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Breastfeeding

Kate Middleton has a baby AND a baby bump! More about the Postpartum Body

So it seems to be big news that Kate Middleton was photographed with a visible bump when she and Prince William left the hospital with wee baby George. Some posted comments on both news and gossip blogs pondering how it was possible that she was ALREADY pregnant and showing. Really? That would be quite a miracle. This response unfortunately reflects the unrealistic expectations for new mothers to return to their pre-pregnancy bodies immediately following giving birth.

The truth is, of course, that it takes a while for the uterus, that a day or two before held a dozen pounds of baby, placenta, and fluid to shrink to its usual size (that of a fist). It takes up to eight weeks for this process to be complete. So that bump is perfectly normal.

Breastfeeding aides in the return of the uterus to its original size.  Breastfeeding releases oxytocin, which causes uterine contractions, slowing bleeding and helping the organ to shrink. For women who’ve already given birth, these contractions are sometimes painful, like early labor–typically not the case for first births. But there is no way that any woman, breastfeeding or not, will have a flat postpartum belly.

Tucson’s own Jade Beall, whose photographs of mothers’ bodies in all their un-Photoshopped glory have received staggering attention around the globe recently, commented on the Kate’s post-baby photo on The Daily Beast:

This is a historic moment for women around the world. Kate has chosen to confidently show what our bodies can look like after undergoing one of the most life-changing feats a human can experience.”

I, for one, was thrilled to see Kate not only hiding under a tent-like dress, as was done in previous generations, but actually rocking an empire waist, accentuating the perfectly normal body of a brand-new mom. (Of course she also had perfectly coiffed hair, but that’s how it works when you have your own full-time stylist. Hey, I wouldn’t have minded a nice shampoo and blow-out after delivery…)

It’s so wonderful that what must be the most widely seen photo of a new mom this year is both beautiful and educational.Thank you, Kate, for not hiding the normal belly of a new mother. And thank you Jade, for your work in sharing the beauty of bodies in all their glorious forms.

Close to Mothers – Peer Mentoring in Breastfeeding

“The first six weeks, I knew I just had to make it through the first six weeks and if I could do that I could breastfeed my kids long term.” For Patricia recognizing that it would get easier, drawing upon the experience and support of other nursing moms and lactation consultants made all the difference.

Patricia is not alone. Many women intend to breastfeed, but studies show that breastfeeding rates decline rapidly after they return home. Peer support groups, like TMC for Women’s Breastfeeding Support Group and La Leche League, can provide mothers who feel isolated, or who may not have the benefit of extended family or peer support, with much needed moral support and with information about best practices that allow them to continue to breastfeed.

At TMC for Women,  we incorporate peer support into our larger breastfeeding support program. Every Monday morning nursing mothers come together to support one another through the trials, tribulations and celebrations of breastfeeding and with the support of a trained lactation consultant (check this link for information on place and time).  Any nursing mom looking for support can join the group, there is no charge and you do not have to have delivered your baby at Tucson Medical Center.

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This year, during Breastfeeding Awareness Week, the focus is on the importance of peer support groups for nursing moms. We’re proud to have a stellar group of lactation consultants who provide programs such as the Breastfeeding Support Group and to have their work recognized by the International Board Certified Lactation Consultant Care Award for another year. Tucson Medical Center is the only hospital in southern Arizona to be awarded the Care Award.

Check out these upcoming local breastfeeding awareness events:

Healthy from the Start

TMC’s certified lactation consultants will participate in Healthy from the Start – a community health fair to recognize World Breastfeeding Awareness Week. Check out all that is going on at Healthy from the Start:

  • Dental screenings
  • Early childhood development demos
  • Family planning information
  • Lactation consultants
  • Nutrition information
  • WIC/Food Plus enrollment (Baby health checks)
  • Mobile Farmer’s Market
  • Play Area for Children
  • Raffles and Giveaways
  • Pediatrician available to discuss breastfeeding and early childhood development

The Pima County Health Department will host the event Thursday, Aug. 1, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Herbert K. Abrams Public Health Center, 3950 S. Country Club Road. There will also be a Diaper Drive for the Diaper Bank.

LATCHAZ Breastfeeding Education Event
Looking to hear more in detail about the benefits and science behind breastfeeding? Dr. Stephen Buescher will be speaking  about the benefits of breastfeeding at the Arizona Health Sciences Center Duval Auditorium on Friday, Aug. 9, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Registration info here.

94.9 MIXfm Baby Fair

TMC is a long-time supporter of this free pregnancy/baby/family event, scheduled this year for Saturday, Aug. 10, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Tucson Convention Center. The fair showcases family products, educational materials, medical services and recreational activities. Activities include a puppet show, magic show and balloon artists as well as stage events like the popular Diaper Derby, Stay at Home Street and the ’Tween Zone gaming area. Register to win prizes from Baby Fair vendors!

Best for Baby and Business – Breastfeeding and Pumping Tips

Repost from TMC for Children
Pumping Breastmilk at Work
You work.
You’re about to have a baby.
You plan to breastfeed.
You plan to continue breastfeed when you go back to work.
Now, just how is that going to work?
Despite all the know benefits of breastfeeding for the health and well being of our children, many of us face barriers and challenges when we return to work that derail our efforts to continue to breastfeed. Susan Dennis, one of our wonderful TMC Lactation Consultants, shares her tips for making the return to work and still continuing to breastfeed:

Set the stage before your due date – Why your employer should care

Before your due date talk to your employer or supervisor about your plans to breastfeed and the positive implications for your workplace if you’re able to continue to breastfeed and to express milk when you return to work. Here are some of the positive impacts you may want to include:

  • lower healthcare costs for both mother and child. Breastfed babies have lower rates of infection and illness and breastfeeding has positive implications for mothers too, ex. lower rates of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, diabetes and osteoporosis
  • lower absentee rates
  • higher employee morale (and so productivity)and positive view of a “family friendly” employer
  • retention of experienced employee
If you work at a site with a human resources office you may wish to check in with them first as there may be a site based program to support you. The Federal Government has a wonderful document including compelling data on their WomensHealth.gov page that you might want to share: Business Case for Breastfeeding. Among other items this document includes a list of myths and facts that you may wish to arm yourself with in case your employer or supervisor has concerns.
 
My personal preference is to lead with the above – all the reasons an employer should be supportive of  breastfeeding. However, it is also useful to know the legislative requirement of employers to be supportive. The recent Healthcare Reform Act (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) made clear the responsibility of all employers to provide suitable (private, not a bathroom) space and reasonable time for mothers to express their milk multiple times a day without interruption. You can find more information about the federal law here

Before your due date – Create a plan with your employer or supervisor to make pumping successful.

Your plan should include:
  • A location of a private, non-bathroom space, where you will not be disturbed or viewed while you express milk
  • How your work schedule will allow you two to three approximately 15 minute (plus travel time) breaks every work day
  • Where you will be able to store your breast milk. Susan suggests a cooler that you can take to and from work
  • Where you will be able to store and clean your breast pumping equipment
  • How you might modify your schedule at the beginning to ease into being away from your baby.
For this last point Susan suggests returning to work for reduced hours the first few weeks or starting in the middle of your work week so that you have less time away from baby the first week back.
Once you have agreed upon a plan, write it down and share a copy with your employer and supervisor
I’d also suggest tapping into a powerful resource, your colleagues. Is there someone in your workplace who breastfed their children? Or whose partner breastfed? Can they be a champion for you? Until we have a child and start to breastfeed we may be oblivious to those in our work place who were forging the way with regard to breastfeeding and working. These colleagues may be able to offer support and practical solutions for your specific work place.

Once baby has arrived – Breastfeeding before the return to work

  • Once your milk supply is established, between days three and five postpartum, choose two times a day to pump and store the pumped milk in the freezer. You will use this milk when you introduce pumped milk in a few weeks time. The La Leche League provides guides for storage on their site, but frozen milk can be stored for up to a year. La Leche League also has guides for what to store the milk in
  • Breastfeed as much as possible in the early weeks before introducing your baby to pumped milk
  • Once breastfeeding is going well and the baby is three to four weeks old, you can introduce a bottle two to three times per week to get your baby use to bottle feeding
  • Consider renting a hospital grade pump or quality double electric pump for use at work. It is more efficient. For more information on pumps including rental pumps contact TMC’s Desert Cradle (324 2180). At the Desert Cradle you can buy and rent equipment, AND also get help in understanding how it works. The staff at the Desert Cradle are a superb resource. 

Back to Work – Making it Work

  • When you’re away from your baby, pump every 2-3 hours or as much as possible
  • Breastfeed just before you leave for work and as soon as you get home again
  • Help your milk expression by having pictures of your baby with you (I had them on my pump case); record the sounds of your baby on your cell phone or voice mail and listen to them while pumping
  • Try to create a relaxing atmosphere in which to pump. Closing your eyes, breathing deeply and relaxing will help with expression of milk
  • Massage your breasts before and during the middle of the pumping session
  • End your pump session with hand expression to aide breast drainage
  • When home, feed your baby on demand to help maintain your supply
  • Keep talking with your employer/supervisor about what is working and what isn’t. Breastfeeding and pumping is an organic thing, be flexible.
Dr. Jack Newman provides many fabulous resources for breastfeeding moms. This link includes techniques for expressing milk successfully when you’re away from your baby.
As a working mom, you have many responsibilities and it may be challenging to keep up your milk supply. Food, drink, and lots of cuddling with your baby in addition to frequent breastfeeding on your days off will help maintain your supply. Remember, you are doing a great job. Call our Breastfeeding Support Program (324-5730) if you have any questions.
We’d love to hear your input. If you’ve already breastfed and made the transition back to the work place can you share a little of your experience? How did you make it work? What challenges did you face? Did you have a particularly positive experience with an employer? Give kudos to them.

Useful Resources We Particularly Like:

At TMC for Women
TMC for Women’s Breastfeeding Support Program – Call 324-5730
TMC for Women’s Breastfeeding Support Group – Every Monday from 10-11:30am in the Canyon Conference Room near the SouthEast entrance.
Tucson Medical Center has lactation rooms for its staff on the postpartum unit. Contact the Breastfeeding Support Program for more information
Online:
La Leche League’s Work and Breastfeeding provides lots of great articles on the topic
Womenshealth.gov provides a host of information for both employers and employees
In the Literature:
The Milk Memos – At times hilarious, sometimes poignant and always insightful resource that started as a plea from one new mom sitting in a lactation room at IBM to whoever might be also using the lactation room.

Breastfeeding, Radiation and Breast Health – Guest Post by Gillian Drummond

In this second blog post by guest blogger Komen Southern Arizona’s Gillian Drummond taps into TMC for Women’s Breast Center for answers on common questions about breast health. This is the second installment in a series by Gillian. 

Breast cancer, and breasts, for that matter, is a subject a rife with questions. And not all of them have easy answers. At a meeting of Komen Southern Arizona staff last month, we got talking, and bandying around some common questions we hear:

“Is the radiation level in a mammogram dangerous?”

“Does breastfeeding really prevent your chances of getting breast cancer?”

“If I have a boob job, how does that affect mammograms and breast self exams?”

So we decided to address them, one by one, on our website.

Our first port of call for the first question we wanted to pose was TMC for Women’s Breast Center, where the staff is better than any Dr. Google you might come across. So here’s our first question – and hopefully some helpful answers.

Does breastfeeding really reduce the risk of breast cancer?

Studies show that it does. Women with a family history of breast cancer have been shown to be 59% less likely to develop breast cancer if they breastfed their children.

Why? During lactation you have fewer menstrual cycles, which reduces estrogen exposure – a common cause of breast cancer. Others have suggested that the changes breast cells undergo during breastfeeding may make them more resistant to cancer-related mutations.

Does it matter how long I breastfeed for?

While some reports say the length of time a woman breastfeeds is irrelevant in terms of protection against breast cancer, other experts say the longer the better. “Ideally it’s one year or more,” says Karen Narum, nurse practitioner at TMC’s Women’s Health and TMC’s Breast Center, which receives funding from Komen Southern Arizona. “A year gives the child increased immunity [to illness] and statistics show it decreases your risk for breast cancer.”

Next month: “How does having a ‘boob job’ affect mammograms or breast self exams?”

You can follow our monthly health questions on our website, www.komensaz.org.  And if you have any you’d like us to answer, email Gillian at gillian@komensaz.org



Introducing the TMC Breastfeeding Support Program

Late last week I had the great pleasure of meeting with four of TMC’s International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLC). My purpose? To learn more about the programs and projects that they and TMC have put into place resulting in the recent IBCLC Care Award. TMC is the only hospital in Southern Arizona to earn this IBCLC Care Award commendation, and one of only three in the whole state of Arizona.

Over the next few weeks and months I hope to introduce you to the lactation consultants, to a whole wealth of resources that TMC provides and that they recommend, and also to introduce you to women who have breast fed, often with the support of these resources. Watch this space.