Episode 44: This Week in Breastfeeding - Mar 12, 2021
Welcome back to another episode of Breastfeeding Talk: Milk, Motherhood, Mindset. I’m your host, Jacqueline Kincer. And today is another edition of This Week in breastfeeding. Today is March 12, 2021. And I’m going to be bringing a few articles to you a few news pieces that is that I think you’ll find quite interesting. And the first one comes from a site called scary mommy. As much as I load the name of their site. It’s a quite popular Mom Blog sort of site. And I actually think that this piece that they shared was really great. It was written on March 7 by Clara gray. And the title is breastfeeding killed my sex drive, but I’m back baby. So a cute, catchy title. But what I love is that the writer shares her personal experience about how normally she has this wonderful sex drive.
Except for whenever she’s breastfeeding a new baby. And she just loses her libido completely. And just sort of goes goes through that. And so she said that around the time that her kids tend to turn it your old, her body starts to act like its old self again, and she starts getting her sex drive back. And she’s really glad to have it back. Now, it’s very humorously written that you think she’s a wonderful writer. So I’ll link that up in the show notes like I do everything I discuss on these episodes. But for those of you out there who are wondering if something is perhaps wrong with you, or you’re concerned, just know that it’s completely common and normal for you to not have a sex drive while you’re breastfeeding. In fact, breastfeeding can actually do a lot to prevent you from getting pregnant, not that it should be used as a birth control method specifically, but there are many people who tried to go have the second baby and cannot become pregnant until they completely weaned from breastfeeding.
So it’s it’s natural, it’s normal, hormone wise, you know, obviously, if your body is supporting one infant through breastfeeding, it’s going to take a much greater toll on your body to try and then grow another baby inside of you. That’s not going to be super healthy for your body to do that. In fact, you know, I was told by my child’s first pediatrician, and it’s still an excellent recommendation that you should not be trying to get pregnant within the first year of having a baby, it is not good for your body, the outcomes for those pregnancies, and those babies are much poorer than women who wait past a year. And also whenever you do get pregnant, your milk supply diminishes. And there’s really nothing that you can do about that because it’s just hormones. So if you’re wanting to, you know, make it to a year of breastfeeding, or two years, getting pregnant in that timeframe can compromise that, you know, your body’s ability to provide that breast milk to your child.
But we’re more worried about the first year of life when breast milk is the primary nutrition for your baby. So anyway, it’s very, very normal for those hormone reasons for just, you know, biological reasons for your body to not feel like it’s interested in doing anything sexual, but also given the fact that breastfeeding often leaves us very touched out. It can just meet a lot of physical needs for us where we don’t have any other physical needs that need to be met. In fact, our needs are over met. So at the end of the day, you may not feel like you know, being intimate with your partner because you’ve sort of been intimate with your baby all day. And it’s just a lot. So I just want people to know that if you have an internal expectation or if there’s an external expectation for you to, quote unquote, bounce back after having a baby, that that’s really abnormal, and it’s not expected of you. So just listen to your body, your body is trying to tell you what it needs.
And if you don’t have a sex drive, and you’re breastfeeding, that’s a sign that your body is going through a lot and you need to slow down, you need to take the time to replete your body of things. It’s, it’s missing. And it also may be a sign that, you know, your body’s trying to protect you from another pregnancy because it would do a good job of handling that at this time. So just something to keep in mind. And also just a side note there that again, breastfeeding is not a birth control method. So while it can help to tamp down how fertile you are, it’s not something to rely on solely. So you’re going to want to make sure using an actual birth control method along with breastfeeding. So next article, this one is actually from a radio station, I am not actually sure where they’re based. Oh, let me see here it says Philadelphia. So it’s one Oh, 3.9 FM 1060 am. And I’m really, really proud of them for featuring this story. It says, a baby having trouble breastfeeding might be tongue tied. So the more awareness we have of this, the better for everybody.
And it says, If your child or grandchild is having a hard time breastfeeding, it might be a good idea to look under her tongue. The tongue is connected to the floor of the mouth by a band called the lingual frenulum. And sometimes it’s too short too thick or connected in the wrong spot. According to Dr. Adva, Bouzy, pediatric Oh to learn, learn, girl, I can’t even say that word. She’s an EMT, at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. So thank you chop for having a position that very accurately described what a tongue tie is. And she goes on to describe the deficiencies of the tongue movement. And then the other complications later in life, like using our tongue to clean our back molars after we’ve eaten. And so kids with tongue ties tend to have more cavities.
And, you know, in those back molars, so I’m gonna link that up because they actually do have a written and audio portion of this. And I think it’s just really great. So kudos to this Philadelphia radio station for doing a segment on this and then also featuring a doctor that seemed very knowledgeable about it. And I’m also proud that she’s at Children’s Hospital, Philadelphia, that’s really, really amazing. So now here’s an article that I think is super relevant that everyone should know about, especially with the recent laws that have changed in various states and things. It’s for MedPage. Today, the headline is breastfed babies likely exposed to teach D when mom used to eat in pregnancy, and then the subhead header is safe, and that delivery fails to keep the marijuana components out of mother’s milk. So essentially, what they found is that THC, the compound of marijuana, the sort of bioactive compound actually persists for weeks in breast milk, when mothers have used marijuana during pregnancy. So even if they’ve completely quit, basically, it’s a small study they did of 12 women who use weed during pregnancy, and then they stopped after delivery.
And they showed detectable levels of THC in the breast milk lasting six weeks. So that’s actually quite a long time. It’s not necessarily unexpected. But they took samples two to five times a week, and measured the median levels. And you know, the, the numbers did decline over the six weeks. But the median of 1.9 nanograms per milliliter was still detectable on all the participants. So then they talk about recruiting 25 women who do use during pregnancy, and so they plan to stop with their babies were born, but 13 of them did not actually stop. And so there’s some challenges and women who intend to cease using marijuana actually going through with that. And so then there’s a prolonged excretion of THC and breast milk beyond those six weeks.
So you know, it’s, it’s interesting, because they do bring up a point here that the findings make previous recommendations to discard breast milk and THC is no longer detected unrealistic for mothers committed to breastfeeding. Because yeah, if you’re going to pump and dump for the first six weeks of your child’s life, or potentially longer that becomes, you know, I mean, what is what is the point in some ways I you know, I can see a mother thinking that like, so they don’t get breast milk for the first six weeks and then somehow I start giving it to them later and they missing the initial benefits of colostrum and things like that. So, you know, I don’t I don’t really have an opinion one way or another. I think that a lot more research needs to be done. But they have found that you know, breast milk is there’s a lot of fat in it. And there is a LIFO philic nature of THC so meaning THC likes to hang out with fat. And so there’s concern that it actually concentrates in the breast milk because it’s high. fatty acids.
So, you know, we just want to make sure that we’re doing things that are safe for our babies. And, you know, not giving them anything they shouldn’t have. I mean, you know, drinking excessive amounts of caffeine is not good for your baby that goes into the breast milk as well. I mean, there are a lot of things you know, everything we consume, everything you put into our bodies, for the most part, ends up affecting our breast milk composition, either directly or indirectly. So you just want to be really mindful of what are your goals of breastfeeding for your child, most of the time, moms have the goal of creating a really healthy baby, right to give them the best start of life. If you’re concerned about something like THC entering the breast milk, you know, this is something that you’re going to want to stop using well before the end of your pregnancy.
Because, you know, there are effects on fetal brain development. You know, we need a lot more research to understand, you know, how THC consumption in breast milk you know, it’s consumed orally, it’s not like they’re, you know, smoking it or something like that. Although, certainly there’s there are edibles with THC. So, you know, we just want to make sure we understand exactly what this is doing to infants. And if we are not sure what it does, it’s more wise to be cautious. So I’ll link that up in the show notes as well.
Now, this one is some sort of more of a local article. I live here in Phoenix, Arizona, in the United States. And one of my colleagues got featured in need of news online. Her name is Kim more solace. And I’ve met her at various meetings for lactation consultants and, and other events. And the headline here is new mentorship program. And Phoenix aims to help native women reclaim breastfeeding. They have an awesome photo of Kim helping a mother latch her baby in the hospital, super sweet. I love that they featured her she’s always had a passion for this work, especially being a tribe member. And so really, there’s this this new program here. So if anybody is listening from Phoenix, that we’re trying to, she’s trying to get more support for these native communities for breastfeeding. And doing this lactation membership pro mentorship program is going to happen at valleywise Medical Health Center in Phoenix. And there’s gonna be a cohort of students that are going to learn lactation, clinical lactation skills to bring back to their underserved communities. So I think it’s incredible. Actually, she kicked the program off in December 2020, with five mentees from minority backgrounds. And it sounds like it’s going really great. So I’m super happy for you, Kim. I don’t know if you listened to my podcast, but if you do, I want to say congratulations. And I think that you’re doing really wonderful and needed work. So I’m just it’s so exciting. Someone I know got featured in the news didn’t show up on another new site as well. But they just had a really nice write up in that one. So I’ll link that up for you in the show notes.
Now, next step is from News Medical dotnet news hyphen, medical dotnet. And it’s vaccine MRA M, and I can’t even talk today look at me. Or listen to me actually, because you can’t see me but you can listen. It’s vaccine M r n a not found in breast milk after COVID mRNA vaccination, this is exactly what I would have expected to find. And so they actually have done now a study by research in the US, they found no evidence to suggest that messenger RNA present in the Pfizer bio and tech and Maderna vaccines can be transferred to in breast milk. They did not detect any vaccine related mRNA in breast milk samples collected from six individuals up to 48 hours after being immunized with one of the vaccines. Now I totally get that this is an extremely small sample, it’s coming from a preprint. So it has yet to be peer reviewed. But that mRNA would have to travel so far through multiple cells before it ever got to the breast milk. I mean, it’s it’s supposed to go into the cells locally, maybe it travels a bit to the lymph nodes or something like that.
But honestly, for TREACH the breast milk from you know the upper arm is is pretty far journey, it’s very unlikely that it would actually make that journey there and remain intact. And even once it did, it would be in the breast milk where potentially it would no longer be mRNA by the time it was actually consumed by the infant. So anyway, I’m just piggybacking on sort of last week’s episode edition of This Week in breastfeeding where talks about the antibodies from mothers who are lactating and receive the vaccine actually do go through the breast milk into the baby so very, very cool that we’re seeing more studies done on these populations because Gosh, I can just tell you that it’s something that a lot of people have been waiting for, especially now that President Biden has said that all adults should be able to have access to the COVID vaccines in May. So I think he said May 1, I could be mistaken on that.
So there’ll be younger populations and nonprioritized groups that will soon have access to it. And that will include, obviously, lactating individuals. So this I found very interesting. This is from Reuters. It’s kind of a grouping of information here. This isn’t specifically related to breastfeeding, but they did mention that pollen levels in the air are linked to higher COVID-19 rates. And so as someone who’s an allergy sufferer and has been monitoring the pollen levels here in Phoenix, Arizona, they’re just sky high. But they’re showing a large was a large study that shows a possible link, they used 130 sites in 31 different countries. And researchers found that airborne pollen levels sometimes in combination with humidity and temperature accounted for up to 44% of the variability of COVID-19 infection rates in the spring of 2020. So, you know, here we are in the spring of 2021. So anyway, they go on to talk about the robust vaccine responses seen during pregnancy and lactation. So we’ve been wondering, how do pregnant lactating women respond to the MRA mRNA vaccines, and they’re actually seeing similar immune responses to those seen in non pregnant and non lactating women. So this is a new study where the COVID-19 antibodies induced by the vaccines were transferred to the babies via the placenta or the breast milk.
And this is again, another preprint. It’s ahead of peer review. But they studied 80 for pregnant women, 31 breastfeeding women and 16 non pregnant women who received the vaccines. And they said the immune responses between all three groups were actually equivalent. And they had higher antibody levels than another group of 37 women who were infected with the Coronavirus while pregnant. So we were some, you know, some people were thinking there might be a dampened response to vaccination during pregnancy, because that’s the case with a lot of other vaccines. But that’s not the case with RNA vaccines, obviously, don’t have any information on Johnson and Johnson. So, you know, good information to know that we’re seeing just as robust of a, an immune response in these groups. So I wouldn’t have expected a different immune response for lactating individuals. But, like noted in this article, they did discuss that, you know, typically, pregnant women respond with less antibody production during, you know, other vaccines. So here’s one more it’s from medical Express. The headline is the breastfeeding mothers do not transfer COVID through milk study.
They don’t transfer SARS, cov. Two through milk would be the correct way to phrase that I’m always like, why are these medical news sites not using the proper terminology, but hey, it is what it is. So they did a study through the University of Rochester Medical Center that collaborated with several other universities. And it was, you know that they were saying that women who are lactating and they are in a contract SARS, cov. Two, do not transmit the actual virus through their breast milk, but they do confer milk born antibodies that are able to neutralize the virus. So this is very, very important. Basically, they analyze 37 milk samples submitted by 18 women who were diagnosed with COVID-19, sexually were diagnosed with the disease, none of the milk samples were found to contain the virus, while nearly two thirds of the samples did contain two antibodies specific to the virus. So what’s really critical about this study, is that it can help inform recommendations. And it reinforces that COVID-19 positive mothers should not be separated from their newborn children. Initially, you know, beginning in the pandemic, major health organizations recommended separation or masking of the mother when she’s breastfeeding for baby. It sounds like we really don’t need to recommend that anymore.
I never really recommended it, because I think that the benefit of skin to skin and smelling the baby and all of those things that drives breastfeeding and lactation are so important and the benefits of breast milk, you know, are going to offer that protection to the baby. There was never a doubt in my mind that there would be antibodies to SARS, cov, two in the breast milk, but it’s so great to have the evidence and data there to back that up. So I’m really glad that they’ve done this study was actually they they received $130,000 of funding from the Bill Melinda Gates Foundation for this research. So that’s really great. I just am so excited to see more research going in to these areas, I wish that there was more research going on with breastfeeding, and human milk beyond just virology and vaccinology. And immunology, because there’s so much more to it than that. But perhaps this is a start, where these groups of pregnant lactating people are getting more attention medically. And I just think it’s wonderful. So thank you to that foundation for actually doing the funding there.
Because it’s really important that we continue to research these sorts of things. And you know, I don’t like talking about COVID On every edition of this, but you know, it’s what’s popular, it’s in the news. So, there, there you have it. And I just want to say that, if you are, you know, out there, and you’re super concerned about getting the vaccine or whatnot, you know, it’s always an individual decision, right? Everybody has their own unique risk profile. Everyone has a different ability to access, you know, treatments, or vaccines, so a medical care, you know, natural supplements, all of those types of things. So you’ve got to factor everything in for yourself, I have no opinion, either way on whether or not you should get it, I think that you should do research from trusted sources, look at the latest data and evidence and look at everything that’s constantly emerging, which is why I try to bring this information to you on the podcast. So I bring it to you without bias, just sharing facts with you, that are coming out, you know, the more that we do studies, the more that we do research, the more that we find out. And it’s important to do more studies to validate the findings, we’ve found in previous studies, right, larger sample sizes, different control groups, various things like that, it’s all part of the scientific method.
And you know, that every time I say scientific method, I’m brought back to like my middle school science classes where nobody had that graphing paper, can anybody else relate to this? Granville, graphing paper, and you would write, you know, you know, title and hypothesis and methods, and you would just go through your whole plan before you ever actually executed anything, and then you would present your results and your conclusion. And, you know, it’s really important that we do that, that we think critically about things that we that we use that scientific method in our day to day lives, whenever it comes to anything. So, you know, I would encourage you to do this with anything that involves breastfeeding, you know, if you hear some sort of recommendation in a moms group, you know, well, this, this worked for me. Great, cool. That’s n equals one. So that’s a very small sample size, how many other women is this working for? And how do we know that that’s actually what worked?
And it wasn’t something else? Was it a placebo effect? Was it the fact that this mom, you know, changed her diet that day? Or, you know, whatever else it was, right? So and then is there actual scientific evidence to back up that claim, in the form of a study in the form of clinical research, you know, some some sort of other way to validate this. And then you know, you’re free to choose to, you know, try this treatment or therapy out on yourself or not. And then you can come to your own conclusion. So in everyday life, we can use that kind of scientific thinking to make decisions for ourselves and for our babies, and decide whether or not it’s a good idea. It’s kind of kind of like making a pros and cons list, but a little more involved, like, you know, and I don’t expect everyone to be a scientist or clinician, but certainly to think about, you know, does this make logical sense? Like, is there a biological mechanism whereby we could explain that, you know, this specific thing that’s being discussed or offered would actually work? And if there is, okay, well, great, then let’s, let’s look at that, let’s consider it if there’s not, well, you know, then then we’ve got to look really hard for evidence to support it, and then there probably isn’t any. And so it’s probably just a good idea to sort of let that suggestion slide. I know that sometimes people are very, very desperate for solutions, especially when you’re struggling with something for breastfeeding.
But sometimes, recommendations that you may find online, no matter where that is social media, you know, some sort of mums group, YouTube, video, whatever. Not all recommendations are benign. It’s not always a good idea to try certain things out that other people have said that works for them, because it could in fact, be harmful. It could be it could be, you know, medically harmful, it could be harmful in the sense that you’ve wasted money and precious time trying to solve an issue with something that wasn’t ever going to work. And now, it’s going to be harder for you to fix it or you no longer have the money to access the correct resources to address that specific problem. So the reason why I do these episodes every week is because I feel like it’s really important to bring you know sometimes opinion based things like the scary mommy article, I think it’s really great and just validating to hear maybe you’re not alone on that particular issue. but then also talk about studies and other things that are coming up. Because then you can make informed decisions about things for yourself if you’re breastfeeding parent.
So I really, really want people to feel like they’re armed with things that are helpful, that they have a deeper understanding of some of these concepts, and to try to sort of bring things down to an accessible level. Not that, you know, I never, I never speak to my clients or my patients in a way that I’m using all these like, you know, Queenie 20 medical terms and a bunch of Latin with them. I mean, I may speak to, you know, physician that way, or put something in my charting or something like that. But I don’t try to do that with my clients not because I think that they’re too dumb to understand. They certainly don’t think that but, you know, I recognize that they’re probably sleep deprived, right for when I want to explain things in the simplest terms, and not have to over explain anything to make their brain sort of follow a trail of information. And I hope that I do a good job of that on the podcast as well. I just want to be clear, concise, succinct, but also comprehensive. S
o anyway, I hope that you’re enjoying these episodes. It’s wonderful to have so many listeners of this podcast, and you taking this information and sharing it and, you know, maybe using it as a piece of action in your own life. So if you enjoy the show, I would absolutely love, love, love. If you left a review on iTunes, that’s really the only place you can leave a review for the podcast. But it does help it get found by other people who are looking for this information and can benefit from it. So thank you so much for that. I really appreciate all of you listeners. And I will talk to you next week on another edition of This Week in Breastfeeding.
In this new weekly series, Jacqueline Kincer is giving you a run-down of the latest and greatest news, announcements, celebrity gossip, and more–and it’s all related to breastfeeding! If you want to know what the latest studies say, get reviews on the newest products, find out about policy changes, or anything else that’s relevant to you as a breastfeeding mom or professional, then tune in every week to TWiB (This Week in Breastfeeding) on Breastfeeding Talk.
In this episode, you’ll hear:
- Why most new moms have a low sex drive
- New evidence on COVID-19 disease and breastfeeding
- More updates on mRNA vaccines and lactation