In the midst of breastfeeding my third child, I once started to calculate how many hours of my life I’ve spent attached to a breast pump. I quickly and smartly gave up, after realizing that “a lot” was a satisfying answer. Like many mothers who breastfeed, I’ve relied on pumping multiple times a day to express milk for my babies’ bottles.
And probably like many mothers, I’ve wondered whether those bottles are the same as nursing directly. The answer, at least in some aspects, is no, according to a new study that compares the microbial makeup of pumped breast milk with that of milk received directly from the breast.
Milk from breastfeeding women who do not pump and milk from women who pump at all (exclusively, occasionally or infrequently) differed in their bacterial makeup, researchers reported February 13 in Cell Host & Microbe. That finding, taken from 393... Read More
I am not the first person who has considered composing poetry to the placenta. One writer begins: “Oh Lady Placenta! What a life you lived in magenta.” Another almost coos to the “constant companion, womb pillow friend.” It might sound like odd... Read More
With the promise and pitfalls of umbilical cord blood samples in mind, how should parents decide whether to put their baby’s blood on ice, either for their own family’s future use or as a donation for the greater good? It’s a tricky calculation, one... Read More
Umbilical cords tie mother and baby together, if only for a brief spell. But the stuff inside these cords has the potential to be useful well after birth. Cells in umbilical cord blood are already being used to treat certain diseases, including... Read More
When you’re pregnant, especially for the first time, you have to make a lot of decisions. Will coffee remain a part of your life? Where are you going to give birth? What are you going to name the baby? What values will you teach him? Do you really... Read More
As I’ve been reporting a story about the opioid epidemic, I’ve sorted through a lot of tragic numbers that make the astronomical spike in deaths and injuries related to the drugs feel more real.The rise in the abuse of opioids — powerfully addictive... Read More
When you’re pregnant, you spend a lot of time on scales. Every doctor appointment begins with hopping (or waddling) up for a weigh-in. Health care workers then plot those numbers into a (usually) ascending curve as the weeks go by.A morbid curiosity... Read More