Helping Moms Achieve
Breastfeeding Success

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Helping Moms Achieve Breastfeeding Success

At the Dignity Health hospitals, our staff and physicians believe in the many benefits of breastfeeding. At each of our Sacramento area hospitals, breastfeeding help and support is available to all mothers following delivery. At Mercy Hospital of Folsom, an appointment is made for new mothers to bring their baby to the hospital's outpatient lactation clinic within two or three days of hospital discharge. At the clinic, certified lactation consultants spend time with moms and babies teaching proper techniques, answering moms' questions and offering personalized support. The purpose of these consultations is to minimize the difficulties new moms may experience with breastfeeding and encourage long-term breastfeeding, as promoted by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

One question that comes up often between new moms and lactation consultants is how to know whether your baby is getting enough milk. It is an understandable question since there is no clear way of seeing exactly how many ounces is going from breast to baby. Fortunately there are other signs that moms can watch for.

In the first few days after your baby's birth, he or she is receiving colostrum – the thick immunity-boosting substance that is present until your breast milk comes in. During that time, it is normal for your baby to have just one or two wet diapers a day.

Your milk should come within a few days of delivery. Once it does, your baby should begin having 5-6 wet diapers a day. (If you are using cloth diapers, that number should be higher – 6-8 diapers per day.) Your baby will also typically have anywhere from 2-5 bowel movements every 24 hours after your milk comes in. That number will begin to decrease after about six weeks.

Another tactic to ensuring your baby is well-fed is to keep an eye on the clock. Newborns should be fed every 2-3 hours, even during the night. If your baby is sleeping longer than that or is generally lethargic when awake, you should talk to your pediatrician.

Other signs that your baby is receiving enough milk:

  • Baby breastfeeds, on average, 8-12 times per 24-hour period
  • Baby determines length of feeding, which should be 10-20 minutes long
  • Baby is swallowing loud enough that you can hear it while feeding
  • Baby is gaining 4-7 ounces per week (after the first four days of life)
  • When awake, baby is alert and active, with good color and firm skin

If you have any concerns about your baby's feeding habits, talk with a professional lactation consultant and/or your pediatrician. If you are concerned about your milk supply, a lactation consultant can offer helpful advice.

For more information on the Dignity Health birth centers and lactation services, visit our website.

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Keep Your Young Athlete

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Keep Your Young Athlete Safe

If you watch collegiate or professional sports you've probably seen it – an athlete taken out of a game after a collision to the head. Sports-related concussions are increasingly common and it's not just happening at the collegiate and professional level – we are seeing more concussions in youth sports too. In fact, according to the Center for Disease Control, kids and young adults will make nearly a quarter million emergency room visits this year as a result of brain injuries that occurred during sports and recreation. That is an increase of 100,000 ER visits annually over the past ten years. And that staggering number doesn't include the number of youngsters who will be treated by their family doctor or those who don't seek treatment at all.

Sports-related concussions and brain injuries have become such a hot topic that earlier this year, President Obama hosted the Healthy Kids and Safe Sports Concussion Summit at the White House. The goal of the summit was to address the growing risk of concussions in our children and find solutions for this disturbing trend.

So why all the recent attention on this problem? Well, research now shows that serious concussions can have lasting effects and minor but repetitive concussions (which are likely to occur in contact sports like football) can be just as bad, if not worse, than one major concussion. Among male athletes, the sports resulting in the most concussions are football, ice hockey, lacrosse, wrestling and soccer. For female athletes, concussions are most often linked to soccer, lacrosse and basketball. Interestingly, children who have suffered one sports-related concussion have a higher chance of suffering a second.

Experts agree that it will take a team approach to reduce the number of head injuries in youth athletes. Parents, coaches, doctors and the athletes themselves must all work together to prevent concussions from happening; recognize them when they do occur; and treat them after they occur.

  • Prevention:
  • Preventing concussions can be difficult and varied, depending on the sport. For sports like football and ice hockey, using appropriate and properly-fitted helmets is key. For all sports, including those like soccer and basketball that do not involve protective equipment, teaching proper technique is crucial. Young athletes may not realize there is a proper and safe way to block in football or they may not realize that their sliding tackle in soccer can cause serious damage to an opponent... It is the job of coaches and parents to teach them that.

  • Recognize:
  • Coaches, parents and kids should all know how to recognize signs of a concussion. Understand that even a mild bump or blow to the head can cause a concussion and that many concussions do not involve a loss of consciousness. Symptoms include: headache or feeling of pressure in the head; nausea or vomiting; balance problems or dizziness; double or blurred vision; sensitivity to light or noise; feeling sluggish, groggy or dazed; difficulty paying attention; memory problems, confusion; numbness or tingling; sleeping problems; mood changes.

  • Treatment:
  • If you or your child's coach believes he or she may have suffered a concussion, have your child examined by a doctor immediately. Whether it is a true concussion or not, your doctor will advise you on how to treat the injury and how long your child should sit on the sideline. With any head injury, it is critical to avoid sports or even rough play until your child's doctor clears him or her to return to the field.

You can learn more about head injuries at the Dignity Health Neurological Institute website. If you need help finding a doctor for your child or yourself, visit the Dignity Health physician finder here.

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