Category Archives: Uncategorized

“Baby Friendly” Gets A Rap Video!

A rap song about Baby Friendly hospitals?? Leave it to Melissa Bartick and and the creative folks at both the Massachusetts Breastfeeding Coalition and the Breastfeeding Coalition of Oregon to find a way to make the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) actually seem relevant and hip.  Now on YouTube, “A Tale of Two Births: The Baby Friendly Rap” is a must see for mothers every where!

The video begins with a male rapper lamenting that you mothers might be brainwashed by tv “but your baby knows the way it’s supposed to be.” and goes on to hit all the common barriers to breastfeeding, from medicated births, mother baby separation, and of course infant formula (or as its called in the rap “form-u-lay”).  Interspersed throughout the video a trio of sultry female voices consisting of a doula (complete with super hero cape!), a female doctor, and a nurse croon together on the spicy refrain,   “…skin to skin, it’s the perfect start.  Skin to skin it’s never going to stop.”   

The video begins by portraying a mother having the birth she wants, a natural, unmedicated vaginal birth (or as I call it – the ‘untethered birth’, no electronic monitors, & no IV attached to her arm!), with her doula and partner by her side.  The baby is placed skin to skin and immediately begins to breastfeed with a perfect latch.

In the second half of the video the same mother is shown experiencing the more typical American birth, no doula, the usual birth interventions (“they gotta get him out with some instruments”), mother and baby are separated (“The cold cold scale, and then the first bath. His temperature drops in the aftermath.”) and then the baby is whisked away to the nursery and given formula to bring his blood sugar up. (According to the CDC almost 25% of babies in the US are given formula before they leave the hospital!).

By the time mom gets her baby back and he is swaddled so tightly he can’t even find the breast (“Wrapped like a burrito, they hand him back. He can barely move, he just feels trapped.”).  Essentially, the breastfeeding train has been derailed before it could even leave the station.

Of course most mothers don’t know that common hospital practices interfere with breastfeeding, and because they don’t know they blame themselves. (“With all his troubles, you can’t make enough milk. You blamin’ yourself, fillin’ up with lotsa guilt.”) Unfortunately most health providers also don’t know that  ‘Baby Friendly’ hospitals exist, and why would they?  Here it is 20 years after the World Health Organization (WHO) first introduced the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative and the US has only 140 Baby Friendly facilities.  That’s less than 5%.  By comparison, Sweden has been 100% Baby Friendly since 1997, and there are currently over 6,000 Baby Friendly facilities in China alone!

And it because mothers don’t know that Baby Friendly hospitals exists that makes the ending to the Baby Friendly Rap even more poignant. Instead of flaming the ‘mommy breastfeeding wars’ further, the song ends instead with an offer of absolution.  To any mother who found breastfeeding to be frustrating and who thinks she failed, please listen carefully as the trio of women shake their heads wisely at the end of the video as they sing “It’s not your fault, it’s not your fault.”

In case you want to sing along, here are the lyrics:

“A Tale of Two Births: The Baby-Friendly Rap”


“Gonna tell you a tale, a tale of two births,
Gonna milk this story for all that it’s worth
You might be brainwashed if you seen on TV
But your baby knows the way it’s supposed to be
A doula at your side will prove her worth,
‘Cause you might not need a c-section or medicated birth
Baby is born and is brought to your chest
Then snuggles with mom, no baths, no tests.
He hears the song of mom’s heartbeat
Stays perfectly warm with her body heat.
All he needs is to be near your heart
And skin-to-skin, it ain’t never gonna stop
All he needs is a blanket on top
And skin-to-skin, it ain’t never gonna stop
He smells the milk with a deep deep breath
Then crawls his way over to his mama’s breast
After a while, he takes his first meal
Latches on by himself, and it’s the real deal
His mouth opens wide with the perfect latch
Like a miracle, it’s easy after that.
When he’s done there’ll be plenty of time
For docs and nurses to get in line
You get to sleep with your baby at your side

No one’s gonna bother you takin’ extra vital signs
Your visitors they can wait ‘til you get home,
You even turn the ringer off your cellular phone.
Those Baby-Friendly hospitals sho’ are smart
Skin to skin, it’s the perfect start
Baby-Friendly hospital sho’ know how to rock
Skin to skin, it ain’t never gonna stop.

But this ain’t what happens in the USA
When a pregnant lady gives birth today
There’s no doula to coach you through all the labor
You got no power, like you signed some kinda waiver.
Before you know it, your baby’s in distress
So they gotta get him out with some instruments
A vacuum, a section, is that the new plan?
Mama’s soft warm chest replaced with a heat lamp
The cold cold scale, and then the first bath
His temperature drops in the aftermath
Oh no, they say, he’s in a bad way
So they whisk him off to the nurser-ay
Nurser-ay, nurser-ay, stay away from the nurser-ay
The cold, and being away from his mama
Can drop his blood sugar because othe trauma
It just gets worse, ‘cause then they say
Gotta give this baby some form-u-lay
Form-u-lay, form-u-lay, stay away from the form-u-lay
Wrapped like a burrito, they hand him back
He can barely move, he just feels trapped
Then he can’t get that perfect latch,
Breastfeeding won’t be easy after all of that.
With all his troubles, you can’t make enough milk
You blamin’ yourself, fillin’ up with lotsa guilt
But it’s not your fault, the answer is logical
Push for your birth at a Baby-Friendly hospital.
It’s not your fault, it’s not your fault
Speak up for your baby, keep him close to your heart
Skin-to-skin, it’s the perfect start
Skin to skin
Skin to skin, it’s the perfect start
Skin to skin
Skin to skin, it ain’t never gonna stop”

© 2012 Massachusetts Breastfeeding Coalition and the Breastfeeding Coalition of Oregon

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Filed under Baby Friendly Hospitals, breastfeeding, the curious lactivist, Uncategorized

Off to San Diego!

Hello All,

This Friday I’m off to California where my daughter & I will be doing a little mother daughter road trip (give me strength – she’s 14, what on earth was I thinking??). We’ll start in Santa Barbara (the same day as Prince William & Princess Kate my daughter informs me!) drive down to Los Angeles, and end in San Diego where I’ll be attending the International Consultant’s Association’s  Annual Conference.  This will be my first time attending the ILCA conference and I’m proud to say I’ll be attending as a speaker!

The idea for my talk, “From Johnny Appleseed to Woodstock: Going Baby Friendly In New England” originated from a series of road trips I made two years ago.  At the time 100% of the hospitals in Sweden were “Baby Friendly” (i.e. breastfeeding friendly) while in the US it was less than 3%. That bothered me, but what bothered me even more was the knowledge that here in Massachusetts we had only one certified “Baby Friendly” hospital while rural Maine already had five, and even tiny Rhode Island had three! Being curious (I am after all the Curious Lactivist!) I wanted to know why Massachusetts was so far behind, so in 2009 I got in my car and drove to ten “Baby Friendly” hospitals in five different states where I asked two questions; “How did you become “Baby Friendly”? & “What are the challenges you face in remaining “Baby Friendly” today?

The answers were fascinating! Their stories ranged from the small hospital in Maine where the nurses simply said to each other, “You know those things that we didn’t like about our own birth experiences; let’s just not do that here.”, to the lactation consultant in Rhode Island who inspired an enthusiastic group of young nurses to follow in her footsteps, to the hospital in New Hampshire where one key person had so completely blocked efforts to become “Baby Friendly” the hospital had to withdraw from the certification process entirely, and yet today not only are they certified, they even keep a supply of donor milk on hand for any baby who needs to be supplemented for medical reasons!

In addition to speaking at the conference I’ll also be in the exhibit hall helping out Ron Daley the owner of “Supple Cups” at his booth.  Ron and I live in the same town and when I found out he wouldn’t be able to attend I offered to help him out.  If you haven’t heard of them “Supple Cups” came out about three years ago as a tool for aiding women with inverted or flat nipples.  Unlike nipple shields that are used during feeding, “Supple Cups” are a small silicone cup (about the size of a thimble) that gently draws the nipple out.  By wearing them before or during pregnancy they can aid in elongating the truly inverted (i.e. tethered) nipple.  In the postnatal period “Supple Cups” can also be used to help draw out the nipple that has disappeared due to engorgement (especially during the colostrum period for engorgement caused by IV fluids!), in many cases making them a great alternative to the dreaded nipple shield.  (Look for Julie Bouchet-Horowitz’s soon to be published study on “Supple Cups” in the journal “Clinical Lactation”.)

So if I can survive the road trip with my 14 year old it promises to be an exciting conference.  I’m hoping to connect with as many familiar faces as possible, so if you’ll be at the conference please look for me in the exhibit hall (I’ll be in Booth 95, next to the folks at Mother Art), or come hear me speak on Sunday morning (and no I won’t be mad if you’ve already signed up to hear Miriam Labbok or Karen Gromada, who can blame you?).  I’m looking forward to saying hi to folks and if you have any stories about either “Baby Friendly” or “Supple Cups” I would love to hear them!

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Filed under breastfeeding, inverted nipples, lactivist, supple cups, the curious lactivist, Uncategorized

Breastfeeding in the News: April 21st – 30th, 2010

In a move straight out of a Hollywood movie leaflets denouncing Nestle’s flagrant disregard for the WHO Code dropped through a hole in the ceiling of the Palais recently and floated onto the table in front of the startled Nestle executives below.  Nestle indignantly responded by insisting that they abide by the law in all countries and that in fact they had received very few complaints about their marketing of infant formula.Governments are not making these calls, Nestle abides by the law in every country.” This should serve as a reminder to the rest of us that it is the law of the land that carries the greatest weight.  Unfortunately thirty plus years of boycotting hasn’t even made Nestle blink.

The incident reminded me of a meeting of Human Resource executives that I attended a few years ago.  I was there pitching a lactation support program for businesses.  After enthusiastically touting the benefits of supporting breastfeeding mothers in the workplace (“Companies save $3 for every $1 spent on breastfeeding support.”), one HR woman interrupted me and asked point blank, “Is there a law requiring this?”  There was no law, and the discussion was quickly dropped. 

Happily today there is a new federal law but as I mentioned before the details still have to be worked out.  It is interesting to note that prior to this law the issues of work breaks was covered by state laws only. “Until this amendment, rest break requirements had been the subject of state regulation.So this is new territory for federal law makers. Luckily state and local laws will still supersede the federal rules which means that Oregon’s $1,000 fine for each missed “breast milk expression session” will still stand, and employees in Monterey will still receive extra training and support. 

In science news HAMLET a component of breast milk now believed to kill 40 different types of cancer cells including bladder cancer is being touted as the next big thing in cancer research.   HAMLETs which are formed by “combining alpha-lactalbumin in the milk and oleic acid which is found in babies’ stomachs,” are remarkable not just for their ability to kill cancer but also the way they leave all healthy cells intact.  In other science news another study noted that babies who were breastfed showed better lung capabilities which were still measurable at 8 years of age.  A study showing that obese women who got extra breastfeeding counseling not only breastfed longer they their babies had fewer fevers and upper respiratory infections and were 3.5 times less likely to be hospitalized during their first 3 months of life.”  Across the pond the Brits just held their first conference exploring the benefits of breastfeeding for babies with developmental disabilities!  I would love to see more of that done here.

In Uganda they noted a suspicious rise in breast cancer in younger women. The same article noted that, “Breastfeeding also changes the make-up of a mother’s breast cells, making them more resistant to cancer.”  And that “Breastfeeding will also rid the breast toxins like carcinogens that are likely to cause cancer in the future.”  While I’m glad to see them put in a plug for breastfeeding I’m not entirely sure they got this exactly right.  Can any of my more knowledgeable readers set me straight on this?  And while we’re talking about Uganda I’m happy to report that the issue of breastfeeding mothers in prison has been looked into, and that mothers now receive their own special cells.  This is one of those times when the child’s rights supersede the mother’s.

For years we’ve been pushing for more breastfeeding using evidence based studies as our strongest ally, but we tend to ignore any evidence showing that breast milk often contains toxin.   One author insists, “Were it regulated like infant formula, the breast milk of many US mothers would not be able to be legally sold on supermarket shelves.”  We find ourselves in the delicate position of ignoring the canary in the mine (canaries would die from the poisoned air before the effects on miners could be noticed), and still trying to convince society to accept breastfeeding as normal.  As blogger Anna Fahey puts it “The choice is a personal one, but a choice there should be! And it should never be a question of choosing the lesser of two evils. We have a shared responsibility to safeguard the basic human right to grow up untainted by damaging chemicals.”

An interesting study in Australia showed that positive interest in breastfeeding did not mean that mothers would breastfeed longer.  And to answer the question, “What do women really want?” the answer was clearly that they wanted more support.  In fact, “It is not important what people close to them think about their decision to breastfeed, what is important is the support they receive.” This may sound like a conundrum but I totally get it.  My mother constantly questioned me about my decision to breastfeed but at the same time she did everything she could to help make it work.  She even vocally defended me against all nay sayers as she would not tolerate any criticisms from others.  That was her job!  (Speaking of grandmothers I totally applaud a local health department’s decision to host a “Grandmother’s Tea … to educate, influence and encourage Grandmothers’ support of breastfeeding.”)

As always the conversation about breastfeeding continues. From car seat analogies, to letters to tv news producers (by the way ABC news got slammed for using a doctor known for accepting money from formula companies as one of their “expert opinions” on a breastfeeding piece), to books for fathers (“Breastfeeding Facts For Fathers” Platypus Media), to celebrity complaints about breastfeeding police everyone has an opinion.  What is most interesting to me is the way the conversation is being portrayed in the movies and on TV.  As breastfeeding infants becomes more accepted there has been a trend towards making more jokes about breastfeeding the older child.    One piece took this to the farthest extreme with a really funny bit about a mother nursing her 30 year old son (“I Want My Bitty”).  And I have to admit I loved Pam’s return to work on the “Office” and the moment when she realized she was feeling engorged.  Not being able to find her breast pump (a non-lactating coworker had slipped off to the bathroom to give it a try -“Wow. This is like the Cadillac of breast pumps!”) her coworker Dwight who was brought up on a farm offers to assist her with hand expression, “Three squeezes and I would drain you.”  

But if you only have time to read one story today make it “A Unique Challenge to Breastfeeding” by Michael Wuebben a CBS News producer.  He tells the loving story of how his own child was born with a rare medical condition that left the baby physically unable to move his facial muscles, and how the child’s mother never gave up on breastfeeding.  It is beautifully written and adds a potent counter weight to all those stories we hear from mothers who “had to give up” for reasons x, y, and z.

As always I love hearing from you (remember links to all the stories are below).  I hope you all had a Mother’s Day that was as pleasant as mine.  My daughter made a poster filled with pictures of the two of us and across the top she wrote “Best Friends”.  I couldn’t ask for anything more than that! 

Kathy Abbott IBCLC
www.BusyMomsBreastfeed.com

www.TheCuriousLactivist.Wordpress.com

On Facebook:” Breastfeeding in the News”           

The risks of non-compliance with Oregon’s milk expression law

Penalties for noncompliance are similar to those that may be assessed for other wage and hour violations, and may be as high as $1,000 per missed breast milk expression session, possibly as much as $2,000 on an average work day. There is no statute of limitations regarding when an employee may file a complaint.

… But for some women working in places that are slow to change, they fear they would be asking their employer for too much or inconveniencing their colleagues. In addition some women just don’t feel comfortable discussing breast milk expression with their direct supervisor or human resources department. Even with all these progressive reforms the burden is on working women.

Marion Rice is workplace lactation support specialist with the Nursing Mothers Counsel of Oregon.

http://www.oregonlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2010/04/the_risks_of_noncompliance_wit.html    

Almeda County to lower flags in remembrance of Livermore baby (San Jose Mercury News)  

Police arrested Jessica Adams last week on suspicion of murder after a yearlong investigation. Police said during that time, they learned she had been continually smoking methamphetamine for four days leading up to Gary’s death. She had not slept at all during that time, and when she finally fell asleep on March 19, Gary was with her on the couch.

Police say Adams told them she had stopped breastfeeding the baby March 12 because she planned on using the drug.

http://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-news/ci_14984679?nclick_check=1

Most Hilarious Breastfeeding video ever!

Sometimes we all need a little laugh though, right? And so, in the interest of easing a little breastfeeding debate tension, check out this clip from the UK comedy Little Britain. The episode is called “Meet the Parents.” But it should be called “I Want My Bitty!

http://thestir.cafemom.com/baby/102144/Most_Hilarious_Breastfeeding_Video_Ever

BBC News: Cultural Barrier to breastfeeding older children

“Once I gave birth to Jonathan and I started breastfeeding, I thought we’ll just get to six months and then I thought we’ll go to a year and then it never stopped.

“And here I am five years on. It became a natural thing.”

“I’m a firm believer that Jonathan should choose his own path in life,” she said.

Ms Hurst said breastfeeding Jonathan would stop when he lost the ability to suckle as his milk teeth fell out

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/south_yorkshire/8652825.stm

Does breastfeeding protect against asthma? (Reuters)

The extended and exclusive diet of breast milk also resulted in better lung function at age 8, the researchers report in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology

http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE63R4TL20100428

Ugandan News: Conservative Party calls for special (jail) cells for breastfeeding mothers

The President of CP says the breastfeeding mothers jailed at Luzira prison have told him that they are finding it hard to produce enough milk for their babies because of the poor meals.

Inmates at Luzira and other prisons in Uganda get one meal a day at 2:00pm and a cup of porridge at 8:00am daily. The major food they get is posho and beans.

http://www.ugpulse.com/articles/daily/news.asp?about=CP+calls+for+special+cells+for+breast+feeding+mothers+&ID=14323

First UK conference to address benefits of breastfeeding for babies with developmental disabilities

Dr Roja Sooben at the University’s School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work has organised the conference  called,  Breastfeeding infants with developmental disabilities – let’s talk about it!, which will take place at the University on 11th  May.

  http://www.news-medical.net/news/20100429/First-UK-conference-to-address-benefits-of-breastfeeding-for-babies-with-developmental-disabilities.aspx

The Day WHEN breast isn’t BEST

But as Sandra Steingraber (author, biologist, and breastfeeding advocate who’s written and lectured extensively on the subject) points out, breast milk commonly violates Food and Drug Administration levels for poisonous substances in food. She writes: “Were it regulated like infant formula, the breast milk of many US mothers would not be able to be legally sold on supermarket shelves.”

…The choice is a personal one, but a choice there should be! And it should never be a question of choosing the lesser of two evils. We have a shared responsibility to safeguard the basic human right to grow up untainted by damaging chemicals. Put another way, chemical risks in today’s environment aren’t a matter of choice; they’re an assault on basic rights.

http://daily.sightline.org/daily_score/archive/2010/04/28/is-breast-always-best

A Unique Challenge to Breastfeeding

Michael Wuebben is a CBSNews.com senior producer overseeing video production and original video programming.

Finally we knew something. He couldn’t suck because he couldn’t move the muscles of his face. He didn’t react because his muscles were weak and he couldn’t blink.

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504544_162-20003507-504544.html

Monterey County Adopts breastfeeding Policy

Existing law provides for unpaid break time and appropriate facilities for lactating employees to express milk for their infant children. The Monterey County policy includes additional provisions for training and support to maximize the benefits of breastfeeding for employees and their children.

http://www.thecalifornian.com/article/20100428/NEWS01/4280316

http://www.janeparker.org/breastfeeding     

New Book: Fathers Critical to Success of Breastfeeding

One key message in Breastfeeding Facts for Fathers (Platypus Media, 2009, 41 pages) is made quite clear upfront: You are critical to the success of breastfeeding

In fact, the book cites a study showing that when fathers are completely supportive of breastfeeding, mothers working outside the home breastfeed 98% of the time, compared to mothers whose partners were indifferent to breastfeeding, who breastfeed 26.9% of the time.  The book also notes that the father is the “first person to show his baby that feeding does not equal love.”

http://www.opposingviews.com/i/new-book-fathers-critical-to-success-of-breastfeeding

Kate Ford

But the 32-year-old is loving her new role as a mum – although she is not a fan of the breastfeeding police. She said: “I didn’t breastfeed. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to, it just didn’t work for me.“I did manage to express some milk for Otis for the first few months, though. “The thing about the breastfeeding police is that they bring so much guilt to women that don’t manage to, or aren’t able to breastfeed. “I think that’s a shame. “Breastfeeding is the most healthy thing, but it’s not the end of the world if you can’t do it. “If it doesn’t work for you, don’t cut yourself up about it.“It’s more important for your baby to be with a happy, contented mother – not one who’s distressed because she can’t breastfeed.”

http://www.mirror.co.uk/celebs/news/2010/04/27/kate-ford-won-t-let-son-otis-see-her-coronation-street-return-as-tracy-barlow-115875-22214220/

Breastfeeding: Why the Controversy?  

If I had a dime for every blog post, news article, or discussion I’ve had regarding breastfeeding over the last eight years, I’d be a rich woman.  

My personal advice to mom’s who are concerned about breastfeeding is the following:

  • Screw the store clerks. If your baby is hungry, feed him.
  • Stop breastfeeding when you want to stop breastfeeding. Guess what, I breastfed my children until they were…. oh wait IT DOESN’T MATTER. My kids are not yours so it doesn’t matter what I did. And guess what? I don’t care how long you breastfeed yours, whether it’s for one year or five.
  • If people don’t like the breastfeeding photos you post on your Facebook profile, they don’t have to look at them.
  • Call your HR person. That’s right, the laws they are a changin’. This country is attempting to make itself more family friendly and one way they’re doing that is by requiring your company to make it possible for you to breastfeed. If your boss doesn’t like it, tell him to call congress and complain, but leave you to your business. And clarify that it’s YOUR business not his.

When will we finally reach a point in society that says “breast is best, end of story”?

http://www.life360.com/blog/breastfeeding-why-the-controversy/

Are today’s young women more at risk?

Kampala Uganda— THE Ministry of Health recently announced that there is an increase in the cases of breast cancer among women less than 40 years of age. Reports show that the age trend of breast cancer has changed from 40-50 years to 30-40 years of age, compared to the Western world, where the diagnosis is still among the old – 50-plus years.

Murokora says breastfeeding helps by reducing the oestrogen levels in the body. Oestrogen increases a person’s risk of developing breast cancer. Breastfeeding also changes the make-up of a mother’s breast cells, making them more resistant to cancer. Breastfeeding will also rid the breast toxins like carcinogens that are likely to cause cancer in the future.

http://allafrica.com/stories/201004270148.html

It’s okay to stop breastfeeding.

I feel like the breastfeeding issue is almost as polarizing as the last presidential election in this country.

http://thestir.cafemom.com/baby/102066/Its_Okay_to_Stop_Breastfeeding  

Peer counseling, support can improve breastfeeding success in obese women

++++Conn. 154 puerta rican –

predominantly Puerto Rican, low-income, and had less than a high-school education For instance, women in the ‘intervention’ group were visited three times in their homes during late pregnancy and 11 more times in the first few months after birth. Whereas 16% and 46% of the women in the ‘control’ group had stopped breastfeeding by 2 and 8 weeks postpartum, respectively, only 7% and 33% of the women in the ‘intervention’ group had stopped++++++

And to add even more bang for the buck, babies of mothers who received the extra counseling were 3.5 times less likely to be hospitalized during their first 3 months of life. This was mostly due to lower rates of respiratory infections and fever.

http://www.dnaindia.com/health/report_peer-counseling-support-can-improve-breastfeeding-success-in-obese-women_1375830

Khloe Kardashian wants to start breastfeeding someone after seeing the weight drop off her sister Kourtney

“If that’s all it takes, breastfeeding? Then someone breastfeed off of me! I don’t care,” joked Khloe in an interview with Us magazine.

http://www.musicrooms.net/showbiz/5886-Khloe-Kardashian-Wants-Start-Breastfeeding.html

Nursing can be a challenge for working moms

Companies save $3 for every $1 spent on breastfeeding support.

http://www.uticaod.com/health/x57966717/Nursing-can-be-a-challenge-for-working-moms

The Back Up Plan (Movie Review) – Pregnant with Problems

The biggest laughs come from the ingloriousness of being pregnant and giving birth, but their overworked bits — like home birth and a toddler breastfeeding — are all gags we’ve seen and heard before

http://www.buzzsugar.com/Back-up-Plan-Movie-Review-Starring-Jennifer-Lopez-Alex-OLoughlin-8206763

United States: FLSA Amended to Require Breaks and Space to Express Breast Milk for Nursing Mothers

Until this amendment, rest break requirements had been the subject of state regulation. The FLSA does not require employers to provide breaks or meal periods to workers. Unless rest breaks are required by state law, when and how they are provided has traditionally been a matter of agreement between the employer and employee.

http://www.mondaq.com/unitedstates/article.asp?articleid=99004

Keeping the Breastfeeding Conversation Going

We got a lot of great response from our recent video segment “The Challenges of Breastfeeding.”

Again, we love the “100 letters” challenge. Please leave comments below on this blog post and let us know what you thought of the piece. And also share your ideas for future Health and Wellness segments.

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504544_162-20003186-504544.html

Mums need more support

 

Friday, 23 April 2010
Queensland University of TechnologyJoy Parkinson“Ms Parkinson said if governments wanted to increase breastfeeding rates they needed to increase loyalty to the act of breastfeeding and this would be best achieved by encouraging support from family and friends.”

“There needs to be a more mother-centred approach as opposed to a baby-centred approach,” she said.

“One of the most surprising things that came out of this study was that positive attitudes towards breastfeeding didn’t equate to larger numbers of women breastfeeding for longer.”

http://www.sciencealert.com.au/news/20102304-20885-2.html

Health Department to hold Grandmother’s Tea (IL)

Michele Beckstrom, RN of the Health Department notes, “This Grandmother’s Tea is being held to educate, influence and encourage Grandmothers’ support of breastfeeding.”

http://qconline.com/archives/qco/display.php?id=489641

The Office Review: “Secretary’s Day”

It’s the third week now. Dwight prepping to help Pa , Meredith using her apparatus in the bathroom … how long can the writers milk (har har) the breastfeeding jokes?

Dwight: Three squeezes and I would drain you.

Meredith: This is like the Cadillac of breast pumps

http://www.tvfanatic.com/2010/04/the-office-review-secretarys-day/

Breastfeed for the Health of the Nation?

Not nursing has major societal and health consequences — but even so, mothers deserve our support and understanding, not our judgment.

Ellen Painter Dollar, guest blogger

While 43 percent of American mothers do some breastfeeding, only 12 percent breastfeed exclusively for the first six months as recommended. Advocates argue that breastfeeding’s life-saving qualities should convince mothers to do it, and everyone else to support them, without all the drama about choices and guilt. The blogger Feminist Breeder, for example, had this to say: “You know what else saves lives? Car seats. So, why aren’t people spitting mad at the [National Highway Traffic Safety Administration] for saying that? Why aren’t they leaving thousands of comments on car seat articles saying, ‘But I just couldn’t afford a car seat, why are you trying to make me feel guilty?!’ Well, maybe it’s because our society will admit that car seats save lives, and we’re willing to give them out free at fire stations and hospitals if we have to because it is that important.”

…This latest study makes clear that nursing is much more than a personal lifestyle choice the rest of us have no obligation to support. New mothers need hospital policies that give priority to breastfeeding; low-cost or insurance-covered lactation assistance; paid maternity leave; flexible workplace policies; and husbands, relatives, friends and neighbors who help care for other children and manage the household during an infant’s first months.

…Because breastfeeding involves unpredictable, limited human bodies, it is not directly comparable to life-saving technologies. Using an infant car seat, for example, does not require a mother to wake up every 90 minutes throughout the night, grit her teeth as her baby latches onto sore nipples, and lock herself in a bathroom stall at work to attach a mechanical contraption to sensitive body parts (although the recent health-care overhaul, which requires large employers to provide a private, non-bathroom space for women to pump breast milk, should make this task less unpleasant for some).

http://blog.christianitytoday.com/women/2010/04/breastfeed_for_the_health_of_t.html

Why this Earth mother hates Earth Day

“I see Earth Day as the new Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day, a Hallmark holiday for us to give lip service to the environment. There are contrary forces, good in the mix – but then there are good things in the mix of Mother’s Day or Father’s Day or Valentines as well. But the reality of Mother’s Day doesn’t seem to be that it inspires us to be more respectful of the needs of mothers – what comes out of Mother’s Day isn’t more calls for breastfeeding stations and child friendly policies, but a “we told you we loved you last Sunday…aren’t we done yet?” The same is true of Valentines Day – there’s no compelling reason to believe that once a year special chocolates and sex really do all that much to lower the national divorce rate.”

http://blog.beliefnet.com/roddreher/2010/04/why-this-earth-mother-hates-earth-day.html

Breastfeeding Advocates Red-Flag ABC News Story

(April 21) — An international breastfeeding advocacy group is accusing ABC News of failing to reveal that a pediatrician it quoted in a report critical of a breastfeeding study is a formula industry spokeswoman.

ABC News did not respond to several e-mails sent by AOL News to its media relations department for comment. Beard said she was called by an ABC News reporter for comment and was not asked about her industry ties, which she noted are “open information,” or available online.

She said she does not believe her work for Nestle “had any relevance to this comment” she made in the ABC News report.

http://www.aolnews.com/health/article/breastfeeding-advocates-red-flag-abc-news-story/19449346

Breast Milk Kills Cancer Claim Scientists

Mothers should breastfeed their babies because a substance in their milk kills cancer, researchers claim.

By Richard Alleyne, Science Correspondent
Published: 6:00PM BST 20 Apr 2010

The same compound, Human Alpha-lactalbumin Made Lethal to Tumour cells or HAMLET, could be a common cancer treatment for adults within five years.

Human trials have shown HAMLET can kill bladder cancer and laboratory tests have found it kills 40 different types of cancer. But crucially, the chemical does not kill healthy cells which means it does not cause the nasty side effects of current chemotherapy treatments.  “HAMLET is produced by combining alpha-lactalbumin in the milk and oleic acid which is found in babies’ stomachs,” he said.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/7611360/Breast-milk-kills-cancers-claim-scientists.html

Nestle Challeneged on baby milk health claims

By Lorraine Heller, 21-Apr-2010

Related topics: Health claims, Industry, Maternal & infant health

Greenpeace activists cut through the ceiling of the Palais in Lausanne, dropping flyers and absailing above the audience, while shareholders were also addressed by a baby milk activist who claimed the firm is still not abiding by marketing standards adopted by the World Health Assembly.

Patti Rundall, OBE, policy director at Baby Milk Action, said the health claims Nestle was using on its infant formula were misleading and putting the health of babies at risk. She called on Nestle shareholders to “try and find a way to bring an end to this interminable problem that is causing so much harm to children.”

Nestle this morning reiterated to NutraIngredients that it abides by the law in every country where it sells its products.

‘Protect’ is misleading

Rundall, who was able to speak at the shareholder meeting as she owns 200 Nestle shares, said she represented “thousands of citizens and IBFAN (International Baby Food Action Network) groups around the world who monitor the marketing of baby foods”.

Rundall specifically took issue with the health claims being made on the firm’s infant formula and called for the company to remove the ‘Protect’ logo from the product labels. She also said the labels should carry the correct warning language, which alerts parents to potential intrinsic bacterial contamination of the product.

Abiding by laws

Nestle said its ‘Protect’ range of products and its infant formulas are sold in over 100 countries around the world. “To date, other than via Baby Milk Action, no other complaint about the logo’s potential to mislead mothers has been received,” said the company.

It added that the action group was the only one to be calling for the firm to stop making nutrition and health claims. Governments are not making these calls, Nestle abides by the law in every country.”

Nestle told NutraIngredients that “there has been very little pressure (on its infant formula marketing practices) for a number of years” and that calls to stop making health claims on its infant formula are unique to Baby Milk Action.

Rundall responded that 23 health professionals and mother support groups in the UK alone are calling for the removal of health claims, which, she claims, is in line with Codex regulations.  

http://www.dairyreporter.com/Products/Nestle-challenged-on-baby-milk-health-claims

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“Wetness is Opportunity”

“Wetness is opportunity.  It represents the openness of nature to what falls from heaven.”

 (From the book “Dirt: The Ecstatic Skin of the Earth” by William Bryant Logan)

The wetness of a kiss brings two people closer.  The vagina moistens and lets in the penis to accept the heavy wet sperm.  The sperm enters her waiting egg which is then enveloped by a warm watery sac.   A laboring woman’s bag of waters breaks open moistening her birth canal.  Even the wetness of her blood helps her baby to slip outside of her.  Her wet baby lies on her chest and slides over towards her nipple.  The mere smell and touch of his mother excites the babe and soon he drools his wet saliva onto her skin.  He licks his lips in anticipation of what he does not know – something is coming, something wet and good that will make the move from his pickled womb to this dry, arid world easier to swallow.  The first yellowy drop of colostrum appears enticing the baby to come closer.  Come closer.  “Wetness is opportunity.”  Wetness is the beginning of life. 

We tell mothers that her breast milk is important.  It contains calories and vitamins, fats and protein.  It has antibodies and immune factors; it has “pre” and “pro” biotics.  Scientists have spent millions of dollars analyzing tiny drops of milk constantly updating the ever growing list of important things they have found within.  We have come to attach a certain scientific aloofness to the value of human milk.  It can be measured and scrutinized, it can be bottled and contained, it can be put on a shelf and held till needed.  It can be produced at will.  But we forget that inherent in its wetness is opportunity, the chance to connect mother and baby together again. Like the wet kiss that spurred the conception of this little one’s life, the moment a baby suckles on its mother’s breast the two are reminded that for this moment ’you are mine and I am yours, yours alone.’

Wetness is opportunity.  It provides the chance to grow.  The mother holds her baby close and lets him suckle at will.  Immediately her other breast begins to let down and her milk leaks out attracting the baby to that breast as well.  “Come here.  It is wet here. Can you smell it? You see? There is more to come.”  And because of her wetness the mother is prompted to offer the baby more and the baby is happy to accommodate her.  Her wetness encourages him to eat, and yet without her help he knows when he has had enough.  And in this way the two begin a rhythm. They begin to get in sync.

Wetness is an opportunity to be assured that all is well.  The baby’s tiny belly fills and releases, fills and releases, again and again.  The wetness of his diaper tells his mother that everything is okay.  Her milk has reached his belly.  He has taken what he needs from it and has let go of what was left.  The pee is not too yellow; the wet poops are no longer green or black.  And with each wet diaper that she changes she is reassured.  “He is getting enough.  We’re doing okay my baby and I, we’re going to be just fine.”   

Each drop of wetness is an opportunity.  The life source that surrounds us moves from drop towards precious drop. We are all connected by the wetness within.  Our blood, our saliva, and the rest of our body’s many fluids, these are the things that make us alive, that make us human.  It is our wetness, our milk, which we pass on to our babies to keep them alive as well.  Each drop of wetness is an opportunity; an opportunity for connection, an opportunity for growth, an opportunity for reassurance.  Each drop of wetness is an opportunity for life to be sustained.   

Kathy Abbott, IBCLC

www.BusyMomsBreastfeed.com

www.TheCuriousLactivist.Wordpress.com

On Facebook: :Breastfeeding in the News”

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Breastfeeding in the News 2/20 – 2/28/2010

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Breastfeeding in the News: Feb. 13th – Feb. 19th, 2010

“Her biggest challenge was the mothers’ lack of knowledge – many pregnant and breastfeeding mothers just eat rice and do not make use of their resourceful yards where many nutritious plants grow.   “Sometimes, they just leave ripe papayas in the yard to rot on the trees and be eaten by birds or simply fall to the ground while their children do not consume any fruits,” she  (17-year-old Maria Bere) said.  “This is what I have been trying to change.”

In an unusual program sponsored by the Australian government, teenagers in Indonesia have been recruited as volunteers to assist local breastfeeding mothers.  Even though they are not yet parents themselves they regularly counsel new mothers on the benefits of both a healthy lifestyle, and the importance of feeding babies exclusively breast milk for the first six months.  18 year old Yohanes Bere is a motorcycle taxi driver who volunteers at a local health clinic where he weighs babies and toddlers while dispensing advice about breastfeeding.  His motivation?  To eliminate malnutrition in his village. “I want to see the babies and toddlers I serve one day grow up into healthy generation,” said Yohanes, who learned to do the job through teaching himself and training from health officials and a medical team.  …  “Now we no longer have malnourished babies or toddlers,” he said proudly.” 

Meanwhile here in the United States we can’t even get our high schools to talk to teenagers about the importance of breastfeeding, never mind recruit them to help new mothers.  Not too surprising really in a country whose Army deploys new mothers back into service (often thousands of miles away from their baby) just 4 months after birth.  It’s no matter that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies be exclusively breastfed for at least six months, the Army has their own rules.

Taking a quick look at what else is happening in other countries this week, we are reminded that the Cambodian government requires that every company employing over 100 women have a breastfeeding room on the premises.  The European Parliament is considering new legislation concerning maternity leave specifically because of the effect maternity leave has on breastfeeding.  In Cuba the breastfeeding rate is a low 26% but at least the Cuban article reporting on this had no qualms about including a close up photo of a breastfeeding baby latching on to its mother’s breast.  (Facebook would have deleted this pic quicker than you can say “milk please!”)  And in order to give mother a private retreat from the chaos in Haiti twelve “baby tents” have been set up around Port-Au-Prince providing mothers with a quiet place to breastfeed.     

Meanwhile there was a heartbreaking story from the northern regions of Canada.  Apparently mothers in northern Manitoba have to travel hundreds of miles just to deliver their babies.  They fly alone into Winnipeg shortly before their due date where they wait until their labor begins.  After the birth they climb aboard a bus and begin the eight hour journey home.  Imagine yourself trying to get breastfeeding off to a good start in those conditions.  A few years ago while visiting a Baby Friendly hospital in Norway I remember them telling me about women facing similar conditions.  Any woman from the northern regions of the country with a complicated pregnancy would be sent to a hospital in Oslo to deliver.  But rather than send her right home after the birth they would send her to what they called a “Mother & Baby” hotel.  In all respects it was a normal hotel, except that a nurse would check in with them once a day to check on them until they felt well enough to make the journey home.  I love the idea! Privacy, someone to change your sheets, plus room service and a nurse, I think all mothers could benefit from a little transitional time in a “Mother & Baby” hotel before going home.

The Gates Foundation is seeing some unexpected results from their experiment in providing “Essential New Born Care” training in rural third world areas (the training includes the importance of early breastfeeding).  While there was no change in the number of babies dying in the first week after birth, the number of stillborn births decreased dramatically.   Apparently babies who did not immediately breathe on their own and would have been considered dead before having received the training were now been revived.  The stillbirth rate dropped by an amazing 30%.   We’ll have to wait and see what the long term results of initiating early breastfeeding will be.

In medical news a baby in Brazil has contracted yellow fever vaccine virus after its mother was vaccinated.  This is the first report ever of something like this happening.  The antidepressant drug Paxil has been shown to potentially delay the onset of stage two lactogenesis (mature milk).   There is some good news however; a new study shows that premies who are fed at the breast on demand actually leave the hospital sooner than babies fed a schedule.

Don’t reach for that Kit Kat bar just yet.  Even though Nestle’s has given their Kit kat bar a new “fair trade” stamp of approval, Mike Brady of “Baby Milk Action” insists the candy should remain on our boycott list.   And speaking of marketing spins, Lansinoh has a new breast pump that it claims cuts the time spent pumping in half.  I just want to remind people that while I consider pumps and formula to be necessary in certain situations I find the way they market their products to be quite frightening.  Both formula and pump companies would have us believe that it would be unwise to have a baby without at least one of their products in your home, preferably before the baby even arrives.         

In the “this makes me mad” category this week is the article suggesting that the couple who are planning to sue the hospital who mistakenly gave the mother the wrong baby to breastfeed were included in a column called “Worst People in the World”.  And another article that like many started out informing the reader about the benefits of breastfeeding but then included this little tidbit; “It is highly necessary that you follow the advice and information provided by your pediatrician and that any changes in your diet is authorized by him, so as not to cause gastric disorders.”  Excuse me?  You need your pediatrician’s approval to change your own diet?? Did I read this correctly?  All too often I find articles like this, they start out on a positive note and then they say something that makes me cringe.

Okay, time for more good news.  A “Baby Friendly” hospital in Hawaii has been awarded some money as part of a wellness initiative.  Just another good reason to go “Baby Friendly” folks!  And in New Zealand a breastfeeding photo contest was held recently.   Again – Facebook management, please take note, not everyone thinks breastfeeding photos are obscene.

And finally last week we looked at the French attitudes towards breastfeeding, this week “Equality Begins in the Creche” sheds a little more insight into the reasons behind some of those attitudes.  For one thing, in an effort to boost the country’s fertility rates all French mothers are provided with affordable early childcare.  Apparently it is the desire of the French government to increase the native population while keeping women working outside the home.  So much for the idea that you can have it all, you just can’t have it all at the same time.  The French government believes women can. 

As always, I love hearing from you – so post a comment or drop me an email.   (And remember, the links to all articles are listed below.)

Kathy Abbott IBCLC
www.BusyMomsBreastfeed.com

www.TheCuriousLactivist.Wordpress.com

On Facebook:” Breastfeeding in the News”            

Stillbirths Drop Dramatically After Newborn-Care Training in Developing Countries

The rate of stillbirths in rural areas of six developing countries fell more than 30 percent following a basic training program in newborn care for birth attendants, according to a study funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The study tracked more than 120,000 births.

The study tested the efficacy of a three-day Essential Newborn Care training regimen that covers basic newborn care techniques, the importance of early breastfeeding, how to keep infants warm and dry, and signs of serious health problems.

“The study authors found that the overall rate of infant death during the first 7 days of life did not change among infants who had been administered the essential newborn care regimen. However, the rate of stillbirths dropped sharply — from 23 per 1,000 deliveries to 15.9 per 1,000. The researchers believe these improvements were seen in infants who had not drawn a breath on their own and would have been considered to have been born dead by birth attendants who had not received the early newborn care training.”

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100217171919.htm

Lansinoh promotes new breastfeeding product with Principles

“The consumer press campaign is intended to appeal to busy mums on the go as the new product claims to express milk in half the time.”

http://www.thedrum.co.uk/news/2010/02/18/12821-lansinoh-promotes-new-breastfeeding-product-with-principles

Mum Wins Breastfeeding Photo Competition (New  Zealand)

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/AK1002/S00282.htm

Teenagers lend a helping hand to fight malnutrition

“Yohanes Bere is an 18-year-old ojek motorcycle taxi driver. But he is often busy assisting mothers who took their babies and toddlers to an integrated health service post in Kekirence village in Belu regency, East Nusa Tenggara.

Without hesitation, he helps weigh the babies and toddlers, and provides breastfeeding mothers with knowledge about healthy lifestyles, including the importance of giving breast milk exclusively to newborn babies until they are at least six months old.”

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2010/02/19/teenagers-lend-a-helping-hand-fight-malnutrition.html

Breastfeeding Wars

“The thought of lifting my shirt in public was terrifying — especially after years of struggling with eating disorders. And yet I was being told that I should do it anywhere at anytime. (If not, I apparently wasn’t a “real” breastfeeder.)”

http://www.momlogic.com/2010/02/breastfeeding_in_public.php

Equality begins in the creche

The debate over motherhood is missing the point – British mums should be fighting for the French model of childcare

“For some decades now, the French government has pursued, with considerable success, a far-reaching policy aimed at boosting the nation’s fertility rate, and increasing the number of women in the workforce. It did this by ploughing millions into subsidised, readily available, and easily affordable childcare.”

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/feb/19/france-motherhood-childcare-equality 

’ Baby tents’ offer Haitian mothers a safe place to breastfeed

“PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, 18 February 2010—Amidst the collapsed buildings and temporary camps of this battered city stand 12 special tents dedicated to providing mothers and their infant children a safe and calm place to breastfeed.”

http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/haiti_52797.html

EPHA calls on the European Parliament to support breastfeeding in Maternity Leave Directive

A key piece of legislation, relating to maternity leave, has the potential to impact upoin levels of breastfeeding and therefore public health outcomes. EPHA sent a letter to the Members of the European Parliament Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, calling for measures to safeguard and encourage the uptake and continuation of breastfeeding for young infants.

The letter was sent in relation to the work currently being undertaken by the committee on the improvements to the safety and health at work of pregnant workers and workers who have recently given birth or are breastfeeding.

http://www.epha.org/a/3874

Govt. urged to increase maternity leave, Malaysia lagging in Asean

“He said in Cambodia, it was mandatory for companies with more than 100 women workers to provide breastfeeding rooms and childcare centres. Similar facilities were also provided for mothers in Indonesia.”

http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2010/2/17/nation/20100217142047&sec=nation

Fed When Hungry, Premature Babies Go Home Sooner

““This review very clearly highlights the paucity of truly good feeding studies in which mothers and infants were allowed or encouraged to establish breastfeeding ‘rhythm’ early in life,” said Jay Gordon, M.D., attending pediatrician at Cedars Sinai Medical Center and associate clinical professor of pediatrics at UCLA Medical School.”

http://www.cfah.org/hbns/archives/getDocument.cfm?documentID=22228

Is Fair trade Chocolate Fair Enough?

“Mike Brady, Campaigns and Networking Coordinator at Baby Milk Action, has added Nestlé’s fairtrade Kit Kats to its list of boycotted products in an effort to promote change for people in developing countries. His organization believes that all Nestle’s products should be fair trade – not just chocolate.”

http://www.treehugger.com/files/2010/02/is-fair-trade-chocolate-fair-enough.php

Sunday’s worst people in the world

“It seems that at 4 a.m. on a January morning two years ago,  an Evanston Hospital employee woke up new mom Jennifer Spiegel to breastfeed her baby. Shortly thereafter, a nurse came into the room and explained there’d been a mistake, that wasn’t her baby.

And while no one was injured or sickened, the Chicago couple says the hospital should be held responsible for the mix-up. They are seeking at least $30,000 in damages

http://blogs.chicagotribune.com/news_columnists_ezorn/2010/02/sundays-worst-people-in-the-world.html

Benefits of Breastfeeding

“After six months, infants commonly begin to prefer more solid foods than breast milk. After one year, the baby will opt more for the same solid food. Remember that the digestion of your baby is in training so no need to hurry in switching to food. Not everyone has the same metabolism and in the case of babies this applies. It is highly necessary that you follow the advice and information provided by your pediatrician and that any changes in your diet is authorized by him, so as not to cause gastric disorders.”

http://www.ozcarguide.com/health/parenting-pregnancy/newborn-baby/677-benefits-of-breastfeeding

Harper lectures the G8, but what about northern Manitoba?

Most mothers-to-be must fly hundreds of miles into Winnipeg to deliver, leaving behind their husbands and kids for weeks on end. They stay in boarding homes waiting to go into labour, often with no immediate family by their side.

Getting home can mean an eight-hour bus ride with a newborn, making breastfeeding tricky and embarrassing

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/breakingnews/The-motherhood-issue-84268037.html

Breastfeeding Benefits Both Mothers and their Children  (Cuba)

“At present, scarcely 26% of women feed their babies exclusively with their milk during the first six months of their lives.”

http://www.cubaheadlines.com/2010/02/14/20144/breastfeeding_benefits_both_mothers_and_their_children.html

Breastfed baby picks up yellow fever virus

“A breastfed baby contracted the yellow fever vaccine virus in Brazil a week after its mother was immunised against the disease, report health officials today in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The case is the first of its kind to be confirmed anywhere in the world.”

http://www.eht-forum.org/news.html?fileId=news100212060907&from=home&id=0

Paxil May Cause Lactation Problems

A new study indicates that new mothers who take Paxil may experience problems lactating. The study, published in the February issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, found that selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) like Paxil could cause a delay in the start of full milk secretion.

http://www.lawyersandsettlements.com/articles/13589/interview-paxil-side-effects-lawsuit.html

Hawai‘i awarded $912,713 as part of recovery act community prevention and wellness initiative

DOH was awarded $428,713 to apply sustainable policy and systems changes in the areas of physical activity, nutrition and tobacco. Funded projects include:

Baby Friendly Hawai‘i Project, DOH will work closely with the Breastfeeding Coalition of Hawai‘i to increase support for breastfeeding by changing policies in hospital maternity programs statewide, to increase the likelihood of sustained exclusive breastfeeding after birth, a protective factor from obesity and diabetes.

http://www.hawaii247.org/2010/02/12/hawai%E2%80%98i-awarded-912713-as-part-of-recovery-act-community-prevention-and-wellness-initiative/

How Well Does the Military Treat Single Mothers?

No Wonder the U.S. Is Known for Inadequate Maternity Leave, writes The American Prospect’s Gabriel Arana, when its own military ships women to war before they’re finished breastfeeding. The Army deploys women as little as four months after they give birth, Arana writes, which “isn’t enough of a grace period for deployments–many women are still breastfeeding then. Returning to work after four months might not seem so bad, but it’s a huge burden when work is thousands of miles away.”

http://www.theatlanticwire.com/opinions/view/opinion/How-Well-Does-the-Military-Treat-Single-Mothers-2519

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The Lactivists vs. The Babies of Haiti

“…the lactivists were never thinking about what the infants of Haiti actually needed; they were thinking of themselves and their personal obsession with breastfeeding.” Dr Amy Tuteur. 

A few days ago  I wrote about the donations of American breast milk that were left sitting unused inside the freezer of the USNS Comfort and I wondered had those two Styrofoam coolers  been filled with donated blood would they have been treated so cavalierly.  Now it appears that the very existence of those two coolers is to be considered proof positive that all lactivists are indeed self absorbed “nipple Nazis”.   

 As they say “no good deed goes unpunished.”

Let’s get a few things straight: first of all, there was already a staff member on board the ship who was donating her own pumped milk.  Coast Guard Lt. Teresa Wolf, a physician assistant who was pumping milk for her ten week old baby back in North Carolina when she started donating her extra milk. Secondly yes, the there was an actual request for more donated milk. (This was not the crazy idea of some pump crazed mother a thousand miles away!)  The USNS Comfort placed a small request for 500 ounces of milk which was delivered (still frozen) two days later.  And thirdly, yes once word got out a grass roots cry for more milk spread quickly across the country.   Offers to donate milk came from every corner of the land.

So how did all these good intentioned lactivists end up becoming such villains?  As any good lactation consultant will tell you, the number one rule of thumb is “feed the baby.”  At no point should a baby be put at physical risk just because of our “personal obsession with breastfeeding”.  Donated milk may help a few lucky infants in Haiti, but it is not a panacea for a crisis this large.

Unfortunately there is no one size fits all solution for every baby in Haiti.  For some the answer will be to help the mother continue to breastfeed, or even to relactate.  This means counteracting local myths that “stress or lack of proper food will cause a mother to produce bad milk or no milk.”  Which is exactly what the Save the Children folks are doing with through their radio broadcasts.  For others the solution may be to find local women who are willing to wet nurse, but in a country with high rates of HIV this too can be risky.

The risk of using unsterilized bottles will be the same for those using donated breast milk as it will be for those using a can of liquid formula, but with donated milk the immune system will be given a substantial boost. However the risk of infection and diarrhea from powdered formula mixed with unclean water is far, far graver. 

We know all this. We know there is no easy answer. We know that there is not enough electricity to run the refrigerators needed to feed all of Haiti’s babies donated milk.  And unfortunately some babies will have to get formula, even if it is powdered.  Again, the number one rule is “feed the baby”.  But does this mean that it was wrong to send two coolers of breast milk to the USNS Comfort?  Or was the real fault in not using those few ounces of milk once they got there?  Is it wrong to even talk about providing donated milk as a way of helping some infants?  Or should we just close the door on that discussion?  Is it wrong to warn mothers who are still lactating that weaning from breast milk to formula can place their babies at risk? 

So here’s what I think really happened. When Lt. Wolf offered her extra breast milk to feed the newborn on the Comfort someone got the bright idea that a ship board milk bank might be useful and a call went out to states for safely screened banked human milk.  Arrangements were made and milk was immediately sent to the Comfort where the staff was happy to receive it. But as soon as those two coolers arrived the big brass found out and immediately went ballistic about all this icky womanly fluid in their freezer and decided to put a stop to it. After all there was no protocol for this sort of thing; the red tape would be endless.  Excuses were found – not enough electricity on shore, preserving the cold chain, screening, etc. and then to the embarrassment of all those well meaning breastfeeding groups back at home the whole idea was called off.  No more donations would be required thank you very much!

I keep wondering what my dad would have thought about all this.  He worked as a refrigeration mechanic on a hospital ship during World War Two. Everybody on board loved him.  Why? Because he had the keys to the ice cream! Now if a hospital ship in World War Two had room for ice cream then I think that the USNS Comfort definitely had room for two Styrofoam coolers full of breast milk. I really think they just didn’t want to be bothered with the procedural aspects of handling the situation.

Although I can appreciate the confusion and enormity of the chaos in Haiti at the moment, I still believe this was a knee jerk reaction. They had their hands full to be sure, better to stick with what you know (formula) than try to learn the protocols involved with human breast milk. But as I said before if breast milk was held in as high esteem as blood, then chances are those protocols would have already been in place.

By shining a spot light on this situation now I hope that next time disaster strikes instead of being shunned donations of breast milk will be welcomed.   That lactivists will not be considered evil for merely suggesting that human milk may indeed save lives.  And that breastfeeding mothers everywhere will proudly be able to answer the call to give comfort to babies when ever it is needed.

Kathy Abbott, IBCLC

www.BusyMomsBreastfeed.com

www.TheCuriousLactivst.Wordpress.com

On Facebook: “Breastfeeding in the News”

 

Lactivists solve every problem by throwing breast milk at it.

Amy Tuteur MD

 Evidently for lactivists there is no problem so great that it can’t be solved by throwing breast milk at it. Looking at the horrific recent earthquake in Haiti you and I might see death, injury, homelessness and the threat of disease. Lactivists saw a breastfeeding problem. They embarked on not one, but two separate  inane campaigns to promote their favorite cause instead of focusing on the real needs of children in Haiti. It is difficult to imagine how people can be so self absorbed.

Haiti is in desperate need of baby formula, but the lactivists actually mounted a campaign to stop shipment of formula to Haiti. Salon’s Broadsheet ran a piece entitled Formula for disaster; do donations of artificial milk help or hurt Haiti’s babies? As the piece reported “RadicalLactivist” Cassaundra Blyth embarked on a Twitter based campaign:

PLEASE! don’t send formula to Haiti! The women & children shouldn’t be victimised twice! Breastfeeding during emergencies is VITAL to health.

That’s right folks; in the midst of the greatest natural disaster in decades, lactivists are concerned that aid workers will use their precious time and even more precious formula to convince breastfeeding mothers to switch to formula. Are these people insane? Haven’t they heard that 150,000 died and hundreds of thousands more are injured. Hasn’t it occurred to them that among the dead and severely injured there are likely to be thousands if not tens of thousands of breastfeeding mothers? How are those infants to be fed?

Breastfeeding is no longer an option for these babies. The ONLY option is formula feeding. Yes, powdered formula can cause harm if mixed with contaminated water. Yes, it would be safer to give those babies pre-mixed formula. But at the moment babies are starving for lack of milk of any kind. Far more babies can be fed with shipments of powdered formula than with pre-mixed formula. Time is of the essence if starvation is to be avoided, and a group of grown women is trying to stand in the way of feeding these babies.

But the inanity does not end there. Lactivists began calling for donations of breast milk:

When lactation consultant Faith Ploude heard that babies in Haiti might need donated breast milk, she made sure to get the word out to her classes at Mercy Hospital in Miami — and her database of more than 1,000 nursing moms.

The La Leche League and the Human Milk Banking Association of North America made similar pleas.

Let’s leave aside the issue that breast milk donations would be pathetically inadequate; one thousand donations of breast milk would feed one thousand infants only once. Consider that buildings from the meanest shack to the Presidential Palace have crumbled and are uninhabitable. People are living in tents if they are lucky or in the open air if they are not. Where are the refrigerators to store the milk? Obviously there are none, and breast milk will spoil immediately if it is not refrigerated, becoming undrinkable and potential dangerous in a matter of hours.

And how is the breast milk to get to Haiti? It has been a nightmare shipping in even the most basic supplies. Breast milk that must be frozen if it is to survive until it reaches the babies.

Red Cross workers are appalled:

“Tell them not to send it,” said Eric Porterfield, a spokesman for the American Red Cross, “I’m 100 percent sure we didn’t ask for that.”

The international Emergency Nutrition Network has asked one group, the Human Milk Banking Association of North America, to retract a press release this week that issued an “urgent call” for breast milk for orphaned and premature infants in Haiti, saying the donations contradict best practices for babies in emergencies.

Such donations pose problems of transportation, screening, supply and storage and create an “unfeasible and unsafe intervention,” according to a statement from the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance, or OFDA.

Lactivists embarked on a campaign to interfere with delivery of formula to Haiti and to send breast milk to people who couldn’t possibly use it. Was this well meaning naivite? That certainly played a role, but the lactivists were never thinking about what the infants of Haiti actually needed; they were thinking of themselves and their personal obsession with breastfeeding. They viewed this as another opportunity to self actualize by promoting their pet cause. The human tragedy of the devastation in Haiti was just another venue to showcase their belief that every child must be breastfed. The actual needs of Haitian babies were never considered.

Lactivists need to get a grip. A horrific natural disaster is not an opportunity to highlight the benefits of breastfeeding. It is a tragedy that obligates us to send the people of Haiti what they need, not simply what we’d like to give.

Comments:

“Why would anyone think it’s a good idea to send perishable, unscreened bodily fluids into a disaster zone?”

I suspect that they didn’t do much thinking about what the Haitians needed, how it would get there and how it would be stored. They were thinking about themselves and how they might self actualize by promoting their personal obsession.

AmyTuteurMD

I agree that the lactivists were using their hearts, not their heads, when they decided how to contribute to the relief effort. Expecting anything perishable to survive on that island is silly. But people think about themselves when being charitable all the time, probably without even knowing it.

Ali512

 

“Why are they so threatened by formula?”

I’m not sure if they find formula threatening. They do find that breast feeding enhances their own self esteem and they want you to know how important it is so you will think they are superior (or at least they will think they are superior). I don’t think they gave any consideration to what Haitian infants actually might need.

AmyTuteurMD

http://www.open.salon.com/blog/amytuteurmd/2010/01/31/lactivists_solve_every_problem_by_throwing_breast_milk_at_it

Local Broadcasts in Creole Urge New Mothers to Nourish Infants Through Breast Milk; Cautions Against Baby Formula Made with Dirty Water

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Jan. 25 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The global humanitarian organization Save the Children is supporting efforts to promote breastfeeding among new mothers in Haiti to ensure the protection of the youngest and most vulnerable survivors of the devastating January 12 earthquake.

The agency has translated internationally recognized public health messages into Creole, which are currently being broadcast on local radio stations.

Critical Awareness Campaign Available to Health-focused Groups in Haiti

Save the Children is making these critical communications available to other health-focused groups that are also working with local communities affected by the disaster. Its health staff in Haiti will translate other public health messages over the coming days and coordinate with partners and communities to spread the word about keeping children healthy in the wake of the quake.

Save the Children also is training midwives, health workers and nutritional educators to reach out to pregnant and new mothers at makeshift camps in Port-au-Prince, Leogane and Jacmel. 

“Newborns and infants are very vulnerable during emergencies, especially from diarrhea, pneumonia and malnutrition. But mothers can take simple steps to protect their baby’s health through exclusive and proper breastfeeding,” said Kathryn Bolles, Save the Children’s emergency health and nutrition director. “Breast milk provides essential nutrients and strengthens a baby’s immunity, protecting the baby from other illnesses.”

Health Risks from Infant Formulas and Other Supplements 

The health messages encourage mothers to exclusively breastfeed babies under 6 months of age, and to continue to breastfeed children until age 2.

Mothers are cautioned against giving babies under 6 months of age anything but breast milk — including water, infant formula, powdered milk or solid food — because of the risks from diarrhea, one of the leading killers of children globally, and because of the risk of becoming malnourished, which leaves babies more susceptible to other illnesses. 

“Mothers may not be aware of the threats that infant formula and other supplements pose to their babies. Tainted water used to mix the formula and unsanitary bottles or cups can cause a baby to get sick with diarrhea, which can kill,” said Bolles. “We hope more Haitian mothers will hear our health messages and be encouraged to breastfeed their babies.  We also are suggesting mothers seek out support and counseling from organizations like Save the Children if they are having difficulty breastfeeding their baby.”

The awareness campaign also seeks to dispel the myths that may discourage mothers from breastfeeding, among them stress or lack of proper food will cause a mother to produce bad milk or no milk. Instead, mothers are encouraged to breastfeed more often, which will allow them to produce more milk for their baby. 

Extremely Poor Survival rates for Haitian Children Prior to Earthquake

Even before the earthquake, survival rates for young Haitian children were the worst in the Western Hemisphere, with nearly 1 in 10 children dying before the age of 5 from preventable and treatable causes like diarrhea and pneumonia.  

Save the Children supports the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations that children should be breastfed exclusively for the first six months of life to ensure their most favorable growth and health. WHO, UNAIDS and UNICEF guidelines only recommend “replacement feeding” (breastmilk substitute) when it is “acceptable, feasible, affordable, sustainable, and safe.” 

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/save-the-children-launches-radio-outreach-program-in-haiti-to-promote-newborn-infant-health-82623797.html

WHO Calls Breastfeeding Best Answer for Newborns in Haiti

Tim King Salem-News.com

Risks of miscarriages and other complications are serious.

 Photo/Video courtesy: UN/MINUSTAH

(PORT-AU-PRINCE/SALEM) – The United Nations reports that about 7,000 women are due to give birth this month in Haiti, as medical teams continue to work around the clock in birthing tents to deliver newborns.

According to UNICEF, there are currently 120,000 pregnant women in Haiti, more than half are in earthquake-affected areas. It is estimated that 15 percent of the 63,000 pregnant women in affected areas are likely to have potentially life-threatening complications.

Post natal-care is also proving to be a challenge in a country where the medical infrastructure has been destroyed leaving only a few hospitals functional and many medical personnel themselves dead or injured.

The World Health Organization’s doctors like Dr. Evelyine Ancion Degraff, say that only breastfeeding can boost the baby’s immune system and improve its chances of survival in situations like Haiti.

“Breastfeeding is the most important thing for the newborn in this situation. Newborns have very weak immune systems. It hasn’t yet developed. So newborns have a difficult time defending themselves against pathogens. But breast-milk can provide all the antibodies the baby needs to protect itself from disease.”

But UNICEF has said that some new Haitian mothers who have not felt good both physically and mentally are concerned about breastfeeding their newborns out of fear of passing on their “bad health.”

WHO is also working to vaccinate mothers and newborns against prevalent diseases such as neonatal tetanus. For the 7,000 Haitian women who will give birth in the next month, the risks of miscarriages and other complications appear great. The UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund) predicts there will be at least 1,000 miscarriages this month.

The agency started distributing emergency reproductive health kits to pregnant women which contain plastic sheets, sterile blades to cut the umbilical cord and blankets for the newborn.

More advanced kits containing emergency Caesarean section equipment were distributed to birthing tents at field hospitals. Local dads like Sejouste Walkin, say it makes a big difference, at least for now. “Thank god we have this international aid to help us with this birth. For the moment at least, we are still alive, but who knows about tomorrow.”

Unsanitary conditions in these make-shift “tent cities” where the majority of displaced Haitians now live only make the situation worse, says local mom Christianne Raphael.

“It is really starting to stink around here, there are many flies and we get sick. People are going to the bathroom right on the ground. So it is hard for us to even breathe.”

Haitian women were also given “dignity kits” containing sanitary towels, hygiene materials and underwear.

According to UNICEF, Haiti had the highest rates of infant (under 5 years) and maternal mortality rate in the western hemisphere even before the earthquake. The maternal mortality rate stood at 670 deaths every 100,000 pregnant women.

http://www.salem-news.com/articles/february022010/haiti_babiestk.php

You Tube : Haiti Maternity Pkg.

A video of the report above can be seen on this You Tube link.  It includes a first hand look at birthing tents, tent cities, and victims. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BTNsjueWOWQ

‘Boro natives’ nonprofit aids Haiti

Medical teams in rural area to help quake recovery

About a week after a major earthquake hit Haiti, a group of medical professionals decided not to focus on the big cities affected by the 7.0-magnitude quake but a rural town south of Port-au-Prince

A team from Aid for Haiti has spent the past week providing medical care to the residents of Petit Goave.

Founded by two Murfreesboro natives, the medical ministry has seen about 300 patients a day, according to Elliott Tenpenny, a physician who helped start the organization.

“There are cities along the southern peninsula of Haiti that are pretty much inaccessible to the larger relief efforts,” he said.

Aid for Haiti’s initial team included two doctors and four others including a nurse and a paramedic. Tenpenny said that team will be returning this weekend, and another team is headed to Petit Goave Thursday.

“There (are) some very dedicated Haitian nurses that lost everything in the quake that are staying there and helping night and day,” Tenpenny said.

Aid for Haiti was started in 2008 by Tenpenny and Caleb Trent, who is also from Murfreesboro. They traveled to Haiti several times helping treat patients with severe iodine deficiency in remote areas.

A team from the nonprofit arrived in Haiti a week after the earthquake struck.

The massive quake shook Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas Jan. 12, killing an estimated 100,000 to 200,000 people. The aftershocks that followed contributed to thousands of injuries.

Tenpenny, who is an emergency medicine physician at the Mayo Clinic, said initial injuries of victims included broken bones, head injuries and skin abrasions. Now, the team is seeing conditions like gangrene, which is a decay of body tissue.

“They have delivered quite a few kids,” he said about the team’s work.

He said many babies “have been born in terrible conditions” and umbilical cords have been cut with unclean objects causing infections. Some mothers’ breast milk has dried up.

“The babies could be newborns and have not had anything to eat for 10 days,” Tenpenny said, thus making it hard for their young immune systems to fight diseases.

He said a Haitian government official told them they were the only medical team in Petit Goave. Operating out of an old abandoned hospital, about 300 to 400 people wait to receive assistance every day starting as early as 6 a.m.

Tenpenny said, “the biggest need is donation of supplies and cash.”

He said the group plans to continue to send mission teams through April.

http://www.tennessean.com/article/D4/20100203/NEWS01/2030332/+Boro+natives++nonprofit+aids+Haiti

COAST GUARD PHYSICIAN ASSISTANT DONATES BREAST MILK TO HELP HAITIAN NEWBORNS

Jan 31st, 2010
by cgnews.

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – Coast Guard Lt. Teresa Wolf, a physician assistant, is deployed with Port Security Unit 307 in support of relief operations in Haiti. One of the loved ones she left behind was her 10-week old girl Chloe Daniel.

After learning of the severe needs of the hospital ship USNS Comfort, the Goldsborough, NC mother began donating breast milk to the ships Pediatric Ward aboard the USNS Comfort.

“It’s the right thing to do,” said Wolf. “Babies get so much more nutrients from breast milk. It’s good for the eyes, brain … everything.”

http://coastguardnews.com/coast-guard-physician-assistant-donates-breast-milk-to-help-haitian-newborns/2010/01/31/

A week into mission, crew of Comfort sees rare cases

About 120 children are on board Navy ship

ABOARD THE USNS COMFORT — When he wants to take a break, Chief Petty Officer Mike Davenport picks up a stethoscope.

The 37-year-old respiratory therapist from Frederick, in charge of about 90 medical personnel on the USNS Comfort hospital ship off Port-au-Prince, has been on board for a week, trying to keep his staff together and make them work effectively as a team. He regularly works 14- and 16-hour days, and for down time, he still wants to help.

“I take advantage of the opportunity to practice respiratory therapy whenever I can,” said Davenport, a father of four children and the husband of another respiratory therapist at National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda.

Davenport, who is assigned to the Comfort but also works at Frederick Memorial Hospital, compared the first week of the Comfort’s medical mission to “putting a puzzle together.”

On Tuesday afternoon, that puzzle included just over 360 patients on board, down from 375 on Sunday. On Monday, the Comfort took on 62 patients and discharged about 40. Some burn victims were being evacuated to the University of Miami Hospital.

The 62nd patient to come on board late Monday was a baby boy born the day before the Jan. 12 earthquake.

A cluster of doctors bunched around the boy’s bed in the casualty receiving area, while his 22-year-old mother looked on. The baby’s yelps of pain punctuated the somber atmosphere of the pediatrics bay.

The boy’s father died in the earthquake. The baby stayed with his mother in the street. The woman could produce very little milk and her baby was severely dehydrated by the time he was aboard the Comfort.

“I would say within about a day or so, he would have died,” said Kensington’s Capt. Daniel Shmorhun, one of the doctors attending the child.

To help solve the problem, Shmorhun said, lactating members of Comfort’s crew are pumping breast milk that will be stored for the babies on board to drink. A supply of breast milk from the U.S. is also supposed to be brought in soon. “We’re creating a breast milk bank,” Shmorhun said.

About 120 children are on board the ship as of Tuesday morning, according to Shmorhun, roughly a third of the patients on board.

Some of the cases are things medical personnel rarely or never encounter. One small boy suffered a leakage of cerebrospinal fluid out of one ear during the earthquake, and through a combination of heat, time and humidity, fungus crept up to the source of the fluid before he was rescued. The child had mold in his brain.

The medication the doctors would prefer to try to help with his condition was in the United States, said Alayna Schwartz, a perioperative nurse from Germantown. The child also ripped out IV needles.

“I don’t know if we can fix this kid. We can’t fix this kid,” Schwartz said, taking a break to eat a hamburger Monday afternoon.

Medical supplies sometimes ran low to the point where sometimes the staff was “hoarding” them, she said. Supplies come in daily.

One patient was initially going into the OR for an amputation just above his left ankle. Doctors discovered that there was dead tissue and gangrene up to mid-thigh.

“That’s where the maggots come in,” Schwartz said, explaining that larvae had been found in the leg.

Most of the leg was removed.

Schwartz worked the 6:30 p.m. to midnight shift Sunday. She said she was determined not to break down.

It isn’t just patient care that increases stress for medical personnel on the Comfort. Davenport missed his youngest son Jaiden’s third birthday on Thursday. When he talked to Jaiden on the phone, his son asked him: “Daddy, are you fixing boo-boos?”

Since he can’t be at home with his wife and children, the stethoscope and his patients are his “release,” as the hospital continues to settle into its role in helping a shattered nation.

“The flow seems to be smoothing out a little bit,” Davenport said. “I think it’s getting a lot better.”

http://www.gazette.net/stories/01272010/damanew224820_32548.php

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