Preparing to Breastfeed: What a Lactation Counselor Wants You to Know

Breastfeeding is much like a “dance” between mom and baby

Both have to do their part—and each has to practice to triumph. The first few days of new motherhood are a whirlwind, but keep in mind that patience and repetition can help. If breastfeeding is your goal, the following are very important first steps to take just after delivery.

Kangaroo care

Right after delivery, cuddling a naked baby directly to his or her mother’s skin (preferably near the breasts) is very important. Newborns have a heightened sense of smell and use this to seek mom’s nipple. It is also proven to have other medical benefits.

An early latch

Even if baby is sleepy, try to get him or her to latch as early as possible—optimally within the first two hours.

Room in

Use the time in the hospital to get to know your baby’s feeding and diapering needs, as well as hunger cues. If baby stays in the nursery rather than in your room, nursing opportunities are often missed.


New motherhood isn’t exactly restful, but after delivery baby is often very sleepy. Use this time to rest and prepare for regular feedings.

Avoid extras

Avoid giving baby anything (pacifier, formula) other than the breast unless medically indicated. Babies are born to breastfeed and do not need anything else.

Work together

Partners can do everything except breastfeed the baby. We recommend they take care of mom, so she can focus on baby.

Lactation help

Most hospitals offer on-site lactation counseling and lactation stores, where you can get postnatal counseling, nursing bra fittings and more. If you are early in your pregnancy and your hospital does not offer these services, I would consider delivering elsewhere.

6 Heart Attack Warning Signs that are Unique to Women

It isn’t just a guy thing. Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of both women and men in the United States. 

Unfortunately, only a small percentage of women believe this is the greatest health problem facing them today. And that’s concerning, because while the overall death rate from heart disease has decreased in men, it continues to increase in women.

Coronary artery disease, or the build-up of cholesterol-containing deposits in the arteries, is one of the most common forms of heart disease. Women and men are both at risk for the disease, but women typically do not show signs until 5 to 10 years after men do.

Because nobody is exempt from heart disease, it is important speak with your physician about your risk factors for the disease (and a resulting heart attack).

Knowing the heart attack warning signs is important because early treatment can mean preventing severe long-term health problems or even potentially the difference between life and death. Just as the statistics between women and men vary greatly, so too do heart symptoms. The movies depict the traditional warning signs (which you should be aware of), such as arm pain and chest pressure or pain.

Many people, especially women, may exhibit different heart attack symptoms.

  1. Nausea
  2. Stomach, neck, shoulder or upper back pain
  3. Sweating
  4. Breathlessness
  5. Dizziness
  6. Jaw pain

Movies also falsely stereotype heart attack sufferers as older people, but heart disease can occur in people of all ages. Male or female, young or old, if you exhibit any unusual symptoms like those listed above, you should go to the Emergency Room immediately.

The 5 Most Popular Colon Cancer Screenings

Colorectal cancer is one of the most common and deadliest forms of cancer in the United States, but it has one uncommon characteristic—its ability to be detected early.

Colonoscopy screening can reduce cancer risk and detect it early, when it is most treatable. It is one of the most effective tools available to prevent cancer deaths. In fact, if caught early, colon cancer has a survival rate of nearly 90 percent. And other, effective colon cancer screenings are also available.

The Most Effective Option

1. Colonoscopy

Colonoscopy is by far the most effective and most popular screening. This is the only colon cancer screening test that can detect and remove precancerous polyps at the same time, potentially eliminating abnormal cells before they become cancerous. During a colonoscopy, your gastroenterologist can see inside the colon and large intestine by using a flexible camera called a colonoscope. It may sound a bit scary, but in the last several years the preparation has gotten easier and most patients report that the test is quick and relatively painless.

Other screenings, which can be minimally-invasive, are options for patients who may be nervous about getting a colonoscopy or for those who have other risk factors. It is important to note that the following screenings can require invasive follow-up with a positive result.

Other Great Screening Options

2. Fecal blood tests

There are two versions of this non-invasive assessment, which essentially tests for blood in the stool. Patients take home a kit to provide the sample to the testing lab or physician.

3. Stool DNA tests, including Cologuard®

Cologuard is an at-home test which examines whether there is cancerous DNA in the stool. A similar stool-based DNA test can also be ordered via your physician.

4. CT colonoscopy (virtual colonoscopy)

This is a type of X-ray that provides physicians with 3- and 4-D pictures of your colon and surrounding areas. These in-depth photos allow polyps and other abnormalities to be detected.

5. Flexible sigmoidoscopy

During a sigmoidoscopy your physician can look at the rectum and part of the colon to spot any abnormality. This type of test does not allow the provider to view the full colon, so it is less widely used than colonoscopy.

Death Rates are Declining

It is important to note that despite the availability of effective screening, death rate for colorectal cancer in adults ages 20 to 54 increased by one percent each year from 2004 to 2014. Before that time period, from the mid-1970s through the 1990s, as colonoscopy screening adoption increased rapidly, the death rate had been decreasing by almost two percent yearly. The colon cancer death rates for those over age 54 have declined, due to increased screenings in that population.

As physicians, We consider the colonoscopy to be the gold standard test. I recommend this to my family and friends. However, any screening is better than no screening at all. And that’s the truth. Talk to your physician about the screening test that is best for you. Make this brief time commitment to your health for a long-term benefit.

Are You at Risk for Developing Type 2 Diabetes?

The latest diabetes statistics show that one in three U.S. adults is at a high risk for developing Type 2 diabetes. Another 86 million U.S. adults have prediabetes, which means that their blood glucose (blood sugar) is higher than normal, but not at the level to yet be classified as diabetes. One out of 11 U.S adults has diabetes, but nearly one quarter of these adults do not even realize they have the disease. Based on recent estimates, by 2050 as many as 30 percent of U.S. adults may develop diabetes.

But Adults Are Not the Only Ones at Risk

Type 2 diabetes has also increasingly been reported in children and adolescents. Based on research by the Centers for Disease Control, as of 2015, 132,000 children and teens under 18 years old in the U.S. have been diagnosed with diabetes. The large majority, 95 percent of those diagnosed, have Type 2 diabetes.  The rise of childhood obesity and physical inactivity is widely believed to play a crucial role.

We can all work to stop this epidemic.

Diabetes Complications Can Be Very Serious

Over time, diabetes may increase the risk of serious complications including heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney failure, amputation of toes, feet or legs and premature death. If you have already been diagnosed, or have prediabetes, keeping your blood sugar levels, blood pressure, weight and cholesterol levels within a healthy range can lower the risk of diabetes-related complications.

Prevention is Key

The good news is that diabetes is preventable. Healthy eating and positive lifestyle changes, like obtaining and maintaining a healthy weight and being physically active, are a strong defense against the development of this disease process.