Archive | October 2012

Normalizing Breastfeeding For Older Children Will Help Our Society View’s of Breastfeeding and of Women

breastfeeding

breastfeeding (Photo credit: sdminor81)

I just saw a post on Babycenter by a woman who is concerned about breastfeeding around her ten year old son. Some women had some great comments, such as one woman who said:

“I think it’s so important to nurse our babies in front of our other kids, especially boys. It normalizes breastfeeding, and teaches them a healthy attitude about what breasts are for. I was 17, and my little brother was 11, when my parents had our little brother. My Mom didn’t think twice about breastfeeding in front of us. My brother was never uncomfortable about it, and to this day doesn’t bat an eye about women breastfeeding their babies. He is 24 now, and so respectful of women who BF, and I really think that it is because of the experience of watching my Mom BF our brother that he has such a healthy attitude towards it.I think if you try to be discreet, or hide it all together, that it really sends the wrong message. Any discomfort he or you may feel in the beginning will be very short lived. It will become just a normal part of everyday life. I would just be as nonchalant about it as possible. The more comfortable you are, the more comfortable he will be.”

Another woman said that if you normalize breastfeeding for older children, it becomes a normal and natural thing instead of a weird gross thing, which unfortunately is the majority of our society’s view on breastfeeding.

I remember one time a guy I was dating asked me why he loved breasts so much, and I said it was probably because breasts are what he needed to feed his future babies, and he agreed because, well, it’s the truth! The reasons men and women are attracted to each other are all linked to fertility. Not feeding our babies the best nourishment in the world because we only view breasts as sexual objects is a major crime! Especially because the reason you are attracted to them in the first place is because they are a sign of fertility and will feed your babies!

I intend to add more research to this, but I really believe that if we make breastfeeding a normal and natural thing for older kids that our children will have more respect for themselves and for each other. Men would have more respect for women when they can view breasts as something more than sexual objects, and woman will also stop degrading themselves and feeling so uncomfortable about their bodies.

What to do and what to avoid when trying to conceive | Babble

Lifestyle and Fertility

What to do and avoid doing when trying to conceive

By Heather Turgeon on September 12th, 2011

Some couples seem to just conjure up the idea of getting pregnant and, bam: it happens. For others it can feel like a waiting game or a full-on uphill battle.

We know that age plays a big part: approximately one third of women ages 35 to 39 and half of women over 40 have trouble getting pregnant (defined as trying unsuccessfully for 12 months). And male age starts to be a fertility factor in the late 30′s as well – for example, one study found that for men between the ages of 35 and 40, the percentage who don’t conceive after 12 months goes from 18 to 28 percent.

That’s the somewhat inevitable part of the equation – we can’t always choose when we’re ready to have kids. But what about the aspects of fertility that we do have control over? What does the research say about how your environment, lifestyle, and health habits play into the complex process of baby making?

Diet

It’s not an old wives tale – what you eat can really affect your chances of getting pregnant. One of the biggest studies to examine the role of diet in fertility was conducted by Harvard researchers in 2007. After studying almost 18,000 women and asking about their dietary day-to-day, the scientists did indeed find a pattern of eating that seemed to boost baby-making potential. For example, moms with the lowest risk of difficulties getting pregnant ate fewer trans fats and sugars, more protein from veggies instead of animals, more fiber and iron, and consumed more high-fat dairy products than low-fat ones. The pattern held for women regardless of age.

Smoking

Babies and cigarettes don’t mix – this we know. And studies confirm that smoking lowers a woman’s chance of getting pregnant both naturally and when using fertility treatments like IVF.

And it’s not just that smoke hinders the process while mom is busy trying to get pregnant, the effect seems to reach from far back in the past. Women who were exposed to second-hand smoke as children have been shown to have a harder time getting and staying pregnant (with up to a 68 percent higher chance of miscarriage or difficulty conceiving). And smoking early in pregnancy is thought to reduce a fetus’ germ cells – which later turn into sperm and eggs. So quitting smoking before trying isn’t just a good idea for your own healthy pregnancy, it helps ensure that, down the line, your baby will have a healthy pregnancy too. And men aren’t off the hook here because smoking has been shown to lower healthy sperm counts as well.

Weight

We’ve always known that weight influences the reproductive cycle, and getting pregnant is no exception. An excess or deficit of fat cells seems to upset the delicate cascade of chemical events that are needed to make a baby.

Being overweight can exacerbate polycystic ovary syndrome, a hormonal disorder in which the ovaries can be enlarged and have small cysts – possibly through insulin imbalance. But even for women who ovulate, weight has been shown to play into fertility. There’s a strong association between having a BMI over 30 or under 20 and delayed conception. One study found that for every BMI interval over 29, chances of pregnancy went down by five percent. Roughly one in four U.S. women of childbearing age is obese.

Environmental chemicals

A handful of chemicals are suspect when it comes to getting pregnant – for example, phthalates (used in plastics, food packaging, toys, and more), pesticides, bisphenol A (BPA), air pollutants, as well as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Last year, for example, a study of Chinese factory workers found that those with higher levels of BPA exposure had lower semen quality. PCBs, which were banned decades ago but still linger in the environment, seem to clearly affect sperm motility and damage sperm DNA.

It’s not a bad idea to find ways to limit exposure to the dubious chemicals (buy organic “dirty dozen” fruits and veggies, use BPA-free products when possible, consider not living near a highway, eat less processed and packaged food, check your cosmetics with the Environmental Working Group’s database, and so forth).

But there are a few reasons not to head for full-blown panic over chemicals in the environment. For one, it’s very hard for scientists to accurately pinpoint how and in what quantity one particular chemical affects something like sperm health because controlled studies are near impossible. Consider also that we bump into hundreds of environmental chemicals every day through no choice of our own – to a large extent it’s all out of our control.

Know your facts, but don’t overthink

It’s tempting with information like this to go overboard, especially when something as precious as your fertility is seemingly at stake. That said, just as with age and fertility statistics, lifestyle and fertility stats are just that – averages and trends across large samples of women. Plenty of moms get pregnant without a hitch on a steady diet of hamburgers, just as plenty who have impeccable diet and exercise habits struggle with infertility. Your best plan for getting pregnant? Stay informed, but don’t make yourself crazy with the details.

via What to do and what to avoid when trying to conceive | Babble.

Fertility diet: The nutrients you need to conceive | BabyCenter

Click the link to read more about the TTC diet!

Fertility diet: The nutrients you need to conceive

by Catherine Guthrie

Highlights:

Drink alcohol sparingly

Curb caffeine

Rethink refined carbs

Eat your greens, and reds, and yellows

Be finicky about fish

Pump up on iron

Be leery of listeria

Don’t panic over protein

Fill voids with vitamins

What about his diet?

via Fertility diet: The nutrients you need to conceive | BabyCenter.

Vinegar: Non-toxic, natural cleaner

Vinegar: A Non-toxic, Natural Cleaner

Posted by: Dr. Sears LEAN Team on October 10, 2012

If you are pregnant, nursing, or simply want to avoid coming into contact with the toxic chemicals found in many popular cleaning products, there is an alternative! Distilled white vinegar is a perfect solution for many household cleaning needs. It is cheap, non-toxic, natural cleaner that doesn’t harm your skin, and is a powerful degreaser, polisher, and deodorizer. Next time you are cleaning, try some of these easy vinegar cleaning solutions.

One part vinegar to three parts water is a strong mixture that can be used on:

grease splatters

stains in sinks, toilets, shower curtains, etc.

mineral deposits in faucets and shower heads

glass cleaner

soap scum

Barbeque grills

Add 1/4 cup vinegar to a full load of laundry in place of fabric softener.

Mix 1/2 cup of vinegar with 1 gallon of water and use to clean surfaces such as:

tile

rugs/carpet

upholstery

wood floors

window shades / blinds

Appliances (refrigerator, microwave, etc.)

One cup vinegar mixed with one cup of water is a powerful concentrate that are safe cleaning solutions for small appliances such as:

coffee pots

tea kettles

garbage disposals

As you can see, vinegar is a safe, natural solution for many of your cleaning needs. However, high concentrations of a vinegar solution can potentially harm some surfaces like steel or marble, so be sure to test the solution on a small area before cleaning the entire surface

via Vinegar: Non-toxic, natural cleaner.

Hazardous Holiday Foods when Pregnant

Hazardous Holiday Foods when Pregnant

Posted by: Dr. Sears LEAN Team on November 14, 2011

Dr. Sears LEAN Team

The holidays are a time of celebration and families gathering together. An abundance of food is typically the centerpiece of all holiday festivities. For most people, the holiday goodies hold no risk (other than to your waistline!), but for expecting mothers, some common foods can be hazardous to both mom and baby. Here are some foods to avoid this holiday season if you are expecting:

Soft/Unpasteurized Cheeses can carry a bacteria called listeria which can infect the placenta, the amniotic fluid, and the baby, and can cause miscarriage or stillbirth. Listeria can also be found in many lunch meats.

Undercooked Turkey and Stuffing can leave you at risk for salmonella or toxoplasmosis poisoning. Be sure the internal temperature of the turkey is at least 180 degrees and cook your stuffing in a pot or a pan this year.

Unpasteurized Apple Cider, whether hot or cold, can carry E. coli. Make sure it’s pasteurized or try a cup of warm tea.

Alcohol enters the fetus at the same rate it enters your blood stream and even one, small drink should be avoided.

Unwashed raw vegetables can be exposed to toxoplasmosis in the dirt they were grown in. Take a moment to be sure all fresh veggies are washed thoroughly before consumption.

Batter from many holiday favorites usually contains raw eggs which are prone to carrying salmonella. Avoiding snacking on the raw batter and nibble on nuts or dried fruit until the finished product comes out of the oven!

via Hazardous Holiday Foods when Pregnant.

Fear of Miscarriage | Ask Dr. Sears®

Fear of Miscarriage

It’s normal to fear the loss of a treasured person, especially when that little person is the baby growing inside you. You may find yourself checking for bleeding or spotting every time you go to the bathroom. This is a normal reaction, especially for mothers who have previous miscarriages.

Don’t worry that every spot of blood or abdominal cramp signals miscarriage. Many women with healthy pregnancies show light bleeding (called implantation bleeding) early in pregnancy as baby is implanting into the blood-vessel-rich lining of the uterus.

What is a miscarriage? Miscarriage – the medical term is “spontaneous abortion”—means the natural loss of the pregnancy before the fetus is developed enough to survive outside the womb. If a miscarriage occurs before twelve weeks it is called an early miscarriage. If it occurs between twelve and twenty weeks it is called a late miscarriage. The loss of a baby after twenty weeks is termed a stillbirth.

Why do miscarriages occur? At least half of all early miscarriages are due to chromosomal abnormalities in the fetus so severe that growth cannot continue. Other, less common causes of early miscarriages include infections, endocrine deficiencies (especially of progesterone), rare immune system abnormalities (mother makes antibodies against the placental tissue), and exposure to environmental toxins (such as teratogens), drugs, or cigarette smoke.

Late miscarriages are more likely to be due to structural abnormalities of the uterus (for example, a uterus divided by a wall of tissue) rather than genetic abnormalities in the baby. Fortunately, these abnormalities affect less than one percent of women. Other causes of late miscarriages are abnormal attachment of placenta, uterine fibroids (benign tumors), an incompetent cervix, infections, or endocrine disturbances.

For around a third of all miscarriages, the cause is unknown. Miscarriages are not caused by sexual intercourse, safe exercises, heavy lifting, hanging pictures, doing your usual amount of work and play, a minor fall or accident, or stress or emotional upsets.

When are miscarriages most likely to occur? Most miscarriages occur before the eighth week of pregnancy. As your pregnancy progresses, the chance of miscarriage decreases.

How common are miscarriages? Most pregnancies begin with a healthy fetus, growing in a normal uterus, and result in a healthy baby. Studies have shown that around 10 percent of confirmed pregnancies end in miscarriage. Very early in pregnancy, however, miscarriage may be confused with an unusually heavy, late menstrual period. So the general figure for all miscarriages is thought to be around 20 percent.

Can I reduce the chance of miscarriage? In most cases there is nothing you can do to prevent miscarriage, as most are caused by factors out of your control. There are, however, a few things you can do for your baby: give baby a healthy womb environment, refraining especially from smoking and harmful drugs, excessive alcohol, and avoiding exposure to environmental toxins.

What if I’ve had miscarriages? If you have had several miscarriages, your doctor will probably want to do special tests to see if a cause can be found. In many cases, he or she can help you achieve a pregnancy that goes to term. Structural abnormalities can be corrected by surgery. Hormone deficiency can often be compensated for by injections. Medical science has solutions for many of the common – and not so common – causes of repeated miscarriage.

TWO SERIOUS WARNING SIGNS FOR A MISCARRIAGE

1. Bleeding (either bright red or dark brown, depending on how recently the miscarriage began). As many as 20 percent of women with healthy pregnancies may have one or two episodes of spotting or light vaginal bleeding early in pregnancy, so a bloody discharge from the vagina does not necessarily mean a miscarriage has or will occur. Bleeding that is as heavy as a menstrual period or that continues for several days is more likely to be associated with a miscarriage.

2. Cramping abdominal pains, similar to menstrual pains, and/or a low backache

UNDERSTANDING A THREATENED MISCARRIAGE

Later in pregnancy a miscarriage will be more obvious. The bleeding is heavier, and often includes the passage of clots. Uterine contractions can become very intense. Sometimes these signs and symptoms signal an impending miscarriage – called a threatened miscarriage – rather than a completed one. In general, the longer the bleeding occurs and the greater the accompanying symptoms of pain, the more likely this pregnancy will end in miscarriage.

Call your doctor if you suspect a miscarriage. If you suspect you’re having a miscarriage, call your healthcare provider immediately, especially if you are passing clots or grayish-pink tissue. If your bleeding is heavy and persistent, or your pelvic pains intensify, go to your nearest emergency room. (Try to collect some of the tissue in a jar. It can be examined to confirm the presence of fetal tissue and, if desired, to determine whether or not the genetic make-up of the tissue is normal.)

If you have miscarried – your practitioner will perform a vaginal examination to determine whether the miscarriage is complete (you have passed all the tissue) or incomplete (some of the fetal tissue still remains in your uterus). Miscarriages that occur prior to eight weeks are usually complete. The later in pregnancy a miscarriage occurs, the more likely it is to be incomplete. If your healthcare provider determines that your miscarriage is incomplete, he or she will probably want you to have a D&C (dilatation and curettage). While you are under general anesthesia, your cervix will be dilated and any retained placental or fetal tissue is removed. During this procedure the doctor may attempt to determine the possible cause of the miscarriage by examining your uterus for any structural abnormalities. He or she may also send a sample of the fetal tissue to a laboratory for genetic analysis. Since there are many other reasons for vaginal bleeding, your doctor may choose to do an ultrasound to confirm the diagnosis of miscarriage before doing a D&C.

If you have not miscarried – your doctor may just send you home. Or he or she may monitor you with ultrasound and blood tests.

ONE MISCARRIAGE DOES NOT LEAD TO ANOTHER

If this was your first known miscarriage, your risk of having a second one is only slightly higher than if you never had a miscarriage, especially if your first miscarriage showed a chromosomal abnormality, it occurred early in pregnancy, or you have previously given birth to a healthy baby. Even after experiencing two miscarriages, your chances of having a third one are not much higher than if you never had one. For example, if you have had two miscarriages, you have a 65 percent chance of carrying your next baby to term; a woman who has never miscarried or has had only one miscarriage has roughly an 80 percent chance of carrying to term. After three miscarriages, however, your chances of carrying your next baby to term go down to 50 percent. After three consecutive miscarriages, you would be wise to have a complete obstetrical evaluation to see if there are any underlying medical reasons that could cause you to have future miscarriages. If no reason can be found, you may reasonably assume that you still have an excellent chance of delivering a healthy baby.

via Fear of Miscarriage | Ask Dr. Sears®.

 

Ask Dr. Sears: Nursing During Pregnancy – Parenting.com

Ask Dr. Sears: Nursing During Pregnancy

By William Sears, M.d.

Q I’m newly pregnant and still nursing our 18-month-old. Is it okay to continue breastfeeding through my pregnancy?

A Mothers were once cautioned against breastfeeding during pregnancy because it stimulates the secretion of oxytocin, the hormone that can also cause contractions of the uterus. It was feared that these contractions could cause a miscarriage. Yet new insights show that the uterus is not sensitive to the hormone until around the 24th week of pregnancy. So, unless you have an obstetrical condition that might place you at risk for miscarriage – your obstetrician will tell you if you do – you can safely breastfeed during the first half of your pregnancy. If you have a history of miscarriage or you’re noticing strong contractions while you nurse, it’s wise to stop.

Eventually, your body will tell you when it’s time to wean. Sometime during the second trimester, pregnancy hormones will overrule your milk-making hormones – your milk will change to colostrum, your milk supply will decrease, and the milk will likely develop a salty, less pleasant taste, which may encourage your toddler to want to wean. Your nipples will also become tender during pregnancy, making nursing uncomfortable. Finally, you could find that a growing belly makes for awkward nursing with a squirming toddler. Listen to your body’s signals about when is the right time to wean. If you’re beginning to feel increasingly drained – physically, emotionally, and perhaps nutritionally – then it’s time to find other ways to feed and nurture your first-born. While many toddlers wean halfway through the pregnancy because of the change in milk, some actually increase their demands on Mom because they sense that she’s different somehow. It’s natural for you to be tuning in to your changing body and the baby growing inside and to sometimes subconsciously tune out your toddler. But while these feelings are normal, your toddler may still sense them and feel that you’re different, in turn becoming more clingy and demanding. Some nursing toddlers between 2 and 3 years of age are even smart enough to be aware of what’s happening with Mom’s milk and what’s going to happen after baby is born. During Martha’s fifth pregnancy, our 3-year-old Hayden, said, “Mommy, I don’t like your milk anymore. I’ll wait until after the baby comes, when it’s good again.” Taking frequent naps together and easing your child into accepting more care from Dad can help ease this transition.

During pregnancy your need for rest and your preborn baby’s need for good nutrition takes priority over your toddler’s desire to breastfeed. This may be a difficult decision to make, but remember that nursing means more than just breastfeeding – it’s all about comforting your child. So that’s where extra hugs from you, “nursing” from your husband (especially at night), and lots of time with you both can be especially important.

via Ask Dr. Sears: Nursing During Pregnancy – Parenting.com.