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Episode 45: This Week in Breastfeeding - Mar 20, 2021

, March 20, 2021

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Welcome back to The Breastfeeding Talk Podcast. I’m your host, Jacqueline Kincer. And today, Saturday, March 20, 2021. And I’m recording this and releasing this a day late. This is another edition of This Week in Breastfeeding here on the podcast. And apologies for anyone who’s looking for this episode to come out yesterday. But it is what it is and life happens. And that’s just how it goes sometimes. But I’m super excited to be joining you again today for another episode. Because there’s some cool things that have come out that I’m really excited to share with you. And one of them. I did share to my Instagram Stories The other day when I saw it come out. But I will link it up for you in the show notes like I do everything I discussed here. But it’s a new commercial from Nike, Nike women. And I have to give them a huge, huge shout out because thankfully, finally there’s a commercial that shows breastfeeding in a positive light. So they show pregnant and breastfeeding moms, being athletes, and just it’s so empowering. I think it’s beautifully done. I just have to say that I think that I would like to see more commercials like this where breastfeeding is normalized, where it’s not seen as something limiting. It’s not seen as you know, this thing that we sort of need to treat with kid gloves, if you will.


I just I just think it’s amazing. So anyway, I will link that up for you all because I just think it’s really, really pretty. And in just a pretty like visually just I don’t know, it was it was very it just evoked a certain emotion of like pride, like, yes, you know, even though you’re pregnant, even though you’re breastfeeding, you can still do amazing things with your body beyond just those things. And you know, those things are obviously just enough, but I just think that it’s really empowering for any female athletes out there who are going through their childbearing years to have a commercial like that. So we’d go Nike definitely makes up for those, the sweatshop labor and things like that we’ve learned about in the past, but not saying they’re a perfect company, but I’m glad to see the commercial


So anyway, there’s a feature in cosmopolitan, the the magazine that this is on their website, and the headline is, can you breastfeed if you have implants? Now I wanted to talk about this because actually, the articles are very well written in terms of including basically most of what you need to know. And they asked, I guess they have Justine McNulty, she’s an in house midwife for best milk about this. It’s interesting that they asked a midwife. You know, I, I’m not saying this, you know that just because your midwife you don’t know anything about breastfeeding? Of course you do? Of course you do. But it’s always kind of interesting to me that they don’t ask lactation consultants, these things. I don’t know why there’s lots of us that are open to being interviewed, or brought on as guest experts for any kind of, you know, pieces on this sort of topics. So, I don’t know if it’s just a lack of, you know, getting someone in time or what have you, but who knows, anyways, I’m glad they wrote this article. So they do have to the question, is it safe to breastfeed if you have implants?


And I would say that realistically, in terms of safety, that’s that’s a relative thing that everybody gets to decide for themselves. You know, if if your implants are intact and whatnot, then yes, it’s there’s probably no issue there. But there have absolutely been cases of implants leaking, and there’s especially a concern with silicone implants. And there, it has been known for silicone to enter breast milk. So, you know, that may be something that’s concerning for you if you’ve had implants. You know, I There are many women these days that are choosing to get their implants removed, either because of breast implant illness or concerns about that down the line or reclaiming their bodies or whatever it is. And I do see it happening more and more and it’s being discussed. And, you know, there’s unfortunately issues with encapsulation and other things. So, you know, safety That’s relative, that’s a decision for you to make based on your own sort of, you know, health status and concerns related to your implants. But usually, yes, it’s totally fine to breastfeed if you have implants. I would argue that breastfeeding with implants is definitely better than formula.


But you know, again, everybody has a unique situation. Now, they do acknowledge that there’s issues that could arise that may be more likely like in Gordmans, clogged ducts, mastitis. But these can be resolved just like they are in a mother that doesn’t have implants. So I get that, you know, prompt advice and support and treatment from a lactation consultant. So there’s really no studies out there, they’re suggesting that breastfeeding after having breast implants is unsafe. So just keep that in mind. You know, another question that they asked is will implants make breastfeeding more of a challenge? It could make breastfeeding more of a challenge in the sense that if you got very large implants, you know, you could have you know, more swelling or pain or encouragement, things like that, that could cause some issues. Most of them are inserted under the muscle tissue. But you know, there are reasons why people get implants. And those should be acknowledged, really, one is because they have insufficient glandular tissue to begin with. So if you just never had enough glandular tissue, that tissue that is responsible for manufacturing the milk in your breast, and you get implants, while implants aren’t going to add any more glandular tissue. So, you know, it doesn’t have anything to do with the implants themselves. But maybe the reason why you’ve got them to begin with is because you have insufficient glandular tissue and you will struggle to make enough milk for your baby no matter what.


So that’s an issue. So sometimes implants can mask that issue. Or maybe you’ve had reconstructive surgery, maybe there’s been some procedure done around the areola that could potentially pose more of an issue, because it could have maybe severed some of the milk ducts. Although there’s some good information out there about if it’s been more than five years, since any sort of breast surgery like that, like a major biopsy or reconstructive surgery, then there are more chances that your milk ducts have had a chance to regenerate, regrow, reconnect, and all of that. So I think probably the biggest issue, and it doesn’t even happen all the time at all. Um, but implants can cause some discomfort if you’re in gorged right, and it can stretch your your breast tissue more, you may end up getting more stretch marks, things like that you might not so just depends. They do answer the question of what can you do if you’re struggling to breastfeed and they talk about seeing a midwife or health care professional to rule out medical problems. They share a breastfeeding helpline number. That’s great. I don’t know why they don’t mention lactation consultants. But please, honestly, if you’re struggling with breastfeeding, just go right to the source have someone who can help you with it. I you know, I just feel like it’s like my responsibility to advocate for the profession, because it’s like, articles like this, why are we not mentioning the one health care professional who is specifically trained to help in lactation lactation consultants, so please contact one.


But, you know, anyway, they do go on to answer another question, which I think is definitely concerned, which is will breastfeeding affect your implants? And no, it will not. Um, but you know, going through the process of pregnancy and breastfeeding and the hormones that change your breast tissue and whatnot, your tissue, you know, expands and that it will contract once you cease breastfeeding. So you know, it can change the way that your breasts look. Yeah, definitely. But just because you’ve breastfed does not always mean that your breasts have dramatically changed in appearance once you’re done breastfeeding. Again, everyone’s different. So articles like this are great, bringing some more information to to the issue. But I would say that there’s really no definitive answer. So you know, everybody’s unique. Alright, I want to share this. This is a study that came out here. It’s breastfeeding during a pandemic, the influence of COVID-19 on lactation services in the northeastern United States. This is from March 18. And basically what they did is a survey more or less, just to get in touch with providers, what eligible lactation staff and you know, see what’s, what’s going on with lactation support during the pandemic.


You know, I know from my colleagues and being in forums for ibclcs, and conferences and things like that, that things have changed dramatically. There are still many of my colleagues out there who will never do in person visits, as long as things are going the way that they are even a year later. So and you know, that’s because that’s their choice, and they have their own risk profile that they’re acknowledging or what have you. There is great concern from my colleagues about even doing home visits and triggering environments. Where that environment is not a controlled environment in terms of infection control. And even though the family and the lactation consultant might be wearing a mask throughout the visit, they weren’t wearing one before the lactation consultants arrival and, and the length of time and proximity to the patient. There’s a lot of concerns, you know, so a lot of people have switched to telehealth and or started adding it on as an option for their practice. And, you know, those survey here, I think, we have to take some things into account. So the survey of the study, they found that more than half 58.1% said that they were conducting telehealth in any forum and they found that virtual lactation support was moderately effective compared to in person support. Now, the majority 69.2% Were providing only telehealth services in this survey. So they say weakness of virtual support included technical and logistical difficulties, challenges assisting with latching or reading body language over the phone or online and accurately assessing infant growth. I will agree that those are challenges.


I will say, though, that part of the issue here is that many people transition to telehealth for the first time as a result of the pandemic. I’ve been doing it for years ahead of time. So transitioning to telehealth, or making that the bulk of my practice during this time has not been difficult for me because I’ve had years to sort of refine the process. But I will acknowledge that there are limitations like yes, I cannot wait a baby before and after a feeding. But honestly, that’s only one piece of assessing infant milk intake. There’s many, many others. And I don’t expect to get all the information I need during one single video appointment. I really don’t do phone appointments, I do feel strongly that it needs to be visual. There’s a lot of visual communication that happens when we’re working with breastfeed. So anyway, I would say that I think it’s fair to acknowledge that the weakness isn’t necessarily only the virtual support itself in the technology, it also has to do with the steep learning curve, not only of the lactation consultants, but also the parents. You know, this is the first time a lot of people are seeking telehealth as an option. And it’s just very different.


So it’s a learning curve for everybody. Now, they did say strengths related to virtual support included the flexibility and convenience of home based support, expanded communication strategies and safety from virus exposure. Yes, I actually think this is huge, the timeliness of getting a virtual visit versus an in person one is definitely great. The fact that no one needs to leave their home is obviously very helpful. And so I think those are awesome, you know, reasons, they did talk about limited in hospital and pediatrician support. And especially, you know, in groups without access to telehealth resources, they’re not getting the support that they needed. So I’m glad this study was done, because it is something that needs to be talked about. And you know, it’s another part of the health care system that’s been impacted for families and for health care providers. So here’s a cool article. I’m I’m shocked to see Thank you, today’s parent for doing, I seem shocked, because maybe I have a little negative opinion of the media sometimes.


But just because I’ve seen so many articles over the years about breastfeeding and lactation that have just been full of misinformation. And it’s unfortunate, and I know about it, because parents come to me and they say, Well, I read this article. And I’m like, Yeah, that’s unfortunately not correct. It’s not great info, you know, so it’s nice to see really good info. I like to acknowledge it. And this is by Avi Herman. It’s how you offer a bottle can be more important than what’s inside. And the whole article is about paste bottle feeding. And I’m so so glad to see this because paste bottle feeding is an absolute must breastfed baby or not. Because really, it’s it’s the proper way to feed a baby. So they go into how to do that, why it’s important. What are the benefits. You know how to do this in a way that is responsive to your baby. They talked about positioning, you know, acknowledging hunger cues, fullness cues of your baby. Really great stuff like that. They also cover what types of bottles are best for a breastfed baby. Now, I want to come out on a limb here and say, it’s not about what type of bottle is best.


For a breastfed baby. It’s what type of bottle is best for any baby breastfed or not. We need to be using bottle nipples for babies that support their oral function and growth and development. Most of the bottles out there that are marketed to be more like the breast are not at all like the breast once it’s inside of a baby’s mouth. And I’m not going to name names here, but you’re welcome to go read this article and check out what they’re talking about. But bottle nipple is very important not only for the shape, the texture but the flow of the milk. So they do a good job of highlighting that as well. So I’ll link that up. I think that’s a really great article that honestly I’ll probably be linking up and sharing quite a bit.


Then we’ll move on over to an article from Baby Gaga. They have a cool article about how adoptive moms can breastfeed, and here’s how now they they go into hormone therapy and how important that can be. I have worked with adoptive parents who have chosen to not do homework, hormone therapy. And I do think it’s possible. But I will say that you get the best access when you do use hormones, combination of birth control, and usually Domperidone. Although you can definitely use birth control to induce lactation as well. I’m not going to get into the ins and outs of how to do that that’s something you’re going to need to work with your healthcare team on. But they also talk about the importance of breast stimulation. So you can, you know, obviously do this yourself. They do talk about how your partner can help with this, and pump as well. So these are all ways that are tried and true that work very, very well. They also talk about using galactagogue.


They did not feed your mind, but that’s okay. No, I’m just kidding. But yes, herbs are very important, whether or not you’re going the pharmaceutical route. Because yes, absolutely. Herbs do influence lactation. That’s why I created a product that does that. But you know, I’ll link that up in the show notes. If you want to check it out. It’s called the Advanced lactation formula, it’s on Amazon. But it’s really important that you have whole support of your body to work as well as it can. They also talk about something that a lot of people tend to resist or feel like it’s a lot of hard work, and they don’t want to do it. But it’s 100% worth it, which is supplementing up the breast using a nursing supplement system, like an SNS, like a lacked aid, like something you know, along those lines, a thin silicone tube that you know, gives supplemental milk to your baby while they’re feeding at the breast. It’s it’s imperative to your success, quite honestly, it’s imperative to anybody who’s really struggling with with low milk supply and looking to increase it. So this is obviously going to be very helpful when you’re inducing lactation. And they do talk about starting lactation induction early.


So yes, you do want to I usually say honestly, a couple months ahead of delivery time, if you can time it that way. They do say it takes three to five days for moms to produce breast milk naturally, yes, it does after birth. So with induction, it does say it takes a mum up to four weeks, I will say that I’ve had mothers who’ve never even been pregnant before been able to induce lactation as soon as a week after they began or regimen. But I would say yes, give it two to four weeks most of the time for that milk production to begin. And just because it begins doesn’t mean that you’re there, you’re done. Because it usually just drops at a time usually just starts in one breasted at a time. So it takes time to get it going. And then you have to keep it going and continue to increase it. So the last piece that they give here is talking about expectations. So inducing lactation doesn’t guarantee that you’ll have plenty of milk. I 100% agree with that. But I would say that I don’t think that most parents who are inducing lactation expect to make a full milk supply. Mix, you are setting realistic goals if this is something that you’re thinking about, or if you know someone who’s thinking about this, because the goal here is that, you know breastfeeding is not all or nothing lactation is not all or nothing. It’s amazing to be able to have the ability to feed your baby at the breast. It’s amazing to be able to give them as much of your breast milk as possible.


But it’s okay if you can’t meet 100% of their needs that way. And that’s true, whether you’re inducing lactation or not. So they give some great tips here and I think it’s an awesome article. So another one just to keep sort of as a point of reference. Now, this is an article that I found in medical Express, and it’s about doulas, doulas help families meet breastfeeding goals. And this is really, really true. And I think this, you know, because they’re such an integral support of the pregnancy and birth process and the immediate postpartum, that the fact that you have just any support person there, who is there to care for you and guide you and recognize things that are, you know, out of the ordinary and is able to direct you to more resources or even help with the basics of getting breastfeeding started. That is huge. It’s absolutely huge. Unfortunately, not very many people use a doula, fewer than 10% of women who give birth in the US each year use doulas.


And so you know, they’re not medical providers, but they do have some training to support you in this peripartum period. And I just think it’s fantastic. So even if you didn’t hire a birth doula, a postpartum doula is available to you a lot of the times even in small communities, but maybe this is not someone that you’ve formally hired. Maybe it’s a very good friend. Maybe it’s a night nurse type of person, maybe it’s a family member, someone who’s really there to support you and your whole family and and take the load off of some of the things. So I think this is really great. I’m glad that doulas are getting more attention because I think that they’re, they’re sort of they’re overlooked. There’s, they’re seen as this optional thing. And yes, I suppose technically it is optional, much like a lactation consultant is optional, but it’s something that it’s so helpful. And oftentimes, people don’t recognize the true value of it until they’ve actually hired one and they realize, Oh, my goodness, I don’t know what I would have done without this person. So if you’re thinking about a doula, my advice to you is, it is well worth the investment.


Please, I would much rather someone spend their money on doulas, lactation consultants, you know, other, you know, a really good health care provider to support you things like that, versus buying all the cutest baby outfits and whatever. First of all, people are probably going to give that stuff to you. But second of all, you can also ask for monetary gifts, you know, funds the doula fund the lactation consultant, what have you. So if you have a friend who’s got a baby shower up coming, think about, you know, maybe pulling together, you know, people to contribute towards, you know, a doula or lactation consultant or acupuncture or whatever you think is going to support that family. Now, this is an article that I wanted to talk about. I found it on Yahoo, but I guess it was from Pop Sugar. It’s from March 16. And the headline is the truth about taking melatonin while breastfeeding. I’ll admit that this was clickbait for me. They talked about how melatonin obviously can help you fall asleep.


It’s naturally found in our bodies, but you can take it as a supplement. PE said that the main concern of taking melatonin while breastfeeding is the fact that it can make you drowsy when it’s important to be alert while caring for your child. You know, I have to say that most melatonin supplements on the market are not going to be enough to make you drowsy in the same way that like taking Benadryl or something would or you know, narcotic pain medication or something like that. I don’t think that there’s any impairment, that’s really going to happen from taking a normal amount of melatonin. I everybody’s different though. So your physiology may respond differently.


But they’re kind of encouraging parents to use alternatives like chamomile tea or just a warm liquid in general, and giving those options a try, which I think are great. I don’t like the idea of taking a melatonin supplement, I would say that a much better alternative might be doing something like tryptophan, which is going to help you produce melatonin naturally. And encourage, you know, a deeper sleep cycle. Because it also is a sub-serotonin precursor. But really, you want to just do things to not disrupt your melatonin production. So I wish this article is longer and actually addressed that instead of trying to scare breastfeeding parents away from using melatonin. I would say that the issue about parents being too drowsy to care for their babies and falling asleep or holding them has more to do with normal sleep deprivation. That happens by virtue of having a newborn, less so to deal with actually taking melatonin. And if you’re falling asleep or holding your baby, you don’t need melatonin.


So melatonin is not going to help you stay asleep. It just helps you fall asleep. So you know that being said, do things to make sure that you are not turning off the melatonin production in your body. So no blue light exposure after sunset. Okay, it’s really important even during the day, you want to limit you know, if you’re constantly on a screen, maybe think about getting some blue light-blocking glasses. But make sure in the evenings that you can adjust the settings on your television or your device. To limit blue light exposure, you can wear stronger blue light blocking glasses in the evenings that actually do have an orange lens. And I would recommend that if you’re finding that you’re struggling to actually fall asleep, and it’s really important that you do have a balance in your natural hormonal cycles because the melatonin that you make at night also passes into your breast milk. And your baby will drink that breast milk with the melatonin and those evening hours and they will fall asleep much more easily. If you are not making melatonin if you are waking up in the middle of the night and getting on your phone and you’re stopping that melatonin production.


Not only are you going to have a hard time falling back asleep, but so is your baby. So you want to make sure that you’re not turning off that melatonin production by, you know, exposing your retinas to blue light in the evening hours or too much blue light even during the daytime hours. So make sure you’re being really cautious about that. It could be an alarm clock next to your bed. Obviously it’s most of the time of the phone or something like that. So make sure you’re even using like the night shift settings on your phone In addition to blue light blocking glasses, that will be very helpful. Try not to turn on lights in the middle of the night for diaper changes, feedings, things like that, honestly, a salt lamp or just a lamp with a red bulb or something near your bed, that should provide enough light for you to be able to see your way to the bathroom or, you know, to see your way to the bathroom, or to you know, pick up your baby, change a diaper, things like that. So I like salt lamps for that because it gives off a nice, warm orange glow. So just some tips for you.


I don’t think you need to take melatonin supplement, I don’t necessarily think it’s a good idea. But make sure you’re doing things that don’t disrupt your melatonin production like that blue light exposure. So I just wanted to cover that because this article did not. But I would say that if you end up taking a melatonin supplement, it’s not the end of the world at all. But most of the time, I find that people don’t actually need melatonin supplements, they need to just, you know, encourage their bodies to make it naturally. And then here’s an article from the World Health Organization. I love when they put things out like this. It’s from March 16. And the headline is keeping mothers and babies together could save more than 125,000 lives. So I love this. It says New research from WHO and partners shows that the COVID 19 pandemic is severely affecting the quality of care given to small and sick newborns, resulting in unnecessary suffering and deaths.


A study published in The Lancet, a clinical medicine eclinical medicine not sure how I’m supposed to say that highlights the critical importance of ensuring newborn babies have close contact with parents after birth, especially for those born too small or too soon. So basically, they’re just reinforcing that there was some initial guidance that was put out or that several countries followed of separating mothers and newborns at birth because of COVID 19. And they’re saying nope, that’s not something we should do. Kangaroo mother care, is the most important thing for you know, helping babies survive, especially in countries where there are generally more adverse health outcomes, especially for child mortality and maternal mortality. So they go into, you know, quite a bit more, but that’s sort of the highlights. And I just wanted to say that one of the most important things you could do, you know, in, you know, living upper middle class in the United States, or whether you live in a, you know, run down village without running water in India, is to do kangaroo care with your baby, you know, there, there is no greater gift that you could offer your baby than constant skin to skin for the first several days, or weeks after birth, just you know, at the breast early and often all the time, they should basically be nursing around the clock in those early days after birth.


And this is so important for their physiology for their long term health, for your milk production, for your healing all of the things. So no matter what your life circumstances are, this is one of the most important things that you could do for your baby. And I encourage everybody to do it. Absolutely. Everybody out there is, you know, this is not a time of life. And those early newborn days where you should even be using a swaddle your baby should just be skin to skin with you. Basically, all of the time, it’s, it’s one of the most important things you can do, you know, things like wraps, you know, slings, you know, those sorts of baby carriers can be great for doing that as well. They’re even make special garments for kangaroo care that are really cool. So there’s a lot of options if you’re looking to be a little bit more hands free. But if you can do this, it’s really, really important and foundational for their health and their survival. So that’s gonna wrap it up for today’s episode. I thank you so much for tuning in. And it’s always a pleasure to bring this information to you. And I am looking for some more podcast guests interviews.


So if you listen to this, and you have something you want to bring to the show, send me an email to Hello at holistic, lactation calm. I have had some people go through the podcast application, send me an email, and then I said yes, I’d love to have you on and then they never scheduled it. So make sure you’re definitely willing to be on the podcast. If you want to be a guest or if you have someone you might suggest, let me know send me an email or send me a message over on Instagram. I would love to hear from you. So I will talk to you on the next episode. Thank you again for listening.



In this new weekly series, Jacqueline Kincer is giving you a run-down of the latest and greatest news, announcements, celebrity gossip, and more–and it’s all related to breastfeeding! If you want to know what the latest studies say, get reviews on the newest products, find out about policy changes, or anything else that’s relevant to you as a breastfeeding mom or professional, then tune in every week to TWiB (This Week in Breastfeeding) on Breastfeeding Talk.