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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.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Stretch Mark Removal Cream

If you are anything like me, you never, ever, EVER had problems with stretch marks until you had babies. Of course if you're like me you also got through at least one pregnancy thinking you were in pretty good shape. I didn't have much of a problem with stretch marks after Nora, mostly because she seemed to fill up my "insides" instead of stretching me outward. (I was a good 32+ weeks pregnant before I really looked it...)

Then I got pregnant with Emmitt and almost overnight became a walking whale. I was carrying around nine and a half pounds of baby and it looked like it. I was monstrous and it happened overnight. Along with all that stretching came...well, stretch marks. Bright red stretch marks.

Blech.

(The good news is, even the stretch marks that start out bright red or purple tend to fade over time.)

Now, as annoying as they are, it's not like I've exactly gotten back into bikini shape in the last two years, so I havent' worried so much about them. That said, I've known my fair share of moms who were both desperate to avoid and to eliminate the stretch marks that often come with pregnancy.

So I did a little hunting...and just in case you want to look them over yourself, here are some of the more popular stretch mark removal creams to check out online.

Revitol Stretch Mark Reduction Cream

Revitol claims to increase the production of collagen and elastin in the epidermis and says that helps to both prevent and reduce the appearance of stretch marks. They suggest you being using it during your pregnancy and then use it after pregnancy to help help remove stretch marks. So what's in it? According to the Revitol web site, their stretch mark removal cream is made up of squalene oil, vitamin E, vitamin A, vitamin D3 as well as aloe vera and grapefruit seed extracts.

It should be noted that the folks at Revitol never claim to remove your stretch marks (which is good, because most doctors will tell you it's pretty much impossible to remove them without laser surgery), they simply claim

Barmon Stretch Mark Cream

I'd be a little more leery of the stretch mark cream sold on this site than of the Revitol reduction cream, but that's mostly because their web site tries to claim they WILL make your stretch marks vanish. It's mostly made up of cocoa butter, wheat germ oil and lanolin. On the plus side, it's not tested on animals and they claim they offer a money back guarantee if you aren't happy with it.

Trilastin Stretch Mark Removal Cream

Trilastin claims you'll start to see a difference in a matter of weeks and also offers a money back guarantee. I can't find much on the site in way of ingredients, though it claims to be 100% natural and totally safe to use while you are pregnant or breastfeeding. It was also featured on the Tyra Banks show earlier this year if that type of thing sways you.

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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, July 16, 2009

Lansinoh Breast Milk Storage Bags Review

In an ideal world, none of us would ever have to pick up a breast pump or express milk. Babies would always get it straight from the tap. In the real world, due to things like travel, latch issues, jobs and the need for temporary escape...babies often end up drinking expressed and stored breast milk.

Lansinoh Breast Milk Storage BagsNow, any mom who has ever pumped milk knows how much work it is. The last thing we want to have happen to that hard earned milk is to have it go bad, or worse yet, have the breast milk storage bag in the freezer spring a leak.

That's why breast milk storage bags were one of those things I never skimped on. I tried out quite a few and one of my favorites were the ones from Lansinoh. (I'm a fairly big Lansinoh fan anyway, having been won over early on in the hospital with Lansinoh brand lanolin.)

Back in the days when I was exclusively pumping for Elnora and saving milk for the milk bank, I used to go through breast milk storage bags like crazy. I tried a ton of different brands and my favorite by far were the Lansinoh Breastmilk Storage Bags.

They hold six ounces, which is on the high end of the scale space wise and they've got a great bag shape that let's you freeze them flat, even if they're pretty full. (Tip: If you lay your breastmilk bags flat on their side when you put them in the freezer, they free that way and you can stack them more easily.)

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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, July 15, 2009

Breast Reduction Surgery and Breastfeeding

As a fairly well endowed woman, it always strikes me as just a little bit funny when women wonder aloud if they can have breast implants and still breastfeed. Why? Because I always wondered if I could have breast reduction and still breastfeed.

I guess no one is happy exactly where they are, eh?

While I've done some research into breast reduction surgery and given it a bit of thought, I knew there were enough risks that I'd never be willing to consider reduction surgery unless I knew with 100% certainty I was done having babies and therefore, done breastfeeding.

Of course now that I'm in a position where I know my breastfeeding days are behind me, I've decided against breast reduction surgery for other reasons (including the fact that I'm a great big chicken), but I have no doubt there are still other women out there wondering the same thing.

So I thought I'd share my findings...

You CAN breastfeed after breast reduction...

...but how well you can do it depends on a lot of factors. Breast reduction does tend to put both your ability to nurse and your milk supply at greater risk than some of the other common breast surgeries. This makes sense if you think about it, as the removal of all that tissue makes it far more likely your milk ducts will be damaged.

What tends to happen after breast reduction surgery isn't that mother's can't breastfeed, but that they have to work quite a bit harder to establish and maintain a milk supply. That means these moms are at risk of needing to rely on some type of supplementation which in turn tends to make it harder to keep up a milk supply. It's sort of a downward spiral for most moms and since few health care providers know how to properly support these moms, most give up.

The thing I found interesting in my reading was the concept of recanalization. If you've never heard of it, it's basically the concept that as a mother lactates and produces milk and lactation related hormones, the milk ducts that had been previously severed will work to regenerate or even to build new pathways.

It also turns out that it's far more common for breastfeeding mothers who have had some type of breast related surgery to deal with a condition known as nipple vasospasm. This is when the nipple gets rigid and turns white. Basically, all the blood flow is squeezed out of the nipple for a period of time before blood flow returns. It can be quite painful, but can be treated with medication and changes in latch position.

Overall, the common consensus was that breastfeeding after breast reduction (or any type of breast surgery) was usually possible, but a heck of a lot more difficult.

If you'd like to do a bit more research on your own, you can check out some of the great resources I found on breast reduction surgery and its impact on breastfeeding.

BFAR - Breastfeeding After Breast and Nipple Surgeries.
This is a wonderful resource site that talks not just about breast reduction surgery, but also about breast augmentation surgery, breast lifts, nipple surgeries and a variety of other things. (They've also got forums, so it's a great place to take your questions.)

Defining your Own Success: Breastfeeding After Breast Reduction Surgery
A book by Diana West (IBCLC and retired LLLL). A great resource if you've had any type of breast surgery and are looking for some information and help establishing and maintaining a milk supply.

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments: