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   Archive for the ‘Breastfeeding’ Category
Free Formula on the Decline


One of the concerns that breastfeeding advocates have voiced in the past has been the issue of how some healthcare providers push formula. Hospitals have been in the practice for decades of handing how free formula to new mothers. Breastfeeding advocates argue that this turns the hospitals into a marketing tool for formula makers, and discourages breastfeeding. According to a recent survey, however, free formula may be on the decline.

The trend is dropping dramatically, as well. This survey looked at the practice of hospitals distributing baby formula in 2007 and then again in 2010. The number of hospitals that were not giving out free formula to new mothers doubled in just that time.

Still, there’s a long way to go for those who would like to see the practice banned. Back in 2007, 14 percent of hospitals weren’t handing out free formula to new mothers. In 2010, that percentage rose to 28.

This is a big deal, when you think about it. The World Health Organization has specific rules regarding how formula should be marketed, such as suggesting that it shouldn’t be promoted for the general population. In addition, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding exclusively for the first six month’s of a baby’s life.

As always, issues surrounding breastfeeding are proving to be controversial, with some loud voices amid the discussion.

Breastfeeding advocates argue that breastfeeding can be difficult to begin with. If hospitals send a mother home with formula, it makes it easy for her to give up on breastfeeding.

On the other hand, most mothers approve of the practice. A survey by one group in 2009 discovered that more than 90 percent of mothers approved of hospitals giving away packages with free formula.

Advocates argue that physicians and hospitals shouldn’t be limited in how they’re able to treat patients, and that there are times when giving samples of formula should be entirely appropriate.

While it’s not clear whether the trend will continue, for now breastfeeding advocates have made serious progress in doing away with the practice.

Posted in Breastfeeding |
Should I Breastfeed for Longer than 2 Years?


Breastfeeding is known to provide a number of important nutritional and health benefits to your baby. That being said, breastfeeding over the long term hasn’t been shown to provide significant health benefits to the child. That doesn’t mean that extended breastfeeding past the first two years of life shouldn’t be done, it just means that the most compelling reason to breastfeed – better nutrition for your baby – disappears.

Some experts believe that a child should let you know when they’re ready to stop breastfeeding, and that may happen somewhere between the ages of two and seven. In fact, there are many cultures in which babies are breastfed well past the age of 2.

That said, there are also cultures where breastfeeding past the age of 2 is considered taboo. There is also some research that suggests children who are only breastfed past the age of one year – and don’t also have their diet supplemented with other foods – may face issues with malnutrition.

Here again, that doesn’t mean you should stop breastfeeding at the age of one; it just means that you need to make sure your child’s nutritional needs are being met.

Breastfeeding after the age of 2 is generally considered to be intended for purposes other than nutrition or health. It helps with concerns of bonding, comfort, security, and more.

Many moms taper off breastfeeding as time goes on. About eight out of ten moms attempt to breastfeed at birth. By the time the child reaches one year of age, only about 3 out of 10 women are still breastfeeding. At 2 years, it goes down to 1 out of 20 women.

The World Health Organization recommends babies be breastfed for a minimum of 2 years.

Breastfeeding over the long term can actually benefit a mother’s health. For each year of breastfeeding, a woman’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes at some point decreases by 15%.

When you’re trying to decide how long to breastfeed, make sure to take into account all of these issues, and more. No one else can tell you what’s right for your child; make your decision, and do so proudly.

Posted in Breastfeeding |
Do You Need a Lactation Consultant?

By now, most of us know that breastfeeding is best for our babies. On the off chance your doctor hasn’t already told you, it’s ideal to breastfeed your baby exclusively for the first six months, and to continue breastfeeding for a year or more after that. Unfortunately, some moms and babies have problems breastfeeding.

If you are having trouble breastfeeding, consider seeing a lactation consultant. Lactation consultants are health care professionals who specialize in helping mothers overcome breastfeeding problems. Common problems addressed by lactation consultants include:

  • Problems latching on
  • Milk supply problems
  • Engorged breasts
  • Nipple soreness
  • Breastfeeding sick babies
  • Determining which medications are safe for mom to take while breastfeeding
  • Babies not gaining weight while breastfeeding

A lactation consultant is more than just a health care professional. Think of a lactation consultant as a sort of mentor or coach who comes alongside you to encourage and teach. Even though most of us know that breastfeeding our babies is best, the choice to breastfeed isn’t always easy. Sticking to that choice can be even tougher.

Lactation consultants differ from support group leaders or peer counselors such as you might find through La Leche League (LLL) and other organizations which promote breastfeeding. While there’s nothing wrong with LLL or their leaders, a lactation consultant is an actual health care professional who is licensed and carries malpractice insurance. Lactation consultants do charge for their services. Most of the time, these charges are covered by major insurance companies.

If breastfeeding is going well for you, you won’t need a lactation consultant. It’s still a good idea to involve yourself with support groups like La Leche League, but you will only need to consider calling a lactation consultant if you are having problems breastfeeding which your LLL leader or peer counselor can’t help you with.

Mothers with minor breastfeeding problems may or may not need to see a lactation consultant. If you’re not sure, ask your doctor. Keep in mind that it’s best to get help with breastfeeding sooner rather than later. Most breastfeeding problems will not just take care of themselves.

Breastfeeding is important, both to your baby and to you. If you’re having problems breastfeeding, seek help, either through a breastfeeding support group or a lactation consultant.


Posted in Breastfeeding |
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