February 2012


I can’t help but write a blog about this.

There was an article in the New York Times about a month ago written by a female doctor with four kids and she stated no woman should go to medical school if they are not going to work full time when they are done.  I won’t get into the arguments for and against her, but I applaud her for bringing up the conversation.  Needless to say, my hypereducated Bay Area group of female friends, many of whom are lawyers, doctors, and business school types, have had lively discussions about this.  And it prompted us to make a book club, and our first assignment?  To read “Torn, True stories of Kids, Career, and the conflict of modern motherhood,”  edited by Samantha Walravens, with chapters by some fantastic writers, career and noncareer women, who share their stories.

The crux?

Working mom, Part time working mom, Stay at home moms.  There are many different paths we can take, and since you are on this website entitled body post baby, you have already made the one common choice- to have a child (or many children).

So then you get to the this thing they talk about … “BALANCE.”  What is that?

The stories are well written, insightful, and open.  I found it refreshing to see women really talk about their lives and the complexities.  And it writes about both sides of the fence: those who are working with kids, and those who “opted out” and are stay at home moms.  Both groups have issues with balance.  Both groups have issues with navigating our current world and how to mother in it.

I’ll update you on the gist of my book club meeting.  Should be interesting.  But for any of you who want a good read in tiny bite sized pieces (the only kind of book to read when you have the craziness of kids), I like this one.

I know I am not a pediatrician or a family practice doctor, so some may wonder why I am so focused on breastfeeding.   I am a surgeon who deals a ton with the breasts and the effects of breastfeeding.  I have heard rumblings while being a mom-around-town of women who are choosing not to breastfeed their children because they are concerned about the cosmetic effect it will have on their breasts.  I am a fan of breastfeeding.  Please see the other blogs prior to this and the results of a study which just came out.

For the hypereducated Bay Area women reading my blog, here is another pro for breastfeeding:

MUCH lower risk of SIDS.

SIDS is sudden infant death syndrome.  It affects 2,300 babies a year.  The cause is unknown.  From the sids.org site, risk factors include having a baby as a teen, less than one year between pregnancies, tobacco/cocaine/heroin use during pregnancy, and premature birth.  After the baby is born: have the crib in your room, no bedding/pillows, sleep on the back, use a pacifier, avoid respiratory infections, and do not overheat the baby.  The risk is highest between 2-4 months of age.  90% of SIDS occur in babies less than 6 months.

In Pediatrics June 2011 online edition, Hauck and researchers at University of Virgina did metaanalysis of 18 studies looking at breastfeeding and risk of SIDS.  Findings:

  • 73% reduction in risk if exclusively breastfed
  • 60% reduction in risk if breastfed for any time period
  • 45% reduction when other factors known to increase SIDS were factored out, like smoking, socioeconomic status, and sleep position.

 

Why does breastfeeding lead to lower risk?  Thoughts vary.  Hypothesis include:

  • Breastfed babies are more arousable during sleep
  • Fewer issues with diarrhea and respiratory infections, which may predispose to SIDS
  • Possible boost of their immunity from the breastmilk.

So, pediatricians recommend breastfeeding exclusively for 6 months and then continue to nurse for the first year, as you introduce solid foods.  So bond with your child, lose weight (anyone for an extra slice of cheesecake?), and protect them from SIDS…. Breastfeeding is sounding pretty good.