Friday, May 29, 2009

Friday 5

I love short work-weeks! Friday seemed to come so fast. Today's Friday 5 is dedicated to celebrity breastfeeding quotes. I love it when celebs talk nursing, and I found some quotes recently that I had never heard before.

"There's just so much I can't eat because she's sensitive. I eat really bland food - chicken noodle soup, vegetables, fish. I had to cut out milk, no tomatoes, no lettuce. You think you have to cut everything out when you're pregnant, but you really have to cut everything out when you're breastfeeding."
-Nicole Richie, on having to use an elimination diet while nursing daughter, Harlow

"[I breastfed him] a good 18 months. That baby never even saw a bottle. He went everywhere with me — premieres, award shows. I would just find a back room and hook him up."
-Jada Pinkett Smith on nursing son Jaden

"I was pregnant for nine months and breastfeeding for two years. My body was completely hijacked; for all the best reasons, but for that time it wasn't mine. So once that was all over, I got to rediscover my body. I had all these new curves and I loved them!"
-Nelly Furtado, on sensuality post-baby

"With my son, I only breastfed for 1 month — this was because my son did not take to the breast well. He was given a bottle in the hospital, due to me needing rest, and then when I went to breastfeed he was not used to the milk coming in slower. I fought through it for a month but then my milk started drying up. My daughter never got a bottle, she took to the breast right away. "
-Ione Rucker Jamison, wife of NBA star Antwan Jamison, on how supplementation can cause breastfeeding problems.

"I pushed and the baby was out in four minutes. It must have been the easiest birth. She was checked out and I was breastfeeding. It was that quick. I don’t think my mum even had time to cry. Phoenix had been asleep and was woken up by her newborn sister crying."
-"Scary Spice" Mel B on her easy birth and easy breastfeeding relationship with daughter Angel.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Avoid the "Booby Traps"

A new ad campaign launched yesterday, which aims to increase breastfeeding rates. The ad, created by the Best for Babes Foundation, wants to take the focus off the breast v. bottle debate and tackle the real issue at hand: moms are being urged to breastfeed, but are set up to fail. Our entire system makes it so difficult for moms to reach the gold standards of 6 months of exclusive breastfeeding and nursing to one year and beyond. We have almost no paid parental leave, almost no on-site daycare, zero government subsidized daycare, very few women have a place and time to pump and store breast milk during the work day, and on and on. We know that breastfeeding is more than a personal choice you make for your family, it's a public health issue as well. Think about all of the money that is spent on hospital and doctors' visits each year for babies who aren't breastfed. And what about the preventive protection breastfeeding provides for moms, too?

Best for Babes co-founders Bettina Forbes and Danielle Riggs say, "We are ignoring 'the cure' literally right under our noses. Especially in this economy, we all need to be more strategic. Boosting breastfeeding continuation rates is an incredibly cost-effective way to improve public health, and positively impact education, the economy and the environment across the board."

The above ad will debut in the June/July issue of Fit Pregnancy magazine and the campaign has been endorsed by Dr. Joan Meek, Chair of the United States Breastfeeding Committee, and celebrities Gabrielle Reece and Marilu Henner.

Best for Babes wants to help women avoid the "booby traps" that keep them from breastfeeding or reaching their breastfeeding goals. They hope to get more hospitals certified as "Baby Friendly," to get physicians trained in lactation, to get insurance providers to cover pump rentals and visits with lactation consultants, and get employers on board and supporting their employees who choose to breastfeed after returning to work. All lofty goals that we can all get behind.

If you can't see the text at the bottom of the ad, it reads:
Breastfeeding boosts your bank account and your baby's immune system, saving you on hospital bills, doctors' visits, medicine, and missed days of work. It could also save billions on health care costs. Are your hospital, physician, employer, and insurer doing their part to help you succeed? Let us help you find out at

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Monday, May 25, 2009

May Carnival of Breastfeeding: Nursing in Public

Welcome, Carnival of Breastfeeding readers, to the May Carnival! This month's theme was "share a story." Be sure to check out the other contributing bloggers' posts, linked at the bottom of this post.

The first time I had to nurse in public was when I took my son to the pediatrician for his first check-up. He was less than a week old and I remember how hard it seemed to get out of the house that day. I was sore and tired and looked as bad as I felt. I had squeezed into some maternity pants and a too-tight pre-pregnancy shirt. I was wearing a nursing bra, but other than that, was wholely unprepared to nurse in public.
As soon as we got into the waiting room and signed in and got settled, my son started crying. I felt that familiar pins and needles sensation in my breasts as my milk let down. I didn't want to nurse him. Couldn't he just wait a few minutes, until we were called into our own room? Some place with at least a bit of privacy?
But of course, no, he couldn't wait. I fumbled with my shirt and bra (realizing too late that my horrible choice in clothing left my tummy exposed to the world, not to mention my breasts) and latched him on. He nursed away happily while my heart palpitated and I turned red hot with embarrassment. Luckily for me, this was a safe space. I mean, if there is anywhere in the world where you shouldn't fear being harrassed for nursing in public, it's a pediatrician's office. Although the waiting room was full, no one batted an eyelash about me nursing my son. However, the experience left me feeling really uneasy about nursing in public.

I found myself avoiding having to nurse my baby in public. If we went to the store, I would nurse him in the car when we arrived, in the hopes that I would be able to hold him over until we were done shopping. If we were our and about and he needed to nurse, I would retreat to the car, rather than just feed him when he needed to be fed. I knew this was not the kind of mom I wanted to be and I had to get over it but I wasn't sure how.

Of course the day came when I was was in Target and the baby got hungry. I was wearing him in a sling, but had not yet mastered nursing him in it. I had a cart full of stuff and it was raining outside and I had no alternative. I was alone and starting to get nervous, but I knew I had to do what I had to do. So I sat down in the shoe department to nurse my baby. A couple of minutes into nursing him, a German woman came and approached me and started talking to me. She told me how great it was that I was breastfeeding and how strange it was for her that so many people in America have hang-ups about nursing and nursing in public. She talked to me about her kids, how she breastfed them all over the place in Europe and how wonderful nursing was. She totally put me at ease and we had a nice chat. I was craving some adult conversation after being home with my baby for almost 3 months. We talked about motherhood and she told me about her own daughter, who was pregnant and how excited she was to have a grandbaby. She was at Target shopping for gifts for the new baby.

I always try to remember how she made me feel that day. At that moment, when I was alone and anxious, she held the power to ruin or make my day. Afer that day, I stopped assuming that people would think my nursing in public was gross or inconsiderate, and believed they were supportive. I went on to nurse my son in public anywhere and everywhere with confidence. The one time I was asked to cover up or leave, I was able to defend myself and my baby calmly, and continue to nurse because I knew I was legally protected and was strong enough to stand my ground. I know not every mom, especially in the beginning, is capable of that strength in a scary and upsetting situation.

So when I see a mom nursing in public, I wonder if she feels the way I did that day in Target, nervous that someone might say something to her, that she will be asked to cover up, or worse, to leave. I always at least give her a little wink or smile to show my support. Sometimes I will strike up a conversation with her and tell her how wonderful I think it is that she is breastfeeding. I hope I can make the difference for one mom that that nice German woman made for me.

Check out the rest of this month's wonderful breastfeeding stories.

Strocel: The story of Hannah's weaning
Laura's blog: Weaning a toddler
Off the Spaceship: Life, Death and Nourishment
So Fawned: Sticking With It
Mommy News: How Breastfeeding Changed My Life
All that Sazz: Flying Breast Milk
Baby Carriers Down Under: Kandy's Story
Massachusetts Friends of Midwives: Ben's Story
Breastfeeding 1-2-3: The "I Told You So"
Chronicles of A Nursing Mom: Breastfeeding Is Not Easy, But Best for Baby Breastfeeding Moms Unite: Can Early Public Breastfeeding Sightings Shape One's Future Breastfeeding Practices?
Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog: They Said The Latch Was Fine
Breastfeeding Mums: Breastfeeding Made Me The Mum I Am
GrudgeMom: Breastfeeding Failures & Successes
Zen Mommy: Celebrating My Chest, In Honor of Breastfeeding
The Towells: Breastfeeding After Reduction

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Friday, May 22, 2009

Friday 5

Happy Friday! I hope everyone has some wonderful Memorial Day weekend plans to look forward to. Let's get into the Friday 5.

So now breastfeeding at a public pool violates the policy against food & drink? Insert huge eyeroll here.

LactoMama to the rescue! Why breastfeeding made Kimberly Seals Allers feel like a superhero.

Kids who pretend to nurse their dolls scare prudes.

Some black celebrities talk about why they did or did not breastfeed.

Mothering Magazine fail?

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Do You Know What Today Is? It's My Blogiversary!


Happy Birthday, Blacktating! My blog is now 1 year old! I started this blog a year ago, never thinking anyone besides me and a few friends would ever even read it, and now I am totally part of a wonderful community of breastfeeding moms online. Smart, wonderful moms who I respect read my little ol' blog and it's a wonderful feeling. I couldn't let today pass without doing something big!

OK, actually my blog's birthday was on April 28th, but I've been working for the last few weeks to put together a great blogiversary party and giveaway for you guys, so I'm running a little late (you know black folks, always on "CP time"!)

Anyway, I am thrilled to offer you the following fantastic prizes from some amazing sponsors!

- The Black Woman's Guide to Breastfeeding, the only breastfeeding book written specifically for African-American women, by Kathi Barber.

-A 2-Pack of Organic Velour Flat diapers and pins courtesy of sustainablebabyishSloomb. Bamboo velour is ridiculously soft...perfect for baby's skin!

-A $50 gift certificate to One Hot Mama. You can get yourself a nursing tank, bra, Mama Spanx, maternity gear...the options are endless! One Hot Mama has stylish options for every mom or mama-to-be.

-A MilkBank breast milk storage system. I reviewed this product and thought it was great. And don't tell anyone, but sometimes I still let my son have his milk in a MilkBank bottle.

-A copy of the 3rd edition of The Complete Book of Breastfeeding by Sally Wendkos Olds, a classic breastfeeding book.

-The Wonders of Mother's Milk, a gorgeous hardcover multicultural children's book about breastfeeding, by Mishawn Purnell O'Neal.

- 25 Things Every Nursing Mother Needs to Know. A compact, beautifully illustrated breastfeeding book. A perfect shower gift!

As you can see, there will be seven winners! To enter, leave me a comment telling me which prize(s) you’d like to win and why. I can't guarantee you'll get your first choice, but I'll try to accommodate as many of you as I can.

To get extra entries, do any of the following:

- follow my blog (see Google Friend Connect widget on sidebar, where it says "Boobaholics")
- Tweet the giveaway, and post the tweet URL (to do this, right click below your tweet on “5 seconds ago” or whatever the time is, and copy that url)
- blog about this giveaway (please add post URL)
- become a fan of the Blacktating Blog on Facebook

Please leave a SEPARATE comment for each entry. 5 entries possible per person! The giveaway will end on Wednesday, June 3 at 11:59 PM and the winners will be notified via email and posted here. US ADDRESSES ONLY PLEASE. Good luck and thanks for rockin with me the past year!

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Monday, May 18, 2009

Review: 25 Things Every Nursing Mother Needs to Know

"No scientific breakthrough can replace the loving arms of a mother…..”

The Harvard Common Press was nice enough to send me a copy of a new breastfeeding book, 25 Things Every Nursing Mother Needs to Know, co-written by the venerable Kathleen Huggins (author of The Nursing Mother’s Companion and new blogger )and Jan Ellen Brown. The book is a compact hard cover, comprised of 25 mini chapters covering the basics of breastfeeding, from latching on to weaning. It is beautifully illustrated and written in the warm tone of a good girlfriend with the down-to-earth advice of someone who’s “been there, done that.”

Aside from the mechanics of nursing, the book covers some topics that are very important for moms to think about before they come home from the hospital with a baby, but that are rarely addressed in typical breastfeeding how-to books. One of the chapters deals with partner support, and how and why your partner can end up being your biggest breastfeeding advocate. The book also talks about how to combine breastfeeding and bottle feeding. Often moms feel like nursing is an all-or-nothing proposition, when in fact many women successfully combo feed.

The book is beautifully illustrated and its handy size makes it portable and easily readable while nursing. It would make a great shower gift, one that one would serve as both an informational read and a keepsake.

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Friday, May 15, 2009

Friday 5

Happy Friday, everyone! Hope you've got some weekend plans to look forward to. Let's get into the Friday 5.

Join the One Million Campaign and sign the petition asking world leaders to protect, promote and support breastfeeding.

In the UK? There will be a Nestle protest tomorrow in Croydon at their headquarters.

Marijuana is passed through breast milk, so please don't smoke pot and nurse!

The new Ameda Purely Yours pump gets a thumbs up from the Celebrity Baby Blog.

Breastfeeding gets a shout-out (again!) on the Colbert Report.

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Cluster feeding

©Loma Linda University Children's Hospital

You know how after you get pregnant or give birth, something will happen and you'll think, "Why didn't anyone tell me this would happen?" It seems for every aspect of your journey into motherhood, there are moments when you think "Does this happen to everyone?" and usually the answer is "yes." But if it happens to us all, why doesn't anyone talk about it?

WHY doesn't anyone tell you about cluster feeding, or nursing sessions spaced closely together? For the first few months of my son's life, he would nurse constantly from about 6pm until 10 pm. Because no one had told me this would happen and that it's totally normal, I was convinced he either transformed from a sweet, happy baby into demon spawn at 6 pm, or I had no milk and was STARVING MY BABY. I would pass him back and forth from boob to boob for hours on end. He'd nurse, pull off, cry. Wash, rinse and repeat. Sometimes he would fall asleep briefly or allow Dad to hold him or walk with him in the Bjorn for a few minutes, he eventually he'd be screaming again for the breast.

At my most desperate moment when he was a couple of weeks old, I remember saying, "We have to give him formula, this breastfeeding is just not working!" I was in tears. My husband opened up the package of bottles we'd received as a gift (I don't even think we sterilized them, that is how clueless we were about bottles and formula) and poured in some of the Similac sent to us courtesy of my OB/GYN (thanks, Dr. Uknowwho!) As soon as that nipple touched his mouth and some formula dripped out, my son screamed bloody murder! Thankfully, he didn't want anything to do with it. Well, I thought, I might not have much milk, but at least I know he wants me and not the bottle. So I latched him back on and after another hour or so, he drifted off to sleep.

Using Google as my Oracle, I figured out that what my son was doing was cluster feeding or bunch feeding. Basically babies tend to want to fill up before bed and are often just fussier at night. Combine those two factors together and you have a baby who wants to nurse non-stop both because he is hungry and he is looking for comfort. This doesn't mean you don't have adequate milk for your baby! Giving formula at this time would only tell your body to make less milk and make the situation much worse. The good news is that this is generally short-lived: by about 3 months old, my son had stopped cluster feeding. Eventually I learned to accept it as my reality. I would camp out on the couch with my son and the nursing pillow and watch TV with my man. It became our sort of evening ritual: we'd watch our shows snuggled up in the dark while the baby nursed. Daddy would take him so I could do my nighttime rituals, and then we'd all jump in the bed to read (usually David Sedaris) while baby finally nursed off to sleep for the night. Yes, it was a rough couple of months, but we did move into a much better groove afterwards. Keep your head up, this too shall pass.

Baby fussy, but not cluster feeding? For tips on how to calm a fussy baby, go here.

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Friday, May 8, 2009

Friday 5

This week's Friday 5 is dedicated to my fellow breastfeeding bloggers and some of their amazing recent posts. If you're not reading them already, you should be.

Emily at Adventures in [Crunchy] Parenthood spells out the connection between WIC and breastfeeding rates for low income women.

Heather at It's All About the Hat hosted a "This is What Nursing a Toddler Looks Like" Carnival.

Birth Lactation: Breastfeeding, bottle-feeding & somewhere in the middle...guilt
Melodie from Breastfeeding Moms Unite discusses the truth about breastfeeding and breast implants.

PhD in Parenting: Breastfeeding Nazis no more.

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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Blogging & Breastfeeding on BackTalk

I was asked to do a vlog about breastfeeding to be included into an episode of BackTalk on BlogHer. The episode is now available online. It also features Kelly from Mocha Momma and Annie from PhD in Parenting.

I'm glad to be a part of a positive potrayal of breastfeeding. It seems like there has been so much negativity surrounding nursing being spewed in the media lately that it was so nice to finally hear a supportive perspective. When you hang around with like-minded moms and read breastfeeding blogs and run in breastfeeding circles the way that I do, you forget that a big percentage of the population finds a lot of this stuff to be strange. What's the big deal about breastfeeding?, they ask. How long are you going to "keep doing that"? Isn't formula the same thing?

I don't think it can be said enough that formula isn't the same thing. I feel that women should be encouraged to nurse and given all of the information about formula so that they are able to make a truly informed choice. If you don't want to breastfeed, that's fine. But I am sick of the debate about whether or not breastfeeding is superior to formula feeding. It is, end of story. If you want to breastfeed, you shouldn't be sabotaged by friends, family, neighbors, doctors, nurses, hospitals and formula companies. If you don't have anything good to say about breastfeeding, please just be quiet.

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Unbuttoned coverage on NPR

Tell Me More on NPR yesterday posed the question: Is the breast the best for kids? The discussion featured Maureen Connolly, co-editor of the new breastfeeding anthology Unbuttoned: Women Open Up About the Pleasures, Pains, and Politics of Breastfeeding and Patricia Berry, a mom of three, whose essay on why she chose not to breastfeed any of her daughters was published in the book. Jolene Ivey, who you may know is the co-founder of the Mocha Moms organization, and the mother of 5 breastfed boys, also contributed to the conversation.

Ms. Connolly said she and her co-editor decided to write the book because all of the how-to books paint breastfeeding as something that is easy and supremely enjoyable to do, but the reality can be starkly different. Part of the discussion was focused on Pat Berry and why she decided not to nurse. She says she didn't feel comfortable with it and it was something that she didn't want to do. She said she felt nursing would have made her feel more stressed as a mother, stress that she wouldn't have been able to handle. She also says that she had a physical reaction to the idea of nursing a child that prevented her from even being brave enough to try. Her essay in the book was, surprisingly, one of the most enjoyable for me. She was very honest about why she made this decision, but was also willing to admit that she is saddened that she won't be a breastfeeding role model for her own daughters if they have children. I thought it was courageous of her to say that she hopes that they do breastfeed if and when the day comes.

Ms. Connolly said the takeaway is that this is not an anti-breastfeeding book, but it definitely felt that way to me. I was disappointed overall in the essays selected for inclusion. Most of them were not pro-nursing, and save for the essays on weaning and pumping at work, I saw very little of my own breastfeeding experience within its pages. I was also thrilled when the host, Michelle Martin, said she did notice that none of the essays were written by women with blue collar jobs. That was a major problem I had with the book: it only catered to a certain demographic. The editor admits that she reached out to her friends who are writers who live near her, and of course they are all well-off and educated, with husbands who are, too. She claims that if she were to do another breastfeeding project, she might approach it as a journalist and speak to women from different backgrounds and socioeconomic statuses. I think this is a bit of a cop out. I think including more diverse writers with different expectations, feelings and experiences of breastfeeding would have only made the project (one of, if not the only, of its kind) a much richer book.

I really wanted to love the book and am saddened to say that I didn't. I'd love to hear from those of you who have the read the book. What did you think of it? Would it be something you would recommend to a new or expecting mom? Did you see yourself in the experiences? If you listened to the piece on NPR, what did you think?

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Sunday, May 3, 2009

May Carnival of Breastfeeding

It's time for the May Carnival of Breastfeeding! This month's theme is "Share a story!" Please share with the Carnival readers any great stories you have related to breastfeeding. It can be about your overall breastfeeding experience or anything funny, sad or poignant that has happened during your nursing relationship with your little ones. Please send your submissions by May 18th. The Carnival will go live on May 25th. As always, we are 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, 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. Examples of past carnivals can be found here.

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