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Showing posts from August, 2010

Volumes: a huge problem

The response to my last post on "los dos" pushed me into finally finishing this one! The volumes given to babies are a huge part of what makes "los dos" so problematic, but are a problem on their own as well. We don't know exactly why breastfeeding is protective against obesity, but a big part of it may be the part with the breast. It's harder (although by no means impossible) to overfeed a baby at the breast. When you're giving a bottle, it's much easier to overfeed a baby and to override their own feelings of satiety/being full by persuading them to just finish what's left in the bottle, or what we think they should be taking.

This problem, unfortunately, frequently starts on the first day of a baby's life. Have you ever seen the belly balls made by Ameda? I think they are a nice way to visualize the size of a newborn's stomach on days 1, 3, and 10. Day 1 is a shooter marble, representing 5-7 milliliters(ml), and Day 3 is a ping-pong ba…

"Los dos" and an awesome new campaign

From the moment my AmeriCorps team started doing breastfeeding education and support in Denver, we came up against "los dos" (literally "the two", better translated as "both"). The majority of our clients, particularly at newborn visits, were Hispanic (largely from Mexico). When we asked them if they were breastfeeding/planning to breastfeed, the answer was almost invariably "los dos" - both breastfeeding, and giving formula by bottle.

I've had a post coming about this for a while - it's a very frustrating thing to deal with and as an inner venting strategy I've composed this post many times in my head.

Why so frustrating? Well, at my current work I see that often "los dos" begins in the hospital. Moms tell me "es que no tengo leche" - "It's that I don't have any milk" - even when I help them hand express abundant colostrum, they don't believe that their colostrum will be enough to sustain baby…

Pertussis vaccine for parents

From Tara Parker-Pope's Well blog of the NY Times, Vaccination is steady but pertussis is surging:
There are several explanations for the rise in pertussis, but the most likely is waning immunity after vaccination. “Immunity wears off, especially for adults who are decades past their most recent vaccination,” said Dr. Tom Clark, an epidemiologist with the C.D.C.Moreover, adults and adolescents often wait weeks before seeking treatment for a chronic cough — and even then, doctors may not recognize it as pertussis.

This is especially important to note for parents of infants. Tara Parker-Pope talks about almost reaching for the phone to call 911 because her 11-year-old daughter's coughing fits are so frightening. For an infant, pertussis can mean far more serious illness including weeks of hospitalization - but they're harder to protect because they can't be fully immunized for months.

One way to protect them is for all the adults and older children who regularly come…

Choosing and getting into MPH programs: Part 3: Which MPH program(s) should you apply to?

This is Part 3 in my series about choosing and getting into (and funded by!) MPH programs.
(Part 1 is here, Part 2 is here.)

So you've decided you want to go to grad school, and that you want an MPH, and now the question is - where?

I am going to assume, for the purposes of this series & the people I imagine are reading it, that you are interested in maternal and child health in some aspect and want that to be incorporated into, or at least relevant to, your MPH program.

Still, let me start with a disclaimer: I have done only one MPH, and that was in a maternal and child health track. While I applied to a range of concentrations and schools, I could only enroll in one department at one school. I can't speak personally to the pros and cons of all the paths I didn't take. So this post, in true doula style, is more about raising the questions that you should ask yourself or others when choosing programs, than about telling you what you should or shouldn't do.

So what are t…

Two stories from China

First: Female babies in China grow breasts as a result of drinking hormone-tainted formula:
The official China Daily newspaper reported today that medical tests indicated that the level of hormones in three 'test case' girls, ranging in age from four months to 15 months, exceeded those found in the average adult woman.

All the babies who showed symptoms of the phenomenon were fed the same baby formula.

Second: Chinese Formula Maker Prepares for Stock Offering:
As Yashili moves toward a public listing, potential investors will be keen to see how much market share it has clawed back from foreign brands, which Chinese consumers came to see as safer during the scandal.

Yashili's sales and profitability have recovered and overtaken pre-melamine scandal levels. But it has had to raise prices to cover the cost of the cleanup, a common theme across the industry, according to Mr. Siewert.

The factors driving growth in the industry are the growing affluence of the Chinese and a declining …

Tips for working nights

One of the things slowing down my posting rate, even post-IBCLC exam, is my schedule working nights doing lactation support. I thought it would be so easy going in! After all, I'm a doula and have now lost count of the number of nights I've powered through on a PowerBar and some adrenaline (I don't even do caffeine). Then I'd go home, sleep it off, and be fine. How different could this be?

Color me naive. It is so different to work nights regularly than it is to jump in for a night or two, power through, and then go straight back to your normal schedule. At the end of the first two weeks of nights, I was on the cliff's edge and totally unable to figure out why. Two things helped me realize why this was so hard:
1) To shift from sleeping, say, 11pm-8 am and then start sleeping 8 am-4 pm, then switch back 3 days later, is like having a 9-hour time zone jump twice a week. Hello, jet lag!
2) Apparently, your brain makes melatonin during the day and serotonin at night. Whe…