NANN SmartBrief Special Report on Breastfeeding, Part 1
This Special Report is a roundup of recent news and studies about breastfeeding. Watch for Part 2 on Oct. 30.
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At Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Tech. Sgt. Jesseka King, a basic training instructor, used rooms where sick trainees were quarantined to pump breast milk, and Tech. Sgt. Ronneisha Sargent used her car because her job takes her across the base. The nonprofit Breastfeeding in Combat Boots provides information for military nursing mothers, and founder Robyn Roche-Paull, a Navy veteran, said policies can vary from branch to branch.
New requirements in California call for employers to provide space for lactating mothers in areas that are not bathrooms, but Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a Senate measure that would have required that lactation areas meet certain size guidelines and offer access to running water and a refrigerator.
Women often struggle when they return to work after maternity leave. HR leaders can address the issue with steps such as offering a phased return, providing ample time for breastfeeding and child care, and not assuming anything about work and family priorities.
CDC researchers found that 83.2% of babies in the US were breastfed from birth, but only 57.6% were breastfeeding at 6 months and just 35.9% were exclusively breastfed at 12 months. The findings in the agency's 2018 Breastfeeding Report Card, based on 2015 survey data, also showed that more than 50% of the Healthy People 2020 breastfeeding-related goals have been met, with more than 25% of infants being born in facilities adhering to recommended maternal and neonatal breastfeeding practices and 49% of employers offering worksite lactation support programs.
The American Academy of Pediatrics released a clinical report in Pediatrics recommending against maternal use of marijuana during pregnancy and lactation due to risk of short- and long-term adverse outcomes in children, as well as urging pediatricians to encourage mothers to stop marijuana use. A separate study in the same journal found that small amounts of the psychoactive chemical THC remained in most breast milk samples six days after maternal marijuana use.
Italian researchers examined 80 3-day-old babies who underwent a heel stick and found that maternal holding, combined with sugar water or breastfeeding, yielded better pain relief than glucose and breastfeeding alone. Near-infrared spectroscopy showed less pain transmission in the cerebral cortex among those who received sugar water alone, compared with those who had only pumped breast milk, while breastfeeding was tied to extensive cerebral cortex activation that may have overwhelmed feelings of pain, according to a study in Pediatrics.
Infants who were directly breastfed had slower weight gain and reduced body mass index scores at age 3 months, compared with those who received pumped breast milk, Canadian researchers reported in Pediatrics. The findings also showed lower BMI, slower weight gain and a threefold reduced overweight risk among those who were exclusively breastfed for 12 months, regardless of breastfeeding mode, compared with those who stopped breastfeeding before age 6 months.
A study in the online Journal of the American Heart Association showed that there was a 23% lower risk of stroke among postmenopausal women who had breastfed one or more children, with the risk reduced by up to 48% in non-Hispanic black women.
Exclusively breastfed 5-month-old babies who were exposed to a stressful situation had lower levels of cortisol and were less likely to have a fight-or-flight stress response, compared with those who weren't breastfed, researchers reported in Pediatrics. The findings suggest that maternal bonding during breastfeeding may increase babies' resilience to stress and other maternal nurturing behaviors, such as holding and cuddling, may be beneficial, even among those who were formula-fed, said Dr. Robert Wright, who wrote an accompanying editorial.
Scottish researchers found that preterm babies who were exclusively given breast milk for at least 75% of the duration of their hospital stay had better brain connectivity, compared with those who received less breast milk and more formula. The findings in the journal NeuroImage were based on MRI scans of 47 infants born before 33 weeks' gestation.
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"I was using our trainee holdover rooms. That's where we put sick trainees when they're quarantined from their flight, so it's not the most hygienic room."
Jesseka King, basic training instructor at Lackland Air Force Base on where she pumped after returning to work