Maria Lactans

Maria Lactans
Maria Lactans (wikimedia commons)

Sunday, January 13, 2019

New Breastfeeding Research from 2018 and Early 2019

Importance of Infant Diet in Establishing a Healthy Gut

Breastmilk and Baby's Saliva Shape Oral Microbiome

The Effect of Skin to Skin Contact on Initiation of Breastfeeding, Temperature, and Duration of Third Stage of Labor

Fish Intake and DHA Levels in Breastmilk

Breastfeeding Changes Gene Activity That May Make Babies Less Reactive to Stress

Composition of Complex Sugars in Breastmilk May Prevent Future Food Allergies

Breastfeeding Protects Infants From Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

Breastfeeding May Protect Mothers Against Stroke

Modifying Infant Formula Does Not Prevent Type 1 Diabetes in Children

Lactation Duration and Progression to Diabetes in Women

Presence and Profile of Innate Lymphoid Cells Found in Human Breast Milk

Marijuana Found in Breastmilk up to Six Days after Use

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



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: