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Your Guide To Breastfeeding In Public

Your Guide To Breastfeeding In Public

I clearly remember my first outing with Shay when I knew I would end up feeding him out of the house. As a new mother, I was a bit nervous since I had a whole “breastfeeding station” set up at home. This included a supportive pillow, water bottle, stool for my feet, right to expose myself if need be, and my Nook. Once out of the house, I felt unprepared and overwhelmed at how we would manage without my props. Luckily, with the help and support of my husband, all went well and this became the first of many “public” breastfeeding experiences.

Soon enough, breastfeeding out of the house didn’t require as much work or planning. I also stopped throwing a blanket over my shoulder in an attempt to cover the baby and breast. My main reason for this being that I liked looking at him while he nursed. I also felt like he was getting lost in the material and I couldn’t see what was going on. I tried the kind that covers the baby, but leaves an opening at the top to see the child and that wasn’t right either. I felt it was drawing even more attention to myself and again, I felt a little lost in the excess material. I opted for clothing that gave easy and discreet access to my breast. Since I was no longer fidgeting with covers and didn’t have my reading material along with me, I started noticing the people around me. Some people that saw me seemed interested, while others noticed and then suddenly turned their gaze away. Some looked shocked and a few looked disgusted.

Breastfeeding in public stirs up a lot of feelings and opinions for people. Some people, like the “bottle fed generation of the 60’s,” see breastfeeding as a private matter that should be saved for home or a private, discreet setting. Considering a newborn feeds about every two hours, poor mom would never leave home! Another reason some are opposed is because of the sexual implication of a bare breast. I believe there is more alluring breast exposure in beach-wear or scanty clothing then there is in breastfeeding. With the exception of the baby expectantly popping off, the baby’s head covers most of the breast.

Mothers are getting mixed messages. The America Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months and continue to nurse for a full year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 75 percent of mothers start breastfeeding immediately after birth, but less than 15 percent of those moms are breastfeeding exclusively six months later. I believe this dramatic drop could be the lack of support to continue breastfeeding. For those that are continuing to 6 months or beyond, they make breastfeeding a life style choice. They are likely not tethered to their couch, so they must learn to breastfeed on the go.

“Nurse-ins” have become a popular protesting strategy among some “lactivists” to help normalize breastfeeding and to amplify breastfeeding mothers right to feed her baby where ever she likes, and they also heighten the public’s awareness of the health benefits of breastfeeding.

To help support nursing mothers, breastfeeding laws have been passed to protect the right of public nursing. Currently, 45 states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands have laws that specifically allow women to breastfeed in any public or private location, those excluded from the list are Idaho, West Virginia, Michigan, Virginia, and South Dakota.

I don’t pay too much attention to tabloids or the activities of celebrities, but I am grateful that so many have chosen to breastfeed their children in public. Since we are culture that treats celebrities like royalty, this can help reduce the stigma of breastfeeding in public for the rest of us. This list includes: Beyonce, Gwen Stefani, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Miranda Kerr, Selma Hayek, and Selma Blair.

Tips for breastfeeding in public:

Wear your baby! Certain carries allow you to easily nurse your child with little fuss to get baby to breast.

Find easy access clothing. My personal favorites have been Glamourmom tank tops and the Boob shirts. Both of these have made it easy to nurse with little exposure.

Have a distraction for baby. A lot of babies have a “roaming arm” while breastfeeding. This active arm may be pushing your shirt up to your collarbone or pulling the other side of your shirt down. You may find it helpful to hold your baby’s hand or wear a necklace that the baby can reach for instead of your clothing.

Listen to your baby’s hunger cues. An overly hungry, crying baby can be a lot harder to pacify and will draw attention to you. Try to avoid getting to that point if possible.

Be mindful of where you position yourself in the room or surroundings. I have found this helpful not just to avoid being the center of attention, but to also limit distractions for Shay. I try to find a quiet, uncrowded space if possible. If the room is bustling, I head for the corner.

Feel confident that you are doing the right the thing for you and your baby! If anyone comments to you or gives you dirty looks, know that you have the right to feed your baby where ever you see fit.

Once you have the hang of breastfeeding in public, it will become second nature to you. Happy breastfeeding!

Debra Flashenberg is the founder and Director of the Prenatal Yoga Center. She is a certified labor support doula, Lamaze Childbirth Educator, and certified prenatal yoga instructor. She is continuously in awe of the beauty and brilliance of birth and is the proud mother of her son, Shay and daughter, Sage. Visit prenatalyogacenter.com for more info!

How To Get Proper Nutrition While Breastfeeding

How To Get Proper Nutrition While Breastfeeding

I found that a great deal of attention and information was given to me while pregnant about receiving proper nutrition. However, upon entering the postpartum phase, all I heard was “make sure you get enough water to compensate for the fluids lost while breastfeeding.” But besides the reminder to hydrate well, very little was discussed about what other nutrients were needed for supporting my milk producing body.

Since I was exclusively breastfeeding, I did experience the “breastfeeding weight loss” and noticed a drop in dress size pretty quickly. I also noticed that between breastfeeding and getting my little one down for a nap or even out the door for a walk, I had little time left to focus on my own food intake. I was joking with friends that the reason new moms lose weight is because we don’t have time (or a free hand) to feed ourselves! But laughing aside, I did start to notice that I was neglecting my own diet. I was grabbing whatever was in the fridge, specifically those things that could be eaten with one hand. I even started substituting Larabars for meals every now and then.

My diet started to concern me. Was I getting the right nutrition to support myself and my breastmilk?

I knew that breastfeeding mothers need on average 300-500 extra calories a day. The La Leche League cautions new mothers to approach this increased caloric intake with healthy dietary guidelines in mind. For example, the extra calories should from nutrient-dense foods such as fruits, veggies, complex carbs and protein, not empty calories from sugary treats. As for protein, the basic rule is to eat 1 gram of protein each day for every lb you weigh.

Wow, that is a lot of protein per day! Knowing I do not get over 100 grams of protein a day, I was getting concerned that the quantity and quality of my milk was going to suffer. Thankfully, some research findings eased some of my concerns. In recent years, research has confirmed that even if some nutrients are missing in a woman’s daily diet, she will still produce milk that will help her child grow. There is very little difference in the milk of healthy mothers and mothers who are severely malnourished. For example, if a mother’s diet is lacking in calories, her body makes up the deficit, drawing on the reserves laid down during pregnancy or before. Unless there is a physical reason for low milk production, a woman who breastfeeds on cue will be able to produce enough milk for her baby, regardless of what she eats. Basically, the malnourished mother’s body will still produce good milk, but at the cost to the mother, whose nutritional needs will go unmet.

Even though research suggests that I don’t have to worry about the quantity of my milk supply, it is still important to replenish the nutrients lost while breastfeeding. For those who like to follow guidelines to help establish a healthy diet, the US Department of Agriculture released a suggested food pyramid for breastfeeding mothers. My Pyramid Plan for Moms maps out a clear selection of healthy foods that support breastfeeding mothers. You can even get a plan designed just for you and your lifestyle. Go to mypyramid.gov/mypyramidmoms. The suggestion My Pyramid Plan offers seem quite reasonable to follow. For example, they focus on 5 different food groups; fruits, vegetables, whole grains, meats and beans and dairy with realistic intake from each group, like 2 cups of fruit a day or 3 cups of veggies. To get an idea of what that would look like in a daily diet, one medium grapefruit equals 1 cup or one large sweet potato equals 1 cup.

From the food pyramid, you will notice two things. One: There is not a category for nutritional supplements. Assuming you are getting all your nutrition from food, you may not need additional vitamins. (Although many women do continue to take their prenatal vitamins postpartum.) Lana Levy, founder of Just For Today Nutrition states: “Dietary supplements can improve milk quality and quantity in women that are malnourished; however, a balanced diet without excessive supplementation is the best way to ensure good milk. Vitamins that are taken in excess are excreted in the urine anyway, so don’t waste your money!”

The second observation is, 1/5 of the pyramid is taken up by animal protein, and for those that are vegan, 2/5 of the pyramid would be excluded. Nutritionists urge vegetarian and vegan mothers to make sure they are getting enough b12, calcium and zinc which are generally found in dairy products, meat, fish and eggs. To get adequate b12, try fortified soy milk and fortified yeast or b12 supplement. Calcium is abundant in dark leafy greens, almonds, calcium-enriched tofu, and blackstrap molasses. Zinc can be found in spinach, pumpkin seeds, yeast, wheat germ, peanuts, beans, and bran cereals.

I hope this has clarified supportive nutritional needs for those that choose to breastfeed. As for my own time management/eating schedule, I try to have a bowl of almonds handy, along with yogurt packs and instant steel cut oatmeal to hold me over until my son is calmly playing or napping. Then, I can have a proper meal. I figure, as long as I am making healthy choices in my “quick bites” my body and my baby will be just fine.

Debra Flashenberg is the founder and Director of the Prenatal Yoga Center. She is a certified labor support doula, Lamaze Childbirth Educator, and certified prenatal yoga instructor. She is continuously in awe of the beauty and brilliance of birth and is the proud mother of her son, Shay and daughter, Sage. Visit prenatalyogacenter.com for more info!

Trust Your Instincts With Heart, Birth & Baby

Trust Your Instincts With Heart, Birth & Baby

IMG_4852Expectant mothers all need the latest information in addition to lots of encouragement and help. Heart, Birth & Baby provides compassionate care along with stellar labor support and birth doula services.

What’s more, Heart, Birth & Baby will be at the 2017 Chicago Baby Show, on August 26 and 27, at Navy Pier, when the nation’s largest show for expectant and new families comes to Chicagoland. A family-friendly mega-event featuring everything to do with maternity, baby, and toddler – from top products to trusted parenting experts – the Chicago Baby Show will welcome thousands of expectant and new parents from Chicago, the surrounding suburbs, and beyond!

Tickets to the Chicago Baby Show are $30 per family, and $20 per individual.

BUY YOUR TICKETS NOW! 

We spoke with Hillary Scharmann, the doula and perinatal educator behind Heart, Birth & Baby to learn more about her company, and what parents can expect at the Chicago Baby Show!

For someone unfamiliar with Heart Birth & Baby, how would you describe the company’s mission and core offerings?

Getting buried in the details of pregnancy, birth and parenting is universal. It is Heart, Birth & Baby’s mission to inspire parents to trust their instincts and find confidence and joy in their decisions. Heart, Birth & Baby offers birth doula services, postpartum doula services, and private classes and consultations to Chicagoland families.

Tell us about the company’s background. When did it start and how has it evolved since then?

My early sense of vocation in birth and postpartum support was inspired by several doulas who enthusiastically encouraged me to pursue a career as a doula. I enrolled in a DONA International training in 2012, and I have not looked back. I sought out the best mentors, invested in my professional development, began working one on one with families, volunteered my time, and Heart, Birth & Baby is the culmination of that hard work and experience. I love what I do!

What are the most popular and/or newest products from Heart Birth & Baby?

My most popular service is labor support/birth doula services. Heart, Birth & Baby is my small volume private practice, and I take a limited amount of clients per month, so spots fill quickly. To accommodate more families, I added postpartum doula services and in-home private consultations and classes at the beginning of 2015. This has given me the opportunity to provide many more families with individualized support, tools, resources and knowledge.

What sets Heart Birth & Baby apart from doula services?

Heart, Birth & Baby matches the professionalism of an agency setting, with the added comforts of an intimate private practice. As the owner, doula and perinatal educator, my clients benefit from the deepened interpersonal relationships and quality of care from an experienced professional.

What can parents expect from Heart Birth & Baby at the Chicago Baby Show?

On Saturday, I’ll be enjoying the great speakers, programming and browsing the fabulous featured brands and products! If you recognize me, please come say hello! I love connecting with expectant parents and parents with new babies. On Sunday, you can find me at 2:15 pm during the Special Closing Act: Health and Wellness Panel. I’ll be there with a team of other local experts to answer attendees questions about health and wellness for pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period. Can’t wait!

 

 

Little Harvest Delivers On Fresh, Organic and Delicious Baby Food

Little Harvest Delivers On Fresh, Organic and Delicious Baby Food

LittleHarvestBusy moms and dads would love to make their baby’s food from scratch but between the hectic schedules of new parent often prevent them from doing so. This is where Little Harvest steps in! Little Harvest provides organic food for baby, complete with customizable selections tailored to allergies and preferences.

Check out Little Harvest at the 2017 Chicago Baby Show, on August 26 and 27, at Navy Pier, when the nation’s largest show for expectant and new families comes to Chicagoland. A family-friendly mega-event featuring everything to do with maternity, baby, and toddler – from top products to trusted parenting experts – the Chicago Baby Show will welcome thousands of expectant and new parents from Chicago, the surrounding suburbs, and beyond!

Tickets to the Chicago Baby Show are $30 per family, and $20 per individual.

BUY YOUR TICKETS NOW! 

We spoke with a member of the Little Harvest team to learn more about the brand.

For someone unfamiliar with Little Harvest, how would you describe the company’s mission and core offerings? 

Little Harvest is a weekly delivery service providing customers fresh, organic baby and toddler meal & snacks. Our selection includes smooth single-ingredient purees for baby’s first bites and hand-held snacks and finger foods for older babies and toddlers. Our meals are created with the help of a Pediatric Nutritionist, and delivered direct to our customer’s doors within 24 hours of being made. We are free of the top allergens and our menu revolves around local, seasonal ingredients.

Tell us about the company’s background. When did it start and how has it evolved since then? 

Little Harvest was born out of a need our founder, Ashley Gilday, was experiencing once she started introducing her baby to solid foods. Ashley worked full-time and made her son’s food from scratch. After a few months of doing this, she wished that someone could check all of the boxes that mattered to her — fresh, organic, just like homemade, varied, delicious & safe, and drop it off at her doorstep. After about a year of planning, Little Harvest was born! We are just a 6-week-old company and are enjoying serving our current base of customers throughout the Chicagoland area.

What are the most popular and/or newest products/services from Little Harvest? 

We are just launched a line of healthy toddler snacks for baby’s 1 year and over! We are also looking to expand our finger-foods for babies 9mos + over the coming months.

What sets Little Harvest apart from children’s meal/food companies? 

We use only organic ingredients and our menu rotates with the seasons which enables us to source from local farmers. We are free of the top allergens including soy, dairy, eggs, tree nuts, fish and gluten and are completely plant-based.  You can customize your subscription box or build your own box. No other baby food company has all these options available! We want to make it as easy as possible for busy families to order food from us and make food that most everyone can enjoy!

Multiply Your Knowledge Of Multiples With TWINS Magazine

Multiply Your Knowledge Of Multiples With TWINS Magazine

JULAUGCOVERDesigned specifically for families of twins and multiples, TWINS Magazine is an indispensable publication that contains invaluable information. With helpful features such as “Ages and Stages,” TWINS Magazine, published six times annually, is a resource you will want to check out if you are the proud parents of multiples.

TWINS Magazine is a media partner of the 2017 Chicago Baby Show, taking place on August 26 and 27, at Navy Pier. A family-friendly mega-event featuring everything to do with maternity, baby, and toddler – from top products to trusted parenting experts – the Chicago Baby Show will welcome thousands of expectant and new parents from Chicago, the surrounding suburbs, and beyond!

Tickets to the Chicago Baby Show are $30 per family, and $20 per individual.

BUY YOUR TICKETS NOW!

To learn more about TWINS Magazine, we spoke with Laura Cunningham, the magazine’s digital magazines editor.

For someone unfamiliar with TWINS Magazine, how would you describe the magazine’s mission and core offerings?

TWINS Magazine is the premiere publication for everything relating to twins. Published digitally six times a year, the magazine provides helpful hints and tips for parents of twins, triplets and higher-order multiples.

Tell us about the magazine’s background. When did it start and how has it evolved since then?

TWINS Magazine was founded by Barbara and Bob Unell in 1984, and has been loved by parents of twins ever since. This year TWINS celebrated its 33rd birthday and is still going strong with subscribers around the globe.

What are the most popular and/or newest offerings from TWINS Magazine?

TWINS Magazine runs a photo competition known as Double Takes in every issue. Readers submit photographs of their twins, and the best pictures are published in theAges and Stages magazine. We also have a special section known as Ages and Stages, which gives advice about raising twins through the different developmental stages.

What sets TWINS Magazine apart from other parenting magazines?

TWINS Magazine is the ultimate parenting tool specifically tailored with content devoted exclusively to issues of twinship, twin bonding, twin prematurity rates, pregnancy, co-bedding, multiples in the NICU, colic or digestion problems, special needs and every subject related to coping with infant multiples. Other topics regularly covered include: physical development, language development, sleeping, twin behavior, and the importance of developing each twin’s individual identity.

To learn more about TWINS Magazine, check out twinsmagazine.com.

The Birth Boutique Provides Chicago’s Expectant Mothers With Top-Quality Services

The Birth Boutique Provides Chicago’s Expectant Mothers With Top-Quality Services

i-S4vMz8L-XLThe Birth Boutique, made up of a core group of mothers, friends and business professionals, offers several different services designed to enhance the lives of mothers and families in the Chicago area.

The Birth Boutique will be attending the 2017 Chicago Baby Show, on August 26 and 27, at Navy Pier, when the nation’s largest show for expectant and new families comes to Chicagoland. A family-friendly mega-event featuring everything to do with maternity, baby, and toddler – from top products to trusted parenting experts – the Chicago Baby Show will welcome thousands of expectant and new parents from Chicago, the surrounding suburbs, and beyond!

Tickets to the Chicago Baby Show are $30 per family, and $20 per individual.

BUY YOUR TICKETS NOW!

To learn more about The Birth Boutique, we spoke with Lindsey Monroe, the company’s cofounder.

For someone unfamiliar with The Birth Boutique, how would you describe the company’s mission and core offerings?

The Birth Boutique is a local, Chicago-based birth services business, providing moms and families with personalized, sophisticated & non-judgmental care throughout pregnancy, birth and motherhood. We offer a number of different services including, birth doula support, postpartum doula support, childbirth education & family photography.

Tell us about the company’s background. When did it start and how has it evolved since then?

We are a circle of mothers, friends and business professionals. Together, we launched The Birth Boutique in January of 2016 to engage and support women and families in the Chicago area throughout the entire birth process. With six unique birth stories of our own, from unmedicated to an epidural, from a cesarean to a VBAC, and from hospitals to a home-birth, we’ve experienced and supported it all.

What are the most popular and/or newest services from The Birth Boutique?

We offer a number of different services including, birth doula support, postpartum doula support, childbirth education & family photography. Our newest service in the mix is childbirth education – both group workshops and private, in-home sessions. As birth professionals, we know that when a family has the right information they can make more informed decisions.

What sets The Birth Boutique apart from others in the baby boutique industry?

We truly pride ourselves on helping women and families have a positive experience – throughout their pregnancy, during the birth and as they transition into motherhood. Having the right support people around you is absolutely, hands-down, one of the most critical pieces of the journey.

To learn more about The Birth Boutique, check out chicagobirthboutique.com.
Children Enjoy Language, Music and Yoga At Little Linguists Academy

Children Enjoy Language, Music and Yoga At Little Linguists Academy

Little Linguists Academy Want to expose your children to innovative classes that help them not only broaden their intellect but also their spirit and body? Little Linguists Academy offers classes for kids in a variety of languages, music and yoga programs in preschools throughout Chicago.

What’s more, Little Linguists Academy will be at the 2017 Chicago Baby Show, on August 26 and 27, at Navy Pier, when the nation’s largest show for expectant and new families comes to Chicagoland. A family-friendly mega-event featuring everything to do with maternity, baby, and toddler – from top products to trusted parenting experts – the Chicago Baby Show will welcome thousands of expectant and new parents from Chicago, the surrounding suburbs, and beyond!

Tickets to the Chicago Baby Show are $30 per family, and $20 per individual.

BUY YOUR TICKETS NOW! 

We spoke with a member of Little Linguists Academy to learn more about the school and what parents can expect at the Chicago Baby Show!

For someone unfamiliar with Little Linguists Academy, how would you describe the company’s mission and core offerings?

Little Linguists Arts Academy provides Language, Music and Yoga programs to children in an enjoyable and accessible way that broadens their understanding of cultures, arts, and all that they can achieve. We provide all of our programs in preschools throughout Chicago, and we also provide foreign language solo and group lessons!

Tell us about the company’s background. When did it start and how has it evolved since then?  

With the love and passion of her own language and culture, Angel Li, the founder and CEO, was determined to teach her children Chinese. After an extensive search, she realized that there were no schools that teach young children the way she wanted. That led to the creation of Little Linguists Arts Academy. Within one year, the company expanded from her living room to more than 20 schools and from Chinese to Spanish, French, Italian, Japanese, Hindi, Urdu and Arabic.Little Linguists Academy 2

Little Linguists Arts Academy started as a language program offering foreign language instruction through in-school and after-school programs in elementary schools, preschools and day cares. We have been in business for ten years and are currently working with more than fifty schools in the Chicago metropolitan area.

After building these great partnerships, schools started coming to us for instructors in other areas. Our answer to these requests? Instead of just finding a music or yoga teacher, we will offer you a comprehensive Music or Yoga program with a curriculum, a management team and a talented, qualified and enthusiastic instructor who will deliver! Therefore, principals can focus on the core curriculum, while we take care of the Specials. We are the one-stop source for all Specials program.

What are the most popular programs from Little Linguists Academy?

Our in-school programs and group lessons have been very successful! We are able to provide Foreign Language instruction in several locations for families, and the children get to interact with a native speaker of the language they are learning. The children will learn how to speak and listen in a foreign language, all while learning about a new culture! These lessons are very affordable and very convenient for families to be involved with. Although it may seem early, learning a new language starts as soon as a baby is born. Our language lessons are perfect for infants as the new language will become as simple as using any other. In fact, many studies show that it is most beneficial to begin learning a new language as an infant.

What sets Little Linguists Academy apart from schools/educational facilities?

Little Linguists Arts Academy stands out from schools and other vendors because of our personal relations with each family and school that we work with, and our very dedicated teachers that train throughout the year.

What can parents expect from Little Linguists Academy at the Chicago Baby Show?

Parents who visit us at the Chicago Baby Show will be able to learn more about our programs and receive discounts on group lessons!

 

Little Beans Cafe Keeps Parents and Children Happy

Little Beans Cafe Keeps Parents and Children Happy

Little Miss Ann Concert at Little Beans ChicagoWish you could take your child out for a great tasting meal at a place where they can also have fun? Little Beans Cafe, the family cafe and indoor playground, not only offers delicious food, drinks, and coffee but also drop-in play and creative playspaces for the kids.

Learn more about Little Beans Cafe at the 2017 Chicago Baby Show, on August 26 and 27, at Navy Pier, when the nation’s largest show for expectant and new families comes to Chicagoland. A family-friendly mega-event featuring everything to do with maternity, baby, and toddler – from top products to trusted parenting experts – the Chicago Baby Show will welcome thousands of expectant and new parents from Chicago, the surrounding suburbs, and beyond!

Tickets to the Chicago Baby Show are $30 per family, and $20 per individual.

BUY YOUR TICKETS NOW! 

We spoke with a member of the Little Beans Cafe team to learn more about the brand.

For someone unfamiliar with Little Beans Cafe, how would you describe the company’s mission and core offerings?  

Little Beans Cafe is a family cafe and imaginative playspace for kids 0-6 years. Little Beans offers drop in open play, classes, events, camps, parties, workshops and more. Little Beans is a place where kids can imagine, play and learn and parents can enjoy a comfortable ambiance with great food and drinks.

Tell us about the company’s background. When did it start and how has it evolved since then?  

Little Beans started in 2010 with our first location in Lincoln Park. 4 years later we opened our second larger store in Evanston. Little Beans was created by a brother-sister duo who had a passion for kids and food. We wanted to create a family destination for unstructured imaginative play and activities in a warm environment with good food and coffee. We see kids 0-6 years in our Chicago location and kids 0-12 in our Evanston location with the addition of a room for the older kids. We’re honored to see so many amazing families playing and enjoying time together.

What are the most popular and/or newest products/services from Little Beans Cafe?  

Drop in play is the biggest area of our business. Kids can drop in to play during our open hours (offered 7 days a week). We also offer wonderful quality events. We have summer festivals, holiday themed events and creative activities. In our Evanston location, we just opened a new outdoor patio and started serving beer and wine in the evenings.

What sets Little Beans Cafe apart from family cafes? 

Little Beans is a great place for kids and parents. We really work hard to make it a great experience for both adults and kids. We offer a quality experience and a comfortable environment. We have play, activities, events and classes for a variety of ages to accommodate families with multiple aged children. We really offer a lot of opportunities for families to have fun together and in addition, we have premium Intelligentsia coffee and great food.

 

Breastfeeding 101

Breastfeeding 101

August is National Breastfeeding Month–and what better way to celebrate than by catching up with one of the best experts in the breastfeeding field about benefits, myths, and key info to know?

Gina Cicatelli Ciagne is a Certified Lactation Counselor (CLC), Lansinoh’s Vice President of Integrated Marketing and Clinical Communications, and a mother of two breastfed children. She’s also a nationally recognized expert on breastfeeding, and has been an active advocate for breastfeeding and women’s health for more than a decade. As a Certified Lactation Counselor and La Leche League International-trained breastfeeding peer counselor, she has worked with and provided advice and support to thousands of breastfeeding mothers around the world. She is the mother of two breastfed children. Read on for her expert insight into some common breastfeeding questions!

What are the biggest benefits to breastfeeding?

Breastfeeding is more than a lifestyle choice — it is the ideal way to nurture and nourish your baby and has many benefits for you that last beyond the period of nursing. The first few weeks can be challenging, and sometimes new mothers give up before they, and their babies, can experience the benefits. Knowing the breastfeeding benefits can keep you motivated and increase your chances of success.

Breastmilk is more easily digested and provides the essential nutrients, vitamins, proteins, fats and antibodies, in just the right proportions that the baby needs to develop physically and neurologically; breastmilk will also change its composition to meet your baby’s needs as they get older or if your baby is sick; and breastmilk is made of live cells and is easily absorbed by your baby.

Additionally, breastfeeding decreases a mother’s risk of developing breast cancer. In addition, studies show that breastfeeding may decrease ovarian cancer and uterine cancer in women who breastfeed; breastfeeding mothers may have a lower risk of developing Type 2 diabetes (researchers say breastfeeding may change a mother’s metabolism in ways that make the possible connection plausible); studies show that breastfeeding mothers show less postpartum depression than formula-feeding mothers because breastfeeding triggers and releases oxytocin (also called the “love hormone”) and prolactin that can help you relax and feel less stressed; and as a nursing mother, you will burn extra calories, making it easier to lose the pounds put on during pregnancy. Breastfeeding will help you get back to your pre-pregnancy weight faster.

What are some myths about breastfeeding that women should know are not true?

There are many myths associated with breastfeeding.  One of these is that breastfeeding causes breasts to sag or lose their shape.  As a matter of fact, according to research, it is the stretching of the ligaments caused by weight gain during pregnancy that can cause breasts to sag (also called Ptosis).

Another common myth is that breast size determines how much milk a mom will make and this is untrue. The size of her breasts does not impact her internal breastmilk storage capacity. So, a small-breasted woman can produce as much milk as her baby needs as can a larger breasted woman.

A third common myth is that feedings should be timed and baby’s breastfeeding sessions should be scheduled. These are untrue! It is important, for establishing and maintaining a good milk supply as well as nourishing your baby, that is fed “on demand” meaning baby is put to the breast when exhibiting hunger cues (smacking lips, sucking on fingers and hands, rooting) and allowed to feed as long as they wish without taking them off after a certain time period. Let baby nurse on one breast until they stop or unlatch themselves. They may take occasional pauses during a feed but that does not mean they are done. If they pause, see if they re-latch themselves or you can relatch baby if he is still hungry.  Then offer the other breast but know it is okay for them to only feed on one breast at a session. This ensures that baby drains as much milk as possible because then the body refills the milk that has been removed (keeping up your supply based on baby’s needs!). Some babies are quick at nursing and others take longer. Also, don’t be strict about time in between feeds. Some go for an hour in between and others build up to feeding every three hours. Babies do tend to start to lengthen time between feedings as they get older but it is important for your comfort and for baby’s optimal growth and development to not be a strict scheduler, especially in the early days. Timing feedings and sticking to a strict schedule can affect baby’s weight gain, can cause engorgement, and can lead to low milk supply (if milk is not removed, your body will start to make less).

What are some reasons that you hear from women as to why they aren’t comfortable breastfeeding in public?

We have all seen media stories of moms who have been publicly shamed or ridiculed for breastfeeding their baby in public and that has made some worried about feeding their babies in public. Moms also worry that they will be seen as an exhibitionist if someone happens to see their breast if their baby unlatches while nursing in public.While breasts are designed for breastfeeding, not everyone understands that and forget that this is about nourishing a baby.

What are strategies that you’d recommend to help breastfeeding mothers feel more confident breastfeeding in public?

It is important to remember that breastfeeding is so beneficial for you and baby’s health and that there are laws that protect her right to breastfeed. Many moms take along a nursing shawl or cover up but many also find that baby has other plans and doesn’t like to be covered! That eye contact is so important during feedings too so many moms don’t want to cover up or feel ashamed for caring for their babies. Moms should feel comfortable wherever they nurse and remember that their focus should be on their baby and not these naysayers. There are also many establishments who will be accommodating and provide a private space for mom to nurse if she feels more comfortable nursing away from others.

Are there specific products you recommend to make breastfeeding easier (in public and private)?

Breastfeeding can come with some challenges but there are solutions. Since leaking is a common issue for many moms, having nursing pads with them so they can capture leaks if they let-down can also be reassuring. Having ultra-pure HPA Lanolin cream or Soothies Gel Pads can also be helpful particularly in the early days when moms are experiencing soreness. Therapearl Breast Therapy Packs are unique in that they provide hot or cold relief for engorgement, swelling, and plugged ducts, and can also aid in a faster let-down and more milk released when warmed and wrapped around a breast pump flange. For pumping moms, a high quality breast pump is important so they can keep up their milk supply and also have milk to leave behind for their babies when they will be apart. There are manual pumps for occasional use as well as double pumps available on the market. It is important to know that there are closed system pumps and open system pumps. Closed system pumps, like the Lansinoh SmartPump, ensure that no milk backs up into the tubing or the motor which can prevent mold and bacteria growth. The SmartPump is the first technologically advanced with Bluetooth connectivity double electric breast pump and connects to the Lansinoh Baby App so it records time and date and time spent pumping and has many sections moms can use to capture developmental and growth milestones.  Moms can track and record information to share with their healthcare providers such as breastfeeding sessions, diaper changes and also access resources and articles on breastfeeding and pumping. Having safe breastmilk storage bags is key for moms who are pumping and storing their milk. Being able to pump directly in the bags is helpful for moms who don’t want to transfer the milk from a bottle to a bag before stashing it away. Choosing bags that are BPA and BPS- free and that have extra security measures like double zipper lock closures are also great to use.

What advice would you give to moms who are having a hard time getting their baby to breastfeed in a consistent way (or having trouble with latching, milk supply, and beyond)?

It is important to get help or assistance if a mom is encountering issues with breastfeeding such as worries about latching on or if they are worried about their supply. A small issue can turn into a big issue if not addressed and so many early challenges with breastfeeding can be remedied with some assistance. There are professionals whose purpose is to help breastfeeding moms and babies and it is important to know there is no need to suffer in silence! Reading ahead of time to know what to expect can be hugely helpful as well as going to credible sources for assistance with positioning, latching on and how to establish and maintain a good milk supply.

What should women know about the new CDC regulations for keeping pumps clean?

Pumping can be a cumbersome task for many moms but they do it because they will be apart from baby during feeding times and they need to maintain their milk supply and be able to leave expressed breastmilk for their baby’s caregiver to give in their absence. It is important to familiarize yourself with the new CDC guidelines on how to effectively clean your breast pump parts regularly to ensure that it is kept clean and sanitary so your expressed breastmilk is kept safe. Be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions for your pump on how to sanitize and clean the breast pump before using for the first time and after each use.  It is also important to know that there are closed system breast pumps which prevent milk from getting sucked up into tubing and into the pump’s motor which are different than open system pumps which cannot prevent this type of milk back up. The backup is not only inconvenient but it can be a safety hazard as mold and bacteria can grow in a warm, moist environment like pump tubing and in small areas that cannot be cleaned or sanitized.

Gina Cicatelli Ciagne is a Certified Lactation Counselor (CLC), Lansinoh’s Vice President of Integrated Marketing and Clinical Communications, and a Media Spokesperson. She is a nationally recognized expert on breastfeeding, and has been an active advocate for breastfeeding and women’s health for more than a decade. As a Certified Lactation Counselor and La Leche League International-trained breastfeeding peer counselor, she has worked with and provided advice and support to thousands of breastfeeding mothers around the world. She is the mother of two breastfed children.

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Traveling & Breastfeeding? Here’s How!

Traveling & Breastfeeding? Here’s How!

Peggy Economou and her daughter

After graduating with an economics degree from Colgate University, I moved back to my hometown NYC and started my career in investment banking. Although I had a great career and loved my colleagues, I wasn’t feeling fulfilled professionally and creatively so after eight years I quit and traveled the world for a year. During my travels I met my husband who is from Siena, Italy, which is where we live now with our 2.5-year-old daughter, Dafne, who was the inspiration behind Teat&Cosset.

My experience breastfeeding her and the challenges I faced with clothing during this period is what sparked the idea. Breastfeeding was hard enough in the beginning and I felt that clothing was an unnecessary obstacle. She was born in December 2014 and it was difficult finding winter tops that would keep me warm and that I could comfortably breastfeed in, either at home or out. Besides not always being functional or good quality, every top I found had that same stretchy wrap look with minuscule slit openings that I barely used. I refused to spend any more money on something that I was going to get rid of after I finished breastfeeding. I also wanted to feel like myself again and the way I dressed was a big part of that. I definitely did not feel good wearing the nursing tops I had found so I went to a local seamstress with a few designs in mind, that were both stylish and functional. These first designs went on to become pieces in our collection at Teat&Cosset.

Wearing beautiful and functional clothes positively changed how I felt about my experience nursing and removed an unnecessary obstacle to breastfeeding. Designing beautiful clothing to help women reach their breastfeeding milestone is something I can say I am truly passionate about.

With that said, here are a few tips for traveling moms on the go!

1) Where to pump: If there isn’t a pumping or mothers space at the airport (some airports have Mamava pods which are wonderful and private) then I would find an isolated corner while you’re waiting for your flight or when you land. You can also check out websites such as Moms Pump Here or Pumpspotting (app) to find pumping friendly spaces.  If you have to pump on the plane just do it in your seat and bring a poncho to cover up and remember, most people will not notice or care!

2) Cooler choice: the number of days you’re away depends on what size cooler to bring. For one night away I suggest a small insulated lunch box cooler. For a three-day trip you can use a six-pack cooler and for longer trips as 12-can cooler. There are also many specifically designed breast milk coolers you can find on Amazon if you don’t want to use a regular cooler.

3) Breastmilk transport: For US travel the TSA allows you to carry on as much milk as you want. For international travel you may want to check the airport before traveling to make sure if you can carry it on.  It is a good idea to freeze your milk for longer trips and the TSA does not have to inspect frozen milk so you can save time at the airport too. You can always ask the hotel staff to do this for you if you don’t have access to a freezer and make sure your ice-packs are frozen too.

4) What to pack: a permanent marker to label breast milk bags, ice-packs, a shawl or poncho – the Olimpia poncho is a favorite – to cover up on the plane, a pumping bra, breast pump, spare parts, breast milk storage bags, cleaning soap, a few spare bottles, a spare hand pump (if you can’t use the electric pump during taxi or take off), a cooler and lots of photos of your baby to help with letdown

5) Plan each day: Look at your schedule and decide in advance the times you are going to pump and make sure to schedule it in. Also think about where you will be at those times and where you will be able to pump. Give yourself some leeway around these times though because you never know what may come up.

Peggy Economou is the founder of Teat&Cosset. For more on Teat&Cosset, visit: teatandcosset.com and follow along on Instagram at @TeatandCosset!

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