Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Comments on our Blogs

We have had many comments over the past few months that I have had to delete and report as spam. Some of the comments were excellent and what a shame not to post.  Problem is, at the end of each one there has been an advertisement for some drug, drug company, sexual tool, etc.  Whether these advertisements are just tacked on due to some glitch or spamwear I am not sure, but I do know we will not post any such things on our Blog. 

We invite you to share your thoughts and comments on our posts and ask you to please make sure there is nothing in your comment that can be construed as advertising or else we will have to report it as spam. 

Thanks so much for your cooperation!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Getting Pregnant While Breastfeeding

I really must say I enjoy this topic.  Women are told they must stop breastfeeding in order to be fertile and become pregnant again.  I am willing to bet that the same practitioners would tell a mother, if she were six weeks postpartum, she must absolutely use something for birth control because breastfeeding does not protect her from getting pregnant.  And that's when she was likely breastfeeding around the clock.  Now, when the mother is breastfeeding once or twice a day she is told, "you can't get pregnant unless you stop breastfeeding".  It makes no sense. 


Anyway, once the mother get her period she will soon be fertile even if she keeps breastfeeding.  Usually not with the first few periods, but soon after.  The average return of menses in a woman breastfeeding into the second year of life is 14 months, but it's true the return varies widely.  I would say it's unusual for the mother to go to 2 years without becoming fertile, but it is possible.


Jack Newman, MD

Monday, August 27, 2012

MRI and CT scans

Almost every week, I receive questions from breastfeeding mothers that they are being told that they must interrupt breastfeeding after an MRI or CT scan often for 24 to 48 hours. This is 11 years after the American College of Radiologists put out a bulletin that it is not necessary to interrupt breastfeeding at all after MRI or CT scan, even when used with contrast media. I would put it more strongly: the mother must not interrupt breastfeeding, no matter what she is told.

Also if anyone is being told that it is necessary to interrupt breastfeeding after an intravenous pyelogram or lymphangiogram (with iodine contrast, not radioactive lymphangiogram) or whatever radiological test that is not radioactive, they should ignore this misinformation. Note that tests using radioactive contrast can often be replaced by CT or MRI.

Jack Newman, MD

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Immunity of Breastmilk

In light of the barrage of negative articles on breastfeeding that have appeared, particularly in the US this past few weeks, I wish to point out how ill-informed many of the writers are. Here is one statement that has been repeated by writers with an anti-breastfeeding mission about the immunity conferred on the baby with breastfeeding.

The antibodies in milk are not absorbed into the baby’s body. They stay in the gut and thus can only protect the baby against gut infections.

It is amazing that supposedly intelligent people can make such a statement. They publish books and magazine articles and emphasize this point, which show only that they haven’t done their homework. One would think they would take the trouble to verify what they say since they take this to be a very important point supporting their case that breastfeeding does little or nothing to protect babies and older children against infection. But why worry about the truth when you have a point to make?

Here is a quote that appeared in Maclean’s magazine (the Canadian equivalent of Time or Newsweek) in the January 17, 2011 issue. Joan B. Wolf, an assistant professor of women’s studies at Texas A&M University states. “We do have very good evidence that breastmilk reduces gastrointestinal infections. The milk is ingested, goes into the babies gut, and antibodies from the mother’s milk fight the bacteria in the gut. What we don’t have is any evidence that those antibodies have any effect anywhere else in the body.” What she is saying is that because the antibodies do not get absorbed into the baby’s body, they cannot protect the baby from bacteria or viruses that have already invaded the baby’s body. She is so wrong!

First of all, antibodies are not the only immune components in breastmilk. There are dozens of them, interacting together to protect the baby from malicious microbes (germs), bacteria, viruses and fungi. Some of them do get absorbed into the baby's body. Some stimulate the baby's immune system to develop and mature.

Together, many of these immune components work together to form a protective shield on the linings of the gut and respiratory tracts to prevent dangerous microbes from entering the baby’s body from the intestines or respiratory tract in the first place. This is a much better way of protecting the baby than to have to fight off the germs once they have entered the baby’s blood stream. This is not a difficult concept to understand. So why do those naysayers not understand?

Secondly, as you can read for yourself, many, like Ms Wolf, say that all breastfeeding does is decrease the incidence of gut infections (gastroenteritis). I thought this was really a very heartless thing to say. Hundreds of babies under a year die of gut infections in the United States every year, most of them never having been breastfed at all. Furthermore, parents can vouch for the fact that gastroenteritis is not necessarily a trivial illness particularly in the young baby, even if the baby doesn’t get seriously ill.

Jack Newman, MD, FRCCP

Monday, October 31, 2011

New IBCLCs!!

Congratulations to the new International Board Certified Lactation Consultants!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Nipple Shields, Friend or Foe

I have two upcoming blogs on Nipple Shields.  One will be at my own site at www.babylatch.com  and the other at www.scienceandsensibility.org .  Before I post those I would like to get some feedback from you, as a practitioner or as a mom, on your experience with shields.
In our clinic at the International Breastfeeding Centre, we are now seeing babies on nipple shields in record numbers--and mothers want them off!  I use to see 1 or 2 a week, now we see a few every single day--some days 5 or 6.  And in the past, many of the babes I would see would have been started on a shield after a week or two of age at the earliest, with the rare one having been started sooner.  Now, we are seeing them routinely given when the baby is days or even hours old.  Some mothers are handed them in the delivery room, before baby has even had a chance to know where the breast is!!

The number one reason mothers are given a shield, or it is suggested to them to get one, is for the baby who is refusing to latch.  In the short term, this sometimes works--but what are the long term ramifications?  Some mothers are given them to prevent or treat sore nipples.  I often see this makes things worse, but once in a while a mother says it helped--but then, again, long term, regardless of why she was given the shield, she ends up at our clinic with a host of other issues: baby pulling at the breast due to slow flow, drop in milk supply, baby addicted to the shield and can't get off, etc, etc.  But there must be some mothers out there for whom the shield saved her breastfeeding and the baby did not get addicted—otherwise, why would practitioners use them so routinely?  They, the practitioners, must be convinced the shields do more good than harm, right?  I don’t know if that is correct or not, but I would love to hear from those who do use them.

So, my question to you is, do you see them helping short term and long term?  If they were helpful, for how long, for what issue, and how long until you got baby off the shield?  If they were not helpful, or only for a short bit, were there other issues that arose as a result of using the shield, and, if so, what were they?   Were you able to get baby off the shield in the end?
Thanks for the feedback.
Edith Kernerman, IBCLC

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Who Code and IBCLCs

I am dismayed by the change in wording in the IBLCE professional code of conduct for IBCLCs.  Previously the code of conduct stated that IBCLCs must abide by the provisions of the WHO International Code on the Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes.  Now, the wording has been changed to state that IBCLCs should endeavor to abide by the Code.  This is an incredible watering down of the statement.

Why on earth should IBLCE change this wording?  The WHO Code has been an extremely useful tool to help prevent the abuses of the formula, bottle and teat manufacturers in marketing their products.  It gave health professionals pressured by formula company reps (and their methods are very effective) an easy out, so that the health professional could say, for example “I am sorry but I cannot give out your product to the pregnant women or new mothers in our facility because the Code does not allow it”.  There was no need to argue with the formula company rep about “women who give supplements breastfeed longer” (yes, the formula companies actually used and maybe still use that line).  It’s not allowed!

If this change in wording is not revoked, IBLCE will lose all credibility with everyone but the formula company manufacturers.  Is that what IBLCE wants?

- Dr. Jack Newman