Friday, July 24, 2009

Friday 5

Happy Friday, everyone. Here are some interesting stories about breastfeeding in the news this week.

A British teen has created a new t-shirt to promote breastfeeding.

Hand expression appears to help moms of preemies produce more milk than breast pumps alone. You don't say!

IRS to mastectomy moms: no tax relief for baby formula

Did Babies R Us use price gouging tactics to ensure your breast pump would be expensive?

Breastfeeding is now a civil right under Washington state law.

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Review: The Wet Nurse's Tale

A couple months ago I had the pleasure of interviewing Erica Eisdorfer, author of the new novel The Wet Nurse's Tale. Erica's novel made it to the top 10 of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards. Although she didn't win the Amazon contest, her novel was published by Putnam and will be released August 6th. It's currently available for pre-sale at Amazon. Erica and Putnam were generous enough to send me an advance reader copy of the novel to review and although I am not typically an historical fiction reader, I really loved the book.

The book is set in Victorian England and follows the story of plucky Susan Rose, a chamber maid in the "Great House" of her town. Susan Rose is zaftig, clever, and a bit of a skank. Her mother kept the family in bread and ale by wet nursing, so when a dalliance with the Mistress' son leaves her in the family way, she decides to take up wet nursing herself.

Unfortunately, things take a turn for the worse (and don't they always?) when Susan's abusive and alcoholic father sells her baby, who is worth more money to him gone than the shillings Susan brings in wet nursing. Despite threats from her father and the Mistress, Susan travels across the country using her wiles to track down her baby and scheme her way into the home of the woman whose adopted him in order to get him back.

In between each chapter, the author gives us a view into the lives of the various women and men who sent their children out to be nursed by Susan and her mother and their reasons for doing so. Although these chapters don't move the narrative along, they were an interesting diversion and a glimpse into what life was like for these babies who were often sent to live with another woman for years in order to be breastfed.

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and its plucky heroine, Susan Rose. This novel would appeal to fans of historical fiction, particularly of the Victorian age, and anyone who has ever nursed a baby. There were so many moments while reading the novel that I found myself nodding and smiling, like when Susan guzzles a pint of ale because "nursing's a thirsty business!" or when her breasts are full and aching with milk and she has to express them until her hands are sore in order to wring out the milk and keep up her supply until she can be reunited with her baby. I would highly recommend this book and encourage all to pick up your copy August 6th!

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Formula Ads: How Far Is Too Far?

Although formula companies have always used aggressive marketing tactics to sell their products to as many people as possible, it seems lately they've upped the ante. Tanya at Motherwear recently blogged about Enfamil's latest deceptive marketing tactic: calling one of their formulas "The Breast Milk Formula" and having that as the title of their web page. At the time Tanya called this the most blatant form of unethical marketing she'd ever seen. Perhaps she spoke too soon.

It seems now Abbott Pharmaceuticals, makers of Similac, are trying to one-up Enfamil. Their latest tactics? The celebrity endorsement (ads featuring Extreme Home Makeover's Ty Pennington) and now, placing ads for formula in magazines not directly aimed at parents. Of course you expect to see tons of formula ads in magazines like Parenting, Parents, American Baby, etc. The entire magazines seem to be one giant advertisement for formula and although I don't think it's right (and it's a violation of the WHO Code), it makes sense to use your dollars wisely and aim for your target audience: people who have kids.

This week Similac has a 4-page spread in People magazine for its new "Early Shield" formula, which supposedly offers immune system health through a combination of "prebiotics, nucleotides and antioxidants." The ad was on thick, glossy paper and had to cost Similac a pretty penny. If you haven't seen the ad, check out the scans below.

Again, this ad appeared in People, a celebrity weekly. People, that has nothing to do with parenting, kids or babies, but does have a large female readership of childbearing age. It's depressing to think that before women are even thinking of having kids, they are now going to be bombarded with messages from the formula companies. Formula companies have the big bucks to spend on gorgeous images like the ones above of adorable, serene babies who are dependent on Similac to provide them with their immune system health. The science is bogus but the Lactivist community just can't counter offer a positive breastfeeding message because we don't have the dollars to create similar ads. Best for Babes' campaign is a good start, but how can you compete with giant pharma companies?

We do still have the power to effect change. After complaints to the Federal Trade Commission, Enfamil changed its website from "the breast formula" to "Enfamil Lipil." Let's inundate the FTC with complaints about these types of ads as well. You should also write or tweet People magazine and let them know how you feel about these types of ads. I am posting below a letter that Marsha Walker, IBCLC and Executive Director of the National Alliance for Breastfeeding Advocacy, sent to People. Marsha has given permission for anyone to use all or part of her letter as well.

I was quite dismayed to see advertising for infant formula in your
magazine and on your Celebrity Baby Blog website. As you know, this is
a product that competes unfairly with breastfeeding, something which
many of your profiled celebrities practice. The appearance of infant
formula advertising next to photos of celebrities and their babies
implies that famous people use the product and so should readers of
your magazine and website. The use of infant formula increases the risk
of unhealthy outcomes for infants and mothers, something you would not
wish to promote. The Federal Government and all major health agencies
and organizations recommend breastfeeding as the preferred method of
feeding babies. The Healthy People 2010 health goals for the nation
from the Department of Health and Human Services specifically targets
the increase of breastfeeding as a public health intervention to reduce
acute and chronic diseases and conditions and as a method of lowering
the expenditure of scarce health care dollars.

As a way to improve the health of your readership and their children,
please consider running pro bono ads for breastfeeding in fairness to a
public health behavior that does not have large amounts of corporate
promotion dollars. Your magazine and website reach millions of women in
their childbearing years who would benefit greatly from your support of

Should you wish more information or copies of breastfeeding ads to be
placed in your magazine and on your website, please do not hesitate to
contact me.

Thank you for your time.

Marsha Walker, RN, IBCLC
Executive Director
National Alliance for Breastfeeding Advocacy

Marsha also discussed this new trend some more with me. This is what she had to say:

Formula ads in mainstream magazines and websites is the latest tactic in formula marketing strategy. Banner ads for formula have been saturating the internet at sites than women frequent having nothing to do with children or parenting. Not only is formula marketing permeating new sites but the aggressiveness of the language used in the ads have reached new lows. Spurious claims on company websites declare that their products contain the same ingredients as breast milk, that these manufactured ingredients perform the same way that breast milk does, and that infants fed these products will enjoy the same health and cognitive outcomes as breastfed infants. Obviously, many people think the two are the same thing, especially when the terms “infant formula” and “breast milk” appear next to each other in the same sentence as equivalent nutritional sources. This was seen in a study using a Health Styles Questionnaire. In 1999, 2636 people were sampled and asked if they agreed or disagreed with a number of health statements including “Infant formula is as good as breast milk.” In 1999, 14.3% agreed with that statement. When the study was repeated in 2003, 25% of the sample agreed with the statement. Mothers have made the following statements:
• “I want the breastmilk formula”
• “I want the formula with breastmilk in it”
• “Whose breastmilk is in the formula?”

False and misleading advertising seems to work. It's time that the FTC take action against those companies that continuously misrepresent their products. The FTC needs to receive hundreds of complaints from consumers asking that this be investigated and action taken to curb this flood of deceit. Please take the time to register your complaint with the FTC today.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Photos Wanted for World Breastfeeding Week

Mishawn Purnell-O'Neal and Breastfeeding America are seeking photos of African-American women breastfeeding to create a poster and prints in honor of World Breastfeeding Week. World Breastfeeding Week is August 1-7 and this year's theme is Breastfeeding: A Vital Emergency Response.

If you have pictures of yourself nursing that you'd like to submit, please send them to me. Photos should be high resolution images that are at least 300dpi. For commercial printing, it's important to have a high resolution image to make sure that the poster is sharp and crisp.
Digital cameras that can take photos about 3 mega pixels should be more than adequate to provide a high resolution image. Also, when taking photos cameras should be set to the highest resolution.

If your picture is chosen, it will become the property of Breastfeeding America and may be used for commercial purposes, although these would be respectful of you, your baby and breastfeeding in general. The woman whose photo is selected will also receive a copy of the poster! Get those entries in now!

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Sunday, July 12, 2009

Join August's Carnival of Breastfeeding

For August's Carnival of Breastfeeding, we'll be piggy backing on La Leche League's World Breastfeeding Week theme: Prepared for Life. If you'd like to join the August Carnival, please send your submissions by July 27th. The Carnival will go live August 3rd, during World Breastfeeding Week. As always, we are looking for posts that are:

- Well-written and grammatically correct
- Thoughtful and on point for the carnival theme
- Submitted by blogs that are 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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Friday, July 10, 2009

Candace Parker is breastfeeding!

Candace Parker of the WNBA's Los Angeles Sparks gave birth to a baby girl named Lailaa on May 13th. She returned to the court on Sunday to play her first game since giving birth two months ago. Prior to the game, Candace sat in the locker room and pumped breast milk for her daughter.

Candace says her goal is to breastfeed her daughter for 6 months, most of which she'll be traveling and playing basketball and pumping in between practice and games. Her doctor doesn't think she'll be able to pull it off based on her schedule, but she's determined.

"I can honestly say I would do anything for her," Candace is quoted as saying. "I'm trying to show her she can do whatever she wants by doing this. I'm working hard. I know now I'm her biggest role model."

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Thursday, July 9, 2009

Friday 5

Wow, what a busy week! Here some feel-good stories about breastfeeding I've encountered the past few days.

Glamourmom is donating 200 nursing bra tanks to an NYC non-profit in honor of Breastfeeding Awareness Month.

A children's hospital has donated a breast pump to a zoo so that an elephant can be sure to get his mother's milk.

A woman whose twins benefited from donor breast milk is now the Executive Director of a milk bank in Austin.

David Sedaris? Still obsessed with breast milk.....but getting over it.

Mother & Baby, a British parenting magazine, will feature a nursing mother on the August cover. A first for the magazine and the UK!

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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

New Review Blog!

I have started a separate review/giveaway blog for all of the wonderful products that people send to me that I get to try out and offer to my readers as prizes. Whenever I am hosting a review/giveaway, I'll post a teaser on Blacktating, but you'll need to head over to Blacktating Reviews to actually read the review and enter the giveaway.

Since I'll be hosting a second blog anyway, I may start reviewing & giving away stuff that is not necessarily related to breastfeeding, but is compatible with my parenting philosophies. That means the products will support an attachment, gentle and natural parenting lifestyle or just be fun stuff for moms, dads and kids. I get a lot of offers to host giveaways and I've turned a lot of stuff down in the past because it wasn't related to breastfeeding and I didn't want to hurt the integrity of this blog. But I think having a separate review blog will allow me to focus on my main passion and still offer the occasional cool prize. I hope you enjoy Blacktating Reviews!

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Monday, July 6, 2009

Giveaway at Motherwear: Spanish for Breastfeeding Support

Head on over to the Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog and enter to win a copy of Tanya Lieberman's new book, Spanish for Breastfeeding Support. The book was written for anyone who works in breastfeeding support and Lactation Consultants can earn over 12 CERPs for completing the exercises in the book.

If you don't win a copy, you can purchase the book through Hale Publishing, or through Amazon.

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Friday, July 3, 2009

Bravado! Nursing Bras Coupon Code

Bravado! Designs is offering 25% off your purchase through July 7th in honor of Independence Day. Use code JLW-169 at check out!

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Thursday, July 2, 2009

Friday 5

Happy 4th of July everyone! We'll be celebrating the holiday in style at Disney World and I hope you all have a happy, fun & safe holiday. Here's the Friday 5.

How they do it in West Africa: breastfeeding in public is OK anytime, anywhere.

A new pump called a Freemie looks...interesting.

Why formula is too much for tiny tummies.

Is the PSTI in breast milk what protects newborns' intestines?

Would you sell your breast milk?

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