Tuesday, October 27, 2009

$100 Yummie Tummie Giveaway!

My review of Yummie Tummie Shapewear is up at Blacktating Reviews and I've got a $100 gift card to give away to one lucky reader. Go enter now!

Never want to miss an update of the Blacktating Blog? Subscribe here.
Twitter me- I'm blacktating

Monday, October 26, 2009

Breastfeeding is Life Changing

Welcome Carnival of Breastfeeding readers! This month’s Carnival theme is “What I Wish I’d Know Then….”

When I was first thinking about this month’s theme, it crossed my mind that I could talk about clusterfeeding, and how I wished someone had told me it was perfectly normal for my son to be attached to my boob for hours on end every evening. Then I thought it would be better to dispel the myth that newborn babies eat “every two hours.” I mean, I guess technically it’s every two hours, but the clock starts when your baby begins his meal, not ends it. So it usually feels more like feeding every 30 minutes, round-the-clock, especially if your baby is a gourmand like mine was and prefers to hang out at the buffet for hours, savoring every drop.

But honestly, what I wish I’d know then, and what I don’t think I could ever have imagined, was how much breastfeeding would change my life. I never thought the simple act of feeding my baby could be so life altering. For the first three months, I lived, breathed, ate and slept breastfeeding. It was all I could think about and talk about (and, it seemed, all I ever did). I spent hours online at the Kelly Mom forums, asking questions and reading about other moms’ experiences. I scoured the internet for pictures of women breastfeeding, for articles about breastfeeding, for videos showing how to hand express or latch my baby on. It wasn’t just that I was having some trouble and needed the help (I was and did), but I wanted to know as much about breastfeeding and how milk is made and how babies nurse as I could. It was at this time that I discovered many of the blogs I love and read to this day, and was inspired by other black women who were as passionate about breastfeeding as I was. It was what inspired me to start this blog, which has been an outlet for me and brought some amazing opportunities my way. Because of Blacktating, I have met and become friends with some of the smartest women on the planet who have educated me not just on breastfeeding, but on birth, child development, feminism, attachment parenting and more.

Breastfeeding has changed how I view my future and my career path. I am going to attend training to become a Certified Lactation Counselor so I can teach breastfeeding classes on the weekends. I have been inspired to a higher calling, to help women and babies.

Breastfeeding is such a huge part of my life that sometimes I wonder who I will be when I am no longer nursing. I don’t even think I can count all of the ways that I have changed since becoming a mother, but I know that I wouldn’t be the same woman I am today if I had not breastfed. I want all women to know that breastfeeding profoundly changes you in ways you couldn't have imagined, although I wish I had known then!

Photo credit: Motherwear

Please check out the amazing posts on "What I wish I had known then..."by these other bloggers. This is one of the best Carnivals to date, with some of the most heartfelt posts on breastfeeding I've had the pleasure to read in a while.

Massachusetts Friends of Midwives
My World Edenwild
The Adventures of Shrike & Whozat
Hobo Mama
The Starr Family Blog
Momma's Angel
Breastfeeding Moms Unite
Birth Activist
Three Girl Pile Up
Happy Bambino Blog
Fancy Pancakes
The Milk Mama
Fighting Off Frumpy
Breastfeeding Mums
Cave Mother
Breastfeeding 1-2-3
Mum Unplugged

Never want to miss an update of the Blacktating Blog? Subscribe here.
Twitter me- I'm blacktating

Friday, October 23, 2009

Friday 5

I have skipped a few weeks of the Friday 5! My apologies, things were hectic and I was also out of town. Hopefully these 5 will make up for it.

Remember the Breastfeeding Challenge? Toronto won with 372 moms breastfeeding at the same time.

A group of Florida moms is providing breast milk for a baby whose mother passed away.

The International Breast Milk Project is providing breast milk to typhoon victims in the Philippines.

Mali has 48 "baby friendly" hospitals. The US has about 80.

Breastfeeding mothers can exercise to offset bone density lost while lactating.

Never want to miss an update of the Blacktating Blog? Subscribe here.
Twitter me- I'm blacktating

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Bravado Breastfeeding Information Council Survey

Bravado! Designs, makers of some of the best nursing bras on the market, will launch the Bravado Breastfeeding Information Council (BBIC) on November 10th. The BBIC will serve as a resource to the media, providing accurate information about breastfeeding. Additionally, the Council will provide research and guidance to businesses and organizations, with the purpose of instituting successful and meaningful programs for breastfeeding women.

For many years, Bravado has run surveys on their website to better understand the experiences of breastfeeding mothers. However, they'd like to reach more women and that's where you all come in.
Bravado would like you to take a few minutes out of your busy day to complete a brief survey about your breastfeeding experience. The survey asks questions about your duration of breastfeeding, how supportive your friends and family were of your decision to nurse, whether or not you continued to breastfeed after you returned to work, etc.

To thank you for your time, you'll be entered into a contest to win one of five $100 gift cards to Target or Sephora, your choice!

You can learn more about the BBIC at their new website. Once there, you can also register to attend a live webcast on November 10th which will feature some of the "best brains in breastfeeding" discussing their findings.

Never want to miss an update of the Blacktating Blog? Subscribe here.
Twitter me- I'm blacktating

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

You are not a pacifier!

Photo by Itsmybinky

I never used a pacifier with my son. I was one of those moms who was totally against using it from day one. From all the books I had read and through speaking with the Lactation Consultant at the hospital, it seemed detrimental to breastfeeding to introduce a pacifier (or any artificial nipple) before 4-6 weeks. By that time, my son and I had an established breastfeeding relationship and to give him a pacifier seemed counterintuitive. When he needed to eat, he had me. When he needed comforting, I was there. I felt, and still feel, that a pacifier would have hindered my ability to interpret and respond to my son's needs effectively. Besides, pacifiers cause a host of problems. Early introduction of pacifiers has been linked to shorter duration of breastfeeding. Pacifiers can affect teeth alignment. A new study has shown that pacifiers (along with bottles and finger sucking) cause speech problems. There also appears to be a link between pacifier use and frequency of ear infections.

So why do so many people give their baby a pacifier? I know that some babies do need pacifiers, like preemies and those in the NICU. But healthy full-term babies? Why is it that when a baby needs to be comforted, instead of bringing him to our breast, we reach for a piece of plastic? Are they just a part of our culture and deemed a necessity, like cribs and strollers (which many moms eschew as well)? I think that plays a role in it, but I also think many women fear "being used as a pacifier" by their babies. We are told again and again by friends and family not to nurse on demand because you "don't want the baby to use you as a pacifier!" But the thing is you are not a pacifier.

Whenever I hear a mom being admonished for nursing her baby on cue, allowing her baby to fall asleep at the breast, or letting a baby comfort nurse, I am brought back to this wonderful quote by Paula Yount.
"You are not a pacifier; you are a Mom. You are the sun, the moon, the earth, you are liquid love, you are warmth, you are security, you are comfort in the very deepest aspect of the meaning of comfort.... but you are not a pacifier!"

That statement really sums it up for me. I think it's important to remember that you can never nurse too often, although you can nurse too little and cause problems. There is no shame in responding to your baby's needs. In fact, I think it's what gave me such confidence as a new, first-time mom, so much so that people would often comment on how self-assured I seemed.

What do you think? Am I unfairly villifying the pacifier? Are they a useful tool or just another accessory pushed on us as a necessary part of modern parenting that hurts more than it helps?

Never want to miss an update of the Blacktating Blog? Subscribe here.
Twitter me- I'm blacktating

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Breastfeeding Campaign Debuts in New Zealand

The Ministry of Health in New Zealand has just launched a new ad campaign to promote breastfeeding and normalize breastfeeding in public. The campaign will consist of posters placed on buses, ads in women’s and parenting magazines, in malls and on screens in warehouse stores. According to the press release, the campaign was created with friends and family of breastfeeding moms in mind, who often can influence whether or not a woman breastfeeds and for how long.

"Although New Zealand has breastfeeding rates that are consistent with other OECD countries, rates are low at six weeks, especially among Māori and Pacific women,” said Ministry of Health Deputy Director Margie Apa. She went on to say that barriers to breastfeeding, including “lack of breastfeeding support and information, mothers returning to paid work and finding it hard to continue breastfeeding, and negative attitudes to breastfeeding from the general public and family members” tend to more adversely affect minorities, teenage parents and low-income moms.

The pictures used in the campaign are absolutely beautiful and props to New Zealand for their concerted effort to include minority women in the ads. What makes these ads so powerful and extraordinary is that they're so mundane. They are simply photographs of women going about their daily lives, breastfeeding in the library, on the bus and at the airport.

The text on the bottom of the ads reads, "Wherever they're heading, a healthy start in life will help them get there. In the community and in the workplace, breastfeeding is natural. Perfectly natural. For information, please visit breastfeeding.org.nz."

The US could learn a lot from this ad campaign. Remember the disastrous campaign created by the Ad Council in 2005? First there were these images:

Dandelions? Ice cream? An ad campaign to promote breastfeeding and not a mom or baby to be found? That was quite the head scratcher. (Not to mention the fact that the formula companies lobbied to get the actual messages on the ads watered down before they even debuted). Then there was this TV ad that many women found downright insulting.

Compare those ads to the ones in New Zealand and you can see how far we have to go in this country. We need to fight those "booby traps" that keep moms from breastfeeding or meeting their breastfeeding goals and focus on making breastfeeding the cultural norm, the natural extension of pregnancy and childbirth. These ads are a huge step in the right direction to help normalize breastfeeding, particularly in public. Anyone in marketing in New Zealand looking for a job?

Never want to miss an update of the Blacktating Blog? Subscribe here.
Twitter me- I'm blacktating

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

$25 Gift card to Tiny Prints

Head over to Blacktating Reviews to enter to win a $25 gift card to Tiny Prints!

Never want to miss an update of the Blacktating Blog? Subscribe here.
Twitter me- I'm blacktating

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

October Carnival of Breastfeeding: What I Wish I'd Known...

How many times have you thought, "Oh, if only I'd known this about breastfeeding, I would have..."? Or, "Why didn't anyone tell me that breastfeeding was like this?" Well, now is your time to share all that you've learned during your adventures in breastfeeding with moms-to-be and commiserate with veteran moms who've been there, too. Join the October Carnival of Breastfeeding and share your wonderful stories with us. As usual, we are looking for posts that are:

- Well-written and grammatically correct
- Thoughtful and directly on point for the carnival topic
- On blogs that pertain to subjects of interest to our readers (breastfeeding, parenting, etc.)

Submissions are due on Monday, October 19th and the Carnival will go live on Monday, October 26th. If your post is selected, 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.

Never want to miss an update of the Blacktating Blog? Subscribe here.
Twitter me- I'm blacktating

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Review: Tummy Tankz

I was recently sent a Tummy Tank maternity belly band to review on the blog. No, I don't have anything to tell you guys. I'm not expecting. But that's what makes this company and this product so unique.......

To read my full review of the Tummy Tank, please head over to Blacktating Reviews.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Black Breastfeeding Moms: How You Can Help Save Lives

I am pleased to present this guest post by Tanya Lieberman, IBCLC, of the Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog.

African American breastfeeding moms - we need you in the fight against breast cancer!

You probably know some facts about breast cancer: 1 in 8 women will develop it. Early detection saves lives. Breastfeeding reduces your risk.

But did you know that African American women tend to develop a more aggressive form of breast cancer? And that a higher percentage die from it?

These facts are daunting, but there is a special contribution African American nursing moms can make in the fight against breast cancer.

A study based at the University of Massachusetts is seeking African American nursing moms who have had, or are expecting to have, a breast biopsy for participation in a groundbreaking study. The lead researcher, Dr. Kathleen Arcaro, is examining the breastmilk of nursing mothers to identify molecular biomarkers for the development of breast cancer. Dr. Arcaro needs African American moms to participate so that she can determine if her findings are applicable to all women, and different types of cancer.

The identification of these biomarkers may lead to new breast cancer treatments, and perhaps a test which would use breastmilk to determine breast cancer risk.

If you participate, you would provide a breastmilk sample, which is overnight mailed from your home to the lab, and provide a copy of a biopsy report. You would receive $50 in thanks for your participation.

If you think you may qualify, please contact Dr. Sarah Lenington by email or by phone: (413) 577-1823. If you don't, please spread the word by forwarding this on. If you're a blogger and would like to spread the word, contact Tanya about a guest post. Flyers and brochures are available. For more information, see the study website. Thank you for your help!

Never want to miss an update of the Blacktating Blog? Subscribe here.
Twitter me- I'm blacktating

Monday, October 5, 2009

Boo Nestle!

Nestlé-Free Zone

In case you haven't already heard, I boycott Nestle products. If you're new here or don't know much about the company, you can read this post, as well as check out IBFAN's site or Baby Milk Action.

Every year, Baby Milk Action sponsors a "Nestle Free Week" and this year, Halloween falls within that week (October 26, 2009-November 1, 2009). I was talking to Danielle Friedland on Twitter and she had a great idea to create a special hash tag to promote boycotting Nestle for Halloween and I came up with #BooNestle. This is a great start for those of you who feel trying to boycott Nestle's extensive list of products might be too daunting. Simply don't buy Nestle's candy this Halloween and make a difference.

Nestle makes and/or distributes a ton of candy & chocolate products in the US which includes Aero, Butterfinger, Cailler, Crunch, Kit Kat (my fave...gah!), Orion, Smarties, Wonka, Baby Ruth, Raisinets, SnoCaps and more. If you can't tell if it's Nestle, don't buy it. Here's a list of items that are safe:

  • Hershey's Kisses
  • Twizzlers
  • Jolly Ranchers
  • Reese's
  • Snickers
  • M&Ms
  • Mars Bars
  • Almond Joy
  • Whoppers
  • Tootsie Rolls
  • Tootsie Pops

You can also RSVP to the boycott on Facebook and show your support that way.

Never want to miss an update of the Blacktating Blog? Subscribe here.
Twitter me- I'm blacktating

Thursday, October 1, 2009

#NestleFamily, Bloggers & Race: Why It Matters

If you are on Twitter and following me or any one of the many breastfeeding advocates, you probably noticed us tweeting with the hash tag #nestlefamily. If you’re not up to speed, I’ll try to break it down succinctly. Many large corporations, like General Mills and Hallmark, have begun inviting high-traffic bloggers (often so-called “mommy bloggers”) to their corporate headquarters on all-expense paid trips. In return for food, lodging and airfare, these bloggers give the company their opinions on its products. The company then uses this information for marketing & PR purposes. At the end of the day, the company is trying to make money. Focus groups are nothing new, but with women, particularly mothers, making the majority of the buying decisions for their families and social media becoming a more important, effective (and cheap!) marketing tool, it’s a safe bet that these types of trips will be offered more and more frequently.

Nestle recently planned one of these trips for about 20 bloggers*, a list of whom you can find here. The event is currently taking place in California, but for weeks, attendees have been tweeting with the #nestlefamily hash tag on Twitter. I first got wind of this event when someone I follow on Twitter used the hash tag and I decided to search it and investigate further. I found that a woman who I thought of as a breastfeeding advocate was attending the event. Her name is Jennifer James and she is the woman behind The Black Breastfeeding blog (now defunct), Mom Bloggers Club, and the historical breastfeeding blog on Mothering magazine’s website. When I asked her why she would ever align herself with this company and attend their blogger junket, her response was that she never said she had a problem with Nestle. Maybe so, but I think she should have a problem with Nestle.

Nestle has long been thought of as one of the most corrupt corporations in the world. They are a huge multinational and have their hands in almost every aspect of the food business. They produce and export many of the “ethnic”and international products you probably eat or grew up eating. They own the largest share of the infant f*ormula business. They recently acquired the Gerber brand. They sell bottled water. They make candy. At Thanksgiving, you probably make your pie with their canned pumpkin. On a diet? You’ve probably stocked up on their low-calorie frozen meals. They are blatant WHO Code violators and aggressively market their infant f*ormula in developing nations. They used to send sales reps to developing nations in white uniforms and call them “milk nurses.”

These reps would convince mothers to use f*ormula instead of breastfeed and would provide them with freebies just long enough, until their milk ran out. So now you have a woman who is impoverished with a hungry baby and no breast milk. This led to watering down of f*ormula (which still happens to this day, right here in America). These women often didn’t have access to clean water so they couldn’t sterilize their baby’s bottles or nipples and had to mix the powder with contaminated water.

Besides their unethical formula marketing, they have also been accused of using child slave labor in the Ivory Coast to make their chocolate. In 2000, the BBC produced a documentary on children who were stolen from their families and forced to work on cacao plantations where Nestle buys their cocoa. The children were often starved and beaten, and some claim those who tried to runaway were murdered. Then there’s Nestle’s stake in the water business, where they sell local communities’ water at a huge profit, while people who live in the area end up paying through the nose for their own local water.

There has been a lot of condemnation of Nestle in the blogosphere lately and many people are learning things about Nestle they never knew. Many have decided to boycott the company, which I applaud. The conversation about Nestle has been great, but one thing missing from all of the discussions is the racism implicit in many of Nestle’s business practices.

I’ve been told by mom bloggers that it doesn’t matter if people are dying because of Nestle and their products, because it’s only people in Ethiopia. And those enslaved children making the chocolate Nestle buys? Don’t care about them, because Crunch bars are delicious! Nestle pulls shit in the developing world that they would never dream of doing in Europe or the Americas (unless it’s targeting Hispanic moms: in 2004, they marketed their formula heavily in Los Angeles & Houston, specifically in Spanish-language magazines and radio.) They market their f*rmula as protecting against diarrhea in Africa, when studies show formula-fed children are 25% more likely to die from diarrhea than breastfed infants. They also sell a cereal there as a complementary food for infants that contains honey, when we all know honey should not be given to children under the age of 1. In Laos, they use the same logo on their f*rmula as they do on their coffee creamer. Since there is such a high illiteracy rate in Laos, pediatricians discovered parents were often mixing up the two products when they found babies were suffering from protein malnutrition. You can even see the racism in their subsidiaries, like L’Oreal, which was found guilty of racial discrimination by France’s highest court in June. Do a search in Google for Nestle’s marketing practices and you’ll find again and again how they specifically target poor people of color and that these practices result in sickness and death. I will state it unequivocally: Nestle is a racist company.

It’s easy for Nestle to prey on these black and brown people, people who are impoverished, oppressed and often uneducated. It’s bad enough to aggressively market f*rmula to women who have the resources to make a relatively informed decision and have access to clean water. But what kind of company targets the most vulnerable, the easiest to manipulate because of fear and ignorance?

So what of the women of color who chose to participate in this blogger junket? Although it may not be fair, I’m even more disappointed in them than the rest. With all of Nestle’s infractions in Africa presented to them, they choose instead to believe Nestle’s PR team and tweet about how great it is that Nestle has water wells in Africa and built a whopping THREE homes there for poor people. Well, shit, it’s the least they could do, but it still doesn’t absolve them from all of their piss poor practices around the world. As a Latina, does it not bother you that they created a campaign just for Hispanic women, thrilled because the population boom in your community means big bucks for them? As a black woman, do you really have no regard for women in Africa burying their babies because they can't afford to feed them? That their babies will die and they will still choose to feed the next one Nan because Nestle says it's better? Maybe you don't believe Nestle is racist, but just greedy. But does that make it any better?

*It’s important to note that many more bloggers were invited and turned down the invitation because they didn’t want to be associated with Nestle. I commend those bloggers on taking the time to research the company before accepting a free trip from them and taking their money.

Update: People are questioning the validity of my claim that there were racist remarks on Twitter aimed at the activists trying to educate people about Nestle. Please see this post for coverage of the racist things being said by mom bloggers.

Never want to miss an update of the Blacktating Blog? Subscribe here.
Twitter me- I'm blacktating

Related Posts with Thumbnails