La Leche League Leaders

La Leche League Leaders
La Leche League Leaders

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Safety and Sleep

Parents are often very tired! Sometimes the best laid plans change once they have baby home with them. I am sure this is not a big surprise to most of you! Well, from time to time, moms start to call us and ask about safe sleep. Must the only place my baby sleeps be a crib? What if I want to sleep with my baby?

We can't tell you where to put your baby to sleep in your home, but we can tell you that you will know the right answer for your family when you figure out where you all get the most sleep. Keep in mind that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies sleep near their parents, (meaning in the same room) especially for the first 6 months. For some parents this may vary from a side-sleeper, bassinet, crib or with you. Just remember to educate yourself and do it safely either way.

There are a lot of websites and books that will tell parents it is only safe to sleep in a crib and others that will say you can only bond or breastfeed if you co-sleep. Neither is giving the full story. You may have a really high needs baby that needs to be near you and you are already co-sleeping. You may be too nervous to co-sleep and feel it is best for you all to have your own space. Sometimes, parents find a middle ground that all can live with, like sleeping with baby and moving them to a crib later or putting a baby down in a crib and then with them when they wake at 2 am.

If you put your baby in a crib, they should be in the same room with you. Remember to place babies on their backs when they are at an age where they can't turn over on their own. Make sure that there are no blind cords nearby and nothing is in the crib with the baby. If a light blanket is needed, tuck all sides along the bottom half of the crib, below baby’s arms. Make sure that no one smokes in or near your little one or their bedroom. Check to be sure the room is not too cold or too hot. Be sure the crib mattress is tight fitting and the bars are within safety standards (older crib bars may be too wide apart) and that the crib sheets can't be pulled loose or around the baby's head.
Dress your baby in safe sleepwear with no strings or ties to twist around on them at night.

For more crib safety info from the AAP

Check out the Consumer Product Safety Commission's website for more info on recalls.

If you are co-sleeping or "sharing sleep", there are ways to do it safely. NEVER sleep with your baby if you are a smoker, if you have taken any medications or if you have consumed any alcohol. Remember it is much safer to be in a firm bed than in a recliner or on a couch where baby can roll into a soft cushion. Exceptionally obese parents should use a sidecar arrangement (crib attached to the side of the bed) rather than having a young infant in the bed with them. Make sure that the headboard and foot-board are tight fitting with the mattress and that there are no spaces a baby can get caught in near the wall or other furniture. As with crib sleep, make sure baby sleeps on his or her back and away from any pillows, loose bedding or heavy blankets. Don't dress your baby too warmly because body heat will keep them warm and you don't want them to overheat. Do not stuff too many bodies into a bed with a small baby; a toddler or sibling (or pet) may not be as aware of their surroundings in their sleep. As with crib sleeping, dress your baby in safe sleepwear with no strings or ties to twist around on them at night.

For more on safe co-sleeping visit LLLI at this link.

You can also read more here...
Safe Cosleeping – Dr. Jay Gordon

Safe Cosleeping – Dr. William Sears

Now, get some sleep tonight! And do it safely, please. :)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Tell SC to Support Mothers in the Workplace

Click here to
Tell SC to Support Mothers in the Workplace

Target: women, employers, mothers, workers, fathers, health professionals
Sponsored by: SC Breastfeeding Action Committee

Breastfeeding is the gold standard of infant feeding due to multiple health benefits to mother and baby. This method of feeding is endorsed by many professional groups including The World Health Organization, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the USDA, and many others. South Carolina has encouraged breastfeeding and acknowledged it as a public right.
Breastfeeding support at the workplace can positively impact the bottom line by lowering healthcare costs, enhancing productivity, decreasing absenteeism, improving employee satisfaction, increasing retention and improving corporate image.
The workforce is changing dramatically. More than 50% of adult women are in the workforce. Two-thirds of new employees will be women starting or returning to work. Seventy five % of working women become pregnant during their working lives.
The proposed legislation would include:
Employers with more than 25 employees must have a written policy supporting women who want to continue breastfeeding when returning to work.
For women who need to use a breast pump at work, employers must make reasonable efforts to provide a space for using the pump. The space must be clean, private, have adequate lighting, an electrical outlet, be near the employee's workspace and not be a bathroom. It should have access to a clean safe water source and a sink.
Employee must be allowed to pump on break time.
An employer shall not be liable for storage or refrigeration of breast milk, payment for break time in addition to established breaks or payment of overtime while a nursing mother uses the pump.
Employers will be recognized as mother-friendly work places.
An employer shall not discriminate against an employee who has elected to exercise her rights.

For more information see our recent blog post from December "Breastfeeding Law in South Carolina".

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Vitamin D & Exposure to Sunlight

This press release went out from LLLI this past October, but we thought now would be a good time to remind families about it.

La Leche League International encourages all mothers to recognize the importance of vitamin D to the health of their children. Recent research shows that due to current lifestyles, breastfeeding mothers may not have enough vitamin D in their own bodies to pass to their infants through breastmilk.

In October 2008, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that infants receive 400 IU a day of vitamin D, beginning in the first few days of life. Children who do not receive enough vitamin D are at risk for rickets and increased risk for infections, autoimmune diseases, cancer, diabetes, and osteoporosis.

Vitamin D is mainly acquired through exposure to sunlight and secondarily through food. Research shows that the adoption of indoor lifestyles and the use of sunscreen have seriously depleted vitamin D in most women. The ability to acquire adequate amounts of vitamin D through sunlight depends on skin color and geographic location. Dark-skinned people can require up to six times the amount of sunlight as light-skinned people. People living near the equator can obtain vitamin D for 12 months of the year while those living in northern and southern climates may only absorb vitamin D for six or fewer months of the year.

For many years, La Leche League International has offered the research-based recommendation that exclusively breastfed babies received all the vitamin D necessary through mother’s milk. Health care professionals now have a better understanding of the function of vitamin D and the amounts required, and the newest research shows this is only true when mothers themselves have enough vitamin D. Statistics indicate that a large percentage of women do not have adequate amounts of vitamin D in their bodies.

La Leche League International acknowledges that breastfeeding mothers who have adequate amounts of vitamin D in their bodies can successfully provide enough vitamin D to their children through breastmilk. It is recommended that pregnant and nursing mothers obtain adequate vitamin D or supplement as necessary. Health care providers may recommend that women who are unsure of their vitamin D status undergo a simple blood test before choosing not to supplement.

Parents or health care providers who want more information on rickets, vitamin D in human milk, or other information on breastfeeding issues may visit our Web site at

Monday, January 5, 2009

Parenting & Employment

La Leche League's core philosophy includes these statements that pertain to babies & employment: Mother and baby need to be together early and often to establish a satisfying relationship and an adequate milk supply. In the early years the baby has an intense need to be with his mother which is as basic as his need for food.

With that in mind, we thought you may find a recent piece in The New York Times called "Maternity-Leave Alternative: Bring the Baby to Work" this weekend to be of interest.

If you are thinking about maternity leave and when or if you may go back, you may find the information from Parenting in the Workplace Institute helpful to you. It is a great site to check out if you think you can bring your baby with you to your place of employment.

La Leche League International's website also has helpful information for those of you heading back to work this year. There are lots of great links from New Beginnings section "Making It Work" listed, including information on pumping at work, talking to your employers, childcare, bottles, supply and more!

Edwina Froehlich in NY Times

In December, the New York Times ran a piece on 24 influential people and included Edwina Froehlich. She was one of La Leche League's seven founders.

We thought you may enjoy reading the piece, which talks about Edwina and a bit of the beginnings of La Leche League.