Breastfeeding Benefits for Mom and Baby

By Erin Kaspar-Frett, CPM, LM, MSM – Earth Mother Midwife

Finding Good Support
Sometimes a woman decides she wants to breastfeed and is met with opposition from her family or friends. Or, just as often, she wants to breastfeed and doesn’t find it as “natural” as others say it should be. Some struggle to latch correctly or are dealing with issues such as; thrush, lip or tongue tie, flat or inverted nipples. All of these can be worked around with proper support. A mother can contact a lactation consultant, a La Leche League (LLL) leader, a midwife, a pediatrician, or a friend that is experienced in breastfeeding.

Improvements in breastfeeding support continue. WIC offices and care providers are promoting and encouraging breastfeeding, lactation consultants are readily available to assist mothers that are having difficulties, many work places are providing pumping stations for their breastfeeding employees, and most areas have strong, supportive La Leche League groups available for moms to attend meetings and gain support.

I encourage all pregnant and breastfeeding moms to consider attending at least one LLL meeting to obtain or give support. Many LLL groups have lending libraries, speakers, play groups, and a great deal of information that benefits the breastfeeding mother. For more information on LLL contact LLL international at 1-800-LALECHE (US) or (847) 519-7730 or visit their website detailing how to find leaders in your area at www.lalecheleague.org/leaderinfo.html.

Getting Off to a Good Start
Studies have shown that breastfeeding progresses most smoothly when the mother is allowed full access to her newborn directly from birth, allowing her to pick up the baby herself when she is ready. When this happens, babies will typically begin breastfeeding within the first hour of their birth. That “golden hour” is the height of colostrum. Babies have a built-in instinctual ability to know how to nurse. Mothers that have prepared themselves can be relaxed and ready to nurse when they meet their new baby. The first few latches may be a bit awkward for both, but in time, both mom and baby will be pros! However, mothers who are separated from their newborns often feel anxiety during the separation. Babies who are separated from their mothers often cry and appear anxious. When the two are together they can bond and get to know one another, enjoying the creation of a lasting love. Safe-guarding the first hours after birth for freedom of nursing, and delaying all newborn procedures (if both mom and baby are healthy and proceeding normally!), will go a long way in maternal and infant health and security.

Nursing on demand is the ideal way to feed. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends feeding on demand at newborn cue’s, before beginning to cry.* A baby who is fed on demand grows confident in his mother’s ability to meet his needs when he requests them to be met. Feeding on demand also provides the cue that the mother’s brain needs to make the ideal amount of breast milk for her baby. Breastmilk is supply and demand in reverse: the baby demands, the mother’s body supplies. For a healthy mother/baby team, there is never too little milk when the baby is permitted to tell the mother’s body how much is needed, although it might take a day or two to catch up. Following the cues of the newborn will solidify this nursing relationship.

Nutrition during Breastfeeding
What goes into a mother’s body while she is breastfeeding her baby is what becomes the nutrition her baby receives. Whole foods, a well-rounded diet, and plenty of liquids will benefit both the mother and the baby. Avoiding caffeine, cigarette smoke, and recreational drugs is recommended during breastfeeding.

Remembering to take the time to eat is sometimes difficult for busy mothers. Frequent small meals are often recommended to the breastfeeding mother. Nursing mothers need at least 2,700 calories and 65 grams of protein a day. Having an easy healthy snack and fluids available at all times is helpful for mothers who are busy or on the go.

Some babies will be sensitive to certain foods, becoming fussy or spitting up after the mother eats them. As the mother pays attention to what she had to eat or drink prior to a fussing episode, she will often realize what is causing the baby’s discomfort.

What about the Other Parent?
The other parents sometimes wonder how they can participate in the child’s life if they can’t provide sustaining nourishment. For some families, it works to have the other parent bottle feed expressed breast milk. For some, however, this feels awkward or the baby doesn’t relax in the same way. And yet, for some families, bottle feeding isn’t an options due to baby’s unwillingness. And yet there are so many important roles a non-breastfeeding parent plays in the life of the child. Non-breastfeeding parents can hold, rock, bathe, feed solids when it is time, dress, and play with their children, creating a special time with their babies that provides a similar bond as the one breastfeeding mothers have during breastfeeding. Non-nutritive parents play an important role in the development of their child’s life. These special times together will aid in developing a lasting relationship between that parent and child.

Relax and Enjoy Breastfeeding

Above all I remind mothers that the breastfeeding period is a special time, a time like no other in the mother’s or baby’s life. The baby will have the opportunity to get to know the mother during the time they spend nursing. The mother and baby will discover how important they are to one another during this time. The housework will still be there when the baby is done nursing. Work will still be there when the mother is ready to return. Friends and family members will gladly resume closeness when the mother feels ready to invest in these relationships again. The mother can simply relax and enjoy this special time between herself and her baby.

*Documentation recorded in the American Academy of Pediatrics Policy Statement, Pediatrics Vol. 100, No. 6, December 1997, pp. 1035–1039. www.aap.org/policy/re9729.html.

For a list of resources on the topic, please contact Erin Kaspar-Frett, erin@earthmothermidwife.com.

Is Chronic Lyme Disease Real?

By A. J. Lindsley, Lindsley Chiropractic

The question of chronic Lyme disease is one I often answer in my office on a daily basis for my patients who have previously been diagnosed with Lyme disease and have been treated with antibiotics. Although they followed the standard of care for treatment and a course of antibiotics, many of their symptoms seem to persist for years after the initial diagnosis. Other patients may fall into another category that have symptoms associated with Lyme disease but have never been treated for Lyme disease due to the fact that they tested negative on the standard Western Blot test and did not have the bull’s-eye rash that is characteristic in some that have been infected by a tick. Often individuals seeking care by our medical system in these situations are told that all of their symptoms are in their head, and some are even referred to seek psychiatric help instead of the medical practitioner really listening to the patient and all of the symptoms.

One of the causes of chronic Lyme is the biofilms that bacteria and parasites are able to wrap themselves in during a normal course of antibiotic treatment, allowing many of the bacteria and parasites associated with Lyme disease to go hide wrapped in these biofilms, waiting for the immune system to become weakened before attacking again.

The truth about so many of these patients are suffering from a hidden case of Lyme disease is that the testing methods are not good enough to detect the chronic cases. A simple blood draw on a chronic Lyme disease patient may show they have made antibodies to the Lyme bacteria, but often the number of bands (five specific bands are required) to create a CDC (Center for Disease Control positive Lyme case) are not present. Chronic Lyme hides in the brain and joints, which is considered outside the blood stream. None of the testing methods that are standard actually test these tissues, and over time they turn into a chronic disease diagnosis with very little understand

Many of the bacteria and parasites associated with Lyme leave the blood stream and invade the joint tissue using the synovial fluid and cartilage as its long-term living quarters. These bugs secrete ammonia which is 46,000 times higher pH than our tissue. Our immune system recognizes these chemical toxins and reacts by creating superoxide and peroxide as part of our immune response to these invaders. Most of us have used peroxide on a cut because it is good at killing bacteria that may be in the cut. The body uses the same peroxide to help fight infections in our tissues. The problem becomes when we have a long-standing infection in our tissues (joint and brain tissue) with ammonia and peroxide reacting in these tissues, we often see the effects as many different diagnoses that are dismissed as part of the aging process.

Chronic Lyme exposure in the brain tissue often results in one of four common neurological diagnosis: MS (multiple sclerosis), ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis—Lou Gehrig’s disease), Parkinson’s, or some form of dementia. Many of these neurological processes are considered partially genetic but have a strong association with autoimmune issues where the body has become confused and overwhelmed to the point where it attacks itself. Slowly we are seeing the number of people with these diseases rising with no known cause and no real treatment. Today one in nine Americans (11 percent) at sixty-five years of age have a diagnosis of dementia, one in four (25 percent) at seventy-five years of age, and one in two (50 percent) at eighty-five years old. Currently 5 million Americans have dementia, and in twenty-five years 25 million diagnosed cases are predicted. Forget about nursing homes; we have a new business called memory care home facilities. Unless we begin to look for the chronic Lyme in the brain tissue and develop specific testing for these tissues, we will see these neurological diseases continue to rise and progress into younger and younger generations.

We are seeing, I believe, the same effects in chronic joint conditions. In the United States we are currently replacing over a million hips and knees per year! The prediction is 4 million joint replacements per year by 2035. Very few people are physically active enough to wear their joints out in a lifetime, so we have to ask ourselves what could be causing this extreme number of failures. Even more concerning is the number of non-contact sport injuries we are seeing in our young children. There have been over a million knee surgeries on children under the age of eighteen for ACL and meniscus tears in our young athletes. These injuries were unheard of just twenty years ago. I hear all the time in my clinic how these kids are pushed too hard in sports year-round. The truth is that a conditioned athlete does not get injured; an athlete with a hidden case of Lyme is chronically injured. Some of these injuries may be attributed to some trace mineral deficiencies but certainly not to overtraining.

Chronic Lyme, I believe, is the main factor involved in most of the “chronic disease processes” we are seeing affecting all generations and much earlier than ever before.

For more information, contact Lindsley Chiropractic Clinic & Natural Healing Center, 1565 195th Ave., Bloomer, WI 54724, 715-568-5058, www.lindsleychiropractic.com

Stress Relief and Your Skin

By Sarah Green, Owner & Licensed Aesthetician, CLT – Sakura Skin Spa

Stress. It’s something we ALL face. Some of the people most affected by stress? Moms! Just ask my mom, Patti! It was, of course, my other three siblings that caused her stress and not myself…. (she’s rolling her eyes at this moment, I can assure you, as she reads this!).

Stress affects everyone, and unfortunately sometimes when we need stress relief the most we are unable to do certain treatments or use certain products, such as during pregnancy.

Here are some excellent alternatives for everyday stress relief that are safe and effective for everyone!

  1. Organic or Natural facials. At Sakura we offer Organic Naturopathica or 97 percent Natural FarmHouse Fresh products. Both are centered on attacking stress with their luxurious and aromatherapeutic properties! Safe for everyone, including moms-to-be and nursing clients, help keep your skin in check with a fabulous facial. Facials are a great way to unwind but also to get a results-orientated treatment. One of our licensed aestheticians will help customize a treatment that is perfect for you. Some clients prefer to pick their facial from our very LARGE facial menu also.
  2. At home Naturopathica or FarmHouse Fresh products. They aren’t just for “in-spa!” Create your own peaceful escape within your own home. These products offer bath salts, oils, body scrubs, lotions, and masks to help you slip away into that world of relaxation! Melt away your stress without leaving your own house.
  3. A Fire & Ice facial. This Innovative Skin Care treatment will leave you with soft, exfoliated, and hydrated skin without any worry during pregnancy or nursing. This 18 percent sugar cane glycolic treatment gently, yet effectively, rapidly resurfaces your skin, leaving you with a polished skin. Throw on the rejuvenating mask, and you’re left with hydrated, polished skin. Perfect to do before an event or before tackling grocery shopping with the kiddos, as there is no downtime!
  4. Back Facials. While this isn’t always the best treatment for a woman who is pregnant, this is an excellent stress reliever. This treatment is a full “facial” treatment but for your back! While using warm steam and towels, your Aesthetician will cleanse, exfoliate and massage your back. They then will finish with customized treatment products to help hydrate and protect your skin.
  5. Who doesn’t love- or NEED- a fabulous massage? While we don’t personally offer massage at Sakura, we are proud to partner with Sans Souci massage of Altoona, Wisconsin. Owners Katie and Candace and their staff offer exceptional quality massages with years of experience in treating people in the Chippewa Valley. For our clients who would like to experience a facial AND massage, Sans Souci will send over one of their fabulous therapists to help us create the ultimate spa day! Looking for just a massage? We highly suggest giving these ladies a visit. They will help customize a massage that is just right for you and your needs. They also offer pregnancy massages. (Just ask my sister, Rachel, Katie was a life saver for her during her second pregnancy!)
  6. It is amazing what a little diffused goodness can do for you. We personally use a YoungLiving diffuser and essential oils at Sakura to help greet our guests with a welcoming and soothing atmosphere. I also personally use one in my home. You can find just the right blend to soothe your needs. Essential oils can be exceptionally effective in helping with insomnia, stress, anxiety, and even with those blues we can all get. These oils can be applied topically, ingested, diffused, sprayed, or dropped in a hot bath. Whatever fits your lifestyle and mood!

Finding just the right balance in our lives to help combat stress is so important. So many people view a “spa” day as just an indulgence or just for special occasions, but in reality in can be so imperative to be sure we are taking care of not just our outer appearance, but also our mental well-being. A great spa treatment can do both.

Cheers to a happy, stress free life!

 

Calling All Kids: Get Outside and Get Active

by Jamie Hoover, YMCA Healthy Living Director

It is summertime in Wisconsin again! School is out and the weather that we dream about throughout the depths of winter is finally upon us. As a health and fitness professional as well as a lifelong Wisconsin resident, I am telling you now, create an environment for the kids to get outside and get active!

Kids ages six and older should be active for 60 minutes or more each day. Current trends show that kids ages eight to eighteen get an average of seven hours of screen time each day, which includes television, computer, smartphone, and video game usage.

The benefits of activity and exercise for children are vast and far reaching. A healthy diet, physical activity, and active play are the building blocks of a healthy lifestyle for children as their bodies and brains are rapidly developing. Conversely, children who are overweight or obese are more likely to be obese as adults, which can raise the risk for health problems such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, asthma, and cancer just to name a few.1,2

An often overlooked benefit of physical activity for children is the impact it has on their mental health. Physical activity has been shown to stimulate brain growth and boost cognitive performance. Studies indicate that fit children tend to have greater brain volume in the hippocampus, a brain region associated with memory,3 and that more active children have faster reaction times and accuracy,4 as well as showing more extensive information processing during tasks.5 In other words, results suggest that aerobic exercise can enhance focus and improve cognitive flexibility. Physical activity has also been correlated with both short- and long-term benefits in the classroom. A study, with replicated results, linked aerobic activity with improved math skills and increased activity in the prefrontal cortex, a brain region associated with executive function.6

There are also many physical benefits aside from risk prevention, and perhaps some much needed personal time for caretakers and chaperones. Examples of physical benefits include:

  • Maintains blood sugar levels
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Helps grow strong muscles and bones
  • Improves sleep
  • Can boost self-esteem
  • Can help relieve stress
  • Enhances athletic performance

What does all of this mean? It means that physical activity is a must, and not only for children, but for adults as well. A key component to being active and staying active is to individualize it to each and every person and child. Being active doesn’t need to be a complex or expensive endeavor. Eau Claire has been named a top “Small Town to Live” by numerous publications and was also ranked number 4 in a poll of the 16 best places to live in the United States by Outside Magazine for many active reasons, including our running and biking trails, our beautiful terrain of woods and water, and our many great parks! The Y also offers many great options such as youth sports leagues, Athletic Enhancement Camp, and the Kids of Steel Triathlon!

Whatever your physical activity preference is, make the most of your summer by getting out, getting active, and enjoying our city!

 

Sources:
1. Freedman, D. S., et al. “The relation of childhood BMI to adult adiposity: The Bogalusa Heart Study.” Pediatrics, 115(1): 22–27, 2005.
2. The Writing Group for the SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth Study, et al. “Incidence of diabetes in youth in the United States.” JAMA, 297(24):2716–2724, 2007.
3. Chaddock-Heyman, L., Hillman, C. H., Cohen, N. J., and Kramer, A. F. “The importance of physical activity and aerobic fitness for cognitive control and memory in children.” Monogr Soc Res Child Cev, 79(4): 25–50, 2014.
4. Hillman, C. H ., Pontifex, M. B., Raine, L. B., Castelli, D. M., Hall, E. E., and Kramer, A. F. “The effect of acute treadmill walking on cognitive control and academic achievement in preadolescent children.” Neuroscience, 159(3): 1044–54, 2009.
5. Hillman, C. H., Castelli, D. M., and Buck, S. M. “Aerobic fitness and neurocognitive function in healthy preadolescent children.” Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 27(11): 1967–1974, 2005.
6. Davis, C. L., Tomporowski, P. D., McDowell, J. E., Austin, B. P., Miller, P. H., Yanasak, N. E., Allison, J. D., and Naglieri, J. A. “Exercise improves executive function and achievement and alters brain activation in overweight children: A randomized, controlled trial.” Health Psychology, 30(1): 91–8, 2011.

Define: Hunger

by Corbin Burkard, Head Trainer, Burn Boot Camp – Eau Claire

Ever feel hungry? Of course you have. Feeling hungry is our body’s natural way of letting us know it is time to eat. What is often misconstrued is understanding how truly “hungry” we actually are. As a trainer who is dealing with nutrition questions on a daily basis, one of the first questions I ask people is, “Do you feel hungry during the day?” Often the answer I receive is, “No.” For many people this is simply because we are undereating and need to gradually increase calories in order to boost our metabolism so we can actually burn MORE calories by putting better food into our bodies on a more consistent basis.

On the other end of the spectrum are those of us that eat a sufficient amount (or too many) of calories on a regular basis. If we are eating enough calories during the day, odds are we feel hungry, or at least we certainly would if we missed snack time! Some foods make you hungrier without actually doing anything for you, like sugars and refined carbs. Whereas foods high in fiber, healthy fats, and proteins can assist to not only increase your metabolism and nourish your body, but can also help so you aren’t hungry constantly. From here, I put “hungry” into six different categories to help explain what type of hunger we are actually experiencing, and how to combat those types of hunger!

  1. Starving – The feeling that you could “eat a horse.” At this point you are more than likely shaky, lightheaded, and possibly sick feeling.
  2. Pretty Hungry – This is go time! Time to definitely be eating some food. You are maybe even a little past the point of when you should have last eaten. Right now there are some pretty empty sounds coming from your stomach, and this feeling more than likely came on gradually.
  3. You Could Eat – This is my typical response when I am not all that hungry, but know I will be within an hour. At this point there is no reason to be eating. Drink some water, see how you feel, and then start to plan or prepare for your next meal.
  4. Content – If you are not hungry, and also not full, why would you need to eat? This is one that gets a lot of people late at night. You have had dinner, you are going to bed in an hour, and there is no reason to eat! Don’t feel bad though, this is a common, learned, habitual movement (my favorite suggestion is to do air popped popcorn with light olive oil!). Typically I tell people to either drink some water or substitute something with essentially no caloric value to wean themselves away from late night snacks.
  5. Full – Stop! Slow down, put that fork down between bites, eat slower, take a drink between each bite, use a smaller plate, put the rest of the food away in containers for tomorrow! Going beyond this point is usually what makes us sick, wastes our money, and keeps our waistband tight.
  6. Overfull – Typically overeating happens often when we waited to eat until we were starving. You get all excited to eat again and start to cram anything and everything we can into your face too quickly! Afterward you feel sluggish, slow, tired, and sometimes quite uncomfortable. This can be easily avoided by trying to stay between numbers 2 and 5 at all times!