Thursday, July 22, 2010

Should I Be Giving My Baby Vitamin D?

At our July meeting we discussed how to avoid difficulties with breastfeeding, especially during the hot summer months. One topic that came up was the subject of Vitamin D. Should we be supplementing our breastfed babies? What about ourselves?

The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding has a section specifically about Vitamin D. In the newest edition, it is on page 158.

"Recent research has shown that most of us, including our exclusively breastfed babies, need additional vitamin D. Some public health groups say this supplementation should start at birth, while others say it should start by two months. What's right?

Here's the scoop: we are designed to manufacture our own vitamin D in our skin by exposure to sunlight, not to get it form food, and throughout most of human history that worked fine. But getting enough sun on our skins has gotten tougher. The thinning ozone layer makes sun exposure so potent that people tend to use sunscreen generously when they're outdoors. Modern lifestyles mean most of us spend most of our time indoors. Some women who are covered for religious reasons may protect even their faces from the sun. Adequate vitamin D isn't made form sunlight above certain latitudes in the winter. And people with dark skin need even more time outside to acquire enough vitamin D.

Vitamin D helps us absorb and use calcium properly and keep our immune system strong, which may be why so many folks in cooler climates are susceptible to colds and flu during winter, when the sun is low. And we're learning that too little vitamin D may put us at higher risk of such problems as diabetes and cancer before we see such obvious problems as rickets.

It isn't possible to get too much vitamin D from sunlight. It is possible to get too much through supplements and enriched foods, but it turns out we've been too cautious with supplements in the past. The first and best way to get more vitamin D into your baby is to expose her to more sunshine, but in ways that minimize the chance of sunburn. Here are some ideas: If you carry your baby in a car seat, there's no need to throw a blanket over the whole thing unless it's a really cold winter day. Run errands with your baby - all that dashing in and out of stores, babe in arms, contributes to her vitamin D supply for the week. Use sunscreen very sparingly until your baby is six months old and then only if his exposure will be prolonged. If your baby is dark-skinned, his need for sunscreen is even less.

Talk to your doctor about increasing the level of vitamin D in your milk by taking a vitamin D supplement yourself. Recent research suggests 4,000 IU per day may be the amount needed to get enough into your milk. Discuss your particular situation with the doctor to decide if your baby needs vitamin D supplementation, look for a brand of drops that is only vitamin D. You can put the drops on your nipple and let the baby nurse them off."

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Our Newest Leader

Sally (left) and Erika (right).

We have a new La Leche League Leader, representing Cedar City! This is exciting news for our group, and the community! It's great to have someone as enthusiastic as Erika here to volunteer her time and energy to LLL! We would like to welcome Erika and have her introduce herself.

Tell us a little about yourself:

1.What do you like to do? Have any favorite hobbies or interests?
I really love to knit and sew. I like to garden, and tend to my flock of chickens. I love taking my children camping, and I really love to cook!

2.What inspired you to want to be an LLL Leader?
I love helping other mothers. I had a rough start with breastfeeding, and I always knew after that that I would spend my spare time helping other mothers with breastfeeding. All moms can use support and encouragement and it feels so good to just "be there" for other mothers, whether or not they are encountering problems with nursing.

3.What is your favorite thing about being involved with LLL?
Gentle encouragement goes a long way! It feels good to empower women to trust in their own mothering insticts. Plus, it is a great place to get to know wonderful women in the community!

4.How has breastfeeding affected your life as a mother?
It has absolutely affected my life in the most profound way. I am more confident, and more patient. I gained a greater understanding for my children and an immense amount of love for them! I have looked forward to this for a long time and now that it is here, I will fill the role to the best of my ability. I want to support and encourage breastfeeding mothers from all walks of life.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

July Meeting

Come one, come all to July's LLL meeting, at the Cedar City Library!

Starts Friday, July 9th, at 10:30am.

This month's topic is on avoiding breastfeeding difficulties, specifically "Breastfeeding during the Summer months." Of course we always welcome any breastfeeding topics or questions that come up. Please feel free to come with any questions you have, stories to share, or new experiences. Hope to see you there!

We will also be introducing our newest La Leche League Leader at this months meeting. We won't spill the beans; you have to come and find out for yourself!

See you this Friday!