Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Mother's Day? Ha!Moms deserve more than one day – we're giving them the whole month!

The Merriam-Webster online dictionary gives us the following definition of “mother”:

1a) a female parent
1b) a woman in authority (specifically the superior of a religious community of women)
2) source or origin (necessity is the mother of invention)
3) maternal tenderness or affection
4) sometimes vulgar (mother …)
5) something that is an extreme or ultimate example of its kind especially in terms of scale (the mother of all construction projects)

Every day at the Pump Station & Nurtury™ we encounter so many Mother's and this definition hardly describes those amazing women who walk through our doors. Instead we look to another quote that we find best describes these women:

“A Mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie.” – Tenneva Jordan

A Mother, more than anything is giving. She gives every moment of every day and does it without hesitation. She is caring, loving, generous, understanding, nurturing, supportive, encouraging and dependable among other things.

For over 20 years The Pump Station™ has been supporting and assisting such women. We have served as a breastfeeding and baby care resource center for mothers of all backgrounds. We've witnessed these women in their many roles: mother, wife, partner, friend, lover & teacher. We've experienced firsthand how much these women have given of themselves.

With that said, we would like to give back to our Mom's. This year we are celebrating Mom's all month long. We've put together a special calendar of Sizzling Hot Topics for both stores. We truly believe that one day is not nearly enough time to memorialize our Moms – so instead of Mother's day – we're declaring Mother's Month at the Pump Station & Nurtury™. We would like to give back to our Mom's by offering these wonderful Sizzling Hot Topics classes for free this month.

We are also inviting everyone to send in pictures of Moms & their babies and stories they might want to share. We will then be featuring many of these on our website all month long. So Moms – try and relax and enjoy yourself this month – you deserve it!

We’d like to share one more quote we feel represents our Moms:

“Mama exhorted her children at every opportunity to “jump at de sun”. We might not land on the sun, but at least we would get off the ground.” – Zora Neale Hurston

Happy Mother’s Day & Month from Co-Founders Corky Harvey, Wendy Haldeman, & The Pump Station & Nurtury™

Friday, April 25, 2008

Can I Just Pump?

By Jessica Sacher MN, RN, IBCLC

Can I just pump? This is a question that I am often asked. There are mothers who cannot put their babies to breast because their babies are hospitalized and not yet ready to breastfeed, and there are mothers who for various reasons cannot or choose not to put their babies to breast, but want to provide breast milk for them.

The answer is yes. You can exclusively pump if that is your choice or your need. The decision to just pump often happens when a mother is having some difficulty managing breastfeeding.
I had a client a few years ago who was working in a very demanding job and she wanted to set up a pumping schedule that worked best for her. She didn't want to breastfeed because she wasn't going to be home long enough to establish a breastfeeding relationship with her baby, but she wanted the milk to be hers.

I had another mom who desperately wanted to breastfeed, but despite her best efforts, her baby refused to latch. She successfully pumped until her daughter was 13 weeks old and one day she thought “what the heck” and offered the breast. To her surprise and delight, the baby latched and nursed as though she had been doing it all along.

No matter the reason, here are some helpful tips for the exclusively pumping mother:
Pump! In order to establish the milk supply a mother must use the pump as though it were her “surrogate” baby. This means pumping 8-10 times in 24 hours. She also has to coordinate her pumping routine with her baby’s feeding pattern. A lactation consultant can add support and guidance as a mom goes through establishing a milk supply.

Milk supply isn't static. You can usually raise or lower the supply by pumping more or less. If the baby needs more milk, add a pumping until the supply picks up. Do the opposite if less is needed.
Choose the right pump — this is crucial. Often a hospital grade pump will be the best choice for initiating and establishing the milk supply. Once a mother feels that her milk is “in” and she is getting sufficient volumes, she may choose to buy a pump. It is also important that the pumping experience be comfortable and that the breast shields fit her breasts and nipples correctly (the standard Medela nipple shield diameter is 24mm, but larger sizes are available and feel much better to many women).

Grease up. Some mothers find that lubricating the tunnel of the breast shield with a food grade nipple cream will increase their comfort while pumping.

The Pump Station is always happy to help address and provide the support a mother needs in order to achieve her goals in providing milk for her baby. Give us a call at 866-842-7867.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

BPA in baby bottles???What’s all the fuss about?

By Jennifer Taggart, a mom, children’s environmental health advocate, attorney and former environmental engineer.

Yes, it is true. The universal symbol on infancy – the plastic baby bottle – may harm your baby. First, I have to confess that I, a breast feeding mom made famous for producing way too much milk, find it more than ironic that an artificial feeding symbol designates infancy and is used to designate nursery rooms. But even breastfeeding moms use bottles at some point. And you may be wondering about the news stories concerning the hazards associated with bisphenol A (“BPA”).

BPA is found in polycarbonate plastic. It is the basic monomer of polycarbonate plastic. Think of it this way. Polycarbonate plastic is a really long train, and BPA are the individual cars that make up that train. Polycarbonate plastic is widely used for plastic baby bottles.

BPA can leach out of the polycarbonate plastic and into whatever liquid is in the bottle. The conditions that lead to leaching of BPA are not fully understood. Heat increases the amount of leaching, by as much as 55 times for boiling water as compared to room temperature water, but leaching occurs at room temperature too. But what this means is that BPA can leach from a polycarbonate plastic baby bottle into the breast milk or formula contained in the bottle, and when your baby drinks the breast milk or formula, BPA enters her body through her digestive track.

Are babies really exposed to BPA? Yes. Studies have confirmed that babies are exposed to BPA. And even more troubling is that infants are not equipped to process BPA as adults are. Newborns lack or express at low levels the liver enzyme needed to deactivate BPA. The necessary liver enzyme is not expressed until after birth, with the full complement at 3 months, but at about 25% of the adult level.

Why do we care about exposure to BPA? BPA mimics the hormone estrogen and disrupts the body’s endocrine system. Estrogen is an important chemical messenger. Disrupt the messenger, and the systems may be affected. Based upon animal studies, BPA exposure is linked to early onset of puberty, increased diabetes risk, hyperactivity, and certain cancers, including breast cancer. BPA exposure can impair brain function, leading to learning disabilities and age-related neurodegenerative diseases.

That BPA mimics estrogen is not some startling new revelation. BPA, along with diethylstilbestrol (“DES”) and other chemicals, was investigated for use as synthetic estrogen in the 1930s. BPA wasn't used, but DES was. DES was considered safe, but we were wrong about the safety of DES. It was only after DES was given to millions of women that it was found that DES causes reproductive defects and increased the risk for rare cancers in the daughters of the women who had taken DES during their pregnancies.

BPA’s safety is being hotly debated right now. The plastics industry maintains that BPA use in food contact items is safe. A report from the National Toxicology Program is scheduled for this summer and will reconcile the somewhat contradictory conclusions of two scientific panels. Health Canada announced this week that it was designated BPA a dangerous substance. In the interim, many children’s health experts are urging pregnant women and babies reduce or eliminate their exposure to BPA.

So, what can a parent do if the experts can’t decide? I determined that I don’t need certainty to act. And with so many alternatives to the polycarbonate plastic baby bottle now on the market, it seems only smart to choose a baby bottle not made from polycarbonate plastic.

Smart Mama’s Simple Steps to Reduce Exposure

Skip polycarbonate plastic. If you can, skip the polycarbonate plastic baby bottles. A number of baby bottles on the market are BPA-free, and more are becoming available.

  • All Medela products that come into contact with breast milk are BPA free. Medela's bottles are made from polypropylene plastic.
  • BornFree makes glass and polyamide plastic bottles.
  • Think Baby has a 5 oz and 9 oz BPA free baby bottle with a silicone nipple. The company's patented venting system is advertised to reduce gas and spit up.
  • Green to Grow has wide and regular neck baby bottles in 5 and 10 ounce sizes. The bottles are made of polyethersulfone.
  • MAM's Ultivent and the Sassy Baby Food Nurser Kit are BPA free.
  • Adiri's Natural Nurser Ultimate Baby Bottle is BPA free.
  • EvenFlo has a glass baby bottle.
  • Gerber’s Clear View, Fashion Tints and GentleFlow are not made with polycarbonate plastic and are BPA-free.
  • Playtex’s Premium Nurser is made of polycarbonate, but the breast milk or formula only touches the polyethylene liner, not the bottle itself. The Breast Milk Storage Kit contains polypropylene bottles.

Recycle/replace scratched or worn bottles. If you can’t get your baby to switch from his current bottle, make sure you replace any scratched or worn bottles. BPA leaching may be increased with worn or scratched bottles.

Don’t heat. Never add boiling water to polycarbonate baby bottles. Adding boiling water to polycarbonate plastic baby bottles and letting it cool will increase the leaching. As discussed above, adding boiling water increases the rate of BPA leaching by 55 times over room temperature water. Keep in mind, however, that polycarbonate plastic will leach BPA at room temperature.

Jennifer Taggart is an attorney specializing in environmental litigation and compliance. Her practice includes advising clients on complying with consumer product labeling and consumer right-to-know laws. Prior to becoming an attorney, Jennifer was a compliance environmental engineer. She has two small children. Her website is http://www.thesmartmama.com/.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Hey Mom Your Milk Tastes Yucky

by Wendy Haldeman, MN, RN, IBCLC, Co-Founder of The Pump Station

I received a frantic phone call the other day from a mother who had proudly stored 150 ounces of frozen breast milk in preparation for returning to work. She had just defrosted one of her precious bags of milk and attempted to feed her little one. Her baby flat out refused to drink any of the milk. This little one had taken a bottle of fresh milk that morning, so Mom knew that the issue was probably not about refusing a bottle. Perplexed, as this had never happened before, the mother tasted the milk. Gross!!! The milk was horrible. It tasted like soap, smelled really funky, and had a somewhat greasy appearance. This mother was panicked and in tears as she was returning to work the next day.

So, what happened? Before all you moms freak out - understand that the vast majority of babies do not care that frozen milk tastes different. The baby in this story just happened to have a very discerning palate. Breast milk contains an enzyme called lipase which breaks down fat during the freezing process. In a very few cases, lipase will even begin to work on refrigerated milk. This is a normal process and in no way indicates that the milk is “bad” or may be harmful to the baby.
So, what does one do if your baby will not accept your frozen milk? You can try a couple to things. For reasons I am not sure of, pumping into and freezing in glass bottles somehow appears to inhibit the lipase action. Just remember to leave some room in the bottle as the frozen milk will expand and can break the glass. If this strategy does not work you will need to place the freshly expressed milk into a sauce pan and scald the milk. This means, you heat the milk just to where a thin skin forms on the top of the milk (According to Wikipedia, scalded milk has been heated to 180 degrees, just before the boiling point.) Then, immediately shut off the heat and chill the milk. You only need to do this if your baby truly has an issue with your frozen milk. Scalding milk is a real hassle and heating does destroy some of the antibodies.

Another question posed by this mother was whether or not she needed to throw away all her precious milk. I advised her not to. Sometimes the baby changes her mind and will drink the milk and if not, one can always use the milk to mix in with cereal or to thin pureed fruits and vegetables.

Lastly, the mother wanted to know how one can tell the difference between “normal” defrosted milk and truly “spoiled” milk. I advised her to take an ounce of her expressed milk and just leave it on the counter for a day or two. I promised her that even a sleep deprived mom could identify bonafide soured milk!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

My “Charmed” Life!

by Cheryl Petran

My daughter turned one on Saturday. I only cried once! Looking back on the last 12 months I can honestly say it’s been the craziest ride of my life. I can’t help but think of last March, and with my "type A" personality it frightens me to think of just how bored I was. My daughter’s nursery was complete, I was way ahead on my work projects, I had "nested" my way through the entire house, and my ob/gyn had told me to take it easy and lay off the workouts. As I anxiously awaited the birth of my daughter – each day moved tragically slow – I had no desire to leave my house.

With family living in other states – at the time, my world consisted of my husband and my three best friends: Piper, Phoebe & Paige (you know, the three sister characters from the show “Charmed”). I look back and think – Oh my God, how pathetic was I? Did I mention that I had a crush on Piper’s husband Leo? (ok, so I was really pathetic)

Now however, 12 months later I find myself flashing back to one specific episode of Charmed. In this episode, the oldest sister Piper (mother of 2 – one baby and one toddler) found herself magically transformed into the Hindu goddess of motherhood. She suddenly had 4 sets of arms which allowed her to better respond to the needs of her children and husband. I think now – I long for that existence – the writers of Charmed were truly onto something. On top of that, the more Piper was able to care for her family the more attractive and sexy her husband found her to be! (what were these guys smoking?)

Being a Mom has been exciting, exhausting, thrilling, confusing, frustrating, exhilarating, difficult, fun, emotionally draining and awesome! I never imagined one tiny little person could be so much work! I have always appreciated my Mom but now more than ever I understand her and respect her for her ability to do so much and to do it so well! She raised 3 children with 3.5 years between all of us. How did she do it? How did she manage 3 toddlers at one time?

She just did it. She made it happen. She had help from my Dad and their family and friends but she made it happen and took one day at a time. She was instinctually a fabulous Mom and I can see it even more now as she spends time with my daughter. I think now a days with all the new technology and the amount of information at our fingertips – being a Mom has become that more confusing. Sometimes – the simplest decisions with regards to our child is “over thought”. There is so much information out there for all of us – there are so many conflicting and varying opinions.

I've learned a great deal in the last year. I've learned to research things I'm unsure of, talk to lots of people (the experts, experienced and the know-it-alls) and ultimately “trust my gut” and go with what feels best to me. If I do that – I can’t go wrong because my heart won’t allow me to make a bad decision when it comes to my precious wonderful little girl!

Most importantly, I've learned that while we don't have 4 sets of arms, usually if we open our eyes and look around us – we will find 3 other sets of arms (attached to loving family, friends & other moms) that are more than happy to assist us. I encourage all new Moms to welcome this type of help with your two open arms. If you do this, it will help you to keep things in perspective – it will help you to enjoy that little bundle of joy as much as you can! I know I did.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Pearls of Wisdom I learned from Jill Stamm Pearl #1

by Corky Harvey MS, RN, IBCLC, Co-Founder of The Pump Station

A couple of weeks ago, we were thrilled to have Jill Stamm, Ph.D., author of Bright from the Start, as a guest lecturer at The Pump Station & Nurtury™. Dr Stamm's book gives science-based information regarding the developing mind of a baby/child and ways parents and caregivers can nurture this mind to maximize its potential. I sat through 3 of her lectures and learned something profound in each session. I want to share what I learned with every parent I see – it is such important information. After reading my “Pearls” I hope you will be excited to read the book and then share it with everyone you know who is raising kids today.

Science is finally able to put to rest the belief that we can spoil babies and ruin them by picking them up when they cry and by holding them when they need us. The opposite turns out to be the truth. At last, parents can follow their instincts to nurture their babies and know that they are doing the right thing. I'm so happy!

Over the next few weeks, I'll be sharing my “Pearls of Wisdom” with you! Here is the first:

Pearl # 1
Dr. Stamm talked about the Romanian orphanages where children were fed, kept clean and dressed, but were confined to cribs in colorless rooms without toys and without the warm responsiveness of human contact. When some of these children were adopted by American and European families, they were found to have many troubling behaviors. These children’s emotional wounds could actually be seen on brain scans… deprived orphans behaved differently because their brains had been wired abnormally. The neurologists found some astounding differences when they compared the brain scans with those of typically developing children. Nearly all of the adoptees had brains with fewer fibers and weaker connections. The areas in the brain responsible for interpreting emotion showed up on the screen like a “black hole”. For the first time it was possible to see the physical effects of deprivation.

So what does this mean? Dr. Stamm's book states, “we now have clarification about what very young children need most, and when they need it. This new work is confirming age-old wisdom: The very kinds of basic nurturing that most loving parents routinely provide turns out to be most important of all.” Dr. Stamm describes easy ways a parent can help wire a healthy brain but the biggest pearl of all — Just spend time with your baby and talk, talk, talk to your little person.

Read the book — PLEASE! You'll be so glad you did.
Corky Harvey

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Get a Grip Tips on How to prevent & Treat Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

by Diana Scheible, M.A., OTR/L, CLE

As a hand therapy rehabilitation Occupational Therapist and ergonomic consultant, I thought that there was no way I could ever experience carpal tunnel symptoms. However, when I forgot or neglected to follow my own advice to patients, I would feel weakness, pain, and tingling in my fingertips. My symptoms would worsen when I would use my blackberry to text or send emails even though a computer was readily available. My thumbs began to feel the effects of repeated stress to the small joints of the hand when I would to compose sentences on the firm, minute buttons at lightening speed. Consequently, I would sometimes feel clumsy with my hands and drop things. This is when I realized that I absolutely need to take care of my own body so I can continue to help others.

Now that I am practicing in the field of lactation, I noticed how many pregnant and new mothers experience carpal tunnel symptoms. Some pregnant women report symptoms related to carpal tunnel in the second half of pregnancy when they begin to retain more fluid. If you are one of these women, try to avoid activities that require repetitive motion and that put pressure on the inner side of your wrists. Many people, myself included, have a tendency to sleep in fetal position while resting their head on their wrists. This puts pressure on the carpal tunnel and prevents circulation and nerve conduction from the arm to the fingertips. Other activities such as using the computer keyboard and mouse or supporting your baby’s head during breastfeeding can also trigger carpal tunnel symptoms because of pressure to the wrist area and when there is a sustained bend to the wrist. During activities such as these, try to be attentive to keep your wrists in a neutral (not bent) position and use available items such as rolled up burp clothes or receiving blankets to support your baby’s head and body during breastfeeding. These strategies will allow appropriate circulation to your hands rather than impinging the nerves. Some people find relief from using wrist splints at night that maintain the wrist in a neutral position. I also recommend taking frequent stretch breaks when engaging in any activity requiring repetitive motion.

I have since (for the most part) ingrained the strategies to prevent persistent carpal tunnel syndrome to the extent that I occasionally find myself waking up in an instant panic if my wrists are bent in my sleep or if I find myself asleep on them. If you have any carpal tunnel symptoms, don’t be alarmed-it can go away with conservative treatments if addressed without much delay.

Please visit the Breastfeeding Resource Library at PumpStation.com for our Carpal Tunnel Syndrome handout on additional ways to prevent, treat, and manage your symptoms.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


by Wendy Haldeman, MN, RN, IBCLC, Co-Founder of The Pump Station

Perhaps at that moment, I was just feeling tired and unappreciated as we all do sometimes. It quickly shifted to discouraged and extremely cranky after reading Pamela Paul’s recent piece in the New York Times, “And the Doula Makes Four.”

According to Ms. Paul, laboring women are being made to endure a hellish birth experience, while vulnerable and starving infants are limited to mother's milk or nothing at all. The alleged cause of this appears to be the outrageous and self-serving conduct of the birth doula and lactation consultant. Wow. I had no idea I belonged to such an evil group of professionals!

After consuming several glasses of wine and taking numerous cleansing breaths, I could sympathize and acknowledge that Ms. Paul makes some compelling points during her diatribe. Let me elaborate: as I am both a registered nurse and lactation consultant, I wear two hats. It has been troubling to me for some time that patients have to “go out of network” in order to attain the birth they desire, and to successfully breastfeed their child. Is it too much for a mother to expect that the labor and delivery nurse will also act as the patient’s advocate? And why can't the postpartum and nursery nurses guide and teach the new mother in infant feeding? These two functions are clearly within the role of any nurse who practices maternal child health. And yet, somewhere along the line, nurses became unwilling or unable to carry out these basic tasks.

As a result, the public continues to need the services of birth doulas and lactation consultants. But expectant parents must be made aware that all such individuals are clearly not created equal.

One of my pet peeves is how seemingly every baby nurse and doula now calls herself a lactation consultant, without limitation. The truth is, they can. Currently there are no legal requirements to practice as a doula and/or lactation consultant, and no license or certifications are mandated. It is up to the employer – the stressed if not overwhelmed new parents – to challenge such a claim. As my partner Jessica Sacher stated in the Paul article, “Parents have to do the same amount of due diligence as they would when seeking a pediatrician.”

It concerns me greatly that a few overzealous individuals choose to place their own agenda ahead of the physical, emotional, and psychological well being of their client. I would just urge those colleagues to stop and consider what is most important: that babies and their parents thrive. But I would also remind the public that the great majority of doulas and lactation consultants spend their professional lives doing just that: ensuring the safety and well–being of their clients. Even Ms. Paul admits, bless her, that “doulas and lactation consultants can be godsends for many women”.

For definitions of breastfeeding acronyms and abbreviations click here.