Wednesday, January 20, 2010


I had my second breastfeeding counselling class yesterday evening [the name of the course recently changed, but Breastfeeding Course for Health Care Providers is such a mouthful compared to breastfeeding counselling, don't you think?]. I love this class! Have I mentioned that??
Yesterday I learned a ton. The first class I learned some stuff, but much of the material I already knew just by nature of being a lactation consultant's daughter. But yesterday there was a ton of new material. Here's a sample;
-Anatomy of the breast--I knew I had a very vague idea of what goes on inside, but I learned exactly how wrong I was about most of it yesterday!!! I won't bore you with details of breast anatomy, but I wanted to mention I learned a lot!
-Breastfeeding promotion involves three major facets: promotion, support, and protection. Michael Woolridge quote: "Promotion without support and protection is a disservice to mothers" and I think he's hit the nail on the head. Promotion without support and protection = guilt ridden moms and low rates of breastfeeding.
-Support=home visits, for as often and as long as is needed from educated and experienced individuals [very pertinent in BC right now, as public health home visits have almost disappeared this fall; to redirect resources towards H1N1 education/vaccination campaigns public health nurses were doing PHONE SUPPORT ONLY unless women directly requested a home visit, and even then she was often asked to go to the health unit as opposed to being visited at home. Breastfeeding rates plummet JUST as a major virus is on the rampage, and all the inherent immunological benefits are lost...not to mention, post partum issues in women are often picked up by public health nurses during home visits, which is risky for the health and even the lives of new moms]
-World Health Organization recommendations regarding breastfeeding are often disregarded as 'more for developing countries, as opposed to Canada,' whereas Health Canada, Family Physicians of Canada, Breastfeeding committee of Canada, etc, recommendations are the same as the WHO, and closer to home
-Post Modern culture places authority for decision making with the individual, rather than science, religion, or other authority. Empowering women in our PM culture involves information delivery that is accurate but respectful of each woman's right to choose to feed her baby as she sees fit. Enlightenment age=authority of science. PM age=authority of the individual. The difference between presenting information as authoritative or empowering is in the DELIVERY--how we present information means the difference between being authoritative or empowering.
-Breastmilk protects by:
lining the gut to avoid penetration by bacteria/viruses
killing pathogenic bugs
stimulating the gut to mature quicker (including reducing inflammation)

-Breastmilk is considered a living tissue [blood is considered a tissue also, which is interesting because tissues are generally considered solid entities]
-Vitamin D supplementation of mother is a valid method of supplementing babies but the exact dose is unknown--studies show anywhere from 4,000 IU to 17,000 IU per day. Bloodwork of mom and baby are needed to determine needs
[Canadians supplement with Vitamin D because we live so far from the equator]
-Effect of one bottle of formula on a baby's gut shifts bacterial profile and pH for 2 to 4 weeks afterwards (breastmilk=lower pH, less hospitable to bacteria: formula=higher pH, more hospitable to bacteria. Hence, stinky formula poops, and higher rates of intestinal infections). Also the immature gut cells are loosly connected, allowing larger proteins of cow's milk to enter bloodstream, increasing rates of allergies to milk.
One bottle of formula increases the risk of diabetes in that child later in life.

-Breastmilk has appropriate protein content for human kidneys, cow's milk protein content is high and stresses kidneys
-IgA production (immune system component) by baby doesn't start until 6-8 weeks of age, and doesn't mature completely until age 2. The only source of IgA in those first 6-8 weeks is breastmilk, it cannot be replicated and added to formula

-human milk protein is biologically specific, so a human baby cannot be allergic to human milk proteins. It may, however, be allergic to other proteins the mom consumes

-And this was a big AHA for me:
The breast shape changes that occur are a result of pregnancy, not breastfeeding--the hormone relaxin that relaxes the body's ligaments to allow the pelvis to move during labour so the baby can fit through also relaxes the breast ligaments, changing the shape of the breast. [!!]
Cool. A mature breast is a post lactogenesis one. Take that, teenage boobies.

Progesterone inhibits milk production, which is a hormone produced by the placenta and explains why some women's milk dries up or significantly reduces during pregnancy. Once the placenta is delivered, milk is produced.
[also might explain why I see fluctuations in supply during my cycles--I don't get the priviledge of lactational amenorrhea for some reason :) ]

Sorry if this post was too technical for some of you--I had several requests to share what I'm learning, so hopefully this was okay!!

The more I learn, the more I think making milk is a superpower. We should have Lactation Girl in pink tights or something, doncha think?

AND a note to Lori--boobie cupcakes would be SO MUCH EASIER than breastfeeding symbol cupcakes, I am SO going to take you up on that idea!!

Still haven't decided which topic to choose for my group project!!! Leaning towards the abuse topic, because I'm afraid if I don't tackle it while I'm in school, I never will--and it is an intriguing and important topic!! My group doesn't care what we pick, so it seems it's up to me?

In other news, I have been struggling with my mood for about a week. Today I was grouching around in a funk until we walked home from school in the semi watery sunshine, and I watched the boys while they rode their bikes for half an hour, and then we wrestled.
That was enough to make me feel better :)))
Ayden stuck his foot in my face while we were wrestling and I told him his foot smelled like moldy broccoli. We laughed for about five minutes.
Ah, kids. Can't live without 'em.


ms emili louann said...

what a great course! thanks for sharing all this wonderful info.

Rachel Clear said...

This was GREAT information, Mel. Loved it all. Not too technical at all, in my opinion.