Tag Archives: breast vs bottle

Breastfeeding in the News March 1st – 8th, 2010

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


tool goes here

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.


To pump or not to pump?

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?



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.


Breastfeeding teen

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.”



Filed under breast milk, breastfeeding, Breastfeeding in the News, lactivist, the curious lactivist

Breastfeeding in the News: Nov. 13 – 20th, 2009

Hello All,

Anthropologists can be so distracting.  Last week I had a chance to hear both Sarah Hrdy (author of “Mothers and Others: The Evolutionary Origins of Mutual Understanding”) and James McKenna (author of “Sleeping with Your Baby”).  So instead of searching out the latests news on breastfeeding I kept finding myself thinking about the biological and cultural evolution of mothers and babies.  For millions of years babies have slept with their mothers.  Even primates that allow others to care for their babies during the day sleep with their babies at night. (Coincidently both Hrdy & McKenna started their careers studying monkeys!)  It has only been in the last 200 years (just since the Industrial Revolution) that we have stopped sleeping with our babies.  Think how short a time that is!  There is no way that the physiology of infants could evolve fast enough to cope with such a significant change.  It would be like expecting polar bears to adapt to palm trees at the North Pole twenty years from now. 

Now consider that in just the past 100 years we have gone from breastfeeding our babies to feeding our infants cow’s milk from a bottle.  And yet in this short amount of time our culture has so totally embraced formula feeding that any movement back towards breastfeeding is met with stern resistance.  In Australia women are reacting extrememly to the announcement that the government wants to make breastfeeding the norm.   “Whatever happened to choice? asks one columnist who insists that “This goes to the very core of a mother’s rights.”   

 “My nipples were red raw from breastfeeding and blood was dripping on to the carpet. Tears were falling on top of the splatters.  A midwife entered the room. Her advice for me was to “grin and bear it”.  Stories like these are offered as proof that women are being pressured into breastfeeding at the expense of their own well being. For a more balanced look at the choice between breastfeeding and formula read “Does Healthcare have anything to do with Health?” by Dr. Kimerer La Mothe  (If you have time to read only one story today this is the one I recommend.)  She says “Health is not given to us, it is created by us, as we use the information at our disposal to discover and grow the seeds of what our own bodily selves know.”  Here is her take on breastfeeding:

You must like nursing, people say. Well, yes and no. It’s not really about liking it. It’s about making the movements that allow me to be the mother, dancer, and philosopher I am and want to be. It’s about making the movements that will enable me to keep working, keep sleeping, keep the child napping, stay sane. It’s about managing the flow of thoughts and feelings, laundry and lunching. It’s about convenience and challenge, pleasure and well-being, time saved and spent. It’s about investing in an immune system and trusting in touch. It’s about figuring out what works, and having the faith and fortitude to honor it. It’s about health.”

While the mommy warriors attack each other about which is better breastmilk or formula, the formula companies continue to make money.  Shares in Mead Johnson have risen 89% since their Initial Public stock offering (IPO) last February.  “Bristol-Myers Squibb Co is to sell its 83 per cent holding in pediatric nutrition company Mead Johnson”  which will allow the company to be even more independent.  Goody for them.  Meanwhile the UN reports that almost 200 million children under the age of five have experienced “stunted growth” due in part to not exclusively breastfeeding for the first 6 months.  “Stunting is associated with developmental problems and is often impossible to correct,” a UNICEF statement said. “A child who is stunted is likely to experience a lifetime of poor health and underachievement.”  Here in the US formula companies are also being accused of marketing heavily to blacks who now have the lowest breastfeeding initiation rates and the highest rates of food allergies.

But before you despair the news isn’t all bad.  Happily in the list: “A to Z of what’s right with America” breastfeeding can be found under B.  And in British Columbia a public health nurse has convinced her city council to place breastfeeding welcome here decals in all the municipal buildings.  This should make it easier for private businesses to follow suit.  I’ve also included a report from mothers who tried breastfeeding in Disneyland.  One mother tells how she nursed while on the Haunted Mansion ride “although that part of the ride as you head into the cemetery where you’re turned around and heading backward was a little tricky”.  Another mother reports that while nursing at the official Disney Baby Care Center she felt “secluded and lonely”.  But I think Disney did the right thing by calling their center a “baby care” room rather than a “breastfeeding room/lounge”.  In Australia apparently some bottle feeding mothers feel resentful of breastfeeding rooms because they feel excluded. 

 Asiana Airlines has launched their “Hapy MomServices”.  “ …the airline has been providing exclusive check-in counters for mothers at the airport, breastfeeding covers and baby slings free of charge for travelers with babies.” I’m not sure how I feel about the breastfeeding cover ups, but free slings!  That’s terrific. They have even raised the age limit from 24 months to 36 months and they’re in 10 international airports!  Meanwhile back here in the states Sesame Street has been lauded for continuing to show their old Buffy St. Marie tape of her breastfeeding (the article includes a link to the clip) but somehow the  another clip from the 1980’s that included a brief breastfeeding segment now shows a baby being bottle fed. 

Over in the UK the NHS are now handing out instructions to dads on how to be a good father.  “Midwives see lots of fathers, but because they don’t fit into an NHS role – they are not the patient – they don’t have anything to give them.”  Becoming a father for a first time is apparently good for men as it makes them more motivated to improve their health.  (McKenna talked about a study which reported that having a baby lowered fathers testerone levels – but only if they were married!) This same article encouraged dads to support their partner’s efforts to breastfeed.   Too bad the young man from Saipan who beat his wife as she was breastfeeding didn’t get the same encouragement. 

In science news Dr Susan Love’s efforts to recruit one million people in breast cancer studies has allowed at least one breastfeeding researcher to speed up her work.  “Kathleen Arcaro, an environmental toxicologist at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, wants to analyze genetic changes in the breast tissue cells present in the milk samples from 250 women. She needed women who were currently breastfeeding and who needed a breast biopsy for a suspicious lump.  If her team had sought women through the normal channels — such as doctor’s offices and breastfeeding support groups, the project would have been too costly. But she has now enrolled 144 women, 80% of whom came from the Army of Women. “In less than a year, we’ve processed [samples from] 93 women in a study that people said we wouldn’t be able to do,” she says.  A study in the International Breastfeeding Journal reports that variations in mother’s breasts (specifically nipples) can affect weight gain.  While a study on pacifiers done in Argentina “concluded that pacifier use does not alter the prevalence of exclusive breastfeeding at 3 months of age among infants born at term who had successful breastfeeding established at 2 weeks of life.

There are a few more miscellaneous articles included below.  (Nicole Kidman inists she wouldn’t have gotten her last movie role if her breast were still at their pre-breastfeeding size.) In “Needling Worry: Why are we so crazy when it comes to vaccines?”  the author compares our growing concern about vaccines to our passionate defense of breastfeeding.  “I think the anxiety about vaccines and breastfeeding is about seeking a false sense of control,” said Kiki Schaffer, director of the Parenting & Family Center at the 14th Street Y in Manhattan. “You can’t be anxious about everything, because it’s too much, so you pick a few manageable things to get really, really upset about. A few years ago it was asbestos, then alar in apples. But picking one or two things feels safer than having anxiety about the whole world.” And I think part of making your choice about what to get worked up about involves slamming the choices of others. Because what if they’re right? What if you’re the one who’s screwed up when it comes to your kid? Nothing could be more horrible to contemplate”. 

 That is certainly food for thought.  Although for lactivists such as myself one could also argue that it is easier to effect real change if you narrow your focus.  Next week I will be speaking to a group of businesses in a teleconference hosted by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.  Hopefully my crazy belief that breastfeeding mothers should be supported in the workplace will not only be heard, but will be acted on as well.

 Have a good week everyone, and thanks to everyone who sent me birthday greetings on Facebook.  You really made my day! 

Kathy Abbott, IBCLC 


On Facebook: “Breastfeeding in the News” 

My Blog:  http://TheCuriousLactivist.wordpress.com/

 Do Pacifiers Interfere With Breastfeeding Success? William T. Basco, Jr., MD

Study Summary

One of the World Health Organization’s recommended best practices for assuring successful breastfeeding is for nursing mothers to use no artificial nipples or pacifiers with newborn infants who are breastfeeding. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends waiting to introduce pacifiers until infants are at least 1 month old. Data are mixed on whether pacifier use affects breastfeeding. Observational studies suggest that pacifier use has a negative effect on nursing success, but randomized trials in developed countries suggest either no effect of pacifiers on nursing success, or reduced nursing success only with very early pacifier introduction.

This study sought to evaluate the effect of pacifier use on breastfeeding success in infants up to 3 months of age — a longer period than has been assessed in previous studies. Participants were enrolled at 5 tertiary care centers in Argentina, which were a mixture of public and private institutions….

In 2005 and 2006, 1021 infants were enrolled (528 assigned to pacifier use group). The groups were virtually identical on pre-enrollment characteristics, including birth weight, rate of cesarean section, maternal age, previous breastfeeding by the mothers, maternal education and smoking status, and percentage with fathers in the home. Approximately 95% of the subjects in both groups completed the trial.

The prevalence of exclusive breastfeeding at 3 months of age was 85.8% in the pacifier group and 86.2% in the no-pacifier group, for a risk difference of 0.4%, (95% confidence interval -4.7% to 4%) In both groups, > 75% of the mothers were exclusively breastfeeding their study infants at 4 months. The rates of “any breastfeeding” were also virtually identical and remained > 97% for both groups through the 3 and 4 month assessments. Of note, only 67% of the infants in the pacifier use group actually used a pacifier, but 40% of the infants in the no-pacifier group also used a pacifier. The investigators concluded that pacifier use does not alter the prevalence of exclusive breastfeeding at 3 months of age among infants born at term who had successful breastfeeding established at 2 weeks of life.


The study authors noted that because previous trials enrolled fewer participants or followed infants for shorter periods, this study adds a great deal to the literature around this question. Although the investigators caution that this was a highly selected population (motivated mothers and infants who had established successful early nursing), such women likely constitute large percentages of the population at many US maternity hospitals. These data strike me as highly useful and practical when offering advice to expecting or new mothers on “what to do about pacifiers?” Coupled with data on decreased risk for sudden infant death syndrome with pacifier use,[1] these new data should reassure both moms and pediatric providers that pacifier use is not harmful and may, in some scenarios, be beneficial.


Bossy breastfeeding mums pressure bottle feeders, real mums survey finds (Australia)

A VOCAL minority of breastfeeding mums look down on those who bottle feed.  

A http://www.realmums. com.au survey of 466 women found some mothers who bottle-feed were made to feel inadequate by the pressure.

But it found while almost half the breastfeeding mothers (43.5 per cent) felt uncomfortable feeding in public, 98 per cent of the comments made to them were positive.

Real Mums founder Amanda Cox was disappointed to discover that bottle-feeding mums often put themselves down “big time”.

One was even told she could not use the parents’ room as they were for “breastfeeding mums only” and several were verbally attacked in public. But Ms Cox said these bad experiences were in the minority. She said while breastfeeding was great, women should not be judged if they could not physically or mentally do it.

“A few bottle-feeders also felt awkward, ashamed or as though they were judged,” she said. “The sad thing was the way they spoke about themselves in relation to their inability to breast-feed.”

Health ministers last week agreed babies should be breast-fed for the first six months.

The Real Mums survey found more than nine in 10 mothers had breast-fed in public and more than one in three had bottle-fed in public. The biggest concern of breastfeeding mothers was a wriggly baby who pulled away.

“They did feel uncomfortable when first attempting breastfeeding in public, but once they got the hang of it, they were mostly OK,” the survey found.

Almost all negative comments in public were directed at bottle- feeding mothers.

A small percentage of breastfeeders referred to things such as the “poison” of formula and made disparaging remarks about bottle-feedsing even though they weren’t asked.

“While some breastfeeding mums were seriously sanctimonious, and some bottle-feeding mums were seriously self-denigrating, the number was few, which is nice,” Ms Cox said.

“And breastfeeding mums did appear to be just a wee bit – OK, a lot – paranoid when it came to feeding in public.

“Most (were) more worried about what people might be thinking, not what was actually happening.”

“The bit we liked most, however, was … that of those that did have someone comment, they were positive comments.”


Breastfeeding with benefits

“I thankfully was told about the group from my doctor, because I had no idea what La Leche League was before then,” she said. “It’s important to have breast-feeding services in a community, and we get referrals of moms from Royal Victoria Hospital. But a lot of mom’s still don’t know anything about our groups.”

To help spread the word, the La Leche League Barrie groups are holding a breastfeeding benefits family fun fair and silent auction fundraiser on Saturday at Ferris Lane Community Church (49 Ferris Ln.) from 10 a. m. to 1 p. m. Admission at the door is $3 per person, or $10 per family.  The event offers something for every family, including a silent auction, activities for children and tasty treats to nibble on courtesy of The Italian Bakery in Barrie.



An idea that is Hazardous to Your Health

Does “healthcare” have anything to do with “health”?

Kimerer LaMothe, Ph.D.

At the end of last week an article on breastfeeding caught my eye. Apparently, some celebrities have recently boasted about breastfeeding’s bulge-burning benefits. The article offered a response, amassing anecdotes from Every Woman for and against, asking: Is it true?

On the one hand, as someone who might qualify for professional nurser status, I warmed to the article’s positive pose. Mother of five, I have nursed for a total of over ten years—a full quarter of my life—and haven’t stopped yet. It works for me, for my kids, for our family.

On the other hand, however, the article made me shudder, and not (just) because it appeared in a fashion segment focused on fat. Left intact and even reinforced by the discussion was the greatest obstacle there is to any women figuring out for herself what strategies for nurturing her child will work for her: the idea that her body is a thing. This idea is hazardous to our health.

While no one came out and said, my body is a thing, the discussion assumed that a maternal body is a material entity subject to rules that apply in most cases. Is breastfeeding-to-lose such a rule? Women interviewed in the article and those who responded to it lined up for and against the rule based on their experiences. Those for whom it was true expressed delight that their bodies worked as they should. Those for whom it wasn’t were resigned or resentful or rebellious, blaming their bodies, or citing variables that interfered with the rule’s effect (like metabolism, not enough sleep, or inadequate exercise). 

However, the point to take home is not the truism that every woman is unique. The unsung point concerns the nature of health itself. Health is whole. What is healthy for us is something we must work out for ourselves in the context of the relationships that sustain us. Health is not given to us, it is created by us, as we use the information at our disposal to discover and grow the seeds of what our own bodily selves know.

Health, in this sense, is both the ability to know what is good for us, and the willingness to align our thoughts and actions with that knowledge. To have it, we need to cultivate it in our sensory selves and for our sensory selves every day—even and especially when figuring out how best to nurture a child.
This “health” is absent from current “healthcare” debates as well. Health is not what we get when we secure cheap drugs, insurance policies, or the right diet and exercise plan.

Even so-called “preventative medicine” is not about health. It is about monitoring a few variables that scientists know how to measure, marking them as “indicators,” and then prescribing drugs or behavior modifications designed to keep our numbers within a specified range. It is about identifying and managing risks based on statistics gathered over other times, places, and persons. 

Little in our contemporary approach to healthcare is about helping us learn for ourselves how to discern for ourselves what is good for us. We are told what is good for us and advised to implement it, for our own good. The assumption is that we don’t know. 

Yet, the fact is that no stack of statistics can deliver the most important piece of information you need for your ongoing health: which dot on the curve is you? No one can tell you what you most need to know: what works to enhance your health?
Our bodies are not things. Our bodies are movement—movement that is constantly registering sensations of pain and pleasure designed to guide us in making choices that align with our best health. 

Yet this capacity for knowing what is best for us remains a mere potential unless we develop it. Specifically, we need to learn to welcome, work with, and refine our sensations of pain and pleasure, so that our sensory selves can become surer guides.

Support in doing this kind of work is what mothers—as well as those concerned with health—need.
You must like nursing, people say. Well, yes and no. It’s not really about liking it. It’s about making the movements that allow me to be the mother, dancer, and philosopher I am and want to be. It’s about making the movements that will enable me to keep working, keep sleeping, keep the child napping, stay sane. It’s about managing the flow of thoughts and feelings, laundry and lunching. It’s about convenience and challenge, pleasure and well-being, time saved and spent. It’s about investing in an immune system and trusting in touch. It’s about figuring out what works, and having the faith and fortitude to honor it. It’s about health.

There is no way to measure the complexity of variables that make breastfeeding right for me, and thus no way for me to assume its rightness for anyone else.


Our health is something we cultivate through practices of attention to our own bodily selves. But we cannot begin to do so until we stop looking outside of ourselves for the rule that applies to our bodies, and start welcoming whatever information and stories come to us, not as grounds for judging ourselves, but as vital resources for helping us explore the movements we can make towards our own health. It’s what our bodies know.


Huge numbers of stunted children, says UN report

Almost 200 million children under the age of five in the developing world suffer from stunted growth, according to a new U.N. report. But surprisingly, in the Middle East, wealthier countries have more of a problem than some poorer nations.

The Occupied Palestinian Territories, for example, have a stunting prevalence of 10 percent — the lowest in the Middle East — according to the study from UNICEF, the New York-based United Nations Children’s Fund.

Oil-rich Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, both much wealthier nations, had significantly higher rates of stunting prevalence — 20 and 17 percent respectively.

Yemen had the highest rate of stunting prevalence in the Middle East — a staggering 58 percent — meaning more than half of all Yemeni children under five were significantly short for their age.

“High income from oil doesn’t mean the general population is benefitting from it,” said Arnold Timmer, senior adviser on nutrition for UNICEF, when asked about the findings.

Economic development is generally good news for nutrition and for human development,” Timmer told CNN. “But what children and mothers eat is not driven by economic indicators, but also by diet preferences, what’s available and what’s culturally trendy.” Timmer said food choice is a particular problem in the Middle East. “Instead of exclusively breast milk, the children might be getting a porridge of milk and butter and sugar that doesn’t have any vitamins and minerals in it,” Timmer said, “or tea.”

Timmer said tea is not recommended for young children because it can inhibit the absorption of iron, causing anemia.

Stunting, or low height for age, is caused by undernutrition, the U.N. said. “Stunting is associated with developmental problems and is often impossible to correct,” a UNICEF statement said. “A child who is stunted is likely to experience a lifetime of poor health and underachievement.”

The report, entitled “Tracking Progress on Child and Maternal Behavior,” said the 1,000 days from conception until a child’s second birthday are the most critical for development.

Stunting is a greater problem than being underweight or wasting, the U.N. report said. Most countries have much higher stunting rates than underweight rates, it said. In some countries, like Afghanistan, Yemen, Guatemala and Ethiopia, more than half of all children under five years old are stunted.

The U.N. defines stunting as height for age minus two standard deviations from the median height for that age. Wasting is defined as weight for height minus two standard deviations from the median weight for height for that age.

The bulk of the world’s undernutrition problem is localized, with 24 countries accounting for more than 80 percent of the world’s stunting. More than 90 percent of the developing world’s stunted children live in Africa and Asia. Although India is the country with the highest number of stunted children, it does not have the highest prevalence of stunting, due to its large population. Afghanistan has the highest prevalence of stunting of any country, with a whopping 59 percent.

The report recommends that of all the proven interventions, exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life — together with nutritionally adequate food from six months onwards — can significantly impact stunting.

Progress has been made in both Asia and Africa on stunting, the report said. In Asia, the prevalence of stunting dropped from about 44 percent in 1990 to 30 percent in 2008. In Africa, it fell from around 38 percent to an estimated 34 percent over the same period.

But the children’s agency warns much more needs to be done.


Breastfeeding at Disneyland

Many of us have taken our infants to Disney theme parks. This week we discuss babies at theme parks. All of our contributors this week had their experiences at Disneyland as present:

Mary writes:  That child nursed not only on the train around the park, but on Pirates of the Caribbean, “it’s a small world,” Storybook Land Canal Boats, Monorail, Jungle Cruise, Mark Twain, and, my favorite, the Haunted Mansion (although that part of the ride as you head into the cemetery where you’re turned around and heading backward was a little tricky).

For moms who feel that they need privacy, the Baby Care Center on Main Street at Disneyland offers a lovely quiet room with rockers, where moms and babies can go to enjoy a comfortable place away from onlookers. On a hot day, this place is a blessing.

Adrienne writes _ Many people know about the Baby Care Centers in the Parks. I nursed in a Baby Care Center once—and never again. I know that many women prefer a quiet, dark place to calm and feed their babies. In fact, I have often clarified that the feeding area in the Baby Care Center is available not just for breastfeeding but for bottle-feeding as well. The Baby Care Center feeding area can be a great resource for parents who want it.

That said, I felt secluded and lonely in the Baby Care Center. There are many “magical” aspects to breastfeeding, but not every feeding is a soft-lens angelic mother and child moment worthy of a poster in an OB/GYN’s office. I had plenty of quiet time at home with my baby. During our leisure time at Disneyland, I wanted to spend time with my family and friends—and I would like to think that they enjoyed their time with me as well! The magic in Disneyland and breastfeeding was that I could comfortably feed my son while I enjoyed time with my family and friends!


Breastfeeding decals planned  (Prince George, BC)

The city’s buildings could soon be sporting window decals that tells mothers they’re welcome to breastfeed in public places.
Pending approval from city council, the decals, which state that “healthy communities support breastfeeding anytime, anywhere,” will be placed in all civic facilities and city hall.
In September, Northern Health public health nurse Jessica Madrid encouraged city council to take the step, noting that about 80 per cent of mothers start off breastfeeding but the rate plummets following discharge from the hospital to 55 per cent after two months, 35 per cent after four months and 20 per cent after six months.
“We need a champion to help us promote breast feeding anytime, anywhere,” Madrid told council in a presentation. The window decals promote the “social marketing of breastfeeding as the cultural norm.
Cost of the decals, which staff said are easy to affix and remove, will be covered entirely by the Children First Initiative and the roll-out campaign will include additional information on how to support breastfeeding mothers and their children.
Madrid sees placing the decals in municipal buildings as a starting point from which she hopes to see them eventually show up on the windows and doors of city businesses


Fatherhood: It’s Good for You

Most people wouldn’t see being a dad as a health issue, but apparently it is.

Upon becoming a father for the first time, many men discover a new meaning to life. Positive life changes usually follow, including quitting smoking and drinking, driving more carefully, eating better, getting more exercise and learning how to manage stress. Men who are actively involved in the lives of their children tend to be healthier, have more fulfilling marriages and careers and tend to live longer.

Support Breastfeeding. Ideally, your baby should have nothing but breast milk for the first six months. But nursing is sometimes hard for new moms. Make sure your partner gets plenty of fluids and rest, and encourage her every way you can.


Food Allergies on the Rise for US Children

The number of children with food allergies has increased 18% in the past ten years according to new research by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In addition, those seeking treatment at hospitals and clinics for food allergy related symptoms have tripled since 1993.

Race seemed to be a factor, but not gender. Black children were about twice as likely as white children to have a peanut or milk allergy. Hispanic children have the lowest overall incidence of food allergies, but the greatest increase over the past 10 years. There were no significant differences in allergy rates between boys and girls.


Theories for the rise in allergic reactions to food range from “the hygiene hypothesis”, where over-sanitization of the environment has lead to immune system insufficiency in children. Another theory is the lower rate of breastfeeding in some demographic groups, which is thought to be protective against the development of food allergies.


Nicole Kidman says breastfeeding helped her get parts that called for curves.
Nicole Kidman isn’t coy about these baby bumps. The Oscar-winning actress better known for meaty roles than actual curves suddenly filled out after she began breastfeeding her baby daughter, Sunday Rose, last summer. “They’re not very big, my boobs, so they just became normal size. I loved it!” she titters in the December/January issue of Ladies’ Home Journal. “I felt very Woman. When you’ve had a slightly androgynous body your whole life, having breasts is a nice feeling.”

…her bigger bosom is what clinched her role as a sultry beauty in the upcoming musical “Nine” starring Daniel Day-Lewis. “[I had] big boobs because I was breast feeding – I was perfect for it,” she says. “I wouldn’t get cast now.”

“I was not looking to go back to work,” she admits. “I went back to work because this was . . . the perfect kind of scenario. Part of me was nervous about going back to work . . . but they said I could bring my baby to the set, and Rob didn’t seem to find a problem at all, so then I was like, ‘Uh, this is heaven.”


Man allegedly beats up wife as she’s breastfeeding their baby (Saipan Tribune)

A 27-year-old man is facing charges in court after he allegedly beat up his common-law wife while she was breastfeeding their baby.

Once they got home at 3am, Ilo accused his wife of having an affair with a family member. Ilo then allegedly threw a can of beer, hitting the victim on the forehead. Later, as the victim was breastfeeding their baby, Ilo allegedly punched her several times, pushed her to the wall, pulled her hair, and threatened to kill her with a machete.


Breastfeeding – The Feedgood factor

New mums and mums-to-be in Ayrshire and Arran can get the feedgood factor when they choose to breastfeed their babies.


Needling Worry

Why are we so crazy when it comes to vaccines?

CREDIT: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

I’ve been writing about parenting for eight years. And for eight years I’ve joked that if you want to make readers crazy, you only need two words: “vaccines” and “breastfeeding.”

Back in the day, of course, we just wanted our kids to survive childhood. I once wrote a piece for the Forward theorizing about why Judaism historically didn’t address stillbirth or miscarriage. Why weren’t babies who lived less than 30 days given funerals? Why weren’t they attended with the rituals associated with mourning? I’m guessing it’s because attitudes were different in a time when an infant’s death was a regular occurrence. It was better to move on, push past grief, plan for the next kid. Today we have the luxury of neurosis. We get to dwell. We have fewer kids, and we not only expect them to survive to adulthood, we expect them to go to Yale and become gastroenterologists and program our TiVos. We get worked up about vaccines and breastfeeding because we can.

Meanwhile, I wave around studies showing that once researchers correct for maternal age, income, smoking, intelligence, and education levels, the evidence is inconclusive about whether breastfeeding is better than bottle-feeding with modern formula—but lactivists continue to hurl insults at bottle-feeders and insist they’re harming their children and society. Why do we talk such different languages, at such cross-purposes?

So why the passion? I think it’s because we’re terrified of an unknowable future. Parenting is about making choices—how to feed a newborn, whether to work or stay home (if you’re an upper-middle class Jewess who is fortunate enough to have that choice), whether to vaccinate.

“I think the anxiety about vaccines and breastfeeding is about seeking a false sense of control,” said Kiki Schaffer, director of the Parenting & Family Center at the 14th Street Y in Manhattan. “You can’t be anxious about everything, because it’s too much, so you pick a few manageable things to get really, really upset about. A few years ago it was asbestos, then alar in apples. But picking one or two things feels safer than having anxiety about the whole world.” And I think part of making your choice about what to get worked up about involves slamming the choices of others. Because what if they’re right? What if you’re the one who’s screwed up when it comes to your kid? Nothing could be more horrible to contemplate. Better to close your eyes and go on the attack. At this point, the notion of kids dying of old-school diseases seems far more remote than the notion of your specific kid getting autism or an immune disorder. We don’t know any kids with rubella. We know lots of kids with autism.


All I know is that judgmental eye-rolling doesn’t help anyone. Not kids, and not parents.


The effect of maternal breast variations on neonatal weight gain in the first seven days of life


This study aims to examine whether specific maternal breast variations (such as flat nipple, inverted nipple, large breast or/and large nipple) are barriers for weight gain in breastfed infants during the first seven days of life.


Breast variation among first-time mothers acts as an important barrier to weight gain among breastfed neonates in the early days of life. Health professionals need skills in the management of breastfeeding among mothers with the specified breast variations, so that mothers are given appropriate advice on how to breastfeed and overcome these problems.


Infant formula maker spun off from parent company

Biopharmaceutical company Bristol-Myers Squibb Co is to sell its 83 per cent holding in pediatric nutrition company Mead Johnson which produces Enfamil infant formula.

Stephen Golsby, Mead Johnson’s chief executive officer said: “This transaction represents the important final step in our journey to be a fully independent public company. We believe the decision to split-off Mead Johnson reflects confidence in the success of our growth strategy and our strong financial performance since our IPO (initial public stock offering) in February, as well as BMS’ objective to focus on their core BioPharma business.”

Pediatric nutrition

Mead Johnson develops, manufactures, markets and distributes nutritional brands in 50 countries worldwide. The company claims its Enfa group of brands, including Enfamil(R) infant formula, is the world’s leading brand franchise in pediatric nutrition. In addition to baby formulas, including Enfamil that generated 61 per cent of the company’s revenue of $2.88bn last year, the company sells nutritional supplements for pregnant and nursing women, and people with metabolism problems.

James Cornelius, chairman and chief executive officer of Bristol-Myers Squibb, said: ““Now is the right time to move forward with a split-off, given the excellent performance of Mead Johnson since the IPO earlier this year and our confidence in the current and future performance of our biopharmaceuticals business.

Divestment strategy

By executing our healthcare divestment strategy, we have sharpened our BioPharma focus, improved the overall financial strength of the company and supported our ability to pursue strategic business development opportunities. All of these actions help us fulfill our mission to discover, develop and deliver innovative medicines to help patients prevail over serious diseases,” said Cornelius.  Shareholders in his company will receive $1.11 of Mead Johnson stock for each $1.00 tendered in Bristol-Myers shares.

Mead Johnson shares have risen 89 per cent since the stock’s first public sale last February.


Sesame Street turns 40: Segments promote breastfeeding over the years

Recently, Sesame Street expanded its focus on healthful living with exercise and good eating habits.  But in actuality, the program has been promoting healthy eating for babies since its inception, depicting breastfeeding and breastmilk as the normal, natural way to feed infants and drawing praise from members of the attachment parenting community for years.

One well-known clip from 1977 features a mother named Buffy and her infant son, Cody.  While she nurses her baby, Buffy explains to Big Bird why some mothers feed their babies at their breast.  “He likes it because it’s nice and warm and sweet and natural; it’s good for him.  And I get to hug him while I do it!” 

Some controversy exists over this next clip, which highlights video segments of parents and their babies set to the song “You’re My Baby” written and performed by Sesame Street‘s musical director, Joe Raposo.  The original clip (see below) was aired in the mid-1980s and briefly shows a mother breastfeeding her baby at approximately the 1:10 mark.  This segment was updated for the 21st century and, sadly, the breastfeeding clip was replaced with that of a baby being bottle-fed

If you would like to see Sesame Street advocate for breastfeeding in future episodes, contact the show’s production company, Sesame Workshop, via a short submission form located on their website.


NHS launches pocket ‘how to be a dad’ guide to fatherhood

Every new dad is to be handed a pocket guide offering advice on how to be a good parent.

The credit card-sized guide will provide tips on parenting and details on where to go for help.

It will be handed out to fathers attending the birth of their child and direct them to advice on subjects such as breastfeeding and paternity leave.

Duncan Fisher, of the card’s developers DadInfo, who will debate the role of fathers in childbirth at the Royal College of Midwives conference later this month, said: “Midwives see lots of fathers, but because they don’t fit into an NHS role – they are not the patient – they don’t have anything to give them.”

Among the tips given is the suggestion that the dad’s role at the birs to “help provide a loving and calm environment” and a warning that fathers can get depressed after the birth, “especially if your partner’s feeling low”.


A to Z of what’s right with America – the list.

A is for Alternative medicine – Although the Associated Press hasn’t figured it out yet, alternative medicine is cheaper, safer and more effective than pharmaceuticals and surgery.

B is for Breastfeeding – Because the best milk is mother’s milk.

C is for the Constitution – Without it, this website wouldn’t even exist and free speech would be stifled.

D is for Democracy – Despite all its shortcomings, Democracy is still the best form of government the world has come up with.


Give mums a break (Australia)

WOMEN do not need politicians telling them about the importance of breastfeeding. They do not need a bunch of bureaucrats demanding that they breastfeed their babies for six months.

What they could do with is a bit more access to services and support, not lectures that make them feel inadequate.  But as always, governments find it much easier to browbeat and pontificate than actually provide the ground-level assistance that taxpayers really need. Health ministers want a National Breastfeeding Strategy introduced next year to promote, protect, support and value breastfeeding so that it is viewed as the biological and social norm.

That might sound lovely, but what of the many mothers who find breastfeeding almost impossible for physical or economic reasons? Won’t such a campaign just make them feel so much worse? This goes to the very core of a mother’s rights.

Read in today’s Sunday Herald Sun our exclusive survey of new mothers and you will hear many felt “pressured” into breastfeeding even though they found it difficult. The mothers said they were given different advice by midwives, leaving them confused, distressed and frustrated. One was even told that giving formula to her newborn was like feeding it McDonald’s, another said that hospital staff treated her like a criminal for giving her baby a top-up formula feed.

Whatever happened to choice?

I support a woman’s right to choose and believe breast is best. However, we are overlooking the very simple fact that some women can’t or do not want to breastfeed. In an ideal world, where a mothers can choose and afford to stay at home and where breastfeeding comes easily, no doubt more would breastfeed. But new mothers are under enough pressure to cope. Give them a break.

This national strategy is not the way to encourage breastfeeding. It is putting a wedge between mothers who do and those who do not.


Breastfeeding just doesn’t work out for some mums  (Australia) 

There I was in a private room with no shirt on and no bra. I couldn’t. My nipples were red raw from breastfeeding and blood was dripping on to the carpet. Tears were falling on top of the splatters.  A midwife entered the room. Her advice for me was to “grin and bear it”. I was told to bite my lip for the first 10 seconds of every feed and the pain would gradually disappear.

As a first-time mum I was vulnerable and accepted her advice without question. After all, my comfort was secondary to giving my son the best start in life. My partner was a little less accepting. He asked the same midwife about introducing one bottle feed into the mix each day (one out of eight). She rolled her eyes and said: “A male would ask that question.”…

At their meeting in Adelaide on Friday, they signed off on a draft National Breastfeeding Strategy. The full five-year strategy will be finalised by the end of the year. Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon says it’s needed because not enough Australian women are breastfeeding. She cited an Australian study from 2004 that claimed 92 per cent of newborns were being breastfed. After one week that dropped to 80 per cent. With every month there was a steady decline. By three months, it was down to 56 per cent and by six months it was 14 per cent. Australian women should be doing better, Roxon says.

I for one am offended. The vast majority of women are already doing the best they can. Why doesn’t the Government just butt out? By all means give women the information they need, but let them make their own choices for their own children and don’t make them feel bad if they fall short of the mark.


Mother banned from breastfeeding in pub

A mother has described how she was made to feel like a criminal after being ordered to stop breast-feeding in a pub.

Staff at the venue allegedly told Elizabeth Simpson, 28, to stop attending to her 10-week old daughter because customers were “eating their meals”.

“They said it was their policy not to have breastfeeding in the restaurant but there was no sign saying that.

“The fact that their main clientele seems to be young mothers shocked us even more,” she said. “It is absolutely ridiculous.

A Freemasons Arms spokesman said: “We’re disappointed to hear that one of our customers is unhappy with their recent visit.”

“We cater for lots of parents with young children and always aim to make their visit enjoyable as well as comfortable by providing baby changing facilities and high chairs.”

He added: “Breastfeeding in the pub is perfectly acceptable and our team is trained to offer support as and when requested.

“If this was not the case on this occasion then we sincerely apologise and hope the customer is willing to visit the pub again in the future.”


Recruiting an Army of Women to fight breast cancer

Dr. Susan Love has a goal: Get 1 million people to enroll in breast cancer studies. She’s well on the way.

That’s why the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation created the Army of Women, an Internet-based campaign aimed at connecting volunteers with breast cancer researchers. Set up in partnership with the Avon Foundation for Women and scientists, the Love/Avon Army of Women takes all of those who sign up online: healthy women, women with a breast cancer diagnosis, women of all ages, shapes and colors, and even men with breast cancer. Its goal is to recruit one million volunteers.

Kathleen Arcaro, an environmental toxicologist at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, wants to analyze genetic changes in the breast tissue cells present in the milk samples from 250 women. She needed women who were currently breastfeeding and who needed a breast biopsy for a suspicious lump.

If her team had sought women through the normal channels — such as doctor’s offices and breastfeeding support groups, the project would have been too costly. But she has now enrolled 144 women, 80% of whom came from the Army of Women. “In less than a year, we’ve processed [samples from] 93 women in a study that people said we wouldn’t be able to do,” she says.


Packaging for pistol sight among items found in Fort Hood shooter’s apartment 

KILLEEN, Texas – Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan’s dingy apartment holds the odd remnants of a solitary military life, with hints of secrets and suggestions of terrible plans.

A folding card table near the kitchen was covered in white plastic and a random scattering of belongings. Some hinted of Hasan’s Arab roots and Islamic faith: a pile of Jordanian and Israeli coins, an Al Fajr-brand alarm clock and a white knit skull cap. Beside those items was a thin paperback book published in India in 1993, Dreams and Interpretations , by Allamah Muhammed Bin Sireen.

The book’s back cover declares it “a must in every Muslim home.” Its table of contents promises explanations for 900 dreams – everything from birth to breastfeeding, from seeing Allah to recognizing his messengers.


More black women are breastfeeding, but less than other moms

A National Health and Nutrition Examination survey shows that breast-feeding rates increased significantly among black women from 36 percent in 1993-1994 to 65 percent in 2005-2006. However, the findings, released last year by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), also show that 80 percent of Mexican American and 79 percent of white infants were breast-fed during the same period.

And, despite an increase in lactation programs and consultants in hospitals, many health care professionals do not encourage black women to breast-feed. Barber also notes that heavy marketing by makers of infant formula also impacts some women’s decisions to breast-feed. However, black women who are educated, as well as those who have a supportive partner tend to breast-feed more, Barber says.


Asiana Airlines to Reinforce Mother-Friendly Services

Asiana’s mother-friendly services have been gaining enthusiastic reviews from those who have been through the ordeals of travelling with infants.

Through the recent launch of “Happy Mom Services,” the airline has been providing exclusive check-in counters for mothers at the airport, breastfeeding covers and baby slings free of charge for travelers with babies.

The service was initiated on Oct. 1 at 10 International airports (Incheon, New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago, London, Frankfurt, Paris and Sydney) to which Asiana flies. Out of 2,277 passengers traveling with infants, 1,043 passengers used the exclusive counters and 167 passengers were provided with breastfeeding covers, an Asiana spokesperson said.

In response to the enthusiastic reception, Asiana will extend the “Happy Mom Services” to 66 airports internationally. Also, they will lengthen the age limit from 24 months to 36 months old.

“I was worried about breastfeeding on board. But when arriving at JFK International Airport, I found that there was an exclusive counter for mothers run by Asiana and received a breastfeeding cover as well. During my 14-hour flight to Incheon, it was very pleasant for me to travel to Korea,” Choi Eun-sun, a passenger on the Nov. 13 Incheon OZ221 from New York to Incheon, said.

“No other airline has provided such services. This is really great for moms,” Agreda Sison Leizl, a passenger on the airline’s Oct. 29 flight from Chicago to Incheon, said.

Netizens have also shown their interest in the new services and currently 21 blogs and 10 internet cafes are talking about the “Happy Mom Services.”

The exclusive check-in counters for those with infants provide the 3E services ― Express Check In, Express Boarding and Express Baggage. It allows passengers with infants to shorten the waiting period at airports.

Passengers with infants will also receive a “Priority Tag” on their checked baggage. Arriving passengers with infants will now be able to quickly retrieve their baggage without the hassle of caring for their infant while waiting at baggage claim.

During long-haul flights, mothers have faced difficulties in feeding their infants. Usually, feeding takes place in the toilets or the galleries of aircraft. In order to resolve these difficulties, Asiana will provide breastfeeding covers for passengers when asked by request at the departure point.

For larger infants travelling on children tickets, Asiana is providing free installation of baby safety seats upon reservation. Asiana hopes the service will negate the need for passengers to bring along their own baby seats.


1 Comment

Filed under breastfeeding, Breastfeeding in the News, the curious lactivist

Breastfeeding in the News

September 10th – September 15th, 2009
Hello All,
My goodness, I came across some interesting stories this week. For the first time a woman pumped her breasts on live TV (and she was a doctor!). And while we are on the subject of pumps Hygeia has a new pump that lets mothers record their baby’s cry to make it easier for them to let down when pumping. So this is where technology has led us, not only are mothers expected to separate from their babies, they will actually be expected to listen to their baby cry while they sit at their desk. How cruel is that? Can we talk again about the need for a long term maternity leave?

A woman on the police force in Australia “was forced to work overtime for every minute she spent expressing breast milk for her child.” What kind of horrible boss would make a mother do such a thing? A female boss of course, one who was herself “the victim of a male-dominated culture” and was “over compensating to fit into a blokey culture”. (But there is some good news from Australia. The Liberal Party is now supporting legislation protecting breastfeeding mothers.) Meanwhile a college student here in the US who was asked to do her pumping in a men’s room wonders why “the school can accommodate someone with learning disabilities but can’t accommodate me for 15 minutes.”

I also came across some interesting numbers this week. Apparently more people are interested in the issue of breastfeeding in public than in Obama’s effort to secure national healthcare. In NewHampshire the story of a woman who was asked to cover up while nursing in an ice cream store received 290 comments, while a story on Obama’s health care plan only drew a measly 114 comments. In Canada a new study revealed that “among the top concerns for expectant moms, feeding the baby ranked at 20 per cent; labour and delivery at 80 per cent; life after the baby at 77 per cent, and sleepless nights at 56 per cent.” Even more disturbing, ”only 24 per cent of moms are concerned about how they will feed the new baby”. And despite all the marketing by the big formula companies “38 per cent of moms thought all formulas were basically the same.” And here we thought that those mighty marketing experts in the formula companies really knew what they were doing. If 62% of mothers can’t distinguish one formula brand from another than it’s no wonder they prefer to compare themselves to breast milk.

Speaking of formula, ABC reported that because of a new study showing that the adding DHA to formula makes babies smarter experts fear “that the study may be the first test toward marketing a replacement for breast milk.” Okay, okay, after you finish groaning let me point out that even though we’ve all been warning people about formula marketing practices for years, this is the first article from a big time news source that I’ve seen which has pointed the finger of truth at formula advertisers. The story even includes a comment from Hannah Rosen (well known for her Atlantic article questioning the pro-breastfeeding evidence) who says “advocates would need to emphasize other parts of breast-feeding, such as spending time and cuddling with the infant, if they want to discourage choosing formula over breast milk”. “The formula companies can never say it’s just like breast-feeding,”

In other news WIC is no longer giving out “just in case” samples of formula to exclusively breastfeeding moms. And making a come back in tennis 26 year old Kim Clijsters just scored a grand slam after stopping her career to start a family. She was still breastfeeding when she was invited back to Wimbledon.

As interesting as all these stories are, my favorite part of doing this is stumbling across the occasional beautiful piece, the story worth reading because it is so incredibly well written. This week there were two stories that I recommend reading in their entirety (just click on the links for the full story). I simply loved this line from “Still Got Milk?” as she described her experience with post partum depression, “Her strong suck seemed to pull the sadness out of my veins.” What a memorable image! The other story I loved was sent to me by a reader. “Breastfeeding in the Land of Genghis Kahn” is an amazing reminder of how much our attitudes are shaped by our particular culture. Imagine a world where mothers breastfeeding in public get a constant thumbs up, wrestlers boast that their strength comes from years of breastfeeding, and adults drink breast milk not just because it has medicinal properties but merely because it tastes so sweet!

I want to especially thank of all you who went to my blog and took my poll (I especially liked Nancy Terres insightful comments. Thank you, Nancy!). In answer to the question “Do you think that men are more supportive of breastfeeding than women?” 87% of those who answered said “Some men are supportive, others are just clueless.” 13% said “Absolutely! We women are our own worst enemies.” No one said, “Men just don’t get it the way women do.”Do you think that more men are supportive of breastfeeding than women?”

This week’s poll question is “Is it time to stop talking about the superiority of breast milk? Breastfeeding is supposed to be about a mother and child being together.” To place your vote visit: https://thecuriouslactivist.wordpress.com/todays-poll/
Kathy Abbott, IBCLC
On Facebook: “Breastfeeding in the News”
My Blog: http://TheCuriousLactivist.wordpress.com/

The Liberal Party has bowed to pressure and will support a bill aimed at protecting breastfeeding mothers from discrimination.
The Attorney-General last week told Parliament the government would not support the Opposition’s private members bill because the protection for women was already enshrined in law.
However, after an emotional debate the government backed down and adjourned the matter so it could be discussed in the Liberal Party room today.
The Minister for Womens Interests Robyn McSweeney has told a rally of about 40 breastfeeding mothers outside State Parliament that the bill now has the government’s support.
“What we will also do is work with the hospitality industry to make them aware, to raise awareness amongst staff,” she said.

WIC gets healthy, finally
After 30 years of serving the usual fare, WIC food packages are finally getting their own version of health care reform. Starting October 1, the new menu for the USDA’s Women, Infants, and Children nutrition program will introduce whole grains, low-fat dairy, infant foods, and finally, fruits and vegetables
While WIC has always been a major promoter of breastfeeding, the new food packages will make it tough to say no. To help establish her milk supply, WIC will no longer provide mom with “just in case” cans of formula during Month One; she must choose either exclusively breastfeeding or formula feeding. The mom who chooses to exclusively breastfeed will then receive the most food dollars — $62 a month for herself for a full year, and $38 a month for her infant. Starting in Month Two, moms who choose “mostly breastfeeding ” will receive $49 a month, her infant will get $21 a month. Those who choose the formula package will get $38 a month for mom (but for only 6 months), and $21 for infants. The choice seems obvious — especially when WIC throws in free breast pumps, education classes, and peer counselors.
The WIC changes have the potential to make huge health strides, but moms will have to take advantage of the opportunity.
According to the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District, only a paltry 297 moms were classified as “exclusive breastfeeders” last month. It’s about time for change.


Still got milk?

There were certain things I thought I’d never do when I became a mother. I wouldn’t yell at my children, share my marital bed or nurse through toddler-hood. As my husband said with authority when we first discussed breastfeeding: “If you can ask for it, then you’re too old for it.”
Never say never when it comes to parenting. Fast-forward four years, and I’m still nursing my 2-year-old. She’s evolved out of her sweet baby-word for milk (“Nigh-nigh?”) into a precise verbal demand: “Me want some bubbies, Mommy. Right now.” Even in liberal Vermont, where lactation activism is a thriving movement, I worry what others will think.
For me, nursing made every challenge worthwhile. It was also the only thing in the continuum of pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum that had come easily. While pregnant, I struggled with depression and succumbed to its downward pull during the third trimester. Both my labors had been long and excruciating, complicated by mechanical difficulties that resulted in two emergency Cesareans.
Recovering in bed with a painful, puffy abdominal incision, I grieved my lost dream of natural childbirth. I imagined that other women were fulfilled and empowered by their birthing experiences. I’d envisioned a candlelit home water-birth, a fantasy derived from Ina May Gaskin’s orgasmic stories in “Spiritual Midwifery,” as well as my own sister’s birth in a wilderness cabin, by candlelight during a thunderstorm when I was 10. Weepy with postpartum hormones and exhaustion, I felt I had failed some female rite of passage.
But I cradled my baby and fed her, and she grew plump from my milk. Her strong suck seemed to pull the sadness out of my veins.

ER Doctor Demonstrates Breast Pump on Live TV with Patented New Freemie Hands-Free System
A physician inventor shows a morning television audience how they can use an electric breast pump in public with her new patented device that allows a woman to collect milk with her clothes on. The device promises to be a game changer for breastfeeding mothers in the workplace, as anchorwoman attests, “It works!”
Sacramento, CA (PRWEB) September 15, 2009 — In what may be a first, an ER Doctor demonstrated a breast pump – on herself – on live television in full view of the camera during a morning interview. And no, it wasn’t cable.
The Freemie devices connect to an electric breast pump and are held in place by a woman’s regular bra under her clothing while she collects milk
The interview with Dr. Stella Dao by local CBS morning anchor Lisa Gonzales took place on affiliated station CW31’s Good Day Sacramento, the largest morning show in central California. But the interview is unlikely to generate any complaints to the station, since Dr. Dao, the inventor of a patented new system called the Freemie, was fully clothed during the entire interview. (Watch the interview with Dr. Dao on the show’s Momtrepreneur$ feature page.) The patented features of the Freemie system make it possible for a woman to comfortably pump hands-free, with her clothes on, at her desk or workstation or some other non-private setting, if she prefers or must.
During the live television interview, Dr. Dao was giving an overview of how the system works. When she connected to the pump’s tubing, Gonzales asked, “Should I turn it on?” Dr. Dao replied, “You could!” So she did – possibly making history for both of them. The Freemie was just unveiled late this summer but has already been described as “brilliant” by medical professionals.
In preparation for the live interview, Gonzales, who has a baby at home, pumped with the Freemie system and collected milk on camera while reviewing it for the TV show’s internet audience. She enthusiastically concluded, “It works!”

Video of woman pumping on live tv

Baby Formula Study a Marketing Cover, Researchers Say
Doctors Say Breast Milk Still Tops, Despite Study Finding a Formula Raises IQ
ABC News Medical Unit
Sept. 15, 2009

A new study shows benefits in adding the omega-3 fatty acid, DHA to infant formula, but breast-feeding experts say they will still advocate a more natural source of DHA: breast milk.

A woman is shown breast-feeding her child, left, and another giving her baby a bottle with formula, in these file photos.
(Getty Images)
The study, appearing in the journal Child Development, indicates that infants receiving formula supplemented with DHA performed better on a cognitive test than infants who were given formula without it. DHA occurs naturally in breast milk.
But while doctors say the evidence may support formula containing a DHA supplement over formula without one, they are concerned that the study may be the first test toward marketing a replacement for breast milk. The formula used in the study was provided to the researchers by a manufacturing company for free.
One pediatrician notes that in her own practice, some mothers are convinced that formula with DHA can be superior to breast milk.
“The marketing has actually dissuaded mothers from choosing exclusive breast-feeding, which is preferred from all the outcomes that we understand,” said Dr. Lori Feldman-Winter, a pediatrician with Cooper University Hospital in Camden, N.J.
She noted that simply adding DHA — while it may top other infant formula — would not make it superior to breast milk.
“There are many other factors in human milk that also support neurocognitive development and visual acuity,” said Feldman-Winter.
And she was not alone in her skepticism for the apparent reasons behind the study.
“It is clear that the food industry fascination with nutraceuticals (strategically fortified food products) is now spreading into infant formula,” said Barbara Moore, president and CEO of Shape Up America!, in an e-mail to ABCNews.com. “This is a disturbing new development. We have parents thinking that sticking their tiny infants in front of a Baby Einstein video will improve their child’s mental development when the data suggest that parent-child interactions (and plenty of them) are the most critical factor for such development. Moore said in the e-mail. “Now parents will be encouraged to forego breast-feeding — which is optimal for both mothers and babies — in favor of a hyped up infant formula.”
Breast milk has other benefits not related to mental development, Moore said. “Breast-feeding confers protection against infection, including viral infections, and the CDC promotes breast-feeding to confer maximal protection against swine flu and other infections.”
Rosin said that after having her third child, she looked at evidence for breast-feeding and did not find it to be as strong as she would have believed. Despite the fact that she herself continues to breast-feed her third child — “I actually don’t hate it,” she told ABCNews.com, countering assumptions many reading her article had made — she has received a backlash of comments criticizing her, including some from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Action Over Substance
Rosin said the mistake breast-feeding proponents made was focusing on the substance, rather than the act.
“The formula companies tend to advertise their formulas by saying as close to breast milk as possible,” she said. “Everyone accepts that breast milk is the standard.”
Adding DHA would just be the latest attempt to supplement formula by adding a substance from breast milk.

“By turning breast milk into a magic vaccine, the breast milk people made themselves vulnerable to that,” said Rosin.
Instead, Rosin said advocates would need to emphasize other parts of breast-feeding, such as spending time and cuddling with the infant, if they want to discourage choosing formula over breast milk.
“The formula companies can never say it’s just like breast-feeding,” she said.
Formulaic Infant Food
Dr. Miriam Labbok, a professor of public health at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, expressed some skepticism with the findings.
“It might be reasonable from these industry-funded studies to consider that this would be a good additive to formula if you are forced to stop breast-feeding,” she said in an e-mail. “However, 1) none of these studies compare to continued breast-feeding, 2) you could also get these [nutrients] from other sources if you stop breast-feeding, and 3) there are hundreds, if not thousands, of other components in human milk that cannot be replaced.”
Dr. Ruth Lawrence, a neonatologist at the University of Rochester Medical Center and the American Academy of Pediatrics pokeswoman on breast-feeding, said that DHA may contribute to better formula, but that won’t replace breast milk.
“The important point is not let mothers think it’s as good as their milk,” she said
James Drover, the study’s lead author, did not respond to a request from ABC News for comment.

Clijsters rewrites grand plan by winning U.S. Open
It was not part of Kim Clijsters’s grand plan, and that made her U.S. Open victory feel surreal to the Belgian.
“I can’t believe this happened,” the 26-year-old Clijsters told reporters following her grand slam triumph Sunday after taking more than two years off to start a family.
“It still seems so surreal that in my third tournament back I won my second grand slam.
“As a woman, I came to a stage in my life, too, where I wanted to get married. We wanted to start a family, and I was glad. I feel very lucky that I got this chance to be back here now and that I made that decision, because it’s obviously been a good choice.
“Being a mother is obviously my first priority and being a wife … I’m just very lucky that I’m able to combine both and that my family supports me in doing this.”
Clijsters said tennis was the furthest thing from her mind until she got an invitation to help unveil the new retractable roof over Center Court at Wimbledon.
“There were so many things going on with the wedding, and I was pregnant, and I was breastfeeding and everything. (I) didn’t get into the whole training routine until at the start of this year when I got the invitation to Wimbledon again.”


Breast-feeding mom, Obama speech top list
EDITOR’S NOTE: A story about a mother nursing her baby inside a local ice cream shop and another based on watching President Barack Obama deliver his nationally televised back-to-school address at Nashua High School South were popular this week among our online contributors.

HEADLINE: Breast-feeding mom asked to cover up gets much support

SUMMARY: Breast-feeding advocates are rallying behind an area woman who says she was asked to cover up or leave after she began nursing her infant daughter inside a local ice cream shop. The woman contacted the La Leche League and the Hillsborough County Holistic Moms group, complaining that while she and her family were sitting at a table inside Jake’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream, a manager harassed her for breast-feeding her 2-week-old baby.

HEADLINE: Obama speech yields reflection, few complaints

Factors to consider when you can’t breastfeed
Most expectant mothers assume they will breastfeed their babies, which may explain a recent Leger poll that revealed only 24 per cent of moms are concerned about how they will feed the new baby. In fact, among the top concerns for expectant moms, feeding the baby ranked at 20 per cent; labour and delivery at 80 per cent; life after the baby at 77 per cent, and sleepless nights at 56 per cent. The national survey showed that, in Alberta, moms were more concerned about which clothes to buy for their new baby than what to feed the infant.
The Leger poll also showed 38 per cent of moms thought all formulas were basically the same –a startling discovery for many clinicians, considering all the competition and marketing methods employed by various makers of baby formulas in an era known as the information age

Research Confirms Baby’s Cries Trigger Breastmilk Letdown

Hygeia II Medical Group has found new research showing what many breastfeeding moms already know: the sound of their crying baby can trigger milk letdown. Hygeia breastpumps feature a unique “cry button” which allows the mother to record her own baby crying, and then play back the sound before pumping so she can trigger the letdown.
Mothers tell us that the pump’s ability to ‘cry’ or play back other sounds is helpful for milk letdown and efficient breastpumping.

Carlsbad, California USA (PRWEB) September 11, 2009 — Hygeia II Medical Group has found new research showing what many breastfeeding moms already know: the sound of their crying baby can trigger milk letdown. Letdown or “milk ejection reflex” is critical for transfer of the breastmilk from the breastfeeding mother to baby. Conventional thinking has postulated that the baby’s suckling leads to the letdown, but this newly discovered study shows that the crying of the baby triggers a letdown in most mothers BEFORE suckling begins.

This paper was published by McNeilly, et. al. in the British Medical Journal. It demonstrates that the initial rise in maternal oxytocin, the hormone associated with birth and breastfeeding, is caused by cues from the baby such as crying, as opposed to actual suckling. This implies that baby’s cues are critical to milk letdown, and that the use of a crying stimulus may enhance breast pumping.
Hygeia breastpumps feature a “cry button” which allows the mother to record her own baby crying, and then play back the sound before pumping so she can trigger the letdown. This pump feature is called “C.A.R.E”., an acronym for Customized Audio Recording Experience.
Other pump companies have attempted to elicit milk letdown after pumping begins. Only Hygeia offers mothers a way to stimulate the milk letdown with auditory cues like crying before pumping begins. Hygeia CEO, John Estill says, “Mothers tell us that the pump’s ability to ‘cry’ or play back other sounds is helpful for milk letdown and efficient breastpumping.”
The study by McNeilly, along with other supporting documents, is available as free downloads on the website. http://www.hygeiababy.com/support.php

Healthy living and breastfeeding reduce cancer risk
Scientists have found eating healthily, drinking less alcohol, being active and breastfeeding their children reduces the risk of breast cancer for women.

Working mother’s breastfeeding ordeal
A WOMAN employed by the New South Wales Police Force was forced to work overtime for every minute she spent expressing breastmilk for her child.

The police intelligence analyst, who can only be identified as Sarah for security reasons, was also banned from using morning and afternoon tea breaks because they were “discretionary” and she was denied the use of accumulated leave.

Complaint documents obtained by The Daily Telegraph claim Sarah’s repeated requests for hours that suited her childcare needs were rejected and she had to record the time spent expressing milk at work on her timesheet.

NSW Police Boss Involved in Breastfeeding Ban is a Woman
The New South Wales Police boss, who forced a breastfeeding
mum to work overtime for every minute she spent expressing milk, has been reported to be a woman.

The revelation came as Women’s Minister Verity Firth told all public service agencies to review practices to ensure they were providing support to breastfeeding mums.

The female sergeant told her civilian employee that she was not entitled to paid breaks, and denied her access to a private room, all in violation of an official State Government policy that is ignored throughout almost all of the public service.

However, it is suspected that the woman officer may have been overcompensating to fit into a blokey culture, with experts likening aggressive women in uniform to “religious converts”.

Feminist Eva Cox said the sergeant herself was probably the victim of a male-dominated culture, suggesting that she was trying so hard to fit in that she was tougher on women than her male colleagues.

“The women who get up through the system are the women who are really supportive of the system – they’re like religious converts,” the Daily Telegraph quoted Cox as saying.
“They’re scared to behave in any way soft or feminine and it makes them harder on other women than blokes,” she stated.

However, NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Mark Jenkins said that both genders were always treated equally in the Force.

“Police who rise up through the ranks of the NSW Police Force do so because they are the best people for the job. Gender is irrelevant,” he said.

NSW Police is now developing a new breastfeeding policy, and is taking steps to address the employee’s complaints – including a request that all the overtime she worked be reinstated.

The Public Service
Association has lodged an action in the IRC seeking to enforce the Government’s
12-year-old policy supporting new mums


Breastfeeding proves difficult for CSUF mothers
The first day of school for Sirena Ramirez proved to be filled with long hours and pain as she struggled to find a designated area at Cal State Fullerton to utilize her breast pump.
Ramirez, 28, a senior at CSUF and a public administration major, is the mother of an eight-month-old son, and she spends eight hours a day on campus. She was quick to find out that pumping her breast milk while on campus would be a more difficult task than she had anticipated. Ramirez called the Disabled Student’s Center and the Health Center inquiring if there were any facilities on campus that they knew of where she could use her pump. With no luck, she was directed to the Children’s Center.
Although the Children’s Center accommodates breast-feeding mothers with a room with rocking chairs, there are no proper outlets available for the breast pump. However, Ramirez was offered to use the men’s restroom inside the center where there is no proper place for her to sit, and where there may or may not have been a proper lock for privacy.
“What was I supposed to do,” said Ramirez, “Sit in the stall and pump the milk?”
She was also offered a source of ‘privacy’ by putting a chair in front of the restroom door.
“It was a little bit discouraging,” said Ramirez, “I was kind of upset because the school can accommodate someone with learning disabilities but can’t accommodate me for 15 minutes.”
After being given the run-around on the telephone, Ramirez reached out to her former professor, Pamela Fiber-Ostrow, who is the assistant professor for political science, for help. Fiber-Ostrow, who has a 17-month-old son herself, understood the physical pain Ramirez was experiencing, so she took sympathy on the student’s situation.
“I just want to be able to go and ask a question and be sent to the right place,” said Ramirez.
Fiber-Ostrow offered Ramirez her office as a private and safe space, but with conflicting schedules, she instead looked into the Women’s Center on campus. When that didn’t work, Fiber-Ostrow reached out to other faculty mothers who lent leads on other avenues of help for Ramirez.
“I think … as new moms who breastfed, we have a better understanding of the physical pain of not being able to express milk and needing to pump,” said Fiber-Ostrow.
The problem was addressed within 24 hours once Ramirez got in contact with the Dean of Students, Kandy Mink Salas, Fiber-Ostrow said.
“I think there needs to be a more permanent and generally available option for students,” Fiber-Ostrow said.
A more general and permanent option would be helpful since Ramirez hasn’t been the only student-mother on campus that inquired about this matter. Fiber-Ostrow isn’t the only faculty member that believes there should be a solution in this matter for the students either.
Betsy Gibbs, the director of the Children’s Center, said, “I really see this as something the students, faculty and staff should work on to find a solution.”
Gibbs added that she believes that faculty members should lobby for the notion as well since the matter affects them just as much, if not more, than students.
In regards to the importance of benefiting the students of CSUF, Salas was able to step in and quickly find a private office on campus for Ramirez.
“(If there is) any student that needs help and wants to facilitate their education, we will find a place to accommodate them,” said Salas.
As far as some of the established resources CSUF has, Salas and other faculty members don’t see the Health Center, in particular, as an ideal place. The brand new mothers that are breast-feeding or using the breast pump need to be exercising these processes in a more sanitary environment, and with ill students in and out of the Health Center, that could pose possible infection.
However, Salas encourages students with similar issues as Ramirez, or other unresolved complications, to reach out to her for help.

Mongolia : Breastfeeding in the land of Genghis Kahn
In Mongolia, there’s an oft-quoted saying that the best wrestlers are breastfed for at least six years – a serious endorsement in a country where wrestling is the national sport. I moved to Mongolia when my first child was four months old, and lived there until he was three.

Raising my son during those early years in a place where attitudes to breastfeeding are so dramatically different from prevailing norms in North America opened my eyes to an entirely different vision of how it all could be. Not only do Mongolians breast feed for a long time, they do so with more enthusiasm and less inhibition than nearly anyone else I’ve met. In Mongolia, breastmilk is not just for babies, it’s not only about nutrition, and it’s definitely not something you need to be discreet about. It’s the stuff Genghis Khan was made of.
When I walked through the market cradling my feeding son in my arms, vendors would make a space for me at their stalls and tell him to drink up. Instead of looking away, people would lean right in and kiss Calum on the cheek. If he popped off in response to the attention and left my streaming breast completely exposed, not a beat was missed. No one stared, no one looked away – they just laughed and wiped the milk off their noses.
But if weaning means never drinking breastmilk again, then Mongolians are never truly weaned – and here’s what surprised me most about breastfeeding in Mongolia. If a woman’s breasts are engorged and her baby is not at hand, she will simply go around and ask a family member, of any age or sex, if they’d like a drink. Often a woman will express a bowlful for her husband as a treat, or leave some in the fridge for anyone to help themselves.
While we’ve all tasted our own breastmilk, given some to our partners to try, maybe used a bit in the coffee in an emergency – haven’t we? – I don’t think many of us have actually drunk it very often. But every Mongolian I ever asked told me that he or she liked breastmilk. The value of breastmilk is so celebrated, so firmly entrenched in their culture, that it’s not considered something that’s only for babies. Breastmilk is commonly used medicinally, given to the elderly as a cure-all, and used to treat eye infections, as well as to (reportedly) make the white of the eye whiter and deepen the brown of the iris.

But mostly, I think, Mongolians drink breastmilk because they like the taste. A western friend of mine who pumped breastmilk while at work and left the bottle in the company fridge one day found it half empty. She laughed. “Only in Mongolia would I suspect my colleagues of drinking my breastmilk!”


Filed under breastfeeding, Breastfeeding in the News, the curious lactivist, Uncategorized

Breastfeeding in the News: July 18 – July 24th, 2009

Hello All,

Sorry for the delay this week.  I just got back from Rhode Island where I made a tour of their three Baby Friendly Hospitals (I’m preparing to do a lecture on Baby Friendly Hospitals in New England).  It was amazing to see how the perseverance of just a handful of women made such a lasting impact not only in their own hospitals but in the state.  Rhode Island now hopes to be the first state in the country to be completely Baby Friendly!

Speaking of Baby Friendly the New York State Senate just passed a “Breastfeeding Mother’s Rights Bill along those same lines.  Washington State just beefed up their breastfeeding in public laws and are now passing out wallet sized cards telling mothers of their rights in order to diffuse any conflict between mothers and businesses.  (The Massachusetts Breastfeeding Coalition also has “License to Breastfeed” cards.) Too bad the mother in the New York IKEA store didn’t have a card like that.  Not only was she told to feed her baby in the bathroom, when she left the store the security guards insisted on checking her receipts to make sure she hadn’t stolen anything (talk about adding insult to injury).

On a happier note, Consumer Reports has just endorsed breastfeeding as a way to save $2,000 a year.  They also ripped the formula companies for charging higher prices as compared with the discount brands found at bargain outlets.  By the way, one of the Baby Friendly hospitals I visited reported that said that even though the doctors there had protested the idea of buying their own formula, because their breastfeeding rates are so high now they only spend $ 500 a year on formula (that’s $ 3 dollars a case – wholesale). 

There were a few anecdotal reports: a mother was diagnosed with Reynaud’s via photo’s she sent to her doc from her phone’s camera (why he couldn’t figure it out from her list of symptoms I’m not sure), another mother says her two year old was spared the swine flu because of the immunities in her breast milk, and a shy male came to defense of breastfeeding in public in Canada with a unique solution – temporary booths like the kind they set up during tax season.  Bravo to him for this thoughtful idea.  Isn’t this one of our main goals – to get the disinterested single male to care about this issue?  Also in England the demise of newspapers is reportedly being held at bay by (among other things) photos of babies breastfeeding on the front page!

The debate over whether or not the attention to breastfeeding is causing a lack of support for bottle feeding mothers continues to rage in England and is spilling over here (see the NY Times article).  In England breastfeeding activists are getting hit from all sides.  “Dr Michele Crossley, a psychologist at the University of Manchester, has just published a paper entitled Breastfeeding As a Moral Imperative, which concludes that “far from being an ’empowering’ act, breastfeeding may have become more of a ‘normalised’ moral imperative that many women experience as anything but liberational“.” Even worst than the barbs from psychologists is the attack from the English midwives, Sue Battersby, a researcher and lecturer in midwifery, will argue that we need to start supporting women who use formula. “Mothers who formula-feed are treated like second-class citizens,” she says.  Rather than trying to decide who needs more support bottle or breastfeeding mothers, wouldn’t it be better to acknowledge that all mothers need a hell of a lot more support than they are getting?

But don’t depair, I have saved the best news for last.  Here in the U.S. the Joint Commission has just ruled that it will now “requires hospitals to report the rate of exclusive breastfeeding among mothers who intend to breastfeed. The measure does not affect women who do not plan to breastfeed.”  Hospitals will now have to start documenting all supplementation of breastfed babies, which means they actually have to start paying attention to the issue!  Three cheers for the Joint Commission!!!

And one last matter – I just want to point out that the excerpts below are just that – excerpts – to read the full article click  (or paste) the link. 

Kathy Abbott, IBCLC


My Blog:  http://TheCuriousLactivist.wordpress.com/

on Facebook: Breastfeeding in the News 


The new law, which takes effect S

Breast-feeding a civil right under new Wash. law

unday, builds on a 2001 law that exempted breast-feeding from public indecency laws. But until now, nothing prevented businesses from asking women to leave or to cover up while breast-feeding

Rep. Tami Green, the Tacoma Democrat who sponsored the bill, said the new law will help “jump start the culture of change.”

“Women should feel as comfortable to sit down and breast-feed their child as they would be pulling a bottle out of the diaper bag,” she said.

Laura Lindstrand, a civil rights specialist with the state’s Human Rights Commission, said the agency plans to make wallet cards with information on the new law that women can carry with them.

If a woman is asked to leave or cover up because she’s breast-feeding, Lindstrand said the expectation is that once a woman shows the card, “we’re hoping that will diffuse the situation at that point.”


IKEA Sends Mother and Infant to Bathroom to Breastfeed

The IKEA in Red Hook, Brooklyn is the latest retail establishment that needs reminding: Yes, women have the right to breastfeed their infants in public. No, you cannot banish them to the restroom. Yes, people will get angry when word gets out.

On Wednesday I was in IKEA Red Hook in the middle of breastfeeding, fully covered, when I was told I had to stop doing “that” and go to the nearby family bathroom. The IKEA employee and security guards were extremely rude to us. I was hustled off to the bathroom and then had to wait because someone else was using it. I was humiliated, my daughter was upset from being interrupted in the middle of her feed. When eventually I gave up and headed for the car to finish feeding, the security guards who had seen the entire event insisted on checking my receipts. I’m putting together a formal complaint to IKEA. I was wondering if this has happened to anyone else?



Doctors Diagnose Nipple Pain with Camera Phone

Taking photographs or video of unusual symptoms on an ordinary camera phone can help doctors diagnose uncommon problems, say researchers in an article published on bmj.com today. For example, doctors in Norway describe the case of a 25 year old pregnant woman who reported frequent episodes of severe nipple pain.

The pain came whenever her fingers, toes or nipples got cold, such as when walking barefoot on a cold floor or taking a shower, and typically lasted between five and 15 minutes and was so painful as to bring her to tears.

She presented three photographs from her camera phone showing the colour changes of a typical episode.

With the help of these photographs, doctors diagnosed Raynaud’s phenomenon of the nipple. The patient was given treatment, her symptoms completely resolved within one week, and she was able to continue breastfeeding with no side effects.


In Support of Bottle Feeding :  New York Times

A review of breastfeeding data by researchers at the University of Cambridge concludes that the increased attention to Breastfeeding Moms – more support and time from midwives and pediatricians, more web advice – means a corresponding lack of information and support for Bottle Feeding Moms. And since the majority of infants (even those who are primarily breastfed) will receive some formula during their first year, it makes medical sense to pay some attention — with information on how often and how much to bottle feed, how to sanitize bottles and prepare formula — to the mechanics of bottle feeding.


Breastfeeding moms need quiet space to do their job

As I am a shy guy, if the mom sees I had an unintentional “peek,”it makes me feel rather low! Usually, this is the point of no return and I sit at the very edge of the opposite side of the bench and look the other way. If I turn and leave, I feel rude. If I stay, I want to make certain that mom will feel secure that I don’t mean to intrude or invade her personal space. My only issue I have is the feeling of extreme embarrassment. I don’t know why. Invasion of her privacy? There have been a few times I would apologize to the mother, and begin to move away, but would feel slightly better after receiving a positive reply.

How difficult would it be to have some office dividers and some comfortable chairs in a few locations throughout the public area?

This would be similar to tax season where you see the temporary offices setup for filing your taxes, but much smaller and containing a minimum of two chairs. This would be very easy to implement, and give a clean and private place to feed. Place a “breastfeeding friendly” sign with a picture of a breastfeeding mom and child with a green circle around it. Just another thing for people to complain about.

Andrew Caras


HIV Drugs Provide Breast-Fed Babies With Some Protection

Treating infected mothers, giving meds to infant both beneficial in African study

The researchers found that giving daily antiretroviral syrup to breast-feeding infants or putting their HIV-infected mothers on highly active antiretroviral drugs significantly lowered the child’s chances of contracting the virus that causes AIDS. The chance of a mother with HIV transmitting the virus through breast-feeding is about one in five.


The breastfeeding debate is not a war between women

Hyping up a “war” between women doesn’t help. The real “enemies” here are not other women (whether midwives, or mothers who do breastfeed), but a society which fails to value and support this skill and the commercial manufacturers of formula who aggressively market a product which even they admit is inferior to the real thing.


A British Lesson for American Media: Just Say No to Boring

Indeed, yesterday’s Times of London free-standing features section (Times2) grabbed me by the nipples with a full-page close-up shot of a baby breastfeeding (one can envision dyspeptic U.S. editors holding multiple meetings just on the image), then made a strong case (not entirely new) that women worldwide are conned by the purported benefits of breastfeeding. The supposed ills of formula-feeding (fatter, dumber, more diabetic kids, etc.) is folderol, this argued, with some very solid questions raised about the premises of many breastfeeding studies.


“The problem with the studies is that it is very hard to separate the benefits of the mother’s milk from the benefits of the kind of mother who chooses to breastfeed. In the U K, for example, the highest class of women is 60 percent more likely to breastfeed than the lowest, so it is not surprising that research shows that breastfed infants display all the health and educational benefits they were born into.


“In other words, breastfeeding studies could simply be showing what it’s like to grow up in a family that makes an effort to be healthy and responsible, as opposed to anything positive in breast milk.”


Consumer Reports Best Baby Products Book Recommends Parents Breastfeed and Buy Store-Brand Baby Formula

For more than a year now, Consumer Reports has been urging parents to save money on baby formula by purchasing store brands at retailers such as Walmart, Sam’s Club, Target, Kroger, CVS, Babies R’ Us, and Walgreens. In a recent blog posting, the publisher announced the availability of the new 10th edition Consumer Reports Best Baby Products, available in its online bookstore* and in bookstores nationwide. The guide offers a number of ways to “save money on baby stuff,” including recommendations to breastfeed and buy store-brand formula:

“Breast-feed if you can. It’ll save you $2,000 a year, the money you’d spend on infant formula.”

Consumer Reports recommends** buying store-brand formulas because they are nutritionally comparable to Enfamil(R) LIPIL(R) and other name-brand formulas:

“We found that the store brand of formula at a local Wal-Mart (Parent’s Choice) cost 50 percent less per ounce than a leading national brand (Enfamil). According to the FDA, all formula marketed in the United States must meet the same nutrient specifications, which are set at levels to fulfill the needs of infants.”


Exposing the myths of breastfeeding

Mothers are constantly urged to breastfeed yet there is little evidence to suggest that it is better than formula milk

Formula-fed babies are fatter, more stupid, more diabetic, they have more asthma, eczema, and chest and ear infections, to name but a few of their misfortunes listed in the NHS leaflets I was given repeatedly when pregnant last year.

Confused, I decided I needed to talk to the person acknowledged as one of the world’s most authoritative sources of breastfeeding research: Michael Kramer, professor of paediatrics at McGill University, Montreal.

So, with my NHS leaflet in hand, I put its list of health benefits to Kramer. Does breastfeeding reduce a child’s risk of obesity? “The evidence is weak”, he says. Allergies? “Weak.” Asthma? “Weak.”

“There is very little evidence that it reduces the risk of leukaemia, lymphoma, bowel disease, type 1 diabetes, heart disease, blood pressure . . .”

That was nearly everything crossed off. What about maternal benefits? The NHS told me that it would protect me against breast and ovarian cancer, and osteoporosis. “The breast cancer data is pretty solid, but on ovarian cancer and osteoporosis it is far iffier.”

The WHO pointed me to a review of the research it conducted in 2007. When I looked at this, it concluded that the long-term gains of breastfeeding were mostly “relatively modest”, and also warned that because none of the studies it looked at dealt with the problem of confounding, the results could be explained by the “self-selection of breastfeeding mothers”.

What does it really matter, though, if “breast is best” is a catchier slogan than “breast is probably only a bit better”? If claims are exaggerated, if women aren’t trusted with the truth, what’s the harm? I put this to Wolf.

“People never say ‘don’t take your baby on a car journey’, even though the risk of a car accident is far greater than not breastfeeding. But when it comes to a mother’s time, nothing we can ask is too much.

“Let’s think about what would happen if we asked fathers to do this, if there were somehow evidence that babies who are looked after by their fathers at home for six months do better. We would see a lot more critiquing of the science, a lot more people saying the benefit is marginal, a greater reluctance to offer the advice.”


Swine Flu

Breastfeeding ‘saved my daughter’

A breastfeeding mother who contracted swine flu, together with her husband and their eldest daughter, believes her youngest child was spared the virus because she was breast fed.

Rosemarie Azzopardi said that when she got sick and took antiviral drugs she decided to keep breastfeeding her two-and-a-half year old daughter and, that way, transmitted her immunity to the child.

“People sometimes pass comments because I still breastfeed but, this way, I helped my daughter who falls within the vulnerable group of potential swine flu victims,” she said, taking the opportunity to advocate the importance of breastfeeding.

She was diagnosed on July 5 after catching the flu from her husband who had just returned from Spain with his friends. When she realised her husband had it she was particularly worried about her two young daughters. And when the health authorities confirmed she too had caught it, she locked herself in a room for fear of transmitting the virus to the children.

Her health improved within three days of being administered antivirals. Her eight-year-old also got the flu and is fine today while her youngest was spared thanks to her breast milk, she believes.


Let the breastfeeding rebellion begin

Now academics both here and in the US are starting to ask whether the pressure on women to breastfeed is becoming counterproductive. At a seminar at Aston University later this year, Sue Battersby, a researcher and lecturer in midwifery, will argue that we need to start supporting women who use formula. “Mothers who formula-feed are treated like second-class citizens,” she says

Dr Michele Crossley, a psychologist at the University of Manchester, has just published a paper entitled Breastfeeding As a Moral Imperative, which concludes that “far from being an ’empowering’ act, breastfeeding may have become more of a ‘normalised’ moral imperative that many women experience as anything but liberational”.

Even breastfeeding promoters are concerned. Pam Lacey, chair of the Association of Breastfeeding Mothers, says: “We have women phoning up all the time saying, ‘I can’t do this. I’m a terrible mother.’ We don’t want mothers to feel guilty if they don’t do it. It’s the system that has failed them by failing to support them.”

A British academic who is currently researching breastfeeding and maternal identity says: “It has become a war. ‘Did you breastfeed? What kind of person are you?’ It has become an index of your capacity as a mother.” She would only speak anonymously because she is concerned about attacks from the pro-breastfeeding lobby. “Breastfeeding has become so strongly tied to what it means to be a good mother. There is no space to say, ‘It didn’t work for me’.”

Both here and in the US very few mothers are entirely comfortable about their breastfeeding decisions and many admit they wish they didn’t have to do it. Some see the promotion of breastfeeding as part of the problem.


New York Senate passes bills to expand health care, new moms’ rights

Provide women with more information and education about the health benefits of breastfeeding. The Breastfeeding Mothers’ Bill of Rights would require that new mothers be informed of breastfeeding options before they deliver, during their hospital stay and after they go home. While in the hospital, they would have 24-access to their baby to breastfeed, and the infant could not be given a bottle without the mother’s consent. The bill would ban companies that make and sell formula from pressuring new mothers in hospitals. 


National Hospital Inpatient Quality Measures- Perinatal Care Core Measure Set

UPDATE JULY 2009: In late 2007, The Joint Commission’s Board of Commissioners recommended retiring and replacing the Pregnancy and Related Conditions (PR) measure set with an expanded set of evidenced-based measures. A technical advisory panel (TAP) comprising experts in the perinatal care field was convened in February 2009 to select the replacement set of measures from among those endorsed for national use by the National Quality Forum.  This expanded measure set, now referred to as Perinatal Care (PC) comprises the following measures.

This expanded measure set, now referred to as Perinatal Care (PC) comprises the following measures.

  • Elective deliveries
  • Cesarean sections
  • Antenatal steroids
  • Health care–associated bloodstream infections in newborns
  • Exclusive breast milk feeding

Refinement of measure specifications has begun and will continue through most of 2009.  It is anticipated the PC measure set will be available for implementation by Joint Commission listed vendors by October 1, 2009 to support hospitals’ data collection beginning with April 1, 2010 discharges.  If you have any questions about this measure set, please submit your question online.


Joint Commission approves breastfeeding measure

The new measure, which is part of the Joint Commission’s new Perinatal Care measure set, requires hospitals to report the rate of exclusive breastfeeding among mothers who intend to breastfeed. The measure does not affect women who do not plan to breastfeed.

The exclusive breastfeeding measure was pioneered as part of a quality improvement effort in California, where public health officials found huge differences in exclusive breastfeeding rates from hospital to hospital. In some cases, nearly all breastfed infants were being supplemented with formula. In the top ranked hospitals, including San Francisco General Hospital, fewer than 10% of breastfed infants received supplements. Public reporting of differences in formula use has led hospitals to review their routines and improve quality of care.



Leave a comment

Filed under breastfeeding, Breastfeeding in the News, lactivist

Breastfeeding in the News: July 11th – July 17th, 2009

Hello All,

I came across some really interesting articles this week.  For you scientist types there are two fascinating studies.  One explains why the hind milk is so much fattier.  It’s not that the milk fat globules (MFG) are bigger; instead as the breast empties more milk fat globules (MFG) are released which then increases the fat content. 

The other study is a great look at different foreign chemicals (dioxin, PCB’s, pesticides. etc.) in breast milk and how for some mothers certain chemicals increased over the course of lactation while in other mothers the same chemical decreased. (For you geeks who love this stuff see the story I’ve marked as the “actual study”.)  The authors stated that the trend of the chemical concentration is mother-dependent and does not appear to be related to her initial concentration.” Meaning that no matter how many chemicals a mother’s body has absorbed over a life time other factors influence how much of it gets into your breast milk.   One of those factors may be diet, but it is “a complex issue as one food group that may contain higher levels of one class of the persistent chemicals (e.g., PCBs in fish) might be replaced with another food group containing other chemicals that may be transferred to breast milk (e.g., dioxins in dairy products).” 

These authors also mention another study that shows that different chemicals are attracted to different tissues.  For example, they found “relative concentrations of PCDD TEQs in the following maternal compartments: placenta > maternal blood > breast milk > adipose tissue > cord blood. For PCDFs, a different order was observed: placenta > maternal blood > cord blood > breast milk > adipose tissue. The authors suggest that different chemical groups may have different affinities for specific tissue types” The molecular weight of individual chemicals may determine which areas of the body they like are most likely to leak over into first.  But for us it is important to remember that like it or not, our baby’s first exposure to chemicals actually occurred in utero.

For you advocates there is a terrific story of a 13 year old girl who won a school contest for the best slogan (“The Best Milk’s Under Your T-Shirt, Mam”) to promote breast feeding to young mothers.  I love this story because it 1) it shows an easy way to get into the school system, & 2) it targets teen moms.  Also interesting was the story I found in an advertising journal that looked at why the famous mechanical bull ads missed the mark. 

I was also glad to see breastfeeding being mentioned as a preventive measure in both a Diabetes journal and in a Nursing journal.  This happy trend shows that the word is finally spreading to specific target groups (now if we can only get the breast cancer people on board – that’s where all the money is!).  But I was unhappy with an article that started out by saying that the decision to breast or bottle feed is a choice that all mothers are “forced to make”.  This is not “Sophie’s Choice” people, forced seems like much too harsh a word here. 

And while we’re talking about bottle feeding you may be surprised to learn that the push by health care professionals to get women to breastfeed is now being blamed for putting bottle fed babies at risk!    “NHS’ obsession with breastfeeding is putting bottle fed babies at risk. Although it is true that more instruction needs to be given on how to use formula safely (Marsha Walker has been saying this for years!), to actually blame the breastfeeding movement for babies who have been scalded by formula heated in a microwave is ridiculous! 

That’s it for this week.  And as always I love hearing back from you.

Kathy Abbott, IBCLC



Path to Good Health Includes Breastfeeding Your Baby, Avoiding Pesticides, and Eating a Mediterranean Diet (Diabetes Health)


Breastfeeding: Chemical Concentrations Do Not Decrease During Lactation

ScienceDaily (July 16, 2009)

A new study suggests that lipid-adjusted concentrations of polybrominated diphenyl ethers, polychlorinated biphenyls, polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and furans and organochlorine pesticides in women’s blood serum and milk do not decrease during lactation as previously thought. This new insight should improve researchers’ ability to assess infant exposures to environmental chemicals via breastfeeding.

This new finding also challenges the idea that early milk should be pumped and discarded as a means of reducing infant exposure to persistent organic pollutants, which can accumulate in a mother’s fat stores over her lifetime and be mobilized during lactation


Do Human Milk Concentrations of Persistent Organic Chemicals Really Decline During Lactation?

Chemical Concentrations During Lactation and Milk/Serum Partitioning (The actual study – k.a.)

If current diet is a signficant source of persistent environmental chemicals in breast milk,

this implies that new mothers may be able to take actions that could reduce infant

exposure. However, this is a complex issue as one food group that may contain higher

levels of one class of the persistent chemicals (e.g., PCBs in fish) might be replaced with

another food group containing other chemicals that may be transferred to breast milk (e.g.,

dioxins in dairy products). Further study focusing on measurements of chemicals in diet

and changes in milk concentration is warranted before specific dietary advice can be given.


Working off the baby fat

The mothers who say they got back down to a size 2 just by breastfeeding. Only after having a baby of my own, did I realize that they were all full of crap.

Tucker is now almost eleven months old and although I eventually lost all of my baby weight, I can assure you it wasn’t from breastfeeding nor did it just fall off. I had to hit the pavement and sweat off every last stubborn pound. And the one thing you’ll never hear from those celebrity moms, is that you can get back down to your pre-baby weight, but you will never get back the same body you had before you became pregnant. Even though it didn’t come easy, I’ve come to terms with my wider hips, stretch marks, and saggier boobs. In fact, I’ve even begun to embrace them as badges of honor for bringing a new life into the world. And I bet you that under all the airbrushing and expensive girdles, those celeb mommies probably have a stretch mark or two of their own.


Tiffany’s designs drive home breastfeeding message

Teenager Tiffany Warriner has an eye for style and her T-shirt featuring the slogan The Best Milk’s Under Your T-shirt, Mam has been used in a city breatfeeding campaign.

The 13-year-old impressed health bosses with her witty and original design, and used the T-shirt to encourage more Sunderland mums to feed their babies themselves as part of National Breastfeeding Week.

Tiffany and a couple of friends came up with the slogan – The Best Milk’s Under Your T-shirt, Mam – during a holiday club at the school.

They met up to design T-shirts and at the request of school nurse Julie Reay, looked at how the NHS could raise awareness of breastfeeding to mothers under 25.


Mums who bottle feed ‘not given safety advice’ 

Health campaigns have stressed the benefits of breastfeeding, but new research says that lack of support for mothers who bottle feed can lead to feelings of guilt or failure. Some parents may make dangerous mistakes when preparing formula milk, because they haven’t been given information about how to bottle feed safely.

What does the new study say?

When asked in surveys, many mothers said they felt guilty for not breastfeeding, and for taking into account their own needs. About 44 percent said they were made to feel guilty for choosing to bottle feed.

Lack of information led to some potentially dangerous mistakes. A study from the United States found that a third of mothers made up formula milk with warm water from the tap, instead of using boiled water. A study from the UK found that only around half of women prepared formula according to the instructions.

The researchers also found surveys showing that between 20 and 48 percent of mothers heated bottles of formula in a microwave. This isn’t recommended, as microwaves heat liquids unevenly, leading to hotspots which could burn the baby.


NHS’ obsession with breastfeeding is putting bottle fed babies at risk.


Momfidence: Breastfeeding in a Public Pool: Necessary or Over the Top?

I’m not allowed to eat chips and salsa or a club sandwich between laps, so why should a mom be allowed to breastfeed in a public pool? There’s been a big debate about this in Canada with a bunch of mothers staging a protest.   –Shelley J

It’s a wonder breastfeeding rates are as high as they are (not all that high), given how often the act is confused with other things. Breastfeeding isn’t snacking in the messy sense of crumbs, wrappers, silverware; it’s 24/7 sustenance. Breastfeeding isn’t any more a private bodily function than any other kind of eating. Breastfeeding isn’t exhibitionism. It’s not an unusual event. It’s just a natural part of rearing a baby.


Breastfeeding reduces risk of childhood asthma (NursingTimes.net)

Breastfed children are less likely to develop childhood asthma, according to a Dutch study.

The authors found that children who were breast fed for more than 16 weeks were less likely to have asthma symptoms between the ages of three and eight than those who were not breast fed.

This is the conclusion of a study involving 3115 children born in 1996/1997.

The association between breastfeeding and asthma risk was not affected by a family history of allergy.


How Change Happens

Also, advertising can’t create behavior change if the audience cannot act on the message. All the anti-obesity advertising in the world won’t impact the people of downtown Detroit where there are currently few if any supermarkets with healthy foods. Similarly, the Department of Health and Human Services ran ads telling mothers that not breastfeeding was as dangerous to their baby as riding a mechanical bull when pregnant. Not effective for many moms. More than 85 percent of mothers already know breastfeeding is best, but more than 60 percent have to go back to work in workplaces that don’t accommodate it. In both cases communications has to target something more causal to the behavior than the behavior itself — the environments that either help or hinder change.


Breastfeeding deserves support

We were at a restaurant for dinner and noticed a mother breastfeeding at a table nearby. We overheard another customer comment on how inappropriate it was and observed customers giving the breastfeeding mother unpleasant looks.

As nursing students, we have learned the importance of breastfeeding and were shocked at the customers’ reaction to this natural phenomenon. This situation led us to examine the issue of breastfeeding and voice our perspective.

The World Health Organization (WHO), the Canadian Pediatric Society and the Public Health Agency of Canada recommend that all infants be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life and that breastfeeding continue up to two years of age and beyond. As a nation, we have an impressive breastfeeding initiation rate of 84.5 per cent; however, the continuation rate of breastfeeding drops to 18.7 per cent within the first six months of breastfeeding initiation.

Statistics Canada shows that British Columbians have a breastfeeding initiation rate of 93.3 per cent (the national high), but only 28.8 per cent of women exclusively breastfed for the suggested six-month period, many stopping within the first few weeks after birth.


Baby Cafe helps breastfeeding mothers
EL PASO – Choosing to breastfeed or not is a decision all new mothers are forced to make.

Many moms want to do it but are afraid it will hurt; others have problems with technique.

There’s a group of El Paso women dedicated to helping new mothers, and how they’re doing it sets us apart from nearly every other city in the country.

The Baby Café in Central El Paso is run by lactation consultants and breastfeeding experts ready to help new moms take on the sometimes difficult task.


Is increased fat content of hindmilk due to the size or the number of milk fat globules? (International Breastfeeding Journal)


The results indicate that the increase in fat content results mainly from the increased number of MFGs, which may be released into the milk flow as the mammary lobe becomes progressively emptied.


Is breastfeeding advocacy anti-feminist? An essay by Katherine A. Dettwyler


Leave a comment

Filed under breastfeeding, Breastfeeding in the News, lactivist, Uncategorized