Born To Be Breastfed > Articles by: Marie Biancuzzo

But My Friend LOVED Hers…”Rules” for Choosing a Breast Pump

Listen to the podcast, “Your Before-You-Buy Guide to Breast Pumps”

You’ve read the books, talked to friends, surfed the web, and compared customer reviews. You’re sure you know which pump you want to buy or use. You’re all set, right? Not so fast. With a global market worth well over 700 million U.S. dollars, manufacturers are vying to make you choose theirs. But what’s fact, what’s fiction, and what will improve your pumping experience? Before breaking the bank on the latest and greatest pumping technology, take the time to figure out what breast pump you really need. Here are just a few rules to follow before shopping for the “best” pump.

Rule #1 Don’t listen to your best friend’s recommendation: Choose a pump for YOU

“I got the XYZ pump because my best friend loved it! I don’t understand why she loves it, because I hate it!” I’ve heard this phrase uttered by frustrated moms many times.

A variation is, “What’s the best breast pump on the market?”

My response always is, “There is no “best” breast pump. You need a pump to meet your needs and wants, and this all depends on your specific circumstances. Do you have a few minutes for me to explain?”

As with any other product—cars, socks, phones, or food—the “best” product for one person is not necessarily well-suited for another.

So rule number one is to seek a breast pump that is best for you – not your mom, aunt, bestie or anyone else.

Rule #2  Think about it: Is your baby nursing? Or are you just pumping?

This is a critical question. If your baby is preterm or ill or unable to suckle strongly, you are “pump-dependent.”

Even if you have a healthy baby, perhaps your baby is not suckling, either by choice, or by circumstance. You may have elected to be a full-term pumper, or you may be away from your baby for an extended period.

You’re depending on the pump to maintain your milk supply. In these situations, a frequently-cycling electric pump is your best bet. Having said that, hand expression will work just as well as a high-quality electric pump.

Not sure of the pros and cons of each?  Get my free worksheet

Rule #3 Consider Your Work Environment

Your work environment affects your choice of pump. Presuming you are working outside of your home, your work setting—including how far your work is from your home—influences what features you’ll want to look for.

If you can take a break nearly any time during the work day, and if you have a private office of your own, you can probably use any pump on the market. However, you might have a very different set of circumstances.

For example, if you’re a forest ranger, lugging a heavy pump around or using one that requires electrical power isn’t realistic. Even a battery-operated pump might not be convenient for you. Instead, consider a lightweight cylinder pump. In my opinion, these little gems are unappreciated.

Consider the classic Kaneson. These are also great if you do air travel and want to tuck a pump into your carry-on case.

Rule#4 You are pumping milk not weight training: Consider the weight of pump

Even if you’re not taking your pump to work, or traveling by plane, you might have a fundamental objection to lugging around any heavy item. For some people, the weight of the pump is a definite deal-maker, or a deal breaker.

Furthermore, if you’re slinging the pump over your shoulder or crisscrossing it in front of you, you could be putting yourself at risk for a plugged duct.

Rule #5 If Inspector Gadget had a breast pump it would have these features: Consider your quirky personal preferences

Each pump offers a different set of features, and each mom should have specific things she’s looking for in a pump.

There may be an endless list of features that are more important to some moms, and less important to others, but here are a few you might not have thought about. Some moms don’t like:
  • a device that has multiple parts to assemble and disassemble, lose and replace!
  • washing parts. They also worry about losing tiny parts in the dishwasher.
  • making a public announcement that they’re pumping. They want to be discreet.

You’re entitled to your quirky preferences (aren’t we all?) so feel free to shop for the features that are important to you. Not necessarily to your bestie!  

Rule #6 Consider What Technical Specs Do You Value.

There are all sorts of specs to consider. Finding out what all the terms need will help you figure out what you want.

Wrapping Up The Rules of Finding a Breast Pump

Here, I’ve covered only a very few factors that make one pump a “best” choice for one person and a “worst” choice for someone else. But any and all questions boil down to:

(1) outcome—keeping up your milk supply under your set of circumstance

(2) convenience or personal preference.

As a new mom or expecting mom, I know you’re tired. But take a little time to figure out what’s best for you.

What are the one or two most important factors you’d be looking for in a pump?
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Top Tips on Babywearing Your Premature Baby

Listen to the podcast, “Babywearing Your Preemie in the NICU, A Beginner’s Guide”

These days, you hear a lot about babywearing for healthy, full-term babies. But there’s almost no buzz about wearing your preterm baby. The latest buzz was created by Jennifer Canvasser when she was a guest on my radio show. Many mothers—and nurses!—don’t know it’s possible to wear a preemie. It is! In spite of the tubes and the wires, and your baby’s small size, you may be able to wear your preemie and carry him against your body. Want to know more?

Listen to the show! You’ll love hearing about Jennifer’s experience. Meanwhile, here are the top 7 tips she gave for any parent who wants to wear their preterm:

Check out different types of carriers.

Both Jennifer and an earlier radio show guest, Samantha Bunnell, identified four different types of carriers: the mei-tai, ring sling, soft-structured carrier, and woven wrap.

Each type of carrier has its benefits and drawbacks. What might be a plus for you and your baby might be a minus for another couplet. So talk with other mothers. Find a babywearing group if you can, so you can “try on” the various options. (You might want to start with a ring sling; Samantha and Jennifer both say it’s quicker to learn skills for that than for the others.)

Work with your baby’s primary nurse.

Your baby’s primary nurse might not know much about baby carriers, but as a NICU nurse, she knows a lot about babies: their capabilities, limitations, wires, tubes, and devices.

The baby can’t be “worn” until he exhibits physiologic stability. The primary nurse is in the best position to interpret the data and discuss whether your baby is stable enough to handle being worn yet.

Gain skills and confidence with your carrier.

When Jennifer’s friend first brought up babywearing, she knew it would be a while before she her babies were stable enough to be worn. So, she used that time to develop her skills with the carrier, by “wearing” a stuffed animal. She needed to make sure she was comfortable handling the carrier before she tried it with her baby.

I can tell you, using any sort of baby carrier takes skill. I gave it a try, and my initial attempts at wearing a woven wrap were unsuccessful. I would have had to practice many times to get it right. Yet, the woven wrap was what worked best for Jennifer’s son, Micah.  

Determine what type of carrier works for your preemie.

Jennifer had twins. One type of carrier worked best for the more stable twin, whereas a different type worked for the less stable twin. There are no “rules” on which style is best; you have to figure it out for yourself.

Learn to read your baby’s cues.

Babywearing is incredibly soothing for both the mother and the baby. But preemies are in a vulnerable state. Keep alert for signs of stress. When you see any, it’s time to alert the nurse. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll have to take the baby off for now … but it might.

Be patient.

Jennifer’s babies were born 2 days short of 28 weeks’ gestation. It was 8 weeks before she could wear one of her boys, and 7 months before she could wear the other one. Babies cannot be worn until they are stable. (Kangaroo care may be possible sooner.)

Get help: Human, media and other.

Hands-on help from a person who is knowledgeable about babywearing would be ideal. (Look for a babywearing group in your area, or connect with your local La Leche League group.) YouTube videos, Jennifer’s article, books by Maria Blois or Evelyn Kirklionis would be good starters.

Babies naturally want to be with their parents. Babywearing is a great way to make it happen…even if your baby is a preemie!
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21 Great Reasons for a “Hands On” Approach to Expressing Your Milk

Listen to Podcast, “Getting Your Milk in a Way that Doesn’t Suck”

Breast pump manufacturers have done a great job of convincing mothers that their product is as much a “must have” new-parent item as diapers and burp cloths. Many mothers accept that they’ll need to have a pump for when they go back to work, return to school, or are separated from their baby. Expressing milk is a necessity. But pumping is not the only way to express milk—even if the breast pump makers would like you to think that’s the case! Like Francie Webb, author of Go Milk Yourself and my recent guest on Born to Be Breastfed, many mothers are never told that hand expression is an option for expressing their milk. Those who are aware of the method tend to think it’s old-fashioned and inconvenient or—even worse for a new mother!—time-consuming and ineffective. Once they give it a chance, many mothers find there are many advantages. I can think of 21 off the top of my head:

  1. Your hands are always with you.
  2. Hand expression is a very clean method. There’s no need to worry about cleaning or sterilizing any nooks and crannies where milk might congregate. What could be simpler than washing your hands?
  3. Studies show that mothers can get a high volume of milk by using hand expression.
  4. Hand expression can be fast. It may go slowly at first, but with a bit of practice you’ll develop your skills and learn to do it quickly. I’ve seen mothers express as much as one ounce per minute without any real incentive to beat the clock. If you express 5 ounces each time, that’s 5 minutes for the whole process. (It can take that long just to set up, and clean up, an electric pump!)
  5. There’s no need to lug around a pump. No schlepping the thing through the turnstiles at the subway entrance or the library.
  6. There’s no possibility of losing your pump, or having it stolen, because your “pump” is at the end of your arm.
  7. It’s silent—no noise from the pump.
  8. There’s no need to worry about losing pump parts—especially one of those itty-bitty membranes (And if you don’t have that itty-bitty membrane, your pump won’t work!)
  9. It works even when there’s a power outage, making it great for emergency situations.
  10. There’s no need to make sure that you are near an electrical outlet; you can hand express your milk anywhere.
  11. You’ll never need to scramble to arrange for overnight shipping to get a lost, damaged, or worn out part.
  12. You won’t need to worry about trying to get the right size flange.
  13. If you need to express your milk during the first days after your baby’s birth, you won’t waste a drop of precious colostrum when you express it directly into a spoon or a medicine cup.
  14. It’s less work. There’s no need to set up the pump, wash the flanges afterwards, and so on.
  15. It’s cheaper. You won’t need to pay for an electric pump or any breast pump collection kits. (Pump kits are pricier than you might assume.)
  16. You’ll become familiar with the contours of your breasts. You’ll have fewer worries about “lumps” in your breasts because you’ll know if they are usually there or if they are something unusual.
  17. Perfect for the assembling-parts-challenged woman. Whew! There’s nothing to figure out or remember!
  18. It eliminates the possibility of traumatizing your breast or nipple with suction that is too high—because there is no suction.
  19. It’s the closest thing to breastfeeding your baby. The skin of your fingers on the skin of your breasts is warm and makes “rolling” motions that are similar to the baby’s motions, which can help maintain your milk supply when you are apart.
  20. Hand expression is empowering. You’re not dependent on a device when you express your milk this way.
  21. Aside from the cost of bottles or milk storage bags (which you’d need with an electric pump, too)—it’s free!
What’s your reason for expressing your milk this way?  
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Good, Better, Best—Your Baby Needs Your Colostrum

Listen to the podcast, “What No One Ever Told You About Your Colostrum”

Bigger, Shinier … But Not Better
We Americans have learned to think that bigger is better. Bigger cars. Bigger houses. Bigger servings of food. (Have you ever been in a fast-food restaurant where the smallest size drink was a medium?)

We think that technology and automatic-everything is better than the old-fashioned way. (Remember the days when you used a rotary dial for the phone? How about a hand-operated can opener?)

We have it in our heads that certain things should look or perform in a certain way. (Admit it; if the waiter brings you a bloody-looking steak after you order it medium-well, you’ll send it back, right?)

We often assume that once something is good or acceptable or popular, it will get better and better thereafter. (How many ads do we see for a “new and improved” laundry soap or shampoo?)

In essence, we have developed expectations or values about things in our everyday life. But sometimes, we need to sit back and ponder a little. Such is the case with colostrum.

Bigger isn’t always better.
Maybe you think you won’t have “any” milk or “enough milk” during the colostral phase, but is a big volume really what you want? If your baby had to cope with a greater volume of colostrum, he’d have a tougher time learning to coordinate the suck-swallow-breathe sequence—an entirely new skill for him to master!

We might wish that a greater volume would help him to gain weight. But it doesn’t work that way. Colostrum isn’t a body-builder! It’s more like a painter! It paints and seals the gut to protect it against harmful, invasive germs.

Technology isn’t always better.
If you are pumping your colostrum, it’s entirely possible that half or more of your “dose” ends up on the flange of the pump. And when using a pump, the colostrum is usually collected into a bottle, so you are likely to lose a milliliter or so there, too. Bottles with artificial nipples are clearly the default in our culture, but maybe you’ve already discovered how inefficient this method is during the colostral phase! A better idea, as Mary Foley RN IBCLC explains, is to use a spoon to collect the colostrum, and to feed it directly to the baby. That’s a great way to use every drop! And, of course, the very best way to get colostrum to the baby involves no technology at all—just offering the breast—and that has virtually no waste!

Things don’t always look as we might expect them to.
We expect that the observable characteristics of something are what we’ve seen before, or what someone has told we will see. Colostrum is a bit of a nonconformist. True, most times, colostrum is an orange-yellow or an orange-gold, due to the betacarotene. However, colostrum can be white or clear or blood-tinged or any other color you can think of, as I described in today’s show {LINK}, or last week’s show {LINK}. Color isn’t that big of a deal.

Not everything is new, or improved.
Finally, volume doesn’t always increase each time you express your milk. Sometimes you get a little, and next time, you might get nothing! If you express 7 ml during the colostral phase, that’s a lot! Mothers make as little as 10 ml and a much as 100 ml of colostrum in a 24-hour period. The average is about 30 ml in a 24-hour period, about 4 ml every 3 hours. That’s less than a teaspoon.

Colostrum is a literally life-giving, life-sustaining substance. It protects your baby against all sorts of health problems, especially infections. Colostrum is a low-volume, high-nutrient substance that literally sticks to the baby’s gut that is a more miraculously powerful first “immunization” than we could ever manufacture in the lab! Be sure your baby gets it, and be sure to hear tips from Marie and her guest, Mary Foley, for getting every last drop!
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Stop! Before You Give Your Baby Formula, Consider This.

Listen to the podcast, “What You Don’t Know About Formula Regulation CAN Hurt You–And Your Baby”

btbb-kent-formula-forblog_vignette_400You may, like so many other parents, believe that infant formula is completely safe, and that it is put through rigorous testing by the FDA before it can be fed to babies. That’s not the case.

Before you offer artificial infant formula to your baby, consider that when you buy formula, you are:

… buying into the myth that formula is “almost as good.”

For years, formula manufacturers have been selling us on the idea that their products are just as good as breastfeeding. (In some cases, they’ve worked hard to suggest that the formula is even better than breastmilk.) You won’t be surprised that I’ll tell you it’s not.

A mother’s milk is a miracle substance. It provides more than nutrition—it provides living cells! Through her milk, the mother provides a “remote control” immune system for her baby, one that is highly responsive to the germs in their shared environment. Formula cannot do that. There are no living cells in infant formula.

Infant formula is “almost as good” as a mother’s own milk in the same way that a 1-carat perfect cubic zirconia may be “almost as good” as a 1-carat perfect diamond, or a Rolls Royce is “almost as good” as a Volkswagon. Their basic appearance and purpose are the same, but that’s where the similarities end.

… giving your baby less than the best.

There are piles—and I’m talking piles that are perhaps 12 stories high—of scientific studies showing the superiority of human milk for human babies, in terms of growth and development. There’s no question about this. As Derrick Jelliffe said in the 1970s: “Breast is best”! By now, it’s a fact, not an opinion. (And we see that breastfeeding is important to babies’ health and mothers’!)

It may be uncomfortable to hear this, but if you are giving your human baby something other than human milk, you are giving him less than the best that you have available.

… disempowering yourself and your body.

For decades, I’ve heard concern that we shouldn’t talk about this breastfeeding, out of concern for “those women who can’t breastfeed.”

I know that there are mothers who cannot breastfeed. There are also mothers who have four kidneys, one arm, and bifurcated uteri. Yet, they produce and pass urine, pick up and carry items and babies, and conceive and bear children. With rare exceptions, women can breastfeed. Those who say they “can’t” breastfeed are lacking either the internal motivation or the external support—or both. It may be negative feedback from others, labor practices that get breastfeeding off to a bad start, or lack of confidence or any of myriad other things that undercut breastfeeding, but in the vast majority of cases it isn’t that the mother’s body can’t make milk.

… empowering Big Business to create your child’s growth and ill-being.

That’s right, I said “ill-being.” Each year, it seems we have more scientific studies that show formula-feeding results in ill health, both in the short-term (when babies are at higher risk of ear infection, gastrointestinal illness, respiratory infection, and SIDS) and long-term (when those who were formula-fed are at higher risk of diabetes, and other problems). Even one bottle can make a difference to your baby’s microbiome.

… trusting the FDA to control formula safety and efficacy (when maybe you shouldn’t).

The FDA doesn’t test infant formula before it hits the market. The agency does establish guidelines for manufacturers, but it relies heavily on industry self-regulation. There are problems with this system, as I discussed with special guest Dr. George Kent recently and wrote elsewhere.

What have you heard about infant formula?
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Breastfeeding: It’s Your Right

DeLorenzo_forBlog

Listen to the podcast “Know Your Breastfeeding Rights”


Read Jill DeLorenzo’s story. Her big “offense” was breastfeeding her child in Gold’s Gym. Note that Jill was a paying member of the gym, and had breastfed there before. But apparently on this occasion, doing so was an “offense.” Some unnamed person at the gym was offended that Jill was so bold as to feed her own children from a body part that is designed for that purpose, and so two high-ranking members of the gym administration (including the executive vice president of the management company) told Jill to move. Although they could have suggested that the complainant shift his or her gaze in a different direction, gym leadership chose to act in favor of that party’s feelings rather thanJill’s right to breastfeed.

All too often, people in positions of authority think they can strong-arm a mother with such tactics as intimidation, threats of legal action, and references to an un-posted (and likely nonexistent) policy about breastfeeding in public. In Jill’s case, the vice president noted that since the gym “is private property, we can do what we want to here.” He dodges Jill’s question about how he feels about breastfeeding in public, noting that “I’m protecting rights for our members—and how our staff feels as well.”

Without question, it would have been easier for Jill to relocate to the women’s locker room to continue breastfeeding. But she didn’t. It wasn’t convenient for her, since she had two children along—and, anyway, she knew that she shouldn’t be shamed for breastfeeding her child. She remained glued to the chair and fought for every minute her baby needed to feed. When she left the gym, she didn’t quit fighting; she took the fight to a bigger stage! She joined efforts to push for legislation to protect a woman’s right to breastfeed in the state of Virginia.

I hope every woman understands that it is not illegal to breastfeed in any US state, and nearly all states have laws specifically protecting a woman’s right to breastfeed. Personally, I think it’s silly that we need a law to protect the right to breastfeed—generations of Americans breastfed without them!—but obviously, we do need such a law!

Change can and does happen with each woman who refuses to be intimidated. Join me on the show while Jill is my guest, and find out you how to help women in the US to have their right to breastfeeding protected.

Related resources:
National Conference of State Legislatures: Breastfeeding State Laws
Women’s Law Project: Breastfeeding and Pumping Laws
Normalize Breastfeeding: A Breastfeeding Awareness Media Campaign 
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Woman, write your own story!

Listen to the podcast “Hypnobirthing”

These days, we hear so much about empowerment. We hear women proclaim the importance empowerment; they emphasize their need to become empowered; they help other women to become empowered. But honestly, I’ve never heard a woman say, “I know that my birth experience could empower me more than any other event in my life. How can I maximize that opportunity for empowerment?”

The media repeatedly tells us that labor and delivery is a painful, panicky process. With that in mind, women have already entered the fear-tension-pain cycle, and seek relief. Most turn to drugs (often those given as epidural analgesia) to minimize or eliminate what they assume will be unbearable pain. I remember the first time I asked an expectant couple why they had decided to use epidural anesthesia as soon as labor began. They  quickly responded, “Why would you have pain if you could completely avoid it?” I stood there, dumbfounded, trying to figure out what to say. I’ve never come up with a response.

I always want to blurt out, “So that you could be fully present in the moment! So that you could feel the power of pushing a baby out into the world! So that you could savor the moment of feeling for a few moments as though you were a goddess, suspended between heaven and earth!” Having assisted hundreds if not thousands of laboring women, I completely acknowledge that there’s a time and a place for medication; I’ve seen some really rough labor/births. But I try to help women consider all options, because I know that some of them are missing that truly empowering opportunity.

With so much emphasis on how hospital practices—including medicated labors—can impact breastfeeding, I asked my guest, Robin Frees, to talk about hypobirthing in this episode. She talks about how “feel-good” hormones help you to have a good labor and a good experience breastfeeding, whereas stress hormones set you up for something very different. She talks about the value of writing your own birth story and practicing self-hypnosis. She talks about using imagery, visualization, and positive affirmations, and the power of our subconscious. She tells us that we can create our own birth experiences. How empowering is that?

As Deborah Day observed: “Rewriting the negative beliefs you have learned is the essence of becoming the director of your life.”
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Parents’ Best Gifts for Their Children

The Best Gifts Listen to the podcast “Parents’ Best Gifts for Their Children”
I have never met her. Yet over the past 17 years, we have talked (via email) many, many times. Some letters have been exchanged over the miles, snail mail providing an assist to our communication as letters I wrote were postmarked in my country and delivered in hers (and vice versa). I have seen pictures of her, but I have never seen her. Once, she chatted with me by phone. Tonight, she came to me by Skype. Always, during those 17 years, this woman has come to me through her book.

Books are funny things; they aren’t people and yet they introduce us to people. They introduce us to their characters—real or fictional. They introduce us to the character’s family and friends, and sometimes to our own friends. Often, they cause us to see parts of ourselves that were previously unseen. And, of course, books introduce us to their author.

I often like to describe how I met my guest for a particular episode, and I can tell you that I met award-winning author Marsha Skrypuch through her second book, The Best Gifts, shortly after it was first published in 1998.

Read Marsha’s book, and you’ll begin to know Marsha. Having written 19 books for children and young adults, Marsha is committed to sharing a view of the world as children see it, rather than as we adults do. This alone tells us so much about how important it is to her that children feel respected. Marsha’s message that breastfeeding is the ultimate gift of love and presence tells you so much about her values. The way she concludes the book helps you to understand that Marsha has a long-term view of the world and its families and communities. (No spoiler alert here. I encourage you to go read it yourself!)

During my “Born to be Breastfed” episode with Marsha, many things she said rang a proverbial bell with me: · She immediately thanked me for pronouncing her name correctly. Yeah, well, when you have a last name like “Biancuzzo,” you know that’s an important point! · Marsha mentioned her desire for parents to enjoy the book and not dread reading it again—as parents ultimately must read favorite books time and again. I was reminded of an earlier guest on the show, musician Laurie Berkner, who said she always tried to create kid music that adults would like! <br /><br />

The fact that her original cover for the book (featuring a naked, nursing breast) drew such a negative reaction from American booksellers reminded me of Rachelle Lestishen’s blog at iMothering.com describing the “Cyberbullies” who took down a Facebook post of a woman who was breastfeeding. Yikes. Rachelle’s issue, 17 years after Marsha’s book was published, is the same story, different day. Sigh…

I’m glad to have gotten to know Marsha as the result of her book, and I’m glad to be able to introduce her to you through this show. After listening, be sure to visit her web site to learn more about The Best Gifts and her many other fantastic books.

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Exercise for Health

Listen to the podcast “Exercise — Before, During, and After Pregnancy”
pregnant_exerciseWhat if I told you that by doing just one thing, you could become a rich person?  Let’s say I told you that by doing this one thing, doing it well, and doing it every day, you’d be a rich person within a short time. I would again emphasize that it takes only one thing to achieve that rich-person status. You’d probably want to know how such a simple thing would work. I’d explain that this one thing is a catalyst—a substance that increases the rate of a reaction. Maybe you’re already wondering how to achieve great wealth using this one thing—and only one thing, this catalyst—to accelerate your desired outcome.

OK, honestly, I don’t have the remotest idea what one thing will make you a rich person or even just a bit wealthier than you are now. But I do know the one thing that will make you healthier!

Exercise.

As famed American fitness and nutrition icon Jack LaLanne said, “Yes, exercise is the catalyst. That’s what makes everything happen: your digestion, your elimination, your sex life, your skin, hair, everything depends on circulation. And how do you increase circulation?”

Exercise.

Certainly, we can do a number of things to improve our appearance and all of our bodily functions: eating better foods, getting better sleep, and many other good habits. But if you’re looking for a catalyst—something that will accelerate the change—exercise is the one thing you need. That’s true even whether you’re preconception (planning a pregnancy), pregnant, or postpartum (recovering from pregnancy). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that healthy women engage in 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity during and after pregnancy. And, women who are already involved in vigorous-intensity aerobic activity can continue to do so, with a physician’s guidance.

By the way, if you’re looking to be a rich person, you might try exercise to achieve that, too! Certainly, no one would trade wealth for health, but the two are not entirely unrelated. Many studies (such as this one) show that exercise improves cognitive function. I don’t think it’s a far leap between a better, clearer brain and a bigger bank account.

What other one thing can you name that brings about such diverse improvements? I’ve never heard anyone put the cure for improving her skin and hair into the same sentence with how to improve her sex life. Yet because exercise is such a good catalyst, it improves all bodily functions, and has also been shown to improve mood disorders.

Do just this one thing—exercise. Do it well, do it every day, and within a short time you’ll be a healthier person. Yes, continue doing all of the good stuff you’re doing to promote your good health, but if it’s going more slowly than you’d like, try using the catalyst—the one thing—that will accelerate your outcome: exercise
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Stop the Biting: Top Tips for Breastfeeding Moms

Barnett 13 mo b cropSometimes, babies who are getting their teeth bite. It doesn’t actually happen while your baby is nursing–the motion of baby’s mouth when biting is different and incompatible with the motion of nursing. Rather, it tends to happen when the baby is put to the breast for a feeding, or at the end. Whenever it happens, it hurts! If your baby bites, try these strategies: 

1) Watch for a baby who is “reaching” when latching on. If your baby is straining his neck and reaching to get a deep latch, it’s a big clue that he is headed for slipping down on the nipple later. Slipping sets him up for biting.


2) Watch for “changing gears.” After your baby has suckled happily with long, slow, rhythmic sucks to get all the milk he wants, he will begin to make faster jaw motions that are not rhythmic, and do not compress the nipple and areola. This is a sign that he is nearly finished, which can be a clue that biting may follow.

3) Watch for signs of satiety, including distractions. Older babies are naturally more social and more curious about their surroundings. If you baby starts moving his neck and turning his face (often taking your nipple with him!) he may bite without meaning to.

4) Be alert for signs of baby’s mouth slipping onto the nipple. That tends to be a place babies bite. Slip a finger into the corner of his mouth to break any suction, and remove him from the breast right away.

5) Offer a teething ring when the baby bites. He may be biting because he has teething discomfort, so help him to find the right thing to bite on–a chilled teething ring or something similar, not you!

6) Try not to scold him when he bites. Sure, it’s natural to react, but mothers who respond with “NO!” can find themselves in a bad predicament if the baby interprets this as “no nursing.” Some babies refuse to nurse for many days afterwards, which can be hard on baby and mom! Instead, have the teething ring and different words ready. Offer the teething ring and say, “Bite this, not Mommy.”

7) Offer positive and negative feedback appropriately. Break the suction and let him know he should not bite Mommy. Offer an extra hug or nuzzle when the baby takes the teething ring.

8) If he does bite, push his head towards your breast for a second or two. His nose will become occluded, and he will open his mouth; quickly remove him. Although it seems intuitive to pull the baby away, it doesn’t help him to release the nipple, which only worsens the biting problem. If you try this approach the first time he bites, you may find that he quickly realizes that he shouldn’t bite. This strategy doesn’t work as well after the baby has gotten into the habit of biting. Also, don’t use this approach if the baby has a stuffy nose or any breathing difficult.

9) Be consistent with your approach. Babies are smart. They soon get the idea of what the boundaries are. 

10) Be positive. Although biting can be a challenge, breastfeeding is good for you and your baby. 
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