Nursing Moms, the Let-Down Reflex and Milk Supply


New moms may have the best intentions in wanting to breastfeed their newborns; but sometimes, nursing the baby doesn’t happen so effortlessly. This can lead both mom and infant to feel discouraged and want to give up trying.

But don’t give up! Your breast milk carries in it a large assortment of vital, life-sustaining nutrients, germ-fighting immunity cells, hormones, and many strains of beneficial bacteria that will colonize your baby’s gastrointestinal tract and aid digestion, as well as prevent allergies later on.

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Breast Milk Protects Newborns Against Deadly Intestinal Tract Disease

Breast Milk

As recently as the 1950’s, American moms were being told that formula was better for their babies than breast milk. A lot of moms bought into that fallacy, and more and more babies started being fed formula, instead of breast milk, even in the decades that followed. Food allergies subsequently exploded in numbers, and other potentially deadly newborn digestive diseases also saw a rise in incidences.

But in recent years, scientists have uncovered an increasing number of reasons why breast milk is in fact the perfect food for a baby — yet another case where Mother Nature knew best, after all.

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Is It Safe to Eat Canned Tuna During Pregnancy?

Tuna Sandwich Ingredients

You may have heard about the recent recommendation from Consumer Reports that all pregnant and nursing women avoid all types of tuna, due to concerns about mercury exposure for the unborn baby or newborn. This has a lot of women, and even some doctors, confused about whether to nix all tuna for pregnant or nursing women, or whether it is still safe to consume some tuna varieties.

Until now, public health experts agreed that albacore tuna (the white variety) was unsafe, due to its higher mercury content. But chunk “light” tuna (the darker kind) was always recommended as safe, so long as it was eaten in moderation. In fact, only in June of this year, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration issued a joint recommendation that pregnant or nursing women eat a minimum of 8 to 12 ounces (2-3 servings) of low-mercury fish per week. Canned light tuna was included on the list of these safer fish that pregnant or nursing women could consume.

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Breast Milk’s Composition Changes Throughout the Day:


Day Milk vs. Night Milk

The composition of human milk has been understood in great detail only in the last few decades. And even today, scientists continue to discover new components in breast milk. It has many: a handful of proteins, a handful of fats, and hundreds of carbohydrates or sugars — most of which are not digested by the infant but serve to feed the hundreds of beneficial bacteria species in the mother’s milk that are colonizing the newborn’s gut.

Breast milk also has minerals, vitamins, hormones and enzymes; these nourish the baby and regulate thousands of metabolic processes, including digestion.

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Can Breastfeeding Reduce the Risk of Rheumatoid Arthritis in Moms?


A Chinese study has found that breastfeeding may be linked to lower risk of rheumatoid arthritis in women who nursed their infants.

The study reviewed data from more than 7,300 women aged 50 and older from China, who filled out questionnaires asking about their health and lifestyles, including whether they had breastfed their children. Most of the women had at least one child, and more than 95 percent of moms had breastfed for at least one month.

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Is Baby Eating Enough?

Mother breast feeding her baby girl

How to Know if Your Newborn Is Eating Enough

As a new mom, it’s very natural to worry about all aspects of your newborn’s health, and feedings are no exception.

How can you tell if your baby is getting enough milk? There are a number of clues that can answer this question, beginning with the cues that your little one gives you.

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Breastfeeding Reduces Risk of Stomach Blockage in Babies


A new study found that babies who were bottle-fed were more than twice as likely to develop hypertrophic pyloric stenosis than babies who were breastfed. This condition involves a narrowing (stenosis) of the place where the bottom part of the stomach ends and the first part of the small intestine, the duodenum, begins. It is caused by an enlargement (hypertrophy) of the smooth muscle that surrounds this passageway, the pylorus (from the Greek pyloros or gatekeeper).

As the pylorus gets thicker, food has increasing difficulty emptying from the stomach into the small intestine. This results in babies experiencing what is referred to as “projectile vomiting,” where vomit comes out forcefully and often, sometimes at an arch.

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New Study Finds that Breastfeeding Longer Helps Protect Moms Against Breast Cancer

African American Family

A study published online in August, 2013 in the Journal of Clinical Nursing found that breastfeeding for six months or longer could delay diagnosis of breast cancer by about 10 years. But the protective benefits were cancelled out if mom was a smoker.

The study, conducted at the University of Granada in Spain, examined medical records of more than 500 women aged 19 to 91, who were diagnosed and treated for breast cancer between 2004 and 2009 at a university hospital in the province of Granada.

Non-smokers who did not have children or who breastfed for less than three months were diagnosed with breast cancer at an average age of 57; non-smokers who breastfed between 3 and 6 months were diagnosed at a similar age of 56. Non-smokers who breastfed longer than six months, on the other hand, were diagnosed at an average age of 68 — more than 10 years later. However, women who breastfed longer than six months but were smokers were diagnosed at an average age of 47, or 21 years earlier. These results held steady, even when family history of breast cancer was factored in.

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What to do About an Overweight Baby


If you are worried that your overweight baby has gained weight too fast and now weighs too much, it is most likely that you are worried over nothing. Infants can indeed become overweight if they are overfed, but this happens only rarely. Even most perfectly healthy infants go through many different phases in their first year of life, and those who are born large and thrive during their early months commonly accumulate a lot of fat, which can make them look rather round and pudgy. But looks can be deceiving. Whereas we usually think of adults with a lot of fat as unhealthy, a decent amount of extra fat on a baby can Read More

Deciding When to Wean Your Baby

Once mother and baby get past the initial stages of breastfeeding, which can be tricky and uncomfortable, the act becomes so easy and natural that giving it up might seem unappealing. Breastfeeding is quick and easy, while bottles and, later, solid food come with learning curves and many unique difficulties. Yet weaning has to happen sooner or later. When exactly it should happen is up to each family, though, and it is a major decision that warrants careful consideration. Many things enter into the decision of when to wean, but what should be kept at the forefront is Read More