A Breastfeeding mama in Maine
Maine is the latest state in which mamas are demanding more tolerance around breastfeeding. Although Maine’s laws state, “a mother has the right to breastfeed her baby in any location, whether public or private, as long as she is otherwise authorized to be in that location,” Many breastfeeding mamas say that they don’t feel welcome to feed their babies when they need to wherever they happen to be. As a result, a coalition of public health organizations is launching a new initiative called, “Whenever, Wherever” with the tagline, “Breastfeeding: We all Benefit”.
The “Whenever, Wherever” coalition is seeking the support of local Maine businesses to become members of the coalition and to commit to displaying a sticker in their establishment and educating their staffs about the importance of supporting breastfeeding mamas.
Breastfeeding advocates in Maine, which already has some of the highest breastfeeding rates in the county, are dedicated to seeing that Maine hits the Healthy People 2020 objectives of 82% of babies ever being breastfed and 60% still breastfeeding by 6 months.
Advocates are also hoping that more Maine hospitals will become “Baby Friendly”. The Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative is an effort by UNICEF and the World Health Organization to ensure that all maternity centers, whether free standing or in a hospital, become centers of breastfeeding support.
For a hospital to be designated “Baby Friendly”, they must meet 10 specific criteria which show that they support exclusive breastfeeding. These 10 Baby Friendly criteria are:
- Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff.
- Train all health care staff in skills necessary to implement this policy.
- Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.
- Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within one half-hour of birth.
- Show mothers how to breastfeed and maintain lactation,even if they should be separated from their infants.
- Give newborn infants no food or drink other than breastmilk, unless medically indicated.
- Practice rooming in – that is, allow mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day.
- Encourage breastfeeding on demand.
- Give no artificial teats or pacifiers (also called dummies or soothers) to breastfeeding infants.
- Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or clinic.
While becoming “Baby Friendly” is a time consuming process and one that is quite expensive for hospitals, those hospitals that are striving for the designation believe that the time, effort and expense are all worth it to give babies- and their mamas-a healthy start and a long term health edge.
Breastmilk is well established as the best nutrition for infants, regardless of whether it is provided directly from the breast or pumped and given to infants in a bottle. However, mothers need support and encouragement in order to be able to maintain breastfeeding for the recommended number of months. Initiatives like “Whenever, Wherever” are critical in illiciting the help and support of employers, businesses and municipalities to help mothers with the technical, logistical and emotional challenges of breastfeeding.
Do you intend to breastfeed your baby? How did you overcome any difficulties of breastfeeding if you experienced them? Share your experience in our comments section below.
This blog post is a summary of an article in The Portland (ME) Phoenix (July 20-26, 2012) written by Deirde Fulton.
How many of you mamas, when prescribed bed rest, really understood what the problem was and what the potential outcomes could be? Most mamas are too freaked out to really hear their OB after being told that the pregnancy is in jeopardy and that bedrest is needed. But after the initial shock, most mamas want answers; What exactlyis going on? Why is it occurring? How can/will this impact my baby? Will I have to deliver early? Will I be able to deliver vaginally or will I need to have a cesarean section? Endless questions arise and truth be told, our OB’s seldom have the time to provide answers.
Mamas, if you want more information on your medical condition and want to know the potential outcomes, download the Prognosis: For Moms app. Developed by a team of physicians, programmers and artists, Prognosis: For Momslists several relatively common pregnancy complications. Then using lay person’s terminology and cartoon characters, the app describes the condition, the potential complications and possible outcomes.
The “home page” is a table of contents and lists conditions according to the time they would occur during pregnancy. In early pregnancy, the app covers such conditions as hyperemesis gravidarum, Molar Pregnancy, Miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy. The section on late pregnancy conditions covers many of the conditions for which pregnancy is prescribed such as gestational hypertension, HELLP Syndrome, Placenta Previa, Preterm labor and Premature Rupture of Membranes.
For each condition, there is a cartoon character who is experiencing the condition. We follow her story and at different times within the story see potential outcomes. For example, if a character has a test, we can see what happens if the test results are positive and if they are negative. We can also see what happens if the pregnancy progresses normally from that point on or if other complications arise. I found this app to be easy to understand the vignettes easy to follow and a bit entertaining. And for only $.99 from iTunes, it’s a really great little resource.
The app is designed with a bright pink navigation bar and then a soft beige under the text and story. I particularly appreciated the fact that the characters are multicultural. They appear to come from a wide variety of backgrounds and ethnicities. As a physician assistant and as a former high risk pregnant patient, I appreciated the simple language, the easy to follow stories and the way in which the medical conditions were made real and understandable in a fun way. Medical Joy works, the company that developed the app did so with the expressed purpose of“making learning medicine fun via the medium of smartphones.”
The Prognosis: For Momsapp is available for both smartPhones and iPads from iTunes. Medical Joy Works also offers Prognosis: Your Diagnosis, an app for health care providers to use as a quick reference. It is one of the leading apps utilized by health care provides and providers in training.
Mamas, do you pee when you laugh or cough?
Many of us (note the “us” here!!) think that peeing when we cough or laugh is an inevitable consequence of pregnancy. However, loss of bladder control and/or pelvic floor strength is not and should not be an expected pregnancy outcome.
Recently, while speaking with a mama on bed rest, she asked if there are more effective ways of maintaining pelvic floor strength while pregnant that won’t be harmful to her pregnancy. To better answer her question, I posed the question to some pelvic floor experts of mine. Here are some awesome resources for mamas on bed rest as well as any woman who would like to maintain pelvic floor strength for a healthier pregnancy, a stronger and more empowered labor and delivery and a stronger core strength post partum. As always, consult with your OB or midwife before engaging in any sort of exercise or movement program.
Lara Eardley is a pelvic floor strength instructor devoted to strengthening pelvic floor muscles in women for superior sexual fitness and skill. She is extremely passionate about eradicating the epidemic of incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse in Western Culture. I have taught hundreds of women over the last 6 years for curable incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse and sexual fitness with astounding success. In 2010 she wrote the world’s first compendium on internal weight lifting practices “Enchantress” which exposes the abilities some Asian women have developed that enable them to lift up to 20 kilos of weight with their vaginal muscles alone. The book is available in hard copy as well as a PDF download from her website.
Julie Wiebe is a physical therapist who specializes is sports medicine and women’s health. She has created a series of videos that specifically address strengthening a woman’s pelvic floor. The first video in the series is below and I encourage you, if interested to view all the videos in the series of which there are three.
These resources are enough to get any mama started on the road to good core strength. Do you have other great core/pelvic floor strengthening resources? Please share them with us in the comments section below.