Lauren Wright, a microbiome clinical specialist, identifies how targeting your gut microbiome health improves the overall health of you and your child! Through her research she discovered the first 3 years of life is the critical window for shaping babys’ signature biome. You’ll learn how to optimize and harness good bacteria to improve neurological, immune & endocrine function. In this episode she characterizes what you can do as a mother to promote healthy gut function along with describing our process here at the Natural Nipple on how we provide personalized help!
We joined forces with Ana Rojas Bastidas, CLC for 'Ask a Specialist' live Q+A.
In this episode we discuss Body Positivity & Breastfeeding, and cover all topics 'taboo' in the journey of a woman now dealing with the constant demand of a newborn, accepting a new body, and struggling for autonomy and reintroduction to her sexuality.
As a lactation consultant and mother of three, Ana founded Power to Prevail in 2015 to create a conversation about the doubts she was having surrounding her new body after birth which rapidly transformed to a global collective. Between all of these roles she was also running a chapter of TIE global- a non-profit dedicated to fostering entrepreneurship. In trying to create balance and enjoy a weekend with her babies at the beach, she realized swimwear was not breastfeeding accessible or adoring of postpartum bodies. She then founded Orolait to empower women to embrace this journey with their body and their infant, while making breastfeeding and enjoying the things you love easier!
Key takeaways from this episode:
- A big part of intimacy is in our head, so the issues that existed before surrounding body positivity can be amplified if we don’t mentally prepare & normalize that a sexual part of our body is used for feeding as well.
- Handling intimate encounters with body changes transparently is key. For instance, you may have unexpected, high velocity lactation, and having a conversation about needing to pump before jumping into bed can help ease these changes and even shift the dynamic towards humor surrounding them.
- Breastfeeding women’s vaginal wall is very similar to menopausal women in terms of hydration. Preparing for this by having an honest conversation with your partner about what to expect and deciding to incorporate lubrication can put this temporary change into perspective and give you tools for handling this transition.
- Talk to a supportive health care professional if you have any questions. We offer virtual visits with primary care providers specializing in sexual health right at your fingertips.
Listen to the episode, and don’t forget to subscribe to our podcast!
There are so many opinions out there and the internet is full of different “sources of truth” that it can feel overwhelming. This episode we talk with Melanie Silverman, long time Lactation Consultant, and Chief Clinical Officer at Pacify about what can be expected during your breastfeeding journey, and how to surround yourself with people who give you encouragement and not criticism.
What is the Microbiome and How Does it Affect Your Baby's Health?
a [modifiable] army of 100 trillion microbial cells that we depend on to stay alive: influencing the way we eat, think, and function.
Get on the list to The Natural Nipple Baby Shower: We are inviting moms who will be breastfeeding in February 2020 (babies birth-12 months) to be the first to receive our premium product!
About a year ago, when conducting ‘Barriers to Breastfeeding’ research across the United States, I became intrigued by The Global Breastfeeding Scorecard statistics, demonstrating that Nepal was the most successful country in the world to support women in the WHO recommendation of breastfeeding for two years. Initially, I hypothesized that these rates were likely correlated to Gross Domestic Profit (GDP), with the poorest nations perhaps having increased breastfeeding rates out of necessity: lack of access to formula or bottles.
This did not seem to be the case with Nepal, as their success rates supersede countries with far lower GDP. According to Dr. Prakash Sunder Shrestha, President of the Nepal Breastfeeding Promotion Forum, “The persistent failure of governments to invest significantly in breastfeeding is hard to comprehend. Many thousands of babies die each year because they did not enjoy the benefit of breastfeeding and multiple thousands more grow up deprived of the many wonders of this special gift of god of nature and of the mother.”
After coming across the staggering result of over thirty years of Dr. Shrestha’s career and dedication to improving the health of his community through breastfeeding, I wanted to meet him for myself and discover what breastfeeding success secrets Nepal beheld. A year passed of attempting to contact him. Then in August 2019, the Outlook inbox sound binged like pick striking gold: the correct email had been reached and Dr. Shrestha wanted to meet for an interview!
Less than a month later, I packed up my life into one (overly stuffed luggage) and hopped on a flight with this goal: to understand what Nepal is doing differently from the rest of the world to promote breastfeeding and optimizing future generation wellness and disseminate that with our markets globally.
Fast forward to Dullakel Pediatric Hospital. It’s a humid, smoky, festival day and the resulting traffic rendered me wandering into the lobby a standard ten minutes late asking random Doctors where I could find Dr. Shrestha’s office for ‘breastfeeding research’ (come to find out, this rendered me the funny local nickname 'Breastfeeding!') but sooner or later, I found Dr. Shrestha mid an opportunistic medical student lecture, true to his passion for preventative education.
He spent the next two hours in what was the most surprising interview of this journey yet. I was expecting him to excitedly uncover all of these tips and tricks he deems as responsible for the success rates of his country- but found a rather jaded opinion of how much better Nepal could be doing in supporting women along their breastfeeding journey.
It was an odd dynamic, myself and this Nepalese doctor at the end of his career spent sharing the same cause and resonating in the same frustration. He began his medical career in Calcutta, India. During residency, he witnessed infant malnutrition and the introduction of solid foods at two months of age. He began seeing the relationship of this practice to long term negative health outcomes and became passionate about educating his patients, who often could not afford the resulting follow on care, on the preventative benefits of breastfeeding. To read my interview with Dr. Shrestha on our other blog post here.
To find out more about what is being done differently in the hospital setting, I traveled to Propokar Maternity Hospital, where there is an average of 15,000 babies born every month. More clinical interviews here confirm the result of Dr. Shrestha's impact on Nepal’s success statistics. One NICU nurse, Rama, explains policy prohibits the use of bottles in hospital. The reason? The exact primary barrier to breastfeeding that we uncovered in the/U.S. exists here: nipple confusion.
This realization surprised me. If anything, I was expecting the bottle nipples here to be better matched to mom’s shape, feel, and flow. “What happens if a mom cannot be with her baby?” I asked.
“Breastfeeding is the expected and culturally supported norm. If a mom is critically ill, we use this little spoon to slowly drip her pumped breastmilk into the infant’s mouth.”
Shocked, yet impressed with the clinical dedication to prevent nipple confusion, I discussed these findings with Dr. Shrestha, as they did not seem feasible to immediately implement in Western hospital systems where time and cost savings drive care. Ultimately, our time together resulted in the unified view of the solution to the hospitals and community that can sanitize products: a better bottle nipple.
Here is the synopsis of that discussion: We agreed that companies have the positioning power to make a difference and that currently, formula marketing plays on the fear that mom can’t produce enough milk- causing early introduction of bottles. What Dr. Sundrath described next shocked me once again. He confirmed what Nurse Rama had told me, describing what they also call ‘Nipple Confusion’. I shared with him our findings from U.S. surveys and explained we have the same problem, especially when moms need to introduce a product after going back to work in three months. “You have the right point. Nepal is increasing maternal leave to 14 weeks- but how can we expect exclusive breastfeeding when moms have to go back to work after that?”
After realizing Nepal faces the same challenges with current bottles on the market, yet has done a good job bolstering cultural support and hospital protocol that prevents introducing a product at all, I spilled my thought process behind The Natural Nipple.
“Why not have industry take the lead in driving the policy change that promotes breastfeeding, rather than presenting, up until now, the primary barrier against it?” I asked. “There are few people like you and me in this world,” replied Dr. Shrestha. “Formula companies have the funding to buy policy change by putting their curriculum now at the medical education level and spend millions of dollars on advertising why moms need it. It’s the human right of the baby to have breastmilk.”
“I agree, it’s not scientific marketing, but if this is how the consumer and future key stakeholders are digesting information why not fight fire with fire? In the 30 years that you’ve been trying, the policy still hasn’t changed to the degree that you hoped would support breastfeeding families.”
This is why I’m passionate about what we can control and I think it’s important for people who are driving the industry to begin making a difference. To do that you have to be passionate about the cause. Why not be the first bottle company that comes out of a clinical and research background, with the specific purpose to empower breastfeeding, promote bonding, and optimize wellness worldwide?
That’s right! Our founder and CEO, Lauren, is heading to Nepal to do customer and product research, and also to learn about their techniques and culture around breastfeeding.
So, why? Nepal is one of the countries that has been very successful in implementing the Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes, and it’s currently estimated that around 66% of babies under 6 months are breastfed, and the rate of children still breastfeeding at 2 years is around 89% (reported by the World Health Organization (WHO)).
The recommendation by WHO is currently to have at least 6-months of exclusive breastfeeding. And we will emphasise the at least part. They say that it is ideal to provide breastmilk for up to 2 years since it can still provide the crucial nutrients and energy they need during this time.
Our current customer discovery has been predominantly with caucasian, middle class moms in the United States, but we recognize that the challenges faced with breastfeeding are on a global scale so we want to continue to learn about the challenges women face with breastfeeding with as much variation and diversity as we can.
In order to be able to address the global market, we need to be able to discover the challenges that women face in countries that have the worst breastfeeding continuity rates (the U.S. is one of the worst), as well as learn from the challenges that moms are able to overcome in countries that have some of the best breastfeeding rates (Nepal is one of the best).
“Because Nepal has some of the best breastfeeding rates in the whole world, I firmly believe it is crucial to parallel our research, which began here in the U.S. identifying what the primary barrier is to breastfeeding, and discover what women who experience nipple confusion and latching issues in Nepal are doing to cope.Is it some angle they position the baby at? Some sort of cultural guidance that is passed down from generation to generation?” - Lauren Wright
She will be working with Dr. Prakash Sunder Shrestha, President of the Nepal Breastfeeding Promotion Forum, to conduct her research.
The Natural Nipple will be the first company to recognize a problem at the clinical level and continue to do global research to make the best possible solution for families worldwide. Here are some of the questions she’ll be asking the women,
- Did you experience difficulty latching in your breastfeeding journey?
- If so, what do you think caused that?
- What do you think helped you through that?
- Did you experience difficulty latching if/after you introduced a bottle?
- What do you look for when you buy a bottle? What kind of bottles have you tried? What made one better than another?
When Lauren conducted her first study on what the common barriers to prolonged breastfeeding are, she found that among the women she surveyed Nipple Confusion was the most common.
Data from our survey conducted with currently and previously breastfeeding mothers. In our study, Nipple Confusion includes confusion related to shape and feel of the nipple and breast, as well as confusion caused by the difference in milk flow rate between the mothers' breast and the bottle nipple. *Deficiency has many variables, which includes if a mother gave birth preterm which impacts her milk supply.
Her goal is to find out if Nipple Confusion is one of the larger issues in Nepal as well, and what other challenges women there face.
But you can hear more about it from her! Watch the interview with Lauren to learn more about her goals on her voyage to Nepal.