Health News

Breastfeeding with complete peace of mind
Breastfeeding with complete peace of mind

Have you just welcomed or are expecting a new baby? Maybe you want to breastfeed to maintain the intimate relationship you developed over the past nine months, and you want to do it right. Or maybe you have not made up your mind yet and want to clear up a few questions. Here is everything you need to know about breastfeeding, for baby and mother.


Breastfeeding is your choice as a new mother

Although the question of breast or bottle obviously did not exist for millennia, you have a choice. Whether or not to breastfeed will be one of your very first decisions as a young mother. Maybe you’ve long since made up your mind, or maybe you’re still not sure and need to understand exactly what it means to breastfeed. Either way, what is important for you and your baby is that you feel good about your thought process and decision. This is a deeply private choice between you and your spouse, and it should be respected.


A source of benefits for you and your baby

 Your breastmilk is indisputably and marvellously suited to your baby’s nutritional needs; its composition evolves as your baby grows, and even over the course of feeds during the day. The WHO (World Health Organization) and the PNNS (French national nutrition and health program) even recommend exclusive breastfeeding until a baby reaches 6 months. Even for shorter periods, however, breastfeeding is still recommended, because the infant formulas sold in stores do not share all the characteristics of breastmilk. In addition to this biological fact, the tender, nutritive act of nursing obviously creates a special connection between mother and baby.


For your baby
Breastfeeding is the main factor in providing lasting protection for your baby’s health, ensuring that he receives all the nutrients he needs to grow and develop. Although the exact composition of breastmilk varies between mothers, it contains precise proportions of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates along with exactly the right amount of vitamins and mineral salts.

Your milk contains a number of antibodies, naturally protecting your baby from the risk of infectious diseases (bronchiolitis, bronchitis, ear infections, sore throats, etc.) as well as from certain allergies, including food allergies. 

According to the latest research, breastmilk also contributes positively to a child’s weight, limiting the risk of obesity during childhood and adolescence.


For you
- Nursing while holding your baby close to you is a unique experience that not only helps build a deep bond between you but also releases hormones that make you feel good between feeds.
- By triggering uterine contractions, nursing helps your uterus regain its tone and shrink back to its usual size more quickly.
- Various studies have shown that breastfeeding is a real asset to your health as a new mother. It drastically reduces the risk of developing osteoporosis.
- By breastfeeding, you’ll get your figure back more quickly: you burn approximately 800 calories for every liter of milk produced.
- Finally, breastfeeding simplifies your life: no bottles to prepare or emergency runs to buy powder on a Sunday evening.


Worried about the first few nursing sessions? Don’t be

So you’re convinced of the benefits of breastfeeding but, like all new mothers, you have a lot of questions about how to start and continue milk production? Don’t worry, there are just a few little things to keep in mind as you begin breastfeeding.


Yes, you will have enough milk
Milk production depends primarily on your baby’s needs. The baby’s sucking stimulates the release of prolactin and oxytocin, the two main hormones involved in lactation. Your breasts have been preparing to give milk since the start of your pregnancy, so have no fear: you will have milk. And the more baby nurses, the more milk you’ll have. Still, at birth and during the first two to three days, your breasts produce colostrum rather than milk. This thick yellowish orange fluid has exceptional nutritional and anti-infection properties. It contains everything your baby needs during his first days of life, including antibodies to protect him from any microbes he has already encountered after leaving your belly! That’s why it’s so important at first to offer the breast to your baby anytime he seems awake. Let baby nurse as long as he wants and make sure that he’s sucking effectively by listening for regular swallows. These frequent feedings will stimulate milk production and promote your milk coming in 48 to 72 hours after childbirth. Your breasts will swell, harden and become slightly painful. By nursing your infant as soon as your milk comes in and very frequently over the next few days, you’ll relieve your breasts and naturally establish your milk supply.


Yes, baby will find your breast
Whenever possible, your baby will be placed on your stomach right after birth, and the very first feed will take place within two hours after he is born. You will then see your newborn spontaneously seek the breast by moving his body and turning his head right and left on your chest until he latches on to a nipple. This is a perfectly natural reflex for him, since the scent given off by your nipple is similar to the smell of the amniotic fluid he spent the last nine months swimming in.

Let baby find your nipple on his own without holding his head or pulling him against your breast, which could cause him to pull back. When baby has found your breast, let him nurse as long as he wants. However, if a Caesarean section or other complication prevents you from breastfeeding this soon, don’t worry. The reflex for seeking out a nipple will just be slightly reduced, and you can gently guide your baby towards your breast and place your nipple in front of his mouth to nurse a little later. Just as you need to trust your baby to find your breast, you should also trust him to feed the right number of times each day. This will vary from one baby to another. On average, newborns want to nurse seven to eight times during a 24-hour period, but some demand up to 12 feedings or even more. Trust your baby and simply meet its needs, whether large or small!


The right habits to protect your breasts

Sometimes breastfeeding comes with some minor discomfort. By anticipating it, you’ll save yourself needless worry and know how to respond to make sure that nursing remains a pleasure for both of you.


Don’t be bothered by leaking
In the first weeks of breastfeeding, it’s common for milk to leak spontaneously. This can happen when you hear a baby cry, when your baby hasn’t nursed for several hours, when you’re thinking about your baby, during sexual relations or when you feel a strong emotion. These leaks can be annoying, but they are no cause for concern. Simply place a nursing pad in your bra to absorb them and then don’t worry.


Avoid cracks and chapping
Cracks and chapping, which many new mothers fear, occur more frequently among women with light skin and hair. They generally occur only during the first few weeks of breastfeeding and can range from just an irritated nipple to a fissure, which can make nursing sessions very painful indeed. Again, don’t worry: these are easy to avoid by taking a few precautions:
- Don’t remove the breast skin’s protective sebum by washing too frequently! One or two showers a day with a gentle cleansing gel is plenty.
- Make sure your baby is positioned correctly, facing the breast with his mouth wide open so he can latch onto the entire areola.
- After the feeding, dry your nipple and apply a special nursing repair cream.
- If cracks have formed despite your efforts, let your breasts air out as long as possible and regularly spread a special nursing repair cream on your painful nipples.


Avoid engorgement
The painful hardening of your breasts you’ve heard of is absolutely not inevitable! The best way to avoid it is to nurse your baby as often as possible starting as soon as possible, because engorgement is most frequent when your milk first comes in. If engorgement persists, you can hand-express breast milk by gently massaging the areola between your fingers. You may want to express milk under a warm shower, which helps the milk flow more easily. If you don’t succeed, try using a pump, and continue until your breasts soften and feel comfortable again.


Respond appropriately to mastitis
Sometimes, new mothers may feel a large and very painful swelling of the breast, which becomes red and hot. At the same time, they may also experience flu-like symptoms such as extreme fatigue and aches and pains. If you notice these symptoms, immediately take the following steps:
- Nurse your baby as often as possible, especially on the painful side.
- Rest, for real, in bed, with your baby beside you.
- Apply wet, hot towels to your painful breast, or use ice packs (wrapped in a cloth to avoid burns) if cold is more effective at relieving the pain.
- If you see no improvement within 24 hours, call your doctor, who will probably prescribe an antibiotic. You do not, however, have to stop breastfeeding when you have mastitis.


Stretch-marks? No thanks!
Stretch-marks? No thanks!

Stretch marks, a gift that comes with pregnancy, not appealing! Particularly as nowadays their appearance can easily be prevented and even be rendered practically invisible if they have managed to form. Stretch marks appear as a result of weight gain and hormonal change. The stomach, hips, thighs and chest are clearly the areas most prone to this. Despite our skin having a degree of elasticity, when rapidly distended, its elastic and collagen fibers may end up breaking down. This is all the more likely during these nine months as certain hormones (cortisol and estrogens) reduce the effectiveness of the fibroblasts, the cells that produce elastin and collagen and are so important for the skin’s suppleness and strength. In short, if you do not take care, you may see small striations appear. At first pink and slightly puffy, they end up as white or pearlescent furrows. But this is not inevitable!


The right way to avoid them

Treat early and regularly: these are the key words when it comes to preventing stretch marks because once they have formed, they are more difficult to get rid of completely. So, without becoming obsessed about it, cut out any raids on the cake shop, which only result in needless weight gain. And every day, from the first month onwards, set some non-negotiable time aside to take care of your skin.

Hydration & exfoliation increases the skin’s elasticity. So, after showering, it is essential to moisturize the skin all over your body, which will immediately boost the tone of your skin. And, once a week, use an exfoliant specially formulated for sensitive skin: the penetration of hydrating active ingredients will be optimized by the removal of impurities from the epidermis and you’ll gain baby soft skin into the bargain.

Massage & ad-hoc cream to combat the appearance of stretch marks, it is also necessary to stimulate the skin’s regenerative capacity. This can be done with creams specifically created for use during pregnancy: bursting with 100% natural ingredients, they will immediately act on and the production of the supporting fibers. All the more so if, instead of a quick rub on, you take the time to give yourself a real massage using circular movements.

 After pregnancy, stretch marks might have formed. As with all scarring, they will fade with time. But it is as well to do everything to ensure they do so as fast as possible.

Ultra-targeted treatment Combining natural active ingredients, vitamins and trace elements, they contain everything necessary to reduce any stretch marks that have formed and make them fade. Apply them twice a day, preferably using a palpating rolling massage, the result is astounding.

Go all out if necessary If the stretch marks are really very troubling, consider a more intensive treatment: micro-dermabrasion (renews the layers of the epidermis) or laser treatment (reduces scarring). Very good results but rarely complete removal. 

Foods to avoid during pregnancy
Foods to avoid during pregnancy

When you’re pregnant, the needs of your baby come first. Because of that important change in your life, there are certain foods to avoid during pregnancy. Removing these foods from your diet can keep you and your baby happy and healthy through all three trimesters. Additionally, avoiding these foods can help you steer clear of harmful bacteria like Salmonella and listeria that can lead to illness and even miscarriage. Here are some foods we recommend you avoid during pregnancy.


  • Unwashed Fruits & Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are a big part of the perfect pregnancy diet. We recommend that you wash all the fruits and vegetables you choose to eat. When you wash your fruits and vegetables, you reduce the risk that you’ll be exposed to the parasite toxoplasmosis that can be found in the soil where these foods are grown.


  • Alcohol

When you find out you’re pregnant, it’s important to stop drinking alcohol immediately. Exposing your baby to alcohol in the womb—even at the earliest stages of development—can interfere with the healthy growth of the fetus. In extreme cases, it can even lead to Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.


  • Caffeine

Though you may love the grande latte you get every day, your baby will not. The caffeine in that latte can be absorbed by your baby. And because caffeine is a stimulant, it can cause changes in your baby’s sleep and normal movement patterns. Studies on animals have even shown that caffeine consumption can lead to birth defects, premature labor, and increased risk of low-birth weight. We suggest being better safe than sorry—cut the caffeine from your diet and you and your baby will rest easy.


  • Raw Eggs

Raw eggs may contain salmonella which can make you and your baby sick. Cooked eggs, and products that contain raw eggs but are cooked or baked at some point, are fine in moderation. But products like homemade ice cream, mayonnaise, and Hollandaise sauce should be avoided at all costs.


  • Imported Soft Cheese

Many imported soft cheeses are made with unpasteurized milk and can contain the listeria bacteria. For that reason, we recommend avoiding imported cheeses like brie, feta, Camembert, and Roquefort. Check the ingredients label to be sure.

How to cope with sleep deprivation as a new mum?
How to cope with sleep deprivation as a new mum?

Here are our tips on how to cope with sleep deprivation as a new mum:


Sleep when you can: Everyone will tell you to ‘sleep when the baby sleeps’ but you probably won’t! All mums know this is the only time you have to shower, eat, have a hot cut of tea or run around being excited about having a sleeping baby. However, it is important to try and recoup lost sleep and you will feel a lot better for it. Set aside at least a couple of nap times a week to sleep, the housework can wait. And if you have other children which makes naptime naps impossible, go to bed at the same time as them in the evening.


Drink lots of water: You’ll feel worse if you are dehydrated, so make sure you drink lots of  water. Reports are conflicting about caffeine, but have a coffee or tea if you think it will wake you up.


Make sure you eat properly: It’s easy to skip meals or survive on toast when you have no free hands, but eating a balanced meal and lots of fruit and veg will give you energy for the day. Try not to carb-load or have too many sugary snacks, as tempting as they are when you’re tired.


Get someone else to hold the baby: Have a nap when your partner is around. Or try and find time when a grandparent, or a visitor, is there and get them to look after the baby for an hour while you sleep.


If you can’t sleep, rest: When you’re really tired, try and down tools to do as little as possible, especially when you have another child. Have a movie day or TV afternoon. Set out some toys of the floor while you relax on the sofa. Let them play in the garden to burn off steam, where you can sit and watch. 


Take a break if you feel stressed: Sleep deprivation can leave you feeling foggy and probably more than a little bit grumpy. It’s easy to snap when you’re sleep deprived, especially when it seems like your children won’t listen and are demanding a lot. If you feel like you’re going to get angry, make sure they are all safe and leave the room to catch your breath and clear your head.


Accept all offers of help: Sleep deprivation is tough and it’s hard to operate as normal. Accept all offers of help, from meals through to letting someone else do the washing up.


Be kind to yourself! The most important tip of all for when you cope with sleep deprivation is to be kind to yourself. It’s hard to operate as normal, although everyone still expects you too, and sleep deprivation can make you snappy and grumpy with those around you. You’re doing the best job you can, and don’t forget that.

Protecting your baby from the sun
Protecting your baby from the sun

Until they reach age 3, infants do not have a fully developed skin defense system, which leaves them highly vulnerable to the sun’s rays. As a result, doctors strongly recommend that young children be kept out of direct sunlight. If your activities require your baby to be in the sun nonetheless, be sure to take special precautions to protect that delicate skin! By following a few simple rules, you can preserve your baby’s skin and help maintain his natural defenses against potentially serious sun damage. And since childhood is the best time for learning, if you always follow the same steps now, your child will adopt them automatically in the future.


Rules for sun safety

  • Avoid exposing your baby to the sun, especially between 11:00 AM and 4:00 PM.
  • Always look for shade when the sun is intense.
  • Never leave your baby naked or in a bathing suit in the sunlight. Dress your child in loose-fitting clothing made of thick cotton to filter UV rays, plus a wide-brimmed hat and appropriate wide-brimmed or goggle sunglasses.
  • Apply a thick layer of a sunscreen product with an appropriate SPF index (50 or above), 20 minutes prior to exposure. Focus on sensitive areas that receive extra exposure (forehead, cheekbones, nose, lips).
  • Protect your child even in the shade or cloudy weather: more than 80% of UV rays pass through clouds, and a parasol does not provide adequate protection.
  • Avoid potentially allergenic sun protection; instead, use mineral or organic mineral sunscreen.
  • Reapply the sunscreen product generously every 2 hours and after the child has been in water.
  • Make sure your child drinks regularly, even if he doesn’t ask to.
  • Take proper care of your sunscreen products: be sure to close the tube or spray cap tightly, don’t leave products in full sunlight, and never reuse a product the year after you opened it.


Choosing the right sunscreen


Your child has delicate skin that’s thinner than yours and especially vulnerable to sunlight. So it’s vital to choose sunscreen that’s optimally effective against the sun’s harmful rays, but that also respects your child’s delicate skin and preserves its supply of healthy cells.


The right sun protection for your baby should meet the following criteria:


  • It should offer SPF 50+ and UVA protection combined with protection of the cutaneous barrier to preserve the skin’s natural defenses and prevent any cell damage that could result from exposure to the sun.
  • It should offer a guarantee of high tolerance: the formula should be hypoallergenic, alcohol- and paraben-free and dermatologically tested.
  • It should be suitable for a child’s activities: the product should be water- and sweat-resistant and visible when applied, to be sure you don’t overlook any area of the skin.
  • It should be appropriate for your child’s skin type: if your baby has very light or sensitive skin, choose a product specially designed for intolerant skin types.
Pregnancy and acne – good habits to adopt
Pregnancy and acne – good habits to adopt

4 out of 60 expecting moms have acne during their pregnancies. Acne is not just for teenagers. During pregnancy, pregnant women may see their acne problems come back. Hormones are to blame! It even affects 4 out of 60 expectant moms. 


Learn more about the advice of Brigitte Letombe, gynecologist at the CHRU in Lille to say goodbye to these pimples. Brigitte’s first observation: it is generally women who had acne during adolescence who will see the trend reappear while they are expecting. So as soon as the good news is announced, stay vigilant and adapt your regimen as a result.


Acne during pregnancy: good habits to adopt

Whether your plan is to avoid the appearance of pimples and imperfections or to get rid of them, certain habits are essential. Brigitte Letombe reveals the keys to beautiful skin for expectant moms:


  • Limit sweets
  • Avoid sun exposure
  • Use cosmetics formulated for acne-prone skin that for example contain salicylic acid for treating pimples
The 6 nutrients expectant and breastfeeding mums need
The 6 nutrients expectant and breastfeeding mums need

If you are a breastfeeding mother, you know that breast milk is the best source of nutrition for your newborn baby. Improving the health and wellbeing of both mum and baby it has been estimated that breastfeeding reduces the risk of obesity compared to feeding formula.

With authorities worldwide recommending that infants are breastfed for at least the first six months of life to achieve optimal growth, development and health we are looking at the top six nutrients to boost health, for mum and baby, during lactation.

  • Vitamin D

Also known as the ‘sunshine vitamin’, vitamin D is crucial in the body’s absorption of calcium which helps to build baby’s bones and teeth. Some good sources of vitamin D include fortified or fat-free milk, fortified orange juice, egg yolks and salmon.

The NHS suggest that everyone, including pregnant women and women who breastfeed, should consider taking a daily supplement to counteract not only the lack of sunshine in the UK but also our increasingly indoor lifestyles and processed diets. As human breastmilk is known to be a very poor source of vitamin D it is recommended that all breastfed infants receive a supplement.

  • Calcium

Not only does calcium contribute to the formation of healthy bones and teeth it is also responsible for the healthy functioning of the circulatory, muscular and nervous systems. Good food sources of calcium include low-fat dairy, spinach, calcium fortified orange juice and cereals.

Calcium is important during breastfeeding as it can affect the mothers bone mass. During lactation the growing baby’s increased need for calcium is drawn from the mother’s bones meaning women lose a small percentage of their bone mass, ultimately putting them at greater risk of fractures and osteoporosis in later life.

  • Vitamin B12

During foetal development the foundations for the brain, nervous system and general health are laid. Vitamin B12 plays an important role in all these functions as well as in the formation of baby’s red blood cells, therefore a deficiency at this time can have long term consequences. For mum, sources of this vitamin include lean meats, poultry, fish and fat-free or low-fat milk.

Human breast milk contains almost exactly the same amount of vitamin B12 as the mother’s blood, so it is important for mum to ensure she not only gets enough of this vital vitamin for herself, but enough for baby too. There is significance placed on vegan and vegetarian breastfeeding mothers as plant-based sources of vitamin B12 are poorly absorbed by the body, increasing the likelihood of deficiency.

  • Iron

Many women are known to become anaemic during pregnancy and after childbirth due to the blood loss experienced and their increased nutrient needs. Iron deficiency anaemia can produce feelings of tiredness and heightens the risk of infection. To prevent this, increase intakes of meat, green leafy vegetables and lentils or consider taking an iron supplement.

A baby’s body typically absorbs iron better through breastmilk than from other sources because it also contains vitamin C to help with absorption through the digestive system. When healthy and carried to full term, newborn babies have enough iron stores to last for at least their first six months of life with many pediatricians recommending that babies need an iron supplement after six months of age.

  • Magnesium

Due to modern diets and lifestyles many nutrients are increasingly under represented or omitted, magnesium is one of these nutrients with seven in ten of us suffering from low levels. Increase your magnesium intake with foods such as green leafy vegetables, nuts, grains, meat and fish.

Magnesium plays an important role in the deactivation of adrenaline, which is a stress hormone that interferes with the production of breast milk. For this reason, it is important to keep stress levels low while breastfeeding.

  • Zinc

Essential for skin health, immune function and optimal reproductive health as well as growth and proper development there is an increased need for zinc during lactation to meet baby’s needs. Sources of zinc include meat, avocado, pomegranate, nuts and seeds. During breastfeeding nutrients are derived from maternal stores, therefore risk of deficiency is increased if mum has poor zinc levels going into pregnancy or breastfeeding. If appropriate levels are maintained breast milk should provide enough zinc for the first four to six months of baby’s life.

Remember breastfeeding is the foundation to lifelong health for babies and mothers so please consult your GP if you are concerned about nutrient deficiency.