The Importance of Peer Support

Today’s blog post is a guest post written by Kara Rosales, La Leche League Leader in Arlington, Texas. Kara reflects on the importance of peer support for the breastfeeding mom.

Being both a La Leche League Leader and former breastfeeding mom, I see the value in being in a room of nursing women. Not only are our meetings a place for mothers to discuss breastfeeding concerns, but they often become safe places for many topics beyond latch and growth spurts. Here are several additional benefits of attending a breastfeeding support group.

  • Support- Many of the women that we come across do not have family that is supportive of breastfeeding, and they need someone to reassure them that they’re giving their baby something very important.
  • Advice- It can be hard when you’re getting different breastfeeding advice from everyone that you talk to. Having someone in your corner that you can call or see at a meeting that will give you advice, or tell you where to find more information is very helpful.
  • Encouragement- So many new moms just need someone to tell them that they are doing a great job as a mother. Whatever hard phase they’re in right now will pass, and they will be a better, stronger person and mother in the end.
  • Parenting- Many parents at a breastfeeding support group will parent in similar ways, and it is a great place to get advice and support for any non-breastfeeding phase that you are going through at the time.
  • Friendship- We see families building lifelong friendships, and that is a very special thing. Moms go on to hold playdates outside of scheduled meeting times and really become a family.
  • Normalizing Nursing- If there is one thing that you will see at a breastfeeding support group, it is breastfeeding! Let’s work together to make it the normal way to feed a baby!

To learn more about La Leche League of Arlington, TX, visit their Facebook page. To find more information on La Leche League meetings near you, visit their website.

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Wordy Wednesday: Kangaroo Care

Wordy Wednesday: Kangaroo Care

kangaroo-care

 

While kangaroo care (also known as skin-to-skin care) is practiced on preterm infants, it has been known to benefit full term infants as well. Visit the March of Dimes’ website for more information on kangaroo care in the NICU.

Benefits of kangaroo care for both preterm and full term infants include:

  • increased attachment and bonding
  • parental confidence
  • regulating body temperature
  • regulating breathing patterns
  • can help with breastfeeding success
  • can help reduce infant morbidity rates

Dads can practice kangaroo care, too! Since babies are often familiar with their father’s voice while in utero, skin-to-skin with Dad can often calm Baby down. Additionally, it helps promote father-infant bonding. For more benefits of fathers practicing kangaroo care, click here.

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Mom of NICU Twins Gives Milk to Give Back

Mom of NICU Twins Gives Milk to Give Back

Autumn Brinegar
Arizona

My husband is in the Air Force and we were stationed in Okinawa, Japan when our twins, Sawyer and Lucia, were born prematurely at 32 weeks. When the twins were only six days old, they discovered Sawyer had a heart condition and we were immediately flown from Japan to San Diego, CA, and lived in the Ronald McDonald House for a few months while Sawyer’s heart was operated on.

Unfortunately, the NICU did not have donor milk available at that time. The twins were supplemented with formula until I could produce enough milk for them. I wish they had been given donor milk instead, but I was thankful I was able to produce what they needed. The twins are now 19 months old and thriving! The NICU was so kind to us and I really have been wanting to give back to premature babies somehow, so I was excited to learn of this opportunity when I researched donating breast milk.

I researched breast milk donation online after I realized that I was overproducing for my third baby, Ayan. I had always wanted to give back somehow since the NICU in Okinawa and San Diego were both so amazing to us. I couldn’t have gotten through that experience without the incredible staff and the sweet volunteers. I was disheartened to learn that there wasn’t a milk bank near me in Arizona, so I contacted Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas just to check out if there were any long-distance options and was excited when Simone responded. So far I have been able to share 400 ounces of pumped milk since Ayan’s birth in November 2013. I plan to continue to donate milk as long as I can.

Autumn’s breastfeeding advice:
Don’t worry about all of the breastfeeding rules you hear about- “NEVER do this, NEVER do that…. You HAVE to do this….”  I remember hearing a lot of that and stressing so much! Do what works for you and don’t be hard on yourself.

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Wordy Wednesday: Leptin

Wordy Wednesday: Leptin

leptin

Leptin was first discovered in human breast milk in 1997. It can be transferred from maternal serum and is produced by a lactating breast (source). It is found in its highest levels in colostrum during the first few days of life and slowly decreases during the following six months (source).

High levels of leptin in early lactation have been shown to provide protection to infants from excess weight gain, yet they still remain within normal weight ranges. It could play an important role in breastfed infants showing lower rates of obesity when compared to formula fed infants (source).

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Mom Plans to Donate Milk Again

Mom Plans to Donate Milk Again

Laura Bayzle
Raleigh, NC

After my oldest son Connor was born, I realized that I was blessed with an abundant milk supply. As I prepared to go back to work, I knew I would be traveling a good amount and started pumping and storing milk for the times I expected to be away from my baby. I returned to work at 4 months to discover that I wasn’t going to travel as much as I thought I would. I decided to donate excess milk. I had learned about donating excess milk when I was pregnant – a friend had posted about the need for milk at human milk banks.

The whole process of working with Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas has been wonderful. In fact, I recently participated in a study about the culture of breastmilk through a local university, where I discussed donating to a non-profit milk bank and how easy it has been. I’m thankful for the easy email communications and how simple it is to receive shipping material as needed. Simone at Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas has been great – I love getting email confirmations from her that let me know how many ounces I’ve donated. I would recommend donating to MMBNT to any mom with extra milk. I am pregnant with our second child and plan to donate again after birth!

Laura’s Breastfeeding Advice
Go with your gut. We moms tend to second-guess ourselves with breastfeeding. It’s important to trust your instincts. Find a good support group or village of like-minded people whether it’s with your feeding journey or with donating milk. It’s important to get support and encouragement along the way, especially when you start to doubt your decisions.

 

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