Friday, February 23, 2007

Carrying your baby

We all want our babies to cry less, grow well, and sleep contentedly. We want them to learn easily, to have good muscle development, and to feel settled. Isn't it amazing that just carrying your baby in a sling can facilitate all those things?

For more detailed insight into how this works, see the book "Babywearing".
From the Amazon description "If someone told you they knew a secret to help your baby sleep better, cry less, and learn better, you would certainly be interested... Babywearing, the practice of carrying baby in a soft carrier close to our body as we go about our daily business, is parenting's best kept secret. Good things happen when we wear our babies. Babies who are worn cry less, are more calm and content, sleep more peacefully, nurse better, gain weight better, enjoy better digestion, and develop better. Babywearing benefits parents! It enhances parent-baby bonding, is practical, facilitates breastfeeding, helps working parents reconnect, and makes transitions from one caregiver to another easier. But most importantly, it allows you to meet your baby's need to be held while allowing you to meet your need to get things done! Anyone can wear baby - mom, dad, sister, brother, grandparents, baby sitters, and day care workers. The more baby is worn the happier baby is. And, a happy baby makes a family happy."

I have a copy for loan to mothers who attend Little Angels groups at my house, and LLL Tokyo Central library has a copy for loan and another for sale.

There are so many baby carrier options available these days, it can be very hard for parents to know which one would suit them best. As the site Mamatoto says, "You only need to learn ONE carry with ONE type of carrier." Don't let the variations overwhelm you. The site has details on all the different ways to use the various styles of slings, with photos and diagrams.

For reviews of the various kinds of carriers and the people who sell them, check out The

Oh and by the way, I am obviously biased by the fact I stock and sell Maya Wrap slings I try not to let this colour my judgment too much. Any sling is better than no sling. It is the act of wearing your baby that matters. Different slings work for different people, and I started to import the Maya Wrap slings several years ago when you couldn't buy slings in Tokyo at all. In fact, one resourceful mother bought a Maya Wrap, copied it, starting sewing them for her friends, and now she runs a HUGE sling company in Japan, selling the same basic type of sling for about 10 times the price. Seriously, a sling does not have to cost the same price as a small vehicle.
Fashion item...possibly. Useful tool for parents...definitely!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

TPG true or false answers

Answers to the Tokyo Pregnancy group True or False quiz.


Babies don’t need any other food or drink apart from breastmilk until at least 6 months of age because breastmilk has all the nutrients a baby needs in the right amounts for optimum health and growth.


Breastfeeding means you won’t get any periods until your baby is weaned (ends breastfeeding).

FALSE Your menstrual cycle generally returns after baby starts solid foods, or starts to sleep through the night. Some people have periods returning as early as 2 months after birth and some much later, like 18 or more months after birth.

Rooming-in with my baby in the hospital/clinic will make it easier for me to learn my baby’s signals and respond to him more quickly


I will probably be especially tired if I breastfeed only.

FALSE Being a new parent can be tiring, no matter how you feed your baby. Breastfeeding is much less hassle than bottles and sterilizing equipment and looking after a child who could be more prone to illness.

Baby’s heart rate, oxygen levels and body temperature are better regulated when baby is placed in skin to skin contact with mother’s bare chest

TRUE Skin to skin contact on mother's chest is great for all babies, and can often help solve many breastfeeding problems! Not just 5 minutes a day, lots and lots of skin to skin….you are your baby’s natural habitat!

An occasional bottle of formula in the hospital or at night is nothing to worry about

FALSE Babies can quickly develop a preference for the rapid flow or hard teat of the bottle, and may not go back to breastfeeding easily. Formula also changes the way the baby’s body works, and can allow the entry of pathogens and allergens into the baby’s gut, which can increase the risk of allergies and illness later on. Even just one bottle does that.

Breastfeeding on demand develops bad habits and a clingy child.

FALSE Breastfeeding on demand allows a baby to self-regulate his own intake. If his needs are met at the breast (food, warmth, comfort) he will grow up feeling very secure and loved. Some babies take longer to become confident in their surroundings than others, and breastfeeding can help ease them through transitions and feel more secure in new places. The breastfeeding relationship is about so much more than just the milk.

It is difficult to satisfy a baby with breastmilk alone

FALSE Breasts make milk according to the degree of breast fullness. So if baby takes milk out, your breast is emptier, so you make milk faster again. If baby has unrestricted access to the breast, and you can hear him swallowing when he nurses, you should be able to make as much milk as your baby needs. (Refer also to the "use it or lose it" label in the right-hand column for more information)

Breastfeeding helps to lower a mother’s risk of osteoporosis (losing bone density)


I need to introduce a bottle as soon as possible so that baby learns to take one from my husband or a babysitter

FALSE Be careful introducing bottles before breastfeeding is well established, as baby may prefer the bottle and reject your breast. Babies can learn at any age to take a bottle from a caregiver if mother is not available for breastfeeding.

Baby needs additional water in hot weather

FALSE Babies need only breastmilk for the first six months of life (unrestricted access) In hot weather your milk has a higher water content. (Amazing stuff!) Baby may need to drink more frequently.

At each feed in the first few days after birth, my baby needs only half to one teaspoon of colostrum (the first milk in your breasts, full of antibodies and immunities).

TRUE but baby needs to feed very frequently, about 10 or more times day.

A new breastfed baby’s bowel movements are liquid.

TRUE (they look like yellow yoghurt!)

A healthy breastfed baby might do 5 poos a day

TRUE In fact they may do more than that, and that is OK too. Minimum 2 poos a day after the third day. Less than that means you need more help with breastfeeding.

If the hospital staff check my positioning during breastfeeding and it looks fine, but I am still having pain, it is possible there is something wrong with my breasts.

FALSE More likely you need some fine-tuning of your positioning and latch. Just because it looks fine to the staff doesn’t mean it is fine. If you have pain, it is not fine, but it doesn't mean something is wrong with your breasts. Call LLL or me.

It is hard to know how much milk baby is drinking at the breast, so pumping my milk is a good way to know how much I have available.

FALSE. Babies are much better at removing milk than pumps or hands. You might have a fantastic milk supply but not be able to express very much at all. Pumping puts another piece of technology between you and your baby. All feeds should be at the breast, and watch baby’s diaper output to know he is getting enough. After the first couple of days, you will see about 5-6 very wet diapers, and between 2 and 5 stools a day. If you are really worried about milk supply and baby’s weight gain, call or email LLL or me, and in the meantime, go to bed with your baby and feed, feed, feed! It's called a "babymoon"!

If you would like to receive LLL's meeting reminder notice each month, please send an email here and let us know who you are and your due date. If you would like further clarification for anything in this post, please post a comment at the link below or email me and I am happy to provide further resources.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Here is a helpful link to show how baby should latch on to the breast. Notice the mother's fingers do not appear on the breast on the side where the baby's lower jaw will attach. A good latch will ensure baby gets lots of milk, and then mother's breasts will make lost of milk too.

Friday, February 09, 2007

La Leche League Feb 2007

We had a fabulous turn-out at the La Leche League meeting in Shibuya today. 25 mothers and 15 babies, including 9 expectant mums, which must be a new record! The group was just so alive and wonderful with all those babies and bellies! I always feel so privileged to be able to be involved in the births and breastfeeding experiences of so many women, even in just a small way. Every single one is special and it never ceases to amaze me how much we learn from the babies themselves.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Isn't it interesting that OB/GYNs have to be encouraged to encourage their patients to breastfeed.

Monday, February 05, 2007

This article by Heather Harris is incredibly moving and inspiring. It makes you realise that if breastfeeding can be established with such tiny sick babies in resource-poor countries in West Africa, surely we, who live in such safe, clean and technologically-advanced places, can get breastfeeding sorted out better than we do.

Perhaps we just don't value breastfeeding enough.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Iron for babies

Expectant parents might like to know there is a study published in The Lancet in 2006 that shows that waiting 2 minutes before clamping the umbilical cord provided the infants with more body iron at 6 months of age without causing any harm at birth.
Delayed cord clamping increases infants' iron stores.