Friday, March 30, 2012

Baby D Drops Review/Giveaway

If you had a baby sometime since November of 2008, your pediatrician has probably recommended that you supplement your baby with 400 international units (IU) of Vitamin D per day. This new recommendation was published by the American Academy of Pediatrics after there were published reports of breastfed babies with Vitamin D deficiency rickets in the US. Yikes!

I knew very little about the importance of Vitamin D until I went for my yearly well woman exam in 2006 and my OB suggested I get my levels checked. He had begun doing his own research on the importance of Vitamin D and told me that every woman he'd checked so far had been pretty low, but that the black women's D levels had been abysmal. Black folks have more melanin so in the simplest terms it's harder for us to make Vitamin D from the sun because melanin is extra protection from those UV rays.

We talked about all of the ways that your health can suffer if you are deficient in Vitamin D and he told me his belief that Vitamin D deficiency was connected to everything from autism to preeclampsia and several types of cancer. He insisted I go down the hall immediately to Quest Labs and have my blood drawn for a check.

You can imagine I wasn't really expecting to be led into his office after my paper smear to discuss this, right? I left in a daze with the prescription for the blood work in my hand and went down the hall for my test. My results came in a little bit later. My Vitamin D level? 15. At that time, my doctor said he considered 32  "normal", although his personal belief was that it should be more like 50. So pretty bad any way you slice it (and remember I live in South Florida!!!). I began supplements that day and have continued over the years. As the years have gone by and I've done my own research, I increased my intake to about 5000 IU of Vitamin D a day.

For a really fantastic overview of  Vitamin D and how it's made in the body and why it's particularly important for breastfeeding moms and babies, please read Diana Cassar-Uhl's My Thoughts on the Vitamin D Controversy. She wrote La Leche League's tear sheet on the topic and it breaks it down in a way that is easy to read and understand. You can also check out Dr. Carol Wagner's research on the topic.

I know some moms have bristled at the idea that their babies need a Vitamin D supplement, believing that as long as their levels were OK, their babies would be getting what they need through their breastmilk. I really do believe that breastmilk is the perfect food for babies, but after reading up on the topic I think, particularly for women of color, that a supplement is necessary. I really urge you to do your own research on the topic if you haven't already.

My pediatrician recommended supplementing my kids with the multivitamins you can buy at the grocery store that are made by the formula companies. No thanks. I knew that I wanted to give my babies a supplement that was Vitamin D and ONLY Vitamin D, and preferably not made by you-know-who.
One of my super smart Twitter friends recommended I check out a company called Ddrops out of Canada that made just such drops. She raved about them being easy to use as you only needed one drop for 400 IU. I decided to order them on Amazon. For some reason I placed my order I ended up with another brand of drops that were also only Vitamin D. This brand was a thick, oily liquid that came in a tiny vial with a dropper. The dropper had two markings, one that said 200 and one that said, 400 and instructions to use a "dropperful" with no information on what that dose was on the dropper or what it meant in terms of IU.

Needless to say, I was annoyed. I complained on Twitter about not being able to figure out the dose. The drops were expensive and when I finally asked my mom to bring me home a 1cc syringe from her job and saw how much I had to use for one dose, they became even less economical. Fail.

But being awesome, the Ddrops company contacted me on Twitter and asked if I would like to try their drops. Of course I said yes. They not only sent me the Baby DDrops for Aminah (400 IU per drop) but also the regular Ddrops 1000 IU for me.

This product could not be more fantastic. Before nursing, you turn the bottle over and put one drop on your nipple. Then you latch the baby on and voila! Baby gets her Vitamin D for the day. For my drops, I put 5 drops on top of my lunch to get my 5000 IU for the day. These drops are completely odorless and tasteless. No preservatives, no artificial coloring and gluten, soy, wheat, corn and dairy-free, for those of you whose babies have allergies. The dose drops out slowly so you really cannot overdo it. And if you're not breastfeeding, you can simply put the drop on your baby's pacifier (just be sure it's at a time, like naptime, when you can be fairly sure she'll suck for at least 30 seconds.) That's it. Could not be easier. I leave the bottle on my nightstand so I can give it to Aminah as I nurse her to sleep.

The DDrops company has offered to give THREE Blacktating readers their own bottle of Baby Ddrops so you can see how fantastic this product is for yourself.

Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter. The giveaway is open to residents of the US and Canada only. Good luck!

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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Leading Lady Nursing Bra Review

If you had asked me for a recommendation for a nursing bra a few years ago, I would have told you to get a Bravado. They were my favorite bras and I lived in them throughout the three years I nursed Miles. After the company was bought out by Medela, I didn't feel as good recommending them. Medela is presently not meeting its obligations under the WHO Code and it's not looking like that will change anytime soon. I've been searching since for a fantastic nursing bra and I have found one that I really like.

I was surprised when I received an email from Leading Lady about reviewing their nursing bra because I'd never heard of the company. I thought I knew about all of the nursing bra brands, but apparently not! Leading Lady makes both nursing bras and regular bras for full figured women. As a breastfeeding mom who is not-quite-plus-sized, I know how hard it is to find bras that fit, are comfortable and easy to nurse in. Leading Lady's nursing bras come in sizes 34B to 48F,

Leading Lady sent me two bras to review: the Nursing Bralette sports bra and the Molded Seamless wirefree bra in black.

Now, y'all know I am not sporty and I don't know when the last time I exercised was, but I loved the sports bra. I mostly wear it to sleep or when lounging around the house. It's extremely comfortable and supportive and has cute lace detailing across the top and bottom. For those of you who exercise regularly, this would be a great bra to add to your collection. The nursing clasp is super easy to open, and unlike some other nursing bras, there is no additional "flap" on these bras. Once you open  the clasp you are exposing your entire breast. This was true of both bras I tried. I prefer this version of the nursing bra because I find it easier to latch the baby on and much more convenient for pumping  at work.

The Molded Seamless is what I wear to work. When it arrived I was taken aback and how gorgeous it is. It is silky and smooth and perfect for wearing under your professional attire. Molded bras tend to not be the most comfortable, but this one is great. It lifted the girls and made them look fantastic. This is not an easy task, as anyone who has birthed and breastfed two or more kids can tell you. It even gave me great cleavage. A+!

Besides great comfort and fit, another huge bonus for these bras is that they are very affordable and you can feel good supporting Leading Lady, a family-owned business for over 70 years.

My only complaint about the Leading Lady bras is one that is an issue with most of the major bra manufacturers:  the lack of a flesh tone option for women of color. "Nude" bras are only nude for white women. I still have not found a great nursing bra in a color that could even marginally pass for "nude" for me so the search continues!

In the meantime I'll enjoy the new Spring 2012 collection, which will feature various bras in spring colors, including periwinkle, peacock and white leopard.

Leading Lady Nursing Bralette price for you: $24
Price for me: Free

Leading Lady Molded Seamless bra price for you:$30
Price for me: Free

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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Beyonce, Blue, Breastfeeding & Blacktating

Did you hear the good news? It seems Beyonce is indeed breastfeeding her newborn baby girl, Blue. A waiter tipped off celebrity magazine US Weekly that Beyonce nursed her baby while out to lunch with hubby Jay-Z. What started off as a blurb on a website for celeb gossip has taken the world by storm.

First there was the awful post on Hollyscoop, likening breastfeeding in public to being milked like a cow and slinging snot at the table. Of course the words "whipping them out" also appeared. For the first time in the history of the Internet, the comments on a breastfeeding in public post were full of win. Moms descended on the post, letting the author know that nursing at a restaurant is natural, legal and of course perfectly appropriate. The smackdown was so harsh the author eventually edited out the most offensive parts of the piece.

By the next day the story had been picked up by ABC News, who quoted veteran breastfeeding experts Drs. Ruth Lawrence and Alison Stuebe. There was even a quote from breastfeeding advocate Emma Kwasnica who you may know for spearheading the movement to get Facebook to stop deleting images of women breastfeeding their babies. Although I was thrilled with such mainstream coverage of Beyonce nursing in public, I was more than a bit confused as to why ABC decided to interview these three women.

Let's see, the hugest celebrity on the planet, who happens to be black, is breastfeeding in public and we interview three white women, one of whom isn't even American, and don't mention race. Color me confused.

So as I am apt to do, I took to Twitter to vent.

Shortly thereafter, Kimberly Sears Allers of, published a piece on the same topic. In her post, Dear White Women: Beyonce is OUR Breastfeeding Moment. Please Step Aside she writes,

Meanwhile, with all the news reports about Beyonce, and all the breastfeeding “advocates” talking about its impact on the nursing world, not one advocate mentioned the particular significance to black women–which is so striking since many claim to be interested in our breastfeeding plight.
Shame on you.
The "shame" didn't stop there. Not only did many breastfeeding advocates insist that Beyonce breastfeeding in public was just as much their moment as ours (it's not) they also allowed their fans to post offensive, borderline racist screed on their Facebook pages. Instead of our "allies" rushing to our defense, I was told it was my job to educate the ignorant (it's not) and that my time would be better spent defending the WHO Code instead of criticizing the breastfeeding community for not putting their money where their mouth is when it comes to conversations on race. You can imagine how well that went over.

Kimberly said there was no mainstream press that reached out to an African-American women for her perspective, but that's not true. Both Time and USA Today's writers quoted me for their pieces on Beyonce breastfeeding Blue Ivy (my words even made their way in the March 19, 2012 print edition of Time). Both writers underscored how huge this is for the black community because of our lower initiation rates, and the level of Beyonce's celebrity. This is way bigger than even Angelina Jolie actually breastfeeding on the cover of W magazine and we don't even have proof, photographic or otherwise, that it even happened!

There is no way to deny that Beyonce breastfeeding hasn't had a huge impact. There was an hours-long conversation on black Twitter about breastfeeding in public after these headlines. Yet I cannot tell you how many white advocates insist that it isn't a big deal, or at least shouldn't be. Strangely enough, whenever I see posts about other celebrities who are breastfeeding and are, let's face it, downright D list, I've seen nothing but praise. Even posts about Jenna Elfman haven't elicited any anti-Xenu snark, for God's sake. Yet it's all eye-rolls and move along, nothing to see here's when BEYONCE breastfeeds in a restaurant? Excuse me if I can't help but think that race is playing a part in the attitudes and responses from moms I've seen online.

Still, I'm thrilled. The past few weeks have been amazing for breastfeeding and I give Beyonce all the credit. This story got picked up in major black interest publications from The Grio to Vibe and Essence magazine. The comments that I saw on those pieces were so positive and encouraging. It was so wonderful to see our community rallying around our girl, and to hear from black moms about how much they loved breastfeeding their babies.

This week really showed black lactivists what this community thinks of us and the work we're doing. Because believe me, these folks are quick to trot out the the statistics on how low our breastfeeding rates our. If Beyonce had mixed a bottle of formula at that table, everyone would have come out of the woodwork to say how sad it was, but not surprising since she is black and this is a problem for us. But when she breastfeeds we aren't supposed to celebrate this as our moment?


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