Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A history of breastfeeding

A long, but very interesting, article in History Today chronicles breastfeeding through the ages, from the ancient Greeks and Romans to modern-day moms. I found out a lot of really neat facts that I'd never heard before.

Did you know that the Nazis encouraged women to breastfeed, because they felt that the emancipation offered by the bottle was a Jewish plot?

Did you know that, in 1658, the wife of the Earl of Manchester proudly had it announced on her gravestone that she had breastfed seven of her children?

Seriously, go read the article. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Salma Hayek caught smoking

Salma Hayek was caught by the paparazzi smoking a cigarette outside of a department store in Beverly Hills the day after Christmas. Salma has been very vocal about being a nursing mom and is still breastfeeding her daughter Valentina. Although it's best if you can quit smoking, smokers should not be discouraged from nursing. It's better to smoke and breastfeed then it is to smoke and formula feed. If you can't stop smoking, at least try and cut down and never smoke around your baby and don't allow others to smoke around your baby.

From Kelly Mom:

What happens to babies when they are exposed to cigarette smoke?
Babies and children who are exposed to cigarette smoke have a much higher incidence of pneumonia, asthma, ear infections, bronchitis, sinus infections, eye irritation, and croup.
Colic occurs more often in babies whose mothers or fathers smoke or if a breastfeeding mother smokes. Researchers believe that not only does the nicotine transferred into mother's milk upset baby but the passive smoke in the home acts as an irritant. Babies of smoking parents fuss more, and mothers who smoke may be less able to cope with a colicky baby (due to lower levels of prolactin).
Heavy smoking by breastfeeding moms occasionally causes symptoms in the breastfeeding baby such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps and diarrhea.
Babies of smoking mothers and fathers have a seven times greater chance of dying from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
Children of smoking parents have two to three times more visits to the doctor, usually from respiratory infections or allergy-related illnesses.
Children who are exposed to passive smoke in the home have lower blood levels of HDL, the good cholesterol that helps protect against coronary artery disease.
Children of smoking parents are more likely to become smokers themselves.
A recent study found that growing up in a home in which two parents smoked could double the child's risk of lung cancer later in life.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

History of La Leche League International

The NY Times Magazine published articles on many of the celebrities who died in 2008 last weekend. One of the pieces was on La Leche League International founder Edwina Froehlich, who passed away in June.

That's Ms. Froehlich on the far right. She was told when she had her first of three sons at age 36 that she was "too old" to breastfeed. She went on to nurse them all into toddlerhood. Ms. Froehlich left behind a legac y to be proud of: LLLI has a presence in 68 countries, "The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding" is considered a breastfeeding bible and has been translated into eight languages, as well as Braille, and 70% of women now initiate breastfeeding.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Join the next Carnival of Breastfeeding: What are your breastfeeding Goals

Do any of your goals for the new year have to do with breastfeeding? Are you resolving to continuing to nurse longer, or maybe planning a breastfeeding advocacy project?
Tell us about it in a post for our next Carnival of Breastfeeding. Send your submission to Tanya of the Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog by January 12, 2009, for consideration for the carnival on January 20, 2009. We'll be looking for posts that are:
– Well-written and grammatically correct
– Thoughtful and directly on point for the carnival subject
– Submitted by blogs that pertain to subjects of interest to our readers (breastfeeding, parenting)
If your post is selected for inclusion, you will be asked on the day of the carnival to edit your post to link back to each of the other participants in the carnival. Examples of past carnivals can be found here.

Monday, December 22, 2008


One of the questions people seem to ask me often is whether or not my partner has tasted my breast milk. I usually say, "Of course he has." Is that strange? I thought that all women tasted their breast milk and figured husbands probably did too. I can't wait until my son gets old enough and I can ask him what he think my milk tastes like.

My milk tastes like vanilla cow milk to me. When my milk first came in, it was very sweet, almost sickeningly so. I remember it tasted almost like sweetened coffee creamer. The sticky sweet smell was so overpowering that all you had to do was stand next to me and you could smell my milk. As my son has gotten older, my milk has become less sweet.

Did you taste your milk? Did your husband/partner taste it? Are your kids old enough to tell you what it tastes like? What do they say?

Pete Wentz, husband to Ashlee Simpson, admitted to tasting her milk. While doing promos on SIRIUS radio, Pete confessed that he tried Ashlee's breast milk, but thought it tasted "soury" and "weird." Maybe Ashlee has excess lipase?

"The baby loves it, it’s the only thing he’s had a chance to have," he added.

Lucky kid.

No, you can't!

For those of you planning on attending Barack Obama's inauguration on January 20: the President-elect's security detail has put the kibosh on strollers at the event. Strollers (along with backpacks, thermoses, chairs and coolers) are a security threat. So if you're an attached parent, you probably already own a sling. If you're not, here's another great reason to start babywearing.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Medela Nursing Camisole Giveaway

One of my favorite new blogs, Mama Speaks, is currently giving away a Medela Nursing Camisole. Medela

The camisole retails for $45. Want to get your hands on a size medium in black? Simply send an email to giveaways[at] with Medela Nursing as your subject. Giveaway ends 12.23.08

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Extended nursing still not mainstream

Actress Kelly Rutherford (who stars on Gossip Girl, but who will forever be Megan Lewis from Melrose Place to me) talked to US Weekly about nursing her two-year-old son, Hermes. Not only is Ms. Rutherford an extended nurser, she is also pregnant and may end up tandem nursing. The story got picked up by NY Daily News' gossip page where she was derided for breastfeeding her "walking and talking" toddler (the headline? "Udderly Icky").
First of all, Kelly Rutherford is a woman and doesn't have udders. Second of all, there is nothing icky about nursing your child, even if he or she is walking or talking or eating solid food or has teeth or any of the other arbitrary things people take as a sign that you need to wean. If you and your baby are still enjoying your nursing relationship, then have at it!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Facebook nurse-in

Mark your calendars: December 27th will be the first virtual nurse-in on Facebook. You probably remember the uproar last year when Facebook started removing its users breastfeeding images because they were "obscene." In response, a group was created called, "Hey, Facebook, breastfeeding is not obscene!" (of which I am a member).

Now, a group called Mothers International Lactation Campaign (MILC) is hosting the nurse-in because Facebook still continues to arbitrarily remove pictures of moms nursing from the site.

In honor of this "virtual day of protest," MILC asks that you change your profile picture on December 27th to a breastfeeding image and change your status to, "Hey, Facebook, breastfeeding is not obscene!"

I'll be participating. Will you?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Breastfeeding helps moms lose weight

A new study concluded that women who gained a "reasonable" amount during pregnancy and breastfed were back to their pre-pregnancy weight by 6 months postpartum. According to the authors of the study, weight after pregnancy is a serious issue because so many women of childbearing age are overweight or obese.

The study is available here, but you'll need to be a subscriber to the journal or in a library that subscribes to get the full text.

Maybe someone should pass this article on to Salma Hayek?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Melamine found in US infant formula

Sad and scary news. The FDA is reporting that they have found traces of the industrial chemical melamine in infant formula in the US. You of course remember that melamine is the chemical that caused all of those babies in China to become ill (some were even killed by the exposure). The difference here is that the chemical was not added on purpose. Still, all of the major formula brands tested(Nestle, Enfamil and Similac) had trace levels.

If you're formula feeding or supplementing with formula, try not to worry too much. According to the FDA, the levels are extremely low and shouldn't cause concern from a health standpoint. Still, if you're concerned, talk to your pediatrician.

Andi at Mama Knows Breast has some more information on this story, too.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Powder formula is deadly in the NICU

If you're a mom whose baby spent any time in the NICU after birth, you were probably required to pump so that your baby could have breast milk. Unfortunately, breast milk does not provide the calories and fat that severely preterm babies require. Their nutritional needs are just too great. Babies who spend more than a couple weeks in the NICU will require a human milk fortifier be added to the expressed breast milk. The major formula makers each have their own brand and it comes in a powder packet. It adds calories, protein, calcium and other nutrients that a preemie requires.

There is a real danger in using powder infant formula in the NICU. Powder formula is not sterile, so improper storage or handling can allow a deadly bacteria to breed in the powder. A baby recently died of bacterial meningitis after consuming powder human milk fortifier in the NICU. There appear to have been other cases that resulted in the death of a baby at this same Illinois hospital, as well as 17 other cases across the country.

The mom in the story said she had not been warned of the dangers of powder infant formula for a preemie, although the warning is clear on both Enfamil's and Similac's websites.

I know most people don't expect or think about having a baby in the NICU, but it probably doesn't hurt to do some research, just in case. There are other options besides using formula, including human milk fortifier made from breast milk. The product, Prolacta, is the only HMF made from 100% breast milk. They are always accepting women who want to donate their breast milk to help save the lives of preemies.

This is also another reason why we need a real system of milk banks across the US. If safe human milk was available at a reasonable price, there would be a much smaller market for the formula makers to exploit. The current cost of purchasing breast milk is about $3 per ounce (liquid gold, indeed). If you're able and interested, think about donating your breast milk. You can find out if there is a milk bank in your area here.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Breastfeeding twins is tough

Although many people think of Angelina Jolie as a "super mom," the actress confesses that breastfeeding her twins was very difficult and that she quit after three months.

"It's very hard," the actress confessed on Britain's morning show GMTV. "I stopped at three months, [it was] about as much as I could do."

"There's this football hold – it's a lot harder than it looks in the books,” she says in the prerecorded interview at her London hotel on Monday. "I did that a few times. I would take turns. It just takes a long time."

I can only imagine how tough it is to breastfeed twins. My own son wanted to nurse every 45 minutes those first few weeks and it seemed like all I did the first 4 months was breastfeed. With her hectic schedule and large family, I'm impressed Angelina lasted as long as she did. I give her kudos for the dedication to nursing twins. Jennifer Lopez didn't even try.

For more information on nursing twins, see this site.

Here are some pictures of the various positions used to nurse twins.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Carnival of Breastfeeding- Supply Booster Reviews

Hello and welcome, Carnival of Breastfeeding readers! This month's carnival is dedicated to reviews of breastfeeding accessories. I'll be reviewing a few products that I have used during my nursing relationship with my son as supply boosters.

First up, Motherlove's More Milk Plus.
More Milk Plus - Safe, effective galactagogue herbal lactation formula to increase breast milk for breastfeeding mothers
Galactagogues, or substances known to increase milk supply in lactating women, are frequently used by moms who either have a low supply or dips in supply at certain times in their cycle. Some of the most frequently used galactagogues are herbs, including fenugreek, blessed thistle and nettle leaf. Motherlove is an herbal company that sells products specifically for pregnant and nursing women. They have created a wonderful product called More Milk Plus that contains all of the aforementioned ingredients, plus fennel seed. It comes in a tincture and you take 3 dropper fulls per day on an empty stomach.
Now, this stuff is absolutely vile-tasting! It's probably the worst thing I've ever had to choke down, but it works like a charm! My son went on a nursing strike when he was about 8 months old and my breasts quickly went from full and heavy to feeling saggy and empty. I was devestated because pumping was not bringing my supply back. Within 48 hours of taking the More Milk Plus reguarly, my supply was right back where it was supposed to be. This tincture really is a miracle. It has also been proven to work wonders in women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), a common disorder among black women which can prevent your milk from coming in effectively. It also comes in a capsule form for those of you who can't stand the taste of the tincture, but I can't vouche for its efficacy.

Another product I love for boosting supply is something you probably already have in your cabinet at home: oatmeal! It has been touted as a supply booster and it really does work. If you can't stand oatmeal, then make home made oatmeal cookies and add in some brewer's yeast for an extra bump to your supply.

I've also used Mother's Milk teas, but they really don't do much for your supply and aren't very tasty. You're much better off sticking to More Milk Plus or taking a large dose of fenugreek. Lactation consultants recommend taking 3 capsules, 3 times per day. When you and your baby start smelling like maple syrup, you've got the dosage right!

Lastly, if you're stressed out about your supply and having trouble letting down for the pump, Bach's Rescue Remedy works wonders to help relax you and can help in eliciting the letdown reflex.

I used to take this before pumping at work and it really made me feel very mellow. You have to be cautious and not use it too often because it can cause sleepiness in your baby, but it's an excellent way to increase your pumping output. Rescue Remedy is 100% natural and includes flower essences. You can take it by putting a few drops into a large glass of water and sipping on it before pumping, or put a drop or two under your tongue for an almost instantaneous calming effect.
It won't increase your actual supply, but it can help you get more out of your pumping sessions and every little ounce counts!

To see what everyone else is writing about in this month's carnival, click the following links.

Breastfeeding Mums: The Food of Love review
Jenny at Babyfingers: Bravado Essential nursing bra tank
Halfpint Pixie: Gorgeous nursing bras
Motherwear: Breastfeeding and pumping CDs
Mama Knows Breast: Utterly Yours breastfeeding pillow
Mama's Magic: Breastfeeding Basics (and Bling!)
Breastfeeding 1-2-3: Medela Sleep Nursing Bra
LaylaBeth Munk: Nursing product junkie!
Hobo Mama: Nursing pads

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Mayim Bialik caught in the act

A photographer caught Blossom star Mayim Bialik nursing her two-month-old son at a farmer's market in LA on Sunday.

Yay for nursing in a sling and yay for nursing proudly in public! For more information on babywearing, see Mama Seoul's recent post.

Babywearing is a wonderful way to bond with your baby while being able to breastfeed easily and discreetly while on-the-go. In honor of International Babywearing Week November 12-18th, why not purchase a sling? If you're already babywearing, consider getting one as a gift for a pregnant woman you know. They make a great gift for moms-to-be!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Salma Hayek- still breastfeeding!

I just read a great interview with Salma Hayek in the UK's Sunday Times online. In it she discusses her work with Pampers and Unicef and her breastfeeding relationship with her 14-month-old daughter, Valentina. Some great quotes:

"You don’t know what pain I’m in after two hours, how difficult it was at first. And by the way, the myth that says you lose all this weight when you breast-feed? That is sooo not true."

“I’m like an alcoholic,” she shrugs. “It’s like, I don’t care if I cry, I don’t care if I’m fat, I’m just gonna do it for one more week, one more month, and then, when I see how much good it is doing her, I can’t stop."

Loves it.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Weekly Roundup

A lot of new research about breastfeeding and breast milk has been in the news lately. Enjoy!

New evidence on how exactly mom's immunities are passed on to baby during breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding is associated with decreased childhood behavioral problems. Hhmmm..breastfed kids are better behaved?

Californians have higher levels of toxic chemicals in their bodies, including their breast milk, than anyone else.

Here's a shock: poor women receive less support for breastfeeding.

And their breastfeeding rates reflect that.

A new product called Milkies slips into your nursing bra to collect all the milk that naturally leaks out during letdown. So smart!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Do your boobs hang low?

Contrary to popular belief, breastfeeding does NOT cause saggy breasts. I have heard countless women say this is why they chose not to breastfeed and it's simply not true. Genetics and pregnancy are what cause breasts to sag, so if you made it through your pregnancy with your boobs intact, you can breastfeed without fear.

A recent study in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal confirmed what lactation consultants have been saying for years. The most significant risk factors for sagging breasts appear to be age, number of pregnancies, weight and a history of smoking. Another reason to quit smoking now if you haven't already.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Coupon code for

If you're in the market for a breast pump, you can take 10% off your purchase at with code babycheapskate. Free shipping on all orders over $70. No expiration!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Join the next Carnival of Breastfeeding: Product Reviews

The next carnival of breastfeeding will feature reviews of nursing products.
Is there a pillow you couldn't live without? Is there a book that taught you all you needed to know about nursing or a pump that's kept your baby in breast milk while you're at work? Here's your chance to write about it!
As usual, we'll be looking for posts that are:
- Well written and grammatically correct
-Thoughtful and directly related to the carnival subject
- Submitted from blogs related to breastfeeding or parenting
Email Tanya at the Motherwear blog your submission by November 10th, 2008. The carnival will be on 17th, 2008. Please note that, if your post is selected for inclusion by our regular group of bloggers, you will be asked to link to each of the other participants in the carnival. We reserve the right to choose posts for inclusion. Examples of past carnival posts can be found here.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Cool breastfeeding give aways

Blossumz Soothing Breast Therapy Packs. Retail value: $35. Enter by 10/28.

Earth Mama Angel Baby Organic Breastfeeding Support Kit. Retail value: $45. Enter here by 10/29.

Good luck!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Harlem Hospital is now "Baby Friendly"!!

Harlem Hospital in NYC has been certified Baby Friendly by Unicef/WHO. The Baby Friendly initiative is a global program that encourages and recognizes hospitals and birthing centers that offer an optimal level of care for lactation.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The case for co-sleeping

The first few weeks at home with a new baby are an intense time. Moms are recovering from the birth of the new baby, but still have to love, nurture and care for that new bundle of joy who constantly needs something. When you're breastfeeding, you really need to nurse on demand, which can mean breastfeeding every hour on the hour, 24 hours a day. Most new parents are sleep-deprived and the advice you constantly get from friends and family is to sleep when the baby sleeps. La Leche League International even insists that rest is required in order to build and maintain a good milk supply for your baby.

So what if your baby is not a good sleeper? For some reason we equate a baby who makes the lives of his parents more convenient by going to sleep easily and staying asleep for long periods of time with being "good." A baby is also "good" if she is happy to sleep alone in a crib.

My son figured out quickly that he wanted to be next to mommy all the time and even a bassinet pushed up to the bed wasn't close enough. By the time he was a few weeks old he was sleeping in bed with mom and dad, where he stayed until he turned 10 months old. He is now sleeping through the night in a crib (in our bedroom), but we'll still sometimes lie down as a family in the bed for naps on the weekends.

Co-sleeping is not for everyone, but it can be a life-saver for moms with high-need babies and those who work out of the home. When I returned to work when my son was 6 months old, his night wakings increased because he missed all those nursing sessions that were replaced with bottles during the day. If I had not co-slept, I would have never been able to function at work. I was able to latch my son on and go back to sleep while he happily nursed himself to back to sleep.

Of course there is a lot of fear-mongering when it comes to co-sleeping. You'll hear everything from "the baby will never leave your bed!" to "you'll crush that baby in your sleep!" There are rules to co-sleeping safely which are outlined nicely on Dr. Sears' website.

If you're finding that your sleep is being compromised, consider co-sleeping. According to Unicef's Baby Friendly Initiative, "bed-sharing encourages intimate contact between mother and baby, which facilitates a close and loving bond. Successful breastfeeding and better sleep are more common among mothers and babies who share the same bed. Evidence suggests that bed-sharing is common among parents with new babies both in hospital and at home."

I think when they're being honest, most parents will admit to co-sleeping, at least part-time. So tell me, readers, do you co-sleep too?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Will Angelina Jolie breastfeeding one of her twins on the cover of the latest W magazine inspire more women to breastfeed? Shannon Fox of MomLogic thinks it will. "If someone as popular, beautiful and together as Angelina is breastfeeding her children, it inspires other women to do so themselves," she says.

I'm not a Brangeloonie (TM Michael K), but if the fact that Jolie is breastfeeding will inspire more women to try or stick with it, then I'm all for it. I think it's strange that she and Brad Pitt would allow a magazine to publish their "private" family photos, but hey, I'm not a celebrity and I don't understand the majority of things they do.

So what do you think? Will this actually make a difference in the breastfeeding rate or will the Jolie breastfeeding buzz die down quickly to make room for publicity with her next stunt?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

NYC Hospitals ban formula swag bags

breast bottle feeding

NYC hospitals have now officially stopped giving out those free bags filled with formula samples to new moms. The city has a $2 million plan that changes the way new moms will be treated in hospitals. Instead of diaper bags stuffed with formula and coupons, the city's hospitals will be giving out a cooler pack for bottled of breast milk, disposable nursing pads and a T-shirt that says "I eat at mom's." How cool is that? I hope more and more hospitals do away with the bags because it does imply to many women that the doctors and nurses are endorsing a specific brand or feel that formula feeding is just as good as breastfeeding.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Breastfeeding and breast cancer

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. All of us know a woman who has battled or lost her life to breast cancer. Please take the time to do a self exam every month, even if you're breastfeeding. Although the chances are slim, you can still get breast cancer while nursing.
Unfortunately, if you find a lump you'll probably be told you need to wean your baby and stop all breastfeeding for 6 months before you can have a biopsy done. It's probably news to most of us (it was to me) that when you make milk, cells from your milk ducts exfoliate off in the process. These are called epithelial cells, and they're detectable in your milk.

Research has shown that long before you notice a lump, those epithelial cells start changing in ways that are precursors to the development of breast cancer.

Dr. Kathleen Arcaro, a UMass professor who studies breastfeeding and breast cancer risk wants to analyze those cells. Check out her answers to questions about breastfeeding and breast cancer.

The primary goal of her research is to determine if it's possible to create a non-invasive, early way of assessing breast cancer risk through breastmilk. If it's successful, it would also establish 'molecular biomarkers' for breast cancer risk.

An additional benefit to breastfeeding mothers is that we would not be told to wean before a mammogram or biopsy can be done. No more choosing between breastfeeding and a breast cancer test. It could be as simple and sending in a milk sample to a lab!

In order to conduct this research, Dr. Kathleen Arcaro needs to find 250 women who are both lactating and scheduled for a biopsy. To participate, you'd overnight milk samples to her lab, at no cost to you. If you or someone you know is in this situation, please contact Dr. Arcaro.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Should you formula feed?

Will formula feeding harm your baby? That is the question posed on a new site, Opposing Views, where experts in a field are allowed to debate a topic. What's really interesting and different about the site is the experts are allowed to counter each other's arguments. Users of the site are allowed to post their own comments, as well.

La Leche League International posits that yes, formula feeding can harm your baby. The reasons they list are that formula circumvents nature's plan, formula is an ongoing experiment and that while "harm" is subjective, formula feeding does pose real risks to both infants and the world at large.

I think the recent formula scare in China highlights this nicely. I had been thinking for weeks on how to cover this story and as it got bigger and wider-reaching, I was reminded about how even though formula is marketed and promoted as being a safe, second-best alternative to breast milk, in places outside of the US, it can actually kill your baby. Even the US has seen its share of formula recalls. The tainted milk crisis has now been determined to affect not only breast milk substitutes, but cow's milk as well.

Why is this happening? According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, women in China not only "don't like to breastfeed" they are also under the mistaken impression that formula is actually more nutritious than breast milk. The ads even say so!

But also, much like what has happened in the US, the structure of Chinese families has changed. Women are now expected (and probably need) to work, including after they become mothers. More working moms + babies in the arms of other caregivers= need for a breast milk substitute. I am fully convinced that if I had not had to return to work, my son would have gone on to have only breast milk until his first birthday.

Probably the grossest part is that it appears the Chinese government knew that dangerous chemicals were being added both to formula and cow's milk and looked the other way. In a country where the size of your family is regulated by law and people are only allowed to have one child, you'd think the government would be more concerned with the health and well-being of babies. Thankfully, lots of breastfeeding moms are now offering up their services as wet nurses and baby-sitters, but in general these women are poor and can't bring their own kids along when they're baby-sitting. So these poor babies get rice water while the babies of wealthier couples are now getting that precious breast milk. The whole thing is so infuriating, it's hard to even write about, let alone look at the pictures of these sick formula-fed babies, which are just heartbreaking.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Weekly Roundup

Bad news for the Swiss chef. He won't be allowed to use breast milk in his dishes.

Tainted baby formula is showing up in other countries, including Burma, where it's still selling like hot cakes.

New breastfeeding support DVD, "From Bump to Breastfeeding," available for free to all pregnant women in the UK.

New campaign in Olympia, Washington supports nursing in public.

Interested in donating breast milk? Check out the Human Milk Banking Association of North America for more information.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Sesame Street Breastfeeding Clips

Tanya from the Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog has dug up some of the coolest videos showing breastfeeding on Sesame Street. The videos are all from the 70s and show both real moms, Sesame Street characters and mammals breastfeeding. Can you imagine a woman actually saying "I am giving my baby milk from my breast" on a kid's program today? It's especially interesting because, according to a 1979 article in The NY Times, Sesame Street's target child was "the 4-year-old inner city black youngster." When the DVD box set of the first two seasons of Sesame Street was released last November, it came with a warning: “These early ‘Sesame Street’ episodes are intended for grown-ups, and may not suit the needs of today’s preschool child.” Since we're all grown around here, we're free to enjoy!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

PETA wants ice cream made with breast milk

I wasn't going to post about this nonsense, but it seems that folks on the internet are getting a kick out of it, so here ya go. PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) sent the owners of Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream a letter, asking them to no longer make their ice cream with cow's milk, but breast milk instead. They were inspired by that Swiss chef I wrote about last week who will be making sauces and stews in his new restaurant out of 75% breast milk.
PETA wants to reduce the suffering of cows and provide a healthier product for humans. Now, I am all for ending the suffering of any animal. Although I am not a vegetarian, I am an animal lover and I wish that animals raised for the purpose of becoming our food were treated more ethically. But PETA always gets it wrong because they assume that you can only care about humans or animals, not both, and that animals always come first. So it's not OK for cows to suffer, but it is OK for women around the world to be chained to a breast pump 24/7 in order to produce the gallons of breast milk it would take to make those tiny pints of ice cream? And what will these women's babies eat? Formula? Which is, all together now, processed cow's milk!
I don't even know why I am getting worked up because I know that PETA will always come up with some crazy scheme in order to get media attention, and look, it worked. I absolutely love the response from Ben & Jerry's spokesman, Sean Greenwood.
"We applaud PETA's novel approach to bringing attention to an issue, but we believe a mother's milk is best used for her child." Amen, brotha. If you want socially responsible cold treats, buy rice milk or soy milk ice cream.
OK, I am off to eat some Vermonty Python. YUM.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Sad news

I read a very depressing article today. Dr. Jack Newman, famed pediatrician and breastfeeding expert, may have to close the doors to his respected Toronto clinic where women have turned for breastfeeding help for the last 20 years. Dr. Newman is considered a world leader in breastfeeding education and support. His instruction videos can be found for free on YouTube and his books are best sellers. Dr. Newman is close to my own heart because when I was having difficulty with breastfeeding and pumping I emailed him and he responded that same day. He gave me some sage advice, along with a few chapters from his book he thought would be helpful. This man has his own practice in addition to his work at the Newman Breastfeeding Clinic and Institute. He has devoted his heart and soul and his entire career to helping mothers and babies and now he may lose his clinic because his private funding has dried up. His website, where he offers tons of invaluable information for free, may also soon disappear.
If you're as upset about this as I am, if you've been helped by Dr. Newman and you have the means, please send a few dollars to the Canadian Breastfeeding Foundation, which is accepting donations on behalf of the Newman Clinic.

Monday, September 22, 2008

HIV positive moms may now be able to breastfeed safely

A chemical engineer at Cambridge University has created a nipple shield that would allow HIV positive mothers to breastfeed safely. The shield is able to disinfect the milk as it leaves the nipple, while leaving the milk undamaged. Although heating the milk first can deactivate the virus, it's a lengthy process that kills some of the nutrients in breast milk. The new shield uses sodium dodecyl sulphate (SDS) to prevent the spread of the HIV virus.
The researchers are rightfully concerned that this new invention may not be used because it would identify a mom using at as HIV positive. However, the shield will be marketed as a delivery system for medication, so it can be used by moms with an iron or iodine deficiency as well.
This is amazing news and has the ability to have such a positive impact on women and children in the developing nation who have had to rely on formula if mom is positive. Imagine the benefits to women and children in Africa, who can't afford formula and can't rely on state aid or the good will of others to feed their babies.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Pumping & Working: Essentials to making it work

One of my good friends will be returning to work in a week and will be pumping for her 4-month-old daughter. I told her I would make her a list of items and tips she'll need to make working and pumping easier. Below is my list, but please feel free to add anything I may have overlooked.

  • A good double electric breast pump. It goes without saying that if you want to keep your supply up, you'll need a quality pump. Most lactation consultants recommend the Medela Pump in Style and the Ameda Purely Yours. If your supply starts to dip, you can consider renting a hospital-grade pump. I am also hearing really good things about the new Medela Freestyle, a hands-free pump.
  • Pictures and videos of your baby, clothes your baby has worn, your baby's blanket. All of these items can help elicit your let-down reflex. If you have a cell phone that takes videos and pictures, make sure you have some photos or vids of your baby nursing that you can play while you pump.
  • Burp cloths. My son never spits up so I have a ton of these things in his linen closet and never had a use for them until I returned to work and began pumping. These will save your clothing. Breast milk does stain (I learned this lesson the hard way by ruining two pairs of pants) so be sure to put the cloths in your lap before you pump. When you remove your breasts from the horns, some milk may drip down into your lap so use the cloths to catch it. You can also them to wipe up any milk that spills on the table/desk where you're pumping.
  • Speaking of horns (or flanges or breast shield....same thing!), it's smart to invest in an extra set. That way, you don't have to wash pump parts at work. Since breast milk is sterile, you can store the horns from your morning pump session in a fridge at work or even in a plastic ziplock bag until you're ready for your lunch time pump. Then you can use the extra set for your afternoon pumping session(s).
  • Make sure the horns are also the correct size! Check out how the right fit should look here.
  • Extra accessories. Keep them on hand, both at work and at home. I can't tell you how many times I've forgotten to pack one little tiny part that then makes it impossible to use the pump. The white part that aids in suction is the membrane and the yellow piece it clips onto on a Medela pump is the valve. On an Ameda pump, the white piece is the valve. Medela accessories can be purchased at Target and Babies R Us, but Ameda parts can only be found online, so stock up before returning to work. You'll also need to replace the valves and membranes every 6 to 8 weeks to ensure the integrity of your pump and your output. If you notice you are pumping less, sometimes just replacing these parts can get you back on track.
  • Extra collection bottles/milk storage bags, just in case. You never know how much milk you're going to get in a given day.
  • A cooling pack. If you don't have access to a fridge, you can keep your milk cool enough with a freezer pack. Even though I have a fridge, I prefer to keep my milk with me at all times.
  • A fun magazine, book, or web site to read. Many moms, myself included, find that "bottle watching" really wrecks your output. If I concentrate and worry about how much milk I am getting, I inevitably get less than if I surf the internet or read Us Weekly.
  • Learn how to go hands-free. If you can't splurge on a Freestyle, you can purchase a bra especially made for pumping moms, like the Easy Expressions. You can also rig up any regular old nursing bra to be hands-free with a couple of rubber bands.
  • Pump at least 3 times a day. Ideally you should pump for every missed feeding, but if you can't, 3 times is in a typical 8-hour work day should be enough. If you get busy, squeeze in a 5 minute pump. Some pumping is better than none!
  • Herbs. Fenugreek works wonders for boosting milk supply, as does goat's rue. You can purchase them at a health food store, or try a tincture like Mother Love's More Milk Plus.
  • Determination and a good attitude. Working and pumping is tough, but worth all of the effort to give your baby the best..your milk! It helps to think of pumping as a way to connect with your baby even when you're apart. You will definitely run into issues at one time or another but don't let them prevent you from continuing your nursing relationship with your baby. If you find pumping becomes too difficult, always remember that some breast milk is better than none and nursing doesn't have to be an all or nothing proposition! Your body will make enough milk for you to feed your baby when you're together and you can give her formula at day care if it makes your life easier and preserves your sanity.
For more tips and information on the many common concerns working and pumping moms face, check out the following:

Work and Pump site

Pumping & Relactating Moms forum

Breast milk calculator

Nursing Mother, Working Mother

Optimizing Milk Supply
when Returing to Work or School

101 Reasons to breastfeed your baby
, when you need some inspiration and encouragement

Friday, September 19, 2008

Weekly Roundup

A diet rich in Omega-3s found in fish and breast milk leads to smarter, healthier babies.

Swiss restaurant to serve stews, soups and sauces made with 75% breast milk.

A group of British moms will be posing for a calendar to promote breastfeeding.

"Best is breast" is an unknown concept in China.

Look out for Motherwear's September Carnival of Breastfeeding on Monday, 9/22. This month's theme is learning about breastfeeding.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

How long were you breastfed?

It has always been a source of pride for me that I was breastfed until I was 18 months old. Over the years, whenever I have told people, their reactions have been a mixture of surprise and awe. People have always found it surprising that my mother nursed me until I was a toddler.

With the recent resurgence of breastfeeding rates and the AAP and WHO recommendations, I'm always a little surprised that people are still grossed out by nursing toddlers. Maybe if you don't have children it's hard to picture nursing a 2-year-old, but a 2-year-old is still very much a baby in many ways. I plan to allow my son to self-wean and since we don't plan on having any more children for a few years, I don't see that being a problem. I don't think I could ever tandem nurse, but I give props to the women who do. I'd like to have my body totally back to myself for a while before committing to another pregnancy and nursling.

How long is too long to nurse? I don't know, but I am just as skeeved as the next person by that British lady who is still breastfeeding her 8 and 12-year-old daughters. The clips from a documentary have made their way around the internet and if you're interested, you can watch it on YouTube. I think up until age 5 is appropriate and that appears to be about the average age children wean in places where societal pressures, social mores and work constraints don't force moms to wean.
I am just curious how long my readers were breastfed and if you believe that has had an impact on how long you plan to breastfeed your own kids?

Monday, September 15, 2008

Coffee creamer mistaken for infant formula

A brand of coffee creamer has been mistaken for infant formula by parents in Laos. The Bear Brand creamer (made by NESTLE of all people) has a picture of a mother bear and a cub on the label, the same picture that is used on the same brand's containers of formula.

When the international code of formula marketing was adopted, formula companies came up with an amazing gimmick. The code prohibits pictures of babies (or other images idealizing bottle-feeding) on containers of breastmilk substitutes. This is why you see formula containers featuring mama rabbits and bunnies, mama bears with cubs, etc. After the code was adopted, formula companies invented the so-called "follow-up formula" for toddlers age 9-24 months. Since this formula is for babies who have been weaned, the companies argue the product is not a breastmilk substitute, and is therefore immune from the Code. This is why the toddler formulas (and since when is a 9 month-old a toddler?) have pictures of babies on the containers, which of course has the same name as the regular formula.

So it makes sense that Nestle uses this image on its formula packages, but why use the same image on coffee creamer? Although the packaging states in English, Lao and Thai that the product is not a breast milk substitute and contains a picture of a bottle with a slash through it, the population has such a high illiteracy rate that many parents simply can't decipher the differences in the labeling.

How many times can Nestle go down this road before they get right and stop trying to kill infants around the world for their own profit? If you're outraged, you can send a letter to:

Nestle Thailand (manufacturers of Bear Brand):


Kathryn Rowan
Vice President, Corporate Affairs
Nestle Canada
25 Sheppard Ave. W.
North York, ON
M2N 6S8

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Bonding via bottlefeeding

I'm always really annoyed when people act like the only way for fathers, siblings and grandparents to bond with a baby is to feed him with a bottle. If you want to bond with a baby, give her a bath, change a diaper, sing the baby a song, rock him to sleep. There are so many ways to bond with a baby that don't have anything to do with feeding. Nature intends for women to feed babies, the same way nature intends for women to carry babies for 9 months. You don't see too many men fighting for the opportunity to carry the fetus and then deliver it, do you? I'm thinking if there were a serious interest in it, science would've figured out a way to make it happen by now. I guess we'll wait for that while we wait for the male birth control pill.

Anyway, my partner is always saying he wants to invent a bottle that allows dads to feed a baby that would look like a giant pair of boobs. I always laugh because isn't that seriously a punchline from that movie Meet the Fockers? But now someone has gone and done it! OK, it doesn't look like a pair of boobs, but this new "Natural Bonder Bottle" (which is being marketed as a breastfeeding system for "today's modern parent") provides hands-free feeding in a way that mimics the positioning of breastfeeding.
Would anyone actually use this? It looks sort of ridiculous, no?

I guess I could see the appeal if you're an adoptive mom and missed out on the opportunity to breastfeed, but if you're working and pumping (which is the type of mom this company seems to be targeting) why not use a regular bottle system? Are breastfed babies fooled by this contraption? Do dads and grands really feel closer to the baby? Perhaps it's more comfortable, as the site purports, to feed a baby with the system because you are hands-free and can snuggle the baby better, but I wonder if that is worth the cost. The pricing page is currently down, but I don't imagine it's cheap.
What do you guys think?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

More celebrities breastfeeding

Jessica Alba is still breastfeeding baby daughter Honor, and credits the nursing with helping her bounce back to her pre-pregnancy size so quickly.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Nursing in the friendly skies

Are you planning a trip out of town for the holidays? Will you need to travel by air? Do the recent incidents where women's breastfeeding rights were violated in the air make you nervous? Annie over at the PhD in Parenting blog has created a few wonderful posts that cover the various airlines' breastfeeding policies, tips for nursing on a plane and what to do if you're harrassed by a flight attendant.

If you'll be pumping on your trip, you always want to make sure you know the TSA information on traveling with breast milk.

How have your experiences been traveling with a baby and breastfeeding on airplanes? I have not had to do this yet, but anticipate that we'll be doing some traveling in March to visit family. We'll still be nursing then and I'd like to know what I'm in for. I think most women probably have positive experiences, but the negative ones get so much attention that is makes moms nervous. Annie says she has nursed her kids for years on planes without a hitch, so I'm confident you'll be fine, too. Better to be prepared, though, just in case!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Mark your calendars: Breastfeeding Olympics

2008 Breastfeeding Challenge
Or, as it is known in the Philippines, The Breastfeeding Olympics!

What: A fun event to challenge geographic areas to see who can get the most babies breastfeeding at one time. The winners are determined by a percentage of birthrate.

When: October 11, 2008

Time: 11:00 am your time

Why: To celebrate breastfeeding, to educate the general public, to develop peer support, and to just have fun!

Location/Site: Anywhere you can get 2 or more moms together. Some sites are in someone's home. Other sites are in hospitals. Sites can be in a park, at a clinic, at City Hall, on the Capitol grounds, in a football stadium, at a theater, at a community pool, at a local restaurant, at a mall, at a health fair, at a baby store, at a maternity store, at the library - anywhere you want to gather to have a nurse-in. If your site is in a public location, be sure to get permission to use it as a site.

How the Challenge Got Started: In 2001, the Quintessence Foundation in British Columbia sponsored the first event. That year, there were 856 babies in 26 sites in B.C. Last year, there were 5,383 babies in 230 sites across Canada and the U.S. This year, the event will be an
international effort.

Join this Worldwide Event. Sign up for a site today. Invite all the breastfeeding moms you know and have them invite all their friends. Tell them to get to the event about 15 minutes early to get registered and find a spot. Only those latched on at 11:00 am can be counted in the results!

For more information and to sign up for a site:
Go to This site includes a place to sign up, handouts for moms, and press releases, etc. for organizers.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Does giving birth vaginally make you a better mom?

Add another log to fan the flames of the Mommy Wars. A new study by Yale University suggests that women who give birth vaginally bond more with their babies. The research points to the release of oxytocin during contractions as the reason for more intense bonding between these moms and their newborns. The study used brain scans of a whopping 12 women, so the methods definitely leave something to be desired. However, according to a professor from the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists, doctors have long recognized that women who have C-sections do sometimes have trouble bonding with their babies. Skin-to-skin contact after birth should be encouraged for women who have C-sections, as well as breastfeeding.

There is no doubt that women who have C-sections go on to be loving and bonded mothers to their children, but it does appear to make mothering and breastfeeding in the early weeks more difficult.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

If it's a breastfeeding support bag, why does it contain formula?

If you gave birth at a hospital in the US, you probably received a free diaper bag from one of the formula companies that included a pamphlet on breastfeeding and a sample of formula. This is what they call a "breastfeeding support bag." Yeah, I am just as confused as you are on how a formula sample is supposed to support breastfeeding. I read a newspaper article this morning that quoted a mother-child coordinator at a Chicago-area hospital who said they give the formula because "if breast milk is going to be lacking, they will have a back-up supply with them." Breast milk is never lacking. Formula is lacking. Formula isn't a living organism like breast milk. Formula doesn't contain antibodies. Formula isn't specially created for your baby. Formula doesn't change from day to day, hour to hour, feed to feed. There is nothing lacking in breast milk.

Yes, there is a very tiny percentage of women who don't make enough milk for their babies. Depending on who you ask, that number ranges from less than 1% to about 5%. So 95% of women will make enough milk to feed their babies. And even if the number were greater than that, why should hospitals of all places be handing out formula? Most women leave the hospital within 3 days of giving birth. The only thing a baby needs the first 3 days of life is colostrum. A mother's milk usually comes in like clockwork at 72 hours post-partum for a reason. A newborn doesn't need a full milk supply for the first few days, even up to a week.

Supplementing with formula in the early days is dangerous. Your body makes milk on a supply/demand cycle. If you do not demand the milk, your breasts won't make it. Giving your baby a bottle is a surefire way to ruin your breastfeeding relationship. Lactation consultants know this. Why don't nurses and pediatricians?

The formula companies don't care about the health of your baby, as they are in this to make money (and they the tune of about $2,000 per year for every child who is formula fed). Only in America are they allowed to market their product so aggressively (although they still do it in foreign countries where it's illegal, killing hundreds of thousands of babies each year whose mother's can no longer afford to buy formula and whose milk has long since dried up).

It's bad enough that the pharma companies who produce formula use underhanded direct marketing tactics (the aforementioned diaper bags, pamphlets with outdated breastfeeding information, formula checks in the mail, etc) but they also have nurses and doctors working for them, too. At some hospitals, formula reps are known to cater lunches for maternity staff and offer prizes to the nurse who uses the most formula with her patients. Ross Laboratories (makers of Similac) even state in a training manual to "never underestimate the importance of nurses. If they are sold and serviced properly, they can be strong allies. A nurse who supports Ross is like an extra salesperson.” (Abbott Labs v. Segura, 1995)

If you're tired of this aggressive and unethical marketing of formula, take a stand by having your baby in a WHO-certified Baby Friendly Hospital. You can also check out Ban the Bags for hospitals and birth centers in the US who do not give out the bags.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Help a breastfeeding support group

Micky over at Mocha Milk is a lactation consultant in middle Tennessee in "real life." She recently started her own business, 9 Months & Beyond, LLC, which provides breastfeeding and childbirth support. The business is growing like crazy and she'd like to receive some funding in order to offer more classes, including prenatal exercise, yoga, art, dance, etc. You can help without even cracking open your wallet. Just take a few moments to vote for 9 Months & Beyond on and she could win $10,000, which would help her move into a bigger location, buy furniture, library items and have leverage with an investor.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Breastfeeding applications for iPhone

I am not a scheduler. My son has never, and probably never will be, on a schedule. I know some people need a schedule, though, to maintain a sense of sanity and balance. If this is you and you are also a techy and trendy breastfeeding mom, there is now an iPhone application for breastfeeding that keeps track of what side you last fed the baby on! No more of those tacky rubber bracelets or safety pins hooked to your bra.
Mama to multiples? Try Trixie Tracker, an application optimized for the iPhone and specifically created for moms of twins or more to track feediings, diaper changes, sleep, pumping and other baby-related tasks.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Breastfed babies at risk for Vitamind D deficiency

A recent study has shown that breastfed babies are at risk for Vitamin D decificiency, and that the AAP currently recommends that exclusively breastfed babies receive Vitamind D drops. This is not something that was ever recommended to me by my pediatrician, who felt it was unnecessary. Perhaps it is because I live in Florida and we all get plenty of sunshine. However, according to the article, black and dark-skinned children are at a higher risk for Vitamin D deficiency because people of color do not absorb the vitamin as easily through the skin.
An article that recently appeared in the New York Times states that many pediatricians are nervous about speaking about this issue because they don't want to appear anti-breastfeeding or discourage breastfeeding at a time when the rates are at an all-time high.
According to the author of the study, Dr. Cynthia Gordon, many women now are Vitamin D deficient themselves because, as a society, we drink more soda and juice and less milk. So mom's levels of Vitamin D are low, her breast milk has low levels of Vitamin D and the baby ends up deficient. Of course, breast milk is still perfect nutrition for babies, but if you're concerned, you should talk to your pediatrician about adding in Vitamin D drops.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Giveaway: a copy of The Black Woman's Guide to Breastfeeding

Welcome to the first giveaway on my blog! I am raffling off a copy of The Black Woman's Guide to Breastfeeding. Leave me a comment on this post telling me why you'd like a copy of the book. Do you need some breastfeeding help? Do you know a woman who is pregnant, and you'd like to give it to her as a gift?
You can receive an extra entry into the contest by linking to this give away on your blog (be sure to leave your link in your comment!) The contest ends Saturday, August 30th at midnight.
Happy commenting!

Breastfeeding dolls

Finally, a doll that doesn't come with a bottle! UK company Boobie Buddies has created a breastfeeding mom doll that comes attached with a little nursling. Strategic magnets allow the mom to breastfeed, kiss and cuddle the newborn baby. The doll comes in a Caucasian and an African-American version (although other ethnicities are not represented). This is a great tool for talking to toddlers about breastfeeding and to normalize breastfeeding for young kids.

I was breastfed but remember that all of my baby dolls had bottles. If I have a daughter some day, I'd like her to grow up knowing that breastfeeding is the natural and normal way to feed a baby. I hope she wants and plans to nurse if she decides to have children of her own. I would love for her to have toys and books that depict moms breastfeeding.

Has anyone ever seen a doll like this? Is anything similar available in the U.S.? I have heard moms tell stories of how their little girls will "breastfeed" their dollies, but I've never actually seen a toy before that was designed expressly for this purpose.

via Baby Gadget

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Ameda Breast Pump on sale

For those of you who are in the market for a new breast pump, you can take $25 off the purchase of any Ameda pump at with the coupon code AMEDA25DOLLARS. This deal on the highly-rated Ameda is good until 9/30!

Breast milk is magic

Two nights ago my son had a nose that would not stop dripping all night! He hates to be suctioned, but I did it anyway and squirted him with saline drops during the night when he would let me. In the morning he was still dripping! I took a gander on Kelly Mom to see if there was anything else I could try and read that she recommends squirting some breast milk into the nose. Hhmm. Well, it couldn't hurt, so I tried it when I got home from work(my son found this to be hilarious, by the way. The milk got everywhere and he laughed and laughed).
After his bath, I squirted him again, nursed him upright and put him down in his crib, slightly elevated on a pillow. I also put the humidifier on for him. This morning there was not one drip! Not one! The last time he caught a slight cold the drip lasted for weeks.

Some other issues that benefit from breast milk's healing properties include:
pink eye (just squirt into the eye)
sore, cracked nipples during those first few weeks of nursing (just express some milk onto nipples and allow to air dry)
itchy ant/mosquito bites
diaper rash
ear infections (squirt into the ear)
acne (apply to a clean face with a cotton ball)
chapped lips
vaginal dryness (use as a lubricant, the same way you would KY Jelly)
ulcerative colitis
crohn's disease

and many, many more! Pretty damn cool.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Sometimes we can make a difference...

I emailed the supervisor of the Trinity County WIC office last week regarding them gifting women who won a breastfeeding promotion contest with a copy of What to Expect the First Year. I voiced my concerns about the book's poor breastfeeding information that could harm or end a new mom's nursing relationship with her child. The supervisor, Eileen Stocum, wrote me back. Her email below.

It was interesting to hear from you and that you read about us in Florida. The internet is amazing, isn't it? I forwarded your comments to the other members of the coalition and have heard back from three.At our previous meeting, we were already considering changing our"prize" to a baby sling. At our next meeting, we will be finalizing that decision. If we decide to go with a book, we will look at your suggestion.I don't think any of us felt you were being critical, just helpful.

Sometimes something as simple as writing a letter really can make a difference. I'm glad I could play a (very) small part in them changing the prize and maybe, just maybe, help some mom in Trinity County, California to have a better breastfeeding relationship with her baby.

Codeine not safe for all breastfeeding moms

Pain-killers containing codeine may not be safe for all breastfeeding mothers, according to a recent study at the University of Western Ontario. As you're probably aware, approximately 30% of women end up with a C-section (and another 30% or so with an episiotomy) so prescription pain relief is routinely administered to new moms.
An infant recently died after an overdose of morphine he received from his mother's milk. The good news is that this is extremely rare; most babies bounce back quickly when they are no longer exposed to the morphine in their mother's milk.
In my opinion this is just another really convincing reason to try and lower the C-section rate, as well as encourage and support women to give birth without drugs. It is possible! Women have been stripped of their power in this arena and made to feel as if they can't do what their bodies were built to do without drugs, IVs, monitors and episiotomies. I truly believe that for most women, a hospital birth is overkill and the myriad medical interventions too intrusive.
If you end up with a C-section you really do need the pain medication, but it's probably worth it to try and take as little as possible for the shortest time possible. If you've had an episiotomy, skip the drugs and opt for ice packs and sprays and foams, like EpiFoam or Dermoplast.

Were the Obama kids breastfed?

I am not sure if anyone can say it more perfectly than Michael Fink does in this editorial on breastfeeding and public health. Glad to know I am not the only one who is constantly wondering whether or not celebrities or other people in positions of power breastfeed.

Oh, and Michael Fink is a woman. I Googled it!

Friday, August 15, 2008

All plugged up!

I am currently suffering from a plugged duct and a milk blister. My son is learning to walk, and while he hasn't gone on a full nursing strike, he is very easily distracted and is more interested in playing and exploring than eating. This coupled with his sleeping longer stretches at night have left me a little backed up. I know the best thing is to nurse as frequently as possible, but I'm at work today so I am pumping overtime. I'm also applying moist heat and using a warm saltwater soak to unclog the blister.
I'm considering purchasing a nursing necklace to help with the distraction while eating. There are some really beautiful and affordable options in this Etsy store. I think this one is my favorite

Have any of you ever used one? Did they work in helping baby concentrate on the task at hand? For how long? Any crafty moms make their own nursing necklaces?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

License to Breastfeed!

I'm not a huge fan of Parenting magazine because I think they push a very mainstream and sometimes outdated version of what caring for a baby "should" be like, but I have to give them props for creating this License to Breastfeed that moms can print, fold and carry with them wherever they go. It's slightly outdated now that Massachusetts has passed a law protecting breastfeeding moms, but the rest of the information is good. Hopefully this will be a confidence-booster for new moms and get more women nursing in public!

Isn't it ironic?

Trinity County in California held a contest to promote breastfeeding and awarded the three winners a copy of What to Expect the First Year as a prize. Ironically, this book has been criticized by lactation consultants for giving outdated and inaccurate information on breastfeeding and co-sleeping, encouraging the "cry it out" method of sleep training and encouraging women to wean at 10 months. Oops.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Free Medela bottle!

Medela is offering a complimentary bottle to anyone who registers on their site. Medela bottles are BPA-free and let the world know you're breastfeeding when baby has to have a bottle in public!

Baby K'tan for sale!

So I've decided to start selling Baby K'tan baby carriers. I carry my son in this thing all the time. I use this so much that I probably didn't even need to have a stroller for him. He loves being in here because he gets to look at the world while being held, comforted and rocked. I'm hands-free and this thing has so much support because his weight is evenly distributed across my back so it's comfortable for me as well. If you or someone you know is in the market for a carrier, let me know . My prices are better than those on the web site and I am an official distributor. Here are the various colors that are available.

This is the sizing guide. If you need help selecting a size, let me know.

The carrier can be used in 8 positions and is great for twins, newborns and toddlers up to 42 pounds. The best part? Discreet nursing on-the-go! I put my son in either the cradle position or hug and he can eat while I shop, clean, walk the dog, etc. No more searching for a bench to nurse on or worrying about exposed hooters! It does the job of at least three different pricey baby products all in one (stroller, nursing cover, swing). I know there are lots of options out there for baby carriers, but none at this price point and with this level of comfort and usability. If you're new to baby wearing, feel free to email me to get more information.

More ridiculous news!

So a mom has now been asked to stop breastfeeding at a park because, according to the manager, breast milk is a bodily fluid and could contaminate the park and it would have to be shut down. Are these people for real? Not only did this ignoramus threaten another mom, he also waved internet print outs about HIV in breast milk in her face.
It's difficult to believe that in 2008 people are this stupid. Even if the mom was HIV+, how does he figure her breastfeeding her child would affect anyone else? And breastfeeding in public is perfectly legal in Florida (in fact, we were the first state to create a law protecting it!) Also, the CDC does not qualify breast milk as a body fluid requiring special handling. In fact, they say that even if your child was accidentally given a whole bottle of breast milk from a mother who is HIV+, the chance of infection is extremely small.
Why are nursing moms still being harassed like this? Every day it's something new and it appears to be getting worse and worse.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Breakin' the law

Every time I look for news articles about breastfeeding, I come across a story about a mother who's been kicked out of a restaurant or asked to leave a store because she is feeding her child. Most of the time this happens in places where breastfeeding in public is a legally protected act. Because of this common occurrence, Kansas is now handing out laminated cards that explains the state's breastfeeding statute, which allows a woman to nurse her baby anywhere she's legally allowed to be. If someone asks her to leave, there is a number she can call on the back to report the incident. Awesome! But is it enough?
Typically people who break laws face some sort of consequence. What is the consequence for an ignorant store clerk who asks a breastfeeding mom to cover up or be kicked out? Sometimes these stories reach the local or national news outlets and maybe heads roll and someone is fired. I can imagine the store clerk at the Vancouver H&M is feeling some heat now. But is even that enough? Should there be legal penalties for harassing a breastfeeding woman? Sen. Tom Buford of Kentucky thinks there should be. He's offered to carry a bill that would include penalties in the already existing law.
What do you think? Is this a good idea? Will it help our case or harm it?

Friday, August 8, 2008

Weekly Roundup

Babies who are breastfed have lower cholesterol levels in later life.

Baby food labels will be changing in New Zealand and Australia to reflect that solids should be delayed until 6 months.

An H&M employee in Canada was rude to a breastfeeding mom and lots of locals descended on the store for a nurse-in in protest. Don't mess with lactivists!

A new website has been launched that claims to be able to cure any breastfeeding problem new moms face.

Own your own business? Contact your local WIC office for a free "breastfeeding welcome here" window cling.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Where have you nursed?

About a month ago I traveled with my partner and baby to a conference out of town. He's a high school teacher and the conference was for both teachers and students. I spent the bulk of the 4-day event holed up in the hotel because there was nothing to do in the area. It was nice to have a few days to just relax and take naps with my son! The last day of the conference there was only one short session, in the morning, and the organizers told my partner that me and the baby should come. While everyone else was listening to the speaker in one of the conference rooms, we sat in the last row and played. When he got hungry, I latched him on and he was nursing away happily. Right as he was about to finish, a teacher came up to me and asked me if I could cover up or leave the room. Now, I am not shy about nursing in public, but I had on a baby-doll style top and absolutely nothing was showing. I told her that I would not cover up and that my baby wouldn't tolerate it anyway. She implored me because there were "high school kids around." High school kids! Does she think these kids have never seen a breast before? Does she really think they were interested in seeing mine? I politely told her that I would not stop or cover up or leave, reminded her that breastfeeding in public is not illegal and that no one was paying any attention to me but her!
So I am stealing an idea from Maria over at A Piece of My Mind. In recognition of the last day of World Breastfeeding Week, let's celebrate all of the places where you've nursed your baby in public without incident. Maria posted her list and it's a doozy. Can anyone beat her??

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

2008 Black Weblog Awards

Uh, feel free to nominate me in the "blog to watch," "best new blog," or "best personal blog" categories.

African-American Breastfeeding Alliance gone?

Does anyone know what happened to the African-American Breastfeeding Alliance? They had a great website just a few months ago, and I even linked to them on here. Today I realized the page is down. Has the organization gone, too, or are they just having some financial troubles? Does anyone out there know? This makes me very sad. I'm pretty sure this is the only organization dedicated to supporting black breastfeeding.

Monday, August 4, 2008


"It's formula, not rat poison."

That was the signature one of the posters used at the "What to Expect When You're Expecting" forums that I used to read when I was pregnant. I never really thought using formula was a big deal (almost everyone I knew had formula-fed their infant at least for a few months), but when I got pregnant and did the research, I just knew there was no way I could, in good conscience, feed my baby formula. Yes, he's had to have the occasional supplement, but it was always under the most dire circumstances.
Now that I am back to work and pumping, he's had to have more formula than I care to think about. I am one of those women who just has extreme difficulty letting down for a pump and I've tried everything that lactation consultants recommend to increase my output to no avail. I had finally resigned myself to the notion that I would just stop pumping, feed my son formula during the day and breastfeed when we're together. He'd been getting the ready-to-serve stuff that they give you when you leave the hospital. I tasted it and tasted like those Carnation instant breakfasts I used to drink when I was in college. A little off and powdery, but not bad.
So I went ahead and bought a canister of the powder formula (hey, it's cheaper and lasts longer) and made my son's bottles last night. I tried to convince myself that at least if I was preparing his bottles, I could still be the one providing him nutrition. I took a swig of the milk to taste it and make sure I had prepared it correctly and I almost gagged. I have never tasted anything so vile in my entire life. It literally tasted like what you would assume poison tastes like! I felt like I was drinking liquefied metal or gasoline. I made another bottle, this time using cold filtered water from my fridge. Same thing! I threw it all out. There was no way I was feeding that to my child!
Why do people choose to formula feed? I understand some women don't get the help and information they need and end up giving their babies formula, but what about the folks who say they have no desire to even attempt breastfeeding? Have they smelled formula? Tasted it? We already know it's subpar food that poses serious potential hazards to babies. I can't imagine anything that tastes like METAL can be good for an infant to consume.
I did some digging online to see if this was normal or if there was any way that I got a bad batch, but nope, it's pretty universally accepted that formula from the can tastes terrible (apparently the "specialty" formulas like soy, hypoallergenic, lactose-free, etc. are even worse!) I found a quote from a doctor that said that while it doesn't taste that great to adults (understatement of the year), babies don't seem to mind it (guess she's never seen the reaction of many a breastfed baby to formula).
I've decided I'm going to keep up with my rigorous pumping schedule. My baby will probably still need to be supplemented, but we'll only do it with the ready-to-feed stuff. I still feel a bit guilty, but at least I'm using the infant formula in the way it was intended: as a pharmaceutical product, not for routine use.
Oh, and can I rescind my judgments on cross-nursing? What I wouldn't give for a friend with an abundant milk supply right about now!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Happy World Breastfeeding Week!

Happy World Breastfeeding Week, everyone! This year's theme is "Mother Support: Going for the Gold." As I've already discussed, support is so important to sustaining a mom's commitment to breastfeeding when times get rough. The objective is to get accurate information out there to new moms, help them when they need it and offer encouragement along the way.

To celebrate, some cool ladies in NYC will be taking the A train from 168th St. in Manhattan to Nostrand Ave in Brooklyn this afternoon, breastfeeding their babies all the way.

The Lauderhill mall in Lauderhill, FL will host the Broward Health Department, who will be providing breastfeeding information and help to all moms.

In Ohio, the Akron Zoo will have lactation consultants on hand to discuss breastfeeding and give out literature. They're going to raffle off some cool prizes and have a nursing station set up.

What's going on in your neck of the woods? Leave a comment!

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