Thursday, September 27, 2007

Tokyo Pregnancy group

What a nice bunch of ladies I spoke to today at TPG! Thankyou for having me, as you can tell I always enjoy chatting about breastfeeding!

You might be interested in the results of my small survey. I received 16 completed forms back.
100% said you wanted to breastfeed
The expected duration ranged from 3m to "as long as I can", with more 50% saying 6 months or more.
100% of you had spoken to your partners about breastfeeding
94% had spoken to your mothers about breastfeeding.
75% of you were breastfed

You all had experience seeing other mothers feed

Nobody said their breasts had been checked during pregnancy, but because of the way that question was worded, it also looked like nobody had discussed breastfeeding with you. (i.e. 0%)

What worries you most about breastfeeding (multiple answers given by some people):
43% worried about not being successful
25% worried about poor latch
only 18% of you worried about pain.
6% each for:
worries about your own patience level,
not enough milk,
combining breastfeeding with medications,
baby being too demanding.

93% of you had heard of La Leche League, and almost all of you knew it was a breastfeeding support group with resources for mothers. This is particularly pleasing, as a major survey was carried out by LLL to see what the recognition level was for their name and purpose, and we did better than them!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Are Vitamin D supplements necessary for breastfed babies?

Recently received from LLL:

Q: I received an email from a Canadian based Baby Centre which said
that breastmilk doesn’t contain enough vitamin D and that breastfeeding
mothers should give vitamin D drops starting at 2 months of age. Is
this necessary?

A: It is generally agreed that vitamin supplements are unnecessary for
almost all healthy, full-term babies. Human milk was designed by nature
for the special needs of the human baby. It contains all the nutrients
a baby needs in the ideal proportions.

It’s quite true that human milk does not contain enough vitamin D in
itself to prevent rickets. (Rickets is a potentially life threatening
disease caused by insufficient sunlight exposure). However, most
exclusively breastfed babies are still not at risk of rickets because
they get enough exposure to sunlight and this results in adequate
vitamin D synthesis in the body. Just a few minutes of sunshine per
day is all that’s necessary.

At greatest risk for vitamin D deficiency are those who have one or
more of the following risk factors:

*Dark Skin
*Consistent coverage of the skin with clothing or sunscreen when
*Live in areas where there is little sunlight for parts of the year or
do not
go outdoors
*Live in areas of heavy air pollution, which blocks sunlight
*Mother if vitamin D deficient

It is believed that more cases of rickets are being seen because dark
skinned mothers of African descent have migrated to cold, dark northern
climates. These mothers may traditionally cover much of their body, so
they get very little exposure to the sun. That wasn’t a problem in
their home countries where the sunlight was intense, but in the darker
climes of North American and North Europe, where winter sunshine is
frankly... minimal, they may not get enough for their bodies to make
the required amounts of vitamin D. Also, in other populations, more
people are avoiding sunlight exposure by staying out of the sun and
using more sunscreen.

So the question being pondered by health agencies in some countries is
whether vitamin D supplements should be universally recommended for
exclusively breastfeeding babies or only those populations considered
at risk. Perhaps in Canada the government decided to err on the safe
side and recommend vitamin D for all babies.

So far, however, research shows that exclusively breastfed babies,
healthy, full-term infants from birth to 6 months who have adequate
exposure to sunlight are not at risk for developing vitamin D
deficiency or rickets.

(information taken from The Breastfeeding Answer Book published by La
Leche League International, Third Revised Edition &

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Purchasing a breast pump

If you are interested in expressing some milk to leave for baby when you go out for dinner or to the gym, then an effective breast pump is crucial. There are several Medela pumps available through the babycafe japan amazon store at varying prices:
Mini Electric

If you need to increase your milk supply or your baby is separated from you due to sickness or your return to work, it is better to rent a proper hospital grade pump. You can do this via Hoxon. See the rental breast pumps link in the right-hand column.

If you have cracked or painful nipples after your baby is born, the first thing you need to do is have a midwife or lactation consultant come and work with you while you correct baby's latch. Breastfeeding is not supposed to hurt! Some mothers find that some special lanolin nipple cream helps relieve the pain. There are a few brands around, watch out for any that need to be removed before nursing: these are NOT the brands to buy.

A well-known brand is Purelan, available through BabiesRUs, Tokuyama baby, or amazon here

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Saving breastfeeding

The latest edition of Tokyo Families magazine carries my article "Saving Breastfeeding: when things are going wrong, how can you get breastfeeding back on track?"
Click on the title to view it.

I mention eight things you can do and give some resources at the end. If breastfeeding is tough for you, drop me an email or call me, and we can talk about your own unique situation and what we can do to help improve things.

My website with my contact details is linked on the right hand side. Click on blue sky tokyo.

Breastfeeding conferences over the summer

I was fortunate to be able to attend 2 fabulous breastfeeding conferences over the summer.

The first was La Leche League International's 50th anniversary conference in Chicago from July 17th to 24th, attended by over 3000 people and the second was the Australian Breastfeeding Association's Hot Milk conference in Melbourne from August 1st to 4th attended by 1800 people.

The superb calibre of speakers at both, and the enormous range of topics, both breastfeeding- and parenting-related made both events very inspiring and extremely worthwhile. Over the next little while I plan to add some of the information to this blog so stay tuned!