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Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The Lactivist Learning About Breastfeeding...Ironic, Yes?

As the clock starts to tick down and I start to get ready for baby #2 to show up, something funny dawns on me.

I don't know how to nurse a child.

Does that seem funny to anyone else? The Lactivist...the person that's spent almost a year now running a site designed to support breastfeeding and educate people on the benefits of breast milk is now facing the idea of trying to learn to nurse a child just like a first time mom.

That's kinda scary.

Granted, I've got all the experience in the world with a breast pump. I can tell you what kind to get, how to pump, when to pump, how to protect supply, how to store, how to thaw, all about milk banks...you name it, I got the goods.

But I've nursed a child for a grand total of three, count em, three days.

For a variety of reasons, I really would like to nurse this time around. One, because I'd like the experience, two, because the idea of pumping with a 2 year old running around is not appealing and three, because I want to know that I CAN.

I know that in some ways, I'm more prepared this time around...

1.) I KNOW that it might be really hard work. Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt. ;)
2.) I won't be in a hospital, which is where my problems started last time.
3.) I've learned a lot by now about the signs of when baby is ready, the good positions, how often baby should nurse, etc....
4.) I've got support...my husband is TOTALLY on board with helping to make this work, plus I know people online and in person that will be there ready to cheer me on.

But I also have that nagging fear that it's going to be like it was last time. A sheer horror story of screaming child, zero latch and exhaustion to the point of delerium. I'm also going to have that temptation of "well the pump is right there" pulling at me...and while pumping will be easy enough the first few weeks while I have help, the reality is that moms and mother-in-laws go home and you're left with a baby that won't latch due to nipple confusion and a two year old that doesn't always understand that mommy needs to pump AND then feed baby.

Any chance any Lactivist readers have pumped for one and nursed the next?

Any Lactivist readers that didn't succeed in nursing their first child, but pulled it off down the road?

What'd you do different? Any suggestions?

On the plus side, I imagine it will give me plenty of blog fodder. ;)

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Laboring in Water...but Not Delivering

So I know there are quite a few NCB moms that read this blog and I'd be curious to hear from the ones that either labored or delivered in water. TheSmockLady seems to be with me on the desire to labor in water, but not actually deliver in it.

Really, I hadn't thought much about a labor pool up until a week or so ago. I figured I had my shower and I could always use that if I wanted some water relief.

Then I got to thinking one day about how nice it feels to submerge in a warm tub. (Not a hot tub, I hate those, way too hot...just a warm tub.) So, I asked my midwife what she thought of the benefits of laboring in water. She said she's had clients swear by it and that she thinks it's a great idea. Most of the moms she's caught for simply used kiddie pools though, very few rented "birthing tubs."

My main issue was the heat thing. It just seemed/seems like so much work to keep a tub warm. Boiling water, running hoses from the sink, using up the hot water tank, etc... When you rent a birthing pool (like an Aqua Doula) they come with heaters so that they maintain a constant temperature. That left me thinking that I would spend the $250 to rent one.

I asked around, including on a debate board that I belong to and pretty much everyone said that with the right kiddie pool, they had NO problem keeping the water warm and they liked the pool just as much, or more, than the "birthing tub." They also pointed out that with something like an Aqua Doula, the sides are thin and hard and not so great for leaning against. With a good inflatable pool, you can hang over the side and your midwife won't lose the circulation in her arms if she's leaning in to check you. ;)

So...it was suggested that I buy this pool as it's what many of the moms had used. They say it's super comfy, deep enough and wide enough for mom or for mom and hubby.

Now I'll note, I have no desire to give birth in the water. Placenta soup and all that...ick. I see why some women like the idea, but it's just not my cup of tea. I picture giving birth, then rolling over, cuddling up with baby, letting baby latch on and falling asleep. ;) No where in that "picture" is there "wiping all the red water off of me and baby before putting on some clothes.

Feedback? Did you use a labor tub or a kiddie pool? How did you keep the water warm? Did you have problems keeping it warm? Did you want to birth in the tub and change your mind, or maybe you just wanted to labor in the tub and decided to stay put for the birth... Would love to hear from anyone else that has either labored or birthed in the water.

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

And then it hits you...time moves fast!

And then it hits you...time moves fast!

Good grief! You're puttering along, focusing on getting your work done, caring for your kid and looking forward to the arrival of baby number two.

Then someone (my mom) says something like "so what are you going to use for bedding for the new baby?"

And it dawns on you...holy CRAP, I'm due in like five weeks and I have NOTHING ready. NOTHING.

How in the world does that happen?

Sure, I'd done a bunch of hunting and finally come across a double stroller that I actually like...but I haven't bought it yet.

Sure, I pulled out the pack n play since baby will spend the first month or two in our room...(I'm certainly not traipsing upstairs every few hours to nurse the little munchkin!)

But...there's no crib...no dresser...heck, I don't even have clothes ready to go for the little thing!

Funny how things can change from number 1 to number 2, eh?

That said, things are starting to swing into gear. Mom has promised to buy the stroller for us and she's busy talking my grandfather out of a chest of drawers. We've already decided to steal the changing table from Nora's room and to replace it with one of those little table and chair sets for coloring. Mom can probably lend me her extra rocking chair, since Nora still loves to sit and rock and sing before bed and I hate to steal her rocker.

I did find and order a complete bedding set in a matter of about 10 minutes. (how much do I rock?) I also have plans for a back-up crib purchase if I can't find one that I like at the consignment shop in the next few weeks.

Thankfully, my mom said she'd come down in a few weeks and stay for several days to help me get the nursery put together, painted (or a border put up, who knows?) and to go through all the newborn clothes and blankets so that I actually have something to dress this poor child in.

Got a pool ordered to use during labor, though I'll still have to go to the hardware store for a fawcet adapter and hose. At least mom and dad have a submersible pump and electric air pump that we can borrow for blowing up the pool and emptying it out.

Now, if only we could come up with a name. We don't have a boy name OR a girl name yet...I'm seriously starting to think this baby just might be called "Baby Laycock" and have to wear a flour sack while sleeping in the drawer of our dresser. ;) Poor, poor child.

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Monday, August 21, 2006

No More Cats or Alcohol for You! Treating All Women as Pregnant…

The government is at it again…trying to achieve a worthy goal, but going about it in entirely the wrong way.

The Washington Post reports that the CDC along with the backing of groups like ACOG, March of Dimes, and the National Center on Birth Defects and Development Disabilities have decided that the best way to lower the U.S. infant mortality rate is to treat all women as “pre-pregnant.”

From the article…

Among other things, this means all women between first menstrual period and menopause should take folic acid supplements, refrain from smoking, maintain a healthy weight and keep chronic conditions such as asthma and diabetes under control.
Women should also make sure all vaccinations are up-to-date and avoid contact with lead-based paints and cat feces, Biermann said.
The report recommends that women stop smoking and discuss with their doctor the danger alcohol poses to a developing fetus.

The article goes on to explain that since half of all pregnancies in the United States are “unplanned” and since such grave and great danger awaits the children of the women that don’t find out they are pregnant instantaneously, that we must get all women to act as if they could be pregnant at all times. The idea is that this will help lower our infant mortality rates.

Let’s look at this issue a little closer though…

The U.S. currently ranks 24th among industrialized nations when it comes to infant mortality rates. Our current rate (7/1000) is roughly three times the rate in Japan and 2.5 times higher than most of the Nordic countries. That’s obviously pitiful, especially for a country that is supposedly as medically advanced as we are. However, there are several things factoring in to play here…

1.) In the United States, there is a vast variant in the infant mortality rate between white mothers (5.7/1000) and black mothers (13.5/1000). While it may be easy to write that off as “the U.S. has a higher black population than those other countries” most studies have shown that the socio-economic factors and a lack of insurance and access to prenatal care plays a significant role in the difference between those two numbers.

2.) While Japan is a highly medicalized society (like our own), the Japanese people are, on the whole, MUCH healthier than Americans. They have lower rates of obesity, lower rates of diabetes and lower rates of many other problems that can cause moms to be high-risk and can make outcomes worse for babies.

3.) In nearly every country that is ahead of the United States in terms of infant mortality, there are two very important factors at play. (And neither one of them is “don’t clean out the litter pan.”)

a. Socialized Medicine. Now, I’m the last person to advocate giving the government more control over medical care and I’m NOT a fan of socialized medicine as it is practiced in most countries. With that in mind, it’s important to realize that in countries with socialized medicine, good pre-natal care is more readily available and good pre-natal care has a significant impact on the outcome of births. Socialized medicine also leads to my next point…
b. In nearly all of these countries, birth is still treated as a natural function rather than a sickness, which means that the midwifery model of care leads the way. OBs are used only for high-risk patients. Medical interventions (like epidurals, ERCS, and pitocin) are no where near as common and home births are very common. Even among hospital studies that pit midwife attended high-risk patients against OB attended high-risk patients, midwives have significantly lower mortality and morbidity outcomes than OBs.

So what’s the solution here? Well, that’s a tough one.

Obviously I’m not going to argue that it would be a good idea to encourage women to quit smoking, to regulate alcohol consumption and to generally life a more healthy lifestyle. I mean that’s just good sense overall, not something that’s necessary just for “pre-pregnant” women.

It’s also true that this type of encouragement from health care professionals is hardly going to destroy the world or cost more money.

It’s more that this is like trying to use a bandaid to fix a severed finger. The problem needs far more response than the lip service that it’s being given.

So here’s what I’d like to see…

1.) Unique solutions to the lack of insurance for pregnant moms. There are plenty of groups out there that are setting up free medical clinics in order to provide free pre-natal care to uninsured moms. These types of clinics are often run by churches and community groups. They also provide an ideal environment for midwife apprentices and OB residents to gain experience treating women from a diverse socio-economic background. I would love to see more public and private funding for these types of centers and more encouragement for HCPs to volunteer their time in this manner.

2.) A return to evidence-based obstetrics. Unfortunately, anytime that you have apprenticeship style teaching like you do in the medical world, you have people learning from others based on habit. That means that it will take generations for new research to filter into the mainstream of medicine. So many doctors still perform episiotomies simply because that’s the way it’s always been done. This, despite new guidelines from ACOG stating that episiotomies should be reserved for emergency situations where seconds count. This also holds true for policies like NPO, routine IVs, CFM, etc…

3.) Gaining control of the med-mal environment for obstetrical practice. George Bush said it best…the malpractice insurance rates for OBs are skyrocketing out of control. This has a two-fold effect. First, it drives OBs out of practice leaving less choice for women. Second, it forces OBs to practice defensive medicine…defensive as in “will this hold up in court” rather than “is this the best decision for mom.” When malpractice insurance companies are dictating the standard of care based on what will play in court, everyone loses. Even OBs themselves are faced with the frustration of dealing with this.

4.) Education of society and insurance companies on the safety of midwife care and on the safety of home births. Study after study both in North American and abroad have shown home birth with a skilled attendant is every bit as safe for low-risk moms as hospital birth with an OB. In fact, the morbidity rates are actually LOWER for home birth. The costs are also significantly lower. A non-complicated vaginal birth in a hospital with an OB will run, on average $6000-$10000. (Add in another $1500-$2000 for an epidural) A home birth with a midwife will run anywhere from $1000-$4000, depending on the provider and the area of the country. Yet insurance companies that are more than happy to pick up the majority of the cost of a hospital birth will balk at the idea of paying for a home birth. I will be paying roughly $1800 out of pocket for my prenatal care and homebirth with a lay midwife. That’s the total cost of care. For my daughter, I paid roughly $1000 and my insurance company picked up another $7000 or so. You do the math…(from the insurance company’s point of view…)

We’ve got a long way to go folks…and simply talking all women of childbearing age into taking folic acid and avoiding the litter box isn’t going to do it.

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

And You Think YOUR Birth Was Stressful!

Good gravy...I can never again claim that my first birth was stressful...not after reading this story...

Woman Gives Birth in Her Car...but wait, there's more...

Apparently, she was driving herself to the hospital, lost control of the car during a strong contraction and crashed into a canal. Yeah, a canal, those things filled with water? Then, while trapped in the car with a BROKEN LEG, she caught her daughter. It was over an hour before a police officer came along and rescued them from the car.

Umm...yikes?

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Friday, August 04, 2006

From the "Good Grief!" Files

First it was bedwetting, now it's divorce...

http://www.cnn.com/2006/HEALTH/08/03/nursing.calm.reut/index.html


Basically: don't stress yourself over the impact your divorce may have on your kids, cause hey! you breastfed and that means they'll cope a little better!

Snippets:


"In children who are breast-fed, there is less of an association between parental divorce and separation and childhood anxiety," Dr Scott Montgomery, an epidemiologist at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, said in an interview.

In an observation study published in the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood, Montgomery and his team studied how breast- and bottle-fed 10-year-olds coped with the stress of their parents' marital problems.

The children were among 9,000 youngsters who had been monitored from birth for a major British study. Their teachers were asked to rate their anxiety level on a scale of 0-50.

There was a higher level of stress in all the children but the breast-fed youngsters coped better.


Seriously, aren't there enough benefits to breastfeeding for us to not have to resort to this kind of stuff to help "promote" breastfeeding? This article and even the study just rub me the wrong way...

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Wish I Saw This More Often

What a great picture over on Flickr!

Wouldn't it be nice to see this posted in front of more restaurants?

Pro Breastfeeding sign at restaurant

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

World Breastfeeding Week

It's a great time to whip out your Lactivist shirts ladies...yesterday kicked off this year's celebration of World Breastfeeding Week.

From the LLL in the USA site...

World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) is August 1st – 7th and celebrates the signing of the Innocenti Declaration on the Protection, Promotion and Support of Breastfeeding. It is celebrated in 120 countries on various dates.

So with that in mind, here are a few great breastfeeding quotes...I'd invite Lactivist readers to share your own favorite quotes, stories or experiences in the comment section as well...

"Breastfeeding is a mother's gift to herself, her baby and the earth."
- Pamela K. Wiggins
IBCLC, Author


I love that quote...because it fits on so many levels. Even apart from the emotional ties that come come from nursing a child, there are amazing health benefits for both mom and baby. Add in the environmental friendliness of breastfeeding and this quote is spot on.

I also really like the profoundness of this quote...

"Breastfeeding is a natural safety net against the worst effects of poverty. If a child survives the first month of life, the most dangerous period of childhood, then for the next 4 months or so, exclusive breastfeeding goes a long way towards canceling out the health difference between being born into poverty or being born into affluence. It is almost as if breastfeeding takes the infant out of poverty for those few vital months in order to give the child a fairer start in life and compensate for the injustices of the world into which it was born."
-The late James P Grant, past Executive Director of UNICEF

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