This is what my feeding practice looks like as a NICU nurse and IBCLC.

Today on March 2, 2016 I am celebrating IBCLC Day. There are manyIBCLCDay16 specialties  in the lactation world that can help every mother meet her infant feeding goals. My infant feeding practice is rather unique, as I consult all over the world to help with complex infant feeding challenges, and the majority of my consultation work is provided as a courtesy as most mothers cannot afford lactation consultation fees.
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No, breast milk is not a miracle cure-all.

EyeInfectionBabyWritten by Ani Lipitz

Many, many myths about the magical powers of breast milk have made their way into the mainstream in recent years. The general public’s poor understanding of how passive immunity  works has done much to fuel this “magic milk” furor. Mistaken beliefs about breast milk’s medicinal value run the gamut from innocuous (that it prevents allergies – it doesn’t) to the weird (that it e
nhances grown men’s athletic performance – it doesn’t) to the downright dangerous — that it can treat infections and other medical conditions in lieu of medication and other doctor-prescribed interventions. It cannot.

My oldest son was born with an obstructed tear duct, a relatively common and harmless condition that usually resolves on its own within the first few months of life. When he reached the age of 15 months and his tear duct still hadn’t opened, we were faced with the prospect of having to have it surgically opened. Although the procedure is quick and simple, I was nervous about putting my son under general anesthesia, and turned to the armchair experts of Google for alternative solutions. The one that turned up the most hits was, “Squirt some breast milk in his eye!” I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how breast milk could help open a membrane, but I thought, “Eh, it can’t hurt!”

I was wrong.

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Pumping Like A Boss

The Momivist : Where science, infant feeding and shame-free support rules.

Pumping is a big part of how many new moms feed their babies. Pumping can beNinthDayMomivist a challenge for various reasons, known and unknown. I want to share what I have learned over the years to help improve your pumping experience and hopefully to help you to learn how to collect more milk while protecting your supply when away from your baby. A few things need need to happen before you begin to pump. I am referring to electric double pumps, or hospital grade pumps:

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Breastfeeding Failure: How This Therapist Coped

Rachel1Breastfeeding: it is everywhere. Even for people who choose to formula feed for whatever reason, they are reminded of the benefits of breastfeeding on the can of formula that reads “breast is best.” For some, we allow breastfeeding (or lack of breastfeeding) to define the type of mother that we are. I was one of those “some”. The sad part is, it took me two years to realize it was in MY head and MY issue.

First off, allow me to provide some background information about myself and my journey. It is relevant, I promise. After a year and a half of not being able to get pregnant, my husband and I decided to seek treatment from a fertility specialist. For anyone who is fortunate enough not go through this process, count your blessings. It is an emotionally draining process to say the least. Fortunately, after about a year from the time we sought treatment, I gave birth to a healthy, beautiful seven-pound baby boy. He was (and still is) absolutely amazing.   I knew infertility could negatively impact a mom’s ability to breastfeed, but I was determined to breastfeed. Determined. Continue reading

Black Breastfeeding Week: Hell YES we need it.

World Black Breastfeeding Week begins on August 25 and I am Ashley2already hearing the negative, disapproving “buzz” in the lactation community. I will never understand why anyone–especially lactation consultants– disapproves of World Black Breastfeeding Week. As IBCLCs we have an ethical responsibility to support all cultures, and this includes African-American women. As a white and privileged RN IBCLC, I ask myself, “What do I know about the cultural norms of infant feeding in African-American communities?” Answer: absolutely nothing! I decided to reach out to my friend and colleague, Ashley Russell,  to educate lactation consultants about the importance of World Black Breastfeeding Week. This is what she said:

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The Breastfeeding Mom’s Plugged Duct Tool-Kit


Are you struggling with plugged ducts? I have a few tools you can use to help open your plugged duct and also a tool to prevent them! Here is my Plugged Duct Tool-Kit.

1. An Infant Diaper- Use a wet newborn diaper and heat it up in the microwave for heat application. Please test the temperature to avoid burns. The diaper is perfect for cradling around your breast and is mess free and reusable. You can also use an infant diaper for cold application, by placing it in the freezer.

2. An Electric Toothbrush- Use a new electric toothbrush, the flat, back-side only, for vibrating and massaging directly on the hard lump. Milk cells called lactocytes, are VERY sticky and vibration will loosen them so that massage can help open a plugged duct. Continue reading

Negative Breastfeeding Campaigns: How They Impact Mental Health

I am thrilled to post my interview with Steph, who is a blogger withIMG_0054 Grounded Parents.  Steph talks more about how negative breastfeeding campaigns impacted her mental health.  Steph has really good ideas about how to implement positive infant feeding campaigns.

Q: As a new mom who was struggling to breastfeed your baby, did negative breastfeeding campaigns impact your emotional health? 

A: With my first baby, I was so intent on exclusively breastfeeding. Everything that I had seen on the subject from posters and newscasts to books and brochures told me that breast was best and EBF was necessary for a healthy baby. Continue reading

Part 2 of My Interview with Human Milk Researcher, Shannon L Kelleher, PhD: Pre-term Infants and NEC

I am thrilled to share part 2 of my interview with human milk researcher, Shannon L shanKelleher, PhD. I wanted to share with everyone that Dr. Kelleher is doing exciting studies currently, one right here at the Penn State Hershey Medical Center’s neonatal intensive care unit:

Dr. Kelleher’s goal is to start a Lactation Research Center here at Penn State Hershey!!! I hope to collaborate with her so that together we can do great things to promote the science of human milk.
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Interview with Human Milk Researcher, Shannon L Kelleher, PhD

I am thrilled to post my interview, with human milk researcher, Shannon L Kelleher, PhD. Dr. Kelleher just published a paper about her research on zinc levels in human milk. She found that zinc in the diet is not correlated to the amount of zinc in breast milk! This suggests that certain breastfed infants, are at risk for zinc deficiency and might benefit from zinc supplements, like is already being done for vitamin D and iron. Adequate zinc levels are critical to develop the immune system, cognitive development and general infant growth. Please read on for the rest of my interview. I promise, there are exciting results!

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