Thursday, August 1, 2013

#Breastfeeding #Awareness - August 2013 #Feature: Loving Families #smallbusiness #Tehachapi CA

Right on time! The first week of August is dedicated to breastfeeding awareness and this month's featured small business is Loving Families of Tehachapi, CA. Promotion at the end; be sure to mention my blog when you inquire. 

Breastfeeding: The First Step in Preventing Childhood Obesity
By Justina Engen of Loving Families

Childhood obesity is in the news constantly these days.  It’s on the minds of all parents, caregivers, and even politicians and lawmakers.  The obesity epidemic is making the adults raising future generations wonder what is going on?  Why are our children dealing with this, and what can we do about it?

Personal Experience: As a parent who has dealt with my own weight issues, I dove into research when I became pregnant with my first.  I wanted to help my children have the best possible start to life, and hopefully avoid all the health and emotional issues surrounding food and obesity.  I read and learned a lot, but almost all of my research pointed to one thing I could do when my kids were babies, and that was to breastfeed.

Countless studies have been conducted demonstrating the health benefits of breastfeeding.   From the disease and pathogen protection to the social and emotional bonding experiences, there’s no question that our body’s biological way to nourish our babies is far superior to even the most expensive substitute.

With every new study I read, I’m truly amazed how many incredible things mother’s milk has naturally in it, how incredibly customized breastfeeding is for each individual baby, and how it truly sets each baby up for a healthy start. 

Here are just a few ways that breastfeeding helps baby have the healthiest start:

I.                    Breast milk’s composition -

Breast milk changes in composition throughout each feed, each day, and throughout the duration of breastfeeding to meet each baby’s specific needs.  It’s truly the only super food that meets all of a human baby’s needs packaged in an easily digested substance that babies love.

II.                 Volume doesn’t increase -

While composition changes to meet growing baby’s needs, a mother’s supply doesn’t necessarily increase in volume.  Studies have shown that breastfed babies flourish on a milk supply that remains relatively constant from 5-6 weeks postpartum and beyond.  And this is remains true with babies fed expressed breast milk.  Breastfed babies typically need much less expressed milk than formula fed babies, where volume increase is needed to meet changing nutritional needs.  This is hypothesized to teach infants at a very young age that they don’t need more food to meet their needs, which is the first lesson in portion control.

III.               Milk flow follows baby’s cues -

Baby is able to control the amount of milk based on their change in suckling behaviors.  A baby who is hungry and suckles deeper and more vigorously will get more milk.  As a baby becomes full, their suckling changes to lighter, more fluttery sucks, which signals the breast to slow flow and eventually stop.  This is why a baby cannot overfeed at the breast.  Another first lesson in appetite control.

IV.          Moms’ confidence

Moms who are confident in their breastfeeding abilities know that their baby is getting adequate nutrition, despite not knowing the amount of breast milk a baby consumes.  This confidence tends to continue into toddlerhood, allowing toddlers and children to listen to their own cues about eating solid foods. This way of eating is best way to teach and foster listening to true hunger cues, while also eating smaller and more frequent meals, which has been shown as the healthiest way to eat.

Nutrition: While breastfeeding may be the best way to provide baby the absolute best nutrition, it’s not always the easiest.  Many moms find it helpful and sometimes necessary to seek support and professional help when breastfeeding.  The knowledge of a trained professional can make all the difference in successfully meeting your breastfeeding goals.  Due to new healthcare laws, insurance companies are beginning to cover lactation support at least partially, so support may be more affordable than most think.

Encouragement: I encourage parents to educate themselves about the multitude of benefits that breastfeeding provides for both mother and baby and surround themselves with support as they enter parenthood.  Every family deserves to meet their parenting goals, and every baby deserves the best possible start to a healthy future.

Justina Engen, IBCLC, RLC, BS is a wife, mother, educator, lactation consultant, parenting advocate, and owner of Loving Families, providing families and professionals with education and support about breastfeeding and early childhood.  She has a bachelor’s degree in Child Development and is trained and certified as an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant with over 2,000 hours experience helping mothers and babies.

She also owns Loving Touch Photography specializing in the capture of birth and families.  She loves witnessing each growing family’s special moments and accomplishments, and feels so honored to capture these moments with love and respect.

Special Promotion: Follow Justina on her Loving Families Facebook page and mention her article on my blog, Conveying Awareness, or mention the code: ICAGrowingLovingFamilies to receive 25% off any class or consultation service (applies to both families and professionals, and can be purchased as a gift certificate). Offer expires 8/31/13. There is no cash value or rain checks and the purchase must be made during the month of August 2013 but can be used on a future date. Please make arrangements direct with Justina.

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Disclaimer: If you’d like an opportunity to be featured, use the contact form on the right side of my blog to send me a request. Send me a short bio and your website links. If we're a good fit, I'll send you the criteria and cross-networking is a must! 

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Choose, eat, and live well! =)


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