June 18, 2008
Volume 10, Issue 13
Midwifery Today E-News
“Breastfeeding”
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Is midwifery the profession for you?

You'll find out when you attend the full-day Beginning Midwifery class at our conference in Bad Wildbad, Germany, October 2008. Segments include Prenatal Care, Normal Labor Physiology, Emotional Issues in Labor, Anatomy of a Birth Bag and Trusting Yourself to Trust Birth. If you've ever considered becoming a midwife, this class is for you!

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In This Week’s Issue:


Quote of the Week

"Breast milk is better than any udder milk!"

Unknown


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The Art of Midwifery

Breech is the ultimate time in birth where we need to practice the three Ps: patience, patience, patience. The birthing woman should avoid bearing down from 45 minutes after full dilation is achieved (this avoids the possibility of the head becoming trapped if the cervix still has another centimeter of dilating to do). I usually have the birthing woman get into knee/chest position to get as much control over her pushing urge as possible. Even with the "no push" effort, the baby's bum will often be at the introitus after 45 minutes but you'll be assured that full dilation has been accomplished by waiting that 45 minutes.

Gloria Lemay
Excerpted from "Thoughts on Breech Birth," Midwifery Today, Issue 83
View table of contents / Order the back issue


ALL BIRTH PRACTITIONERS: The techniques you've perfected over months and years of practice are valuable lessons for others to learn! Share them with E-News readers by sending them to mtensubmit@midwiferytoday.com.


Send submissions, inquiries, and responses to newsletter items to: mtensubmit@midwiferytoday.com.


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Research to Remember

In a study of 179 mothers who had breastfed for at least six months, 61 percent had also breastfed during a subsequent pregnancy. Of these, 38 percent went on to nurse both newborn and toddler postpartum, an arrangement known as "tandem nursing."

— Unpublished study by K. Kendall-Tackett and M. Sugarman, 2003


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Breastfeeding Remedies

Throughout history, women from around the world have discovered remedies made from herbs and foods for specific breastfeeding conditions, for instance, to boost a mother's milk supply, to prevent or treat engorgement, to release plugged milk ducts, to heal mastitis and to soothe sore nipples. These remedies are made from the whole plant or parts of the plant such as flowers, leaves, roots or seeds. The plant parts are prepared as teas, infusions, decoctions or tinctures. Some are applied topically to the breast.

These remedies are founded in women's botanic exploration. For thousands of years, women have gathered or cultivated plants for their nutritional and health-protective benefits. Among the very first were aquatic plants such as spirulina. Peter Holmes writes: "Without doubt, during the first 30,000 years of human existence, microalgae were a significant source of food [which were] collected and sun-dried by women."

Hilary Jacobson, author of Mother Food: food and herbs that promote milk production and a mother's health, writes that in our own Western history we have a remarkable resource in the Greek physician, Dioscorides (50 CE). A military doctor who traveled with the Roman Legion, Dioscorides recorded over 1,000 medicinals in six books entitled The Material of Medicines. Dioscorides collected medicines based on "what works," largely excluding remedies based on astrology, religion or hearsay.

Dioscorides listed thirty treatments for a range of breastfeeding conditions: engorgement, mastitis, milk supply, milk flow, milk production suppression and re-lactation. The herbs and foods he listed are still used today in Mediterranean countries, Asia, Africa and the Americas. For instance, treatments to increase milk supply include drinking the broth of cooked chickpea or barley and drinking finely crushed calcium (honey stone) in water. Today, chickpea is used in Egypt and India as a galactagogue. Calcium is taken in the US to promote lactation premenstrually. Dioscoride's remedies to improve milk flow include drinking the juice of freshly pressed chaste tree berries (Vitex agnus castus) or a decoction of hollyhock (Alcea rosea). Chaste tree has a long history in Europe as a galactagogue. Hollyhock is in the same plant family as the marshmallow, a galactagogue from South America that is widely used in the US today. Indeed, plants from this malvacea family, including the hibiscus flower—eaten by breastfeeding mothers in Hawaii before sunrise—are used worldwide to support milk production.

Cheryl R. Scott and Hilary Jacobson
Excerpted from "A Selection of Nutritional and Herbal Remedies for Breastfeeding Concerns from Around the World," Midwifery Today, Issue 75
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The Centers for Disease Control estimate that 30.5% of infants born in the United States during 2004 were exclusively breastfed during their first three months; and that 11.3% were exclusively breastfed during their first six months. Rates of exclusive breastfeeding were significantly lower among black infants (compared with white infants) and infants born to unmarried mothers (compared with married mothers). Additionally, older age, urban residence, higher education, and higher income of mothers all were positively associated with exclusive breastfeeding.

Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) 56(30): 760–63


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Midwifery Skills Workshop and Retreat

New midwifery students will learn the proper way to perform skills while advanced students will refresh memories and perfect skills. In addition to learning valuable midwifery skills, rest and relax in the hills of TN on 15 acres. Swimming, bellydancing, bonfires, and more. Please see our Web site www.fullcirclebirthing.com for more information.



Web Site Update

The table of contents for the brand-new issue of Midwifery Today (Summer 2008) is now online.

  • You may view the color photos in an article in this issue about Jan's visit to South Africa to check out having a conference there.
  • You may read the Spanish version of an article in this issue, "Birth Choices in Venezuela," online. Opciones de Parto en Venezuela by Fernando Molina

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Question of the Week

Q: If you are breastfeeding and continue to do so throughout pregnancy and the birth, is the next baby deprived of colostrum?

— DMK


SEND YOUR RESPONSE to mtensubmit@midwiferytoday.com with "Question of the Week" in the subject line. Please indicate the topic of discussion *and the E-News issue number* in the message.


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Question of the Week Responses

Q: My mother had seven children in 11 years, with a few miscarriages in between. She seems to have weathered it well, with good health. She did have a hysterectomy at around 45 years old for uterine bleeding, which probably was not related at all. This got me to thinking: What is the ideal spacing between babies and why? I know that some recommend spacing births 18 months apart at a minimum, if a VBAC is planned. Are there other physical reasons to wait for a period of time between babies?

— Anonymous

A: I don't know that there's a truly "ideal" spacing between pregnancies. However, in the book "Nutrition and Physical Degeneration" written by Weston A. Price (which is not about pregnancy), it was noted that among several primitive tribes, children were generally spaced at least a few years apart if not more. The people said that this kind of spacing was needed so that the woman's body could recuperate all of its lost vitamins and minerals in time to nourish the next pregnancy. The children were beautiful, too.

— J


Responses to any Question of the Week may be sent to E-News at any time. Write to mtensubmit@midwiferytoday.com. Please indicate the topic of discussion *and the E-News issue number* in the subject line or in the message.


Think about It

ACNM reports that some midwives have received handwritten solicitations from individuals in Africa who claim to be student nurses or student midwives and are requesting donations to complete their educations. They note that they have nothing to do with these letters, pointing out that "mail and e-mail scam operations originating from Africa have become huge business over the past 10 years, employing thousands of people and costing the victims millions of dollars."

Before you donate money to needy student midwives, make sure that the organization to which you are donating exists, is legitimate and is actually using the money for the stated reason. And expect to receive a request at some point, through e-mail or regular mail. The perpetrators of these schemes will tailor their requests to virtually any endeavor; they just want your money.


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Feedback

The magazine Consumer Reports just published an attack on homeopathic medicines. They support their article with one 2005 study, that has since been discredited. I have no problem with them questioning homeopathy—I invite intelligent discussion. What I find offensive is the one-sided reporting that completely discounts this form of treatment.

In my letter to them I explain that we are long time subscribers (my father has a mountain of past issues!) and I have always considered their reporting beyond reproach—objective and helpful. This time around I feel they have been tremendously subjective in their reporting.

Both personally and in my work (prenatal and during labor) homeopathy is an important resource. I am sorry to see CR negate its potential benefits so conclusively. I've certainly seen crying moms become calm, poorly positioned babies find their way, and seen sadness alleviated in my many years using homeopathic remedies. If you feel the same perhaps you'd like to look at the following:

On the Organic Consumers Association page you will find the Consumer Reports article as well as an online letter that you can modify and sign and forward to Consumer Reports. http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/642/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=24667

Should you be interested in taking action, I appreciate your help in signing the letter.

Joni Nichols


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