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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Holiday Weaning

What is holiday weaning? Holiday weaning is when a baby weans due to the distraction and celebration of a holiday or other special event. There may be visitors from out of town or maybe you and your family are on vacation. Either way, there’s plenty of people, attention, and distraction to keep mother and baby apart. Next thing you know, baby hasn’t breastfed all day or maybe even all weekend.

Does holiday weaning have to happen during a holiday? No. Holiday weaning can happen on vacation, around birthdays or other special events, and even when you’re moving. If a mother travels for business or grandma visits, baby’s routine may get disturbed, and weaning may happen. Any time baby and mother are busy and distracted, holiday weaning may occur.

How do we avoid holiday weaning? Planned realistically, holiday weaning need not occur. Here are a few suggestions:
  • Let friends and family members know that you cherish your breastfeeding relationship. Don’t present it as a problem. For example, when aunts or grandmothers want to help, give them a task—not the baby.
  • When family members ask to feed the baby, tell them, “Thank you, but I’m breastfeeding,” and smile.
  • Use a sling or other carrier to keep baby close to nurse.
  • Work around nap times and other times when baby is sleeping.
  • Avoid long car and plane trips if possible. If it’s unavoidable, make sure to take plenty of time for nursing breaks.
  • Choose clothing that provides easy access to the breast for the little nursling.
  • Shop for gifts online or from catalogues. Keep “real life” shopping trips short or take plenty of breaks to breastfeed.

Sometimes mothers plan to pump and give a bottle for these events. Remember to pump as often as baby feeds to maintain your milk supply. Keep in mind that the extra work of bottle feeding—pumping, processing, storing, and dish washing—may be just too much when you consider all of the other activities you're doing. Why not breastfeed instead?

Happy holidays & check out these related links...

My baby has weaned before I was ready! Help!

My baby is suddenly refusing to nurse. Does that mean it's time to wean?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Giving the breastfed baby a bottle

Ideally, babies feed from the breast. However, for mothers who must spend time away from their babies, and for mothers who must occasionally miss a feeding, it is important that the baby will take mother's milk by another method. These tips assume that the baby is being fed his mother's expressed milk. If this is not available, ask the baby's health care provider for advice.

Here are some helpful tips, adapted from an article by Janet Jendron. This article can be found here on

1. Have someone else give the bottle. Many breastfeeding babies won't take a bottle from mother, since her smell and presence remind the baby of breastfeeding. One of the best people to give a bottle to a reluctant baby is an experienced bottle feeder. Someone with experience has confidence, and conveys that to the baby.

2. Gently stimulate the mouth with the artificial nipple, as is done for the first nursing at the breast. Let the baby "mouth" it and become familiar with it.

3. Try different kinds of nipples. Some babies like a nipple designed for premature infants, because it is so soft. Consult a health care provider for ideas about artificial nipples to try.

4. Try varying the nipple temperature. Put it in the refrigerator (teething babies like this) or run warm (not hot) water over it.

5. Use lots of cuddling by the person feeding the baby.

6. Some babies take a bottle better in their favorite breastfeeding position; others do better in a totally different position. Try propping the baby in your lap with the baby's back to your chest. The baby will see the room while drinking from the bottle (don't forget eye contact later). Or prop the baby on your slanted forelegs, like in an infant seat, and give the bottle while looking at him.

7. It may be best not to try to give a reluctant baby a bottle when he's gone a long time between feedings and very hungry. Anticipate.

8. Try to feed while moving rhythmically, calming the baby and distracting him from the different nipple.

9. If all else fails, try doing without a rubber or silicone nipple. For a tiny infant, alternative choices include an eyedropper, spoon, periodontal syringe, medicine spoon, special cup for infant feeding, tiny paper cup (the kind given out to hold condiments in fast-food restaurants), training cup or a regular cup.

To cup feed, place the rim of the cup on baby's lower lip and tilt the cup until the milk approaches the baby's lip. The baby's tongue will explore and find the liquid. On the first few attempts, this may take a few minutes. He will then lap or sip the milk. Do NOT pour the milk into the baby's mouth. Keep the level constantly by his lower lip and allow the baby to rest and pause while drinking, but do not remove the cup. When the baby has finished, he will let you know by turning his head away, or by other obvious cues.

Babies who can sit up may prefer to feed themselves (well supervised) from a regular cup or a covered "sippy cup."

When the baby is fed by one of these methods, be sure to breastfeed often when mother and baby are together, to satisfy the baby's sucking need.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Ten Tips for a Normal Birth

One of LLL's Ten Concepts is: Alert and active participation by the mother in childbirth is a help in getting breastfeeding off to a good start. Today Rocio led meeting number two, Baby Arrives: The Baby and the Breastfed Family in a discussion based on Lamaze International's Ten Tips in The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding that were printed in New Beginnings. Here are the ten tips as seen in New Beginnings 2009, Issue 2.

  • Choose a place that supports normal birth, a place where you will be comfortable. This may be at home, in a birthing center or in a hospital.
  • Choose a health care provider who supports the practices that promote normal birth.
  • Don't request or agree to induction of labor unless there's a medical indication for doing so.
  • Plan to move around freely during labor. You'll be more comfortable, your labor will progress quickly, and your baby will move through the birth canal easily if you stay upright and respond to the pain of your labor by changing positions.
  • Consider hiring a doula or professional birth/labor supporter.
  • Ask that your baby's heartbeat be monitored intermittently, rather than continuously, as this restricts your movement in labor.
  • Eat and drink as your body tells you to give you energy and prevent dehydration.
  • Use non-medical pain management strategies, such as focused breathing and comfort measures such as warm baths and showers, massage, and birth balls.
  • Don't give birth on you back! Upright positions (sitting, squatting or standing) on all fours or on your side enable you to work with gravity to push when your body tells you to.
  • Keep your baby with you after birth. Skin-to-skin contact keeps to regulate your baby's heartbeat and breathing and helps get breastfeeding off to a good start.