Thursday, March 26, 2009

Breastmilk Banks

I just read the most heartwarming story of a woman who gave birth to triplets very prematurely. Two of the babies died right away and one of the babies held on for 6 months:( ... Through this all, she pumped her breastmilk for her surviving babe - 56 gallons in those 6 months!!! She ended up donating it to one of the human breastmilk banks in this country. What a wonderful gift she gave to so many babies and mothers out there! Please read the article to hear her wonderful story and to learn more about breastmilk banks and the wonderful work they do:

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Myths about Breastfeeding

As brought to you by ProMoM:
Breastfeeding Myths and RealitiesBy Leslie Kincaid Burby fo
r ProMoM

This information is furnished to you by ProMoM, Inc. as a public service.It is in no way intended as medical advice, or meant to replace the services of a licensed medical professional.

Myth #1: Breastfeeding ruins the shape of your breasts

Reality: This is simply not true. As soon as a woman becomes pregnant permanent changes occur in her breasts. Even if she doesn't carry to term, or chooses to abort, her breasts will never be the same as they were before she became pregnant. Whether or not she then goes on to breastfeed will not effect her future breast shape one way or another. Heredity plays a large role in this matter, as does excessive weight gain or loss. It is helpful to maintain the tone of the muscles that support your breasts, and avoid large and sudden weight gains or losses, pregnancy-related or otherwise.

Myth #2: Small-breasted women won't have enough milk

Reality: The size of your breasts, either large or small, has nothing to do with the amount of milk they will produce. Almost all women who are getting plenty of liquid, adequate rest and relaxation, and lots of physical contact with their babies will produce enough milk. In fact, many women who believe they are not producing enough milk are mistaken. It is surprising how much milk a tiny baby can consume in a short amount of time. The number of wet and soiled diapers being produced every day is a fairly accurate indicator of how much milk the baby is getting. 6-8 wet cloth diapers (5-6 soaked disposables), and at least 2-5 bowel movements per day indicate that your baby is getting plenty of milk. Once the newborn stage is over, the number of bowel movements may decrease.

If your baby seems lethargic, seems to have poor skin tone or is not wetting and soiling an adequate number of diapers, this is cause for concern. If you believe you are having trouble with your milk supply, contact a lactation consultant, or a supportive physician. It is always better to be safe than sorry.

Remember, the more the baby nurses, the more milk your breasts will be stimulated to produce. If you begin "supplementing" your supply with artificial milk, your breasts will not receive adequate stimulation and your milk supply will decrease.

Myth #3: Breastfeeding influences a baby's future sexual orientation.

Reality: Not true. The misconception that breastfeeding could in some way determine whether a child will grow up to be heterosexual or homosexual is tied to the mistaken idea that breastfeeding is in itself a sort of sexual activity. It is not. Breastfeeding is a nutritional and nurturing act that helps children grow up to be healthier and more self-confident, whatever their sexual preference turns out to be.

Myth #4: Today's artificial breast milk is just as good as the real thing.

Reality: Even though modern formulas are considerably better than some of the old fashioned ones, they can never replicate mother's milk. In the first place, human milk contains live cells and human hormones that are impossible to obtain from the milk of another species. Furthermore, formula companies admit that they don't yet know all of the ingredients in human breast milk. Every few months these companies come up with something different to try to add in. If you choose to breastfeed you can be confident that all the necessary nutrients, immunities, hormones and as yet undiscovered beneficial elements will be present in the right amounts. On the other hand, research shows significant risk in the use of artificial milk.

Myth #5: Breastfeeding takes more time than bottle-feeding.

Reality: This statement is usually made in reference to nighttime feedings. If a mother sleeps with or next to her baby, nighttime feedings are much easier than they are for bottle feeders. All you have to do is open your nightgown and roll over. Even if the breastfeeding mother does not sleep with her baby, it is certainly less time-consuming to go pick up the child and offer the breast, than to get up, go the kitchen, open a can of formula (or mix up a batch from powder), turn on the stove to boil water to heat the formula, put the formula into a bottle, warm the bottle in the hot water, wait several minutes, then finally return to the crying child, pick up the child and offer the bottle. Of course, at this point it is tempting for an exhausted mother or father to prop up the bottle and leave the baby alone to finish it. This is an extremely dangerous thing to do as the baby can easily choke on the liquid, or spit up and choke on that. Also, it leads to baby bottle caused tooth decay.

It is true that you may have to feed a bit more frequently if you breastfeed because breastmilk is more easily digested than formula. Of course that easy digestibility translates into less time dealing with colic, diarrhea and other digestive ailments. Also, breastfed babies are far less likely to contract colds, ear infections, and asthma. Formula feeding mothers need to factor in extra time for trips to the store to buy supplies, as well as possible extra trips to the doctor's office. (See ProMoM's "101 Reasons To Breastfeed Your Child", #58).

It is also a fact that in the early months, unless you express breastmilk, you will be the only person able to provide nutrition to your baby. Formula feeding mothers can have other caregivers give some or most of the feedings. However, breastfeeding offers a new mother an amazing chance to bond with her child, as well as all the health benefits that formula and bottles cannot provide. It may be helpful to remember that your baby will only be completely dependent on you for a very short amount of time in the course of your relationship together.

Nursing can give you a chance for a much needed relaxation break, and time to re-connect with your baby. Try to savor these special moments.

Myth #6: You can't get pregnant if you're breastfeeding.

Reality: True and false! Breastfeeding is only an effective form of birth control (98%) during the first 6 months, and is only effective during this period if the baby is receiving nothing but breast milk on demand. No supplements, no solids, no water, and no pacifiers! The chance of pregnancy increases greatly when the baby begins sleeping through the night, starts eating solids, and/or when the mother resumes her menstrual cycle. If you truly do not wish to become pregnant again yet, it is wise to use an additional method of birth control.

Myth #7: You must wean if you get pregnant.

Reality: There is no particular reason why a woman who is enjoying breastfeeding one child should wean that child when she learns that she is expecting another, unless she has a history of preterm labor. Some women continue to breastfeed throughout a pregnancy and then go on to "tandem" feed. This phrase refers to the practice of breastfeeding more than one child simultaneously. Some children do wean themselves once their mother becomes pregnant, possibly because her milk supply drops, or they detect a change in the taste of the milk which does not please them. Some women choose to wean because they find breastfeeding during pregnancy too physically or emotionally fatiguing. Other women describe enjoying the relaxation breaks that an ongoing breastfeeding process requires of them, and feel it contributes to the enjoyment of their new pregnancy. See La Leche League's information on breastfeeding during pregnancy.

Myth #8: You can't breastfeed after a caesarian section birth.

Reality: It is entirely possible to breastfeed after a c-section. Many women describe really enjoying being able to perform this natural act after going through a very medically oriented birth. It is important to nurse in way that does not put pressure on the incision sight. The "football hold" position is particularly helpful, as is a good nursing pillow. Ask the hospital staff for help, and consider calling a lactation consultant or your local La Leche League if you're having difficulty.

Myth #9: Your milk will "come in" immediately after you give birth.

Reality: First of all, the substance produced by your breasts immediately after a birth is called colostrum. It is yellowish and stickier than mature milk, and full of nutrients and immunities for the newborn baby. However, amounts of colostrum vary from mother to mother, and you may not produce very much. This is normal.

After colostrum the breast then begins to produce transitional milk, which is whitish-yellow, and more abundant. Gradually, over the next week or two, the transitional milk begins to change to a thin, bluish-white mature milk. Your milk production is directly linked to how often and how effectively your baby is suckling. If your transitional milk does not come in after 30 - 40 hours it is a good idea to contact a lactation consultant or La Leche League, especially if the hospital staff is advising you to give formula or water.

Myth #10: Your mate will find you less attractive if you breastfeed.

Reality: It is possible that your mate may have some trouble adjusting to thinking of your breasts as sources of nourishment as well as of sexual stimulation. On the other hand, many partners find that a woman who is fulfilling this new part of her womanly potential is particularly exciting. The idea of the bountiful breast filled with the milk of life can be very powerful. If your mate does feel uncomfortable with this, however, it may be helpful to join a support group with other couples so that he/she may become more familiar with these new images, and begin to understand that they are normal and healthy.

Myth #11: Breastfeeding is painful

Reality: Many women experience no pain or difficulty at all when they start breastfeeding. For some, the first week or two may include some slight discomfort and pain. However, excruciating, or ongoing pain is not normal.

Usually, it is caused by incorrect positioning or latch-on technique, and can be cleared up with one or two visits from a lactation consultant. This pain can often be avoided if the mother does some reading, and/or attends a class about breastfeeding, and/or attends a class about breastfeeding before giving birth.

Visiting several La Leche League meetings while you are still pregnant is also a wonderful way to observe successfully breastfeeding mothers, as well as to network with other new parents. La Leche League has a peer counseling program in which you can receive help from other experienced mothers in the early days of your nursing relationship.

Do request any assistance you can from trained hospital staff while you are still in recovery. Sometimes these services are not volunteered, and you will not receive them unless you request them. Also, Ask about the availability of a lactation consultant before you make your choice as to which hospital or birthing center you are planning to use.

Myth #12: You can be arrested for breastfeeding in public.

Reality: In the United States, you cannot be arrested for breastfeeding your child any place a woman would normally be. Such places include beaches, pools, restaurants (at the table), park benches, and parking lots, among others. You cannot be forced to remove yourself to a bathroom, closet, or vehicle. If anyone tries to tell you otherwise, you should feel free to refuse to comply, and inform them of your rights. Obviously, places like the men's bathrooms are off limits, since it's not a place women are supposed to be. Who would want to breastfeed there anyway?

Myth #13: You can't breastfeed if your plan to go back to work or school.

Reality: If you're planning to return to work or school, there are several different ways to approach the situation without weaning your child. First of all, it may be possible to schedule your work with a lunch break during which you may return home, or go to your child's daycare center to nurse. Alternatively, your caregiver might bring the child to your work place.

If these situations are not possible to arrange, there are now wonderful and relatively inexpensive pumps (compare them with the price of buying formula) available to the public. Or, you may prefer to rent a pump. In some cases, insurance companies will even cover the cost of a pump rental or purchase because it will save them money in the long run to have healthier babies on their plans.

Using a good quality electric pump it is possible to pump 8-10 ounces of milk in 15 minutes. Battery pumps are also available, and they can be used in a vehicle or in a restroom. It may take longer for newer mothers, and you should plan to pump at least every 4 hours. Beware of cheap low-grade machines, some of which are manufactured by formula companies. They can cause soreness, and probably will not pump sufficient quantities of milk. Remember that pumping is a learned art, and may take time to get perfected. If you do not receive the amount of milk you anticipated, try again, or try a different pump. (See ProMoM's "Breastfeeding and Returning to Work" and La Leche League's information on working and breastfeeding.)

If none of these possibilities work for you, you might consider nursing when you are at home and having a caregiver provide a bottle of artificial milk when you are at work. This method should be approached very carefully, however, to avoid depleting the mother's milk supply and endangering the health of the infant.

Myth #14: Night nursing causes dental problems.

Reality: Generally, the worries about babies getting cavities through nighttime milk consumption arise from the practice of leaving babies to sleep with bottles of formula or juice. When this is done harmful bacteria have unlimited access to these sugary mediums and will thrive in the baby's mouth. The acids excreted by the bacteria cause tooth decay. Such decay has been seen occasionally in breastfed babies if these children happen to fall into a small category of people with easily decayed teeth. For most children night nursing will not be a problem.

One advantage that the human nipple provides over an artificial one is that it delivers the milk further toward the back of the mouth, past the teeth. Artificial nipples deliver the milk into the front and middle of the mouth where it can cause decay. Also, the human nipple does not continue to drip milk when it is not being sucked. In contrast, bottles will drip milk all night if left in the bed with the baby. Reminder: no baby should ever be left alone with a propped up bottle!

If you notice anything strange looking happening to your child's teeth consult a breastfeeding supportive dentist for help. There are many articles on this subject available through La Leche League.

Myth #15: Breastfeeding will ruin your sex-life.

Reality: Some people fear that the intimacy that a mother maintains with her child through breastfeeding will displace her needs for intimacy with her partner. This is partially due to our society's viewing of the female breast as a sex organ, rather than a source of nutrition. There is no reason that a breast can't perform both functions. In fact, whether a woman chooses to breastfeed or not, she may find her libido considerably diminished for weeks or months following a birth. It is unrealistic and unfair to expect any new mother, breastfeeding or not, who is recovering from a birth, who is either nursing or bottle-feeding around the clock, getting up at night to diaper, rock and sooth the baby, cooking, cleaning, chauffeuring, etc. to have much interest in sex! If she has an extra half hour in the evening she will probably choose to use it to sleep! Any tasks that her mate can assist her with will contribute to the deepening of their relationship. If a breastfeeding mother' partner is respectful of the importance of the breastfeeding relationship, and able to assist with things such as diaper changes and nighttime parenting duties, the new mother's sexuality will gradually resurface.

Myth #16: You have to have a good diet or your milk won't nourish the baby properly.

Reality: Surprisingly, new studies have shown this to be untrue. Even women who are getting poor nutrition can usually produce adequate quality milk. However, they may not be able to produce as much of milk as women who are eating well. Needless to say, it's best to eat right during pregnancy and while you're breastfeeding. Occasional lapses, however, are nothing to worry about.

Myth #17: Breastfeeding makes you fat.

Reality: Breastfeeding will certainly not prevent you from getting back to your pre-pregnancy weight. In fact, breastfeeding uses an extra 300 to 500 calories every day. It's up to the mother how many of those calories she chooses to obtain through eating additional food or through burning off her available body fat. It is wise to lose weight gained during pregnancy gradually whether or not you choose to breastfeed. It may take some women longer than others, and it is important to remember that your body has been through a lot, and is still working hard to provide nourishment for your baby. You should not be losing more than a half a pound to a pound per week or you may affect your milk supply. This is a time to be kind to yourself!

Myth #18: Breastfeeding deprives your mate and other friends and family of their chance to
bond with the baby.

Reality: There are lots of ways to bond with a new born. Soothing, rocking, diapering, and burping the new baby are only a few of these activities. Anyone can participate in them without depriving the child of it's optimal nutrition and nurturing. One wonderful book on this subject is Becoming A Father, by Dr. William Sears, MD.

Myth #19: Breastfed newborns need vitamin and mineral supplements.

Reality: Not true. No vitamin or mineral supplements should be given to breastfed babies until at least six months. New studies are currently being conducted as to whether or not such supplements should be given after six months. Historically, before such supplements were invented, many breastfed babies survived and thrived for the duration of breastfeeding, which could last to three years or older. This is not to say that supplementation is not a good idea after a certain age. It is simply not yet clear what that age is. At least until your baby is 6 months old, you can be assured that your breastmilk will provide for all of her nutritional needs.

Myth #20: You can't take any medication while you're breastfeeding.

Reality: While there are a few medications that should absolutely not be used during the breastfeeding portion of a woman's life, most can be taken safely. It is important that your doctor checks actual research rather than simply relying on the standard instructions that are issued with the prescription. Most prescription drugs instructions automatically caution against being taken by pregnant or breastfeeding mothers. This warning is issued to prevent liability, and is often overly cautious. It's also a good idea to ask your doctor about non-prescription drugs. Some of them are not appropriate for nursing or pregnant women. The Nursing Mother's Companion, by Kathleen Huggins contains a general reference section on which medications are compatible with breastfeeding. A more up-to-date resource is Medications In Mother's Milk, by Dr. Tom Hale, PhD.

Myth #21: Breastfeeding ties you down.

Reality: It is true that breastfed babies are dependent upon their mothers for their nutrition. This does not mean that a breastfeeding mother must remain housebound and attached to her baby 24 hours a day. After you have recovered from the birth, it is not only possible but usually a lot of fun to take your baby with you on errands, visits to friends, walks in the park and other outings. Now that it has been clearly established that women have a right to breastfeed in all public spaces, and with the advent of excellent breast pumps, the possibilities for nursing mothers to fully participate in activities outside the home are almost unlimited. It is also nice not to have the added burden of caring around all that formula paraphernalia. If you choose to express some of your milk ahead of time you can easily spend time apart from your baby without relying on artificial substitutes.

Obviously, taking your baby with you on outings will probably mean you'll be nursing him or her in front of others, and maybe in public. Some women "feel funny" about nursing in front of strangers, or even friends and family members, probably because the sight of a nursing mother is not something they themselves are used to seeing. As countless mothers will attest, however, it's rare that anyone will stare or say something to you while you're breastfeeding; more likely they'll just look the other way, or not even notice that you're nursing! Breastfeeding in public can be very discreet, especially if you wear clothes that are specially designed for nursing mothers.

In general, the more natural your attitude the less you'll notice the reaction of others. If you are hesitant about breastfeeding in public, just remember - it's what breasts are made for, and, like so many other things, the more you do it the easier it will be.

Myth #22: After a year, breastmilk loses all it's nutritional value.

Reality: I have a good friend whose mother tormented her by insisting that if she continued to breastfeed her 9 month old daughter she would starve the baby. This belief is a total myth, as is evidenced by the recently released guidelines of the American Academy of Pediatricians, which recommend breastfeeding for at least one year. While many people are now aware that breastmilk is the perfect, complete source of nutrition for babies under 6 months of age, not everyone is aware that breastmilk continues to provide perfect nutrition as long as the mother continues to breastfeed. Breastmilk tailors itself to the needs of a child from birth until weaning.

There is no need to worry that at some point the milk will become worthless. It will always contain valuable nutrients, hormones, and immunities. It will always be easier to digest than the milk of another species. As you gradually add new foods to your child's diet, you can be assured that your child is getting excellent nutrition, even on those days when she may choose not to eat much solid food at all.

Myth #23: Serious athletes can't breastfeed.

Reality: A professional ballet dancer once explained to me that she had to stop nursing after one month because she'd wanted to start taking dance classes again. She believed that she would be unable to do jumps, and that her milk would "go sour" from the exercise. In fact, both of these ideas are myths. While it may be uncomfortable to run, dance, or perform strenuous physical activity with very full breasts, it is certainly possible to nurse or pump prior to engaging in such activities. Exercise does not "sour" your milk. Immediately following a vigorous exercise session the lactic acid content in you milk may increase and slightly alter the taste of your milk.

However, within an hour or two the lactic acid passes out of the milk again, leaving it tasting just fine. Also, some researches suggest showering off after a workout to get rid of salty tasting sweat. And remember, it's wise to start back to a previously established exercise regimen gradually, whether the new mother is breastfeeding or not.

Myth #24: Adoptive mothers can't breastfeed.

Reality: As surprising as this may seem, you do not have to give birth to a child to produce milk. Many adoptive mothers have successfully developed their ability to produce milk through pumping, putting the baby to their breast and allowing it to suckle, and use of a supplementary feeding system designed to give the baby artificial milk until the mother can begin to produce her own. In some cases only a little milk will be obtained. In others, the majority of the baby's nutrition can be provided from the adoptive mother's body. The La Leche League site has many interesting articles on this issue.

Myth #25: After menopause you can't breastfeed.

Reality: Interestingly, women can continue to produce milk after they are no longer fertile, and have been known to do so into their 80's! There is no change in the quality of the milk, and many wet nurses have continued to practice their profession well past menopause.

Myth #26: Breastfeeding clothes and pumps end up costing as much as formula.

Reality: First of all, you don't need any special clothes or paraphernalia to breastfeed successfully. Yes, if you plan to pump you should buy or rent a good, reputable model. Yes, you'll need storage bags and bottles, although you'd need even more to formula feed. Yes, it's nice to have a few specially designed nursing tops, bras and a nursing pillow. Re-usable nursing pads are also helpful, and disposable nursing pads are nice the first few weeks.

However, even with these items taken into consideration, they do not come close to the expense of formula. Plus, there are all the added medical expenses you may have to deal with if you formula feed. Also, when you breastfeed you can re-use most of the items you purchase for one child with the next. With formula, it's just as expensive every time.

It is also possible to purchase sewing patterns and make your own nursing clothes and baby sling if you want to, or create your own pads out of cotton diapers. A t-shirt with a convenient slit cut in the middle can provide extra coverage under any pull-up or button down blouse. Nursing bras are great, but for many women a front closing cotton bra works just as well. Use your imagination!


Cost of no-frills style breastfeeding

No pump, no special clothes, etc.Total: $0.00

Optional breastfeeding expenses:
Pump: $200*
Bras(2): $60
Pads (re-usable): $12
Tops(2): $50
Dress(1): $60
Nursing Pillow: $35
Total: $417 (A one-time expense!)

*NOTE: You save an additional $160 if you use a good manual pump like Isis (increasingly popular with new mothers, especially ones that do not have to work out of the house) rather than a professional grade one like the Pump-in-Style (also very popular, especially for working mothers).

Approximate formula expenses:
Formula: $1,200 (Approximate average)
Added medical expenses: $1,500 **
Total: $2,700 (For just one year!)

That adds up to a difference of $2,283. Wow! And remember, you can use those nursing clothes again, then consign them or pass them on to a friend. With formula, it's just as expensive with every child.

These figures don't take into account possible future orthodontic problems, or other more serious adult disease issues associated with bottle feeding (see ProMoM's "101 Reasons To Breastfeed Your Child"). Of course, the real bottom line is that no price can be put on the special intimacy that exists between a nursing mother and child!

Even more myths and realities can be found here, here, here, and yet more here.
**(According to Aetna employee research results)
Breastfeeding Myths and Realities
By Leslie Kincaid Burby for ProMoM

Monday, February 23, 2009


How to Tell if Your Toddler is Ready to Sleep in a Bed
Most parents have fond memories of cosleeping and enjoy it, but at some point, it has to end. The transition will go more smoothly if your toddler is as ready as you are. Here's how to tell if it's time for a toddler bed.

Friday, February 20, 2009

I am frustrated right now

Currently, the North Dakota House and Senate are considering a bill on breastfeeding. If it passes both and becomes law, ND will be the 2nd to last state to have such a law on the books. West Viriginia is our only company so far. So I should be happy that ND is finally getting with it, right? Well, I was until the Senate started messing with the language of the bill, AGAIN! And, now the bill has passed, so its up to the House to fix it again and send it back. Ugh, what a process.

When it was first introduced, it was a great bill. It would let women breastfeed in public without breaking indecency laws and make it discriminatory to bar breastfeeding women from businesses. It also included incentives for employers to create breastfeeding friendly policies. However, now it reads like this:

"If the woman acts in a discreet and modest manner, a woman may breastfeed her child in any location, public or private, where the woman and child are otherwise authorized to be."

The bolding is mine for emphasis. Here's the problem with adding the "discreet and modest" wording: This gives the interpretation of whether the mother is being "discrete" over to anyone but the mom trying to feed her child. It is vague and subjective and basically gives anyone legal standing to kick a nursing mother out of a public place (the exact thing the bill was trying to prevent, in part) by saying that the mom was not being discreet.

Also, they took out all the wording giving incentives to businesses to allow women employees breaks to pump or breastfeed the children. So, it is a much weaker, less helpful bill as it is right now.

I live just across the border, so I decided to email all the legislators in this area along with those that serve my home town. I actually received a reply email from one of the my hometown legislators very quickly which was very nice. I wish I had gotten ahold of him before the bill passed, though. So, here is the letter I sent the legistlators:

"Dear Representative _____________,

Hello. My name is Lesley ********* ****** and I am originally
from *****, ND. My parents are ******* and ******** of ********. I
am a UND graduate, and I currently reside in *******, MN.

When my husband and I moved back to the ND/MN area last fall, I was excited to be closer to home. However, I was discouraged when I looked up the breastfeeding laws in ND and found that there weren't any on the books. For the past 9 years I have lived in Kansas and Missouri while attending graduate school in clinical psychology at the University of Kansas. My son, Nicholas, was born 2 years ago, and the breastfeeding laws in those states made me feel secure that I could not legally be discriminated against for breastfeeding him in public. I did, unfortunately, receive some disapproving stares and snide comments from time to time, but knowing that I could not be kicked out of a restaurant or another public place because of my breastfeeding made me feel more secure in meeting his need to be fed as it arose.

I was excited when I heard that new legislation on breastfeeding was being
proposed in ND recently. However, I was very surprised to find that the breastfeeding bill has now been changed to state that only if the mother is DISCREET is it acceptable for her to breastfeed in any location that the mother and child are allowed to be. Adding this word angers and scares me to nurse in our state more than not having a law. Every mom I know attempts to always be discreet, but there are still times when the act of nursing may violate someone's view of discretion. Honestly, some people are so put off by and disapproving of breastfeeding that they would still find fault with a mother breastfeeding in their presence. By adding the word, "discrete" lawmakers will have opened the door for people to use this law against women breastfeeding in public.

Who would decide whether it is discreet? Only if they are covered up with a blanket? Only if the baby doesn't squirm or unlatch? Only if there is no one nearby? My son never wanted to be covered with a blanket while nursing, went through stages when he was distracted by every noise around him, and always wanted to nurse for comfort when he was stressed by new situations or overwhelming places (which often would include new public places). Would my attempts at providing the "gold standard" and God-intended food for my son be seen by some as obscene? Yes, even though I did everything in my power to be discreet, there have been some in my midst that were offended. This leaves it up to the employer, restaurant patron, church member, etc. to say "I was offended so she must stop feeding her child". The fear of not only that disapproval, but the embarrassment of being kicked out of a public place, or God forbid, being charged with public indecency or lewdness, is unfortunately reinforced by the introduction of the word "discreet" into the legislation. With that word in place, the legislation becomes too vague and subjective and so becomes moot and worthless, maybe even harmful. The law was supposed to support and encourage breastfeeding in our state, not give naysayers legal reason to ban breastfeeding.

I am asking you to please take out the word "DISCREET" or do not
pass this law.

Thank you for your time and consideration."

I borrowed some of the wording from a friend's letter (with permission) but much of it is my own and it is all true.

I wish ND would have the wisdom and guts to pass decent breastfeeding laws like Minnesota has. Here's how their's read:

Minn. Stat. Ann. § 145.894 directs the state commissioner of health to develop and implement a public education program promoting the provisions of the Maternal and Child Nutrition Act. The education programs must include a campaign to promote breastfeeding.

Minn. Stat. § 145.905 provides that a mother may breastfeed in any location, public or private, where the mother and child are authorized to be, irrespective of whether the nipple of the mother's breast is uncovered during or incidental to the breastfeeding.

Minn. Stat. § 181.939 (1998) requires employers to provide daily unpaid break time for a mother to express breast milk for her infant child. Employers are also required to make a reasonable effort to provide a private location, other than a toilet stall, in close proximity to the workplace for this activity. (SB 2751)

Minn. Stat. Ann. § 617.23 specifies that breastfeeding does not constitute indecent exposure.

So, let's see public education program, protection to mothers breastfeeding in public, exemption from indecency laws, and employer support provisions. Nice. Some states, like Kansas (where I formerly resided), also exempt breastfeeding mothers from jury duty.

So right now I am hoping and praying that our representatives will hear the voices of many of their citizens and will do the right thing. I'm saying my prayers...

A wonderful article on VBAC's

If you are a woman who has had a cesarean section birth, or know someone who has, here is a wonderful article from TIME magazine about VBAC's (vaginal birth after cesarean). It explains how even though VBAC's are generally safer than repeat ceseareans, many doctors and hospitals are refusing to do them now due to ligitation fears and malpractice insurance rates. Very sad. But if women know this information and push for VBAC's, maybe things will change again. Please read on:,9171,1880665-2,00.html#?iid=perma_share

For more information and support regarding VBAC's, check out ICAN (International Cesarean Awareness Network), an nonprofit organization with local support groups in some areas:

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Here's the video I promised

Nicky showing off his ABC skills:

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Another reason HFCS must go!

Well, now HFCS has been found to be contaminated with mercury. Wonderful! Like the junk wasn't problemsome enough before?! Ok, I guess if avoiding diabetes and obesity weren't enough motivation for people to avoid this junk, maybe this will do it. And maybe, just maybe, the outcry will get the food companies to start taking it out of the myriads and myriads of food products its in right now. I can wish...

Anyway, check out the article on it on The Ethicurean.

And thanks, Chelsea, for sharing the article with me!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Breastfeeding protects against neglect

New research finds breastfeeding stops neglect
January 26th, 2009 in Medicine & Health / Research

( -- When a mother breastfeeds she is essentially protecting her child from herself, according to UQ researcher and developmental paediatrician, Dr Lane Strathearn.

By linking data from the Mater-University of Queensland Study of Pregnancy - Australia's largest longitudinal study tracking mothers and their children - with reports of maltreatment recorded by the Department of Child Safety, Dr Strathearn found mothers who breastfed were less likely to neglect their children.

"Mothers who didn't breastfeed were almost four times more likely to be reported for maternal neglect than mothers who breastfed for four of more months," he said.

"For mothers who breastfed for less than four months, the risk was about 2.3 times."

In what is believed to be the first population study to provide statistics on the rate of child abuse in Australia, seven percent of children were identified as victims of maltreatment.

Of the 7223 children in the birth cohort, 512 were confirmed cases of maltreatment, with the mother identified as the perpetrator 60 percent of the time.

While it was impossible to conduct a randomised trial, Dr Strathearn said breastfeeding offered a realistic explanation.

"The difficulty with this research subject is that you can't randomly assign a woman to breastfeed her baby and another one not to, so there's always potential for bias," he said.

"But, these results make sense biologically because breastfeeding is associated with oxytocin release, and we know from animal studies that oxytocin is produced in the brain and helps activate areas of the brain that are involved in maternal care and behaviour.

"There are some other functional MRI studies which show how an intranasal dose of oxytocin actually affects how the brain responds to stressful or anxiety-provoking situations and increases trust in a dyadic exchange between two people.

"There are all these results from placebo-controlled trials which provide evidence that oxytocin does result in changes in social behaviour, and so I think this study fits in nicely with that other research."

While the biological function of oxytocin offered a logical explanation, Dr Strathearn said the physical bond created between the mother and baby during breastfeeding could also be a contributing factor.

"I think for a long time we've thought anyone can feed the baby as long as it's expressed breast milk," he said.

"But this is saying well hold on, it's not just the milk, it's that relationship that's important.

"Breastfeeding may simply promote that interpersonal bond between a mother and her baby - the physical touch, the holding, the eye-to-eye contact.

"It ensures that physical touch occurs in an attuned way, but I would imagine a similar result for any mother who has that same one-on-one contact while they're feeding on a regular basis."

The study will be published in the February issue of medical journal, Pediatrics.

Provided by University of Queensland

Studies link maternity leave with fewer C-sections and increased breastfeeding

Studies link maternity leave with fewer C-sections and increased breastfeeding

January 5th, 2009 in Medicine & Health / Health

Two new studies led by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, suggest that taking maternity leave before and after the birth of a baby is a good investment in terms of health benefits for both mothers and newborns.

One study found that women who started their leave in the last month of pregnancy were less likely to have cesarean deliveries, while another found that new mothers were more likely to establish breastfeeding the longer they delayed their return to work.

Both papers were part of the Juggling Work and Life During Pregnancy study, funded by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau of the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration and led by Sylvia Guendelman, professor of maternal and child health at UC Berkeley's School of Public Health. The research takes a rare look into whether taking maternity leave can affect health outcomes in the United States.

"In the public health field, we'd like to decrease the rate of C-sections (cesarean deliveries) and increase the rate of breastfeeding," said Guendelman. "C-sections are really a costly procedure, leading to extended hospital stays and increased risks of complications from surgery, as well as longer recovery times for the mother. For babies, it is known that breastfeeding protects them from infection and may decrease the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), allergies and obesity.

What we're trying to say here is that taking maternity leave may make good health sense, as well as good economic sense."

The study on the use of antenatal leave - time off before delivery with the expectation of returning to the employer after giving birth - and the rate of C-sections is the first examination of birth outcomes in U.S. working women, the researchers said. It will appear in the January/February print edition of the journal Women's Health Issues.

The researchers analyzed data from 447 women who worked full-time in the Southern California counties of Imperial, Orange and San Diego, comparing those who took leave after the 35th week of pregnancy with those who worked throughout the pregnancy to delivery. Only women who gave birth to single babies with no congenital abnormalities were included in the analysis. They adjusted for sociodemographic factors such as income, age and type of occupation, as well as for various health measures such as high blood pressure, body mass index, amount of self-reported stress and average number of hours of sleep at night.

Using a combination of post-delivery telephone interviews and prenatal and birth records, the researchers found that women who took leave before they gave birth were almost four times less likely to have a primary C-section as women who worked through to delivery.

The study authors pointed out that the United States falls behind most industrialized countries in its support for job-protected paid maternity leave. The federal Family and Medical Leave Act provides for only unpaid leave of up to 12 weeks surrounding the birth or adoption of a child.

The bulk of studies on leave-taking and health outcomes from other countries suggest that taking leave prior to birth can be beneficial. The authors point to a macroanalysis of 17 countries in Europe that linked failure to take such leave with low birthweight and infant mortality. Rates of pre-term delivery were lower among female factory workers in France if the women took antenatal leave, and a study conducted in several industrialized countries found that paid leave, but not unpaid leave, significantly decreased low birthweight rates.

According to the U.S. Census, among working women who had their first birth between 2001 and 2003, only 28 percent took leave from their jobs before giving birth while an additional 22 percent quit their jobs. Twenty-six percent of women took no leave before birth.

"We don't have a culture in the United States of taking rest before the birth of a child because there is an assumption that the real work comes after the baby is born," said Guendelman. "People forget that mothers need restoration before delivery. In other cultures, including Latino and Asian societies, women are really expected to rest in preparation for this major life event."

The authors added that financial need may also deter women from taking leave in the last month of pregnancy. Only five states - California, Hawaii, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island - and the territory of Puerto Rico offer some form of paid pregnancy leave, and none offer full replacement of the woman's salary.

The study on maternity leave and breastfeeding is in the January issue of the journal Pediatrics. Using data from 770 full-time working mothers in Southern California, researchers assessed whether maternity leave predicted breastfeeding establishment, defined in this study as breastfeeding for at least 30 days after delivery. Phone interviews were conducted 4.5 months, on average, after delivery.

In this study, women who had returned to work by the time of the interview took on average 10.3 weeks of maternity leave. Overall, 82 percent of mothers established breastfeeding within the first month after their babies were born. Among women who established breastfeeding, 65 percent were still breastfeeding at the time of the interview.

Researchers found that women who took less than six weeks of maternity leave had a four-fold greater risk of failure to establish breastfeeding compared with women who were still on maternity leave at the time of the interview. Women who took six to 12 weeks of maternity leave had a two-fold greater risk of failing to establish breastfeeding.

Having a managerial position or a job with autonomy and a flexible work schedule was linked with longer breastfeeding duration in the study. After 30 days, managers had a 40 percent lower chance of stopping breastfeeding, while those with an inflexible work schedule had a 50 percent higher chance of stopping.

Overall, the study found that returning to work within 12 weeks of delivery had a greater impact on breastfeeding establishment for women in non-managerial positions, with inflexible jobs or who reported high psychosocial distress, including serious arguments with a spouse or partner and unusual money problems.

"The findings suggest that if a woman postpones her return to work, she'll increase her chances of breastfeeding success, especially if she's got a job where she's on the clock and has less discretion with her time," said Guendelman. "Also, women who are in jobs where they have more authority may feel more empowered with how they use their time."

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that babies be breastfed for at least the first year of life, and exclusively so for the first four to six months.
According to the AAP, increased breastfeeding has the potential for decreasing annual health costs in the U.S. by $3.6 billion and decreasing parental employee absenteeism, the environmental burden for disposal of formula cans and bottles, and energy demands for production and transport of formula.

The study authors noted that just having maternity leave benefits offered by an employer was not helpful in breastfeeding establishment unless the leave was actually used, indicating the importance of encouraging the use of maternity leave and making it economically feasible to take it.

"These new studies suggest that making it feasible for more working mothers to take maternity leave both before and after birth is a smart investment," said Guendelman.

Source: University of California - Berkeley

Too Funny! Wonder how this would go over here?

New Breastfeeding Campaign Turns Heads
Group introduces unique ad campaign
Updated 11:42 AM PST, Sun, Jan 25, 2009

A new campaign in Marin County has cutouts of breastfeeding women displayed in public spaces.

No it's not time to change your glasses. You really are seeing more women breastfeeding in public.

A new public awareness campaign will have cutouts of women breastfeeding in public places.
The woman standing by the mailbox has been breastfeeding for hours. Same with the lady sitting on the bench. They, and two of their friends, are going to be breastfeeding all over Marin County, Calif. in the coming weeks.

But if you look closely you might notice that looks can be deceiving.

A series of life-sized photographs of women breastfeeding their babies, cut-out and plastered on poster board, is all part of an eye-catching campaign to encourage and promote the acceptance of breastfeeding in public.

“Breastfeeding is recognized as the standard for infant feeding by all major health organizations,” said lactation consultant and coalition member Susan Martinelli. “Mother’s milk provides the best nutritional, immunological and emotional nurturance for the normal growth and development of babies. No manufactured formula offers anything close.”

The life-like cutouts of the “women and their babies will make their debut this week at The Village shopping center in Corte Madera, near a children’s play area.

Marin Breastfeeding Coalition, an advocacy group, has launched the campaign to raise breastfeeding awareness and support.

During a recent test run in San Rafael, the cutouts drew dozens of gawking eyes and confused second looks. Each cut-out figure is holding a card which reads, “When breastfeeding is accepted, it won’t be noticed.”

The Marin Breastfeeding Coalition said it would love for everyone to notice the campaign and to question why they were even paying so much attention to a breastfeeding mother in the first place.

The group wants the public to know that breastfeeding in public is perfectly acceptable and that it is actually protected by law.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Nicky is Blowing My Mind

With his alphabet skills! The kid has somehow learned all but 5 of 26 of his letters! And 3 of those 5 he just mixes up and sometimes gets right and the other two he just has a hard time saying. I am so surprised because we sing the alphabet song a bit but really, I have not been working on it with him at all.

You know how he learned them? I swear it was the little preschool computer my MIL bought him last Xmas. For the most part, he was just using it to copy Mom and Dad typing on their computers, but in the last few months he's figure out the Letters and Numbers function where he pushes a key and the computer says the letter and 2 words the begin with that letter. Nicky basically repeated what the computer said. Computer: "B.....butterfly......banjo..... Please press a button!" Nicky: "B!!!!!!" and then presses another button, and so it continues. Cute, but I didn't realize he was actually putting it all together and learning the letters! Between that and his Leap Frog alphabet magnets that he uses the same way, he taught himself the alphabet. He's walking around pointing out letters and naming them wherever he goes. Crazy!

It miffs me a bit that an electronic toy was a more efficient teacher for my child than I was but, really, it worked because Nicky was working at his own pace and because of his own interest. Completely self led learning. So cool!

I am so surprised since Nicky is still having so much trouble with pronunciation and his vocab is not that great, but both are getting so much better every single day now. He is really taking off:) And I feel like all I really need to do it get out of his way, LOL. I keep trying to explain to my impatient husband that so much of child development is preprogrammed and biological and each kid has his/her own pace. As parents, we need to follow their lead. They will show us what they are interested in and what they want to work on and what they are still struggling with and need more time to master. Each kid will have different skills they excel in and others they lag a bit behind on. The range of what is "normal" development is so wide and varies so much between each kid.

Nicky is also working on his numbers and shapes and colors. He's got counting 1 to 5 down now (up from 1 to 3) and tries to get to 10 but often gets fouled up in the order. He likes the concept of counting (1, 2, 3, 4, 5!!!!!!) more than identifying the written numbers themselves. His favorite color seems to be yellow right now and its the color he identifies correctly the most often, but he really doesn't have colors down yet. Shapes he's bit farther on. He identifies ovals and circles and stars and sometimes squares but has troubles with rectangles and triangles but part of that is not being able to pronounce those words. He really has trouble saying 3 syllable words. Same thing with 3 word sentences so I guess that makes sense. He usually shortens both to 2 words or 2 syllables. Now, if I break down the word and have him repeat each syllable, he can pronounce all 3 most of the time, but still can't put them together.

Like I said, though, he's making so much progress! He loves reading books, and he is really showing a love for learning and doing new things. Its so much fun! He loves the pull-apart board books on numbers, shapes, and colors that I bought a long time ago at Target in the dollar bins. You can't beat that! And they are small and fit in the diaper bag. Nice!

We've spent the last 2 weeks traveling and visiting family for the holidays and he is really thriving on all the social interaction. He's still a little social butterfly:) I have noticed a jump in his vocabulary just in the past week alone here at my parent's house (we're hanging out for a week here while I work on my dissertation). He's even been sitting up in his sleep and saying words or just talking in his sleep. Too funny!

Nicky really moves faster than I do. No surprise there, he's 2, right?! But really what I mean is that his personality is very social and active and he doesn't like to stick with one activity for too long before trying something new, even for a 2 year old. He also really likes to be out and about. This can be hard for his homebody mama. So, for the new year, I have resolved to get us out of the house on a more consistent basis and to get Nicky the social interaction he craves more often. I have no idea how I'm gonna juggle this with my dissertation work, but I'm gonna work on it because he clearly needs it. I know I could probably use more social interaction, too, since I really really miss all my friends down in KC and all the activities and get togethers Nicky and I had down there before me moved.

I'll have to get a video up of Nicky identifying his letters for you all to enjoy:)