Baby Feeding  &  Nutrition

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    This is hard for me to write. I'm usually the 'I don't care what other people think' type of person, but I feel like I've let myself down too this time. Which makes this particular situation even worse, because it's not just about me.

    I have five kids. With each one, my goal was to breastfeed for at least a year. I love everything about the concept of breastfeeding. The bonding, the not having to get up in the middle of the night to make bottles, the benefits for mom and baby, donating milk to others, toddler nursing ... all of it. I can easily tell other nursing moms what to do to help with their breastfeeding issues. But for some reason, when it comes to me nursing, it's a different story.

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    It's not easy being a mommy to two or more children -- especially when you're trying to incorporate the demands of breastfeeding into a schedule that takes your older child's needs into account. Schools, of all places, should be advocates for parents and make it as accommodating as possible for them to fulfill their kids' physical, social, and emotional needs.

    And that's why it's super shocking that a mom in Utah was instructed to put her breasts away -- I should say, to put her already covered breasts away -- and stop nursing her baby while attending an event at her older child's school.

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    Lots of women worry about what their breasts are going to look like after breastfeeding. It's a totally normal concern, of course. But imagine how your worries would be intensified if you were the star of a hit HBO show that often required you to bare your breasts while in bed with Alexander Skarsgard.

    Anna Paquin, we feel your pain.

    True Blood's Sookie Stackhouse, who gave birth to twins in 2012 with co-star and husband Stephen Moyer, recently revealed something about her post-breastfeeding breasts on Late Night With Seth Meyers that a whole lot of fellow mommies can relate to.

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    Trying to boost your milk supply? There are a lot of ways to do that, but why not try the yummiest? There are so many tasty recipes for lactation treats out there, we can hardly count them all. Everything from cookies to smoothies -- whatever you crave, there's probably a milk-inducing version of it.

    We've found 8 scrumptious recipes loaded with natural galactagogues, those special ingredients that help you make more milk. So enjoy snacking and lactating, mama!

    More from The Stir5 'Controversial' Foods Breastfeeding Moms Should Know About

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    The first few months of a newborn's life are critical in establishing breastfeeding practices. And there's some good news out there according to a new "breastfeeding map of America." Some 77 percent of U.S. infants begin breastfeeding!

    Now for the bad news: the number of mothers who are still breastfeeding exclusively for the first six months -- the recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatrics -- drops significantly. So where do moms have the best chance of making it to that six-month mark? Where do they have the lowest chance? Using data from the CDC, the map shows us where moms are faring well at nursing ... and where they're not.

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    What a strange world we live in -- one in which a mom breastfeeding her baby at a Starbucks makes another woman angry enough to complain, but gets a compassionate response from ... a male teenage barista? Yep.

    Julia Wykes stopped in to a Starbucks in Ontario to grab a drink and realized her 5-month-old was hungry. She decided to, oh, you know, do the only humane thing possible and feed her child, gasp, from her breast! This was enough to royally piss off a customer who clearly hadn't had enough caffeine that day. The woman walked right up to the young barista and reportedly told him in a very loud voice, "Could you get that woman to stop doing that in public? It is disgusting."

    Well, his response was priceless -- and a model for how ALL companies should treat women who breastfeed in their establishments.

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    A Florida mom, who says she has strict vegan beliefs, was arrested and charged with child neglect after she refused to bring her 12-day-old newborn to the hospital to be treated for dehydration.

    Sarah Anne Markham, who is 23, reportedly brought her son to his pediatrician and was told he had lost weight and needed to be taken for medical treatment. The doctor gave her formula and told her she needed to feed her baby, but Markham allegedly refused because she feared the formula contained animal by-products. Instead of following doc's orders, police say the woman went home -- where she later wouldn't open the door and speak with authorities.

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    Even for the staunchest of breastfeeders, using a bottle can be a necessary fact of life. Whether it's because you have to go back to work, want dad to be able to feed and bond with baby, or you just want to have a night out on the town (good for you!), a bottle can become a new mom's best friend. Yet many a breastfeeding mom can tell you that introducing a breastfed baby to the bottle is easier said than done. Some babies will take a bottle no problem, but others? Not so much.

    Sometimes the key to success lies in the bottle itself. And the truth is, you might have to try a few different brands and do a little trial and error to find the bottle that works for your baby. That said, there are some things you can look for at the outset to increase your chances of getting it right the first time.

    We asked moms which bottles worked for them and why, and here, they share their expertise.

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    Breastfeeding comes with rewards galore (for you and your baby), but nursing moms may also need to contend with uncomfortable related ailments from time to time. Engorged breasts is one of the most common.

    Although it's normal for your breasts to get larger, heavier, and even a bit tender (due to extra blood and lymph fluids in the breast tissue) between the second and fifth day after giving birth, breasts should start to feel softer -- even with milk production in full-gear -- within the first two to three weeks. But engorgement, which is caused by the volume of milk exceeding the capacity to store it, can cause breasts to become hard and painful. You may also notice breast swelling, tenderness, warmth, redness, throbbing, flattening of the nipple, or low-grade fever. Research from The Cochrane Collaboration found that engorgement can actually prevent women from breastfeeding in the first place, cause them to give it up, or lead to infection, such as mastitis.

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    Breastfeeding can be an incredible bonding experience for moms and their little ones, but from time to time, moms may encounter discomfort or medical ailments as a result. One woe moms may face is cracked or bleeding nipples. Experiencing either of these serves as a warning that there is an underlying problem that needs to be corrected as soon as possible, so as to preempt further discomfort. (Nipples may also crack or bleed due to eczema, which you may want your health care practitioner to rule out.)

    "The root problem with cracked and bleeding nipples is usually the baby's latch," says postpartum doula and co-founder of Baby Caravan Emily Crocker. "This is such a common problem, but if you're having pain, you should try contacting a lactation consultant or your doula to see if they can look at the latch and offer help. Some simple adjustments in latch can make a big difference."

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