Life Stages Feeding Infant care - Nutrition Consulting

Lactation Consultant

Think of me as the manual that didn't come with your baby

As a Lactation consultant, I evaluate the mother-baby-feeding dyad and make recommendations to improve breastfeeding for mother and baby.

Registered Holistic Nutritionist

Good health starts with good nutrition right from the start

Registered Holistic Nutritionists provide clients with individualized nutrition support including: meal plans, recipes, research articles, and one on one personal support to reach your health goals.

Postpartum Doula

"Doula" comes from the ancient Greek meaning "a woman who serves"

As a Postpartum Doula, I offer support to new families in the following ways: helping families adjust to a new dynamic, infant education and support, infant and sibling care, mother care and support, and help maintaining home.

About Brittney Kirton IBCLC, RHN

About Life Stages Feeding

I had two passions growing up: health and wellness, and working with children. In 2007, I started studies at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition. CSNN helped me develop a wide base knowledge on many dietary issues though my interest and experience lies in working with pre and post natal clients, infant and childhood nutrition, and those suffering from allergic, inflammatory, and digestive conditions.

While I enjoyed clinical practice as a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, I missed working closely with children, especially infants. In 2008 I was introduced to a Postpartum Doula and was intrigued by the support they offered and knew I wanted to combine practices. In order to support new mothers further, I enrolled in The Breastfeeding Course for Healthcare Practitioners offered at Douglas College. This program inspired me to take her studies in Breastfeeding further. Six months later, I relocated to the United States to attend the University of California San Diego Lactation Consultant Program. I completed my studies and received the designation of International Board Certified Lactation Consultant in 2011. I also worked as a teaching assistant for the U of C lacation consulting program.

I strive to provide my clients with current, fact-based feeding and nutrition advice for each and every Life Stage.

Brittney Kirton IBCLC, RHN

Services

Lactation Consultant

What is a Lactation Consultant?
The International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) credential identifies a knowledgeable and experienced member of the maternal-child health team who has specialized skills in breastfeeding management and care.

IBCLCs have passed a rigorous examination that demonstrates the ability to provide knowledgeable, comprehensive lactation and breastfeeding care. Attainment of the IBCLC credential signifies that the practitioner has demonstrated knowledge to:

  • Work together with mothers to prevent and solve breastfeeding problems
  • Collaborate with other members of the health care team to provide comprehensive care that protects, promotes and supports breastfeeding
  • Encourage a social environment that supports breastfeeding families
  • Educate families, health professionals and policy makers about the far-reaching and long-lasting value of breastfeeding as a global public health imperative.

International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners

What can an IBCLC help with:


  • Assistance with breastfeeding positions and latch techniques
  • Breastfeeding education and support
  • Infant feeding and supplementation plans
  • Management of breast and nipple issues (nipple pain, engorgement, plugged ducts, mastitis)
  • Strategies for increasing and decreasing milk production
  • Strategies for weaning and introduction to solids foods
  • Strategies for returning to work (pumping, feeding schedules, introducing bottles)
  • Nutrition advice for breastfeeding mothers
  • Inducting lactation and relactation
  • Assistance transitioning infant from bottle to breast
  • And much more

Pricing:
Home Consultation - Initial Visit (90 minutes) - $120.00
Subsequent Visits (60 minutes) - $80.00

Registred Holistic Nutritionist

I believe good health starts with good nutrition right from the start. I offer perinatal nutrition consultations, guidelines for infant’s introduction to solids, and family nutrition advice.

A Holistic Nutritionist is someone who uses food as a means for preventing disease and working to reduce the symptoms of disease by ensuring the body is receiving enough nutrients in order to heal itself. Holistic Nutrition bases itself around the principles of allowing food be your medicine. This is achieved through a diet rich in natural whole foods, supplementation, and lifestyle changes.

Services:

  • Meal Plans
  • Nutrition Consulting
  • Cooking Instruction
  • Grocery Store Tours

Are you looking for advice on the following?

  • Fertility
  • Pregnancy
  • Postnatal and Breastfeeding
  • Infant solid food introduction
  • Family and childhood nutrition
  • Allergies
  • Arthritis
  • Chronic Pain
  • Diabetes
  • Digestive Difficulties
  • Digestive Illnesses (including, but not limited to, Celiac, Crohn’s Disease and Colitis)
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Hypertension
  • And many others symptoms

Pricing:

Initial Consultation Package

This includes 2 separate telephone consultations: (first visit 45 minutes) (second visit 30 minutes) The first consultation includes assessment and information gathering to put together diets, meal plans, etc. The second consultation is to provide the client with this information 2 weeks of email / telephone support is also included - $150.00

Telephone Nutrition Consultations (meal plan not included) - $85.00

Holistic Nutritional Consulting is not intended to treat, diagnose or cure disease. If you believe you may have a health condition, see a medical or naturopathic doctor.

Postpartum Doula

The word "doula" comes from the ancient Greek meaning "a woman who serves" and is now used to refer to a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth; or who provides emotional and practical support during the postpartum period.

Research evidence shows that the quality services of a postpartum doula can ease the transition that comes with the addition of a baby to a family, improve parental satisfaction and reduce the risk of mood disorders.

www.dona.org

Post Partum Doula services are available upon request. Please contact Brittney directly.

Breastfeeding Log

Use this dowcument to log your breastfeeding hours and keep track of your feeding schedule.

Download PDF

Breastfeeding Log - Twins

Use this dowcument to log your breastfeeding hours and keep track of your feeding schedule.

Download PDF

Pumping Log

Some more content.

Download PDF

Type Temperature Length
Freshly Expressed Milk
Warm Room 73-77°F / 23-25°C 4 hours
Room Temperature 66-72°F / 19-22°C 6 - 10 hours
Insulated Cooler / Icepacks 59°F / 15°C 24 hours
Refrigerated Milk (Store at back, away from door)
Refrigerator (fresh milk) 32-39°F / 0-4°C 8 days (ideal: 72 hrs)
Refrigerator (thawed milk) 32-39°F / 0-4°C 24 hours
Frozen Milk (Do not refreeze! Store at back, away from door)
Freezer compartment inside refrigerator (older style) Varies 2 weeks
Self-contained freezer unit of a refrigerator / freezer Varies: 0°F / -18°C 3-4 months
Separate deep freeze 0°F / -18°C 12 months (ideal: 6 months)

Articles


Posted on November 24, 2014


My first guest blog post by the awesome Debra Woods. Enjoy!

PLACENTOPHAGY AND PLACENTA ENCAPSULATION

Placentophagy is the act of mammals eating the placenta of their young after birth.

Placenta Encapsulation is the process of preparing placenta into capsules for ingestion.

The practice of eating placenta is not new. In fact, all mammals, with the exception of marine mammals eat their placenta. For thousands of years Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) doctors have used placenta as an ingredient in certain remedies to treat patients with lowered energy (chi), blood disorders, infertility and other conditions. TCM uses placenta to aid in good lactation.

Placenta is akin to a restorative postpartum tonic. Research shows fatigue to be a contributing factor for postpartum depression. By taking one’s own placenta, the increased iron stores lead to having more energy, therefore lowering risk for PPD (postpartum depression). Replenishing depleted iron is good news also for women who have experienced anemia during pregnancy or had heavy blood loss during the birth.

Placenta contains pregnancy hormones, so taking it in capsule form helps to soften the typical sharp drop that occurs around day 4 postpartum, when those hormones stop functioning. Mothers (with a previous pregnancy) who experienced PPD or a mood disorder could especially benefit from taking their placenta.

As a Placenta Encapsulation Specialist I receive numerous testimonials from mothers who consumed their placenta. These anecdotal stories are very encouraging. This is such a natural way to support postpartum recovery. Perhaps we humans CAN learn something from other mammals!

I hope this brief introduction to placentophagy and placenta encapsulation is inspiring. Having encapsulated many mothers’ placentas, hearing how they benefit from them AND they recommend it to other mothers is an inspiration to me! I will continue to document their stories and carry on an age old practice that is gaining renewed recognition.

If you wish to learn more about the preparation process or are interested in my placenta encapsulation services, please go to my website: dakinidoula.com/placenta-encapsulation

Thank you. Debra Woods


Posted on May 15, 2014


Breastfeeding videos

Very often in my practice, I hear women asking, “how do I know if my baby is feeding well?”. So this blog post is for my favorite breastfeeding instructional videos. I recommend being familiar with how it looks when your baby feeds well (swallows) and what good latches look like.

If you would like to see breastfeeding videos for things that are note shown here, let me know and i will add them. Or if you have favorites that should be shared, let me know.

Baby swallows:

This video shows a baby having a good active feed. Seeing all of the swallows (then the jaw drops and pauses) lets us know that the baby is feeding well.

This video shows an amazing feeder. Mom likely has a large supply and baby feeds very well. Just look at the size of this great feeder.

Dr Jack Newman refers to this type of feeding as ‘nibbling’, it is also called non-nutritive sucking and baby will not transfer much milk with this type of sucking.

Latching videos

This video shows why it is important that the baby is latched on to the breast and not just the nipple. What a difference is now that milk moves.

I think this video because of the graphics showing the inside of the baby’s mouth. I do wish they spent a little more time showing how to get a good latch and that is wasn’t an ameda sponsored video.

This video is a little long, but she spends a lot of time talking about how to achieve a good deep latch.


Posted on January 14, 2014


Stats Canada Releases 2011/2012 breastfeeding numbers

Last month, Statistics Canada released their data in regards to breastfeeding numbers in 2011/2012. Below are some interesting points. Click the link below for full document.

“Almost 9 in 10 Canadian mothers initiated breastfeeding soon after their child’s birth in 2011/2012. Health Canada and its partners encourage mothers to breastfeed their infants exclusively (no other liquids or solids) for the first six months. In 2011/2012, 26% of mothers breastfed exclusively for six months (or more), up from 17% in 2003.”

“British Columbia had the highest rate of breastfeeding exclusively for six months (or more), as well as the largest provincial increase since 2003. In 2011/2012, mothers who breastfed exclusively for six months (or more) tended to be in their thirties or older and had postsecondary qualifications. The most common reasons cited for stopping breastfeeding before six months were “not enough breast milk” and “difficulty with breastfeeding technique.”

As an IBCLC I’m saddened that most women stopped due to supply or technique.

Some more interesting numbers are:

In 2011-2012, there was a 89% initiation rate across Canada which is up from 85% in 2003 Exclusive breastfeeding at 4 months in 2011-2012 was 51% up from 42% in 2003 6 months of exclusive breastfeeding was highest in BC at 41% in 2011-2012 – up from 28% in 2003. Quebec had the lowest initiation breastfeeding rate at 19% in 2011-2012 was only 10% in 2003

http://www.statcan.gc.ca/…/2013001/article/11879-eng.pdf


Posted on July 5th, 2013


Gassy Babies

Today’s blog post is all about gas – well, gas in infants to be specific. Most parents have questions or concerns surrounding their baby’s digestive comfort. Infants, like adults, will have gas – there is no way around it. Some babies will have more than others and most of the time it doesn’t bother them. However, sometimes babies will have excess gas in the intestinal tract and it can be quite painful. If your baby is dealing with excessive gas, below are some potential causes and treatments to help with your infant’s gas.

Potential Causes

One of the most common reasons for the presence of gassiness in infants is from swallowing air. Crying causes the baby to swallow air. The more crying a baby does, the more air they swallow, the gassier they become, the more they cry from discomfort of gas – it’s a vicious circle. Crying is the last form of communication from your baby. Learn the infants feeding cues, signs they need to be changed or just looking for some extra cuddles.

Infants can also swallow air if the breastfeeding latch is improper (listen for clicking noises or dimpling in the cheeks as possible signs the latch should be improved). Another breastfeeding challenge that could cause gas in infants is strong milk ejection reflex (MER) as an infant will sometimes pull off the breast coughing, gasping, or sputtering. If you have a strong milk ejection reflex, try letting down into a cloth, bottle, or breastmilk storage container until your flow has reduced, and then relatch your baby. Please consider contacting a qualified lactation consultant if you are having difficulties with latching or any other breastfeeding challenges.

Infants feeding from bottles often swallow air. If your gassy baby is being bottle-fed, during their feed, I recommend the following: keep them propped up at a 45 degree angle, ensure your baby is latching to the wide base of the bottle’s nipple, allow for frequent breaks to burp your baby, and consider using collapsible bottle bags. There are now many bottles on the market that claim to reduce the amount of air an infant will swallow – unfortunately, I have not seen studies to prove or disprove these claims. If you have had great experience with one of these gas-reducing bottles, please consider leaving a comment below. Like bottle-fed infants, babies that frequently use pacifiers tend to swallow more air – limit pacifier use.

Overfeeding can lead to increased gas in the infant’s intestine. In the first 3 months of an infant’s life, not much lactase (enzyme to break down lactose) is produced. Overfeeding allows for extra lactose in the gastrointestinal tract that cannot be properly digested, resulting in gas. Offering smaller volumes of breastmilk or breastmilk substitute more frequently can help reduce this issue.

Dr. Jack Newman has written that burping is a ‘useless rite’ and will not relieve gas in the intestine of the infant as the gas is formed in the intestine. If Dr. Newman is right, then how do we help ease the discomfort of the gas? Some people believe that mother’s diet affects the breastmilk and in turn affects the baby. With the exception of cow’s milk (I’ll explain in a moment), there is no scientific proof that certain foods you eat will cause gas in your baby because gas is a localized reaction in the GI tract and foods that mother’s eat does not alter breastmilk enough to pass gas forming substances into a baby’s GI tract. Some women still feel better removing gas forming foods from their diet while nursing and if nothing else has worked, why not give it a try? The foods thought to increase gas production in babies are: Dairy, wheat, corn, peanuts, hot or strong flavored spices, broccoli, onions, brussel sprouts, green peppers, cauliflower, cabbage, and beans.

Dairy is a food group that is known to cause digestive issues in breastfed infants because of beta-lactoglobulin is transferred through breastmilk and can cause upset as if the baby had injected it directly. Other substances are passed through breastmilk (alcohol, caffeine, medicines etc) and can affect the baby in various ways, but that’s a lengthy discussion for another blog post.

Treatment Options

Try different positions and holds for the baby. Hold baby so they are bent at the waist at 90 degrees. Their torso can be held against yours with their legs bent outwards on your arms or their torso can be held in your arms with their legs pressed against your torso. Another hold to try is laying your baby stomach down along your forearm and tucked into your body.

Active ways to help your baby pass the gas include what is often called ‘the gas pump’ – lay your baby on their back, grab their calves and gently pump legs knees to belly occasionally changing to bicycle legs. For older babies try laying him/her belly down on a cushion and gently press and rub their back. Instead of a cushion you can also use a beach ball or small yoga ball and gently roll a well supported baby back and forth. Massaging the belly of the baby can also enable them to pass gas. Try the ‘I love you’ stoke (ILU) along their belly. With gentle circular pressure, stroke moving gas down the descending colon (I), then massage across the transverse colon then down the descending colon (upside down L), then massage along the ascending colon, across the transverse colon, and down the descending colon (U).

Infant probiotics help ease gas by colonizing the colon with beneficial bacteria that aids digestion. Probiotics are found naturally in the gut of healthy individuals, however infants are born without with this beneficial bacteria and spend the first few months colonizing this flora the gut. Infant probiotics can be purchased at health food stores and natural health clinics.

Gripe water used to be commonly administered to help with excess gas. The concern with gripe water is that not all ingredients need to be listed on the bottle, and are often held in secret. Common ingredients include: sugar or fructose, ginger, fennel, peppermint, alcohol, sodium bicarbonate (which can be harmful to infants), chamomile, and vegetable charcoal.

Simethicone drops (oval) break up gas bubbles in the infants upper GI tract, but aren’t proven to work in the lower GI tract (intestines). It is a common anti-foaming medication and is also found in shampoo. Simethicone drops are made by combining Polydimethylsiloxane and silica gel. When reviewing WebMD, it lists no recorded side effects.

A few companies manufacture a product made of vegetable carbon, homeopathic remedy, and herbs such as chamomile, peppermint, ginger, lemon balm, and more. They claim to use no alcohol, sugar, simethicone, and artificial colors and flavors. They can be purchased online. Please proceed with caution when using products containing vegetable carbon – the baby’s stool will be black and the carbon will stain clothing.

Some parents report success relieving gas with herbal tea; chamomile and fennel are most commonly used. Typically, no more than a few teaspoons of tea is used, however I again caution giving any ingestible remedy to your infant that has not been discussed with your infant’s primary health care practitioner.

If you have any questions or would like to book a consult, please send me a message.

Brittney Kirton, IBCLC, RHN, Vancouver, BC


Posted on April 18, 2013


When to seek breastfeeding help

Breast or nipple pain – while it is common for women to experience some discomfort or have some reddening of the nipples in the early stages of breastfeeding, it should not persist. Any abrasions, scabbing, or bruising is not a normal part of breastfeeding and generally indicates latching issues. An IBCLC can help with position and latching techniques to help with facilitate a more comfortable breastfeeding experience for mom and baby.

No noticeable increase in milk supply after first few days – As breast milk changes from colostrum to transitional milk, breastfeeding women typically find that their breasts feel heavy, full, or even hard around day 3 of baby’s life. This engorgement is natural as your breasts adjust. If you do not notice these sensations between day 3-5 after the birth of your baby, it is a good idea to be assessed by an IBCLC, as it could be an indicator of low milk supply. Low milk supply is easiest to correct when caught early.

Your infant is gaining weight slowly or is hungry all the time – while babies feed frequently (10-12 times per 24 hours), if your baby is always wanting to be at the breast, is fussy when at the breast or is gaining weight slowly, it is a good idea to have a pre/post feeding weight assessed to eliminate the possibility of feeding issues and create a feeding plan.

Your baby is having difficulties latching to breast after using bottles or pacifiers – Some babies switch from bottles to breast without difficulty where as some babies develop a preference for one or the other. A lactation consultant can offer suggestions for bottle-feeding a breastfed baby, transitioning from bottle to breast or from breast to bottle. Addressing issues early on can be less stressful for mom and baby.

Mom is going back to work or preparing for Infant-mother separation – If you are going back to work and would like to continue breastfeeding, an IBCLC can help set up a pumping and breastfeeding plan that will work for your family’s schedule.

When something just doesn’t feel right – maybe you’ve read lots of books, maybe you’re surrounded by breastfeeding women, maybe you have even breastfed before, but something in your gut is telling you something is off. It could be a physical sensation that you are experiencing, a behaviour your baby is doing while feeding, maybe you and your baby have been ill, maybe you just have a question that needs to be answered. Lactation Consultants are trained to help with all breastfeeding issues no matter how big or small.


Posted on April 18, 2013


When to seek breastfeeding help

Breast or nipple pain – while it is common for women to experience some discomfort or have some reddening of the nipples in the early stages of breastfeeding, it should not persist. Any abrasions, scabbing, or bruising is not a normal part of breastfeeding and generally indicates latching issues. An IBCLC can help with position and latching techniques to help with facilitate a more comfortable breastfeeding experience for mom and baby.

No noticeable increase in milk supply after first few days – As breast milk changes from colostrum to transitional milk, breastfeeding women typically find that their breasts feel heavy, full, or even hard around day 3 of baby’s life. This engorgement is natural as your breasts adjust. If you do not notice these sensations between day 3-5 after the birth of your baby, it is a good idea to be assessed by an IBCLC, as it could be an indicator of low milk supply. Low milk supply is easiest to correct when caught early.

Your infant is gaining weight slowly or is hungry all the time – while babies feed frequently (10-12 times per 24 hours), if your baby is always wanting to be at the breast, is fussy when at the breast or is gaining weight slowly, it is a good idea to have a pre/post feeding weight assessed to eliminate the possibility of feeding issues and create a feeding plan.

Your baby is having difficulties latching to breast after using bottles or pacifiers – Some babies switch from bottles to breast without difficulty where as some babies develop a preference for one or the other. A lactation consultant can offer suggestions for bottle-feeding a breastfed baby, transitioning from bottle to breast or from breast to bottle. Addressing issues early on can be less stressful for mom and baby.

Mom is going back to work or preparing for Infant-mother separation – If you are going back to work and would like to continue breastfeeding, an IBCLC can help set up a pumping and breastfeeding plan that will work for your family’s schedule.

When something just doesn’t feel right – maybe you’ve read lots of books, maybe you’re surrounded by breastfeeding women, maybe you have even breastfed before, but something in your gut is telling you something is off. It could be a physical sensation that you are experiencing, a behaviour your baby is doing while feeding, maybe you and your baby have been ill, maybe you just have a question that needs to be answered. Lactation Consultants are trained to help with all breastfeeding issues no matter how big or small.


Posted on November 6, 2012


Everything you need to know about infant growth spurts

Infancy is a time of frequent adjustments for babies and their parents. Just when you feel your baby is finding their way into a pattern, everything changes. Some of these changes are helped by growth spurts. It has been my experience as a newborn care consultant that parents haven’t been prepared for these changes and need assistance determining a growth spurt and assurance that their baby is in fact healthy and ‘normal’.

Occurrence:

Infants, on average, will experience approximately 5-7 growth spurts in a year. Most parents claim to notice changes when their babies are 7-10 days old, between 2-3 weeks old, between 4-8 weeks (6 being the most common), then again at 3 months, 6 months and 9 months. Signs of a growth spurt typically last 2-3 days, but in some instances could last for a week.

Signs of growth spurts:

Increased frequency or non-stop breastfeeding – an increase in size requires an increase in calories. During a growth spurt, it may seem like your baby is feeding non-stop or every hour or two. While this provides extra nutrients for the baby, it also helps increase your milk supply. Short and frequent breastfeeding sessions are more effective at increase milk supply versus longer and infrequent sessions. Your baby is preparing your body for the increase of breast milk that they will soon require. Supplementing your baby with expressed breast milk or artificial breast milk is not necessary and could decrease your milk volume as it interferes with the ‘supply and demand’ balance that determines your milk supply.

Cranky of difficult to calm infant – many parents say their calm baby has suddenly become cranky or difficult to soothe during a growth spurt. Some babies are also fussy at the breast, and tough to latch or unlatch. Many parents see this as a refusal of the breast or think that milk production has stopped or decreased. In reality, most babies are extra fussy because they are over tired. All those extra feeding sessions result in shorter naps or shorter nighttime sleeping patterns which make both the baby and the parent a little more irritable.

Extended sleep after non-stop feeding – as the growth spurt ends and the infant has stocked up on nutrients, many babies spend the next couple of days in long periods of sleep. The reason for this change is that the endocrine system that is responsible for releasing growth hormones is most effective when we are at rest. It is recommended that you do not wake your baby during this time. Infants can gain 1-3 oz and grow 1 cm in length in 24 hours – no wonder they sleep so much!

Tips for moms:

Take care – stay well-nourished and hydrated – while your baby is spending more time feeding, it is important that you take extra care of yourself so that you can keep up with your baby’s demands. Water bottles around the house (especially where you do most of your breastfeeding) and easy to grab healthy snacks will go a long way during this time.

Get household help – ask your partner, a family member or a friend to help with the house work, meal preparation, or help with your baby so you can get some much needed rest. Remember, stress has a huge impact on milk production and a happy, calm mom means a happy, calm baby.

If you are still concerned that you may not be producing enough milk or that the breastfeeding challenges are too much to cope with, seek help from a qualified Lactation Consultant. They can help you devise a breastfeeding plan, determine how much milk your baby is taking during a feeding session, and assist with a fussy baby during breastfeeding. I commend you for your dedication to breastfeeding. It isn’t always easy, but neither is parenting.


Posted on November 6, 2012


Is breastfeeding a trend or the new standard?

For National Breastfeeding Week, I wrote a piece that was featured on-line from the Straight.

In recent years, you may have noticed more discussion regarding breastfeeding in the news, on TV, out in public, and in social media. There are frequent reports covering some hot topic issues such as music artist Pink getting in a fight over her right to breastfeed in public. Salma Hayek was also reported to have nursed a malnourished infant on camera in Sierra Leone while on a UNICEF-sponsored trip. And, of course, there was that cover of Time magazine depicting a mother breastfeeding her three-year-old child. Ultimately the prevalence of breastfeeding in North America has changed substantially over the last 100 years, and rightly so. Every woman should not only have the right to breastfeed her children, but she should feel encouraged by society and her peers to do so.

Historically, breastfeeding was how infants and children received all of their nourishment. Unfortunately, in the late 1860s, social stigma started to equate breastfeeding with low social status, and as a result, the first commercial infant formula was introduced in Germany in 1867. The U.S. followed suit when infant formula was first produced in the late 1920s under the name of Similac (named for “similar to lactation”). By 1950, 50 percent of infants in North America were on formula. By 1970, this number grew to over 75 percent formula-fed North American infants.

In 2003, due to the research proving the superiority of breast milk to formula in regards to both physical and mental health, 73 percent of Canadian mothers began breastfeeding their children. But out of these women, only 31 percent continued to breastfeed past five months, even though the World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding, along with appropriate complementary feeding, for two or more years. It is speculated that the reason women are unsuccessful with prolonged breastfeeding is because many women today don’t have older generations to look to for guidance and support, as the vast majority were raised on formula.

Today, more and more women are opening up to the idea of breastfeeding. With the implementation of mommy groups, breastfeeding support groups, mothers breastfeeding in public, nursing and family rooms in malls and other public places, and even breastfeeding sit-ins in retaliation to being told not to breastfeed publicly, now is truly the time for this generation of young mothers to embrace breastfeeding.

But it’s not just everyday moms joining this movement; celebrity moms are participating in the discussion by openly voicing their opinions and experiences with breastfeeding. In a Golden Globes acceptance speech, Mary Louise Parker thanked her “newborn son for making [her] boobs looks so good in [her] dress”. Angelina Jolie was featured on the cover of W magazine nursing one of her twins, dad Brad Pitt having taken the photo. Naomi Watts spoke to David Letterman about her “mommy brain”, which she referred to as a “lactose lobotomy”. Modern Family’s Julie Bowen proudly showed a photo of herself breastfeeding her twins in double football hold on the George Lopez show. Even Jersey Shore’s new young mom Snooki has tweeted about how much she enjoys breastfeeding her new son. The list of celebrity breastfeeding endorsements continues, proving that breastfeeding shouldn’t just be considered a fad, but a standard.

With celebrity trends heavily influencing today’s youth, and with the medical evidence that nature had it right all along, we can only assume that breastfeeding rates will continue to increase. The only question that remains is will the stigma rise as well, or will new moms be able to seize their right to not only nourish their young wherever they choose, but also be able to lead future generations of mothers by example?


Posted on September 18, 2012


Eating for two

Congratulations! You’re pregnant and looking for ways to nourish yourself and your growing baby. Maternal nutrition is extremely important as nutrients are passed from the mom to the baby, therefor; moms must have an adequate supply for the health of her fetus. The best and easiest way for mom to ensure she is receiving adequate nutrition is through a varied diet consisting of whole foods including: Vegetables, fruit, whole grains, nuts and seeds, lean animal protein and/or dried beans, and plenty of fresh, clean water. My general rule is if it comes from the ground, eat it; if it comes in a box, read the ingredients carefully.

For a healthy, singleton pregnancy, most women only need an additional 300 calories in the first trimester and 500 in the third trimester. If you have ever counted calories, you know that this is not a lot. The emphasis in pregnancy nutrition should not necessarily be greater quantity of foods, but rather greater quality of healthy, nutrient dense foods. In this article, I will take you through essential nutrients to focus on and where they can be found naturally.

Water: pregnant women should aim for 11-12 cups of water per day. If you rely on thirst alone, you may not consume all that is necessary. Extra water is needed during hot, humid days and days with increased exercise or sweating and vomiting often accompanied by nausea.

Protein is the building blocks of fetal tissue and organs, enzymes, blood cells, and bones. Most women consume 71g per day with is more than sufficient. Protein is found in meats, milk and cheese, eggs, beans, nuts and seed, and some grains. Protein powders are not recommended as they may stunt fetal growth. High protein and low carbohydrate diets are not recommended as they are low in folic acid, vitamin C, and fibre.

Fibre: 28g per day is recommended. Having plenty of fibre in diet will help with constipation associated with pregnancy. Sources include: beans, yam, carrots, corn, bananas, berries, bran, whole grains and most other fruits and vegetables.

Folic Acid is a synthetic form of Vitamin B Folate. Folate in its natural state is not as bioavailable and therefore not as effective as folic acid. Folic acid is known to prevent fetal growth abnormalities, pre-term delivery and low birth weight in infants. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for folic acid is 600mcg/day. Folate literally means foliage and is naturally occurring in: dark leafy greens, broccoli, oranges, bananas, dried beans, and refined grain products (required by law). Fruits and vegetables on average have 42mcg per serving. Grain products have widely varying amounts and labels should be read.

Vitamin B 12 and folate work together to form fetal tissues and organs. Women who eat meat typically consume twice the recommended 2.6mcg per day. Vegetarian women need to watch for low levels of Vitamin B12 and may need to be supplement. If you are vegetarian and concerned about your B12 intake, your MD or ND can order a blood test to help you determine your levels.

Vitamin D helps promote fetal growth and adds calcium to bones and tooth enamel. Sunlight is the best form of Vitamin D, but in cloudy Vancouver, it is hard to reach optimal levels. 200IU per day is recommended though some MDs are starting to recommend double that amount. It should be noted, that while pregnant, women should not consume more than 2000IU per day from supplementation.

Pregnant women should consume plenty of calcium. If the mother’s diet does not have enough calcium it will be pulled from the mother’s bodily stores which has been related to hypertension in pregnant women. Vitamin D is needed for the absorption of calcium.

Iron is required for to fetal growth. The RDA is 27mg and most women get half that amount through food. Excellent sources of iron include: kale, turnip and collard greens, asparagus, black-eyed peas, and spinach. Pre-natal vitamins often contain 45-60mg which can cause gas, cramps or constipation in women with healthy iron stores.

Zinc lowers the risk of infectious disease, helps prevent abnormally long labors, and aids in fetal growth. The RDA is 11mg per day and is found in the same foods as iron.

Iodine is important for thyroid function and protein tissue construction and maintenance. A lack of iodine during pregnancy may interfere with fetal development and in extreme cases, is linked to mental and growth retardation and malformation. 200mcg per day is recommended during pregnancy. 1 tsp of iodized salt contains 400mcg. The American College of obstetrics and gynecology advises that unless diagnosed with hypertension, sodium restrictions during pregnancy can be harmful.

Vitamin A is important for the development of the fetal heart, central nervous system, and the circulatory and respiratory systems. Too much (over 3000mcg) or too little (under 770mcg) Vitamin A can lead to fetal malformations. Vitamin A is created in our bodies from beta carotene and can be found, naturally, in pumpkins, carrots, sweet potatoes, and dark leafy greens. Vitamin A should not be supplemented during pregnancy.

Eicosapentaenoic acid and Docosahexaenoic acid (EPA & DHA) are long chain, unsaturated fats that increase maternal health and support optimal development of vision and the central nervous system for the fetus and infant. Some studies show increased intelligence in children and lower preterm delivery rates. The RDA is 300mg and can be obtained through fish, fish oil, seafood, fortified eggs, small non-predatory fish and shellfish.

Now on to the hot topic of foods to avoid during pregnancy: The majority of literature coming out of the United States will tell you to avoid raw meat, fish and eggs, smoked fish, deli meat, unpasteurized milk and soft cheeses, and pate due to risk of listeria. Before I delve into these topics, I will state that my goal is to provide you with information for you to keep researching and make your own decision. I do not recommend that you eat large quantities of these foods; I recommend that you eat what feels best for you and contact your primary care professional with any concerns you may have.

Sushi is still a main component in the Japanese culture during pregnancy. The only advice given to pregnant women eating sushi is to choose seafood with lower mercury content (chose salmon over tuna). Fish served in most Canadian restaurants has been flash frozen which kills parasites that could be found in raw fish and have been screened for microbial contamination. Before ordering raw fish sushi, speak with the owners or chefs of the restaurant. Learn about where they get their fish, how it is stored and how it is prepared. Most documented cases of people falling ill after eating raw fish come out of the Caribbean and the South Pacific where food handling laws aren’t as strict.

Soft Cheeses use to be on the list of foods to avoid due to the concern of listeria. Health Canada now deems the risk of developing listeria from soft cheese very rare, but still recommends it be avoided if not made with pasteurized milk. Luckily, most cheeses sold in Canada are made from pasteurized milk and, therefor, do not pose a risk. So read the labels and enjoy.

Deli meats have been deemed safe by the College of Family Physicians of Canada recently. This is because standards in Canada have become stricter. You should still only buy deli meats from a reputable source that pays close attention to storing guidelines. Deli meats that have been sitting out in the open air or that are risk possible contamination from other foods should still be avoided. Deli meats also contain a lot of nitrates. The vitamin C in orange juice is believed to reduce the absorption of nitrates. While I don’t recommend deli meats containing nitrates for anyone, being pregnant does not put you at a higher risk of susceptibility.

Foods to avoid: Alcohol should not be consumed and coffee (and caffeine) should be limited to no more than 200mg per day – one 7oz cup of coffee has a caffeine content ranging from 80-180mg depending on how it is roasted and brewed. Eggs should be fully cooked as recommended by the College of Family Physicians of Canada. I have heard that the risk of salmonella is lower in BC due to strict shell washing laws on locally produced eggs, but I could not find publications confirming this.

You may have noticed that the list of foods to avoid is much shorter than the lists of encouraged foods laid out in this article. Healthy eating during pregnancy can be easy, delicious, and fun. Focusing on what you can eat rather than what you can’t, will allow for this transition to happen smoothly. Trying new recipes, new foods, and spices throughout your pregnancy will keep you satisfied and can help your child have a healthy varied diet for life. Happy eating.


No more mush - Interview for mama in the city about baby led weaning

by Brittney Kirton

Here’s an interview I did for a Vancouver blogger, Andrea, from Mama in the City (www.apartmentbaby.com) all about baby led weaning and introducing solids to infants. Follow the link to learn signs on how to tell if your baby is ready and for tips on how to introduce those first few foods.

Read Article on apartmentbaby.com



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