This week’s news certainly had its share of titillation. From a chef who serves his patrons a cheese made from his wife’s breast milk, the woman in jail who was charged with assault for squirting her milk at a guard, to the mother who admits to breastfeeding her 14 year old. And let’s not forget that fashion show that Bravado (makers of nursing bras) held in Las Vegas where the pregnant models were banned from walking the runway.
Mixed in with the odd ball articles two very sad stories also caught my eye. In the Philippines a 31 year old woman was shot dead while breastfeeding her one year old. The baby was still suckling her breast when they found her. And in Uganda authorities say they have no proof that a mother who says her husband forced her to breastfeed puppies is telling the truth. Apparently the scars on her breast were believed to be the result of her epilepsy, and the testimony from her children (ages 5 & 2) was not to be taken seriously because they after all merely children.
There were several stories about breastfeeding and the workplace this week and none of it was very encouraging I’m afraid. Although donating a handmade quilt to a local health department breastfeeding room was a nice gesture of support it appears that combining breastfeeding and work remains a struggle in many places. Utah failed to pass a bill requiring workplaces to set aside space for breastfeeding. In Oklahoma where they have a law allowing mothers to express milk at work (during unpaid time) there was no mandate to set aside space to do so. Officially encouraging businesses to set aside space hasn’t worked either as only 26 offices now have a designated pumping space. (I find it ironic that the title of this article was “Workplaces Nurture Nursing Moms”.)
In “To Pump or Not to Pump?” a mother whose office had a designated pumping room explains the dilemma she found herself in when she found it difficult to accept a travel assignment that would have made it difficult to pump. In Taipei a survey found that less than 4% of businesses had a breastfeeding room and that lack of space was one of the main reasons cited for not doing so. They too are considering a bill requiring public offices to create such a space which, unlike Oklahoma the bill, includes a provision to fine those who don’t comply.
Meanwhile according to the Wall Street Journal breastfeeding for six months or longer leads to an overall decrease in a woman’s income because they either work fewer hours or they quit. “We can’t just look at health outcomes. We must look at economic outcomes as well,” says Mary Noonan, an associate professor at University of Iowa’s sociology department and co-author of the paper. “Money also matters for a child’s health.” I think she has a valid point. Why should a mother have to decide between her financial security and her child’s health? Likewise why should business owners have to redesign their workspaces to accommodate the pumping mother?
To me the answer is obvious. Women need a nationally guaranteed long term (I’m thinking one year here!) paid maternity leave. I’m tired of legislators trying to grapple with this problem from state to state with their pathetic attempts to combine breastfeeding in the workplace. It also annoys me that these laws are promoted as laws to encourage breastfeeding when in reality they are promoting pumping not breastfeeding. Did you know that Medela’s sales of the “Pump N Style” have quadrupled in the last five years? Is it any wonder that we now have mothers who plan to “EP” (exclusively pump)? To really support breastfeeding we need three things; intensive prenatal breastfeeding education, “Baby Friendly” hospitals, and a national one year paid maternity leave. Work place legislations are a mere band-aid. And for those of you who feel that I am ignoring the rights of mothers who want to go back to work, yes there should be legislation to accommodate them in the workplace, but I really feel we should be pushing for maternity leave first. At the very least we should be making a lot more noise about the issue.
And yes I’m totally in favor of legislation to accommodate breastfeeding in public both as way to bring the issue to the foreground and to ensure that no mother ever feels stuck at home because of her decision to breastfeed. In the Philippines at Manila’s International airport they recently opened a free mother’s breastfeeding room. I’m so glad it’s free. They weren’t really thinking of charging mothers for this were they? Although depending on the price it might be worth it. The room includes four cubicles each with a bed, a swivel chair, a window, a drawer and a door that locks! This is the first breastfeeding room that I’ve heard of that offered a bed! How cool is that? (Of course the Philippines also have a law preventing companies from promoting formula. It’s about the culture people!)
OK, let me get off that soap box for a minute. In other news we can congratulate actress Angela Kinsey for explaining to the female writers of “The Office” the realities of breastfeeding. And it is interesting to note that one writer found it to be impossible to believe that there could be male lactation consultants or for that matter baby mix ups in the hospital. While we’re on the subject I want to give a shout out Tom Johnston who is stationed with the army in New York. Tom is both a Lactation Consultant and a certified midwife. Tom’s Facebook profile exclaims “I catch babies for the Army!”
Speaking of midwives a midwife in the UK has been nominated for a national award for her efforts to help a mother breastfeed following a c-section. In other news a daycare provider resigned after someone gave a baby in her charge the wrong mother’s breast milk. In Nigeria due to the fall in breastfeeding rates the government has decided to reach out to religious groups (both Muslim and Christian) in an effort to educate parents. In health news Breastfeeding has been associated with a lower risk of peptic ulcers (caused by H.Pylori). And in environmental news it has been suggested that the contamination of breast milk with toxins should be considered a “child’s health issue” rather than a “woman’s issue”.
“Dear Prudence” got an interesting letter from a dad who wasn’t sure what to do about his wife. It seems that because he was a stay at home dad he was better at noticing their baby’s feeding cues than his wife who was primarily pumping. Apparently she resented him for it. “Recently my wife blew up at me and said that her breasts are her body and no other person can tell her what to do with her body. From now on I am not allowed to tell her when I see signs that our daughter is hungry because it then would be controlling my wife’s body.” “Dear Prudence” replied “Your wife is in the difficult situation of trying to provide nutrition for your daughter while being at work all day. It doesn’t help that when she’s home you indicate you are more in tune with your baby’s needs than she is.” And she went on to say; “…It will not harm your daughter to let a few lusty cries for milk, instead of having Dad anticipate her hunger. Just relax and let your wife handle it.”
Do you see now what I mean by pumping taking us down the wrong road? Do we really want women to be mad at their husbands because their hubbies are more in tune with their babies than they are? I’m going to say it again people – women need long term, paid maternity leave!
As always I love hearing from you & the links to all the article are below.
Kathy Abbott IBCLC
On Facebook:” Breastfeeding in the News”
Mothers Who Opt for Breast Milk, Not Breast-feeding (Catherine Sharick – Time Magazine)
Technology has helped fuel the trend. Medela, the Swiss breast-pump maker and industry leader, introduced its first electric-powered, vacuum-operated at-home breast pump in the U.S. in 1991. Five years later, the company launched the Pump in Style, a portable breast pump that comes in a fashionable bag that looks like a purse. Since then, Medela’s sales of the item — not cheap at around $279 — have quadrupled.
Woman Charged in Breast Milk Assault on Jailer
The Associated Presstool name
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OWENSBORO, Ky. — A woman in jail for public intoxication was accused of assaulting a jailer by squirting breast milk at her. WYMT-TV reported that a 31-year-old woman was arrested Thursday on a misdemeanor charge of public intoxication. But as she was changing into an inmate uniform, she squirted breast milk into the face of a female deputy who was with her. …The woman now faces a felony charge of third degree assault on a police officer. Her bond was set at $10,000.
Nursing my infant child was a gift — to me
Perhaps the favorite piece of advice from grandmothers and random women on the street is that nursing should come naturally. Just let your baby and your body do what they were made to do, they’ll say.
Well, here’s my advice: Look straight in that woman’s face and say, “Nice try, lady. Nice try.”
The truth is — at least for me and every other mother I know — nursing does not come naturally, and you will spend the first month of your child’s life struggling to figure it out.
I was lucky to work for a company that had a designated room for breastfeeding moms, but I couldn’ stick to my routine during my business trip. The courthouse where I was supposed to be covering a story didn’t have a similar room for breastfeeding moms.
I was torn. On one hand, I wanted to tell my boss that I couldn’t go on the trip and that she needed to find someone else. At the same time, I didn’t want to seem incapacitated and incapable of doing my job.
Cheers and Jeers: March 8, 2010
CHEERS to the Ladies of the Lake Quilting Club for donating a quilted wall hanging for the Clinton County Health Department employee breastfeeding room. The gift betokens a genuine empathy for motherhood and breastfeeding, certainly both compatible with Health Department goals. Clinton County has taken steps to comply with state legislation to create a space for mothers who are nursing their babies, and the quilt will certainly encourage that activity. For the gesture, the Health Department has presented the club a Community Partnership Award. Through the years, many women and babies will have their experience enhanced by this thoughtful donation.
Natural Cooking with Human Breast milk Going Too Far
An eco-conscious chef has taken advantage of his wife’s breast, but not in the way my first few words lead you to believe. Instead he is using milk she extracted from her breastfeeding breast and making it into cheese he serves at his restaurant. Shocking? Disgusting? Bizarre? You be the judge.
What if Chef Angerer did not serve human cheese at his restaurant
and instead only served it to his baby? Would that make a difference? Is it less disgusting?
WORK PLACES NURTURE NURSING MOMS
BY Paula Burkes – OKLAHOMAN
A 2006 Oklahoma law requires employers to allow nursing mothers the ability to express milk during lunches, breaks and other unpaid times. But there’s no mandate that employers provide breaks or a private room.
In 2008, the state Health Department launched its Breastfeeding Works! initiative to encourage businesses to establish private lactation rooms and policies acknowledging the importance of breastfeeding. But only 26 workplaces, mostly health-care related, have been recognized as breastfeeding-friendly and working moms continue to face difficulties.
Nursing: No Free Lunch
“In terms of long-term earnings, women who breastfeed less than six months have similar income trajectories to those who never breastfeed, but those who breastfeed for six months or longer have far steeper declines in income,” mainly due to reduced work hours or quitting, Ms. Rippeyoung says.
Some mothers endure real economic hardship if they miss work hours to pump or breastfeed. “We can’t just look at health outcomes. We must look at economic outcomes as well,” says Mary Noonan, an associate professor at University of Iowa’s sociology department and co-author of the paper. “Money also matters for a child’s health.”
— Ruth Mantell, The Juggle, WSJ.com
Bosses in Taipei not keen on setting up breastfeeding rooms: poll
Only 3.9 percent of the companies in Taipei City installed breastfeeding rooms on their premises in 2009, according to the Taipei city Department of Labor.
…According to the draft bill, government agencies and business premises with floor space of more than 500 square meters, as well as public service facilities with over 1,000 square meters of floor space, must be equipped with clearly marked breastfeeding rooms.
Breastfeeding rooms must be established on the premises of such facilities, which include railway and metro stations and airport terminals, within one year of the promulgation of the regulations, the draft bill states
New Life for Mother who was Forced to Breastfeed Puppies
… “He added that a test was carried out in Mbale Hospital but it also found no evidence of breastfeeding puppies. “The hospital results only indicated that Ms Alupo suffers from epilepsy illness,” Mr Madiri said
…In a separate interview with Mr Awoloyi, he said that his wife Alupo suffered a brain disorder caused by her epileptic condition which could explain the earlier injuries she had suffered on her body and her breasts.
Top Moments: The Office Baby Blues, The Bachelor’s First Dance, and a Monster’s Balls
1. Best Lactation Joke: In the special one-hour Office baby episode, a tender moment in which Pam finally gets the baby to “latch” for breastfeeding is turned on its ear when she realizes that she’s accidentally picked up her hospital neighbor’s newborn. “Wrong baby, wrong baby,” she repeats to panicky dad Jim, who quickly replaces the sated infant in its bassinet before its mother wakes up.
‘The Office’ Baby — Jim & Pam Welcome Cecilia Marie!
The episode did raise four burning questions, though:
1.) Do hospitals really employ male lactation consultants? Young, handsome ones who offer hands-on breastfeeding counsel to new moms? While new dads watch? Pam accepted the nature of the clinical situation, totally indifferent to anything but the task at hand (getting Cecilia fed) — but we’re with Jim. That’s just not right.
2.) Mistakenly breastfeeding someone else’s newborn doesn’t happen — does it? It seemed beyond credible that Pam would sleepily bring another mom’s baby to her breast, but when you factor in the mind-numbing exhaustion of birthing a child in the first place, it actually makes you wonder how it doesn’t happen more often!
Angela Kinsey Pitches Nursing Humor to Office Writers
“I … tried to pitch them some breastfeeding jokes,” she revealed to the Toronto Sun, noting that she returned to the set when her own daughter Isabel Ruby, now 22 months, was just eight weeks old.
“Not to over-share, but I had to pump,” she explains. “That’s a working mom’s life if you want to breastfeed.”
“We had to take pump breaks all day. Our female writers on the show don’t have children, so I pulled them aside. I don’t know what they used or didn’t use, but it’s a fun episode.”
Bridgwater midwife shortlisted for national award (UK)
Monique Korrs was nominated for The Infacol Baby Bonding Award by Esther Loh, who felt inadequate as a mother after an emergency caesarean last September
More than 150 health professionals across the country were nominated for the award and Monique is down to the last ten.
A US woman still breastfeeds her 14-year-old son to “comfort” him.
Jocelyn Cooper, 36, allows her teenage son Billy to suckle on her breasts for 10-15 minutes each day – because it keeps them close.
Daycare director resigns after breast milk mistake
BREMERTON, Wash. – A Bremerton daycare director has resigned after she allegedly gave a baby the wrong breast milk, then tried to hide the mistake.
Pregnant ladies banned for their own Good
Bravado is a company that sells breastfeeding bras for ladies with breasts that are used for breastfeeding babies. But when Bravado goes out to fashion trade shows to have their pregnant lady models model the breastfeeding bras in their pregnant way, can you guess what happens? Yes, they are banned, for their own pregnant good. From a runway show! In a nightclub! At the Wynn Casino, in Las Vegas, the City of Sin!
Breastfeeding facility set up at airport
Manila: Manila’s international airport in Pasay City has opened a private area for breastfeeding mothers, a senior official said, adding it is part of the government’s effort to promote breastfeeding in the Philippines.
“This facility was set up to give mothers a relaxed and secure area where they can nurse their babies free of charge,” said airport general manager Alfonso Cusi.
The 32-square-metre breastfeeding station is located after the immigration area for departing passengers. It has four cubicles, each with a bed, swivel chair, drawer, a window and a lockable door, said Cusi, adding the facility was opened in time for the celebration of International Women’s Month.
The Philippine Congress recently passed a bill that prevents companies from promoting infant formula.
Moms, babies deserved better from legislators
UNEDITED) Sadly, Utah legislators missed an easy opportunity to make life easier for working families last Friday when they defeated House Bill 252, Workplace Accomodation of Breastfeeding.
This bill would have required employers with more than 15 employees to provide unpaid break time and a private location — other than a toilet stall — where a working mother could express her milk for her baby. This is a simple request and would not be a strain for most employers, if they understood the value of providing this accommodation
Slate’s ‘Dear Prudence': My European coworkers are calling me a cow, my wife is preparing for the apocalypse, my husband has bad teeth, dad’s breastfeeding dilemmas
Stay at home Dad land: I have a question that I do not think a stay at home mom has faced before. My wife works and is also very intent upon breastfeeding our daughter until she is 1 year old. So she pumps for when she is gone and breastfeeds when she is home. The problem has arisen because I tend to see the signs that my daughter is hungry before she starts to cry. I will then suggest to my wife that she feed our daughter. Recently my wife blew up at me and said that her breasts are her body and no other person can tell her what to do with her body. From now on I am not allowed to tell her when I see signs that our daughter is hungry because it then would be controlling my wife’s body. Feeding a bottle at those times is out because my wife does not want to confuse our daughter by feeding her a bottle while she is present.
How do I be a good stay at home dad without suggesting that my wife use her body to feed our daughter?
Emily Yoffe: Have used a breast pump myself, I do not understand why cows seem so contented, because breastpumping is one of the more unpleasant aspects of modern motherhood. Your wife is in the difficult situation of trying to provide nutrition for your daughter while being at work all day. It doesn’t help that when she’s home you indicate you are more in tune with your baby’s needs than she is. Men constantly complain that women want them to do more of the childcare, then micromanage their every action. That’s what you’re doing with your wife. It will not harm your daughter to let a few lusty cries for milk, instead of having Dad anticipate her hunger. Just relax and let your wife handle it
Mom shot dead while breastfeeding baby
MANILA, Philippines—A 31-year-old mother was shot and killed Tuesday morning while she was breastfeeding her one-year-old child inside her home in Manila.
Breastfeeding and better hygiene may protect against peptic ulcer bacterium infection.
Young children in developing countries are infected at an early age with the bacterium Helicobacter pylori, which can cause peptic ulcers and stomach cancer. New findings show that childrens´ immune responses help in fighting the bacteria. In addition, breastfeeding and better hygiene appear to protect against infection. The results provide hope for a vaccine, according to research from the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.
Breastfeeding rates drop in Nigeria
The Federal Ministry of Health plans to engage the participation of religious mothers to stress the importance of exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months of life, so as to reduce the current high rate of child mortalityn
The method, which is to begin this year, is following Nigeria’s poor assessment in the most recent National Demographic Health Survey where the rate of exclusive breastfeeding dropped from 17 percent in 2003 to 13 per cent in 2008.
“We are taking the campaign to them through this channel because we believe that by the time Muslim mothers, and Christian mothers talk to their various women groups, they will listen to them and thus more women will comply.”
Professors spar about potential risks of breastfeeding
“After her presentation, McKenzie said society is hesitant to address the issue of contaminated breast milk related to environmental pollutants “because it’s still seen as a women’s issue. Maybe we should be reframing it as a child health issue rather than a women’s issue.”