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Forbidden Fruit Tastes the Sweetest: Which Fruits to Avoid during Breastfeeding

I’ve written about breastfeeding and diet before, but it remains a hot topic. Most of the questions and search terms on my breastfeeding blogs concern ‘forbidden’ foods, and fruit seems to be one of the most maligned ones. So, which fruits should you avoid during breastfeeding? The not-so-guilty secret is that there are NO fruits that should be avoided while you’re nursing. Great news, isn’t it? La Leche League International says it best in their maxim about diet: Eat a wide variety of foods, as close to their natural state as possible – everything in moderation. Sure, some babies will be sensitive to some foods, but there is no universal list of culprits that all nursing moms should avoid. No food (or fruit) causes cramps in all (or even most) babies. It’s sad, but it is nevertheless true: breastfeeding tends to get a bad rap in our society. Even common newborn niggles (in Mom and Baby) are blamed on breastfeeding. “Shame, are you exhausted? Blue? Must be the breastfeeding. Why don’t you put Baby on the bottle so you can rest and someone else can feed him?” Or: “Oh, that rash on Baby’s cheeks? It’s caused by acidic foods, you know. What did you have? Tomatoes? Oranges?” And the most common one: “Is your baby crampy? Gassy? It’s something you ate, Mom. Did you have any gas-forming veggies like broccoli or cabbage? Fruit also causes cramps, you know …” Well-meant as this advice is, it is not based on scientific evidence. ALL babies get cramps sometimes. Their digestive systems are still immature and very seldom your diet is to blame. Think about it: for the largest chunk of human history, our ancestors were hunter gatherers. What did breastfeeding moms eat? Exactly the same food as everyone else in the tribe; most of the time they didn’t have the luxury of choice. During lean times the only available food might have been a certain root or fruit, and they had loads of that, simply because it was the only option. They certainly didn’t have specially formulated breastfeeding shakes produced by the manufacturers of artificial baby milk ;). Nope, human babies have survived (and even thrived) on breastmilk, despite what their moms ate or did not eat. karoo (7)_edited-2Honestly, you can eat ANY fruits, as long as you do so in moderation. Limit your intake of fruit juice, as you can drink the juice of many more oranges than you’d be able to eat. This excessive intake might bother Baby. Don’t worry about ‘acidic’ fruits. The body’s pH level is kept within tight limits, and this applies to your milk too. A tomato or orange isn’t very likely to upset this system. Most babies give you a little preview of coming attractions (read ‘teenage acne’) around two weeks of age. This is due to the sudden withdrawal of your hormones, not to ‘acidic’ fruits. Enjoy your fruits and veggies – it’s good for you! Please don’t confine yourself to a diet of rice, meat and potatoes. We’re lucky to have access to a more varied diet than our hunting-gathering ancestors. Be grateful for this privilege and try not to see breastfeeding as a sacrifice you have to make. Mother Nature intended it to be fun and relaxing – as the mood-enhancing qualities of the breastfeeding hormones (prolactin and oxytocin) attest. Enjoy every moment of breastfeeding and don’t let uninformed advisors use it as a scapegoat for perfectly normal niggles. Your breastmilk remains the single biggest gift you will ever give your child.

 

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Exciting news!

I am thrilled to announce that my new ‘baby’, Breastfeed your Baby, will be on the shelves soon. My publisher, Metz Press has given me a due date for middle April. This is the fulfillment of a dream that was born right along with my first child, around 16 years ago. I can’t wait to hold my ‘baby’ and see her on the South African shelves! By the way, for my Afrikaans readers, there is an edition in their mother tongue. Borsvoed jou Baba is the first Afrikaans book on the topic in more than 2 decades. Soooo excited! Please go like the book’s FB page and follow updates on http://www.facebook.com/index.php?stype=lo&lh=Ac8sX-WfHvbW2SoW#!/pages/Breastfeed-your-Baby/314096398693068breastfeed your baby

 

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The Hidden Feelings of Motherhood: Part 1

A few years ago, I read a wonderful book by Kathleen Kendall-Tackett, a psychological researcher and IBCLC. The title of this book is The Hidden Feelings of Motherhood. You can order it from http://www.amazon.com/Hidden-Feelings-Motherhood-Second/dp/097295838X.

Soon after finishing it, I started a moms’ group in my house. Our first topic was ‘Motherhood Stress’ and I was overwhelmed by the response to this discussion. The women who attended were all so honest and open – even though they did not know each other all that well. I was just as surprised by the deep emotional response these topics stirred within me. I realised that I was pretty burned out myself and I subsequently took steps to feel better. This is a topic close to my heart and I’m hoping some of you will be interested in discussing and sharing here.

Flip through the pages of any mothering magazine and you’ll know what I mean: Our culture paints an unrealistic picture of motherhood. We see slim and impeccably dressed moms pushing designer prams – smiling contentedly, just like their babies. These moms always cope – they are always in control. Their designer suits never bear spit-up milk or pureed butternut stains; their babies never have snotty noses or grumpy days or growth spurts. They seem to have it all: money, success, poise, fulfilment and self-actualization.

But our culture also paints another picture – another ideal – one that is probably just as inaccurate. In this picture there are no smiling babies. They are all at day-care, their moms happily engrossed in their fulfilling careers. Stay-at-home moms are considered dull and uninteresting. Kids are considered little ‘monsters’ who will suck you dry if you don’t get away for some me-time at every possible opportunity. The sooner you ‘teach’ them independence, the sooner you can ‘get back your life’.

Of course, the reality is much more complex and multi-layered. Early motherhood was an incredibly hard and lonely time for me, even though it was also one of the best times of my life – a time that I remember with great fondness and nostalgia. I think we should break the silence about what motherhood is really like. We should talk frankly about all those secret feelings of motherhood – the ones we’re too scared to share because others might think we don’t love our kids or aren’t worthy of raising them. Few mothers seem willing to talk about these difficult feelings, but I think any mother of young children should know that she is not the only one struggling with stress, depression or burnout.

Having been both a stay-at-home and a working mother myself, I find it incredibly sad that women criticise instead of support each other. I can honestly tell you that both lifestyles are stressful and taxing. If you choose to stay at home, you are economically disempowered – even within your own household. You are often isolated and starved for adult company. You may feel that you don’t get enough mental stimulation and that you have very little sense of accomplishment – of completing tasks. After all, you change a nappy now, but in two hours time you’ll change another …

When you work outside the home – whether through choice or necessity – you are constantly pressed for time. You always seem to be torn: when you are at work, you feel guilty about your children. When you are with them, you worry about the work that still needs to be done. To add insult to injury, research shows that working women still bear the brunt of responsibilities for childcare and housework.

The point I’m making is that motherhood – by its very definition – is a guilt-ridden role. The sooner we learn to let go of guilt, the better. The sooner we understand that self-care is not selfish, the less stressed we’ll be. And I’m sure you’ve heard the saying: if Mama ain’t happy, nobody ain’t happy!

Over the next few days, I’ll write a few posts about motherhood stress. What causes it? When is it serious? What can you do to feel better? In the meantime, I’d love to hear from you. What aspects of motherhood is going really well for you? What isn’t? Which motherhood feelings did you not expect and do you feel you should keep hidden?

 
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Posted by on February 15, 2012 in Articles, Postnatal Depression

 

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What a Professional Doula Can Do for You

“I was pregnant and totally overwhelmed – delighted of course – but overwhelmed none the less. There were so many choices and responsibilities. It was bad enough choosing a pram, and picking out a name, let alone important stuff such as choosing a caregiver, birth facility, type of birth and pain relief. Having a doula helped us to make sense of it all, and to make the birth of our first baby a very special and memorable event. I especially appreciated the level of care from our doula, Marie-Louise, and our midwives at the Active Birth Unit at Femina. During the birth, Marie-Louise was the very much needed extra pair of hands, and with a bag full of remedies, heat pads and good advice, she never left my side. This left my husband free to also experience the birth, and having someone around that we came to know and trust, took a lot of stress and responsibility away from him. Not only did we have the perfect birth, we have the most perfect baby to show for it, and pictures of our first moments together, to always remember this special day” (Corrie Swanepoel, Pretoria).

The Role of the Doula                                        

The word doula comes from a Greek word meaning ‘woman caregiver’ or ‘one who serves women’. It is a new term – a modern profession – for an age-old practice. Throughout history, birthing women have been supported by experienced mothers from their community. The role of the doula is based on an ancient pearl of childbearing wisdom: a woman who is loved and supported throughout her labour experiences more pleasure and less pain.

Numerous research studies on the benefits of doulas have confirmed this. Research has found that women with doulas:

  • Have shorter labours;
  • Report less pain and require less pain relief;
  • Need less intervention like instrument births and cesarean sections;
  • Are happier with their birth experiences and their babies;
  • Breastfeed more successfully, and
  • Adapt better to life with a baby.

But what about Dad?                  

The doula does not take the place of the father. Instead, she supports both mother and father during and after labour. Often, pregnant couples are afraid that a doula might come between them, that she might intrude on an intimate experience and rob the dad of the chance to deepen his bond with his partner and baby. Some dads feel threatened by their partners’ wish to employ a doula – as if their partners do not trust them to provide the necessary emotional and physical support.

However, in reality most dads need support, too. Labour is an intense experience and many dads feel helpless and ill-prepared when seeing their partners in pain. To quote the authors of The Doula Book: “In asking fathers to be the main support, our society may have created a very difficult expectation for them to meet. This is like asking fathers to play a professional football game after several lectures but without any training or practice games.”[i]

When I hear a mom say that her partner is going to be her doula, I feel sad for the both of them. Sad because they are robbing themselves of valuable support and because they are adding even more stress to the birth for the both of them. Pam England, author of Birthing from Within, compares a mom who wants her partner to act as doula to a woman who wants to climb Mount Everest with her inexperienced partner as her Sherpa. Birth is foreign territory to dads, too, and the intensity of it becomes much easier for them to handle with the presence of a knowledgeable birth partner. It comes as no surprise that research has found that doula support leads to a better relationship between parents after the birth compared to couples who birthed without a doula.

Helena McLeod writes: “A doula was fundamental in assisting me and my husband in my swift, sacred, drug free labour. Marie-Louise came to visit us at our house twice before the birth to help us think through our perfect labour and how to prepare ourselves mentally and physically. She came to the house once I was in active labour and used pressure and massage to help relieve pain during the contractions. She continued to help me control the pain throughout the labour, coming with us to the birthing centre. My little boy Tariq arrived after 4-6 hours of active labour. I didn’t once consider requesting painkillers and I’m sure our doula’s pain relieving help played an important role in this. After the birth Marie-Louise came to our house and helped us through the initial challenge of breastfeeding. Having a doula provided us with enormous emotional support, wisdom and confidence in our birth and breastfeeding experience.”


[i] Klaus, Marshall H., Kennell, John H., and Klaus, Phyllis H. The Doula Book. 2nd edition. Da Capo: 2002.

 
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Posted by on February 13, 2012 in Articles, doulas

 

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Breastfeeding: When to Get Help

Although breastfeeding is natural, it is still a learned skill and even a bit of an art. Breastfeeding goes smoothly for many mother-baby couples, but for others it requires perserverance and sometimes even some professional help. So how do you know if you need to call in a lactation consultant?

Get professional breastfeeding help when you:

1. Have extreme nipple pain at any stage of the breastfeeding relationship – especially when your nipples are cracked or bleeding;

2. Have a red, tender and swollen area in your breast;

3. When your breasts are so engorged that your baby cannot latch on properly.

You also need professional assistance when your baby:

1.   Has fewer than 5 wet nappies and 2 bowel movements in 24 hours (once your milk has ‘come in’);

2.   Wants to feed every hour for longer than 24 hours;

3.   Feeds for more than an hour at a time;

4.   Sleeps for more than 4-5 hours more than once each

24 hours;

5.   Feeds fewer than 8 times in 24 hours.

 
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Posted by on February 13, 2012 in Articles, Breastfeeding

 

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Borsvoeding in ‘n Neutedop

Borsvoeding is meer as net ‘n manier om melk in jou baba se magie te kry. Dis die waardevolste geskenk wat jy ooit vir jou kind kan gee: ‘n geskenk van emosionele en fisiese welsyn wat lewenslank dividende sal betaal. Borsvoeding is ‘n unieke verhouding, ‘n sensitiewe ouerskapstyl, ‘n liefdevolle en wyse benadering tot ma-wees. Nuwe ouers kla dikwels tong-in-die-kies dat hulle baba nie met ‘n gebruikershandleiding gekom het nie. As jy egter die wenke hieronder volg en jou baba fyn dophou, sal jy gou agterkom dat borsvoeding so na aan ‘n handleiding is as wat jy maar kan kom. Wanneer jy jou baba borsvoed leer jy hom ken en verstaan en word jy die ekspert oor sy gedrag en behoeftes. Borsvoeding is ‘n dans tussen ma en baba, en terwyl jy die passies saam met jou baba leer, groei jou intuïsie en sensitiwiteit.

Top Tien Wenke vir Suksesvolle Borsvoeding                     

  1. Borsvoed onmiddellik na geboorte. Jou baba se suigrefleks is die sterkste in die eerste uur na geboorte. Borsvoeding help jou uterus saamtrek om bloeding te verminder, help jou melkvoorraad vestig en help jou en Baba om te bind.
  2. Maak Baba jou kamermaat in die hospitaal. Navorsing het bewys dat rooming in jou kanse op suksesvolle borsvoeding verdubbel en dat ma’s en babas meer rus kry.
  3. Voed gereeld: hou jou baba dop, nie die horlosie nie. Die gemiddelde borsbaba drink 10 tot 12 keer in 24 uur, omdat borsmelk binne slegs sowat 90 minute verteer. Laat jou baba so lank drink as hy wil.
  4. Maak seker dat jy Baba reg posisioneer en dat hy reg latch (aan die bors vassuig). Kry ‘n gemaklike posisie om in te voed. Gebruik kussings om jou baba borshoogte te lig. Bring altyd die baba na die bors, nooit die bors na die baba nie. Maak seker dat Baba sy mond wyd oopmaak en aan ‘n groot gedeelte van die areola vassuig. Babas moet borsvoed, nie tepelvoed nie!
  5. Voed Baba aan beide borste. Om te verseker dat jou baba die regte balans tussen voor- en agtermelk kry, is dit wenslik om hom tydens elke voeding aan albei borste te laat drink. Voed hom eers aan die volste bors tot hy self afkom of vas aan die slaap raak. Ruil dan borste en laat hom weer so lank drink as wat hy wil. Met die volgende voeding bied jy die laaste bors eerste aan.
  6. Laat Baba in die eerste ses weke NET aan jou bors suig. Dit is belangrik om in hierdie sensitiewe periode enige byvoedings en kunsmatige tepels (soos fopspene en botteltiete) te probeer vermy. Jou melkvoorraad word nog gekalibreer en hoe meer Baba aan jou drink, hoe beter. ‘n Baba suig boonop heeltemal anders aan ‘n kunsmatige tiet as aan jou bors en mag verward raak as hy die twee moet afwissel terwyl hy nog leer. Na ses weke is dit egter belangrik om Baba soms borsmelk uit ‘n bottel te gee sodat jy hom met selfvertroue by iemand kan los indien jy ‘n rukkie uitgaan of moet gaan werk.
  7. Onthou die beginsel van aanvraag en aanbod! Borsmelk bevat ‘n protein wat Feedback Inhibitor of Lactation (FIL.) genoem word. As jou borste vol is, bevat hul baie FIL en die brein kry die boodskap om melkproduksie te verlaag. As jou borste leeg is, bevat hulle min FIL en jou brein maak dus seker dat melkproduksie hoog is. Jou doelwit: hou jou borste deurentyd so leeg moontlik, dan is jou melkproduksie optimaal.
  8. Kry professionele hulp indien nodig. Moenie huiwer om ‘n laktasie konsultant te raadpleeg indien borsvoeding nie glad verloop nie. Sy sal jou tuis kom besoek en julle met praktiese navorsingsgebaseerde raad bystaan.
  9. Omring jouself met ‘n ondersteuningsnetwerk. Woon La Leche League vergaderings by, sommer terwyl jy nog swanger is. Kry jou lewensmaat aan jou kant: hy is jou belangrikste bron van ondersteuning. Laat enige kritiek soos water van ‘n eend se rug afloop – veral as dit van iemand kom wat nie geborsvoed het nie!
  10. Byt vas! Hoewel borsvoeding natuurlik is, kom dit beslis nie vanself nie! In die eerste weke is dit normaal om te sukkel en om te voel asof jy niks anders doen as voed nie. Hou moed, met geduld en die regte inligting sal borsvoeding binnekort gerieflik en genotvol word.

Wanneer om hulp te kry                                   

Kontak ‘n laktasie konsultant wanneer jou:

  • Tepels baie seer en/of gekraak is;
  • Bors ‘n gevoelige rooi, geswolle knop het;
  • Borste so gestu is dat jou baba sukkel om te drink.

Kry ook hulp wanneer jou baba in die eerste ses weke:

  • Minder as vyf nat en/of twee vuil doeke in 24 uur het (nadat jou melk ingekom het, maar voor ses weke, want hierna kan dit normaal wees vir Baba om slegs elke tien dae of meer stoelgang te passeer);
  • Elke uur wil voed vir meer as 48 uur;
  • Gereeld vir meer as ‘n uur lank voed;
  • Meer as een periode in 24 uur het waarin hy vir langer as vier ure slaap;
  • Minder as 8 voedings per dag het.
 
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Posted by on February 13, 2012 in Afrikaanse Artikels, Breastfeeding

 

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