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March Madness 2015: My Tips For Breastfeeding Your Baby
Fenugreek,Thyroid Problems And Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding: When And How To Start Solid Foods
It's All About Nipple Cremes And Ointments While Breastfeeding
Human Breastmilk Fat Improves Growth in Premature Infants

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March Madness 2015: My Tips For Breastfeeding Your Baby

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     I call March Madness because there are a lot of births this months, therefore many moms who want to breastfeed.


     I am an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, here in the Houston, Texas area.  I have my own private practice.  Over the years, I have collected in my head, a few good pointers about breastfeeding.  I would like to share them with you.  Let me know if you agree.
     Breastfeeding is best for your baby.  It has all the right components, nutrients and vitamins that your baby needs to grow and flourish.
     Breastfeeding should come easily and naturally, or so I thought.  However, when I struggled to breastfeed my own children, I thought I failed.  I realized that breastfeeding takes time to master.
Here are a few pointers that I would like to share with all of you:

1.  It is important to try to breastfeed as soon as you delivery within the hour.  Finding the right position is important.  I usually stick to a cross cradle or football hold in the beginning.  Skin to skin is important.

2.  Staying calm and stress free is important.  Your baby can sense your feelings.  Try to relax and enjoy this time with your baby.

3.  Make sure you eat a well balanced diet and drink plenty of water to quench your thirst.  Breastfeeding helps burn off calories and makes your feel good.

4.  In the beginning, you want to try to breastfeed on both sides, as you are helping your body establish good milk production.  The first side we call the meal.  Usually your baby is on for about 10-30 minutes.  The second side, we call the dessert, where your baby may feed for about 10-15 minutes.  Alternate sides per meal.  Sometimes I tell my patients to breastfeed for about 20 minutes per side.  These are approximations.  After a few weeks, your baby may be satisfied with only one side.

5.  Ask for help from a Lactation Consultant if you can not do breastfeeding by yourself and need good pointers.  We are trained in the field of breastfeeding so we can help you succeed with breastfeeding.

6.  Do not compare yourself to other breastfeeding friends.  Some moms produce more milk or get their baby to latch on right away.  However, the majority of us do not.  It takes practice to make breastfeeding perfect.  This can be a set up for failure when you compare yourself to your breastfeeding friends.

7.  If you are worried about what your baby is getting from you, you can buy a baby scale for about 50 dollars to weigh your baby before and after you breastfeed.  This way, you know how much your baby ate.

8.  Buy or rent a good breast pump.  Many insurance companies are paying for pumps. Make sure you have the right breast shield flange. I correct 50% of my patients to larger flange sizes.  If this is not correct, it will tear your nipple. I like my patients to pump for several reasons but, one is to have extra breast milk, just in case.

9.  Buy a good pillow to support your position to breastfeed.  You can also use a pillow that you sleep on.  I prop the baby's head with 1-2 receiving blankets.  This gives the mom a great position for breastfeeding.

10.  Wear a good supportive bra and comfortable nursing pads.

11.  Sore Nipples-You can put your own breast milk on your sore nipples or use lanolin creme.  Some women use their own kinds of nipple ointment.  Let your nipples are out if they are sore.  Use comfort gels 1-3 hours at a time.  If you have bleeding nipples, chances are you have a poor latch.  You need to call a Lactation Consultant.

12.  Use a heating pad before breastfeeding or pumping.  It helps the milk flow better.  Use it for 5 minutes with a cloth in between your skin and the heating pad.  This is great for Engorgement.

13.  Use cold afterwards to help with swelling due to hormone changes.  This is also good for Engorgement.

14.  Burp the baby after feedings.  Keep the baby elevated for 30 minutes after feedings.

15.  Massage your breast while breastfeeding or pumping.  This helps the milk flow better.

     Breastfeeding can be challenging however, it is well worth it.  Set yourself small goals and take it one day at a time.  It will get better because the first few weeks are the hardest.  You and your baby are adjusting to each other.  This is a wonderful time for both of you.  Enjoy the moment.  I wish all of you a successful breastfeeding journey.  

Fenugreek,Thyroid Problems And Breastfeeding

     The Thyroid Gland plays a very important part of our body.  The Thyroid Gland secretes hormones that regulate our metabolism.  In fact,the disruption of the thyroid, throws other parts of the body off.  Hypothyroidism is an under active thyroid, while Hyperthyroidism is an overactive thyroid.  Women who are on medication for their thyroid problem, have a normal milk supply while breastfeeding.  However, some women want to increase their breast milk.  Foods or medications that help increase milk supply while breastfeeding, are called Galactagogues. Fenugreek is promoted as increasing your  milk production while breastfeeding.  Fenugreek is the number one herb recommended to help increase your milk while breastfeeding.
     There hasn't been enough studies done to support or show evidence that Fenugreek is effective for milk production.  Furthermore, just because it is a herb, doesn't mean it is safe.  If you have a thyroid problem, Fenugreek can influence the active thyroid hormone your body uses.  This will make hypothyroidism worse and reduce milk production.  Furthermore, Fenugreek reduces blood glucose levels, which can be a problem for women with diabetes or hypoglycemia,low blood sugar level.  Therefore, women who have these problems, should consult their doctor before takingFenugreek to help increase their milk supply.
     Some women have reported side effects of Fenugreek which have included:  diarrhea, gas, indigestion, heartburn and unusual smelling of the skin and urine, like maple syrup.  Some have even experienced even greater side effects such as internal bleeding, severe headaches, vomiting blood, numbness in the arms and legs and even have had a stroke.
     Your baby's digestive system can also be affected by Fenugreek. Additionally, if you have asthma, Fenugreek can make your symptoms worse.  
     Fenugreek is a legume and those who have peanut allergies may experience a cross reaction.  Therefore, stay away from Fenugreek.
     Do not take Fenugreek if you have a bleeding or blood clotting disorder.  As always, check with your doctor before you decide to take Fenugreek.  Dr. Thomas Hale, who is world renowned in the breastfeeding world, classifies Fenugreek as moderately safe, a Lactation Risk Category 3.
In conclusion,  it is not known whether Fenugreek can harm a breastfeeding baby or prove to have any positive effect on milk supply or breastfeeding.  Proceed with caution when using Fenugreek.  Check with your doctor before using Fenugreek.
     

Breastfeeding: When And How To Start Solid Foods

     The World Health Organization recommends exclusively breastfeeding for the first six months of life.   In fact, by exclusively breastfeeding your baby, you really establish a smooth transition from breastfeeding to introducing solid foods.  Breastfeeding can continue after introducing solid foods to your baby.
     In a study put out by The University of North Carolina School Of Medicine, published in Frontiers In Cellular And Infection Microbiology, researchers have looked into a baby's diet in its first few months of life.  They are now realizing that there are profound influences in the composition, diversity, stability of the gut microbiome.   (  The human gut is home to many living microorganisms and genetic material). These factors in turn influence the baby's ability to transition from breast milk to solid foods and may have long term health effects.
     There comes a time where breast milk no longer supplies all your baby's nutritional needs, therefore, solid foods are introduced.  What is a good time to make a transition from exclusive breastfeeding to introducing solid foods, for your baby?
      First of all, determine if your baby is ready for solids.  Ask your pediatrician when to begin solid foods.  The best time to start solid foods is when your baby is showing  interest.  Once solid foods are introduced, your breast milk will still provide the majority of necessary nutrients for your baby.  
      Start by introducing a few spoonfuls at a time of food.  Offer a new food approximately every few days so you can see if your baby has an allergic reaction to the food given.  Continue to add new foods gradually.  You can introduce finger foods when the baby gets older.  Be careful to give foods to your baby that may cause an allergic reaction such as :  eggs, tomatoes, dairy products, wheat products, onions, chocolate, fish, spicy foods or nuts.
     Breastfed babies digest solid foods better because breast milk contains enzymes that help digest fats, proteins and starch.  As the baby starts to tolerate solid foods, the quantity and variety of solid foods can be increased.
     Breastfed babies have all ready experienced a variety of tastes through foods in their mom's breast milk.  Now, new cereals and foods are an added bonus to a baby's world, as different foods are being introduced, one by one.  Additionally, some moms add their own breast milk to cereals that they give their baby.  
     As you increase the food intake for your baby, his need for breastfeeding diminishes, which may cause your supply to go down.   This is a normal process while breastfeeding and introducing food to your baby's diet.
     In conclusion, continue to breastfeed as you introduce solid foods to your baby.  Ask your pediatrician for a recommendation for your baby on starting solid foods.  Every baby is different and has different needs.  Babies enjoy tasting new foods however, breastfeeding your baby should continue.  Giving your baby solid foods does not mean you need to stop breastfeeding.  Enjoy this special time breastfeeding your little angel.  I hope the transition to solid foods goes smoothly for you and your babies.
     
     
    
     

It's All About Nipple Cremes And Ointments While Breastfeeding

   
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     Breastfeeding is best for your baby.  Getting a good latch is important however, sometimes that doesn't always go so well and your nipples crack.  That is when you need to decide whether you should call your doctor, OB/GYN and decide together which creme is right for your situation.
     Cremes that you apply to your nipple while you breastfeed, may get ingested by your baby.  Lanolin creme is safe while breastfeeding.  Lanolin can be applied before and after pumping and after every feeding session if desired.
     If you are in excruciating pain with cracked nipples, they may be infected.  Neosporin, Triple Ointment or Bactracin may help.  Apply these ointments after feeding.  If this does not work after a few days, you need to call your doctor.  
     In my private practice, I see a lot of cracked nipples.  I actually decided to write this blog because I have had a week of patients with lots of cracked nipples.  In my private practice, I see a lot of this.  If your nipples are bleeding, you need a rest from breastfeeding.  You will have to pump a few sessions until your nipples stop bleeding.  Then resume breastfeeding.
     Sometimes, yeast can infest nipple tissues.  When you nipples are cracked, yeast can enter.  You can call a Lactation Consultant to help you figure out what is going on.  As a Lactation Consultant, I do not prescribe medications, therefore, you need to call a doctor if you feel you have a infection.  Your doctor will prescribe an antibacterial creme.  
     Dr. Jack Newman has suggested an all purpose creme for nipples that are cracked and bleeding.  It is a combination of two antifungal ingredients, one antibacterial ointment and one steroid.  Please call your doctor before using this. (I personally feel it is too strong and not healthy to use).
     The simplest and healthiest way to treat cracked nipples is using your own breast milk.  Additionally, you need to let cracked, bleeding nipples air out.  Yesterday, as I was helping one of my patients who had a cracked nipple, we both started singing and made up our own song, It's all about the latch........to the tune of ,It's all about the bass song.  This is true.  If you have a good latch, your nipples will not get cracked.
     In conclusion, I am sorry you are suffering.  I know cracked nipples can be painful because I experienced this myself while breastfeeding.  Ask a Lactation Consultant or your doctor which ointment is right for you.  Good luck.  I hope you feel better real soon and enjoy breastfeeding your baby.

Human Breastmilk Fat Improves Growth in Premature Infants

     Premature babies often need special medical attention and care only found in a Newborn Intensive Care Unit, NICU.  Texas Children's Hospital in Houston, Texas cares for 1,000 of babies each year.  In fact, a study has just come out from Texas Children's Hospital doing research on premature infants and breastfeeding. 
     Researchers at the USDA/ARS Children's Nutrition Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children's Hospital have put out a report on Human Milk Fat, that it greatly improves growth in premature infants on August 15, 2014, in the Science Daily.
Babies who are born very small 750 to 1250 grams, need extra calories,  (1000 grams is about 2 pounds 2 ounces).  These babies lungs and other organs are still developing after they are born.  If the infant can gain weight and grow at a good rate, this increases and improves their outcome.  Babies will be fed breast milk in a tube and start breastfeeding around 33 to 34 weeks.  My son was born at 32 weeks.  He was feed with a tube for many weeks.  I remember pumping around the clock and bringing my milk to him.  Then when he actually started to breastfeed, many weeks later, it was an exciting moment for the both of us.  I breastfed him well over a year.
A diet for a premature baby may consist of mom's milk and donor milk, if a parent asks for this.  That is why it is important, if you have extra milk, call your local hospital NICU and ask where you can donate your milk.  Furthermore, your body knows that you had a preemie and your breast milk has extra minerals and proteins designed for your baby.  In the fist few weeks, your milk contains more protein fatty calories and calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, sodium and chloride.  Breast milk also has a laxative effect, which helps your baby pass its first bowel movement, meconium and throughout breastfeeding.  In fact, breast milk is easily digested.  Breast milk helps with brain growth and development.  Breast milk improves your baby's mental health too.
     Human and donor milk have good kinds of fats for these newborns.  However, these babies can only tolerate a certain amount of food in their stomach and intestines.  Please consider donating your breast milk to help save these babies.
     Preemies receive many benefits from breastfeeding including protection against infections, better developmental outcomes and stress.
Large proteins molecules called immunoglobulins cross the placenta and are stored while the fetus is growing inside a mom and during the first three months of life.  They also protect the baby up to 5 months after birth.  Therefore, it is so important to give your breast milk to your baby in the NICU.
     Don't leave milk out longer then 30 to 60 minutes, when your baby is in the NICU.  These little babies are very delicate and it is important to not allow milk to stand outside the refrigerator too long before using it.  Moms who cannot breastfeed their preemies need to pump every 3 to 4 hours.  While traveling to the hospital, put the milk in a cooler for transport.
     Make sure you wash your hands with soap before you pump. Pump 10 to 15 minutes per session.  Use a Hospital Grade Pump. 1-2 ounces is a good start per meal, 1 ounce equals 30cc and 2 ounces equals 60cc.
NICU babies do better with breastfeeding.  They can pace themselves on  how much they are swallowing and therefore they can maintain a good oxygen level.  Breastfeeding also provides these babies the warmth and physical contact they need from their mom.  Skin to skin is really important to do at this time.  Ask a nurse in the NICU or Lactation Consultant to help you with breastfeeding and pumping.  I get called many times to help these moms .
In conclusion, preemies face many challenges in the NICU.  Breastfeeding can really help your baby and it is the best nutrition for your baby.  Try to establish a good milk supply by pumping and breastfeeding.  Bring this milk to the NICU for your baby.   Everyday you give your milk or breastfeed your baby is the best possible nutrients you can give your baby to allow your baby to grow and nourish properly.  I am proud of every new mom out there that attempts breastfeeding.  I know breastfeeding can be hard and challenging however, it is very rewarding.  You are all doing an amazing job.  Enjoy your journey and time breastfeeding your baby.
 
    

Ankyloglossia, Tongue Tie While Breastfeeding

     Ankylogglosia is known as a tongue tie.  It is caused by an unusually short, thick lingual frenulum, a membrane connecting under the tongue and the floor of the mouth.  Some are mild and some are more severe.  Tongue ties affect about 4 to 5% of infants.
     Many studies have been done to see if a Lingual Frenotomy, also called Frenectomy, Frenulectomy or Frenuloplasty, a procedure performed to relieve tongue ties while breastfeeding.
     The evidence supports treating tongue ties for breastfeeding problems.  Many feel this is the right thing to do.  In my private practice, I see many babies with tongue ties.  I recommend each baby be seen by a specialist and Ear, Nose, Throat Pediatric Specialist.  Ask your pediatrician for a good referral.  Dentists also specialize in clipping tongues.
     Before the tongue tie procedure, many infants experience poor latch problems.  In many studies, it has been shown overwhelmingly that clipping the tongue and having this procedure, greatly improves the outcome of breastfeeding for the infant. 
Having your infant's tongue tie taken care of, also helps with their word articulation and helps them enunciate words and sounds better later on in life.   This is why, I greatly feel a tongue tie should not be ignored and a specialist should give you their opinion of whether your baby's tongue tie needs immediate attention or whether it can wait.
     In conclusion, there have been many studies done assessing the relationship between Frenotomy and breastfeeding symptoms.  Overall, the conclusion is that you need to have a Frenotomy to help reduce breastfeeding problems.  The baby latches on better onto the mother.  The mother feels less pain.  Breast milk is transferred better.  Make sure if your baby has a tongue tie, you address it as soon as possible.  The soon you address it, the better it is for your baby.  Speak to your pediatrician first.  Then see a specialist.  I have seen many moms breastfeed successfully after a Frenotomy.

Rheumatoid Arthritis And Breastfeeding

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     Many women suffer from Rheumatoid Arthritis, RA.  RA is a chronic inflammatory disease, thought to be called a genetically influenced autoimmune response (Riordan, 2005).  During pregnancy, many women with RA symptoms usually get better, even allowing women to go into remission, only for symptoms to return after delivery.  Prolactin, a milk production hormone, has been known to act as an immunostimulator (Brennan and Silman, 1994).
     There are many benefits to breastfeed your baby.  During breastfeeding, a woman needs to look down at her baby, causing a lot of pain in her neck.  There is a whole lot of strain on the neck, because breastfeeding is repeated every 2 to 3 hours around the clock for the first few weeks.  In fact, some women need physical therapy for their RA while they are breastfeeding.
     Moms need to find a good position to help with her baby on her breast.  Finding a comfortable position for her back, neck and hands is important while breastfeeding.  Use extra pillows and blankets if needed.  The cradle hold, cross cradle hold, football hold and side lying hold can be used while breastfeeding.  Ask a Lactation Consultant, I work hard in my private practice, to find the right position for each new mom.
     For the cradle hold, mom supports her baby’s head with the arm on the side as her nursing breast and the cross cradle uses the opposite arm.  For the football hold, the mom holds her baby at the side, with her elbows bent and supports her baby’s head in her arm.  You can use extra pillows or blankets under the baby’s head for additional support.  With lying down on her side, the mom holds the baby with one hand as the other breast helps guide the baby to her breast.
     Women need to talk to the Rheumatologist or Ob/ Gyn, to see what drugs are safe while breastfeeding.  Most medicines that are safe during pregnancy, are usually safe while breastfeeding.  Furthermore, ask your doctor if you need to continue taking your prenatal vitamins while breastfeeding, so you can receive additional vitamins while breastfeeding.
     If you are having a bad RA day, it is flaring up, and you are in constant pain, ask for help.  Have someone else take care of the baby for a while.  They can burp or change the baby’s diaper if needed.  Sometimes, switching breastfeeding positions during the day helps.
     If you cannot breastfeed due to severe pain from RA, you can pump.  Call a Lactation Consultant or your doctor to help you out.  Buy a Hands free pumping bra to help hold the pump bottles in place, so you don’t need to use your hands.
     In conclusion, have a good support system to help after delivery, while you breastfeed.  Speak to your Rheumatologist and Ob/Gyn about breastfeeding. I hope all of you enjoy breastfeeding and this special time bonding with her baby.
The following is a list of drugs you can take while breastfeeding with  RA.
Antitumor necrosis Factor drug
Antimalariasis
Azathioprine
Corticosteroids
Cyclosporine
Heparin
NSAIDS
Sulfasalazine
 
These drugs are NOT good to take while breastfeeding
Cyclophosphamide
Methotrexate
Mycophenolate
Rituximab
Warfarin-this drug may be ok
With all the above list, ask your doctor which drug is right for you during breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding A Down Syndrome Baby

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     Down Syndrome is one of the most common genetic birth defects.  Additionally, many of these babies have health problems, with some type of degree of mental retardation and as well as characteristic physical features.
     The most common type is called,Trisomy 21.  These babies have three copies of the 21 chromosome.  A human being has 23 chromosomes, which contain genetic material from your parents, half from your mom and half from your dad.
     Breastfeeding a baby with Down Syndrome can be challenging.  In these past few weeks, I have had the pleasure and honor of working with a beautiful mom and her little angel, who has Down Syndrome.  Both of them have done an amazing job.  I am so proud of this mom because she has tried so hard to breastfeed her daughter.  She knows that breast milk provides her daughter with so many amazing benefits and nutrition.  Furthermore, I have told her to be more patient with her because her baby has a weaker suck and low muscle tone, making it harder to learn to breastfeed.  I watch how patient this mom is with her.  I leave her home saying to myself, how lucky this little girl is because she has such a wonderful mom and extended family who is showering her with so much love.  The mother tells me that when dad comes home from work, he cannot stop hugging his beautiful baby girl enough.
     Breastfeeding improves tongue and mouth coordination for these babies with Down Syndrome.  This can be a real developmental advantage for them.  Therefore, if you can breastfeed your baby, you are really helping them in so many wonderful ways.
     Breastfeeding helps with the protection from infection.  Breast milk contains live cells and antibodies.  Moms passes these along to their babies, while breastfeeding.  These babies immune systems tend to be a little weaker, therefore breastfeeding really helps strengthen them.  Furthermore, breastfeeding helps with digestive problems because, it is easily digested and the best food that you can give to your newborn.  It also helps with skin problems.  Pump to make sure you have extra breast milk, in case your baby needs some more milk.
     I have used a nipple shield for this last baby with Down Syndrome.  It is easier for her to latch onto her mother’s breast.  She also gets sleepy and tires out more easily.  The nipple shield helps her stay focused, while feeding a little better.
      It is best to offer more frequent breastfeeding sessions.  Try to position the baby close to you and use extra pillows if needed.  You may need to support your baby’s chin and jaw by holding your hand under her chin in a, U hold.  This position is also called the, “Dancer Hold.”
     In conclusion, breastfeeding a Down Syndrome baby can be very challenging.  However, breastfeeding offers such a special bond between you and your baby.  It helps your baby grow in strength and muscle tone.  The extra skin to skin, closeness between mom and baby provides comfort therefore, it helps your Down Syndrome baby’s health and well being.  Just try to be patient and slowly breastfeeding will get easier and better for both you and your baby.  You are an amazing mom for breastfeeding your baby.  Keep up the good work.  I am so proud of all the moms in the world who breastfeed their babies.

Breastfeeding And Shingles

      Shingles, also known as the Herpes Zoster Virus or Varicella- Zoster (VZ) causes Shingles.  It is a viral infection that causes a painful rash and blisters.  This is the same virus that causes the Chicken Pox, when the illness is reactivated later on in life, at any age.  The Shingles virus travels along a nerve pathway to your skin.  With Shingles, the rash with blisters contain the virus.  It can appear on your back, neck, stomach, face or neck.  It can also appear  under your armpits, near your breasts.
     Once a breastfeeding mom is diagnosed, the question is can you now breastfeed your baby?  Your baby cannot get Shingles from your breast milk.  However, if you have lesions or blisters on your skin near your breast that are open or oozing fluids, you should not breastfeed.  You do not want your baby to have direct contact with these blisters.  Speak to the pediatrician about further exposure for your newborn.
     Your doctor will decide what medication to put you on.  Tell your doctor that you are breastfeeding.  Lets go over a few drugs that may be good while breastfeeding.  I looked them up in Dr. Thomas Hale's Book,  Medications and Mother's Milk.  Acyclovir- Zovirax, Lipsovir, Apo-Acyclovir, Aviraz can be used and have a minor affect on the newborn baby.  It does transfer in small amounts in breast milk.  Moms with lesions on the areola  or nipple, should not breastfeed.  Famciclovid:  Famvir-  It is probably safe.  At this time, there is no data on transfer into breast milk.  Valacyclovir or Valtrex- this drug transfes into breast milk.  However, it is safe for infants with few reported side effects.
     When can a breastfeeding mom start to breastfeed again?  If the lesions are only on one side of your breast, you can breastfeed on the unaffected area.  Try to cover the lesions just to take extra precautions, on the other side while breastfeeding.
     A newborn has a weakened immune system therefore, has the highest risk of catching the virus.  The virus spreads when the baby is in contact with the lesion.  Wait until it scabs over and you are no longer contagious to breastfeed.  The mother needs to pump her breast milk only when she remains clinically infectious.  The breast milk can be given to the baby only if there are no active lesions on the breast. (Lawrence and Lawrence, 2005)  
     If the doctor tells you that you need to pump and dump while the sores are healing, then you need to temporarily think of an alternative form of nutrition for your child.  Luckily, this will last for a short time.  As soon as the mother becomes noninfectious, it is okay to breastfeed in the United States.(Lawrence and Lawrence, 2005) 
     If you, as a mom, help your daughter while she breastfeeds, come into contact with her lesions, wash your hands well.  Shingles is only contagious if you have not had the chicken pox. It is contagious if the blister is open and oozing.  Wear gloves if you need to help her.  Older people need to think about getting a Shingles shot.  
     In conclusion, Shingles are contagious as long as the lesions, blisters are open and oozing.  Therefore, take precautions while breastfeeding.  Ask your doctor and the pediatrician for advice.  I am so sorry you are going through Shingles.  I have had a family member go through this, so I know the pain one experiences while recovering.  I hope you enjoy breastfeeding your child very soon.

Foods That Fight Breast Cancer

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     October is breast cancer awareness month.  So, it is a good idea to learn how you as a woman can lower your chances of breast cancer.
     What causes breast cancer?  Family history plays a large part of getting breast cancer.  Furthermore, breast cancer risk is elevated for woman who have had no children.  Estrogen exposure also plays a role in the development of breast cancer.
     Lifestyle plays an important role in developing breast cancer.  Maintaining a healthy weight is important.  Regular physical activity can reduce the risk of breast cancer.  In fact, eating right is important.  Choosing hormone free dairy and animal products, is a good place to start.  Try to avoid alcohol.  You should also avoid long term hormone replacement therapy.  In fact, long term exposure to our environmental carcinogens may play a role in getting cancer.
     Can what you eat protect you against breast cancer?  Eat less saturated fat and eat less red meat, butter and dairy products.  Use olive oil for cooking.  It happens to taste great in all foods and salads.  Watching your diet carefully, may help lower your risk for breast cancer. 
     Another good group of foods to eat are omega 3 fats, found in fish, especially salmon and sardines.  Choose chicken without the skin or fish over red meat.  Eat foods containing calcium, such as dairy products, yogurt and bony fish.  A diet high in antioxidants can lower your risk of cancer such as beta carotene, Vitamin C and Vitamin E foods. 
     Fruits and vegetables are a great source of antioxidant.  Best sources of beta carotene are sweet potatos, carrots, cantaloupe, pumpkins, butternut and winter squash, spinach, broccoli, mango and papaya.
     Here are a list of some anti cancer vegetables:  broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, eggplant, green beans, kale, red onions, radishes, soy, squash, sweet potato, tomato and yam.  Carrots, red tomatoes and green spinach are loaded with carotenoids. By the way, the American Cancer Society concluded that moderate consumption of soy foods appears to be safe for all women.
     Here are a list of fruits that are anti cancer fruits:  apricots, blueberries, grapefruit, grapes, lemons, mangos, persimmons, strawberries and tangerines.
      A high fiber diet is good.  The best anti cancer fiber sources are:  wheat bran, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, navy beans, whole wheat, whole grains, legumes and prunes. A diet high in antioxidants can lower your risk of breast cancer.  Vitamin C and Vitamin E foods are also good to eat. Additionally, try to drink green tea. Eat foods containing calcium such as dairy products, yogurts and bony fish.   Ask your doctor if you need to take a vitamin supplement. 
     Vitamin D exposure to the sun or fortified milk and other foods are good for a woman's diet.  Woman who have a diet high in Vitamin D may have a lower risk of breast cancer.
     Selenium is good for your diet, such as red snapper, lobster, shrimp, whole grains and vegetables, brown rice, cottage cheese, lamp chops, chicken, sunflower seeds and garlic.  Acidophilus, garlic and green tea are also good.
     In conclusion,studies show that certain foods play a role in breast cancer prevention and others in breast cancer.  Keep your diet low in total fat and very low in saturated fat.  Increase your fiber intake to lower cancer risk.  Use whole grains breads instead of white bread.  Eat beans, such as kidney and garbanzo beans.  Eat vegetable and fruits, full of nutrients colors and vitamins.  Eating healthy helps keep the cancer causing estrogen from promoting the growth of malignant calls, cancerous cells.  Learn to love yourself by finding time to take care of your health and your body.  You are all worth it.