Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Thinking of Donating Your Breastmilk? Read This First.

***This post is borrowed from www.breastfeedingsymbol.org and was NOT written by Amanda or myself***

Thinking of Donating Your Breastmilk? Read This First.

September 2nd, 2007 by MamaBear
Many women who pump for their babies often find that they have way more than their baby will ever consume. It is at this point that the thought of donating that extra milk to a needy baby comes to mind.
There are three ways of milk donation that are available so far:
  • Informal milk donation, mother-to-mother
  • Formal milk donation to a HMBANA milk bank, to help babies in the NICU
  • Formal milk donation to Prolacta Bioscience, a for-profit milk processing company, usually through a milk depot that calls itself a “milk bank”
Breastmilk donation is one of the most beautiful, pure, and selfless acts a mother could do for another. Unfortunately, some people are exploiting this generosity and using it for their own ends. If you are a mother intent on donating your excess breast milk to help a needy baby, one option that will allow you to be sure that your intended recipient is a baby and not a for-profit milk processing company is informal milk donation. Informal milk donation is when you donate your breastmilk directly to the family that will be feeding their baby with it. The biggest hurdle with this for most milk donors and recipients seems to be finding a family near them that either needs milk or has a surplus of it.
The best option right now in North America for informal milk donation match-up is an organization called MilkShare. With MilkShare, you can meet your recipient and get to know your recipient family. The only fee involved is a one-time $15 fee for the recipient to join MilkShare. That is all, and $15 is a bargain compared to all the other options available to recipients out there. Donors join for free.
Another match-up organization which will hopefully be up and running soon is Milk Match. It is a forum that will be devoted exclusively to matching up donor and recipient moms informally, though it hasn’t started quite yet. It is not known at this time whether Milk Match will charge a fee for its services.
It is important when engaging in informal breast milk donation to get to know the family you are dealing with, both on the recipient and donor sides. For the recipient, it’s important to screen your breast milk donor by getting blood tests done, which should be at the recipient’s expense, and asking any relevant questions about lifestyle, the same way a milk bank would. The recipient could also learn to pasteurize the breast milk at home very easily and cheaply, if there is a concern about potential pathogens in the milk even after screening with a blood test. If applicable, the recipient should pay for shipping expenses; the donor should never have to incur any expense for donation. No money should be exchanged for the milk itself, as that may tarnish the altruism of the act.
For the donor, it’s important to make sure that the breastmilk you are so generously donating is going to a baby and not to an organization that will re-sell your milk (that’s why it’s important to get to know the family you’re donating to, in addition to the satisfaction of getting to know the baby you are helping to nourish with your milk!) It is an extremely rewarding act, the act of milk donation, when both recipient and donor know each other directly, without a middle-man.
However, there are many legitimate reasons to donate to HMBANA milk banks, a collection of eleven milk banks in North America, as well. HMBANA milk banks take breast milk donations from screened donors, pasteurize the donated milk, and provide it to needy babies in NICUs all across North America for a fee of $3.50/ounce. Often, raw donated breast milk can’t be given to delicate preemies because everything they come in contact with must be free from pathogens, and it is possible that unpasteurized donor milk could contain pathogens that for a normal infant wouldn’t cause a problem but in a preemie could be devastating. This is why HMBANA milk banks provide such a valuable service to the babies that need it the most, including abandoned babies who don’t have parents to advocate for them through MilkShare. What is especially compelling about HMBANA milk banks and what convinces me that they are truly there for the benefit of sick babies is that if the family cannot afford to pay $3.50/ounce for the milk, which is reportedly less than what it costs the HMBANA banks to process it, HMBANA banks will waive this fee for a critically ill baby. Truly, HMBANA milk banks are a godsend to babies in the NICU, regardless of whether or not they have a family to care for them, and regardless of whether their family can afford to pay for the pasteurized breastmilk.
There is a third option for breastmilk donation that everyone should be aware of but that I do not recommend. There are several milk depots across the United States that call themselves milk banks, but these “milk banks” are NOT affiliated with HMBANA milk banks at all. These “milk banks” don’t actually distribute milk to needy babies. These so-called “milk banks” are collection stations, sometimes freestanding, sometimes found inside hospitals or birthing centers, taking in milk to sell it directly to a company called Prolacta Bioscience (the price Prolacta pays for the raw milk ranges from $.50-$2/ounce). To all outward appearances, these milk depots look and sound like a real milk bank, but they do not distribute any milk to any babies, which is part of what real milk banks do.
Prolacta Bioscience, the company which processes the donated breast milk collected at these milk depots, is the only for-profit human milk processing company in the world. It processes donated breast milk and turns it into human milk fortifier, which is meant to be added to human milk, for preemies. What Prolacta doesn’t mention on any of its publications is that this human milk fortifier carries a price tag of$6.25/milliliter, which, when converted to ounces, is $184.83/ounce. This is alarming enough, but since Prolacta is a for-profit company and not in any way associated with HMBANA, if a family with a critically ill baby can’t pay or doesn’t have health insurance or Medicaid, they don’t get the human milk fortifier, even if their baby needs it. Additionally, there are no peer-reviewed studies so far that have even proven Prolacta’s human milk fortifier to be necessary. HMBANA milk banks already have the technology in place to provide preemies with higher-calorie milk, andpreemies have already been known to thrive off of the HMBANA-provided milk, so the necessity of Prolacta’s human milk fortifier is questionable. Furthermore, if people donate to a Prolacta “milk bank” and give their breastmilk to Prolacta Bioscience instead of a HMBANA milk bank (both organizations have very similar screening criteria and thus receive donations from the same pool of donors), this depletes the supply going into HMBANA banks which means fewer preemies get the milk they so desperately need at a price that could be afforded.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the only thing disturbing about the for-profit business model thus far. In addition to not easily disclosing the price of their human milk fortifier, and not explicitly informing its donors that their milk will be sold for a profit, Prolacta also reportedly has their donors sign a contract which essentiallystrips the donors of all the rights to their own breastmilk. Any royalties made off the sale of their breast milk, and any findings made from studying the components in their breast milk, the donors have no right to have. If Prolacta chooses to share their findings with their donors, it will be at Prolacta’s discretion, but the donors give up the right to any royalties or knowledge gleaned from the study of their breast milk the instant they sign a contract with Prolacta. Prolacta can patent components found in any of the human breast milk they receive, which means that Prolacta could potentially use these patented components, manufacture them, and sell them to formula companies so that formula can become even “closer to mother’s own milk.” This not only affects donors and recipients of Prolacta’s products today; it has the potential to affect breastfeeding for the future. If the public becomes convinced that formula is so close to mother’s milk that breastfeeding is unnecessary, then more people will choose to formula-feed instead of breastfeed, and the breastfeeding mothers that do remain will be seen as a societal “nuisance” because they insist on feeding their children in a way that’s “inconvenient” or “obsolete” or incompatible with the way society runs. As it is, with the advent of DHA and ARA being added to formulas to make them more like breast milk, already many people, including doctors, have the perception that formula is “just as good” or “almost as good” as breast milk, which is simply not true. Formula is still far inferior to breastmilk, for many, many reasons beyond talk of mere “components,” but even with the addition of 50 more components (not likely within this lifetime), formula would still be far inferior to breastmilk, given that there are at many hundreds of components in breast milk, many of which do not tolerate heat-treatment or sterilization, which all formula undergoes during manufacturing.
(Martek Bioscience owns the patent on DHA and ARA, for anyone that’s interested. DHA and ARA really are found in breast milk, and those components have been isolated in a lab and now are manufactured to be sold as supplements for adults andchildren or as additions to formula, so this concept of patenting manufactured breastmilk components isn’t some hokey-conspiracy science fiction fantasy. It’s happening now.)
I’m not saying improving formula for infants is a bad thing. Far from it. I have to supplement with formula for my own baby, so I want what I feed her to be as good as possible. The problem I have with this scheme is the way the donor milk is being obtained from generous donor moms and the implication that the addition of “breastmilk components” in formula has on the future of breastfeeding and mothers’ right to breastfeed. Is it possible that in the far future (100 years from now), women who choose to breastfeed be taxed by the government because the formula lobby insisted on it? If formula becomes perceived by the majority of the population as “just as good” as mothers’ milk, even if it isn’t, because of formula marketing (their marketing tactics are clearly working today, since even some doctors are convinced formula is “almost as good” as breastmilk), and if most voters are formula-feeders 100 years from now, it’s definitely possible. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want my granddaughters and great-granddaughters to be taxed for breastfeeding.
All speculation aside, what I’m saying is, inform yourself. Ask lots of questions before donating to anyone. If you are interested in breast milk donation, especially in donating to a milk “bank” that is partnered with Prolacta, read the contract very carefully before signing, especially the parts about the rights you will be signing over to Prolacta. Prolacta often offers a free breast pump to its donors, and this offer can seem very attractive, but it’s not worth signing away all the rights to your own milk for a breast pump. If after asking all your questions, you have more questions than answers, you may want to consider donating elsewhere.
The following milk depots partner with Prolacta, which means that ALL the milk donations donated to the following milk “banks” are sold to Prolacta Bioscience for $.50-$2/ounce (usually $1/ounce). Prolacta then processes the raw donated breast milk and re-sells it for $184.83/ounce. Also, the following milk depots require donors to sign a contract which reportedly strips the donors of their rights to their own milk. None of the following milk “banks” distribute milk to needy babies:
The above list is not comprehensive and does not include all of the milk banks that partner with Prolacta. You need to ask the milk bank you donate your milk to whether or not Prolacta processes its milk in order to be sure.
The following organization partners with Prolacta and sells at least 75% of its milk donations to Prolacta Bioscience for $1/ounce:
It has still not been confirmed by the IBMP’s founder, Jill Youse, what has happened to all the money made from selling the milk to Prolacta thus far. 100% of that money, for three months (May 31, 2007-August 31, 2007), was promised toward the building of a health facility at the Lewa Children’s Home at Eldoret, Kenya. During those three months, the International Breast Milk Project reportedly earned at least $50,000 in sales of donated breastmilk to Prolacta (~$25,000 for June and ~$25,000 for July. It is not known how much was earned for August 2007). This amount of money still has NOT been sent to the Lewa Children’s Home, according to the IBMP. As of the date of this posting, many questions still remain unanswered about how much breastmilk and money are really going to Africa.
ETA:  The IBMP has updated their site a few times since the original posting of this entry.  Happily, according to the newly updated FAQ section of the IBMP site (which is ever-changing), the money in question was donated to Africa.  Hopefully the IBMP will continue its charitable efforts in Africa because, after all, that is the reason why the organization exists.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

More Business of Being Born

So, thanks toThe Feminist Breeder's contest, Amanda and I won tickets to the premiere of More Business of Being Born in L.A.!!

Can I first say, there were so many amazing people there.  How awesome for us to be in a place full of birth workers of all kinds; doulas, midwives and even and even an obstetrician from Alaska featured in one of the movies.  He had just had a home birth for his first baby, a precious little girl who also attended the premiere.  Can I get a HOLLA for awesome OB's??  In the mix we also got to meet a midwife who has delivered (or helped deliver) 6,700 babies.  There were so many influential people there, as there should be for the sequel of such a great documentary.

We screened the 2nd part of the series of 4.  It was celebrity moms talking about their birth experiences.  I laughed, I got angry and I teared up.  What a great addition to the series!  Again, something wonderful by Ricki and Abby.

After the show was a Q&A session with Ricki and Abby.  Now, I don't want to take away from the film here, because it was great!  But I was less than impressed by its makers.

During the Q&A, which I had imagined would be full of inspiring questions, I got to see the real Ricki and Abby! (Or how they portray themselves anyways)  One second time mommy, 37 weeks pregnant stood up to as a question.  She explained that she had had an unnecessary cesarean with her first baby and was amazed to find out about The Business of Being Born documentary in her prenatal yoga class.  She popped on her iPhone and bought a ticked to MBOBB to get her questions answered.  She was so hungry for information, I could hear it in her voice.  Instead of giving her the support and a giant mama hug like she needed, Ricki had to mention that she was "in the semi finals of Dancing with the Stars" just to make sure this mom was "actually on this planet".  Yeah, because every, single person on the planet knows about Ricki Lake and her documentary.  Amanda answered this with an appropriate, WOW.  Also during the Q&A session, a woman who asked the difference between a doula and a midwife was told by Abby to "just watch the film".  Wait, I thought this was Q&A... meaning question and ANSWER.  Thankfully, miss Lake recognized Abby's rude arrogance for what it was and had a few audience members answer the extremely relevant and appropriate question.  Thankfully, Gina got to mom #1 after the whole shindig and shared her wealth of knowledge and her experience with her own VBAC.

After the film was supposed to be the 'Meet and Greet' for the VIP pass holders.  Amanda and I stopped to talk to Gina and her precious little girl and thank her for our tickets.  When we exited the theatre, the girls were already getting into their shiny black SUV.  Whew, one hell of a meet and greet wouldn't you say?  I'd be pretty pissed if I had paid $95 to meet and chat with the filmmakers and ended up waiting in a line to maybe get a signature and a quick Hello.  But, we were asked to be sympathetic since Ricki had to learn three whole dances by monday for Dancing with the Stars.  (do people even watch that show?)  Now that's passion right there.... a room full of amazing people to meet and inspiring stories to hear and we need to jet off to DWTS rehearsal.  I swear, if I had to hear her talk about herself being on that show one more time, I probably would have ripped my own ears off.

Amanda and I watched the Ina May Gaskin portion of the movie last night and in the first 5 minutes we heard about how Ricki was so excited to meet Ina (understandable... I probably would have crapped my pants with anticipation) that she was even excited to fly coach... and she "never gets excited to fly coach".  Poor Ricki, stuck in coach with all of the beggars.  What a terrible, terrible thing.  I have met a lot of amazing people in coach.  I even met a girl who I talked with about breastfeeding and answered her questions about natural birth.  There are always ways to be inspiring and do birth work.  Maybe if these two could get their heads around paying for their peanuts and sitting next to all the impoverished coach passengers enough to actually see that they could help someone, they could change the world for just one more person.  Yeah, yeah, yeah.  Your documentary was amazing and I will always recommend it (the first one at least) But girls, you're not Steven Spielberg, and you didn't film the bestest movie on the interwebz.  I think all in all these two could use a slice (or two.... or ten) of humble pie.

To close, The Business of Being Born opened my eyes and inspired me.  What an amazing film full of knowledge that all women should have the right to.  Please take your time to see it and its sequel. They truly are wonderful!


Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Yay! This is my first time! I just want to start by saying this is pretty cool, and hopefully you like what I have to say. We haven't discussed anything on pre-term babies on here...at all. I am a mother of two "late pre-term" babies. I think we are going to dive into what I want in a pregnancy and how jealous I am of these women who take their full term infants for granted. DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY OF US HAVE WISHED FOR A BIRTH OF A BABY WHO ISN'T PRETERM?!?!

Jaundiced Baby E in December, 2010
Jaundiced Baby M in December, 2008

I am so sick and tired of hearing women who are only *36* weeks along in their pregnancy. STOP BITCHING. Do you know what its like for a baby to be born at 36 weeks? Even 37 weeks is not promising your baby is full term; it is simply an estimated safe, healthy arrival period. We all know due dates can be off, and care providers could possibly fill your head with crap about your baby being 8lbs three to four weeks before its due date. Please take a minute to educate yourself with info from a momma who had a late pre-term infant, twice.

Lets start with the size of baby, we will call her baby P. Baby P could be 4lbs or could be 7lbs within 34-36/6 weeks, give or take a pound here or there. (and this comes from a plethora of sites similar to babycenter and etc). My 36 weeker was 6lbs 5oz and 19inches long, and my 35 weeker was 7lbs 4 oz and 19 inches long. Each baby is different, and each pregnancy is different. In my personal experience the ultrasounds were loads of crap on how big my children were. I was told baby M was going to be close to 8lbs and that baby E would be barely 4lbs, and these were all within days of labor, or the day of. The size of these babies can and will fool you, and care providers until your due date was confirmed and baby is properly assessed.

Baby E on her birthday!

Do you know when a baby develops their sucking reflex? Do you know how important it is that a baby has one?
Who wants their baby to stay in the hospital possibly the NICU because they don't have a sucking reflex, or they can't manage a good suck swallow pattern? Have you seen a child aspirate their milk because they didn't have the brain capacity to manage their suck swallow pattern? Did you take the time to master finger feedings, heck do you even know what finger feeding is? Have your heart set on breastfeeding as soon as your baby is delivered?
The sucking reflex is typically fully developed around 36 weeks gestation, that could mean your 36week and 6 day baby doesn't have one, or your 35 week and 6 day baby has one. If your baby is born without one you will have to take extra measures to ensure your baby receives adequate nutrition. Baby M was finger fed because she was born lacking the ability to nurse or bottle feed. We used a tiny tube and placed it between the roof of her mouth and our finger. Expressed breast milk was placed into the tube via syringe. Baby E was nursing the second I was able to hold her. Each of my children were only allowed to eat every 3 hours, not on cue, not on demand, or not when I felt was ready. Miserable experience for all of us, and the poor Russian corpsman who thought my baby should eat on cue.

A baby's brain still has a lot of growing to do between 35 and 39 weeks in the womb.
Courtesy of March of Dimes
A baby's brain still has a lot of growing to do between 35 and 39 weeks in the womb.
The above website has a great article about the weight of a 35 week baby and a 39-40 week baby. Your baby's brain has 2/3 the capacity of a full term baby. Do you know what they are lacking? I can't say that I know exactly what they are lacking, but you get the picture right? When born at 36 weeks their coordination can be off, by a lot. They are missing immune system responses, coordination (not that infants are very well coordinated), and physiological responses.

Baby M as an ittybitty.

I don't want to forget about their lungs! Oh sheesh, only one of the biggestmajorbodypartsanyhumanneeds. That's right, your baby could suffer from apnea, erratic breathing, dip in oxygen levels, experience cyanosis, or just plain old can't breath on its own! Oh all of those wires and crap my sweet little baby had coming out of her clothes and blankets. She just seemed so lonely when I would see her in that hard plastic tub they used as a bassinet. I went in every 2 hours around the clock, and sometimes more just to hold my baby.

This is just a slight overview of the major problems late pre-term infants have. Now let me just ask you, what do you see wrong with this? Will you think twice about trying to induce labor before its time? Having dealt with a "buttload" of problems, to say the least, I couldn't imagine any mother wanting their baby to go through this. I am still cringing with anger because of these moms! Stop being selfish and let your baby finish developing. Why would you put your precious bundle of joy at risk? Please take a minute to look at this website http://www.pediatricsdigest.mobi/content/120/6/1390.full it is full of great information for those of you who are looking to educate yourselves!


*I know some families have it worse, yes I really do know this. In no way am I complaining about the well-being of my children, or bitching that I was able to hold them in until 35 weeks, because I know someone, somewhere has i t worse.*

Monday, November 7, 2011

Don't tie me down: CFM vs. IA

When you think of a woman in labor, what do you picture in your mind?


(me in labor with my son in 2007)

Or this?

(Me in labor, August 2011)

Most would know nothing but the first.  If you're reading this blog chances are that you know more than most.  In picture number one, you see the typical hospital birth; Hospital gown, chux pads, IV, white sheet, bright computer screens and continuous fetal monitoring, or CFM. (CFM is defined as using a device strapped around the belly of the mother to continuously and simultaneously monitor fetal heart rate and contraction of the uterus)  CFM is standard practice in hospitals.  It was thought that by continuously monitoring the fetal heart rate along with contractions, a care provider would better be able to assess whether or not the baby is in distress.  We have learned, however, that this is not the case .

In 2009, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (or ACOG) released this article.  I'll use an excerpt from the article and you yourself can interpret the meaning.

One of the problems with FHR tracings is the variability in how they're interpreted by different people. The ACOG guidelines highlight a case in which four obstetricians examined 50 FHR tracings; they agreed in only 22% of the cases. Two months later, these four physicians reevaluated the same 50 FHR tracings, and they changed their interpretations on nearly one out of every five tracings.

So let's start with this:  There are no guidelines as to how to interpret the CFM results.  This means that your physician is free to interpret them as he/she pleases.  This also means that if there happened to be an adverse outcome, there are no guidelines to hold your physician accountable for misreading or purposely misinterpreting results for personal convenience.

Moving on, there have been numerous studies concerning continuous fetal monitoring versus intermittent auscultation, or IA, (which is the monitoring of the fetus, usually using a handheld doppler, at certain intervals such as every 10 minutes or every 2 contractions) and none of them have concluded that CFM is any more effective at assessing fetal distress.  In fact, CFM has been proven to increase cesarean and medical intervention rates1 but not decrease perinatal mortality2.  

So, CFM increases your rate of cesarean section and medical intervention yet does not effectively evaluate whether or not your baby is in distress.  ACOG does not endorse CFM used on normal pregnancies.  CFM is proven to decrease the rate of normal, vaginal birth and therefore compromises the health and wellbeing of mother and baby.  Although it is obviously proven to be a disadvantage to women in labor, most hospitals require it.  So, why, if it is no more effective and actually causes disadvantages to mom and baby, is it so routinely used in hospitals?

IA is proven to be just as effective at determining whether not a baby is in true distress.  Using IA instead of CFM allows mom to be mobile in labor which not only helps progress labor and cervical dilation (which reduces her chances or receiving pitocin3 or other labor augmentation drugs), but allows her to be in a comfortable laboring positions to better handle the intensity of contractions.  If she can better handle the intensity, she is less likely to request an epidural4.  Mom can also choose from multiple birthing positions including pushing on her hands and knees or while squatting which both help by opening the pelvis and easier allowing baby to come through.  There is no need for mom to change positions or even move at all during IA.  (They even stuck the doppler underwater when I was in labor!)

There are so many things wrong with this picture.  Knowing that CFM is causing moms to be subjected to unfair and unnecessary intervention and that many care providers use it despite all of this, I start to wonder whether or not we actually care about moms and babies.  If we did, wouldn't it be different?  Don't hospitals do what the people want?  They are businesses.  If nobody paid them to do what they do, they wouldn't do it.  So to me, the responsibility rests on you, moms.  I'll say it once and I'll say it a million times.  We understand not being educated... but now you are.  So what are you going to do about it?  If birthing your first child was a traumatic experience , are you going to proceed to have your second child in the same place, under the same thumb of the same care facility and just hope it's better this time around?  I, unfortunately have seen this situation many, many times.  You were failed by people you trusted.  You were lied to.  And it is not your fault. But do you want to know the best part of it all?  You have choices. You have a voice.  You have people you don't even know who want you to be able to birth without fear.

You decide for yourself.  I can only give you the information....you have to be the 99% that change the way it works.


LINK; Page 8-9

LINK Page 8-9



Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Business of Being Awesome.....

If you LOVED the 2008 documentary 'The Business of Being Born' as much as we did you're going to poop your pants.  There is a SEQUEL!  'More Business of Being Born' premieres on November 9th in L.A.

The 2008 Documentary follows Actor Ricki Lake and documentary filmmaker Abby Epstein through the turmoil that is our maternity care system in America.  The new documentary continues where the old left off.  I can only assume we are in for another fact filled film that spews the truth that many can't stand to hear.  Also included in the sequel is an exclusive look into legendary Midwife Ina May Gaskin's life and community The Farm, located in Summertown, Tennessee.
(I would give my left arm to birth at The Farm)

We are psyched that the saga continues.  We can only hope that there will be MORE More Business of Being Born in a few years.  This is WAY better than Twilight, people.  


P.S.  Watch the original documentary on Netflix instantly online if you haven't seen the awesomeness yet. 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Maternal separation stresses infants at birth

Imagine resting peacefully in a soft, warm place.  Stay in this place for around 10 lunar months.  Now imagine being forcefully pushed from this place into cold, rough hands, flipped upside down, had a hard rubber syringe jammed down your throat, cut from your oxygen source, passed into unknown hands, roughly tumbled around and wiped with coarse towels, poked with a needle, goop slammed into your sensitive eyes that have never before been touched and wrapped up tightly in a chemical bleached blanket before finally being handed to your mother.  You have now been through the first 10 minutes of a newborn babys life. Would you be stressed out?  I would.  Would you want to eat?  I wouldn't.

Can you imagine being in the same peaceful place and then instead of the former, being placed into your mothers warm waiting hands and onto her soft warm skin.  Nobody touches you except the person that has been growing you for the past almost-year.  You'd be a much happier baby indeed.

But I digress.... this information, which us mothers already knew, is now published through a study.  This seems to make more people pay attention.  I'm not sure why we need validation for a natural instinct but hey, who am I to judge whether your hindbrain is fully developed or not.

Maternal separation stresses infants by Science Daily

"ScienceDaily (Nov. 2, 2011) — A woman goes into labor, and gives birth. The newborn is swaddled and placed to sleep in a nearby bassinet, or taken to the hospital nursery so that the mother can rest. Despite this common practice, new research published in Biological Psychiatry provides new evidence that separating infants from their mothers is stressful to the baby.

It is standard practice in a hospital setting, particularly among Western cultures, to separate mothers and their newborns. Separation is also common for babies under medical distress or premature babies, who may be placed in an incubator. In addition, the American Academy of Pediatrics specifically recommends against co-sleeping with an infant, due to its association with Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS.
Humans are the only mammals who practice such maternal-neonate separation, but its physiological impact on the baby has been unknown until now. Researchers measured heart rate variability in 2-day-old sleeping babies for one hour each during skin-to-skin contact with mother and alone in a cot next to mother's bed. Neonatal autonomic activity was 176% higher and quiet sleep 86% lower during maternal separation compared to skin-to-skin contact.
Dr. John Krystal, Editor of Biological Psychiatry, commented on the study's findings: "This paper highlights the profound impact of maternal separation on the infant. We knew that this was stressful, but the current study suggests that this is major physiologic stressor for the infant."
This research addresses a strange contradiction: In animal research, separation from mother is a common way of creating stress in order to study its damaging effects on the developing newborn brain. At the same time, separation of human newborns is common practice, particularly when specialized medical care is required (e.g. incubator care). "Skin-to-skin contact with mother removes this contradiction, and our results are a first step towards understanding exactly why babies do better when nursed in skin-to-skin contact with mother, compared to incubator care," explained study author Dr. Barak Morgan.
More research is necessary to further understand the newborn response to separation, including whether it is sustained response and whether it has any long-term neurodevelopmental effects.
However, skin-to-skin contact has known benefits, and certainly, most would agree that unnecessarily stressing a newborn is unacceptable. Thus, as further evidence emerges, the challenge to doctors will be to incorporate skin-to-skin contact into routine treatment whilst still safely providing the other elements of newborn medical care."

Oh, and if I may, I get a good kick out of the part where they say 'the challenge to doctors...'  Who the hell died and made your doctor king?  HE works for YOU! So here it goes... I'm calling all you moms out.  The challenge is to YOU! Stand up for yourself and your baby and make sure that your hands are the first and only to touch your baby.  They can do all the 'checking' that they need from the safety of your chest.  You're the boss and you have the right to say it's my way or the highway.  (insert sassy finger snap) Your baby will thank you with a beautiful latch and maybe a nice big poop.  Hey, it's the thought that counts right?


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Well, here goes my post cherry! Car Seat Safety

**If you have any photos of your children correctly placed in safety seats and/or extended rear facing, please email them to midwivesinthemaking@gmail.com**

So last night I was sitting in bed watching walrus's fighting for breeding rights (which I would like to say was uninteresting... but it totally wasn't) on the Discovery Channel trying to figure out what our first blog post was going to be, I decided it would be about car seats!  This is ironic because Amanda and I both encountered situations today where kiddos were improperly harnessed into their seats.  In fact, 9 out of 10 children aren't properly placed in the car.  90%?? Come on parents! Car seat safety isn't something to just do and hope you get it right.  (Well, at 90% apparently it is....it shouldn't be)

The American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends that children remain rear facing until at least 2 years of age or until the child reaches the maximum height and weight requirements of the safety seat.

We've heard every excuse in the book.  'My childs legs are scrunched!'  Would you rather have a broken leg (which, by the way, doesn't happen) or a broken neck? 'It's not the law so I won't do it.'  The law is based on severely outdated information.  This new information concludes that a child under the age of 2 years has a "75 percent less likely to die or be severely injured in a crash if they are riding rear-facing."  In fact, I'll even go so far as to ask you to watch THIS video. (if you can get past the kid pics and the lame-o music, it's loaded with good info and some disturbing crash test footage)

On to the idiot proof photos that I came upon via FB. (Thanks Sara!)
(I'm going to use a post by Mama Milkies on Facebook....why mess with a good thing??)

If your childs seat doesn't look like this, it's WRONG!  There is no grey area here moms and dads!

#1.  THE PINCH TEST: The straps must pass the pinch test. This photo shows that the straps are too loose. If the       
                       straps are too loose, the child can be ejected from the seat in a collision.

Your childs straps should be tight enough that you can only fit a finger underneath.  Any more than that is TOO LOOSE!

Chest clip AT ARMPIT LEVEL.  Any lower is TOO LOW!

These are self explanatory.....

AAAAnnnnd, just for fun.... well, on second thought, just in case.....

To conclude this post, we understand not being educated.  But now you are.  
So make the right decision.  

**All references are linked to original source.  Click to view.**