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Dr Virginia Thorley, OAM, PhD, IBCLC, FILCA

International Board Certified Lactation Consultant


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Baby safety in heatwaves (extreme hot weather)

Posted on January 6, 2014 at 6:04 PM Comments comments (22)
Baby safety in hot weather is an important topic at the moment with the continuing extreme temperatures in much of Australia and other parts of the Southern Hemisphere at similar latitudes.
Unfortunately, one of my books, Feeding Baby & Child (Virginia Phillips, Hyland House, 1984, 1992), which has a whole chapter on hot weather care, is now out of print. However, here are a few quick tip:
- keep your baby indoors and out of direct or reflected heat as much as possible
- air-conditioning is desirable. If you don't have it, electric fans do a better job if wet towels are hung over furniture (NOT the  baby's cot, for safely issues) as evaporation caused coolness
- if you don't have air-conditioning, shopping centres do, and are a good place to visit on the hottest days
- NEVER leave your baby in the car - risks include overheating and dehydration (which can happen quickly and be fatal), and if you leave the air-conditioning on with the keys in the car, there is the risk of a car-jacking with your baby in the car
- if you really have to go out, avoid the middle of the day if you can and make sure your baby is shaded
- the beach is NOT a safe place for a baby in the daytime, because there is reflective heat from the sun shining on the sand and water, as well as direct heat. If you want to go to the beach, go very late in the day and protect your baby
- for the pool (late in the day when the sun in low, e.g. after 4 or 5 pm), babies - just like other children - need to wear sun-safe tops with long sleeves to protect their delicate skins. In fact, in schools in North Queensland sun-safe clothing in the pool is mandatory for swimming classes. It is needed for babies, too.
- the coolest parts of the house are away from the windows and the outside walls (which can get very hot) and in an internal doorway. You can check which spots have a  better current of air if you hang a mobile in different areas. (I found this a useful way to check when my youngest was a baby, it was over 40 degrees Celcius, and we didn't have air-conditioning.)
Note: Vitamin D is a different issue. What I'm talking about is safety in extreme conditions. Stay safe this long summer.

More on prebiotics in human milk

Posted on January 6, 2014 at 5:40 PM Comments comments (6)
What is so sad is that advertising of artificial infant milk, in which claims are made about additives, encourage parents to switch to these products and stop or reduce breastfeeding.  What that means is that the babies then receive greatly REDUCED prebiotics and less of other protective factors. Let's just look at one major component of human milk, oligosaccharides, which serve as one of the prebiotics in breastmilk. They are there in a variety of different sorts, and they are there in a large amount.
1) The lowest count I've seen of the variety of oligosaccharides in human milk is 130. So that means at least 130.  When oligosaccharides are added artificially to toddler milks and artificial baby milks for younger  babies ("formula"), only a very few of these can be added. Think of these additives as more of a condiment than as the main course, i.e. a small amount.
2) Oligosaccharides are the third most common ingredient in human milk. In artificial infant milks ("formula") and toddler milks there are only traces, and when some brands use them as additives in their products, they are nowhere near as high a proportion or as wide-ranging in type as they are in human milk. Switching from breastmilk to factory-made milks actually reduces the amount and variety of oligosaccarides the baby eats. (The advertisements don't admit this.)
Sadly, I see people leaving supermarkets and in Post Offices with a large number of cans of an Australian-made artificial baby "formula" that they are sending - in bulk - to family and friends in China. They really care about the babies and want to avoid the tragedy of the contaminated artificial "formula" of a few years ago -  and slick marketing constantly tells them that these products are " better". It is so sad to see these products sent at great cost and the babies getting a food that doesn't have the important and protective ingredients that come naturally (and for free) in breastmilk.
I have put some references in an earlier post and you might like to check them out. Here's another one:
_ Table 2 in, Perrin MT et al. Journal of Human Lactation 2013; 29(3): 341-349. This useful table is on p. 342.

Nutrients provided by breastmilk in the 2nd year

Posted on December 21, 2013 at 10:46 PM Comments comments (4)
While I appreciate the comments, I cannot endorse the businesses promoted at the beginnings of the last two posts.  Promoting other businesses isn't the purpose of this blog.
I also definitely do not endorse, in any way, any business that writes essays for other people, a practice that may result in an incorrect assessment for the student and put him or her at risk of discipline by the school or university.

Nutrients provided by breastmilk in 2nd year

Posted on November 1, 2013 at 7:36 PM Comments comments (41)
Years ago there was an Old Wives' Tale told to breastfeeding mothers as their baby reached the second half of the first year - that their milk would "turn to water" at a particulr age, usually the age the baby was then.  This comment was both illogical and unscientific - milk continues to be milk.  These days, although the extreme belief of the past seems to have disappeared, mothers and health professionals still wonder if the milk is still nutritious enough for breastfeeding to be worthhile in the second year.
Here is a useful resouce for information about the continued quality of mother's milk, even when the child is eating other foods in addition to breastfeeding.
Dewey KG. Nutrition, Growth, and Complementary Feeding of the Breastfed
Infant. Pediatric Clinics of North American. February 2001;48(1).
Pediatr Clin North Am. 2001 Feb;48(1):87-104.
The author calculates that 448 mL of breastmilk per day provides a child of 12 - 23 months with significant nutrition, as the percentages below attest. These are of course, percentages of the child's recommended daily requirements.
* 29% of energy needs
* 43% of protein   "   "
* 36% of calcium   "   "
* 75% of vitamin A "   "
* 76% of folate        "   "
* 94% of vitamin B12  "   "
* 60% of vitamin C    "   "
In addition, there are the various protective mechanisms provided by the milk, not listed here, and the breast provides comfort to the toddler who has a tumble or fright.

Some breastfeeding 'hot tips' to share

Posted on October 9, 2013 at 8:09 PM Comments comments (26)
I am very new to writing blogs and so this page will develop as I learn. I thought I'd start with some tips about breastfeeding that I learnt long ago, and which can still prove useful - but not necessarily all at once. These tried and proven tips are not the only hot tips that can be useful, just four that I want to share today.
  • If in doubt - put to the breast.  Being at the breast can soothe, as well as provide milk.
  • A nap, or at least a daytime rest, can work wonders when you are at your wit's end.  It's so simple, but time and again I see the advantages of a nap in starting to turn things round.
  • While positioning of baby and mother is important, there is no 'one correct way'. In fact, the position or positions that work for you and your baby are the correct ones for you. If it looks strange, but it is comfortable and painfree and your baby is drinking, go for it!  (Of couse, if you need assistance, see my contact details.)
  • A baby's hands are part of the equation - in a positive way. For years I've observed how babies use their hands against the breast to stimulate the milk-ejection reflex (MER), also known as the 'let down'.  Calves and goat kids do it by head butting, but cows and nanny goats have leathery skin on their udders. Don't you think the human baby has a gentler way!
More about babies' hands and other ways they are involved in breastfeeding will be in a future blog.
When responding, please be respectful of others, just as you would expect respect.