Maria Lactans

Maria Lactans
Maria Lactans (wikimedia commons)

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



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


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 or to NFPI, P. O. Box 861, Steubenville OH 43952.

If you prefer an online submission form, go to:

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 :


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.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Book Review of "The Big Letdown: How Medicine, Big Business, and Feminism Undermine Breastfeeding"

Book Review of The Big Letdown: How Medicine, Big Business, and Feminism Undermine Breastfeeding

I represented CNML as an exhibitor at the 2018 New Mexico Breastfeeding Taskforce Conference last month.  The keynote speaker at this year's conference was Kimberly Seals Allers, author of The Big Letdown; How Medicine, Big Business, and Feminism Undermine Breastfeeding. Although I didn't hear her speak, I decided to buy her book, because it looked promising.

In the book, she discusses the sometimes shady history of the formula industry.  Yes, I'm sure there was a humanitarian part to the creation of formula - helping those who could not breastfeed.  However, the formula companies saw a huge potential financial profit to be had by convincing nervous moms that formula is necessary.  One example in the book from as early as the 1940s is this little jingle: 

"The child is going to die.  Because the mother's breast has given out.  Mama o Mama the child cries.  If you want your child to get well, give it KLIM milk."  

One public comment from the CEO of Mead Johnson Nutrition in 2015 really stuck with me and convinced me that the formula companies really are hoping more women will not breastfeed:

"...We continue to see breastfeeding rates in the U.S. climb through 2014.  Now we'll be watching very closely as we go through 2015 to see whether the improvement in unemployment trends will cause this trend to abate somewhat.  IT'S OUR HOPE AND EXPECTATION THAT THAT WILL BE THE CASE." (emphasis added)

It is crystal clear that this formula company and most likely others are not really the friends of breastfeeding.

It is not exclusive to formula companies.  Many doctors have bought into the lie that formula is just as good as breastfeeding.  There are many, many breastfeeding friendly doctors (Dr. Miriam Labbok R.I.P. and Dr. Sears come to mind) but many doctors are unfortunately swayed by the freebies the formula companies provide.

This book also discusses the unsupportive nature of the workplace for breastfeeding moms.  The U.S. is fairly low on the list of quality maternity leave and its laws protecting pumping the the workplace are not as commonplace as they should be and are often not enforced.  CNML believes women should ideally strive to be home with their nurslings and small children if at all possible.  However improved maternity leave and enforced pumping laws will at least allow more working women to stay home longer with their babies and continue to breastfeed after returning to work.

The author discusses the role of feminism in downplaying the importance of breastfeeding and motherhood.  I was pleasantly surprised to read her perspective on this issue.  Although I had the impression that the author is pro-choice (although I am not 100% sure), except for a few brief mentions of how women do now gladly have the right to reproductive choice, I would say I agree with almost the entire rest of the book.  She is very pro-motherhood and, of course, breastfeeding.  

A good read!  Highly recommended!