Tube Feeding with a Blenderized Diet of Whole Foods


Welcome to the March 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting With Special Needs

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared how we parent despite and because of challenges thrown our way. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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It won't surprise most of you to know that breastmilk is the best first food for most babies. It is the perfect balance of fats, nutrients and immune builders for our newborn infants. Breastmilk is even more important for  NICU babies and infants with special needs. However the stress of dealing with the NICU and special needs can put a lot of stress on a mama. Adding to that stress the idea of using a breastpump every 2 hours, it can be overwhelming and exhausting, yet so vital.
When our middle daughter, Bella, was born we knew she was going to have some issues, but we didn't know to what extent. After nearly two months in the NICU and hours of  speech therapy it became painfully obvious that she wasn't going to be able to breastfeed.We had to deal with this fact and move on. Bella underwent surgery to have a g-tube. This is a simple tube that is inserted through an incision the abdomen. To feed Bella we attached a tube with a syringe filled with breastmilk to the little button in her tummy. I was diligent in using my breastpump and was able to feed her exclusively on breastmilk for the first year of her life.
Around that one year mark, we decided to look into supplemental foods to add to Bella's diet. The doctors recommended Pediasure. I did a little more research and found that you could use whole foods in blended forms for g-tubes. Natural organic whole foods for my special needs daughter  made more sense to me.
I found a supportive group of parents on the Yahoo Group Blenderized Diet that were able to provide so much information. I contacted a holistic nutritionist and set up a meeting to discuss Bella's dietary needs. Though she would not be covered by our insurance, she was well worth the money paid out of pocket.  I did have a dietician through our GI doctor, but they would only provide information in regards to calorie intake with formula. They did not support the idea of using whole foods in a blenderized form for g-tube patients. I was open in discussing this with my GI doctor but was surprised to learn he was not very informed on the topic and would just refer me to the dietician in the office. Some doctors feel that a whole foods blenderized diet can raise the risk for bacteria and infection, they are also concerned about food getting stuck in the tube. I felt these were small risks when compared with the benefits of a whole food diet.
I started slowly with a base of breastmilk. I kept a food journal and kept a regular schedule of what medications and supplements went with each feeding. I started by introducing 2 TBS of banana with 60cc's of breastmilk, we then added foods like avocado, sweet potatoes. Our nutritionist recommended foods like beets, wheatgrass, apricots, quinoa, and goats milk. We used careful calculations figuring we needed 50 calories per pound with a goal of 650 calories per day. So each day started with me with my Vitamix calculating, measuring and storing her food for the day.  The Vitamix was an essential part of being successful with a blenderized diet. The food really must be broken down into a liquid form, not just any blender would do. When adding nuts, seeds and using fruits such as blackberries it was very important that there be no pieces that would clog the g-tube. To build Bella's immune system we added supplements such as fish oil, colostrum, probiotics, and elderberry syrup. We always followed with water.
Since we were providing a nutrient rich blenderized diet using organic products were essential.
Later Bella was given a Zevex infinity pump for her feedings. This pump regulated the flow of the food. She had severe reflux and she needed to be fed very slowly. A large amount of her feedings were given overnight. This pump was great. It made feeding Bella much more convenient and less time consuming. It worked well with the blenderized diet. I just needed to make sure it wasn't too think and check on the consistency. The Zevex pump would be sure to beep and let me know if wasn't pushing the food along properly.
I don't believe a blenderized diet will work for every tube fed infant. It worked well for our family. Our daughter was gaining weight and growing well on the blenderized diet. It was not as convenient as pouring a bottle of formula into her tube would have been. So we constantly had coolers and ice packs with us. However having a child with any special need is never convenient. It's more about making the best choices for your circumstances. Money is also an issue to consider. If you have to pay for your child's G-tube formula it can be very expensive. However if your insurance pays for the formula, then choosing to feed organic, whole foods to your child is definitely more expensive.
I felt feeding Bella whole foods was really beneficial to her health. The life expectancy for a child with her disability of Walker Warburg Syndrome is under one year of age. Bella lived for 16 months. Support is essential to be successful at feeding your special needs g-tube child a blenderized diet. Start with your doctors to get their viewpoint, then ask you dietician. If they lead nowhere, keep researching and find a dietician that will work with you and your family needs.

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be live and updated by afternoon March 13 with all the carnival links.)

  • What is 'wrong' with you' The challenge of raising a spirited child — Tara at MUMmedia discusses the challenges of raising a child who is 'more' intense, stubborn, and strong willed than your average child.
  • Tips for Parenting a Child With Special Medical Needs — Jorje of Momma Jorje shares her shortlist of tips she's learned in parenting a newborn with special medical needs in a guest post at Becoming Crunchy.
  • Parenting the Perfectionist Child — Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children discusses that as parents of gifted children, we are in the unique position to help them develop the positive aspects of their perfectionism.
  • Montessori-Inspired Special Needs Support — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now gives a list of websites and blogs with Montessori-inspired special-needs information and activities.
  • Accommodating Others' Food Allergies — Ever wonder how to handle another family's food allergies or whether you should just skip the play date altogether? At Code Name: Mama, Dionna's friend Kellie (whose family has a host of allergies) shares how grateful she is when friends welcome them, as well as a list of easy snacks you can consider.
  • Only make promises you can keep — Growing up the child of a parent with a chronic illness left a lasting impact on Laura of A Pug in the Kitchen and what she is willing to promise for the future.
  • A Mom and Her Son — Jen at Our Muddy Boots was fortunate to work with a wonderful family for several summers, seeing the mother of this autistic son be his advocate, but not in the ways she thought.
  • Guest Post from Maya at Musings of A Marfan Mom — Zoie at TouchstoneZ is honored to share a guest post from Maya, who writes about effective tools she has found as a parent of two very special boys.
  • You Don't Have to Be a Rock — Rachael at The Variegated Life finds steadiness in allowing herself to cry.
  • When Special Needs Looks "Normal" — Amy at Anktangle writes about her experience with mothering a son who has Sensory Processing Disorder. She offers some tips (for strangers, friends, and loved ones) on how to best support a family dealing with this particular neurological challenge.
  • Special Needs: Limitation or Liberation? — Melissa of White Noise describes the beauty in children with special needs.
  • How I Learned It'll Be Okay — Ashley at Domestic Chaos reflects on what she learned while nannying for a boy with verbal delays.
  • Attachment Parenting and Depression — Shannon at The Artful Mama discusses how attachment parenting has helped her get a clearer image of herself as a parent and of her depression.
  • On invisible special needs & compassion — Lauren at Hobo Mama points out that even if we can't see a special need, it doesn't mean it's not there.
  • Thoughts on Parenting Twins — Kristin at Intrepid Murmurings shares her approach to parenting twins.
  • ABCs of Breastfeeding in the NICU — Jona at Breastfeeding Twins offers tips for establishing breastfeeding in the alphabet soup of the NICU.
  • Life With Michael - A Mother's Experience of Life With Aspergers Disorder — At Diary of a First Child, Luschka's sister-in-law Nicky shares her experience as mother to a child on the Autism Spectrum. It is filled with a mother's love and devotion to her child as an individual, not a label.
  • Raised by a Special Needs MomMomma Jorje shares what it was like growing up as the daughter of a mother with a handicap.
  • Becoming a Special Needs Mom — Ellen at These Broken Vases shares about becoming the mother of a child with Down syndrome
  • She Said It Was "Vital" — Alicia of Lactation Narration (and My Baby Sweets) discusses the conflict she felt when trying to decide whether therapy was necessary for her daughter.

Co-Sleeping with the Humanity Family Sleeper


Father's Lib (at 2:00 a.m.)
 by Wally Bennett 

Oh, how nice it would be,
If other dads could be like me.
While they're up and bottles pouring,
I'm in bed soundly snoring!
-That is, of course, if there is room.

At 1 a.m. Baby pops in,
Then a toddler kicks me in the shin.
Mommy's hanging off the edge,
Sister's on the other ledge.
Poor dad can't move or do a thing-
Except to buy a SUPER KING!
- taken from “The Family Bed” by Tine Thevenin


 I quickly discovered with our oldest daughter over 10 years ago, that co-sleeping is a Mama's answer to a good night’s rest and continued successful breastfeeding.  It fosters attachment and promotes long term security. Dr. Sarah Buckley among others believe the Humanity Family Sleeper is a product that can make co-sleeping even safer and easier, also calling it 'one of the best investments a new parent can make.'
So what is the Humanity Family Sleeper? It's an organic bed topper with an attached pillow which helps prevents roll offs or pushing your bed against the wall. We are going to discuss the use of the Humanity Organics family sleeper as an aid to successful bed sharing.
Let's start with the body/maternity pillow feature. As a pregnant mom you quickly learn your best friend for a good night's rest is your body pillow.  The Humanity Organic family sleeper comes with a body pillow which is easy to unzip and separate from the generously sized pad. The pillow is made from an organic cotton sateen and filled with eco-friendly kapok, which is a natural tree fiber. The body pillow can be spot cleaned or the cover can be removed for easy cleaning in cold/warm water. Once the baby arrives the pillow is easily attached to the organic pad.  The pad measures 36 inches wide by 58 inches  long; which is a perfect size for mama and baby with no seams to irritate. The family sleeper is a high quality bed top sleeper made of 4 layers of the finest organic cotton flannel.  There is no need to worry about waking up in a puddle of breastmilk or worry about a leaking diaper. The absorbent organic pad will protect your mattress. It is machine washable (cold/warm water to prevent shrinkage) and can be hung to dry or dried on low heat.
Like mentioned in the poem above, if you sleep with more than one child the Humanity Family Sleeper can really be helpful. Simply place the baby on the side with the bolster pillow and the older child on the other side of mom. Many families have commented that the Humanity Family Sleeper is easy to travel with and they like the idea of having their familiar sleeping environment with them. This makes bed time more relaxing when you're away from home.  This pillow top sleeper has no toxic fumes and  is made in the USA.
As if waking up snuggled next to your wee ones face wasn't enough, now there is a way to make co-sleeping safer, comfortable and more convenient with the use of the Humanity Family Sleeper.


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Safe Cosleeping Blog Carnival

Thanks for reading a post in the Safe Cosleeping Blog Carnival. On Carnival day, please follow along on Twitter using the #CosleepCar hashtag.
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
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  • Emotive Co-Sleeping Campaign - Miriam at Diary of an Unconscious Mother talks about her feelings on Milwaukee’s anti-cosleeping crusade and its latest advertising campaign.
  • Why Cosleeping has Always been the Right Choice for My Family - Patti at Jazzy Mama shares how lucky she feels to have the privilege of sleeping with her four children.
  • Cosleeping is a safe, natural and healthy solution parents need to feel good about. - See how Tilly at Silly Blatherings set up a side-car crib configuration to meet her and her families' needs.
  • Black and White: Race and the Cosleeping Wars - Moorea at Mama Lady: Adventures in Queer Parenting points out the problem of race, class and health when addressing co-sleeping deaths and calls to action better sleep education and breastfeeding support in underprivileged communities.
  • Reflections on Cosleeping - Jenny at I’m a Full Time Mummy shares her thoughts on cosleeping and pictures of her cosleeping beauties.
  • Cosleeping and Transitioning to Own Bed - Isil at Smiling Like Sunshine shares her experiences in moving beyond the family bed.
  • What Works for One Family - Momma Jorje shares why cosleeping is for her and why she feels it is the natural way to go. She also discusses the actual dangers and explores why it may not be for everyone.
  • Really High Beds, Co-Sleeping Safely, and the Humanity Family Sleeper - Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama gives a quick view of Jennifer’s bed-sharing journey and highlights the Humanity Family Sleeper, something Jennifer could not imagine bed-sharing without.
  • Crying in Our Family Bed - With such a sweet newborn, why has adding Ailia to the family bed made Dionna at Code Name: Mama cry?
  • Dear Mama: - Zoie at TouchstoneZ shares a letter from the viewpoint of her youngest son about cosleeping.
  • Cuddle up, Buttercup! - Nada of The MiniMOMist and her husband Michael have enjoyed cosleeping with their daughter Naomi almost since birth. Nada shares why the phrase "Cuddle up, Buttercup!" has such special significance to her.
  • Co-Sleeping With A Baby, Toddler, and Preschooler - Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling shares how co-sleeping calls us to trust our inner maternal wisdom and embrace the safety and comfort of the family bed.
  • Fear instead of Facts: An Opportunity Squandered in Milwaukee - Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction discusses Milwaukee’s missed opportunity to educate on safe cosleeping.
  • Cosleeping: A Mini-rant and a Lovely Picture - Siobhan at Res Ipsa Loquitor discusses her conversion to cosleeping and rants a little bit about the Milwaukee Health Department anti-cosleeping campaign.
  • Our Cosleeping Story - Adrienne at Mommying My Way shares her cosleeping story and the many bonus side effects of bedsharing.
  • Cosleeping can be safe and rewarding Christy at Mommy Outnumbered shares how her cosleeping experiences have been good for her family.
  • Adding one more to the family bed Lauren at Hobo Mama discusses the safety logistics of bed sharing with a new baby and a preschooler.
  • The Truth About Bedsharing - Dr. Sarah at Parenting Myths and Facts discusses the research into bedsharing and risk - and explains why it is so often misrepresented.
  • Cosleeping as a parenting survival tool - Melissa V. at Mothers of Change describes how she discovered cosleeping when her first baby was born. Melissa is the editor and a board member for the Canadian birth advocacy group, Mothers of Change.
  • Dear Delilah - Joella at Fine and Fair writes about her family bed and the process of finding the cosleeping arrangements that work best for her family.
  • CoSleeping ROCKS! - Melissa at White Noise talks about the evolution of cosleeping in her family.
  • Safe Sleep is a Choice - Tamara at Pea Wee Baby talks about safe sleep guidelines.
  • 3 Babies Later: The Evolution of our Family Bed - Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment talks about how her family’s cosleeping arrangements evolved as her family grew.
  • Tender Moments - The Accidental Natural Mama discusses tender cosleeping moments.
  • Cosleeping Experiences - Lindsey at An Unschooling Adventure describes how she ended up co-sleeping with her daughter through necessity, despite having no knowledge of the risks involved and how to minimise them, and wishes more information were made available to help parents co-sleep safely.
  • The early days of bedsharing - Luschka at Diary of a First Child shares her early memories of bedsharing with her then new born and gets excited as she plans including their new arrival into their sleeping arrangements.
  • The Joys of Cosleeping in Pictures - Charise of I Thought I Knew Mama shares pictures of some of her favorite cosleeping moments.
  • Symbiotic Sleep - Mandy at Living Peacefully With Children discusses how the symbiotic cosleeping relationship benefits not only children but also parents.
  • Co-sleeping Barriers: What’s Stopping You? - Kelly at Becoming Crunchy shares how she was almost prevented from gaining the benefits of co-sleeping her family currently enjoys.
  • Co-Sleeping with the Family Humanity Sleeper - Erica at ChildOrganics shares a way to make co-sleeping safe, comfortable and more convenient. Check out her post featuring the Humanity Organic Family Sleeper.
  • Why We Cosleep - That Mama Gretchen’s husband chimes in on why cosleeping is a benefit to their family.
  • Adding to the Family Bed - Darah at A Girl Named Gus writes about her co-sleeping journey and what happens when a second child comes along.

A big thank you to all of the Safe Cosleeping Blog Carnival participants!

Doing the Summer Wind Down

I can't believe summer is coming to an end. Perhaps the one-hundred degree weather is trying to convince me otherwise. I've been neglecting my computer duties and spending more time outside soaking up some Vitamin D.
I realized I completely missed posting about World Breastfeeding Week! I didn't hear of anything local happening in my community to celebrate, how disappointing.  Shari Criso is offering her online breastfeeding class for free. I think it's only until the end of the month, so you should check it out! This is an excellent link to share with new and expectant moms. What a wonderful resource, thanks Shari!
It's that time of year to get reorganized and ready for school. We home school and we don't really stop for the summer, but we definitely slow down. I'm trying to get myself motivated for a new year. My biggest struggle at this point is trying to home school with a toddler. My oldest isn't exactly an independent worker, so it can make things difficult. I'm also trying to come to peace with the idea that I can't do everything. Something is going to suffer, more often than not it seems to be the housework. Right now the house is looking good though, my husband has been a big motivator behind that. We've been spending the past few weekends decluttering and getting the school area organized.Are you ready for a new school year?
On one last summer note, my garden is doing amazingly well. I struggled in the beginning of spring with having any success. My broccoli bolted and my cauliflower didn't do anything. I planted some melons and cucumbers in their place and they are doing much better. The vines are traveling over into my yard and we're excited to see some melons on the vines. My tomato plants have real tomatoes on them now. They just must be late bloomers. I'm still no where near where I'd like to be in my gardening abilities, but I at least have hope! How's your garden doing?
On one final note, we're now on Twitter. I'm a twitter newbie so be patient. Who do you follow? I"d love to hear from you.
Photo credit: Lida Rose

Baby Steps to being a Green Mummy

This is a guest post that I wrote for a UK blogger, Insomniac Mummy. I realized that I haven't shared it with my own readers. Enjoy!

Here in the States the idea of being a “Green Mummy” conjures up ideas of learning how to be a colorful corpse. I assure you that’s not what this article is about. What we’re talking about here is a course of small positive actions that us Moms, Mums, Mammas or Mummys (call us what you like), can take to have a positive influence on our environment, our earth, our home. It means learning that a few small conscious choices can make worlds of difference as well as a difference in our world. So we’ll discuss a few simple things that any mum can do to slowly go green. Heck, maybe you already do some of these things, if so, we’ll discuss how we can take it a little further.

1) Clean Green. It’s easy to learn how to use a few simple household products to clean your home. More than likely you already have the ingredients to clean green in your home right now. Peroxide and vinegar are very safe and effective household cleaners. For my household basic cleaning I have one spray bottle of vinegar (any kind will do- cheap distilled white vinegar is fine) and one spray bottle of Hydrogen Peroxide. I spray one, on the counter, sink, toilet (whatever you are cleaning) then the other then wipe down. Don’t mix the combination in advance, they need to remain in separate containers for effectiveness. This combination of simple, green cleaners has been proven to even kill E-coli, and Salmonella. Vinegar is very effective on cleaning soap scum, grease, and it inhibits mold and the growth of bacteria. Hydrogen Peroxide is an excellent disinfectant. To take it one step further, find and use green and earth friendly laundry detergents such as Soapnuts.

2) Compost. Does composting make you think of steaming piles of stinky rubbish? It doesn’t have to be that way. There are simple ways of turning your kitchen scraps into an organic rich soil. We currently use a barrel with small holes drilled in it to allow air to circulate , with a lid on the top. We simply toss in our kitchen scraps and roll it around every now and again. Composting can be very simple, there is no need to make it complicated. A simple wire enclosure in your yard can work perfectly for tossing grass clippings, old leaves and kitchen scraps. To take it one step further, you may want to read Worms Eat My Garbage by Mary Applehof. Learn about using worms to compost your scraps. If you live in a place where you don’t have a yard then vermicomposting may be for you. Using earthworms to turn your paper and kitchen scraps is a fun and easy way to go green. Kids love it, my daughter counted the worms as her pets!

3) Go paperless. Do you use rolls of paper towels wiping up after your kids? IT’s easy to do, they sure make a lot of messes! One simple change you can make to reduce your amount of paper waste is to switch to cloth. You can easily gather a selection of rags and cloth napkins for household messes. Check at Thrift stores for cloth napkins and old fabric scraps. Cloth diapers work great to clean up too . Make cloth napkins accessible at meal times and keep old rags handy. You’ll be surprised how easy it is to break the paper habit. Simply toss them in with your laundry and wash. To take it one step further, stop using chemical filled disposable diapers, switch to cloth! There are so many easy to use, affordable and fun choices out there.

4) Garden. Growing your own vegetables is a perfect way to teach children about where our food comes from. Many children grow up only seeing fresh vegetables at the market, never seeing them grow on a plant. Once a child takes part in growing some of their own food they are more apt to make better nutrition choices and try new veggies that come their way. What a wonderful way to connect with the earth and our children at the same time. Start small, grow sprouts at first. They are easily growing and ready to eat in a few days. Kids love this! To take it one step further, start growing your own veggies or visit a farm nearby to see where your food comes from.

5) Breastfeed. While this is not an option for all Mums, breastfeeding is really green. There is no waste from packaging, no fuel is wasted in the transport of raw materials, and there is no detergent and water needed for cleaning bottles. To take it one step further, consider your water bottle choices. Choose stainless steel reusable water bottles, and refill before you leave the house.

So whether you consider yourself a green mummy or not, making a few small changes can have a large impact. Involve your family in your choices, teach them the reasons you are making changes. As David Brower said, “We don’t inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.”

This post is part of Simple Lives Thursday.

Odds and Ends

Spring has arrived! I have been loving the sunshine and flowers these past few weeks (achoo!!). My Little guy has been waking up and running with his shoes in hand to the door and signing "outside", and saying "owww,owww". He is obsessed with outside right now. As a result of his obsession I've been spending a lot of time outside and a lot less time inside, thus my house and blog have suffered. That's what spring is for, right? Some positive results have come from this. I've started my garden! No, this is not a picture of my garden unfortunately.  I hope to write and post pictures on that soon. I'm so excited about it this year, I am doing a square foot garden in my front yard. I have had zero success in  my past ventures in my shaded back yard, so I moved it to the front and I am feeling hopeful. I was very inspired by the Dervaes family. If they can do all of that, surely I can do a small garden and keep it going this year. It's also working as a great home schooling project. Big Sister has really been enjoying the planting and watering. I hope she continues to feel motivated, ( and me too!).
So I have a lot of odds and ends to share with you. If you haven't already heard via Facebook, please check out our most recent Soapnuts giveaway through http://www.baby2green.blogspot.com/ Your chance are looking pretty good at winning!
It's World Homeopathy Awareness week ( April 10-16th). I've written recently about homeopathy and some basics at getting started with your family. If you are looking to research in further this may be a good place to start. Several different states are having events, unfortunately there is nothing in TN, but there is in GA!
 I wanted to mention the Food Revolution with Jamie Oliver. Have you seen his new show? I'm in love with it. I love his passion for whole, healthy foods for children and families. I was shocked at  what the children were eating in the elementary schools, and even more shocked that the 7 year olds weren't able to identify a tomato or a pea!! If you haven't had a chance to see it yet, check it out on Friday nights. It looks like you can watch past episodes online.
On a final note ChildOrganics was chosen by Melodie at  Breastfeeding Moms Unite to be a sponser of her site for the month of April. She was searching for breastfeeding supportive businesses, and we were one of the businesses chosen to be featured. She is hosting a Body Image Carnival this week, so their are some great articles to be read on her site. So go on over and check her out!
I hope you are having a fantastic week enjoying the sunshine and your families!
Photo from woodleywonderworks

Free Breastfeeding Pamphlets


Are you a new mom that would like more information on solving breastfeeding problems? I wrote before about the great support new moms can find at your local La Leche League meetings. I recently attended my local meeting and found a resource that I think a lot of moms could use. Call the National Women's Health Information Center at 1-800-994-9662 and you can recieve the following La Leche League publications for free!

  • Approaches to Weaning
  • Breastfeeding After a Cesarean Birth
  • Breastfeeding and Working
  • Breastfeeding Father
  • Breastfeeding Twins
  • How to Handle a Nursing Strike
  • Mother's Guide to Pumping Milk
  • Sore Breasts
  • Thrush
  • When a Nursing Mother Gets Sick
  • When Babies Cry
  • Your Baby's First Solid Food
  • Breastfeeding the Baby with Reflux

Breastfeeding in Emergencies


The recent earthquake in Haiti has a lot of people thinking about emergency preparedness. This is something I've begun working on with my family this past year. I have an emergency car kit and we have a 3 day emergency kit in the home, ready in case we need to evacuate quickly.
As a mother, what are your best options for taking care of your infants in an emergency? Breastfeeding can truly be life saving in these instances. During an emergency, breastfeeding can provide your baby with life giving water, nutrients and protection from disease during this stressful time. Breastfeeding can protect infants from diarrhea, pneumonia and malnutrition. Some feel during a time of emergency a mother needs to quit breastfeeding to preserve her own strength. Despite a mothers lack of nutrition and additional stress, she can still be successful at breastfeeding her child. The best way to insure the child has good nutrition is to feed the breastfeeding mother and keep her as hydrated as possible.
In harsh emergency situations children have an extra need to fight infection and disease. Children that are NOT breastfed are three times more likely to require hospitalization due to infection or illness. Every effort should be made to preserve a mothers nursing relationship with her infant. Emergency workers are encouraged to keep the mother and infant together, provide a private as possible place for nursing, and encourage the mom to nurse her baby at any sign of hunger or stress.
In the cases where a mother gives birth to her baby during an emergency, immediate breastfeeding is crucial( within the first hour). This not only helps in controlling bleeding in the mother, but it provides vital immunity builders for the new infant, and helps in building the mothers milk supply. Introducing artificial milk to the infant could be detrimental. Clean water and bottles are needed for the use of breastmilk substitutes, this often hard to find in an emergency, and does nothing in fighting off infection.
Lastly, in many cases mothers who have weaned their children are able to relactate, and regain the ability to feed their children during times of distress. The breast would require nipple stimulation from the child, and could require several days or weeks, but would be well worth it in regards to the infants long term well being.
Breastfeeding is a vital role for emergency preparedness for the well being of infants and children. Haiti currently has a need for donated breastmilk, you can read more about their needs at the La Leche League website in their statement: Breastfeeding is the firstline of defense in a Disaster.
Photo by hdptcar

To Pacify or not to Pacify..that is the question...


Pacify- verb.1. to bring or restore to a state of peace or tranquillity; quiet; calm:

There are many ways to calm or quiet your baby, and giving your baby a pacifier is one option. There are many issues to consider on this topic. In this post I hope to share some of my experiences with the pacifier and some pros and cons for you to consider when making the decision in your own family.
Often a pacifier is introduced too early and this can cause breastfeeding problems. If you decide to use a pacifier, please wait until your breastfeeding relationship has been well established. Nipple confusion can be an issue for some babies when an artificial nipple is introduced too early. Realize a pacifier could also effect a mothers milk supply. If you are struggling with a low milk supply you should hold off on using a pacifier. Milk supply is an issue of supply and demand in most cases. So when you introduce a pacifier, a baby is taken away from the breast, and not stimulating prolactin. A mother may think she's not producing enough milk, when really the pacifier may be interfering with her milk production. When in the hospital you can make your own signs saying, "breastfeeding- no pacifiers". This encourages regular nursing at the breast and puts breastfeeding off to a good start.
In our society we often find pacifiers used without thought. Small babies and toddlers alike walk around in a dazed state sucking on their pacifiers. Parents need to use caution to make sure that they are still paying attention to their infants feeding cues and emotional needs.There has also been some research showing that prolonged use of pacifiers can be connected with ear infections and tooth malformation. There can be some benefits to using a pacifier for short times of seperation, or on a long car ride to keep the peace.
If choosing to use a pacifer there are a few things to consider when purchasing one. Babies can develop a latex allergy from using a latex pacifer. Silicone is another option for you to consider. There is some concern about chemicals leaching from silicone, so do your research. Beware that there have been many pacifiers recalled and children have died from choking on a pacifer. Never tie the pacifier around your babies neck as this can pose hazardous as well. There are also different sizes and shapes that are more effective for your babies age and oral development.
These are just a few points to consider when deciding whether or not to introduce a pacifer to your baby. With Big Sister and Little Brother we didn't use a pacifer. Little Brother sucked his thumb until around 6 months, then lost interest. There were times when I think a pacifier would have been an easy solution, but we managed to find some other strategies that worked. Mostly this involved nursing on demand and meeting their needs that way. With Bella, our middle daughter, we did use a pacifier. She was tube fed, and still had a strong sucking need, so a pacifier was a good solution. It was a great comfort to her, though I did find it nerve racking at times to keep up with it and keep it clean. For Bella, sucking and eating were not connected so our circumstances were different than most. Sucking is an intense need for infants, it provides them comfort and security. When considering how to bring tranquility and calm to your baby I encourage you to look at their needs and see what works best for them.

La Leche League


There have been a few organizations that have really supported me on my journey as a mother. While I was pregnant with Big Sister a friend had told me about La Leche League. I had never heard of them up to that point. I knew I wanted to breastfeed, but never knew there was an organization that was designed to help mothers be successful. I did read the book published from La Leche League, The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding. It was packed full with so much wonderful information. It's an invaluable resource for any breastfeeding mother. I thoroughly recommend this book to any pregnant mom.
I did a little research and visited http://www.llli.org/ and located a meeting in my area. It was like finding a treasure. After Big Sister was born, I started attending the monthly meetings. I met an amazing group of ladies that I still have as friends many years later. Often mothers may feel overwhelmed in those beginning weeks and months. Making a connection with other mothers can be a lifeline in times of distress. It can also be place of refreshment, sometimes it makes a world of difference just to know that others are having a similar experience.
The meetings follow a simple informal format. There is a topic for each meeting, a volunteer( La Leche League leader) will lead the discussion on one of four basic topics. Then there is a time to ask questions and discuss any issues related to breastfeeding. There are usually snacks and a lending library. Mothers are always encouraged to tend to their babies needs first. So no need to worry if you need to get up to change your infant or chase after your toddler. It's a great place for pregnant moms to get some experience seeing how natural breastfeeding can be. They can see veteran moms nursing with ease and parenting with love.
After attending meetings for a few years, I became a La Leche League leader myself. I really have learned a lot from La Leche League. Not only in terms of breastfeeding knowledge, but as a mother. I am now retired as a leader, but have such positive feelings associated with La Leche League.
If you are pregnant for the first time, a new mom struggling with breastfeeding and/or looking for some other moms with similar experiences, La Leche League may be for you. For breastfeeding problems they are an invaluable resource. Lactation consultants can be expensive and hard to contact when you need them. La Leche League leaders are trained, knowledgeable and free! They are mothers that have experience in breastfeeding and are willing to help. If you haven't already checked them out, I encourage you to do so now!

Portuguese family history

From our recent family vacation to Portugal I discovered some interesting facts about my husband's family when it comes to breastfeeding. My daughter is three and she nurses, and I was slightly concerned when meeting all of the family how they would react to my daughter still breastfeeding. I was so thrilled with their response. They gave me numerous comments about how good of a mother I was, and how healthy breastfeeding was for our daughter. Then, to our surprise we found out that my husbands' Uncle nursed until he was seven and then another relative nursed until he was six. They would tell us this with pride. It made me feel good to hear how accepting and even encouraging his family was on this topic. It is not common practice for most mothers in Portugal to nurse for that long anymore, just as in our culture new "modern" ways of parenting are being introduced. However, we did find their culture as a whole was more accepting and not as alarmed if they did catch a glimpse of a breast. For example, their beaches are mostly topless, so the site of a human breast did not send the men over the edge. There were breasts of every size and shape and it was "no big deal". To tell you the truth, I was actually concerned at how my daughter would react at the beach. I thought she may point and say "nurses" every time she saw a new set of breasts, but she didn't. It seemed perfectly normal to her too. I found it quite interesting to notice the difference in cultures during our visit. The cultures were different as well as alike in so many ways, even when it came down to breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding and Nursing Pads

Some mothers in the beginning of their nursing relationship find it necessary to to wear nursing pads to prevent a milk leakage from embarrassing them. It can be quite embarrassing as a new mom to be shopping in the grocery store and hear another child cry. That causes your milk to letdown and there you are with a wet spots in very conspicious places!
Other mothers may have an over abundant milk supply and need to use nursing pads on a regular basis. Not all mothers require the use of nursing pads, and they aren't necessary in many instances while you're at home. It's best to let air circulate and keep your nipples as dry as possible.
When choosing nursing pads, avoid those with plastic lining. These prevent air from circulating and can hold bacteria. They trap the moisture near the mother. Disposable pads also contribute to the landfill issues. It is a much better choice to find nursing pads that are cotton or hemp. They can easily be washed with warm water and soap along with your other laundry. They are more comfortable, cleaner, and reusable.
Hemp is a great choice for nursing pads because they are resistant to bacteria. Hemp, in most instances, is grown with the use of little or no pesticides and chemicals. They are soft, stain resistant and durable. This makes hemp nursing pads an excellent choice.
For the frugal mom, you can make your own nursing pads. You can use cloth pre-fold diapers cut into circles and sewn together. Experiment with scrap fabric you may have available, find what works for you. Be careful to avoid fabric with strong dyes and synthetic materials. Remember that organic hemp and cotton would make the best choice.
Contact your local La Leche League for breastfeeding support!

WVLT VOLUNTEER TV Knoxville, TN: Mothers Urged to Breastfeed Longer

I was happy to hear that breastfeeding made the local news. The facts are overwhelming in support of exclusive breastfeeding for at least the first 6 months of life. This benefits the mother and child in so many ways.

WVLT VOLUNTEER TV Knoxville, TN: Mothers Urged to Breastfeed Longer

View the new AAP recommendations here:
AAP releases revises breastfeeding recommendations

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