Soldier surprises wife by arranging to see birth over Skype

Soldier surprises wife by secretly arranging to see birth of their baby girl over Skype while he is thousands of miles away in Afghanistan

With her army specialist husband serving in Afghanistan, Nicole Robbins was ‘pretty scared’ at the prospect of giving birth to their baby girl without him by her side.

But thanks to her husband’s initiative, the hospital’s help and the wonders of modern technology – she didn’t have to.

When a nervous Nicole went into an early labour at a Kansas hospital on Tuesday afternoon she was rushed into an emergency room where her husband was waiting for her…on Skype.

Robbins, an army specialist who is currently on a nine-month tour in Afghanistan, was determined to see the birth of his baby daughter and emailed the hospital to arrange setting up a Skype video conference for when his wife went into labour.

Staff at Menorah Medical Centre duly set up a computer on a bedside table right beside Nicole so the soldier could be part of the momentous occasion.

While in labour Nicole looked over at her husband who kept smiling at her, blowing her kisses and reassuring her, the new mother recalled to Fox News.

Shortly after 2pm, Nicole gave birth to their little girl, who weighed in at a healthy seven pounds, two ounces.

The baby girl, who has been named Silvia, is the couple’s second child.

Nicole confessed that it was not ideal that her husband could not be with them in person but said it was incredible that he was there at all.

‘At least he was part of the journey through Skype. It’s just been amazing,’ the beaming mother told Fox.

Despite the obvious downsides, Nicole says she believes her husband’s job is ‘extremely important’ and that she wouldn’t change it.

‘He will always carry that with him – he knows that he was there to witness the birth of his daughter,’ Nicole said, as she lay in her hospital bed, rocking her new-born.

Now Nicole is looking forward to Robbins returning home and meeting baby Silvia in person.

 

May 17, 2018 / by / in ,
The Difference Between PPD & Normal New Mom Stress

Postpartum depression may be common, but it’s not normal.

It’s NOT normal for a woman to suffer in new motherhood.  It is not normal for her to feel anxious most of the time, it is not normal for her to feel overwhelmed most of the time, and it is not normal for her to feel trapped and angry and uncertain most of the time.  There is no doubt that new motherhood is overwhelming and scary for most of us, but when these feelings take charge — when they become more dominant than feelings of relative wellbeing — there is something else going on.

I get my feathers ruffled every time that I hear someone say that their OB told them that the distress they were feeling was just part of being a new mom.  I am concerned each time a mom says that she waited to get help because she just assumed that the way she was feeling came with new motherhood, that she just had to get used to it, that it would go away on its own.  I become furious when I read articles or blog entries that assume postpartum depression is caused by a woman’s resistance to all that comes with motherhood.  Frankly, it’s all BS.  I want to yell this from the treetops.

So, here, my friends, is a bit of a reminder for all of you, and perhaps something to use as a guide if you are not so sure whether the way that you are feeling needs outside support. Here’s how to tell the difference between “normal” new mom stress and postpartum depression:

Healthy (or “Normal”) Postpartum Adjustment

  • Some feelings of overwhelm and anxiety that decrease with reassurance
  • Some “escapist fantasies” (a desire to run away) that occur when the logistics of mothering are challenging but go away when you baby is soothed, when you are rested, and when you are validated
  • Fears about harm coming to your baby that come and go, that you know are not “realistic” but that do not cause lasting distress, and that decrease as your experience and comfort with motherhood grows
  • Sleeplessness that occurs from caring for your baby at night, while still having the ability to sleep when your baby is sleeping or when given the option to rest
  • Fatigue that comes from late night feedings and interrupted sleep
  • Some feelings of frustration towards your partner regarding differences in parenting choices or differing roles
  • Moments of sadness, disappointment, or anger towards your parents when reminded of the ways that you were parented, but the ability to hold insight and perspective regarding your own relationship with your baby
  • Feelings of isolation that are caused by the increased time spent with your baby especially when a newborn, but also a desire and motivation to connect with others
  • Uncertainty that comes with this new job, and building confidence that comes with time
  • A hesitancy and worry that comes with allowing others to care for your baby, but a willingness to do this when you are in need of a break
  • A decrease in eating that is caused by the logistics of being a new mom
  • Temporary body aches and pains that are a result of childbirth and/or feeding
  • Feelings of worry about your baby’s ability to latch or feed as you hoped that decrease with feeding improvement or that shift when a new feeding option is chosen
  • Acknowledgement of the challenge that comes with new motherhood, but also the ability to look forward to things getting easier
  • Increases in energy that come with increases in sleep
  • Vulnerable feelings that come and go but that do not alter the way that you think about yourself

Postpartum Distress that Requires Support

  • Feeling anxious and overwhelmed most of the time, an anxiety that doesn’t go away with reassurance
  • Feelings of regret over becoming a mom that do not seem to go away
  • Repetitive and intrusive thoughts of harm coming to your baby that cause great distress and that impact your ability to care for your baby
  • Thoughts of hurting yourself
  • Sleeplessness that occurs due to “monkey brain” –  anxious thoughts that will not go away
  • A deep fatigue that is not alleviated with rest and/or a desire to remain in bed all day
  • Lacking appetite or a need to keep eating despite being full
  • Body aches and pains with no apparent cause
  • Relentless feelings of anger or rage towards your partner and/or others
  • Resurfacing memories about your own early childhood that cause great distress, anxiety, or sadness
  • Loneliness and isolation that occur while also pulling away from those who care about you; a lack of desire or motivation to connect with others
  • Persistent feelings that you’re not a good mom or you’re not good at doing motherly things, even despite validation or reassurance from others
  • Feelings that your baby does not “like” you because he cries or is not feeding well
  • Unrelenting anxiety about having others help care for your baby and a deep fear and inability to let go of some of this control
  • Never-ending feelings that you will never feel better
  • Sudden increase in energy that occurs despite a decrease in sleep; this may or may not include seeing or hearing things that aren’t really there
  • A general feeling of “not feeling like yourself”
  • Any uncomfortable or vulnerable feelings that persist for longer than 2-3 weeks – especially when these interfere with your ability meet your basic needs and/or live your life as you would like to

Please remember moms, new motherhood is challenging for all of us, but it should not be consistently distressing or miserable.  And it you are finding yourself wondering if what you are struggling with is “normal”- a good question to ask your self is, “Is this normal for me when I am well?”  If it’s not, there is help waiting.  You do not need to suffer through postpartum depression.

Kate Kripke, LCSW

 

May 17, 2018 / by / in
Air Pollution in Pregnancy

It’s easy to blame parents when young children gain too much weight, but the latest research suggests that certain obesity risk factors are out of Mom and Dad’s control.

In a study published this week in the American Journal of Epidemiology, scientists at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University found that exposure to air pollution during pregnancy may be associated with a greater chance of having heavier kids.

Andrew Rundle, an associate professor of epidemiology, decided to study air pollution because he was curious about the role that environmental chemicals known as endocrine disruptors — compounds that include BPA, phthalates andparabens — play in determining weight. Endocrine disruptors, which mimic naturally occurring hormones like estrogen in the body and interfere with some developmental and metabolic functions, are also found in air pollution; animal studies have shown that mice exposed to estrogen-like compounds in air pollution gain more weight than unexposed mice.

Rundle and his colleagues set about tracking air pollution exposure in 702 women in their third trimester of pregnancy, by equipping them with air monitors tucked into backpacks. The women wore the backpacks for 48 hours, except while sleeping or showering, measuring levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), endocrine-disrupting chemicals found in cigarette smoke and car exhaust. The women, who were recruited from the university hospital’s New York City clinics, lived in the neighboring area, including the Bronx and northern Manhattan — areas that have heavy car traffic but are not known to have unusual amounts of industry-related pollution.

(MORE: Mom’s Exposure to Air Pollution Can Increase Kids’ Behavior Problems)

Children born to mothers with the highest PAH levels during their third trimester had a 79% greater risk of becoming obese, compared with children born to moms with the lowest PAH levels. By age 7, the risk was even higher — more than 2.25 times greater.

Previous studies have linked air pollution to increased risk of heart disease and stroke, and Rundle’s colleagues have shown that PAH exposure during pregnancy can also increase the risk of behavioral problems in children by age 5 and 7, but this is the first study to link the pollutant to obesity.

“It’s a fairly big effect,” says Rundle. “Obesity is really, really complicated, and there are different things pushing us in the wrong direction in terms of energy consumption and physical activity. I think we have to embrace the idea that the obesity epidemic is not just about you and me making personal choices that are not good for us, or moms making bad choices for kids. It’s a far more complicated problem than that, and environmental chemicals may play a role as one piece of the problem.”

Not all of the children whose moms were exposed to the higher levels of PAH became obese, but a significant proportion of them did, and the connection between PAH exposure and obesity remained strong even after Rundle’s team adjusted for other factors that could influencing factors, including the mother’s socioeconomic status, her income, and the median household income of the neighborhood in which the mothers lived. “We went through a long list trying to imagine all the reasons that could bias the relationship or explain it away,” says Rundle. “And after months and months of healthy skepticism, we came to the point of realizing that the data looked really solid.”

(MORE: The 10 Most Air-Polluted Cities in the U.S.)

To ensure that the obese children’s excess weight was due to fat, not added bone or muscle, the researchers measured body fat composition in a subset of 453 children; they found that fat almost exclusively accounted for the children’s heavier weight. That corresponded to animal studies as well, and could hint at how the PAHs are contributing to obesity — by disrupting how fat cells are formed and develop during childhood. Normally, most of the fat cells adults have are generated during the first year of life, beginning in utero; weight gain results when these existing fat cells swell in size, not in number. But exposure to potential endocrine disruptors like PAHs could interfere with the normal development of fat cells in infancy, and lead to an increase in fat cells from an early age.

It’s hard to avoid air pollution, particularly for expectant mothers living in densely populated cities. But it is possible to avoid the worst sources of PAH exposure, such as cigarette smoke. Avoiding smoking while pregnant and asking friends and family to refrain from lighting up can help, but Rundle says it’s time that more ubiquitous sources of air pollution also be recognized by public health experts and mothers as potentially long-term health hazards. Although Rundle’s study did not examine whether a child’s exposure to PAHs in his first five years of life could have been the driver of obesity rather than the mother’s prenatal exposure, the findings still provide hard-to-ignore evidence that breathing in polluted air could have health effects that may last a lifetime.

Alice Park is a writer at TIME. Find her on Twitter at @aliceparkny. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’sFacebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

 

 

May 17, 2018 / by / in
Baby Your Baby: New mom mood disorder screening

BY LESLIE TILLOTSON

 

(KUTV) After a woman gives birth, the focus often switches to the baby, but it’s important to still care for mom – both physically and emotionally.

“Postpartum or perinatal mood disorders affect about one in seven women,” Melanie Arrington, Registered Nurse at Intermountain Utah Valley Hospital said.

Becoming a new mom is not easy. From diapers and bottles to sleepless nights, it’s not uncommon for a new mom’s health to suffer.

“We deliver here just at Utah Valley Hospital between 4,000 and 4,500 babies a year. So if you think 13 percent of those women may have a perinatal mood disorder, that’s pretty significant,” Arrington said.

Not all perinatal mood disorders have the same symptoms. This is why Utah Valley Hospital has implemented a postpartum screening process for all new moms.

“It’s a series of 10 questions and we give this to our new moms on admission,” Arrington said.

After a week or two, moms are asked to take the test again. Arrington said at that point, a lot of new emotions and potential symptoms have settled in.

Arrington, a registered nurse at Utah Valley Hospital, says her desire to help women in personal.

“My family has a personal experience, a tragedy really, where my sister-in-law lost her life after having a perinatal mood disorder,” Arrington said.

She wants all new moms to know that perinatal mood disorders are treatable, temporary, and can affect any mom.

In addition to screening, Utah Valley Hospital also talks to new moms about resources in the community. They’ve partnered with some resources to help moms get support once they go home.

If you need help or someone to talk to, reach out to one of these community resources:

Family Support and Treatment Center: In person support groups (The Afterbirth: Postpartum Support), 24/7 Emergency Respite Nursery – staff can watch your baby free of charge while you rest. 801-229-1181
United Way, Help Me Grow: Call 211 and volunteers will link you to community mental health services.
Postpartum Support International: Provides education and resources to mothers.
Website: www.postpartum.net Phone: 1-800-944-4773

 

May 15, 2018 / by / in
Do You Have To Breastfeed In The Hospital? Here’s What You Need To Know

There’s been a recent trend in hospitals pushing towards more baby-friendly practices and less overall medical intervention. Hospitals are reverting to more natural methods of labor, delivery, and postpartum care as the knowledge and research surrounding maternity care and women’s health continues to change and advance. This leaves a lot of questions for someone about to deliver however, especially if your personal beliefs or desires don’t match your hospital’s practices. Like, do you have to breastfeed in the hospital or is formula still an option?

According to Slate, the push for “baby-friendly” hospitals is not new, but there has been a recent revival over hospitals having the status. “Baby-friendly” is a specific certification given to hospitals who fulfill a rubric developed by UNICEF and the World Health Organization to promote breastfeeding. In order to attain this, hospitals must practice rooming in (no bringing babies to the nursery), give babies nothing but breast milk unless medically indicated, and no pacifiers. So, if you choose to deliver your baby in a hospital indicated as “baby-friendly,” it’s likely that you’ll be encouraged to breastfeed. It’s a good idea to look into your chosen hospital’s practices well before you’re due to deliver.

The response towards the push for “baby-friendly” hospitals has been mixed. Though many moms love the “baby-friendly” practices, others feel pressured to do things they don’t necessarily want to do.

Every hospital has a bit of a different flavor but with the move towards encouraging breastfeeding and the new baby-friendly initiatives, breastfeeding definitely plays a more central role in the first few postpartum days, Dr. Idries J. Abdur-Rahman, MD​, tells Romper. “The general approach now,” he says, “is to strongly encourage breastfeeding by enumerating the many benefits for mom and baby, while unfailingly respecting a women’s individual decision to breastfeed or not to breastfeed.”

For those moms who opt to breastfeed, the push towards baby-friendly practices are designed to stimulate a strong breastfeeding relationship and to make the transition as easy as possible for both mom and baby, notes Abdur-Rahman. This includes encouraging skin-to-skin contact as soon as possible after delivery, encouraging baby to latch on as soon after delivery as possible (for both vaginal deliveries and for C-sections), having a certified lactation consultant in the hospital, and having baby “room in” with mom.

“All in all, things are definitely more pro-breastfeeding than they were in the recent past,” says Abdur-Rahman, “The default was to to give all babies a bottle unless mom specifically requested otherwise, but that has now flipped to only giving bottles to baby if mom requests it or if there is a medical indication for formula.”

That being said, hospitals shouldn’t require a mother to breastfeed before offering the baby a bottle (Dr. Abdur-Rahman notes that he doesn’t know of any that do). For a multitude of medical, physical, and cultural reasons, some women just don’t want to or cannot breastfeed and that is completely their decision, he says.

And, all hospitals do have formula on hand. There are a multitude of medical reasons why babies need formula, including stabilizing their blood sugar — which is a common problem for larger babies and babies born to diabetic mothers.

Whether or not you choose to breastfeed is not as important as being confident and vocal in your choice during pregnancy and while in the hospital for delivery. “Patients have got to feel comfortable with their doctor or midwife, as we are supposed to be their ultimate advocates,” says Abdur-Rahman.

Women have got to speak up and be their own advocates, he says. “They have to feel comfortable sharing what they want and what they don’t want, as well as ask questions about those things they just are not sure about.” His one piece of advice? Feel comfortable enough with your provider to talk about anything, including your desires for your child, labor and delivery, and breastfeeding. If you are not comfortable, get comfortable, and if you cannot get comfortable, consider seeing someone else. It’s that important.

 

May 15, 2018 / by / in
Here’s a Better Way to Bathe Your Newborn

By Michelle Woo

In movies, immediately after a mother gives birth, a nurse places a pristine newborn in her arms. In real life, however, babies usually look more Alien 3 than Pampers ad as they enter the world—their heads are misshapen, their faces resemble grumpy old men, and they’re covered in a white film. The traditional protocol has been to get them a sponge bath, stat.

But some doctors are now recommending new bathing procedures, and they may be gentler and safer for babies straight out of the birth canal. Here’s what parents need to know.

Wait to Bathe

That slick, creamy stuff all over your baby? It’s called vernix, and while it looks messy, it’s a protective layer that helps ward off infection and natural skin moisturizer. At UCHealth, a health system in Colorado, newborn baths are delayed for at least eight hours after birth in most cases. Doctors want to prolong the protective benefits of vernix, and also leave some amniotic fluid on the skin, which can promote better breastfeeding. According to Dr. Christine Gold, a physician at UCHealth, amniotic fluid is similar to colostrum, the initial breast milk that mothers produce.

Also, whisking babies away for bath and other non-critical procedures right after they’re born can rob parents of that important “golden hour” of skin-to-skin contact—the time when they can bond and establish a breastfeeding routine. Placing a naked newborn on a parent’s bare chest has been shown to help stabilize the baby’s body temperature, regulate their blood sugar levels and make their transition into the world less stressful.

Have your nurses wait to bathe your baby—they might keep bugging you about it (my nurse kept looking at my crusty-haired newborn, asking me, “Are you sure?”), but know that it’s your choice.

Give a Swaddle Bath

Instead of the common sponge bath, which can be shocking for newborns who aren’t used to so many new temperatures, many doctors now recommend the swaddle immersion bath, in which a baby is bathed while wrapped in a swaddle. It’s soothing for infants, and something that parents can do at home. Here’s a how-to video from UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland:

First, wrap your baby securely in a swaddle cloth with her arms folded up. Fill a tub with water that’s between 100-103 degrees Fahrenheit. Slowly lower your swaddled baby into the tub until the water is at chest and shoulder level. Then, starting with the legs, individually unswaddle each limb, wash it and rinse it. Do everything slowly and gently.

Other tips for bathing a newborn:

Wait at least 24 hours after circumcision to give your baby boy a bath.
Newborns don’t need to be bathed every day—once a week is enough.
Never put a baby into a tub when the water is still running.
Never, ever leave a baby in a bath unsupervised (if the doorbell rings, that person must wait).

 

May 14, 2018 / by / in
Some of World’s Tiniest ‘Preemies’ Are Growing Up Healthy

Against heavy odds, the world’s tiniest and the fourth-smallest surviving infants have had normal childhood development, a new study shows, although the girls’ heights and weights still lag behind other kids the same age.

Little information is available to doctors and parents on how extremely low-birth-weight babies develop and grow as toddlers, school-age children, or into young adulthood. So a report like this offers a rare glimpse at the long-term health and growth of two of the world’s teeniest premature babies as they get older.

Rumaisa Rahman, a girl who holds the Guinness Book of World Records title of “World’s Smallest Surviving Baby,” is at her five-year follow-up doctor’s visit.

Born at just 26 weeks after her mother had severe preeclampsia, a serious condition involving high blood pressure and other abnormalities during pregnancy, Rumaisa was a twin. She weighed 9.2 ounces. She was roughly 9 inches long. Rumaisa spent 142 days in the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit.

Madeline Mann is now a 22-year-old college senior. She was born at nearly 27 weeks into the pregnancy, also to a mother who had preeclampsia. She weighed roughly 9.9 ounces and was also about 9 inches long. Madeline was hospitalized for 122 days as a newborn before going home.

Her case is the first 20-year follow-up for one of the world’s smallest surviving infants reported in the medical literature.

Few babies born at birth weights of less than 14 ounces survive, so cases such as these are very rare. But the numbers of these “micro-preemies” who survive are on the rise.

The research appears in the Dec. 12 issue of Pediatrics.

Not Typical Outcomes

Both girls, who were born at the same Illinois hospital, showed normal language skills and hit normal milestones for walking and toilet training. Rumaisa’s movement skills — writing, grasping for toys, and getting dressed — are mildly delayed, while Madeline’s are described as normal.

Both girls remain small for their age for weight and height. Rumaisa is in first grade with an individualized education plan.

At 20, Madeline stood 4 feet, 7 inches and weighed about 65 pounds. Her growth has been consistently far below other girls her age.

“We tell parents of babies born this small not to expect their children to be super tall,” says researcher Jonathan Muraskas, MD.

Even so, he credits three main reasons for the girls’ relatively normal development. The first, says Muraskas, is that number of weeks of the pregnancy is much more important than birth weight for a child’s growth and brain development.

A second is that female preemies do better than males. “But we don’t know why,” says Muraskas, a professor of neonatal and perinatal medicine at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, Ill.

And a third reason is that both mothers were given steroids before birth. These medications help the baby’s lungs and brains mature faster and lower the risk of bleeding in the brain.

Muraskas points out that the two girls’ outcomes are not typical. Many micro-preemies either do not survive or grow up with disabilities from conditions such as cerebral palsy, mental retardation, and blindness.

While the researchers caution against considering their results as an expected outcome, it’s important for parents of these babies to recognize that there’s some hope.

“Good outcomes are possible even for the smallest babies,” says Edward Bell, MD, a neonatologist at the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital in Iowa City. He also says that for these tiny infants, the number of weeks spent inside the mother’s uterus affects their chances of survival more than their birth weight.

In 2000, Bell started a Tiniest Babies Registry when he realized he didn’t have good answers for parents’ questions about these babies who were born very premature.

Although information remains scarce, the registry has more than 100 babies who have survived weighing less than 14 ounces at birth.

“Most of them are doing pretty well,” Bell tells WebMD.

But this case report is not the norm, says Leslie Kerzner, MD, a neonatologist at Massachusetts General Hospital for Children in Boston. “[Rumaisa and Madeline] are two remarkable, isolated cases of survival of very low-birth-weight babies.”

It’s much more common for babies of this size to not survive or to have medical problems. “While these two girls may be the lucky ones, so many more suffer from hearing loss, vision, and movement problems, and [mental] delays,” Kerzner tells WebMD.

She says we still don’t know the long-term effects of the preemies’ long hospital stays. Nor do we know how much the babies’ discomfort and pain from their early-in-life medical care affects them later on.

Also, Kerzner says the report was not clear about how much special education or tutoring the girls need in school.

BACK TO ARTICLES FOR PARENTS

 

February 17, 2018 / by / in ,
Local Effort To Get More Women Breastfeeding Targets Dads

August is World Breastfeeding Month, and several local organizations are hoping a new take on breastfeeding will get more moms to try it with their babies. And, the effort seeks to educate dads about breastfeeding to get them more involved in the process.

Research shows that 39-percent of Florida’s children born in 2008 were breastfed for the first six months, with only 20-percent breast fed for a year. That’s less than the two years recommended by the World Health Organization as well as the American Pediatric Association.

And, it’s partly because of stigmas or misconceptions associated with breastfeeding children.

“You hear, your breasts are going to sag, you hear some men don’t really want their or she might have the same view that this is a sexual thing, this is not a feeding mechanism, other ones are you’ve got a child that’s really spoiled, or here you’ve got a child who is a ‘booby-baby,’ who’s up under their mom too much,” remarked Quashier Flood-Strouble, a breastfeeding peer counselor and a certified lactation counselor in Tallahassee.

She says while the breastfeeding trend is starting to improve by educating more women, she feels there is one group of people that is getting lost in the breastfeeding process: men.

So, she and her brother, Mu-Tor Flood, created a movie aimed at helping fathers understand how integral they are to the breastfeeding process.

The locally-made film is called “Dads and Breastfeeding: The Official Guide for New Fathers.” Flood-Strouble says the influence fathers have shouldn’t just come into play when it comes to deciding whether to breastfeed.

For example, she says she had originally planned to have a natural birth with her first son, but due to complications, she later had to undergo a C-Section. Flood-Strouble says she had wanted to get her son breast feeding right away, but she couldn’t speak up because she was so tired from the ordeal and the drugs in her system. And, that’s when her husband Bruce Strouble stepped in:

“And, the nurses were actually trying to give him formula. I knew she wasn’t going to go for that. So, I had to be her mouthpiece basically,” said Strouble. “So, I had to go there and say no, no, no! She’s going to pump. They’re got her on the pump, and I’m running the colostrum [pump] down so that they can feed the baby. That’s just one way you help. Being there, being involved, and help her stay with it by just staying supportive.”

And, now Breastfeeding in the Strouble family is a tradition that’s carried down to their two other sons.

It’s also a practice that Bruce Strouble hopes to spread throughout the community. He and his group, Citizens for Sustainable Future Incorporated, recently held a panel discussion at the Leon County Health Department about the importance of breastfeeding. Included in the effort are the Florida Department of Health’s Office of Minority Health, Whole Child Leon, and the county’s health department.

Dykibra Gaskin is the nutrition educator at the Leon County health department who works with women, children, and infants. She says critics often turn the image of mothers feeding their babies in public into a sexual act because they believe the breast is indecently exposed. She says what fathers can do is to try and de-sexualize the breast by playing a more active role in defending it. Gaskin says in fact, she’s seen dads who do just that.

“They’re really cool about it. They’re like well, this is how she feeds our baby,” said Gaskin. “We have to be really nonchalant about it. This how we feed our baby. Bottles are not an option. So, men can play a role by defending his wife, defending his baby. Speak up! Don’t play a passive role!”

Doctor Esaias Lee, who practices Family Medicine at Capital Health Plan, says dads should also be prepared to help with the discomfort breastfeeding moms sometimes face when the baby’s mouth latches on, and encourage moms not to quit.

“As a dad, through your reading, you learn that you may need to get some dish clothes, maybe get them moist,” said Dr. Lee. “And, begin to help your soulmate, your wife or your significant other prepare her nipple to deal with some of this discomfort. So, it’s almost like you guys are in training camp as a couple. You’re trying to prepare yourself for this upcoming event so that you all can give your baby the best type of nourishment that it can receive.”

And, Dexter Harrell, a believer in breastfeeding, agrees. The 40-year-old man is the father of four children, including a 15-month old daughter, who is still breastfed. He says he and his wife struggled with breastfeeding his two oldest children, but things worked out for the last two. He says he’s glad he was able to help his wife through the process and points out the benefits are clear.

One of the biggest debates relating to the breastfeeding process is breastfeeding versus baby formula. While experts say some mothers find they don’t have to worry about their diet OR have to feed their babies as frequently because baby formula digests slower than breast milk, Harrell says breastfeeding, for him, wins hands down. He says, mostly because, it saved his family money and it’s very convenient.

Harrell says he encourages all fathers to get on board and involved in the breastfeeding process. He adds the movie is also a beneficial tool to help fathers regarding misconceptions or questions they might have about breastfeeding in general. Harrell and his family can also be seen in the “The Dads Official Guide to Breastfeeding” movie. To learn more about the movie, visit www.mqfproductions.com.

BACK TO ARTICLES FOR PARENTS

 

January 17, 2016 / by / in