Maria Lactans

Maria Lactans
Maria Lactans (wikimedia commons)

Sunday, November 18, 2018

What We Can Learn From the Jewish Faith about the Importance of Breastfeeding

I recently attended an online lactation conference.  One of the presenters was a lactation consultant who works quite a bit with large Jewish families.  The women she cares for are pregnant and/or breastfeeding for up to 25 consecutive years with most women having babies every 1.5 to 2.5 years even though birth control is allowed by their faith.  When I heard that, I immediately thought of my own 15 consecutive years of pregnancy and breastfeeding and about the advantages of ecological breastfeeding for spacing babies.

After listening to this exciting talk, I did a google search for more information.  I found an article in Breastfeeding Medicine on this very topic.  It confirmed a lot of what she said in her presentation.

Rabbis in the Old Testament found it "inconceivable" that a mom would not nurse her baby.  This is because Jewish people believe that God would not make something without a purpose, and it is not right for man to ignore that purpose.  Also, breasts are not seen as sexual in the orthodox Jewish community as they are often seen here in the US and in some cultures.  

According to Jewish law, the new mother should start nursing her baby for the very first time on the left side, because it is closest to her heart.  It also says that a mother should nurse her baby for at least 2 years but up to 4 or 5 years.  Even if due to unforeseen circumstances, the woman has an older baby and wants to remarry, she needs to wait until the baby is at least 21 months of age to ensure a good milk supply for the baby (in case she conceives soon after remarriage).  Jewish law also extolls the myriad physical benefits of breastfeeding.  Jewish families treat their nursing family members with extra special care.  Breastfeeding mothers are supported by given extra portions of food and are required to minimize housework and put breastfeeding first to keep her milk high in quality and quantity!  Wow!

 Because Orthodox Jewish women view breastfeeding as an "integral part of their religious lifestyle."  I don't think it is too much of a stretch for Catholic women to see breastfeeding in a similar light.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

The Little Way of Motherhood

Yellow RoseRose 11Red Rose On White Background


Yesterday was the feast day of St. Therese of Lisieux, one of my favorite saints.  As different as St. Therese's life was from my own, it is her Little Way that draws me to her.  Just as she lived out the small, ordinary tasks of her vocation with God in mind, so can we.  You know the tasks I am talking about - nursing a baby, changing a diaper, dealing with two squabbling children, making dinner, cleaning the bathroom, etc.  We have the power to make these activities holy by doing them for Jesus as well as we can (perfection is not required) and cheerfully (most of the time).

St. Therese also taught child like simplicity.  Today's Gospel reading discusses this very topic.  We must become like little children to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

Another part of the Little Way is surrender.  Surrender to the fact that your child has a health issue. Surrender to the fact that your husband works late and travels frequently (sometimes this is a modifiable circumstance and sometimes not).  Surrender to the fact that your house will not stay clean for more than a half hour while you have children at home all day.  Surrender to the colicky, fussy baby who wants to be held and nursed 24/7.

Did you know that St. Therese often fell asleep during community prayer and did not like praying the rosary?  She preferred short prayers spoken from her heart.  As busy moms, we can choose the type of prayer we prefer and according to our life circumstances and not feel guilty.  A new mom or a mom of many children may desire to attend daily Mass.  However, Scripture reading and meditation may work better for her right now.  Another mom may love the rosary yet have difficulty keeping her children quiet during the family rosary.  She could try to find coloring pages of the mysteries or try an app to keep their attention.  Or she can pray only one mystery per night.  Find what speaks to your heart.

St. Therese teaches us to trust in God's love, mercy and forgiveness.  We don't need to fear Him.  Did you know that St. Therese had a radical idea about purgatory? Read more about it here.  Today, look at your child and see how he or she adores you!  That milky grin after a nursing session, that child who skinned her knee and needs a hug.  That child trusts you completely.  That is exactly how we should look to God!

Since St. Therese is a Doctor of the Church, I think it is safe to say we can follow her Little Way without worry.


Saturday, August 25, 2018

Tongue Tie and Lip Tie

There are a lot of wonderful online resources about tongue-tie and lip ties.  Instead of reinventing the wheel, I will just list some of those links here.

Possible signs of tongue tie and lip tie:

Pain, low supply, blanched or flat nipples, mastitis/plugged ducts in mom, thrush that keeps reappearing

Low weight gain, reflux, colic, gassiness, breaking suction often while nursing, clicking sound while nursing, poor latch, refusing to nurse

Info:





Support:



Examining Your Baby for a Tongue Tie or a Lip Tie:





Is Treatment Always Necessary?



What Happens during a Tongue Tie Laser Revision?



Aftercare for Tongue Tie Revision (ask your health care provider what he/she recommends)



What should you do if you suspect your baby has a tongue tie or lip tie after perusing the above links?  Contact your local IBCLC for an assessment and referral to a pediatric dentist or ENT experienced with diagnosing and treating tongue ties and lip ties.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Religious Breastfeeding Artwork

One of CNML's Board members recently visited an art museum in San Francisco and saw these two lovely paintings.  Note that the first one is a woman hand expressing her breast milk.








There was a traveling Leonardo da Vinci exhibit at the Albuquerque Natural History and Science Museum.  My family and I went to see it.










 
CNML gives out complimentary breastfeeding artwork cards to encourage nursing moms to breastfeed at Mass.  If you would like one or even 10, 25, etc for the moms in your parish, email CNML at catholicbreastfeeding(at)yahoo(dot)com


Friday, June 29, 2018

The Effect of Breastfeeding on the Risk of Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis

In 2017 several researchers published a review article in the journal, Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics on breastfeeding and the risk of Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.  They searched two online databases for all scientific studies conducted through November 2016 that described breastfeeding in infancy in patients with one of these illnesses.  Then the authors conducted a meta-analysis of 35 of the best quality studies.  These studies included a total of 7536 individuals with Crohns Disease and 7353 individuals with ulcerative colitis.

The study concluded that having been breastfed in infancy protects against later development of both Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.  The results were true across all ethnic group, but protection was the greatest for the Asian community.  Also, the results showed a dose-dependent relationship between breastfeeding and protection against the two diseases.  A dose-dependent relationship means that breastfeeding longer instills greater protection than less months of breastfeeding.  The strongest decrease in risk was seen when individuals were breastfed at least 12 months.

Abstract of the article

Full article


Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Survey for Past and Present Nursing Mothers by NFP International



Breastfeeding Survey

Name_______________________________  

Email _______________________________

Mother’s age _________  

This survey covers baby # ______

How many months did you exclusively breastfeed?  (This means no water, liquids or solids; only mother’s milk)   _____  months

How many months did you nurse your baby?  _____ months

Did your baby use a pacifier? _____  If so, when? _____________________________________

Did your baby use a bottle? _______ If so, when? _____________________________________

Did you co-sleep with your nursing baby during the night? _______ If so, for how long? ______

Did you nurse lying down for your daily nap? _______

Did you nurse lying down during the night? ________

When did you finally leave your baby home with others?  ______________________________

Did you stay close to your baby in the home? ________________________________________

Did you nurse your baby frequently? ___________

Did your baby like to be nursed to sleep? ______  

Were there other times when the baby liked to be pacified at the breast? ____________________

Did you feed your baby by a schedule? ______

How old was your baby when he or she began to take solid food? ______

How old was your baby when he or she began to take liquids? _______

How many months did you rely on ecological breastfeeding for postpartum infertility? ________

Did you rely only on breastfeeding amenorrhea before your periods returned? _______________

If you relied on breastfeeding for birth spacing, when did you conceive again or have you? ____

Did you encourage or hasten weaning? _____

Did you let the baby wean on its own? _________

How old was your baby when your first postpartum period returned? ______________________

Explain if possible the return of your periods (e.g. weaning, sickness, etc.) 


Was there any other possible reason for decreased nursings 2-4 weeks before the return of your periods? __________


Comments are welcome.







Please send this to nfpandmore@nfpandmore.org or to NFPI, P. O. Box 861, Steubenville OH 43952.

If you prefer an online submission form, go to: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdgzHcGwTY8lwoSWe_sESvCdxoc-q6WHPmOMtdMmRiT2WYaaA/viewform

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Dear Mom of a New Baby

Happy Belated Mother's Day!  How exciting that you are embarking on a new adventure - the journey of motherhood!

How are you feeling?  Excited?  Tired? Worried?  Just remember that you are among friends.  There is support for all those middle of the night quandaries here at the Catholic Nursing Mothers League.

First make sure someone is helping care of YOU so you can nurse your little bundle of joy.  Your church may have an Elizabeth Ministry chapter that arranges meals for new moms.  Check your local bulletin or the Elizabeth Ministry website.

Next, sit down on the couch, put your feet up, and ask your husband or mother or older children to get you a tall glass of water and a nutritious snack.  One of my favorite self care/nutrition books for breastfeeding moms is Eat Well Lose Weight While Breastfeeding.  Don't let the title intimidate you; it has great info about self care for those who are not wven thinking about weight loss yet.

While you nurse your sweet baby, peruse the Catholic Nursing Mothers League website and Facebook group.  Post a question or even just say "hello" and share a pic of your new baby.  We also have a few podcasts if you would like something to listen to.  A new mom doesn't have time for a 5 decade rosary, but maybe your heart would like to pray for a few minutes?  Ask us for a one decade rosary nursing mother's gift bag and we will get one mailed to you soon.  Or if you would like to read more about ecological breastfeeding, email us and we can send one of several books on the topic.  CNML also has several copies of Breastfeeding and Catholic Motherhood to offer, too.  This book will remind you of the beauty and importance of Motherhood and breastfeeding.  Are you new to breastfeeding or a seasoned mom having some breastfeeding difficulties?  If so, ask us for the book, Getting Started with Breastfeeding: For Catholic Mothers.  It contains info about different breastfeeding concerns you may encounter and also lots of inspiration from a Catholic perspective.  Also, there are several in person CNML groups around the country who would love to encourage you.

Keep your baby close to you night and day - that is exactly where he desires to be!  Watch for early hunger cues and nurse your baby sooner rather than later.  If baby is already crying, it can be a little more challenging to get him to latch well and to nurse.  Here is a FAQ that might help:

Early Hunger Cues

Also, nursing on demand and letting baby lead is best for your milk supply and for baby's contentment and growth.  I know it can feel overwhelming nursing so much during those early weeks, but it will get easier!  Also, as time goes on, babies often become more efficient nursers so they do not need to spend quite so long at the breast for a nursing session.

Frequent nursing

When your baby exhibits hunger cues, bring your baby close and latch him on.  You will want your baby to be tummy to tummy with you and in a comfortable position so that he does not need to turn his head.  There are a variety of nursing positions you can try out.  See what is most comfortable for you and baby.  Wait until your baby opens his mouth wide and then latch baby on.  If the latch feels painful and not quite right, you can gently break the suction and try again until it the latch is correct.

Latching and Positioning Resources

Are our breasts engorged and your baby is having a tough time latching, you check out this webpage :

Engorgement

Another common issue is baby being sleepy and not waking often enough to nurse.

Techniques on waking a sleeping baby

Breast Compressions

Are you wondering how you will know if your baby is nursing often enough and growing well?  Take a look at this webpage for lots of good info:

Is Baby Getting Enough Milk?

Now it is getting close to bedtime.  Where should baby sleep?

Cosleeping: Yes, No, Sometimes?

Safe Cosleeping Guidelines

I hope we were able to get you started nursing with confidence!  If you have any breastfeeding questions or you just need a little bit of support or encouragement, you are more than welcome to email CNML (catholicbreastfeeding(at)yahoo(dot)com) or to ask fellow moms on the CNML Facebook group for their thoughts.  If you are experiencing more complex breastfeeding issues or your baby is losing weight, having atypical symptoms or doesn't seem to be thriving, please call your health care provider and also your local lactation consultant for help.