The Triangle is unsurpassed in it's Spring beauty, and formidable during allergy season. According to Allergy Capitals, a part of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), Raleigh–Durham–Chapel Hill ranks at No. 31 amongst US cities with the most severe allergies. What does this mean for Breastfeeding Mamas and Babes?
Breastfeeding Helps Your Child with Long Term Allergy Issues.A Swedish study conducted by the Department of Environmental Health in Stockholm, concluded that there is a correlation between breastfeeding and the prevention of early development of allergic diseases up to two years of age.
Medications Mitigating Your Milk There are plenty of medications that will keep you feeling healthy during the allergy season, but beware of others that can tank your supply. A great website to learn more about your options is www.infantrisk.com. Here's a breakdown from Texas Tech University:
Antihistamines It is advised for a breastfeeding mom to use the newer non-sedating antihistamines instead of the older antihistamines. These include Cetirizine (Zyrtec), Loratidine (Claritin), and Fexofenadine (Allegra). The older sedating antihistamines include Diphenhydramine (Benadryl), Chlorpheneramine (Aller Chlor), and Brompheneramine (Dimetapp). Sedation in a newborn or young infant can lead to apnea or temporary breathing cessation and therefore is something to be concerned about.
Decongestants Pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) and Phenylephrine (Vicks Sinex Nasal) are two of the most commonly used decongestants on the market. Pseudoephedrine is secreted into milk in low levels, however, it has been shown to decrease milk production and should be used with extreme caution in late-stage lactation (>8 months). Although levels of phenylephrine in milk have not been documented, they are thought to be low and theoretically can decrease milk supply. Antihistamines such as Zyrtec-D or Claritin-D contain these decongestants and should be used with caution by a breastfeeding mother. Oxymetazoline (Afrin) is a nasal spray decongestant that can be used to treat acute congestion. It should not be used for more than three days as it can cause rebound congestion.
Mast-Cell Stabilizers Mast Cell Stabilizers such as Cromolyn Sodium (Nasalcrom) suppress mast cell degranulation thereby reducing allergy symptoms. There is no data on its transfer into milk, but because it has a low pKa minimal levels would be expected in milk. This drug is used frequently in pediatric patients and poses little risk to an infant.
Corticosteroids Corticosteroids can be administered orally, inhaled, or intranasally. Inhaled corticosteroids include Beclomethasone (Beclovent) while intranasal ones include Fluticasone (Flonase, Flovent), Budesonide (Rhinocort), and Mometasone (Nasonex). Intranasal and inhaled corticosteroids may be safely used by a breastfeeding mother as the maternal plasma levels are low and therefore milk levels are low to undetectable. If oral steroids are used (i.e Prednisone), it is preferred for the dose to be kept low
Immunotherapy Allergy Immunotherapy or allergy injections are composed of protein substances that are unlikely to enter into milk. Allergy injections are safe to use in breastfeeding. Although adverse effects are unlikely, the infant should be observed for allergic reaction.
Staving Off the Sneezes, Naturally. There are many ways to stay comfortable during the allergy season while continuing to nurse.
Keep your windows closed in the home and car during allergy season to avoid over exposure to pollen.
Change your clothes when coming indoors to keep pollen outside.
Dust and vacuum often to remove remaining pollen, if possible, with a hepa filter/
Avoid outdoor activity during high pollen days, you can read the forecast by visiting www.pollen.com
Rinse that Allergy Away-The Neti pot is a non evasive way to rinse the nostrils and sinuses of pollen. It seems odd and looks a little weird, but it feels wonderful and can work wonders on stuffy noses and postnasal drip.
When: 6-8:30pm Thursdays Where: Cary Pediatrics, 1001 Crescent Green Dr, Cary, NC 27518 Who is this class for? First Time and Seasoned Parents Welcome. What Do You Need? Comfortable Clothing, The Course Provides the Rest Cost: $199, Register Here
Summary: This class is as entertaining and it is educational. My goal is to empower Families through education... with a bit of levity along the way! By understanding the how and why of labor, birth and breastfeeding, these wonderful experiences are normalized and fear subsided. In this class, you will also learn about how to advocate for yourself and on behalf of your Partner. We will cover the risks, benefits and alternatives to interventions, so that you are able to make an informed decision. The breastfeeding portion of this class will prepare for you for nursing your baby and how to best support Mama in this process. Here are what past students have said about this course:
Thank you for making us feel empowered about the birthing process and that it is a natural thing to go through, knowing what to expect and being prepared for the pain management and support from our husbands and birthing team. Wonderful class!! You are the best & we love you. Not only did we walk away from the class feeling empowered, I felt I gained a new friend you in, Karissa & the other classmates. I had an amazing birth experience. Hands down the most amazing experience of my life and I know that because of your class, and the information that both myself and my husband walked away with, we felt confident and capable of having the birth I wanted. I also felt I was educated enough about the process in case we needed to make a change in our plan during labor & delivery. Thank you for being apart of the most amazing experiences of our lives! I have thoroughly enjoyed this class. Not only is it helpful to the birth mother but also to her partner. It has opened up the communication lines between my partner and I regarding the birthing process. It has also taken the "fear" and "unknown" aspect out of the birthing process.
Next week I celebrate the birth of my daughter, Cora Marie. It was three years ago that my life changed in such unexpected, beautiful, and very humbling ways. Motherhood is the great equalizer. Whether you're a teen or a nearing forty, parenthood is an experience that can bring you to your knees- in exhaustion and exultation. It's miraculous and monotonous and every emotion that can be described.
I can now admit, that I was a much better parent before I had children. I knew exactly what needed to be done to birth and raise a healthy, well adjusted, brilliant and well mannered child. I was a Doula. and studying to become a Lamaze Educator. I attended Birthing from Within and Hypnobabies classes. I was planning a homebirth where I would bring my baby into this world in a warm tub by the light of the fireplace. It was going to be perfect.
Perfect is not a word that should be used to describe pregnancy and parenting plans. Nothing and no
one is perfect. The closest thing to perfection during my birthing time was my team. I had amazing Midwives, Doulas and husband who supported me with love and compassion that still makes me fall deeper in love with him at the thought. These women and my Partner, coupled with my education, is what made a very imperfect event empowering.
I developed preeclampsia at nearly 37 weeks and I was required to be hospitalized. I was fortunate in that I had attended many births and knew that flexibility is what can make or break a Mother psychologically. I viewed the hospital health care team as allies and I collaborated on my care plan. I felt empowered because I was informed. I was empowered because I was supported.
I made the hospital my home for the days that I labored. I had expected an induction to be binding, painful and terrifying, but the love around me created a safe environment where I never paid mind to the IVs and monitors. Later, upon viewing photos of myself in labor, I was surprised to see that for all intents and purposes I looked like a cascade of interventions, but it was so far from what I felt at the time.
My birth was beautiful and fierce. Though it wasn't what I had planned, it was healthy and holistic. I was tended to mind, body and soul. I advocated for myself, and when I exhausted, my husband stood in and protected my space and wishes. My Doula stood by me for the days I labored, my midwives spoke gently to me, and my girlfriends honored the sacred space and made me feel like a goddess. Every woman deserves to feel mighty in their birth- it more easily ushers the ferocity required of Motherhood.
I am passionate about childbirth guidance because I feel as though I'm an example of having a good birth in less than ideal circumstances. I didn't just go along for the ride because my path changed- I still steered the wheel with the help of my team. Knowing what one's choices are and how to advocate is essential in our birthing culture. Empowering the Partner to support the Mother is crucial.
From my own experiences and the births I have witnessed, I have learned a few things including:
Find providers you trust. Know their back up providers and be sure that they align with your philosophy.
Get educated about the entire perinatal period. This includes childbirth and breastfeeding classes. La Leche is an excellent way to immerse yourself in Motherhood while pregnant.
Prepare for Parenthood. Birth is kinda like a wedding- many of us get wrapped up in the day only to be surprised that we should have had an understanding of the relationship... which will continue for a lifetime.
Get a Doula. They do not take the place of a Partner, only enhance the experience. To find a Doula, click here.
Find your Tribe. There is nothing more special than finding other New Mamas to laugh and cry with.
Own Your Birth. If it causes pain or happiness postpartum, share it, process it and whatever feelings you have, know that it's okay and normal to have your opinions because it was your experience. Click here for resources