Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Review: Simply Breastfeeding DVD

This week I got the chance to watch and review a DVD on breastfeeding.

Simply Breastfeeding: The Criso Method is a 2-disc set hosted by IBCLC Shari Criso. In the first disc, which is about an hour long, Shari details why you should choose to breastfeed your child. Shari is not only a lactation consultant and certified nurse midwife, but she also nursed both of her daughters for a year each. Shari's manner is extremely warm and inviting, but she doesn't mince words. She describes breastfeeding as your baby's birthright and the only way for your baby to reach her full potential. Shari makes some controversial statements (C-sections don't affect your milk coming in, breastfeeding can raise your baby's IQ by 8 points, etc) but overall the information presented is very straightforward and accurate. Shari believes that the commitment to breastfeeding is often more important than learning the how-tos. She feels that if a mom is committed to nursing, she will seek help to work out any problems she faces, so Shari spends a lot of time on the benefits of breastfeeding to both mom and baby.

The second DVD talks about the hows of breastfeeding: positioning, preventing sore nipples and how to know your baby is getting enough milk. Shari talks about the various positions in which you can nurse a baby and which ones are best at what stage of your breastfeeding relationship. Interspersed with her discussions is footage of women breastfeeding and demonstrating the various positions. Shari has some unique tips and suggestions that I have never heard anywhere else before, based on her years of experience in her own practice.

Overall, I enjoyed the DVDs and think they would make a really good gift, especially for the woman who hasn't decided if she wants to breastfeed, but there were a few cons for me. First of all, I can't really figure out why they put the two chapters of this set on separate DVDs. I didn't feel like getting up to change the DVD and I'm not even pregnant! Second of all, the first DVD will feel like a waste of time for the woman who is already committed to nursing and has read up on the benefits. There is a lot of really good information on the first DVD that I think the woman who already knows she wants to nurse might skip over. And finally, there was absolutely NO DIVERSITY in the DVDs! Are there no Asian, Hispanic or black moms who could have been featured in the video? In 2009 is this still acceptable? I own several breastfeeding books with pictures and none of them are homogeneous. I would have liked this set a lot more if it had been more inclusive.

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Monday, March 30, 2009

Seeking Submissions- April Carnival of Breastfeeding

The April Carnival of Breastfeeding theme is“how to....." while breastfeeding. We'll be looking for posts that explain how to do something while breastfeeding, like increase milk supply or deal with a plugged duct, etc.

Do you have a tip you want to share? Consider joining this month's carnival. Email me your submission by April 13, 2009, for consideration for the carnival on April 20, 2009. Here are the guidelines for inclusion in the carnival:

– A well-written, grammatically correct post
– Thoughtful commentary directly on point for the carnival subject
– Overall quality of your blog and whether the general subject matter is something of interest to our readers (breastfeeding, parenting, etc)

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.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

It arrived!

Dr. Leah and Rachel of the Single Mommyhood blog recently held a giveaway for a copy of Unbuttoned: Women Open Up About the Pleasures, Pains and Politics of Breastfeeding.

I was ecstatic to find out that I won the book and it arrived in the mail yesterday. I cannot wait to read it and I will post my review of it as soon as I'm done.

You may have heard of this book a couple weeks ago when an excerpt from Rachel's essay ("Lust and the lactating mother") was featured on Salon.com. In it, Rachel discusses one of her first dates after becoming a single mom. At the time she was still nursing her daughter and allowed her blind date to drink her breast milk. As you can imagine, that set off a shitstorm in the comments section, as well as other sites, including Jezebel. Go read the essay when you get a chance. It always amazes me how uptight people get over breast milk. My husband tasted my milk, I tasted my milk. Most women's breasts leak during sex and orgasm. Breasts are typically a part of sex and foreplay. Why is it a big deal if someone else drinks your milk?

Anyway, if you're a single mom, you'll definitely want to check out the blog. There is a lot of good information there, as well as community for single parents. Also, check out the book. Rebecca Walker also wrote an essay about her experience nursing her son while he was in the NICU. There are 25 essays in total, including one by a woman who defends her choice not to nurse her three daughters. This oughtta be good!

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Too good to be true!

Nicole sent me a link to just about the cutest story I've ever read online. A little girl is chosen to play Mary in her school's Christmas pageant and during her performance, she does a little adlibbing and lifts up her shirt to nurse the baby Jesus doll. Hilarity ensues. Please go here and read it. At first I thought it was too good to be true, but honestly can you even make stuff like this up?! Out of the mouths of babes....

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Monday, March 23, 2009


Is it wrong that I love this commercial?

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Friday, March 20, 2009

Quote of the Day

A solar eclipse is like a woman breast feeding in a restaurant. It's free, it's beautiful, but under no circumstances should you look at it.

--Kent Brockman, Anchorman, The Simpsons

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Friday 5

Happy Friday, everyone! Today's Friday 5 is dedicated to the Top 5 Gifts for the Breastfeeding Mom-to-Be. This post is inspired by a good friend of mine who is 4 months pregnant with her first baby. I can't wait for the shower!

Top 5 Gifts for Expecting Moms Who Plan to Breastfeed

1. A nursing pillow, like the Boppy, MyBrestFriend or the EZ-2-Nurse Twins for those expecting multiples!

3. A nipple cream, like Motherlove's Herbal Nipple Cream, Lansinoh Lanolin or Medela Tender Care Lanolin.

4. Reusable cold/hot packs for soothing engorged breasts. Try Soothies.

5.A reusable bottle, like the Klean Kanteen, that she can fill with water and keep nearby to stay hydrated while breastfeeding.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Offical Responses to Atlantic article

The first of the official responses to Hanna Rosin's article has come in. The American Academy of Pediatrics has this to say about The Case Against Breastfeeding.

Letters to the editor

The Atlantic

Submitted via email

In the article, "The Case Against Breast-Feeding" by Hanna Rosin, the author skims the literature and has omitted many recent statements including the 2005statement of the American Academy of Pediatrics which supports the value of breastfeeding for most infants. This policy references every statement with scientific evidence from over 200 articles which meet scientific standards for accuracy and rigor. The statement was meticulously reviewed by the Section on Breastfeeding, the Committee on Nutrition and numerous other committees and approved by the Board of Directors of the Academy. Breastfeeding and Maternal andInfant Health Outcomes in Developed Countries, a study released by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (the AHRQ Report) strongly supports the evidence of benefits demonstrated in the breastfeeding research. The evidencefor the value of breastfeeding is scientific, it is strong, and it is continually being reaffirmed by new research work. The American Academy of Pediatrics encourages women to make an informed decision about feeding their infants based on scientifically established information from credible resources.

David T. Tayloe, Jr., MD, FAAP

PresidentAmerican Academy of Pediatrics

Thanks to reader Alysha for alerting me to the response by The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine. They've issued a press release on the strong evidence that supports breastfeeding. It reads, in part

According to leaders of the Academy, despite a sound scientific basis for the advantages of breastfeeding, dissenting opinions that aim to discredit breastfeeding, and question its relevance for women, receive exposure in the mass media such as the recent article in The Atlantic. Critics of breastfeeding do a disservice to new mothers around the world who seek the facts about the proven health benefits of breastfeeding as they often misrepresent the scientific findings and wrongly base global recommendations on the experiences and views of select groups of women.

The United States Breastfeeding Committee has also now weighed in.
USBC Letter to the Editor of the Atlantic.

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Saturday, March 14, 2009

New feature: Video of the Week

I've added a new feature to the Blacktating Blog: Video of the Week. You'll notice it in the right-hand sidebar of the blog. This week's video comes from Resourceful Mommy and was posted to NewBaby.com. The video gives a great tip for nursing moms on how to nurse in public without a cover, yet keep your breasts and tummy from being exposed.

Have a video you'd like to have featured? Email me! Or if you find a great video online that you think should be featured, please send it along. I'll also be adding my own videos soon!

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Friday, March 13, 2009

Friday 5

Here are 5 interesting stories regarding breastfeeding in the news.

A Chinese mom is producing so much breast milk that she bathes her baby in it. Yes, there's a picture!

5 things that make you a breastfeeding Nazi....and 5 things that don't.

Medela is now a violator of the WHO code. Who can ya trust?

Another great breastfeeding PSA from the UK (video will open in new window).

A formula company has put out a toolkit for breastfeeding moms in the workplace. Huh.

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Case Against Breastfeeding

There is an article in the April edition of the Atlantic magazine entitled The Case Against Breastfeeding. The author, Hanna Rosin, tries to make the case that the numerous studies that have proven that breastfeeding is superior infant nutrition and prevents myriad diseases and conditions like asthma and obesity, are flawed. She sets out to prove that there is very little difference between formula and breast milk and there is no reason for moms to nurse if they don't want to.

Now, obviously I don't buy it. One of her claims is that since certain women are more likely to nurse (white, educated, older, wealthy), outcomes will obviously be better for those babies because of the type of mother they have. I definitely believe that this is true, but we also know that low-income, less educated women have children with better outcomes if they are breastfed.

Also, Ms. Rosin states

Some studies have found a link between nursing and slimmer kids, but they haven’t proved that one causes the other. This study surveyed 2,685 children between the ages of 3 and 5. After adjusting for race, parental education,maternal smoking, and other factors—all of which are thought to affect a child’s risk of obesity—the study found little correlation between breast-feeding and weight. Instead, the strongest predictor of the child’s weight was the mother’s. Whether obese mothers nursed or used formula, their children were more likely to be heavy. The breast-feeding advocates’ dream—that something in the milk somehow reprograms appetite—is still a long shot.

Well, it's not the milk itself, it's the act of breastfeeding. Bottlefed newborns can't say, "I'm full mom, take the bottle away now." The act of bottlefeeding is parent-led. How many times have you seen someone continue to shove a bottle in a baby's mouth, even if they are trying to turn away? Bottlefed babies are also often on stricter schedules and since parents can count the ounces, they are more obsessed with the numbers. A bottlefed newborn is forced to continuously suck on the bottle and once babies become accustomed to that overly full or stuffed feeling, they require more and more to feel satisfied. Is it so strange that this would have lifelong implications?

The author also takes the stance that breastfeeding doesn't jibe with being a feminist. This argument is so tired and silly to me! I am a feminist, but I can acknowledge that there are some inherent differences between men and women. One of them being that we have biological differences. Does carrying and delivering a baby not fit in with being a feminist? I mean, don't we just have to accept that nature has given us certain abilities as women that haven't been granted to men and just move on. Our bodies were made to birth and nurture babies. Yes, with science and medical advances we can circumvent the natural way to do things (and honestly, who isn't happy that we have C-sections and formula because they are sometimes medically necessary) but that doesn't mean the natural way isn't the feminist way.

The author ends the piece by saying that it's probably not the actual milk, but the process of breastfeeding that provides most of the benefits and that this is what should be told to mothers and they should then go on to bond with their babies however they see fit. But even if she's right and there are very little benefits to breast milk, wouldn't it still be important for women to nurse if it helps them bond with their babies? A recent study showed that moms who nurse are better mothers. Annie at PhD in Parenting wrote about it: when a woman breastfeeds, she protects her child from herself. It's pretty powerful stuff.

We do know some things for sure. Breast milk is easily digestible and can prevent diarrhea and other gastrointestinal upsets. Breast milk is custom made food for babies. Breast milk is always sterile and at the perfect temperature. Breast milk tastes good. Breast milk is free. Breast milk has never been recalled.

We also know that breastfeeding creates an incredible bond between mother and baby. Breastfeeding helps mom's uterus return to its prepregnancy size and position quicker. Breastfeeding often helps mom lose the pregnancy weight faster. Breastfeeding helps prevent breast and ovarian cancer.

I could go on and on. How can anyone say that there are no real benefits to breastfeeding?

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Monday, March 9, 2009

Breastfeeding PSA from Thailand

You have to love this bizarre breastfeeding PSA from Thailand, done in the overly dramatic style of a Spanish Telenovela.

Does anyone have first-hand knowledge of what the breastfeeding culture is like in Thailand?

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Friday, March 6, 2009

Friday 5

Is it Friday already?! Here are some great breastfeeding stories in the news this week.

An O Magazine feature story details how donor breast milk saves the lives of preemies.

The Ohio Supreme Court will hear the case of a woman fired for pumping at work.

The World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) is running a breastfeeding photography contest. Enter here. Entries are due by March 24.

Can a natural compound found in breast milk thwart the spread of HIV?

The Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog is hosting a week's worth of giveaways, including The Breastfeeding Mother's Guide to Making More Milk, posters, and a breastfeeding support kit. Enter now!

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Thursday, March 5, 2009

Help! My baby won't take a bottle

One of the problems breastfeeding moms seem to have most often is how to get a breastfed baby to take a bottle. If you're lucky enough to be a stay-at-home mom, your baby may never need to take a bottle. However, if you're a working mom, once your maternity leave is up you'll need to figure out a way to get the baby to drink milk from another source. So what is a mom to do if your baby won't take a bottle? Here are some ways to troubleshoot the problem and some solutions that have worked for many moms.

First things first, what's in the bottle? Many breasted babies will balk at the taste of formula. And can you blame them? Have you tasted it? I have and it's pretty vile. If you need to supplement your baby because of low milk supply and have no choice but to use formula, do an experiment and taste them. I found one brand's ready-to-serve to be the most palatable.

If you're offering your baby expressed breast milk in a bottle and she is refusing, it might be that the taste of your milk is off. Are you properly handling and storing your milk? Breast milk will keep for about a week in the refrigerator and about 3 months in a regular freezer, 6 months in a deep freezer.

Smell your milk. Does it smell soapy? Does it taste sour? If so, you may have a problem with excess lipase. Lipase is an enzyme normally found in breast milk, but if you have too much it will break your milk down quicker, resulting in the off taste. What you can do is scald your expressed milk to 180 degrees, then chill and freeze. This can be done in a pan on the stove. Be careful not to overheat the milk, which can kill off the nutrients.

If your baby is old enough, you may want to skip bottles all together and move straight to the cup. Many breastfed babies like sippy cups with straw tops, but experiment to find the one your baby likes. If your baby is very young, you can try finger feeding, feeding with a syringe or a dropper. These methods may take longer, but will be worth it if baby is eating happily.

You can also try some of the newer bottles and nipples made especially for babies who will be going back and forth between the bottle and the breast. I have heard good things about the Adiri breast-shaped bottles and the Playtex Naturalatch nipples. Nipples for breastfed babies should have a wide base that requires the baby to open wide. Nipples should be slow-flow.

Here are some other techniques for getting a breastfed baby to take a bottle:

  • Have dad or another caregiver offer the bottle, not mom. Breastfed babies know that mom has the good stuff and will be wondering why she won't give it up!
  • Warm up the breast milk or formula. Breast milk is served up at body temperature and your baby may be used to having warm milk and refuse anything cold.
  • Some breastfed babies like to be held in a nursing position when given a bottle. Others need to be looking away from the caregiver and offered the bottle from behind.
  • Don't wait until the baby is really hungry to offer the bottle. A hungry, frustrated baby probably won't take well to something new.

If your baby is refusing all methods of bottle feeding and is over the age of 6 months, you can offer solids and juice during the day at daycare. Younger babies may completely reverse cycle. Reverse cycling is when your baby switches days and nights and nurses frequently at night and sleeps longer stretches during the day. Reverse cycling is much easier to handle if you co-sleep. Eventually you will not wake up for feedings or will learn to quickly fall back to sleep afterwards. Some women actually don't mind it at all when their baby reverse cycles because there is less pressure to pump a certain number of ounces during the day because you know baby will get what he needs at night.

Do you have any other suggestions for moms whose breastfed babies won't take a bottle? Have you worked through this issue? How did you get your baby to take a bottle?

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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Breast Milk cupcakes

So remember when PETA suggested that Ben & Jerry's use breast milk to make their ice cream? Well, the bloggers from Vice magazine* decided to try baking with breast milk and the results were apparently deeee-licious. Breast milk for the win!

*site NSFW

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Breastfeeding reduces SIDS risk by 50%

A new study from Germany has confirmed what most lactation consultants and other medical professionals have been saying for years: breastfeeding reduces the risk of SIDS. In fact, the researchers believe that breastfeeding may reduce your baby's risk of dying from SIDS by about 50%. That is a huge margin. So why are we framing the conversation this way? Shouldn't we be saying, "Formula feeding INCREASES your baby's risk of dying from SIDS by 200%"?

Many of us in the breastfeeding community have taken issue with the language used to promote breastfeeding. "Breast is best" sounds like a great tagline and gets repeated all the time. And then most moms go on to bottlefeed. We already know that hailing breastfeeding as "best" doesn't really work. Why work hard to overcome the obstacles to nursing to do what's "best" when I can make my life easy and do what's second best? I mean, isn't this what many moms think?

Is it that saying formula increases the risk of SIDS is too harsh? Are we afraid of making moms feel guilty? I know some people have called for warning signs to be placed on the side of formula cans, the same way they are on alcohol and tobacco products.

At the end of the day, if nursing is the norm, shouldn't all other methods of infant feeding be compared to breastfeeding and not the other way around?

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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Shelby County Breastfeeding Campaign

Shelby County, TN will be unveiling a new breastfeeding campaign tomorrow, in honor of International Board Certified Lactation Consultants Day. The ad campaign features an African-American mom nursing her baby while her husband and daughter look on lovingly.

The Memphis Commercial Appeal reports:

The image of Munford resident Deidre Bush surrounded by husband, Lowell, and
daughter Elizabeth Rose, as she breastfeeds daughter Chloe, will soon appear on
a billboard in the Memphis Medical Center and on the sides of 10 MATA bus
shelters."We want to make breastfeeding a family affair," said Dr. Julie Ware,
the Mid-South pediatrician who chairs the Shelby County Breastfeeding Coalition.
"We are trying to raise awareness that breastfeeding is the best way to feed
What a beautiful photograph that shows that breastfeeding is a family affair. Fathers are just as much a part of the breastfeeding relationship as mother and baby!
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Monday, March 2, 2009

Winner: Black Woman's Guide to Breastfeeding

Congratulations to gina! You've won a copy of The Black Woman's Guide to Breastfeeding. Check your email (including your spam folder) and look for an email from me. You have until Wednesday, March 4th to respond or another winner will be selected.

Thanks to everyone who entered. There are more great goodies to come!

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