• The New York Baby Show
  • The New York Baby Show
  • The New York Baby Show
  • The New York Baby Show
  • The New York Baby Show
  • Load More
  • The New York Baby Show
  • PIER 94:
    711 12th Avenue
    (52nd & West Side Highway)
    New York, NY 10019
    Ship Terminal Exit

Your Guide To Breastfeeding In Public

Your Guide To Breastfeeding In Public

I clearly remember my first outing with Shay when I knew I would end up feeding him out of the house. As a new mother, I was a bit nervous since I had a whole “breastfeeding station” set up at home. This included a supportive pillow, water bottle, stool for my feet, right to expose myself if need be, and my Nook. Once out of the house, I felt unprepared and overwhelmed at how we would manage without my props. Luckily, with the help and support of my husband, all went well and this became the first of many “public” breastfeeding experiences.

Soon enough, breastfeeding out of the house didn’t require as much work or planning. I also stopped throwing a blanket over my shoulder in an attempt to cover the baby and breast. My main reason for this being that I liked looking at him while he nursed. I also felt like he was getting lost in the material and I couldn’t see what was going on. I tried the kind that covers the baby, but leaves an opening at the top to see the child and that wasn’t right either. I felt it was drawing even more attention to myself and again, I felt a little lost in the excess material. I opted for clothing that gave easy and discreet access to my breast. Since I was no longer fidgeting with covers and didn’t have my reading material along with me, I started noticing the people around me. Some people that saw me seemed interested, while others noticed and then suddenly turned their gaze away. Some looked shocked and a few looked disgusted.

Breastfeeding in public stirs up a lot of feelings and opinions for people. Some people, like the “bottle fed generation of the 60’s,” see breastfeeding as a private matter that should be saved for home or a private, discreet setting. Considering a newborn feeds about every two hours, poor mom would never leave home! Another reason some are opposed is because of the sexual implication of a bare breast. I believe there is more alluring breast exposure in beach-wear or scanty clothing then there is in breastfeeding. With the exception of the baby expectantly popping off, the baby’s head covers most of the breast.

Mothers are getting mixed messages. The America Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months and continue to nurse for a full year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 75 percent of mothers start breastfeeding immediately after birth, but less than 15 percent of those moms are breastfeeding exclusively six months later. I believe this dramatic drop could be the lack of support to continue breastfeeding. For those that are continuing to 6 months or beyond, they make breastfeeding a life style choice. They are likely not tethered to their couch, so they must learn to breastfeed on the go.

“Nurse-ins” have become a popular protesting strategy among some “lactivists” to help normalize breastfeeding and to amplify breastfeeding mothers right to feed her baby where ever she likes, and they also heighten the public’s awareness of the health benefits of breastfeeding.

To help support nursing mothers, breastfeeding laws have been passed to protect the right of public nursing. Currently, 45 states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands have laws that specifically allow women to breastfeed in any public or private location, those excluded from the list are Idaho, West Virginia, Michigan, Virginia, and South Dakota.

I don’t pay too much attention to tabloids or the activities of celebrities, but I am grateful that so many have chosen to breastfeed their children in public. Since we are culture that treats celebrities like royalty, this can help reduce the stigma of breastfeeding in public for the rest of us. This list includes: Beyonce, Gwen Stefani, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Miranda Kerr, Selma Hayek, and Selma Blair.

Tips for breastfeeding in public:

Wear your baby! Certain carries allow you to easily nurse your child with little fuss to get baby to breast.

Find easy access clothing. My personal favorites have been Glamourmom tank tops and the Boob shirts. Both of these have made it easy to nurse with little exposure.

Have a distraction for baby. A lot of babies have a “roaming arm” while breastfeeding. This active arm may be pushing your shirt up to your collarbone or pulling the other side of your shirt down. You may find it helpful to hold your baby’s hand or wear a necklace that the baby can reach for instead of your clothing.

Listen to your baby’s hunger cues. An overly hungry, crying baby can be a lot harder to pacify and will draw attention to you. Try to avoid getting to that point if possible.

Be mindful of where you position yourself in the room or surroundings. I have found this helpful not just to avoid being the center of attention, but to also limit distractions for Shay. I try to find a quiet, uncrowded space if possible. If the room is bustling, I head for the corner.

Feel confident that you are doing the right the thing for you and your baby! If anyone comments to you or gives you dirty looks, know that you have the right to feed your baby where ever you see fit.

Once you have the hang of breastfeeding in public, it will become second nature to you. Happy breastfeeding!

Debra Flashenberg is the founder and Director of the Prenatal Yoga Center. She is a certified labor support doula, Lamaze Childbirth Educator, and certified prenatal yoga instructor. She is continuously in awe of the beauty and brilliance of birth and is the proud mother of her son, Shay and daughter, Sage. Visit prenatalyogacenter.com for more info!

How To Get Proper Nutrition While Breastfeeding

How To Get Proper Nutrition While Breastfeeding

I found that a great deal of attention and information was given to me while pregnant about receiving proper nutrition. However, upon entering the postpartum phase, all I heard was “make sure you get enough water to compensate for the fluids lost while breastfeeding.” But besides the reminder to hydrate well, very little was discussed about what other nutrients were needed for supporting my milk producing body.

Since I was exclusively breastfeeding, I did experience the “breastfeeding weight loss” and noticed a drop in dress size pretty quickly. I also noticed that between breastfeeding and getting my little one down for a nap or even out the door for a walk, I had little time left to focus on my own food intake. I was joking with friends that the reason new moms lose weight is because we don’t have time (or a free hand) to feed ourselves! But laughing aside, I did start to notice that I was neglecting my own diet. I was grabbing whatever was in the fridge, specifically those things that could be eaten with one hand. I even started substituting Larabars for meals every now and then.

My diet started to concern me. Was I getting the right nutrition to support myself and my breastmilk?

I knew that breastfeeding mothers need on average 300-500 extra calories a day. The La Leche League cautions new mothers to approach this increased caloric intake with healthy dietary guidelines in mind. For example, the extra calories should from nutrient-dense foods such as fruits, veggies, complex carbs and protein, not empty calories from sugary treats. As for protein, the basic rule is to eat 1 gram of protein each day for every lb you weigh.

Wow, that is a lot of protein per day! Knowing I do not get over 100 grams of protein a day, I was getting concerned that the quantity and quality of my milk was going to suffer. Thankfully, some research findings eased some of my concerns. In recent years, research has confirmed that even if some nutrients are missing in a woman’s daily diet, she will still produce milk that will help her child grow. There is very little difference in the milk of healthy mothers and mothers who are severely malnourished. For example, if a mother’s diet is lacking in calories, her body makes up the deficit, drawing on the reserves laid down during pregnancy or before. Unless there is a physical reason for low milk production, a woman who breastfeeds on cue will be able to produce enough milk for her baby, regardless of what she eats. Basically, the malnourished mother’s body will still produce good milk, but at the cost to the mother, whose nutritional needs will go unmet.

Even though research suggests that I don’t have to worry about the quantity of my milk supply, it is still important to replenish the nutrients lost while breastfeeding. For those who like to follow guidelines to help establish a healthy diet, the US Department of Agriculture released a suggested food pyramid for breastfeeding mothers. My Pyramid Plan for Moms maps out a clear selection of healthy foods that support breastfeeding mothers. You can even get a plan designed just for you and your lifestyle. Go to mypyramid.gov/mypyramidmoms. The suggestion My Pyramid Plan offers seem quite reasonable to follow. For example, they focus on 5 different food groups; fruits, vegetables, whole grains, meats and beans and dairy with realistic intake from each group, like 2 cups of fruit a day or 3 cups of veggies. To get an idea of what that would look like in a daily diet, one medium grapefruit equals 1 cup or one large sweet potato equals 1 cup.

From the food pyramid, you will notice two things. One: There is not a category for nutritional supplements. Assuming you are getting all your nutrition from food, you may not need additional vitamins. (Although many women do continue to take their prenatal vitamins postpartum.) Lana Levy, founder of Just For Today Nutrition states: “Dietary supplements can improve milk quality and quantity in women that are malnourished; however, a balanced diet without excessive supplementation is the best way to ensure good milk. Vitamins that are taken in excess are excreted in the urine anyway, so don’t waste your money!”

The second observation is, 1/5 of the pyramid is taken up by animal protein, and for those that are vegan, 2/5 of the pyramid would be excluded. Nutritionists urge vegetarian and vegan mothers to make sure they are getting enough b12, calcium and zinc which are generally found in dairy products, meat, fish and eggs. To get adequate b12, try fortified soy milk and fortified yeast or b12 supplement. Calcium is abundant in dark leafy greens, almonds, calcium-enriched tofu, and blackstrap molasses. Zinc can be found in spinach, pumpkin seeds, yeast, wheat germ, peanuts, beans, and bran cereals.

I hope this has clarified supportive nutritional needs for those that choose to breastfeed. As for my own time management/eating schedule, I try to have a bowl of almonds handy, along with yogurt packs and instant steel cut oatmeal to hold me over until my son is calmly playing or napping. Then, I can have a proper meal. I figure, as long as I am making healthy choices in my “quick bites” my body and my baby will be just fine.

Debra Flashenberg is the founder and Director of the Prenatal Yoga Center. She is a certified labor support doula, Lamaze Childbirth Educator, and certified prenatal yoga instructor. She is continuously in awe of the beauty and brilliance of birth and is the proud mother of her son, Shay and daughter, Sage. Visit prenatalyogacenter.com for more info!

Breastfeeding 101

Breastfeeding 101

August is National Breastfeeding Month–and what better way to celebrate than by catching up with one of the best experts in the breastfeeding field about benefits, myths, and key info to know?

Gina Cicatelli Ciagne is a Certified Lactation Counselor (CLC), Lansinoh’s Vice President of Integrated Marketing and Clinical Communications, and a mother of two breastfed children. She’s also a nationally recognized expert on breastfeeding, and has been an active advocate for breastfeeding and women’s health for more than a decade. As a Certified Lactation Counselor and La Leche League International-trained breastfeeding peer counselor, she has worked with and provided advice and support to thousands of breastfeeding mothers around the world. She is the mother of two breastfed children. Read on for her expert insight into some common breastfeeding questions!

What are the biggest benefits to breastfeeding?

Breastfeeding is more than a lifestyle choice — it is the ideal way to nurture and nourish your baby and has many benefits for you that last beyond the period of nursing. The first few weeks can be challenging, and sometimes new mothers give up before they, and their babies, can experience the benefits. Knowing the breastfeeding benefits can keep you motivated and increase your chances of success.

Breastmilk is more easily digested and provides the essential nutrients, vitamins, proteins, fats and antibodies, in just the right proportions that the baby needs to develop physically and neurologically; breastmilk will also change its composition to meet your baby’s needs as they get older or if your baby is sick; and breastmilk is made of live cells and is easily absorbed by your baby.

Additionally, breastfeeding decreases a mother’s risk of developing breast cancer. In addition, studies show that breastfeeding may decrease ovarian cancer and uterine cancer in women who breastfeed; breastfeeding mothers may have a lower risk of developing Type 2 diabetes (researchers say breastfeeding may change a mother’s metabolism in ways that make the possible connection plausible); studies show that breastfeeding mothers show less postpartum depression than formula-feeding mothers because breastfeeding triggers and releases oxytocin (also called the “love hormone”) and prolactin that can help you relax and feel less stressed; and as a nursing mother, you will burn extra calories, making it easier to lose the pounds put on during pregnancy. Breastfeeding will help you get back to your pre-pregnancy weight faster.

What are some myths about breastfeeding that women should know are not true?

There are many myths associated with breastfeeding.  One of these is that breastfeeding causes breasts to sag or lose their shape.  As a matter of fact, according to research, it is the stretching of the ligaments caused by weight gain during pregnancy that can cause breasts to sag (also called Ptosis).

Another common myth is that breast size determines how much milk a mom will make and this is untrue. The size of her breasts does not impact her internal breastmilk storage capacity. So, a small-breasted woman can produce as much milk as her baby needs as can a larger breasted woman.

A third common myth is that feedings should be timed and baby’s breastfeeding sessions should be scheduled. These are untrue! It is important, for establishing and maintaining a good milk supply as well as nourishing your baby, that is fed “on demand” meaning baby is put to the breast when exhibiting hunger cues (smacking lips, sucking on fingers and hands, rooting) and allowed to feed as long as they wish without taking them off after a certain time period. Let baby nurse on one breast until they stop or unlatch themselves. They may take occasional pauses during a feed but that does not mean they are done. If they pause, see if they re-latch themselves or you can relatch baby if he is still hungry.  Then offer the other breast but know it is okay for them to only feed on one breast at a session. This ensures that baby drains as much milk as possible because then the body refills the milk that has been removed (keeping up your supply based on baby’s needs!). Some babies are quick at nursing and others take longer. Also, don’t be strict about time in between feeds. Some go for an hour in between and others build up to feeding every three hours. Babies do tend to start to lengthen time between feedings as they get older but it is important for your comfort and for baby’s optimal growth and development to not be a strict scheduler, especially in the early days. Timing feedings and sticking to a strict schedule can affect baby’s weight gain, can cause engorgement, and can lead to low milk supply (if milk is not removed, your body will start to make less).

What are some reasons that you hear from women as to why they aren’t comfortable breastfeeding in public?

We have all seen media stories of moms who have been publicly shamed or ridiculed for breastfeeding their baby in public and that has made some worried about feeding their babies in public. Moms also worry that they will be seen as an exhibitionist if someone happens to see their breast if their baby unlatches while nursing in public.While breasts are designed for breastfeeding, not everyone understands that and forget that this is about nourishing a baby.

What are strategies that you’d recommend to help breastfeeding mothers feel more confident breastfeeding in public?

It is important to remember that breastfeeding is so beneficial for you and baby’s health and that there are laws that protect her right to breastfeed. Many moms take along a nursing shawl or cover up but many also find that baby has other plans and doesn’t like to be covered! That eye contact is so important during feedings too so many moms don’t want to cover up or feel ashamed for caring for their babies. Moms should feel comfortable wherever they nurse and remember that their focus should be on their baby and not these naysayers. There are also many establishments who will be accommodating and provide a private space for mom to nurse if she feels more comfortable nursing away from others.

Are there specific products you recommend to make breastfeeding easier (in public and private)?

Breastfeeding can come with some challenges but there are solutions. Since leaking is a common issue for many moms, having nursing pads with them so they can capture leaks if they let-down can also be reassuring. Having ultra-pure HPA Lanolin cream or Soothies Gel Pads can also be helpful particularly in the early days when moms are experiencing soreness. Therapearl Breast Therapy Packs are unique in that they provide hot or cold relief for engorgement, swelling, and plugged ducts, and can also aid in a faster let-down and more milk released when warmed and wrapped around a breast pump flange. For pumping moms, a high quality breast pump is important so they can keep up their milk supply and also have milk to leave behind for their babies when they will be apart. There are manual pumps for occasional use as well as double pumps available on the market. It is important to know that there are closed system pumps and open system pumps. Closed system pumps, like the Lansinoh SmartPump, ensure that no milk backs up into the tubing or the motor which can prevent mold and bacteria growth. The SmartPump is the first technologically advanced with Bluetooth connectivity double electric breast pump and connects to the Lansinoh Baby App so it records time and date and time spent pumping and has many sections moms can use to capture developmental and growth milestones.  Moms can track and record information to share with their healthcare providers such as breastfeeding sessions, diaper changes and also access resources and articles on breastfeeding and pumping. Having safe breastmilk storage bags is key for moms who are pumping and storing their milk. Being able to pump directly in the bags is helpful for moms who don’t want to transfer the milk from a bottle to a bag before stashing it away. Choosing bags that are BPA and BPS- free and that have extra security measures like double zipper lock closures are also great to use.

What advice would you give to moms who are having a hard time getting their baby to breastfeed in a consistent way (or having trouble with latching, milk supply, and beyond)?

It is important to get help or assistance if a mom is encountering issues with breastfeeding such as worries about latching on or if they are worried about their supply. A small issue can turn into a big issue if not addressed and so many early challenges with breastfeeding can be remedied with some assistance. There are professionals whose purpose is to help breastfeeding moms and babies and it is important to know there is no need to suffer in silence! Reading ahead of time to know what to expect can be hugely helpful as well as going to credible sources for assistance with positioning, latching on and how to establish and maintain a good milk supply.

What should women know about the new CDC regulations for keeping pumps clean?

Pumping can be a cumbersome task for many moms but they do it because they will be apart from baby during feeding times and they need to maintain their milk supply and be able to leave expressed breastmilk for their baby’s caregiver to give in their absence. It is important to familiarize yourself with the new CDC guidelines on how to effectively clean your breast pump parts regularly to ensure that it is kept clean and sanitary so your expressed breastmilk is kept safe. Be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions for your pump on how to sanitize and clean the breast pump before using for the first time and after each use.  It is also important to know that there are closed system breast pumps which prevent milk from getting sucked up into tubing and into the pump’s motor which are different than open system pumps which cannot prevent this type of milk back up. The backup is not only inconvenient but it can be a safety hazard as mold and bacteria can grow in a warm, moist environment like pump tubing and in small areas that cannot be cleaned or sanitized.

Gina Cicatelli Ciagne is a Certified Lactation Counselor (CLC), Lansinoh’s Vice President of Integrated Marketing and Clinical Communications, and a Media Spokesperson. She is a nationally recognized expert on breastfeeding, and has been an active advocate for breastfeeding and women’s health for more than a decade. As a Certified Lactation Counselor and La Leche League International-trained breastfeeding peer counselor, she has worked with and provided advice and support to thousands of breastfeeding mothers around the world. She is the mother of two breastfed children.

Save

Traveling & Breastfeeding? Here’s How!

Traveling & Breastfeeding? Here’s How!

Peggy Economou and her daughter

After graduating with an economics degree from Colgate University, I moved back to my hometown NYC and started my career in investment banking. Although I had a great career and loved my colleagues, I wasn’t feeling fulfilled professionally and creatively so after eight years I quit and traveled the world for a year. During my travels I met my husband who is from Siena, Italy, which is where we live now with our 2.5-year-old daughter, Dafne, who was the inspiration behind Teat&Cosset.

My experience breastfeeding her and the challenges I faced with clothing during this period is what sparked the idea. Breastfeeding was hard enough in the beginning and I felt that clothing was an unnecessary obstacle. She was born in December 2014 and it was difficult finding winter tops that would keep me warm and that I could comfortably breastfeed in, either at home or out. Besides not always being functional or good quality, every top I found had that same stretchy wrap look with minuscule slit openings that I barely used. I refused to spend any more money on something that I was going to get rid of after I finished breastfeeding. I also wanted to feel like myself again and the way I dressed was a big part of that. I definitely did not feel good wearing the nursing tops I had found so I went to a local seamstress with a few designs in mind, that were both stylish and functional. These first designs went on to become pieces in our collection at Teat&Cosset.

Wearing beautiful and functional clothes positively changed how I felt about my experience nursing and removed an unnecessary obstacle to breastfeeding. Designing beautiful clothing to help women reach their breastfeeding milestone is something I can say I am truly passionate about.

With that said, here are a few tips for traveling moms on the go!

1) Where to pump: If there isn’t a pumping or mothers space at the airport (some airports have Mamava pods which are wonderful and private) then I would find an isolated corner while you’re waiting for your flight or when you land. You can also check out websites such as Moms Pump Here or Pumpspotting (app) to find pumping friendly spaces.  If you have to pump on the plane just do it in your seat and bring a poncho to cover up and remember, most people will not notice or care!

2) Cooler choice: the number of days you’re away depends on what size cooler to bring. For one night away I suggest a small insulated lunch box cooler. For a three-day trip you can use a six-pack cooler and for longer trips as 12-can cooler. There are also many specifically designed breast milk coolers you can find on Amazon if you don’t want to use a regular cooler.

3) Breastmilk transport: For US travel the TSA allows you to carry on as much milk as you want. For international travel you may want to check the airport before traveling to make sure if you can carry it on.  It is a good idea to freeze your milk for longer trips and the TSA does not have to inspect frozen milk so you can save time at the airport too. You can always ask the hotel staff to do this for you if you don’t have access to a freezer and make sure your ice-packs are frozen too.

4) What to pack: a permanent marker to label breast milk bags, ice-packs, a shawl or poncho – the Olimpia poncho is a favorite – to cover up on the plane, a pumping bra, breast pump, spare parts, breast milk storage bags, cleaning soap, a few spare bottles, a spare hand pump (if you can’t use the electric pump during taxi or take off), a cooler and lots of photos of your baby to help with letdown

5) Plan each day: Look at your schedule and decide in advance the times you are going to pump and make sure to schedule it in. Also think about where you will be at those times and where you will be able to pump. Give yourself some leeway around these times though because you never know what may come up.

Peggy Economou is the founder of Teat&Cosset. For more on Teat&Cosset, visit: teatandcosset.com and follow along on Instagram at @TeatandCosset!

Save

NYC’s Most “Baby Friendly” Hospitals

NYC’s Most “Baby Friendly” Hospitals

In 1991, UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO) launched the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) in hopes of encouraging and educating hospitals and staff to promote, protect and support breastfeeding. Studies have indicated exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of the baby’s life can dramatically reduce the chance of asthma, type 1 and 2 diabetes, obesity, childhood leukemia, and atopic dermatitis (a type of skin rash) in babies and several more illnesses. Breastfeeding has also been shown to lower the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). The benefit of breastfeeding also extends to the mother. Recent studies show that women who breastfeed enjoy decreased risks of breast and ovarian cancer, anemia, and osteoporosis. Unfortunately, according to the Surgeon General of the United States fewer than one in six mothers are exclusively breastfeeding their babies at the end of six months.

Since its launching BFHI has grown, with more than 152 countries around the world implementing the initiative. The initiative has measurable and proven impact, increasing the likelihood of babies being exclusively breastfed for the first six months.

For a hospital to be designated as a BFHI, it has to undergo a thorough training and evaluation, and must demonstrate that certain guidelines are being upheld and met. Currently, New York City has only two hospitals that fulfill the criteria of the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative, Harlem Hospital Center and NYU Langone Medical Center.

Here is a breakdown of the 10 steps a hospital needs to adhere to qualify as a BFHI:

The Ten Steps To Successful Breastfeeding

1. Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff.
2. Train all health care staff in skills necessary to implement this policy.
3. Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.
4. Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth.
5. Show mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation, even if they are separated from their infants.
6. Give newborn infants no food or drink other than breastmilk, unless medically indicated.
7. Practice “rooming in” ”– allow mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day.
8. Encourage breastfeeding on demand.
9. Give no pacifiers or artificial nipples to breastfeeding infants.
10. Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or clinic.

Part of supporting exclusive breastfeeding includes that the mother will no longer be leaving the hospital with a “gift bag” containing baby formula. So you may imagine that baby formula companies are not too thrilled with this movement (the “backlash” of breastfeeding is for another blog).

Even if the hospital you have chosen is not an official “Baby Friendly” hospital, you can try to follow the guidelines and ask for help with breastfeeding, practice “rooming in” and feed on demand. You can also print out the The Ten Steps To Successful Breastfeeding and ask for these guidelines to be met as best as possible. If you still can’t find the breastfeeding support you need from the hospital staff, there are many very qualified lactation consultants available, as well as the La Leche League, all around the country.

Debra Flashenberg is the founder and Director of the Prenatal Yoga Center. She is a certified labor support doula, Lamaze Childbirth Educator, and certified prenatal yoga instructor. She is continuously in awe of the beauty and brilliance of birth and is the proud mother of her son, Shay and daughter, Sage. Visit prenatalyogacenter.com for more info!

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

What You Need To Know About Breastfeeding & Epidurals

What You Need To Know About Breastfeeding & Epidurals

Ask a room of expectant women if they intend to breastfeed and almost 100 percent of them will say yes. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding for at least 12 months and the World Health Organization encourages mothers to continue to breastfeed for two years, but only 49 percent of babies are breastfed at 6 months and only 27 percent are still breastfeeding at one year.

One of the reasons for these poor numbers is that problems arise in the first few days after birth, when mom and baby are trying to establish a breastfeeding routine. Three days after giving birth, 92 percent of the new mothers said they were having problems breastfeeding, which can cause them to lose confidence in their ability to successfully breastfeed and to feel pressure to supplement. However, research has shown that there could be another reason why moms at this stage are struggling with breastfeeding: there is a correlation between breastfeeding issues and epidurals.

When a woman receives epidural anesthesia, she also must get at least two bags of IV fluid to help keep her blood pressure from dropping (a side effect of the epidural). She continues to receive IV fluids throughout her labor, and as a result, both she and baby are full of excess fluid at birth. Within two days, the mother’s body re-absorbs the excess fluid, rendering her breasts more swollen, while her nipples become harder, flat, and more shallow, which can cause latching issues. A typical scenario for new mothers and babies is that the baby establishes a good latch on day one, but by day two, the nipple and breast has changed making latching difficult and frustrating for both mom and baby. Unfortunately, the mother is often blamed for having flat nipples and is given a breast shield (which is controversial among lactation consultants), or the baby is blamed for having a poor sucking reflex or being tongue-tied.

According to Dianne Cassidy, author and International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant, while this problem can be frustrating, it is only temporary. “If mothers realize the swelling and difficulty latching is just from the epidural, not forever…then they will have better breastfeeding,” she says. Since more than 80 percent of women will choose an epidural, Cassidy stresses the importance of helping women get past these temporary difficulties and not give up on breastfeeding. It is extremely important that the new mother’s support team offers her encouragement and tries to build her confidence. If she is having breastfeeding problems due to latching and swollen breasts, encourage her to loosen up the breast by pumping, to hand express, to enjoy as much skin-to-skin contact as possible, and to drink tons of water to help flush out the edema.

The effects of the excess fluid can also been seen in the baby. Within days of being born, babies tend to lose a percentage of their birth weight (10-15 percent), which can cause doctors to become concerned they are not getting enough milk, when in reality, the infant is just peeing out the excess fluid. If the weight of the extra fluid is not accounted for, then the mother who was once committed to exclusively breastfeeding may feel pressured to supplement with formula. This added stress and anxiety can negatively affect her milk supply

As pediatrician Dr. Sonia Gidwani explains: “These parameters are set for people who are not ready to make clinical judgments on patients. Ten percent is a number given out to nurses or people at the hospital who are discharging these babies to identify if the baby needs to be seen immediately. The real way to assess a child is to monitor the baby’s urine output: Day one, one wet diaper, day two, two wet diapers, and day three, three wet diapers. This an indication that there is enough fluid to profusing the kidneys. The baby should urinate at least once every eight hours. Parents can also look for pink crystals (uric acid crystals), which are signs the baby is getting dehydrated.”

There are two more notable correlations between epidurals and breastfeeding to highlight. Epidural usage increases the chance of an instrumental birth with forceps or vacuum extraction, which can affect the baby’s jaw, thus affecting the latch. The baby exhibits a tight jaw and a poor suck pattern, more choppy than sucking. Babies born with forceps and vacuum assistance are also at higher risk for jaundice, which can render them tired and uninterested in feeding. Dianne has seen great success in remedying this issue with cranial-sacral therapy for the baby.

Lastly, some studies have suggested that an epidural paired with the use of pitocin, the synthetic form of oxytocin, can negatively affect breastfeeding. “Labor epidural anesthesia had a negative impact on breastfeeding in the first 24 hours of life even though it did not inhibit the percentage of breastfeeding attempts in the first hour. Further studies are needed to elucidate the exact nature of this association.”

Given that 80 percent of women will receive an epidural during labor, it is vital to support those facing breastfeeding challenges. Tips for getting past breastfeeding difficulties include:

  • If possible, birth in a nursing-friendly hospital that encourages breastfeeding and does not push formula.
  • Discuss ahead of time with your pediatrician the expectation of weight loss for the baby.
  • Room-in with the baby.
  • Find a breastfeeding support group like La Leche League or a local breastfeeding support organization.
  • Seek out a lactation consultant.
  • Educate mothers on newborn behavior and breastfeeding patterns.
  • Adjust expectations of baby’s eating pattern. Babies do not eat a lot in the first week or two; they take in very small amounts during each feeding: a teaspoon in the first day or so, increasing to an ounce in the first week.
  • Encourage skin-to-skin contact.
  • Have tools available to help alleviate swelling and fluid from the epidural, such as a hospital-grade breast pump, or self express.
  • Adjust expectations of ourselves as birthing women. Breastfeeding can be hard, but you can be successful!

Debra Flashenberg is the founder and Director of the Prenatal Yoga Center. She is a certified labor support doula, Lamaze Childbirth Educator, and certified prenatal yoga instructor. She is continuously in awe of the beauty and brilliance of birth and is the proud mother of her son, Shay and daughter, Sage. Visit prenatalyogacenter.com for more info!

Save

Save

FOX & Friends Weekend’s Abby Huntsman Talks Pregnancy And The Working Mom Life

FOX & Friends Weekend’s Abby Huntsman Talks Pregnancy And The Working Mom Life

Abby Huntsman, a co-host on “FOX & Friends Weekend, is expecting her first child—and it’s a girl! She couldn’t be happier preparing for one of the biggest chapters in her life and her husband, Jeffrey Livingston, was just as over-the-moon, too (see the cute pregnancy reveal video below).

“I have to say, he has been so excited since we found out,” Huntsman says. “She’s going to have him wrapped around her finger. She’s the first girl grandchild in the family, so we’re so excited for that.”

Huntsman is already well into her second trimester but as far as the first? It was a bit of a challenge. During the first couple of months, Huntsman was as nauseous as ever and going about her day wasn’t easy, especially when she works long hours at the office. Now, she’s taking a more laid-back approach to her pregnancy and having the best time with it all.

Her energy levels have risen, but so have her thoughts about city living as a parent. Just like many new parents, Huntsman and her husband think about what the best environment is for their child to grow up in. Living in the city that never sleeps, Huntsman knew it was best to look at the positives and have high hopes that her baby girl will learn all about the vastly different cultures around the city and how to appreciate what she has.

Both Huntsman and Livingston work extremely long hours and sometimes go days without seeing each other, but it’s the time they have together that makes up for the loss.

“One minute you’re crying and you go: ‘I’m so excited for this baby.’ I feel like every woman can relate. You just go through so many things at once and my husband has been my rock. I wonder how can he stay with me,” Huntsman jokes. “You have all these weird cravings, I feel like I’m eating like a five-year-old again because all I want are chicken fingers and fries and pizza. I can down a whole jar of pickles in one sitting.”

You read right, one sitting! She also said she has been nonstop craving some warm and hearty diner food. Luckily for her, she gets sent around the country to talk to folks in diners about politics, so while she’s there, why wouldn’t she just pick up something to eat?

Her baby isn’t due until November, but she is already giving great advice for expectant moms: “Just make sure you take time for yourself—you’ve got to be selfish. If you can’t go out to a dinner event with friends, then don’t go out. You’ve just got to rest,” Huntsman says.

Breaking the news to the family was priceless and she did it in the best way, using her ultrasound. “I had my family come over to my apartment and we put our ultrasound on our kitchen table and we didn’t say anything. Finally my mom looked at the photo and she just starts screaming,” Huntsman says.

The way she did it for the audience on her show was clever as well. Over time, Huntsman had been getting tweets about how she looks like she has the pregnancy glow and how she looks like she’s changing, so she took it upon herself to invite her husband over onto the show for their announcement. Due to the fact that everyone knows the gender, the name will be the big reveal once her baby is born. So don’t tweet at her about it—it’s a secret!

Getting her start back in Utah, Huntsman used to work for a local morning show in her town. During and after college, she had the chance to work for shows like “Good Morning America” and “ABC News” where she developed a deeper love for broadcasting and politics. During the time her dad, Jon Huntsman Jr., was running his presidential campaign, Abby took time off and joined him to help out. Her love for broadcast, performance, and politics has led her where she is today and she couldn’t be happier.

“I love TV, I’ve always loved waking up with people. Being the first person they turn to for news and bringing a smile to their faces is the best,” she says.

Currently Huntsman and Livingston are living in their one-bedroom apartment with their Instagram-able dog George (no really, he has an Instagram account!) getting ready to move into a bigger apartment so their little girl can have a nursery to call her own. You can catch Abby as a co-host on “FOX & Friends Weekend” from 6-10am.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Desi Lydic: The Realest Mom In Fake News

Desi Lydic: The Realest Mom In Fake News

Desi Lydic wears: Pascal Millet dress; Anndra Neen earrings & ring (large stone, left hand); Leenabell short necklace; Monica Rich Kosann long necklace; Eugenia Kim hat; and her own rings.

Photos: Erica Berger Photography | Location: Tribeca 360° | Fashion stylist: Christina Pacelli of The Only.Agency | Assistant stylist: Taylor Negrete | Hair & makeup: Glamazon Beauty Cosmetics by Kim Baker. 

Regardless of your personal political leanings, it can’t be denied that we’re living in strange times. Every day there’s something new in the headlines that many parents likely struggle to explain to their children. And regardless of your personal parenting philosophy, if you have a toddler, then it’s likely that almost every day there’s a struggle in your household that you need to face with a libation of choice. Even the so-called “relaxing” moments of parenthood can call for sprinkle of wine, as comedian and new mother Desi Lydic can tell you.

“We live kind of close to the river, so we’ll go and lay down a blanket and bring cheese and crackers,” Lydic responds when I ask about how her family—which consists of her, her husband, and their now-18-month-old son, Brixton—likes to unwind during the summer. “And maybe a little wine for my husband and me—I don’t know if that makes us irresponsible parents, but if it does then…?” She trails off intentionally with a raised eyebrow and a knowing smile, clearly implying that she can live with being labeled a little bit irresponsible. “You kind of have to to get through it,” she adds, kidding-but-maybe-not-kidding.

And, because she’s hilarious, when I ask later on about whether she and her husband have different approaches to parenting, I get even more of a sense that she’s the mom you definitely need to add to your playdate group: “Well, I like to drink through it…and he likes to hold me back,” she says with a big laugh.

Of course she’s joking (because she’s a comedian and she literally makes a living by joking) but she’s also touching on the reality that we all have our own way of navigating life’s challenges, and that’s okay. There’s no doubt that Lydic, 35, is a very responsible and loving mother to Brixton—on-set together at our photo shoot on the roof of Tribeca 360°, mother and son couldn’t stop making each other smile (except for when Brixton decided, by way of toddler logic, that he just simply could not stand his mother putting sunscreen on him, despite that it was an absurd 95° in May)—but the fact that she’s game to state the obvious and stage-wink at the fact that parenting is tough and wine is delicious, is part and parcel of the brand of comedy that she deploys to great effect as a correspondent on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show.”

“I was a fan of the show before getting on it, I was a huge fan of Jon [Stewart’s], and it was always a dream,” Lydic says. “I really admired the show and what it had done for so many years—just the perspective it had and the way that it brought insight and knowledge to people who may or may not be watching the news. I didn’t necessarily catch the news every day but I would catch ‘The Daily Show,’ and maybe that’s irresponsible of me, but I got to digest it in a way that felt satisfying, entertaining, light.”

On TDS, Lydic stands out as the only female correspondent, and fans know and love her for smart and sassy segments like “What the Actual Fact?” (a series of segments that fact-checked statements made throughout the 2016 campaign and the early days of the Trump administration–see video below), a nuanced look at the real political views of NRA members (in which she interviewed her own father, a card-carrying NRA member himself, for a result that was funny and informative on both sides of the issue), and a field piece about a group of female Republican voters called the Trumpettes (you just have to watch it). It’s pieces like these that Lydic enjoys doing as much as viewers surely enjoy watching.

“I loved doing ‘What the Actual Fact?’ because I felt like it was so needed at that time. I felt like we weren’t calling out our politicians on the bullshit. It’s a confusing time because you also have different narratives depending on what news source you’re watching. So what is true and what isn’t true? What paper are you supposed to trust? What is fake news and what is the liberal agenda? I really liked having the opportunity to kind of call people out but in a light, funny way,” she explains. “My favorite field piece that I’ve done was probably the Trumpettes [see video below]. Because—ha-ha—this woman…she was fantastic. She was just the best character in every way. I loved her. From the second I walked into that house I was like: ‘Oh, I’m moving in! I’m going to hang out with this woman and I’m going to make her my friend and we’re going to vacation together and it’s going to be fun!’

When Lydic took the correspondent position at TDS in 2015, she had been living in LA (where she’d been since age 19 when she departed from her native Kentucky in search of adventure) working has an actress (MTV viewers may remember her as Val Marks on “Awkward”). She was also six months pregnant. So the TDS job offer was a dream come true for Lydic, who initially got her start doing improv in LA at the Groundlings, but it also meant moving across the country, while heavily pregnant.

“It all happened very fast—packing up and moving and switching doctors and the whole thing,” she recalls. “I had auditioned months before and found out that I got the job when I was very pregnant…then I had to figure out: ‘How do I tell these people that I’m going to look huge on camera and I’m going to be with child the second I start this?’ And I don’t think there’s any other [job] on the planet that would have been like: ‘Great! No big deal! Perfect! We’ll use it! We’ll do stories that involve your pregnancy!’” And sure enough—Lydic rocked her baby bump clear through TDS’s final show of 2015. She also gave viewers the gift of a hilarious segment about “Momsplaining” five months after having Brixton (video below).

.embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; }

Being a parent in the entertainment industry can be a challenge—long days, unpredictable schedules, high levels of pressure—but for Lydic, TDS is not only a collaborative and inspiring work environment, but it also provides her with a level of structure that she finds to be really compatible with motherhood. As a correspondent, she’s involved in her segments at all junctures, from the pitch stage to the final edit, but much of her work is happening within a set schedule. And though she travels a good amount for the show’s field pieces, when she’s in NYC she has morning meetings, she reports to an office on the regular, and the show does its live taping at the same time each day.

“There is a lot of travel with my job [for field pieces], and with that part of it, the hours can be all over the place. But then, with the day in and day out, things are pretty structured. Never before, as an actor, have I had a job that’s been this structured,” Lydic says. “It’s not like the traditional movie or TV set where you have your trailer and you sit and wait and it’s a 15-hour day. A lot of it is really conducive to having a family. And then, just when you think you need a break from your kid, you get put on a field piece and you head to Nebraska to interview a senator about something!”

Desi Lydic wears: Allina Liu two-piece suit; Baumgarten Di Marco necklace; her own rings. Brixton wears: Old Navy onesie; H&M shorts & suspenders.

In addition to navigating the age-old conundrum of juggling time at home vs. time at the office, Lydic is also in the unique position of having a professional life that’s inherently steeped in the politics of this unusual moment in history. It makes for a whole new layer of the work-life balance question, because she wants to use her comedy to positively impact the world her son will grow up in.

“[Having a child] changes your perspective on everything. There are certain things in life that seem so unimportant now, things that I would get caught up in before, like cutting bangs as a mistake… But there are other things that happen in the world and now you see it through a different lens, because now you go: ‘Oh my God, I brought this child into this world and now these things are happening!’ Or: ‘What can I do to try to change these things that frighten me about the environment that he’s going to grow up in?’” she explains. “I want [my son] to know that not everyone needs to live from a place of fear. And just because the President may say it’s okay to grab a woman by the pussy, whether she likes it or not, or that Muslims aren’t welcome in this country, or that we should build a big wall to keep Mexicans out and that they’re all rapists—I want him to know that those things are not true and you don’t have to believe it just because it comes from who we elected as President.”

The existential issue of raising a child in a politically volatile day and age aside, Lydic and her husband Gannon Brousseau (who is the senior VP of the jewelry group of Emerald Expositions, where he oversees luxury jewelry, watch, and antique shows), focus just as much energy on the everyday joys and challenges that are simply part of life with a toddler. It’s tough getting him to stick to a routine as he hits new developmental stages, but it’s fun to see his personality emerge; he loves horses but he hates swings; he’s absolutely adorable, but he still spits up on his mom’s good jackets. And as we learned on-set: He loves sunglasses and bananas but isn’t crazy about sunscreen or extreme heat.

“You have this intense love for someone that you feel like you’ve known your entire life. You dream about it, you think about it, you spend nine months with this little person inside of you and you don’t know what they’re going to be like and then they come out and it’s like: ‘Oh, you’re formed. You’re your own soul, you’re your own person,’” Lydic says. “And then they get a little older and you feel like you can barely keep your head above water and you sort of feel like you’re doing a halfway job of everything, but it’s worth it.”

As Lydic brings her little dude up as a born-and-raised New Yorker, she’s navigating the city as a transplant herself. She admits with a hearty laugh and an exaggerated eyebrow raise that, yes, her son’s childhood in NYC will be quite different from her own in Kentucky.

“[My husband and I] lived in LA for 13 years before we moved here…so we always thought we’d be raising our family there. And before that, I thought Kentucky,” she says. “But it’s great. I love this city. I love everything it has to offer and I love that there’s this feeling that you really have to earn it here. You’re not entitled to anything. New York makes you work for it—so when you have a good day, you’ve earned it… And people in New York love their city. They have so much pride in their city and I hope Brixton always feels that way.”

It may seem like that heartfelt sentiment would be the perfect way to end our journey through Lydic’s adventures in parenting and political humor. But first—because I think she’d want this story to end in LOLs—as they say on “The Daily Show,” here’s your moment of Zen:

“I did grow up in a house that loves to laugh and loves comedy,” Lydic explains when I ask her about how she got into the performing arts, and comedy specifically. To illustrate her point she gave the following example: “My aunt writes these really hilarious limericks that are totally inappropriate. For my wedding, my family got me something that I registered for, which was a crock-pot…but they changed the outside of the box to say ‘Crotch-Pot,’ and when I opened it up, my 78-year-old aunt had written a whole book of recipes that were all sexual innuendo recipes for my new marriage. Like for roasted chicken it was: ‘Spread the thighs apart and tickle…’ So, my aunt has a ridiculous sense of humor!”

To catch Desi Lydic on “The Daily Show” on Comedy Central, visit cc.com!

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Book Nook Comes To Tribeca

Book Nook Comes To Tribeca

Book Nook, the beloved children’s literary learning center which originated on the Upper West Side, has arrived in Tribeca (right between Duane Park and the New Amsterdam Library)! The second location, for children ages 6 months to 7 years, will serve as cozy literary oasis, with a nature theme that transports young readers to a serene forest to make them as comfortable as possible, while promoting learning with their endless selection of books.

Book Nook offers six tiers of 90-minute classes, and serves as the perfect nursery to grade school transition. Children as young as 6 months old can participate in Baby Hoots, which uses fun activities like music and puppets to help children with their introduction to separation. Throughout their classes, Book Nook provides children with the fundamentals of reading and equips them with tools and techniques to help them on their learning journey. In addition to classes, Book Nook also offers Kindergarten and first grade preparation workshops, tutoring sessions, space rental and summer camps. Each summer camp is inspired by a theme, with this years being Enchanted Stories.

As a New York City mother herself, founder and owner of Book Nook, Rina P. Collins, wanted to share the importance of inspiring children to read early on in life. “I designed this program to teach children that reading can be fun and that it can take us on a journey,” she says. “If we teach them the importance of reading early on, then they will carry that on with them for future academic success.”

Book Nook Enrichment will encourage kids to read while providing them with a comfortable environment that lets their imaginations and creativity soar. Visit their website for more information about classes and events.

To learn more, visit booknooknyc.com!

 

Save

Save

Monica+Andy Opens In NYC

Monica+Andy Opens In NYC

Photo by Stephania Stanley Photography

New and expectant parents in New York City can add a new store to their shopping list. The beloved Chicago-based digitally native baby clothing retailer Monica+Andy has officially opened a Guideshop location on the Upper West Side, where they’ll sell baby gifts, clothes, super-sized layette packages, as well as swaddles, blankets, burp cloths, and more.

As a mother herself, company founder and fashion enthusiast, Monica Royer, was inspired by the need for quality fabrics in today’s children’s clothing. “I learned in the early days of having my daughter that children’s clothing can have lead and it can be sprayed with flame retardant, and even when I bought things that were organic and didn’t have those things in them, I was still really surprised by the scratchiness of the fabric,” she says. Over the course of the next three years, while doubling as a stay-at-home mother, Royer built the foundation for Monica+Andy, which draws its name from her name and her brother’s name (fun fact: Her bro is Bonobos co-founder Andy Dunn).

The company, which has seen tremendous success with shoppers online, is now expanding their in-store shopping experience from their Chicago base to Manhattan. “As someone who had a 3-year-old at the time, I didn’t have the opportunity to travel back and forth as much as I do now, but it was always kind of planned that we would expand to New York once we were able to find a spot,” Royer says. Monica+Andy, which prides itself on customer experience, hopes to bring every unique experience found in their Chicago stores to New York. “We will have a doughnut bar, story-time and music classes, a lactation consultant, and we’ll be hosting a lot of pre-natal classes as well,” Royer says. “Having a positive experience in the retail environment is so important to us. We really want to build a community and make you feel like you have a friend.”

One of the most popular products offered by Monica+Andy is the innovative layette box, a carefully selected collection of essential pieces for baby’s first wardrobe. Boxes are put together at different price points to accommodate parents looking for a more full wardrobe or just the essentials, and include notes about how, when or where to use each item, as well as personal mom anecdotes. “As a new mom you can sometimes feel a little lost. You might have a ton of friends but you can feel isolated at times if your the only one with a one month old so we wanted you to feel like you’re in the know.”

All products sold at Monica+Andy are approved by Royer’s special Board of Mom Directors, with most items featuring a one-run print. We want to provide children’s clothing that is as unique as you feel they are,” Royer notes. Not only can kids have fun at the store, new and first time parents will be able to relax and enjoy a stress-free shopping experience. “Here, your kids can run around. We love noise, we love parents, we love kids and we want a vibrant and alive space that we can utilize as much as possible so that we can become as much a part of the local community as we are a part of the national online brand.”

Monia+Andy’s UWS Guideshop can be found at 410 Columbus Avenue! To learn more, visit monicaandandy.com!

Save

Save

Save