Monday, January 31, 2011

Mad about Mama Milk Monday: Communication is the Key to Breastfeeding Success for Mama, Baby & World

love. Love. LOVE the recently announced theme for the 2011 World Breastfeeding Week, August 1-7...

The World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) is pleased to announce the World Breastfeeding Week theme for 2011 focusing on engaging and mobilizing youth intergenerational work with the catchy slogan of: "Talk to me! Breastfeeding - a 3D Experience".

I am so tickled about this focus because it encourages us all, breastfeeding mamas, lactivists, health educators, health care professionals and IBCLCs to think outside of the traditional box of breastfeeding support, and focus on communication as a key to breastfeeding success!  Without a doubt, communication mediums are changing constantly, therefore our way of reaching others must also evolve over time if we hope to be effective in our reach to the people we wish to serve/impact and effective in the outcomes of our work. 

Breastfeeding has been happening since the beginning of time- well since Adam and Eve became the parents of Cain and Abel, but that doesn't mean our support and education methods should mimic such archaic methods.  Don't get me wrong, I do not think that we need to muddy the waters with an overcomplicated message.  Just the opposite!  The beauty of today's technology, especially with social media at the forefront of daily communication, allows simple, effective and powerful messages to be disseminated with amazing impact!  These efforts can create outcomes (my wish list), such as:
  • increase awareness of the importance of breastfeeding
  • dispel myths of breastfeeding (pain, time commitment
  • reduce embarrassment of exposure
  • inform mothers of their options when it comes to a "low" milk supply
  • alter the "norm" of infant feeding to mother's milk
  • increase accessibility of pumping at work sites and not just acceptance, but ENCOURAGEMENT to breastfeed!
  • and much more!
Communication can, and will assist in making my wish list a reality!  I'm with ya WABA... and I'll help to communicate the wonders, beauty and life-saving importance of breastfeeding! 

Happy Milking Mamas!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Epidemic, shmecidemic... let's breastfeed!

Have you turned on the boob tube, read or opened a newspaper in the past 5 years? If so, chances are you've heard about the Epidemic that has swept our nation and is circling the globe... obesity!  Wow, so people are getting fatter at alarming rates.  Not only are we getting fatter, but we're getting fatter at a younger age than ever. According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), the following chronic diseases are directly linked to Obesity:
  • ♥ disease
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Cancers, such as breast and colon
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • High total cholesterol or high levels of triglycerides
  • Stroke
  • Liver and gallbladder disease
  • Sleep apnea and respiratory problems
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Reproductive health complications
Isn't that amazing?? That ONE condition could be directly linked to so many other chronic diseases, interfering with daily life activities, overall happiness/contentment, financial expenditures and much more?!!  I don't want to depress anyone with a blog post about death, morbidity and disease.  So, I think I'll shed a little light on this EPIDEMIC of GREAT PROPORTIONS-- OBESITY...

There are things you can do to prevent obesity and many other chronic diseases!  One AMAZING thing is... breastfeed.  According to The United States Breastfeeding Committee Chair, Joan Younger Meek, MD, MS, RD, IBCLC, "Multiple studies have shown that a history of not breastfeeding increases the risk of being overweight or obese in childhood and adolescence. Adolescent obesity often persists into adult life. Breastfeeding plays an important role in obesity prevention and improving overall health outcomes, and therefore is vitally important to public health."

According to Dr. Sears, research has also shown that even in infancy breastfed babies as a whole are leaner than their formula-fed peers. Studies have shown that children who are breastfed are less likely to be obese during adolescence, and that longer periods of breastfeeding greatly reduce the risk of being overweight in adulthood. Overweight children are more likely to become overweight adults. Since breastfed babies themselves control how much they eat, children who are breastfed learn to trust their bodies' signals about how much they need to eat and when. This builds healthy eating habits right from the start. Some parents might encourage a formula-fed baby to finish up the last ounce or two of milk in the bottle, but you can't do this to a breastfed baby. Have you ever tried?  I have... especially when very full.  But when a baby is finished, they're finished!

Dr. Sears (don't you love him?) also adds that babies who are breastfed are less likely to develop type 1 diabetes in childhood. Researchers have attributed this lowered risk of diabetes to the delayed introduction of cow milk in breastfed babies. In addition, researchers have shown a lower insulin release in breastfed infants compared to infants fed formula. This preventive effect is particularly important if you have a family history of diabetes.

Dr. Meek points out that the longer and the more exclusively babies breastfeed, the better their health outcomes. "Both duration and exclusivity should be considered when investigating the relationships between breastfeeding and obesity. The duration of breastfeeding has been shown to be inversely related to overweight--meaning that the longer the duration of breastfeeding, the lower the odds of overweight. And although further research is needed, exclusive breastfeeding appears to have a stronger protective effect than breastfeeding combined with formula feeding."
The value of breastfeeding to health of babies and mamas is evidence-based, solid, and continually being reaffirmed by new research. The review and analysis of breastfeeding research released in 2007 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Agency for Health care Research and Quality strongly supports the evidence-based research, which revealed the following success of breastfeeding:

For Child: reduced risk of ear, skin, stomach, and respiratory infections, diarrhea, sudden infant death syndrome; and in the longer term, reduced risk of obesity, type 1 and 2 diabetes, asthma, and childhood leukemia.

For Mama: reduced risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, type 2 diabetes, and postpartum depression.
Breastfeeding has been shown to help mamas shed pregnancy weight (burning up to 500 calories a day)!

Other steps you can take today to prevent obesity tomorrow...
  1. Eat a variety of fruits and veggies, and try to cut down of fatty foods. Swap out your nightly bowl of chips and dip with crunchy veggies and hummus, which is a personal fave!
  2. Get up and move!  You don't have to run marathons like my rock star friend Molly in order to fight off obesity.  Small steps add up to great success! Ways you can sneak in more physical activity each day:
    • Take the stairs! Hey if I can run up the Hancock building in Chicago just 4 months after having L, you can certainly forgo the 2 story ride up the escalator.
    • Dance! Whether you're training for the next season of Dancing with the Stars, or you have two left feet-- no worries. Throw your cares to the wind, crank up your favorite tunes and get jiggy with it! Dancing is a favorite indoor activity at our house.
    • Take Fido for a walk, or at least toss him a snowball.
  3. Get physical, physical... Olivia had the right idea. OK, I'm not talking about nookie with your spouse! Regular physical exams with your physician are important to your overall health.  Everything from mammograms to skin checks, and from monitoring your weight to discovering a tobacco cessation program perfect for you.  Bottom line: get a physical with your physician, you'll be glad you did!
It is clear-- Obesity has serious a serious reduction in health of Americans, increasing the risk of many chronic diseases and illnesses, including: coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, certain types of cancers, high blood pressure, stroke, liver and gallbladder disease, sleep apnea and respiratory problems, osteoarthritis, and gynecological problems.

Do your part to help stop the Obesity Epidemic... breastfeed for the health of us all.

Happy Nursing Mamas!
Please note: I in no way take Obesity lightly; and I fully recognize the magnitude of this global health crisis. If you have medical concerns, be sure to contact your family physician to receive a comprehensive assessment of your needs.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Waaa, Waaa, WAAA!

Every future firefighter has to start somewhere... 

We got a new ottoman yesterday and it's shipping box quickly turned into our very own fire truck!  If you use your imagination you can practically hear B's siren blaring through the family room.  Earplugs... I need earplugs with all the "boy" noises going on around here.  Honestly though when it's quiet in the house, which is rare, I go a little crazy and have to turn on the TV, music or call a loved one.  So, perhaps I'll forgo the boy-noise-blockers and savor the sweet screeching siren sounds seeping from our home's inner walls. On second thought, perhaps I'll buy some earplugs for our neighbors!

Take a good look at B's goldilocks because yours truly cut them all off last night.  It's a short 'do and it looks great... pics to come.

Happy Parenting!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Mad About Mama Milk Monday: National Compliment Day

Did you know today is National Compliment Day?! That's right.  So whether or not we need a special day set aside to compliment others; the day does encourage us to be mindful about offering compliments to those around us.  Being kind and sharing good cheer is something that I'd like to think comes naturally to everyone, but now we know that's not true.  But each of us can intentionally share kind words: compliments and encouragements to those around us.  Everyone from the mailman to our kids, co-workers to your spouse and everyone in between.

Here are my top 5 ways you can encourage a nursing mama with compliments:
    5.  Nice latch; you must be a great teacher!
    4.  Love the color of your nursing bra! Where'd you find it?
    3.  Your dedication to making breastfeeding work has really paid off. Kudos to you!
    2From a spouse or family member, Thanks for being so giving of yourself, so that ____ (my grandchild or our son) can have the best start at life.
    1.  I'm impressed by your ability to nurse your baby in a sling, while loading the dishwasher and taking a conference call.  What talent!

The best compliment and encouragement has come from my hubs, especially during the first few weeks of nursing each of our kids.  I can't recall one specific compliment, but his support has been unceasing.  He truly rocks my world!  Thank you honey for being the best male lactivist I know.  Without your support, I never could have made it as long as I have! (19 months with B, and 15 months and counting with L!)

I'd love to hear what compliment(s) have encouraged you along your nursing journey so that I can continue the compliment chain with others!  Please share...

Happy Milking Mamas!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Baby It's Cold Outside... And?!

Um, we live in northern O-H-I-O and cold weather is nothing out of the ordinary. It's also not out of the ordinary for winter to last 5 months; November through April. Every year I fluctuate between loving and hating the snow and seemingly never ending cold temps. I love playing outside with the kids. Although I should preface that... I really really really enjoy running in the snow pulling the kiddos in the sleds or chasing them through the snow. I do not enjoy making snowballs or snowmen. I know... I can't believe I admitted that as a mama of two young kids! I should love the romance of building a snowman, but really it seems as though the snow conditions are never exactly right. The snow is either too fluffy or too icy-- like my technical meteorology lingo?! Ha.

Well snow or no snow, right now it's just plan FRIGID! With temps in the single digits and windchill in the negatives playtime is inside- no exceptions. I fear that soon cabin fever will set in! Regardless of the temps outside, we've all got sillies, crazies and jiggles that need to GET out. Our top 10 ways to play inside at home include:
  1. Spinning:  B's version of dancing
  2. Dancing
  3. Jumping
  4. Puzzles
  5. Fire Calls: we're a fire family so fire trucks, firefighting, building stations and going out on fire calls are a big part of our daily lives.  oh and the kids' sirens... wowza. one word: LOUD.
  6. Baby rocking: L is such a lil Mama, which REALLY really really warms my heart!
  7. Story time
  8. Hide & Seek: B loves telling us where to hide and even then he gets scared everytime.  What a hoot!
  9. Baking/cooking together: B is a great helper in the kitchen!
  10. Starring out the window with our cheeks up against the pane while longing for spring, it's warmer temps, brighter rays of sunshine, peeking flowers and chirping birds... soon, soon enough.
How do you and your family keep active or entertained indoors, especially during the bitterly cold winter months?! 

Happy weekend & stay warm!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Breastfeeding Blog Hop

It’s Week 3 of the weekly Breastfeeding Blog Hop.

Link up to connect with other breastfeeding-friendly bloggers!

Host: @LifeWithLevi
Co-Hosts: @ashley_d00dle, @ABCGP
This Week's Guest Host: @BabyDickey

Here are the guidelines for this blog hop:
Follow the 4 blog hosts for the week (spots #1-4). Spot #4 will always feature a blogger randomly selected from the previous week's blog hop.

Link up your breastfeeding-friendly blog so others can find it. If you have posted about breastfeeding (and/or pumping) in the past or plan to post about breastfeeding, that's you!

Check out some of the other blogs from the Linky. Be sure to leave a comment on each blog that you found them through the Breastfeeding Blog Hop so they can follow you back!

Repost the linky (link for the code is in the lower right-hand corner of the linky below) on your blog to help promote the blog hop. Be sure to add some info about YOU so others have a place to say "Hi" & let you know they're following.

This blog hop will be active from Thursday, 01/20 - Sunday, 01/23.

About Me: I'm a Fire Wife, Mama to a preschooler & toddler, Lactivist, Public Health Educator, Christ-follower, & Diet Coke enthusiast. Follow me on Twitter @kbevan4

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Advice for first-time parents...

Becoming a parent for the first time is filled with emotion: excitement, fear, hope, nervousness and much more!  I wish I had known/followed these few pieces of advice as a first-time mama:
  1. Sleep when your baby sleeps. Everyone told me that, but did I listen?  Nope.  Ocassionally I took a nap, but not like my body, mind and spirit wanted needed me to!  Looking back I definitely wish I would have slept more when B slept-- at least during the first 4-6 months.  It's very true-- the cooking and cleaning can and will all wait!  But, sleep-- it is neccessary to function even on the most basic of levels! So be sure to get your Zzz's when the baby does.
  2. Keep in mind and TRUST the fact that every single stage, both easy and challenging, is only for a season.  Therefore, try your best not to get worked up about all the what-ifs and wondering if you're doing x y & z "correctly."  It's amazing, and you'll realize even more so as your little one becomes a toddler and preschooler, how quickly the stages truly go-- sometimes in the matter of minutes, one can go from hot to cold, from fighting sleep to sweet dreams, from loving sweet potatoes to hating them with a vengence-- flinging them across the room with an accuracy and speed worthy of a Cy Young Award. This has been my mantra with both kids, especially during long nights breastfeeding- leaving my sleep deprieved, yet thankful for our special nighttime dates!
  3. Go out on dates with your spouse!  If you do nothing else as a new parent, remember to keep your spouse-- the first love of your life-- at towards the top of your prioriety list!  I honestly believe that a strong marriage is the foundation to your family and parenting success! And I know you desperately long to succeed as a parent!  I'm here to tell you that it is SO easy to let special moments with your spouse get pushed aside by the needs of your child(ren), and rightfully so at times.  Kids are a great responsibilty that often need/demand your time, energy and love immediately (i.e. breastfeeding, kissing boo-boos, and general childrearing duties), which is naturally a big part of this stage of your life.  Maintaining a solid relationship with your spouse as your SPOUSE, not as Daddy, is extremely important. 

    So how can you maintain or strengthen your marriage, especially during the first few years as new parents?  Make time for one another!  This can happen at the end of the night once your little one is in bed by just cuddling on the couch watching your favorite flick; as a family date out for lunch or a scoop of frozen yogurt (especially during infancy when all they do is sleep); and every so often book a sitter or ask a grandparent to watch the kids while you and your love go out for dinner and a movie, go for a bike ride on your favorite path or simply go grocery shopping without kids(really THIS is a huge treat to me)!  Whatever you do, make it special by focusing on one another. 
Enjoy being a first-time parent.  It's an amazing, wonderful, sometimes rocky, yet always rewarding journey!  Your kiddos are your's so love them like no other, find joy in their quirks, laugh together each day and show love to their mama/daddy!

Happy parenting!

I love parenting these cuties... even on the hard days that require dark chocolate and lots of prayers!