lab before implanting it into the womb. But the journey to get to where we are today was not just long, but incredibly difficult.

First came the problem of getting the basic science to work in humans. Edwards struggled for years to find the ideal conditions to get his test-tube fertilization to work.

In 1969, his efforts paid off when, for the first time, a human egg was fertilized in a test tube.

In spite of this success, a major problem remained. The fertilized egg did not develop beyond a single cell division. Edwards suspected that eggs that had matured in the ovaries before they were removed for IVF would function better, and looked at how to harvest such eggs in a safe way.

He teamed up with gynecologist Patrick Steptoe and together they developed a technique that would, eventually, lead to the modern IVF used today.

But despite promising early studies, the pair hit another setback - a lack of financial backing to move their pioneering work on. After being rejected funding from the Medical Research Council, the team were forced to find a private donation.

Even with this secured, they faced another problem. Their research had become the topic of a lively ethical debate, with several religious leaders, ethicists, and scientists demanding that the project be stopped.

Rather than shy away from the issue, Edwards tackled it head-on and created an ethics committee for IVF at the Bourn Hall Clinic he then set up with Steptoe in Cambridge.
Looking back at this time he said: "The most important thing in life is having a child.
"Nothing is more special than a child.
"Steptoe and I were deeply affected by the desperation felt by couples who so wanted to have children.
"We had a lot of critics but we fought like hell for our patients."
The pair got back to work and in the early 1970s they started to transfer their early IVF embryos back into women.

After more than 100 attempts that all led to short-lived pregnancies, they tweaked their design and in 1978, they offered their new treatment to a couple called Lesley and John Brown who came to the clinic after nine years of failed attempts to have a child.
Nine months later, a healthy baby, Louise Joy Brown, was born through Caesarian section after a full-term pregnancy, on 25 July, 1978.

IVF had moved from vision to reality and a new era in medicine had begun.

Edwards and Steptoe continued working together at their clinic - the world's first IVF centre - teaching other doctors how to carry out the procedure. By 1986, 1,000 children had already been born following IVF at Bourn Hall, representing about half of all children born after IVF in the world at that time. The pair worked together until Steptoe died in 1988. Edwards then continued as head of research until his retirement.
Their achievements attracted many other researchers to the field of fertility medicine which has led to rapid technical development.

IVF has now been joined by other revolutionary fertility treatments like intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), which makes it possible to also to treat many categories of male infertility, and preimplantation genetic diagnostics (PGD), which helps reduce the risk that parents can pass a severe genetic disorder or a chromosomal abnormality to their children.

And today, 2-3% of all newborns in many countries are conceived with the help of IVF.