Posts Tagged 'breastfeeding'

You’ll Never Be Prepared To Become A Parent

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No matter how “prepared” I thought I was to be a parent, I wasn’t. I became a mom at 35, so I watched friends and family have kids. Before my kids came into my life, I would say to myself, “When I’m a parent, I’m going to do [fill in the blank].”

Oh, honey. No, you’re not.

Being a parent is the single hardest thing I’ll do in my life. The fact that my kids are twins adds a whole new dimension. But there are a few things I wish I had known or thoroughly understood before holding my two little bundles of joy.

There will come a time when bodily fluids won’t gross you out. My little girl had reflux, so being covered in spit up regularly was par for the course. Remember that show, “You Can’t Do That on Television”? The one where everyone got slimed? Yeah, that was our house. Also, we have a boy. Catching pee so it didn’t hit the TV remote or the leather couch became the norm as well. Note: Spit up and pee aren’t even the grossest things that can happen in a day.

You will mourn your old life and that’s okay. It wasn’t easy for me to adjust to the life of a mom with twins. I thought I’d be able to do all the things I usually do, just with two babies in tow. That doesn’t work out at the beginning; or right now, actually. With feeding schedules and naps, the winter cold and sicknesses, my personal life changed drastically. But even though it’s not the same, it’s better now. It took me a while to get there, but here I am. Late, as moms of twins tend to be.

You do not know the meaning of the phrase, “sleep deprivation.” You don’t. Just accept that. At first my kids fed every two hours. They took 30 minutes to eat and 30 minutes to sit up and digest. An hour later we were back at it. We still get woken up at night, but nothing a re-tucking of the covers won’t fix. I am assured that one day, I will wake up AFTER the sun has risen. One day.

Hot food is a luxury. I think I’m just used to eating lukewarm or cold food now. By the time dinner is ready and you get everyone in their seats with bibs and cups, cut up their food, serve your own, get whatever they dropped on the floor, sit down and get back up to get something else, your food is cold. When you get the chance to eat hot food, take it.

You will be surprised that you are capable of feeling so intensely. It might not come right away, but soon enough, you’ll be so in love with your kids that you can’t imagine anything you wouldn’t do for them—including not flinching when someone hands you a half-chewed olive at the dinner table during your mother-in-law’s birthday party.

—Rebecca Calappi, Publications Coordinator at Beaumont Health System and adoptive parent of multiples

8 Myths and Facts about Postpartum Depression

Myth #1: Postpartum depression is a normal part of motherhood. All new mothers experience exhaustion and mood swings.

Fact: It is important to be aware of the three types of mood changes associated with childbirth. While it is true that new mothers are likely to feel overwhelmed and sleep deprived in the early weeks after having a baby, this is most likely the Baby Blues which is experienced by 70-80% of women. The Baby Blues is not considered a disorder and generally does not require treatment. Symptoms such as tearfulness, mood swings, lack of concentration, mild anxiety and irritability, begin within the first week postpartum and can persist until baby is about 3 weeks old. This is caused by the major lifestyle change and changing hormone levels that are present during this time in a woman’s life.

We become concerned that a mother may be experiencing more than the Baby Blues, when symptoms are still present after that third to fourth week postpartum. Postpartum depression (PPD) is a serious, yet common medical condition (occurs in 10-20 percent or 1 in 7 new mothers) and can occur any time in a mother’s first postpartum year. Symptoms typically include uncontrollable crying, irritability, poor concentration, anxiety, hopelessness, feelings of failure, guilt, intrusive and disturbing thoughts, and appetite and sleep disturbances. PPD is very treatable. The sooner it is identified that a mother is not feeling like herself and she reaches out for help, the sooner she can start recovering and be able to enjoy her baby and motherhood.

A very small percentage of women experience a much more serious mood disorder called postpartum psychosis, which can cause women to hear, see, feel or smell things that are not there. Symptoms may also include paranoia, mania or catatonic states. This rare illness affects one in every thousand women, usually occurring within the first three weeks after birth. Postpartum psychosis is a serious emergency and requires immediate medical attention.

Myth #2: If a woman is able to take care of her baby, keep a tidy home, looks happy and appears as if she has it all together, she is not experiencing postpartum depression.

Fact: Women are very good at masking the signs and symptoms of PPD, some will go to great efforts to appear as if they are well, but on the inside they may be falling apart and dealing with much anxiety and worry. Shame, guilt or fear may cause women to hide their feelings and suffer in silence.

Myth #3: Pregnant women do not get depressed.

Fact: Studies have shown that rates of depression and anxiety actually increase during pregnancy. Many women who seek treatment for postpartum depression report that their symptoms actually began while they were pregnant.

Myth #4: Postpartum depression is only treated with medication.

Fact: While many women find that medication is very helpful, there are many options for treating PPD, including, individual therapy, support groups, exercise, biofeedback, acupuncture and herbal supplements. Most women are treated with a combination of these treatment options.

Myth #5: Women can’t be treated with antidepressants if they are breastfeeding.

Fact: There are medications that can be taken for depression that are safe for breastfeeding moms. Women should be sure talk with their physician about their options for treatment.

Myth #6: My life is great! PPD could never happen to me.

Fact: PPD does not discriminate. It can happen to those who have never experienced depression or anxiety in their lives. It does not discriminate against race, age, gender, class or income.

Myth #7: Only mothers experience postpartum depression.

Fact: Dads can also experience PPD. Studies have shown that 1 in 10 Dads will experience postpartum depression.

Myth #8: Sharing your personal experience with postpartum depression with pregnant women will only scare them and should be avoided.

Fact: When women have information and resources before symptoms occur, they are less likely to get to the point of a crisis. When a woman is able to hear about signs and symptoms of PPD while she is emotionally well, she will better be able to identify what she is experiencing should symptoms occur, and will be more likely to reach out for treatment and support. It is imperative that women share their stories to dispel these myths and the stigma that is unjustly attached to PPD and other types of mental illness.

Beaumont has many resources, including free support groups, to assist families who are experiencing postpartum depression or difficulty with their postpartum adjustment. You may also reach the Parenting Program staff Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 248-898-3230.

After-hours support from a Mother/Baby Care nurse is available at:

Royal Oak            248-898-6396

Troy                    248-964-3995

Grosse Pointe       313-473-1705

–Kelly C. Ryan, LMSW, Postpartum Adjustment Coordinator, Beaumont Parenting Program

The Breastmilk Ingredient List That Can’t Be Replicated in Commercial Formula

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Instagram photo credit: _oliviasmommy

What’s really in breast milk? We have been talking about breast milk in several recent posts. I came across this poster that outlines what is actually in breast milk and commercial formula.

Many of the breast milk components are not recognizable to most of us. Looking at the list reinforces the wonders of human milk – designed and created for human babies, adaptable to various circumstances including the nutritional needs of babies of varying ages, ready and accessible when needed. What could be more wonderful than that?

Download the pdf here: What’s_in_Breastmilk_Poster

–Mary Anne Kenerson RN, Coordinator, Prenatal & Family Education at Beaumont 

Editor’s Note: If you are struggling with breastfeeding, contact Beaumont’s Parenting Program for resources. Also, check out this valuable information about the first few weeks with your baby.

Incorporating Breastfeeding in Your Life

image credit: farisyadanialfar

image credit: farisyadanialfar

Baby is born, mom is feeling a bit more rested, early breastfeeding challenges have been mastered and breastfeeding is well established.

Now what?  How do I incorporate breastfeeding into my life?  Beaumont’s Prenatal & Family Education Department has developed a class to assist moms with incorporating breastfeeding into their “new normal”. Continue reading ‘Incorporating Breastfeeding in Your Life’

Limit Your Exposure to Limit Toxins in Your Breastmilk

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Breast milk is nutritionally the best food for infants and contains all the substances a child needs for optimal growth and development. However, breast milk contains low but measurable concentrations of environmental contaminants, health-harming chemicals from industry and manufacturing products that are widely spread in the environment.

Environmental contaminants enter the body through food and are partly excreted in breast milk. The contaminant levels in breast milk reflect those in the mother’s body and are therefore ideal for monitoring exposure levels.

Norwegian women are among the mothers in the world who breast-feed their children longest; about 80 per cent of babies receive breast milk when they are six months old, and it is not unusual to breastfeed until the child is more than eighteen months old. This makes it especially important to study which contaminants infants are exposed to through breast milk in Norway.

The Department of Analytical Chemistry at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health has recently investigated how the content of environmental contaminants in breast milk changes during the lactation period for each mother. Over 30 compounds of known contaminants such as brominated flame retardants, PCBs, and perfluorinated compounds were studied.

The study shows that the levels of almost all compounds in milk decrease with time, and are reduced by 15-94 per cent within a year of lactation. From previous studies we know that the levels of known environmental contaminants in breast milk and blood have fallen sharply in recent decades. The exceptions are brominated flame retardants and perfluorinated compounds, which first began to decline around the turn of the century.

The decline shows that measures taken by industry and by authorities to reduce the spread of these substances into the environment has meant that the population does not ingest as many environmental contaminants as before. (Science Dailey, January 11, 2012.)

What steps do you take to curb the amount of toxins you and your baby are exposed to? Do you think industries and the government could do a better job of helping with this?

–Mary Anne Kenerson RN, Coordinator, Prenatal & Family Education at Beaumont 

Editor’s Note: If you are struggling with breastfeeding, contact Beaumont’s Parenting Program for resources. Also, check out this valuable information about the first few weeks with your baby.

Reinforcement of Colostrum as “Liquid Gold”

The ingredient called pancreatic secretory trypsin inhibitor, or PSTI, is found at its highest levels in colostrum — the milk produced in the first few days after birth.

The lining of a newborn’s gut is particularly vulnerable to damage as it has never been exposed to food or drink. The new study highlights the importance of breastfeeding in the first few days after the birth.

The researchers found small amounts of PSTI in all the samples of breast milk they tested but it was seven times more concentrated in colostrum samples. The ingredient was not found in formula milk.

The researchers examined the effects of PSTI on human intestinal cells in the lab. When they inflicted damage to the cells they found that PSTI stimulated the cells to move across the damaged area forming a natural protective ‘plaster’. They also found that PSTI could prevent further damage by stopping the cells of the intestine from self-destructing. Additional research suggests that PSTI could reduce damage by 75 per cent.

PSTI is a molecule which is normally found in the pancreas where it protects the organ from being damaged by the digestive enzymes it produces. Research suggests that it plays a similar protective role in the gut. (Science Dailey, June 30, 2009)

If you are struggling with breastfeeding, contact Beaumont’s Parenting Program for resources.

Also, check out this valuable information about the first few weeks with your baby.

–Mary Anne Kenerson RN, Coordinator, Prenatal & Family Education at Beaumont 

There’s a Reason Milk Makes Babies (and Adults) Sleepy

image credit: Instagram @chelsea_botha

image credit: Instagram @chelsea_botha

Consider this if your baby is having some sleep issues.

Breast milk contains various ingredients, such as nucleotides, which perform a very important role in regulating babies’ sleep. The new study 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 realize that milk induces sleep in babies. 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”. (Science Dailey, October 2, 2009)

If you are struggling with breastfeeding, contact Beaumont’s Parenting Program for resources.

Also, check out this valuable information about the first few weeks with your baby.

–Mary Anne Kenerson RN, Coordinator, Prenatal & Family Education at Beaumont 


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