Looks like I’ve fallen behind again, but I have to say I had a great time at the Massachusetts Breastfeeding Coalition conference this week! It was great to see everyone again, especially those of you who made the trek from beyond Worcester.
There’s been a lot of encouraging news lately! McGill University Health Center in Montreal just received $350,000 to support their breastfeeding programs. The US Air Force now gives women a 6 month assignment deferment after giving birth to allow more time for breastfeeding (they used to allow only 4 months, the Navy however gives 12 months). And in Brunei breastfeeding education has been incorporated into their premarital courses so that both prospective parents will be better prepared before they even conceive!
Major flooding in the Phillipines is being met with donations of breast milk so that stressed out refugee mothers struggling to keep up their milk supplies won’t have to rely on formula. And get this – they have even sent in wet nurses!
In Jamaica they are now turning their attention to educating men. “Some men mistakenly believe that breastfeeding is strictly confined to women and babies. They see their role as that of a passive or neutral observer who has little influence on the process, but fathers actually have tremendous potential to either facilitate or undermine the success of breastfeeding,” says Mr. Scott of the Jamaican Health Services. “A father’s support is critical to a successful breastfeeding, simply by listening to the mothers. It requires that you actively play a role in your partner’s life without being invasive.” Well said Mr. Scott, well said! Mr. Scott even added, “that if fathers spend the first weeks after a child’s birth doing some of the household chores and involving themselves in the health and well being of the child, the issue of exclusive breastfeeding will become a norm for mothers.”
Meanwhile in Australia it seems that it is not the men who need educating but the women. When a mother was asked to hide the fact that she was breastfeeding while nursing her 3 month old on a plane this exchange occurred: Mrs Ward said “she told the attendant that she had a right to breastfeed, but was asked again to cover her baby because a man seated near her ”might not like to see it”. ”I said to [the man], ‘Does this offend you?’ and he said, ‘No, not at all.’ [The flight attendant] said, ‘Well, people walking down the aisle might not like it”’
Two new scientific studies have been reported and the way they have been interpreted might interest you. The first showed that due to calcium loss during lactation mothers should be doing more weight bearing exercises (“Breastfeeding moms need more aerobic exercise”). But before we start sending mothers off to the gym don’t you think we should remind them that carrying your baby (i.e. baby wearing) is also a weight bearing exercise?
And in a new study from Spain came the news confirming what we already knew – that breast milk can make a baby sleepy! By anaylizing the types of nucleotides produced over the course of 24 hours, they have found that the milk produced during the night time hours is designed to help a baby sleep, while the milk produced during the day is designed to help keep a baby alert! This is pretty cool! We’ve always said that a mother’s milk continually changes to meet her baby’s needs and this is further proof of that. But again what worries me is the way this has been interpreted. “Breast milk should be drunk at the same time of day that it is expressed.”
After reading this headline I was complaining to my 12 year old daughter that this was just going to make it harder for working moms. Not only do they have to pump, now they will be expected to keep track of when they pumped each ounce and care takers will be scolding them for bringing them “sleepy time” milk when they need the “cappuccino” version, to which my daughter replied “It’s called being organized Mom!” ( I should point out that the “organization gene” is something she gets from her father not me.) My daughter’s opinion not withstanding, I fear that for mothers who already rely too heavily on charts and clocks, this little study will totally push them over the edge. Can I say it again? The real answer is keeping mothers and babies together – we need more maternity leave!
In other news the Canadians were having great success organizing a competition to break the record for most number of babies being breastfed at the same time (I love how they even got the mayor of one city to participate!), but in Montreal the event was called off because of concerns about Swine Flu. In celebrity news, “Gossip Girl” actress Kelly Rutherford has requested a restraining order on her ex-husband because she claims that his actions have caused her so much stress it has affected her milk supply.
And lastly is a very interesting (dry, but fascinating) article outlining the problems surrounding the need to make nutrition in early life a global priority. This report makes the case that not only does early nutrition have lasting effects over the course of a child’s lifetime (“To further complicate the issue, studies from high-income11 and from low-income and middle-income countries6 strongly suggest that the worst-case scenario for several chronic diseases is the combination of undernutrition in early life and rapid weight gain during late childhood and adolescence”), the window of opportunity for intervention is indeed short, that what happens before a child reaches the age of 3 is more important than what happens afterwards.
If I am reading this right they are suggesting that less attention should be placed on school lunches (“The assumptions behind school feeding programmes and growth monitoring for all children younger than 5 years, for example, should be re-examined.”) and international food aid, and instead there should be more emphasis on breastfeeding and complimentary foods. The real problem for policy makers seems to be “how to promote rapid weight gain in the first 2—3 years of life, but not thereafter.” My thanks to Arun Grupta for sharing this article with everyone.
Hope you are all well, and again I love hearing your comments!
Kathy Abbott, IBCLC
On Facebook: “Breastfeeding in the News”
My Blog: http://TheCuriousLactivist.wordpress.com/
Ministry Proposes Breastfeeding Course (Brunei)
Bandar Seri Begawan – The Ministry of Health (MoH) has proposed exclusive breastfeeding as one of the topics to be covered in premarital courses in order to provide early knowledge to soon-to-be mothers on the importance of the practice, said acting principal nursing officer Hjh Meriah Pengarah Hj Buntar yesterday.
‘All this time, topics covered by the religious ministry during the courses conducted were more focused on marriage in Islam, but now with the addition of topics under the health aspects, soon-to-be-mothers will have a better knowledge on the benefits of the practice before they conceive,” she explained, adding that the soon-to-be-mothers will at least be well prepared before starting a family.
Their spouses will also then understand the importance of breastfeeding and be supportive, she added.
PGH to embark on breastfeeding mission in ‘Ondoy’ evacuation centers
Instead of canned goods and used clothes, a team of doctors from the University of the Philippines–Philippine General Hospital is bringing a unique donation when they embark on a relief mission to “Ondoy” evacuation centers: breast milk for babies.
Dra. Maria Asuncion Silvestre, head of the PGH Lactation Unit and Milk Bank, said the medical mission aims to help breastfeeding mothers cope with the stress from the massive floods that ravaged their houses and, more importantly, to prevent the spread of diseases among infants.
Silvestre likens breast milk to a “vaccine” that can protect infants from sickness especially in disaster and emergency situations.
Silvestre said the news of infants catching diarrhea and pneumonia in evacuation centers prompted the PGH Newborn Medicine department and some of its partner organizations to educate mothers on how to breastfeed properly during times of crisis.
She discouraged donors from giving infant formula to the evacuees, saying this may bring more harm than good. Even raw breast milk that has not been pasteurized is safer than formula milk, the doctor said.
“In disaster areas, it’s very restricted. The centers can be unsanitary, they have no clean water. They have no way to boil (sterilize) the milk bottles. Formula milk can be contaminated because there are many sources for contamination,” Silvestre explained.
More than half a million people have sought refuge in 726 evacuation centers, where disease and crowded conditions are major concerns.
As of Thursday noon, the relief mission had collected more than 100 liters of breast milk.
For the breastfeeding mission in Cainta, infants up to six months old will be cup-fed by volunteers from the medical school.
“The breastfeeding moms will proceed to our designated area where they will be given some refreshments and Vitamin A. Some of them will be given breastfeeding t-shirts and they will be educated on how to sustain their breastfeeding, even though they are stressed and tired,” Silvestre said.
The t-shirts, drinking water, and a cargo of pasteurized breast milk will be provided by mother-support groups like Mommy Matters and Latch.
Five wet nurses, or mothers who breastfeed children that are not their own, from the support group Arugaan are also joining the mission.
Through the endeavor, Silvestre hopes to provide mothers with the necessary knowledge in caring for infants in disaster situations.
“If the (breast milk) supply for that evacuation center is gone, at least moms can continue breastfeeding their babies. The mission is not meant to be a dole-out; it’s meant to have a multiplier effect,” she said. – GMANews.TV
Breast milk should be drunk at the same time of day that it is expressed
The levels of the components in breast milk change every 24 hours in response to the needs of the baby. A new study published in the journal Nutritional Neuroscience shows, for example, how this milk could help newborn babies to sleep.
Breast milk contains various ingredients, such as nucleotides, which perform a very important role in regulating babies’ sleep. The new study, published recently in the journal Nutritional Neuroscience, confirms that the composition of breast milk changes quite markedly throughout the day.
The scientists looked for three nucleotides in breast milk (adenosine, guanosine and uridine), which excite or relax the central nervous system, promoting restfulness and sleep, and observed how these varied throughout a 24-hour period.
The milk, collected from 30 women living in Extremadura, was expressed over a 24-hour period, with six to eight daily samples. The highest nucleotide concentrations were found in the night-time samples (8pm to 8am).
“This made us realise that milk induces sleep in babies”, Cristina L. Sánchez, lead author of the article and a researcher at the Chrononutrition Laboratory at the University of Extremadura, tells SINC.
“You wouldn’t give anyone a coffee at night, and the same is true of milk – it has day-specific ingredients that stimulate activity in the infant, and other night-time components that help the baby to rest”, explains Sánchez.
In order to ensure correct nutrition, the baby should be given milk at the same time of day that it was expressed from the mother’s breast. “It is a mistake for the mother to express the milk at a certain time and then store it and feed it to the baby at a different time”, points out the researcher. .
Sánchez, Cristina L.; Cubero, Javier; Sánchez, Javier; Chanclón, Belén; Rivero, Montserrat; Rodríguez, Ana B.; Barriga, Carmen. “The possible role of human milk nucleotides as sleep inducers”. Nutritional Neuroscience Vol. 12(1):2-8. 2009.
For Baby, A breast milk cappuccino
Breastfeeding moms need more aerobic exercise
Cheryl Lovelady and her team from the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) measured bone mineral density in 20 women four to 20 weeks post pregnancy.
They found that those who didn’t exercise lost around seven percent of their lower-spine bone density in that period.
“During lactation, women transfer around 200 milligrams of calcium per day from their own stores to their breast milk,” Lovelady said.
“Calcium is critically linked to bone density and health, and this depletion can result in loss of bone mineral density. When mothers wean their infants, bone mineral density usually returns to normal levels,” she added.
“We proposed that weight-bearing exercise would minimise bone losses during lactation and decrease the risk of osteoporosis later in life,” Lovelady said.
Exercise – especially strength training – can slow bone loss during lactation, the study found.
Besides, regular weight-bearing exercise has an added benefit for moms trying to shed post-pregnancy weight: It significantly improved their body composition compared to the non-exercisers, lowering their body fat percentage and increasing lean mass, even without dietary intervention.
The findings were published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise .
Effect of Exercise Training on Loss of Bone Mineral Density during Lactation
Airline’s breastfeeding bungle
A MELBOURNE mother says she was left in tears after a Tiger Airways flight attendant repeatedly asked her to hide her breastfeeding baby from other passengers on a flight earlier this month.
Kathryn Ward said she was feeding her three-month-old son, James, on a flight between the Gold Coast and Melbourne when a crew member asked her if she had a blanket to cover him.
Mrs Ward said she told the attendant that she had a right to breastfeed, but was asked again to cover her baby because a man seated near her ”might not like to see it”.
”I said to [the man], ‘Does this offend you?’ and he said, ‘No, not at all.’ [The flight attendant] said, ‘Well, people walking down the aisle might not like it.’ ”
MUHC breastfeeding resources get pumped up
Sep. 29, 2009
The Lucie and André Chagnon Foundation donates $350,000 to support breastfeeding programs at the MUHC
As the birth rate in Quebec continues to rise steadily for the sixth year in a row, Mr. Claude Chagnon has some good news for Montrealers and it could not have come at a better time. As President and Chief Operating Officer of the Lucie and André Chagnon Foundation, Mr. Claude Chagnon announces a $350,000 donation to support breastfeeding at the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC).
Already on the path to becoming a designated World Health Organization (WHO) Baby-friendly hospital, this donation will allow the MUHC’s Women’s Health Mission to further support all breastfeeding mothers under their care. “Thanks to this financial support, we have been able to upgrade our technology and purchase state-of-the-art breast pumps to serve our most vulnerable patient populations,” explains Luisa Ciofani, Clinical Nurse Specialist in Obstetrics and International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. “We have also been able to increase the number of lactation consultants working with our new mothers.”
At the MUHC, 87% of new mothers try breastfeeding. Among them, 50% continue to breastfeed exclusively. As a result of the donation, the MUHC will be able to make a greater investment in training personnel in the hopes of further increasing rates of exclusivity.
As a Centre of Excellence for breastfeeding, the MUHC acknowledges the importance of continued research in the field. Sonia Semenic, Nurse Scientist for the MUHC’s Women’s Health Mission, has received a grant from the Fonds québécois de la recherche sur la société et la culture (FQRSC) to study the implementation of Quebec’s policies to protect, support and promote breastfeeding, As part of this study, the MUHC’s Royal Victoria Hospital will participate in an evaluation of barriers and facilitators to the implementation of the World Health Organization’s Baby-Friendly Initiative.
Breastfeeding challenge hits Chilliwack
Each pre-registered mother and baby will receive a goody bag and commemorative certificates that makes a great keepsake for the baby book. This year participants will enjoy addresses from both Mayor Sharon Gaetz and naturopathic doctor Joanne Menard
At 11 a.m. on Saturday, mothers and children at sites across Canada, the United States and other countries will compete to set the record for the most children breastfeeding at one time. The winners of the competition will be the cities or regions with the most children participating as a percentage of the birth rate.
To level the playing field between large and small, each site will be entered into groups determined by birth rate. Last year B.C won first place in it’s birth-rate category.
Two of the biggest hurdles for mothers continue to be lack of support and marginalization by the community. In North America this lack of support is demonstrated as many women find breastfeeding in public a major barrier.
The Quintessence Breastfeeding Challenge began in 2001 in British Columbia Canada with 856 children at 26 sites. By 2008, there were 7,632 children in nineteen countries at over 300 sites with a total of over 20,000 supporters.
Men Urged to Help in the Promotion of Breastfeeding (Jamaica)
Parish Manager for the Manchester Health Services, Stanhope Scott, wants men to help promote breastfeeding for infants.
“A father’s support is critical to a successful breastfeeding, simply by listening to the mothers. It requires that you actively play a role in your partner’s life without being invasive,” he told a breastfeeding forum organised by the Manchester Health Department, on Thursday (September 24) at the Mandeville Park.
Mr. Scott added that if fathers spend the first weeks after a child’s birth doing some of the household chores and involving themselves in the health and well being of the child, the issue of exclusive breastfeeding will become a norm for mothers.
“Some men mistakenly believe that breastfeeding is strictly confined to women and babies. They see their role as that of a passive or neutral observer who has little influence on the process, but fathers actually have tremendous potential to either facilitate or undermine the success of breastfeeding,” he stated.
He told the audience, consisting mainly of personnel from the Health Department and young mothers, that fathers must equip themselves to actively support mothers in the breastfeeding drive, for healthier children.
The Ministry of Health, with support from the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), is on a drive to increase the number of mothers that are exclusively breastfeeding
Is there a conspiracy out there to make parents feel guilty? Don’t answer that. Just consider a recent item on UrbanBaby.com, the website that fancies itself a guide for parents in the know. “If you went to college,’’ it read, “will your daughter develop an eating disorder?’’
Seriously? Seriously. The post summarized a Swedish study of 13,000 women born between 1952 and 1989, and offered these useful facts: Girls were twice as likely to develop eating disorders if their mothers went to college, and six times more likely if their maternal grandmothers went to college. Girls who had high grades were at especially high risk. The researchers figured that girls were reacting to pressure to achieve. And the subtext was clear: Sorry, smart ladies, you messed up again!
This is, mind you, the same UrbanBaby that issued an apology in June for a post titled “Does Breastfeeding Cause Autism?’’ It was about another study, by a California neuroscientist, that examined toxins in the breastmilk of rats. The study contained a host of caveats (such as: People are different from rats). The brief UrbanBaby post did not, raising the ire of breastfeeding and autism-awareness activists – two groups that one should think twice before crossing.
Assignment deferment extended for births, adoptions
Air Force officials here announced recent modifications to the post-birth and post-adoption assignment deferment policy will increase the time a parent can delay reporting to certain assignments, re-emphasizing the Air Force’s commitment of taking care of its people.
Birth mothers and adoptive families now have a six-month-deferment period instead of four months before reporting to an assignment, including family-member restricted overseas tours, accompanied overseas tours when concurrent travel was denied, and temporary duty assignments or deployments.
This policy change brings the Air Force in line with its sister services. Only the Navy allows more deferment time, up to 12 months.
The extra two months enables behaviors that can positively impact the family later, said Lt. Col. Leslie Wilson, the chief consultant for maternal-child medicine and pediatrics at the Air Force Medical Operations Agency at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas.
“From a medical perspective, this will give the mother and infant a substantial benefit because it allows for eight additional weeks of breastfeeding, which not only helps build the baby’s immunity system, but it helps the mother return to her pre-pregnancy weight faster, reduces her risk of breast and ovarian cancer, and improves family bonding,” Colonel Wilson said.
Breastfeeding activities cancelled in Quebec over H1N1 worries
Quebec Health authorities have cancelled a series of breastfeeding gatherings across the province fearing the H1N1 virus could pose too much of a health risk to mothers and babies.
The Breastfeeding Challenge is held each year in October in some 20 cities across the province with the goal of having the greatest number of babies breastfeed at the same time around the world.
The activity attracts some 2,500 women and their babies in Montreal and 500 in Quebec City.
Authorities said they don’t know how the pandemic will evolve and would rather err on the side of caution.
“Statistics gathered during the first pandemic wave show pregnant women, women who just gave birth, newborns and young children are more vulnerable to the virus and risk developing major complications,” the health agency said in a press release.
Moreover, the agency said babies and toddlers can’t follow the basic hygiene guidelines such as washing hands regularly
Nutrition in early life: a global priority
On Oct 14—18, Berlin will host the first World Health Summit. The prevention of adult chronic diseases through interventions in young children is one of the summit’s key topics. Promotion of good nutrition in early life is essential for health later in life because either undernutrition or overnutrition can cause lifelong, irreversible damage. This matter is especially relevant at a time when the global food and financial crises are disproportionately affecting nutrition of the poorest families in low-income and middle-income countries.
Why is nutrition in early life so important? Since the Barker hypothesis in the 1980s,1 cohort studies from high-income countries showed that fetal growth restriction is associated with adult diseases, especially cardiovascular and metabolic conditions. Over time, emphasis has shifted from low birthweight to growth during the first 2 years of life,2 and from the harmful effects of undernutrition to the dangers of rapid weight gain and of child obesity.3
Nine out of ten children, however, are born in low-income and middle-income countries where undernutrition is common. Published reports from these countries have long emphasised that maternal, fetal, and child undernutrition increase short-term morbidity and mortality in young children.4, 5 Recent long-term follow-up studies—including birth cohorts6 and intervention trials7—give convincing evidence that early undernutrition also affects adult human capital. Good nutrition in early life helps adults to become taller, stronger, and more intelligent, thus improving school achievement, economic productivity, and earnings.
If early nutrition is so important, when should one intervene? The window of opportunity is short. National surveys show that growth faltering occurs from conception to about 2 years of age. Thereafter, the average growth of children from low-income and middle-income countries is similar to that of children from high-income populations.8 Interventions to reduce undernutrition have positive effects on human capital if targeted to children aged 3 years or younger, but, except in the few countries where wasting is frequent, interventions after this age do not seem to confer benefit.7 Longitudinal body-composition studies from low-income and middle-income countries also show that growth in utero and in the first 2 years of life is essential for building lean mass, but later rapid weight gain mainly results in fat-mass deposition. Therefore the net balance between positive and negative consequences of rapid weight gain depends on when it occurs,6 and thus the concept of a window of opportunity is essential for designing intervention strategies.9 However, how to promote rapid weight gain in the first 2—3 years of life, but not thereafter, is a major challenge to policy makers.
Another major challenge is to understand the long-term consequences of nutrition in early life in populations undergoing rapid change.
Our population-based studies in Pelotas, Brazil,10 describe time trends in weight for age in 4-year-old children in the top and bottom quintiles of family income (figure) in the 1982 and the 2004 birth cohorts. Over time, both poor and rich children became fatter, especially the former. The large number of poor children in the 2004 cohort who were above 2 Z scores shows how overweight has become more common among these children, in whom undernutrition was prevalent in 1982. Within-country inequalities in nutritional status might therefore need different approaches for specific population subgroups, which is an additional challenge for policy makers.
Figure Full-size image (51K)
Changes in weight-for-age in children aged 4 years in the bottom and top quintiles of family income in Pelotas, Brazil, in 1982 and 200410
To further complicate the issue, studies from high-income11 and from low-income and middle-income countries6 strongly suggest that the worst-case scenario for several chronic diseases is the combination of undernutrition in early life and rapid weight gain during late childhood and adolescence. This situation is increasingly common in countries undergoing the nutrition transition,6, 12 in which promotion of rapid weight gain, irrespective of the child’s age, might do more harm than good. The assumptions behind school feeding programmes and growth monitoring for all children younger than 5 years, for example, should be re-examined.
Despite the importance of nutrition in early life for adult health and human capital, this topic has received little international funding, especially when compared with large investments for the control of other diseases.13, 14 Furthermore, the limited funding for combating undernutrition is dominated by programmes for food aid and micronutrient supplementation.13 Although such programmes have a definite role in some circumstances, one would also like to see strong investments in community-based approaches—eg, the promotion of breastfeeding and appropriate complementary foods—which have well-established effects on child survival and nutritional status.15
The Berlin summit will allow discussion of policy implications of these findings and of remaining research gaps. For example, how can we reconcile findings from high-income countries on the potential dangers of rapid weight gain in early life as a risk factor for chronic diseases with those of low-income and middle-income countries, which show that undernutrition not only increases short-term morbidity and mortality, but also irreversibly affects human capital?
There is still much to be learned about specific aspects of the associations between early nutrition, adult health, and human capital. Nevertheless, the importance of preventing undernutrition in utero and in children during the first 2 years of life is gaining increasing importance in light of new findings on long-term effects. The main challenge now is how to incorporate these findings into health policies, and especially how to convince governments that early nutrition programmes are long-term investments in human and social development.
Gossip’ Mom Rutherford Gets Restraining Order Over ‘Threatening’ Ex
‘Gossip Girl’ actress Kelly Rutherford has been granted a temporary restraining order against her estranged husband, claiming that his presence has been threatening to both Rutherford and her nanny. In the legal filing, Rutherford claims that Daniel Giersch “has begun to follow me, my mother and my nanny and he shows up unexpectedly to threaten and scare us.” TMZ reports. Rutherford also claims that Giersch’s behavior and the stress that has been caused by it has affected her breast milk production.
“From time to time I have some extra milk, but I never know when…I believe that the stress Daniel has created for me is also negatively impacting my ability to produce milk,” the documents say