Breastfeeding medicine physicians blogging about breastfeeding gasbuddy touch

May 2 nd is World Maternal Mental Health Day. Here in my home state, The Governor and General Assembly, back in 2015, declared May as Maternal Mental Health Month in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The Blue Dot Project has defined this year’s Maternal Mental Health Week (#MMHweek) by removing the stigma of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. Women (and men) all across the world are posting their stories (with a pastel blue dot) about the trials and tribulations of parenting, while showing the face of postpartum anxiety and depression. #noshame #realparenting

On my iPhone early this morning, I saw a #MMHW post where a women posted a picture of her feeding her child with a bottle. She told her story about the guilt she felt (and still feels) about not being able to breastfeed her child and how that exacerbated her depression. What followed were comments by so many other moms, how they also felt that guilt when their ‘body didn’t work’ making them unable to breastfeed their child. Many of these women commented on how they felt shame when giving their child a bottle in public. Read the rest of this entry »

Holocaust Memorial day, or as it is called in Israel and worldwide as “Yom Hashoah”, is combination of the most depressing sadness as we of memorialize the 6,000,000 murdered victims of Nazi Germany and their European collaborators, and paradoxically, a celebration of those individuals who somehow survived the horrors of mass murder and ethnic cleansing. The realization that 1.5 million infants and children were singled out for elimination by the Nazi so as to prevent the chances of a historical continuity of the European Jewish community is somehow counterbalanced by the miraculous stories of infants surviving, especially in the most unlikely circumstances and conditions.

This past Yom Hashoah I had the opportunity to view a documentary entitled “Geboren in KZ” (“Born in a Concentration Camp”, a film by Eva Gruberova and Martina Gawaz for GDR Television ) which recounts the unbelievable story of 7 infants who were born in 1945 in the Dachau, Germany concentration camp. The fact that the mothers of these infants were able to conceal their pregnancies and reach term without being detected in of itself defies comprehension, for as we know the policy of the Nazis was to send any women diagnosed as pregnant directly to the crematorium. Some of the women even escaped detection and “selection” for death by the infamous Dr. Mengele in Auschwitz before being transferred to Dachau No less miraculous so was their ability to maintain a minimal degree of nutrition to sustain their pregnancy till term or near term. Read the rest of this entry »

New Rochelle, NY, January 8, 2018—In response to the increasing informal sharing of human milk, the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine (ABM) has published guidelines to minimize the risk of this practice while enhancing the health benefits. The position statement is published in Breastfeeding Medicine, the official journal of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The article is available free on the Breastfeeding Medicine website until February 8, 2018.

“ Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine’s 2017 Position Statement on Informal Breast Milk Sharing for the Term Healthy Infant ” discusses strategies to maximize the safety of community-based breast milk sharing, including 1) medical screening of the donor and 2) safe milk handling practices. Donors should have no medical illness where breastfeeding is contraindicated nor on any medication that is incompatible with breastfeeding. Mothers can further reduce the risk of infections by performing home pasteurization of donated milk prior to giving it to her infant; however, pasteurization can decrease some of the beneficial components of human milk. ABM also emphasizes that while informal milk sharing has potential health benefit, “internet-based milk sharing is not recommended under any circumstances.”

“Informal breast milk sharing is becoming increasingly common for healthy term infants as 21 st century families desire to feed their infants human milk,” says Dr. Timothy Tobolic, president of ABM. “Physicians and other health care providers can help mothers and families evaluate the risks and benefits of informal milk sharing.”

I joined ABM after going to an AAP conference in 2008 with my nursing baby. At the conference, I ended up spending almost the entire time with the Section on Breastfeeding because my baby was not interested in staying with my husband—so I brought her with me. And I felt more comfortable hanging out with the breastfeeding crowd. I ended up riding in an elevator with some of the organizers and one of the women told me I should join ABM.

I had been so energized by the discussions at that conference—learning how to do frenotomies, hearing about the “Ban the Bag” efforts in Massachusetts, finding out about Baby Friendly Hospitals for the first time. So, I joined ABM and attended my first conference in 2009.

Being at an ABM conference is amazing. I’m really not a conference person—networking does not come easily to me, I don’t really like the marketing/advertising hall, but I do love learning about new things. ABM is the only conference I really enjoy going to. I always come away from the conference with at least a dozen new ways to practice and a new energy to spread my knowledge to others. And I love the people I meet at ABM conferences—so many perspectives, so many different ways they express their passion for supporting the mother-baby dyad. After another couple conferences, I had been convinced to become a lactation consultant.

I usually make it to the ABM conference, but even in years where I don’t go, I still get a lot out of my membership. I probably use the protocols more than anything else—always the most up to date, comprehensive source on breastfeeding topics. I enjoy seeing the new research coming out in the journals. And just knowing I’m a part of an amazing group that is a political force for advancing breastfeeding and advocating for women is important to me. Read the rest of this entry »

If you follow trends on social media, you have seen the viral tweets and pics from women surgeons who have copied the New Yorker magazine cover showing three women leaning over an operating table. These posts share two common hashtags: #ILookLikeASurgeon and #NYerORCoverChallenge. As an admin for the 7,000+ member Dr. MILK online physician mother breastfeeding support group, I wanted to see this picture taken from the perspective of a multi-tasking surgeon mother who fits in pumping her milk between cases and a very hectic schedule. I asked our members to try and coordinate OR schedules and pumping schedules to make this happen. Three superstar OB GYNs from Baylor College of Medicine created this pic while at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women in Houston, TX. They don’t literally pump their milk while leaning over an operating table, but this picture represents the duality of surgeon moms who balance patient care needs with meeting the nutritional needs of their infants. Their stories of breastfeeding/pumping challenges and successes will hopefully encourage mothers of all walks of life to confront and remove barriers to maintaining a milk supply while at work and #normalizePumping.

Here’s what their workday looked like when they managed to take this picture: One doctor had a delivery and then a c-section while the second had a fetal surgery. The third surgeon was performing a robotic hysterectomy. They tried to coordinate the photo between the delivery and c-section but timing wasn’t right, and then just before the fetal surgery the three women rushed into an empty OR to make it happen. Read the rest of this entry »