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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