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How Critically IIl Babies Benefit Most From Breastfeeding
Skin to Skin After A Cesarean Section
Pregnancy, Breastfeeding and Arthritis
Breastfeeding A Three Year Old Child
Iron, Vitamin D, Calcium and Folic Acid Are Some Essential Nutrients That Every Women Needs While Breastfeeding

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How Critically IIl Babies Benefit Most From Breastfeeding

To everyone around the world, after you read this, please like my facebook page, Breastfeeding With Love.  I hope you enjoy this blog.

     Breast milk is the most nutritional food you can feed your baby in the NICU.  It is filled with nutrients, vitamins and antibodies that can help a NICU baby get stronger and healthier.  “The immunological and anti inflammatory properties of human milk are especially important for the critically ill, infants in our intensive care units,”  said Diane L. Spitz, nurse researcher and director of the Lactation Program at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, CHOP.  Some babies will be able to breastfeed during their stay in the NICU while other babies will need breast milk fed to them through their feeding tubes or bottle.  I have had the experience of having two sons who were in the NICU. 
     I remember going home and pumping my breast milk every three hours at home and sending the bottles with my husband for our baby in the NICU and they fed it to him through his feeding tube.  One of our sons spent four weeks in the NICU.  I had to teach him how to breastfeed when I came home. 
     If you need to pump for a while for your NICU baby, I highly recommend a hospital grade pump or a good electric pump.  Many insurance companies are now paying for you to get a pump through the Affordable Care Act.  After you give birth, call your insurance company and see if you can get one.  Some of them are worth close to three hundred dollars, well worth the call.
     Try to pump in a comfortable place, eat and drink well, find time to rest.  This will all help your milk production.  What ever you pump for your baby is so important to bring to the hospital because this breast milk is especially designed for babies in the NICU.  It has more infection fighting substances in the milk.
     Ask a Lactation Consultant for help in the hospital while your baby is in the NICU.  Once you come home, you may want to call a Lactation Consultant, such as myself, at least one time to help you breastfeed.  A Lactation Consultant may recommend you use a nipple shield, a soft silicone nipple placed over the mother’s nipple sometimes used to help premature babies.  Additionally, a Lactation Consultant can help weigh your baby before and after to see how much your baby is eating.  Your pediatrician may recommend supplementation for a while.  As the baby gets stronger and bigger, supplementation will be decreased and possibly be discontinued. 
     A Lactation Consultant can also go over Kangaroo Care, placing your baby on your chest skin to skin.  This will help warm the baby and be comfortable by hearing mom’s familiar heartbeat and breathing.
     In conclusion, don’t expect breastfeeding to be perfect at first.  Your baby has spent time in the NICU and there needs to be a period of adjustment for both of you when the baby comes home.  Your baby will benefit from any amount of breast milk you can produce.  Breastfeeding is a personal decision.  You need to make the right decision for you and your baby.

Skin to Skin After A Cesarean Section

 
     Skin to skin is an amazing time to bond with your new baby.  There are so many benefits for a mom to hold her baby close to her skin.  In fact, early skin-to-skin care (also called kangaroo care) is a natural process that involves placing a naked newborn chest down on the mother’s bare chest and covering the infant with blankets to keep it dry and warm.  Ideally, skin-to-skin care starts immediately after birth or shortly after birth, with the baby remaining on the mom’s chest until at least the end of the first breastfeeding session (Moore, Anderson et al. 2012.)  Therefore, hospitals need to be well informed of the importance of skin to skin.  Early skin to skin can done right after delivery, as soon as possible or within the first twenty four hours.  If a mom cannot hold her baby right away, dad can do skin to skin.
     Sadly, in the United States, Cesarean births are on the rise.  Importantly, the rate of Cesarean births has increased significantly in the U.S. and currently averages around 32%– or 1.4 million American babies born by Cesarean (Menacker and Hamilton, 2010.) Many of my patients have had Cesarean births.  I tell them to breastfeed their baby as soon as possible after delivery.
     Skin to skin helps babies in so many ways including in their development physically, emotionally, mentally and socially. In fact, preemie babies benefit in so many ways with skin to skin.  There are so many benefits for both mom and baby during skin to skin time.  Some of them are:  baby blood sugar level stays good, mom gets less engorgement in the first few days, mom is less anxious because she is holding her baby in her arms.  Furthermore, the baby cries less.  The baby has a better heart rate and temperature level because he is skin to skin with his mom.
     Sometimes barriers get in the way and the mom is not able to hold her baby right away.  Some barriers may be mom is too nauseas after giving birth.  Additionally, mom may have to wait until her anesthesia wears off and she can feel her arms so she can hold her baby.  Her IV, oxygen monitor or heart monitor stickers have to be placed so she can pick up the baby.  Routine procedures for the baby such as getting the baby’s Apgar score, weighing and checking the babies, may delay skin to skin.  One of the main perceived barriers to implementing skin-to-skin care after a C-section is because hypothermia (low temperature) in babies is more common after a C-section. Babies who are born via Cesarean are at higher risk of hypothermia because the operating room temperature is kept quite cold, mothers undergoing a Cesarean may have a lower body temperature, and babies were exposed in utero to drugs that may affect their temperature (Moore, Anderson et al., 2012).  Some of these barriers need to be broken and different protocols need to be put into place to allow the family to experience a once in a lifetime moment of beginning life holding their baby skin to skin.
     Hospital policies usually control whether the baby can be with you in the recovery room.  Talk to your nurse and doctor before you go into the operating room and express your wishes to do skin to skin and breastfeed as soon as possible immediately after delivery. 
     In conclusion, skin to skin early on is safe and beneficial.  Hopefully, hospitals will see the importance of skin to skin in the first hour and help women who have had a Cesarean hold their baby.  It is a great start for both mom and baby.  I hope hospitals around the world will encourage women to do skin to skin after they have had a Cesarean Section.  This way, the baby will be in the warm, loving arms of their mom and feel safe, nurtured, protected and loved.

Pregnancy, Breastfeeding and Arthritis

 
 
     There are many health benefits to breastfeeding your baby. Moms with Arthritis may face special challenges while breastfeeding their baby.  You can help assist these moms by giving them words of encouragement, helping them find good ways to hold their baby etc…
     Some women have Arthritis before they conceive or breastfeed.  What are the types of Arthritis? Osteoarthritis is the most common form.  It usually puts wear and tear on your joints.  Usually it occurs where you have injured a joint or in the elderly.  Inflammatory Arthritis covers over 120 different diseases.  Not only does this disease affect the joints, it also affects other body parts.  Some types of Arthritis include Rheumatoid Arthritis, RA Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, SLE or Lupus, Systemic Sclerosis.  They can range from mild to severe.  RA is an autoimmune disease, a condition that causes pain and swelling in the joints.  It can affect the hand, feet or wrists as well as other parts of the body can also be affected.  Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain syndrome sometimes also called arthritis of the muscles. 
     More then half of pregnancies in the world are unplanned.  The American Academy of Rheumatology, ACR, recommends that a woman’s Arthritis be controlled six months before conceiving.  Some women with Arthritis often feel better during pregnancy.  However, after delivery often doctors recommend moms to have someone help them because Arthritis may flare up where their shoulders, wrist and elbows hurt making it hard to position the baby for breastfeeding.  This is where I come in as a Lactation Consultant and help them position their baby in a more comfortable way.
     Evaluating medications a patient is taking is top priority.  Here is a list of drugs harmful during pregnancy and breastfeeding for Arthritis.  This list was developed by a group of OB-GYN doctors, Rheumatologists and Internists placed on the ACR website. 
Drugs that are good while pregnant and breastfeeding are:
Anti-tumor necrosis factor(anti-TNF) drugs
Antimalarials
Azathioprine(Imuran) (probably OK during breastfeeding but check with your doctor)
Corticosteroids
Cyclosporine  (ask you doctor if OK  during breastfeeding)
Heparin
NSAIDS ( avoid after 32 weeks)
Sulfasalazine (Azulfidine)
 
These drugs should not be taken during pregnancy or breastfeeding
Cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan)
Methotrxate (Rheumatrex, Trexall)
Mycophenolate (Cellcept, Myfortic)
Waefarin ( OK after first trimester and breastfeeding)
 
 
 
The ACR goes further and recommends men should speak to their doctors who are on drugs for RA three months before conceiving because some drugs such as Methotrexate and Cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan) can affect sperm cells.
 
     There are other important facts about Arthritis.Yeast Infections are sometimes more common because moms may be more susceptible during her medication use.  Furthermore, if she gets cracked nipples, she could develop thrush.  Another interesting fact is that many cases of Arthritis are believed to result from an interaction of genetic as well as environmental factors.  Women tend to suffer more then men.  Raynaud’s Phenomenon is another possible symptom of Fibromyalgia.  Raynaud’s involves constriction of blood vessels in the hands and veins that they blanch or turn blue.  It can also turn red as the blood rushes back. 
     Fatigue and sleep deprivation can occur with moms who suffer from Arthritis.  In fact, a mom with Arthritis may be at a greater risk of postpartum depression.  Antidepressents may have to be used to not only control Arthritis but help with sleep.  Consult with your doctor before using any drug while breastfeeding.
 
     In conclusion, further research needs to be done with Arthritis, pregnancy and breastfeeding.  Moms with Arthritis need to be given accurate information so that they can make informed decisions on their condition.  Helping moms use proper pillows and positioning moms right while breastfeeding will help ease joint pain.  Help the mom get her pain under control so she will have a good night sleep and feel rested.  Make sure she is taking the right and safe drug while she breastfeeds.   Enjoy breastfeeding.  It is a beautiful time to bond with one another.
 

Breastfeeding A Three Year Old Child

 
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     The World Health Organization reports that the world average for breastfeeding is 4.2 years and they recommend that all children be breastfed for at least 2 years.  Most children around the world are breastfed 3-5 years or longer.  In the United States, few moms are still breastfeeding at one years old.
     There are emotional benefits of a mom breastfeeding longer.  In fact, people feel that kids are more attached to their moms who breastfeed longer but, in reality, they are not.  Furthermore, our lives are so hectic and busy these days, that breastfeeding gives moms the opportunity to slow down and relax and enjoy their baby.
     Chances are if you are still breastfeeding your 3 year old son, your family, friends, and strangers are making negative comments about it.  It is sad because is no harm in breastfeeding your toddler.  As a matter of fact, it is still beneficial.
     Multiple studies show that breastfeeding is beneficial for both mom and her baby.  It contains amazing antibodies and nutrients designed especially for your baby.  In fact, the more a child is breastfed, the lower their rates are for diseases.  Breastfeeding can also lower rates for ear infections, eczema, diarrhea, sudden infant death syndrome, obesity, leukemia and childhood diabetes. Breast milk has nutritional components even when a child is 3 years old. Additionally, breast milk contains long chains of polyunsaturated fatty acids that build brain tissue.  It has been proven that mothers who have breastfed also have lowered their chances for breast and ovarian cancer. 
     Time Magazine, a few years ago, put on their front cover page a mom who was breastfeeding her three year old child.  This magazine article fueled many nursing debates all over the world.  The Time Magazine article had mixed reviews.  The story centered on “attachment parenting.”  The woman on the cover was Jamie Lynne Graumet.  She did not understand what was the big deal that she was still breastfeeding her 3 year old.  Mayim Bialik, an actress and mom, is a proud advocate of attachment parenting.
     Here are the 8 suggestions for the idea of attachment parenting principles:
  1. Make sure you prepare for parenting and birth
  2. lovingly feed your child when hungry
  3. react with sensitivity
  4.  nurture them with touch
  5.  provide for good safe sleep
  6.  provide consistent and loving care
  7.  discipline positively
  8. strive for balance in personal family life
 
 
     In conclusion, unfortunately, there is so much negative attitude about breastfeeding an older child.  Just do what you feel is right for you and your baby.  Don’t listen to what anyone else says.  This is your choice and if you feel it is the right thing to breastfeed your three year old son, then do it.
 

Iron, Vitamin D, Calcium and Folic Acid Are Some Essential Nutrients That Every Women Needs While Breastfeeding

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     Being healthy is important for both you and your baby.  So, are you getting enough good nutrients in your diet while you are breastfeeding?  Breastfeeding women need an increased number of calories and nutrients, in order to maintain a good milk supply.  The best way to do this is to maintain a well balanced diet, which includes getting enough fruits and vegetables, protein, grains, taking your mutivitamins and limiting you fat intake.
     The energy and nutritional requirements for women who are breastfeeding are greater then those women who are not.  Furthermore, women need approximately 500 extra calories a day.  Eating a variety of foods daily helps you get all the nutrients you need.  Your body needs carbohydrates, proteins and fats for energy.
     In this blog, I will focus on iron rich foods, folic acid, calcium rich foods and Vitamin D.  Iron rich foods such as lean red meat, kale, spinach, beans, lentils and fortified breads and cereals are good.  Iron is important for the production of hemoglobins or red blood cells that carry oxygen.  Women need more iron then men.  Folic acid can be found in citrus fruits, leafy greens, beans and peas.  It is essential for the development of the nervous system.  It also helps build up RNA and DNA, nucleic acids in all living organisms.  Breastfeeding moms need to increase their consumption of folic acid.  A prenatal vitamin is good for this.  Calcium rich foods, such as low fat or fat free milk are great while breastfeeding.  Yogurt, almonds, dark green leafy vegetables, sardines and tofu are also good.  Calcium is needed to help form new bone cells.  Vitamin D helps to activate calcium and keep bones strong.  Fish and the sun are good sources of Vitamin D.  Use sunscreen when you are out in the sun.
     In conclusion, eating a variety of foods can help you and your baby get all the nutrients that you both need while breastfeeding. Make sure you incorporate foods rich in iron, folic acid, Vitamin D and calcium into your daily diets.   In addition, many health care professionals recommended a daily prenatal vitamins supplements.  If you have any questions about what you are eating or need to eat, talk to your healthcare provider

Breastfeeding And The Wisdom From Grandparents

 
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     Congratulations on becoming a grandparent. It is one of the greatest and joyous in life.  I know because I am a grandparent.  As a grandparent, there comes a time when we need to lend support and encourage our daughters and daughter in laws to breastfeed.  This will make all the difference in the world. You daughter or daughter in law will feel more confident and reassured that she too can breastfeed.
     Some hospitals even have grandparent classes.  Besides encouraging and supporting breastfeeding, grandparents can help with child care duties.  While the baby is being breastfed, discuss with your daughter or daughter in law how you can help.  You can work around the house doing chores such as laundry, cooking and cleaning.  You can clean and sterilize bottles for the breast pump.  If your daughter or daughter in law is returning to work and you have time, you can offer to babysit for your grandchild.  Additionally, help limit the amount of guest you daughter or daughter in law has so she can recuperate from delivering her baby.  Help her get plenty of well balanced meals.  Make sure she gets plenty of rest and trying to catch up with sleep during the day, such as taking a nap. You can also change the bay diaper, bath the baby, sterilize breast pump parts, etc….
     Breastmilk is the healthiest food for your grandchild.  It contains antibodies for protection against infection.  It contains special ingredients to promote brain growth.
     Breastfeeding helps the mother’s health in many ways. It helps the uterus return to prepregnancy shape.  In fact, a mother loses weight faster while breastfeeding.  It may even reduce mom’s risk of ovarian and breast cancer and help with osteoporosis, a brittle bone disease.
     How can you tell if a baby is getting enough breastmilk?  A baby needs to be fed at least 8 to 12 meals in 24 hours for the first few weeks.  A baby should have wet diapers as follows:  first day-1, second day-2. third day-3, fourth day-4, fifth day-five and six day and on- 6 to 8 diapers daily.  Your baby may have a dirty diaper after every feeding or  every few days.  Call you pediatrician if you have any additional breastfeeding questions.
     Breastfeeding is good for mom and her baby.  Breastfeeding is a new skill and may take time to learn.  If you are having pain after latching the baby on call a Lactation Consultant.  As a Lactation Consultant, I will position your baby correctly and make sure milk is being transferred properly.  I also show you how to fingerfeed your baby and supplement at the breast while breastfeeding.  I can even help a new mom with a low milk supply. 
      In conclusion, being a grandparent is one of the greatest joys in this world.  Giving your daughter or daughter in law love, support, words of wisdom and strength, makes breastfeeding so much easier.  Communication between a grandparent and the new mom is so important because this will prevent family conflicts of how to raise the child, certain ways to care for the child etc….    By encouraging your daughter or daughter in law to breastfeed her baby, you are making a valuable nutritional investment for your grandchild’s future.  Just be patient and things will come together magically.

Breastfeeding After Breast Cancer

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     One in eight women will detect Breast Cancer in their lifetime.  Today, it seems like every other household has or knows someone who has had Cancer, including my own family. First of all, I want to say that I admire every woman in the world who has courageously fought Breast Cancer.  Today in this blog, I want you to know that I want to encourage, educate and support your decision to breastfeed your baby after Breast Cancer. With the love, hope, strength and incredible bravery you all have shown and the way your families have showered you with love, you have gotten through it.  It is a reminder to all of us to cherish each and every moment in our lives that we have with our loved ones.
     There are several surgical procedures that I want to talk about in this blog.  A Lumpectomy is the removal of a breast lump.  It is an incision made on your breast.  If this surgery is performed near the nipple area, it may damage milk ducts and nerves on that breast.  If it is followed by radiation, the milk supply may be compromised even more.  Ask your doctor before surgery and speak about your plans to have a baby and breastfeed.  It is possible for one breast to make enough breast milk for your baby.
     Another surgical procedure of the breast is a Biopsy.  A Biopsy is the removal of a piece of breast tissue through surgery.  A Biopsy can affect the milk supply if it is made near the areola or nipple.
     A Mastectomy is the removal of a whole breast.  There are various kinds of Mastectomy.  They are Simple, Total, Modified Radical, Radical and Subcutaneous
( Nipple Sparing).  If you have a double Mastectomy, then you will have to ask your doctor if you can breastfeed.  It all depends on what type of surgery you have had.  Like I said above before surgery, discuss with your doctor about your plans to have children and breastfeed.  Your doctor will try to do the most minimal amount of interruption to your milk ducts and nerves around your areola and nipple. “Young women who are treated with breast- conserving therapy and radiation for early stage cancer might experience subsequent full term pregnancies and successful breastfeeding on the untreated breast and some women may successfully breastfeed on the treated breast.” (Mamel, Martens, Walker, 2008) After a Mastectomy, depending on how much tissue is removed, the breast may not be able to make milk.  Furthermore, radiation therapy can further cause damage to any remaining breast tissue. 
     Breastfeeding after Breast Cancer is not dangerous for the mother or child.  You just need to ask your doctor what is right and safe for your particular case.  As a Lactation Consultant, when a patient expresses a desire to breastfeed after Breast Cancer, I evaluate all possible options available for you.  Together as a team, I try to help a mom achieve her desire to breastfeed her baby.
     Sometimes a Supplemental Nursing System (SNS), may be a good solution and help a mom breastfeed on the side that did not have surgery.  The SNS system keeps milk in the bottle and helps with the baby continuing to stimulate the baby to breastfeed consistently. 
     Just last week, I was amazed to see a baby latch on his mother after she had Breast Cancer.  We both became very emotional.  I felt at that moment that this is the reason that I became a Lactation Consultant, to help moms achieve their special goals and succeed in breastfeeding their baby.
 
 
     Some women have to take Tamoxifen for many years after Breast Cancer. Tamoxifen (taken to prevent cancer) inhibits milk production. (Helewa, Levesque and Provencher, 2002)  Always consult with your doctor and ask questions if you are unsure of your treatment regimen.
     In conclusion, with proper information and breastfeeding medical advice, women who have survived Breast Cancer, can safely breastfeed their baby.  In fact, breastfeeding from an unaffected breast can be successful and should be encouraged.  I hope all you moms out there will succeed in achieving your goal of breastfeeding your baby. Enjoy this time together. 
                       

Breastfeeding And Hypoplasia/ Insufficient Glandular Tissue


 
 
     It is a dream and desire for women all over the world to breastfeed their baby. However, sometimes things happen and you are born with a condition that prevents you from completely breastfeeding your baby.  Therefore, you may need to use a supplemental feeder with formula or donor milk inside, as well as breast milk to help nourish your new baby.  One condition that plays a role in diminishing your milk supply is called Hypoplasia of the mammary gland or Insufficient Glandular Tissue. IGT.   Unfortunately, this condition will lessen your breast milk production.
     Breast Hypoplasia is a condition where one or both breasts never mature or develop properly. It is also referred to as breast Hypomastia or Micromastia.  Here the breast tissue never matures into a developed adult organ. In fact, Hypoplasia can also interfere with successful breastfeeding.  Therefore, some women have limited mammary functions, where the breasts have never fully matured.  This is where a Lactation Consultant can come into play.
      I am an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant in private practice.  I would recommend using a supplemental feeding system while breastfeeding your baby, if you have Hypoplasia. If a mom doesn’t have enough breast milk then, you can use formula or a donor milk. Discuss this over with your pediatrician and your family members and decide which one is right for you.  I respect any decision a mom makes for her child.  I help guide the mom to reach her breastfeeding goal any way she wants to.
     Additionally, when a mom has Breast Hypoplasia, the breasts may be widely spaced apart or symmetrical and lack normal fullness.  There is an absence of glandular tissues which may make the breasts look smaller or elongated and tubular.  These women may lack the female hormone progesterone.  Without this hormone, mammary glands cannot form.  These glands are needed to produce breast milk.  These women may need hormone replacement therapy as well as breast augmentation surgery.
     Once a mom has been diagnosed with Hypoplasia, and you have made a decision to breastfeed, contact an IBCLC.  I know that if you contact me and it is your desire to breastfeed, I will do everything in my power to help you succeed in breastfeeding.  You just need to make peace with your situation and realize that you will need to supplement with either formula or donors milk.  This is something you need to discuss with your pediatrician and family.
     In conclusion, if you have Hypoplasia, talk to your doctor about the best options for you to make breastfeeding a great experience.  A supplemental feeding system will help you breastfeeding experience go well.  Just take it one step at a time and be proud of yourself that you are attempting to breastfeed your baby.  You have made an excellent decision, one that you will cherish forever.  I am proud of every mom that tries to breastfeed their baby.  It is a bond that lasts forever. I know that Hypoplasia is a challenging situation but one that you can deal with and breastfeed your baby successfully.
                                                                     

Breastfeeding Helps Your Heart

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     Cardiovascular Disease is the number one killer of women.  Therefore, your heart is a very most important muscle to you.  Furthermore, moms need to stay healthy by getting regular exercise, eating a well balanced diet, getting sleep, not smoking or drinking too much alcohol.  Additionally, breastfeeding moms need to take good care of their heart.  Breastfeeding your baby can lower your risk of heart attacks later in life. In fact, by breastfeeding, after pregnancy, pounds start to come off because you are breastfeeding your baby therefore, you are lowering your cholesterol and blood pressure levels.
     Eating healthy is important to help reduce strain on your heart.  Start with a good breakfast, which may consist of a protein and good carbohydrates such as oatmeal.  By the way, oatmeal is good for milk production.  I recommend this to my new moms while breastfeeding.  For the rest of the day, eat balanced meals and healthy snacks such as fruits and vegetables, lean proteins such as skinless chicken or fish. I see new moms have a basket nearby filled with healthy snacks such as granola bars or anything you like. Eat healthy carbohydrates such as brown rice or whole wheat bread.  Remember, while breastfeeding, you are burning off 500 additional calories daily.
     The heart, like every other muscle in the body, needs exercise.  When you go for your six week check up after delivery, speak to your doctor and find out what is the best way to begin a moderate exercise program.  I tell many of my patients to begin by walking around their block with their new baby.  Walking is good for you and good for your baby.  You both can get fresh air.  Exercise also lowers blood pressure and cholesterol levels in your body.  Slowly increase your exercise according to your doctor’s guidelines.
     Try to stay away from stress.  I know having a baby can bring a new mom a lot of stress and anxiety. I have given birth eight times so that is the reason why I know how all you new moms feel out there.  However, you need to take time for yourself because you are important.  You need to be able to take a warm bath, read a good book, do something you like, get a nap in, go out with some friends for a lunch date alone , get a good massage etc…  I go to many homes a try to help relax the new moms so breastfeeding can go well.  After all, being stressed out can diminish your milk supply.  If you feel better, take a nap with your baby close by.  Try to do skin to skin with your baby to help relax yourself.
     In conclusion, the longer you can breastfeed your baby, the greater the benefits for your body.  Take breastfeeding one month at a time.  Remember, moms have a secret weapon when it comes to reducing cardiovascular or heart disease.  This weapon is breastfeeding.  Breastfeeding lowers the risk of developing heart disease.  Breastfeeding burns calories, helping moms lose their postpartum weight faster.  Good luck and enjoy breastfeeding your baby.
                                                                                                                                        

Breastfeeding and Antidepressent Medications

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     Many moms experience postpartum depression.  They delay taking medications because they are breastfeeding and feel it is harmful to their baby. However, moms can take certain medications while breastfeeding for depression. You need to work with your doctor to find which medication is right for you while breastfeeding.  Very few drugs are contraindicated, unsafe for mothers while breastfeeding.  However, a your doctor and you can figure out which one is the best drug for you to use while breastfeeding.
     Postpartum depression is a serious medical condition.  A woman may feel sad, down and depressed after she has a baby.  This can happen during the first three months after delivery.  It may make it hard for the mom to breastfeed.  Therefore, support counseling with mental health providers as well as getting on the proper medication, may help the mom recover and feel better in time.  Additionally, your doctor can speak to you about the risks and complications of the drug that you will both choose that is right for you while breastfeeding.  Breast milk is the best food for your baby.  Therefore, the doctor will take all this into consideration when prescribing you a drug and give you the least amount possible while breastfeeding.  Together, you both will make it through this dark journey and slower begin to feel better.  
     The most commonly used group of drugs in the antidepressent category come from the group of drugs called selective sertonin reuptake inhibitors(SSRIs).  Some additional drugs used include:  Zoloft (sertraline), Paxil (paroxetine), Celexa (citalopram) and Prozac (fluoxetine).  Because many of these drugs have side effects, each mom should weigh her options carefully while taking these drugs and breastfeeding. Lithium, the drug that is used to treat manic depression should be used carefully while breastfeeding.  If you need to be on this drug while breastfeeding, both you and the baby need to be monitored every few weeks.  Your doctor will know what tests are needed.If a mom needs the drug, Lamotrigine while breastfeeding, again the mom and baby need to be closely monitored, checking different levels and organ functions for both mom and baby.  I have been asked many times by my moms who suffer from different types of depression what drug they can take while breastfeeding.  I recommend they hear what their doctor has to say.  Additionally, Dr. Thomas Hale puts out a great website where you can look up the drug you are on.  You can also call me, a Lactation Consultant and I will tell you if it is safe to use while breastfeeding.  Furthermore, because a mom is on an antidepressent drug, it may delay secretory activation of breast milk therefore, the breast milk may initially come in at a slower pace.  Antidepressent drugs may also affect a moms mood, sleep pattern which may also affect breast milk volume.
     In conclusion, antidepressent drugs are very helpful for moms who need them, therefore you should take them and be closely monitored by your doctor.  Doctors will know what tests to run to make sure both mom and baby are healthy and well while breastfeeding and taking antidepressent drugs.  I wish all you moms best of luck.  I know this may seem like a hard time in your life but, remember to take it one day at a time and your journey will be bearable.

Dr. Thomas Hale Phd  Professor of Pediatric  Website
www.breastfeedingonline.com/meds.shtml