Tag Archives: breastfeeding advocacy

Breastfeeding in the News: April 13th – 20th, 2010

Breastfeeding could save the US $13 billion dollars, US employers must now provide women with time and space to express their milk, even the new Adam Sandler flick features a four 48 month old child breastfeeding; it all sounds good, and then we find out that Enfamil now has a new flavored formula – chocolate, created especially for toddlers, and suddenly I want to crawl back into bed again. 

Melissa Bartick (chair of the Massachusetts Breastfeeding Coalition) had an impressive study published in Pediatrics recently.  Her figures show that in addition to saving the US $13 billion dollars in health care costs over 900 lives could be saved as well if breastfeeding rates were to meet US recommendations.  Her follow up article (“Peaceful Revolution”) calls for women to feel anger (rather than guilt) for the lack of support they receive.  Amie Newman however believes that it will take more than public policy and knowing about health care cost to get women on board.  Using herself as an example, she nursed her first child for a few days and her second for three years.  The only thing that had changed was her frame of mind.  While visiting Vermont’s only “Baby Friendly” hospital recently I had a conversation with their Lactation Consultant Terry Donofrio voiced similar concerns.  “It used to be that women chose breastfeeding as a lifestyle.  Today they choose it for health reasons but they don’t have the lifestyle to accommodate it,” says Terry.  I have to agree.   Having to go back to work before your baby has even started solids is not conducive to breastfeeding.  Nor is the new IPhone app that lets you keep track of every feed, and don’t even get me started on the number of mothers who are scared silly at the thought of taking their baby to bed with them.  We need a cultural change as well.

Thanks to Obama’s new health care package (“Thank you, page 1239!”) we now have a law guaranteeing mothers who work in a company with over 50 employees time and space to express their milk.  (Notice I didn’t say pump?  I’ve met mothers who work full time and hand express.  They were able to meet their baby’s need without any help from Medela, thank you very much!)  What we don’t know yet is how the law will be enforced, what a “reasonable” amount of space looks like, and whether or not women will get paid for their “lactation time”.  It’s a step in the right direction if the direction we want to go in is separating moms and babies.  I would have preferred a six month paid maternity leave, but beggars can’t be choosers.

In the medical news, there was an interesting Canadian study that showed that the negative effects of giving your children fast food can erase some of the positive benefits of breastfeeding (Higher asthma rates linked to fast food.)  The rise of celiac disease in Sweden in the 1980’s has been tied to the recommendation at the time to wait before weaning to introduce gluten.  Weaning was early in those days and the amounts of gluten recommended were high.  And how it was wonderful to see an article about reducing pain during vaccinations recommending that the baby breastfeed during the inoculation!  I will always remember the story Diane Bagley once told me about her daughter Leah.  Leah was a still a young nursing toddler when she fell and cut her finger.  After no one could her to hold her hand still at the ER Diane insisted that they let her nurse her while they stitched her up.  The staff watched in amazement as Leah held out her tiny hand and nursed until the stitches were complete. (Diane by the way is the graphic designer for the Massachusetts Breastfeeding Coalition – she did the wonderful “For All Walks of Life” campaign!)   

While we’re talking about medical advice, a study about advice given over the internet used breastfeeding as one of their topics found that only 200 out of 500 studied sites gave advice that was reliable  But as Alicia Huntley one of my Facebook friends pointed out  “ah, but what it the ‘right’ answer? Particularly on areas of controversy such as vaccination, or HIV and breastfeeding?”  That’s something to think about, but on the other hand just this week Parenting.com in an article about how to save money pointed out that breastfeeding is never really free and then encouraged mothers to ask their pediatrician for some of that free formula they always seem to have on hand.  Great….Another article wonders why there is so much cat fighting over parenting issues and breastfeeding in particular.  She wonders if parenting bloggers are really more polarized than political shock jocks or even sports commentators?

Last but not least will someone please explain to me what the big fuss is in Ohio?  A breastfeeding campaign that includes a billboard of a black baby with breast milk dribbling down his chin has upset quite a few folks.  Apparently it’s not the slogan (“Breast Milk Satisfies”) that has people upset.  It’s the idea of human milk on a baby’s chin that bothers them. “ Never mind how cute or attractive people find the “Got Milk” campaigns and the trademark milk mustaches. A baby with breast milk on its chin is disgusting, you know, because it came from a woman and not a cow. “  Like I said I just don’t get it.

And for those of you who have been wondering where I’ve been lately; two funerals, a speaking engagement (my talk “Going Baby Friendly in New England” went well thanks!), and a new dog have kept me busy.  The dog is a year old, she wasn’t house broken, and couldn’t do stairs.  She is a shelter dog with “issues”.  So far she has chewed through two leashes, the power cord to my lap top (twice), and her dog bed.  She has peed on the couch three times.  This is my first dog ever and I feel like a new mother who doesn’t know how to do anything right.  I’m sure the whole experience is going to make me a better lactation consultant – if I can only live through it!  (Did I mention we have five cats?)

As always I love to hear from you.

Kathy Abbott IBCLC


On Facebook:” Breastfeeding in the News”            

NEW Enfagrow™ PREMIUM™ Chocolate

A delicious new flavor for toddlers 12 months and older – with prebiotics for digestive health!

As your child grows from an infant to a toddler, he’s probably becoming pickier about what he eats. Now more than ever, ensuring that he gets complete nutrition can be a challenge


The Burden of Suboptimal Breastfeeding in the United States: A Pediatric Cost Analysis

Framed another

way, the United States incurs $13 billion

in excess costs annually and suffers 911

preventable deaths per year because

our breastfeeding rates fall far below

medical recommendations. Substantial

gains could be made with exclusive

breastfeeding for 4 months and any

breastfeeding at 6 months.      


Got Breast Milk? First We Need Equity (Aime Newman)

Turns out, breastfeeding a baby is not some secret society to which only some women hold the password. I breastfed my daughter for three years, enjoying (almost) every moment of it in a way I have never and certainly will never experience again. It had as much to do with my frame of mind as anything else.

Which is why solely focusing on public policy or solely focusing on the health benefits of breastfeeding or solely focusing on just trying to convince moms of how wonderful breastfeeding can be are not panaceas.

A study that finds that breastfeeding saves money and lives is not earth-shattering. But what we do with this information has the potential to be. From public spaces to workplaces, hospital rooms to women’s living rooms, society must expand its notion of what women need to feed their babies from birth and beyond.


Cat fight on the mom blog: Are we meaner than the sports blogs?

In a groundbreaking segment, the Today show figured out that Moms are mean to each other on parenting blogs. Shocking I know!! (They also pieced together like Sherlock Holmes that people trying to egg on others are called “trolls.”)

I also try to avoid breastfeeding/formula feeding whenever possible. You may not have noticed but I was a day late on that breastfeeding story last week because I just didn’t want to get into. I only used the story when I had the angle of how can we facilitate 90 percent breastfeeding instead of should 90 percent breastfeed. The facilitating discussion went really well. The other discussion would have gotten ugly!


Internet advice may not be reliable for your kid’s health—study

Details of the study
For the study, the researchers used Google to seek facts about five conditions–HIV breastfeeding, mastitis breastfeeding (breastfeeding while the breast tissue is inflamed), baby sleeping

position along with green vomit and MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) and autism.

On observing the sites for child healthcare information, the researchers found that the type of guidance offered differed notably.

They also found that half of the search results were unable to answer the question typed.

The study also revealed that mere 200 out of 500 studied sites were able to offer accurate information and also that government-run websites were the only absolutely dependable source.

In other words, 39 percent of the 500 results gave accurate information while 11 percent gave the wrong answer; the most incorrect replies being given to search results regarding MMR and autism along with HIV and breastfeeding.



A nifty provision in the healthcare bill is a boon to working moms

By Mary Elizabeth Williams

Thank you, page 1239! Deep within the new health care bill, right before the part where the Rostovs flee Moscow, there’s a neat provision that will thrill working mothers. CNN notes this week that companies with 50 or more employees are now required to provide “a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from co-workers and the public, which may be used by an employee to express breast milk.” 


Peaceful Revolution: Motherhood & the $13 Billion Dollar Guilt

Do you feel guilty for not breastfeeding? Or do you feel angry because it didn’t have to be this way?


Higher asthma rates linked to fast food

The Canadians were puzzled: Could fast food override some of the benefits of breastfeeding?

Their study involved children born in Manitoba in 1995. The team looked at 246 children, aged eight to 10, diagnosed with asthma, and 477 children without asthma. Parents filled out questionnaires that asked, among other things, “how often has your child eaten burgers or fast food in the last week” and “when did your child first have any formula/cow’s milk?”

Children who ate fast foods more than once or twice a week — more than half the children studied — were almost twice as likely to have asthma.

Children who were breastfed exclusively for more than three months had a lower risk of asthma. But the association disappeared in kids who ate fast food frequently, compared to those who occasionally or rarely consumed fast food.


Save on the Top 3 New-Baby Expenses (parenting.com)


By Rachel Grumman, Babytalk

Eating Up the Budget

 Formula costs a minimum of $1,500 the first year, according to Bradford — more if you use one that’s gluten-free or contains prebiotics. Although breastfeeding is less expensive, “there’s a fallacy that breastfeeding is free,” says Bradford. A breast pump can run $250 to $300, then there’s nursing bras, pads, and breast milk freezer bags. How to save: Pediatricians often have free formula samples, notes Sandberg. Also, sign up for coupons at the formula company’s website. If you’re breastfeeding, “buy breast pads and freezer bags month-to-month and finish them before buying another,” says Bradford. “Women often don’t know how long they’ll breastfeed and supplies are expensive.” Also, rather than buying the 2- to 4-ounce baby bottles that you’ll only use for a few months, buy the 8-ounce bottles, which have greater longevity.


Adam Sandler’s “Grown Ups”

Breastfeeding a four year old. Ick! Ptoeey! Gross! Yup, this film is going to make money.”


Quick steps to lessen pain to your baby

  1. Let the medical assistant offer the injection at this point while you are breastfeeding.  You can also switch the baby to a pacifier.
  2.  No talking throughout or after the injection until the baby stops crying.  Whether or not there is crying do the next step.
  1. Offer the baby breast milk.  Remember the endorphins effect.  Or if you don’t breastfeed, offer the baby the pacifier.  Continue not talking.  Begin doing the next step.



Companies must soon provide private space for mothers to pump breast milk: Health Care Fact Check

Lactation-room requirements will take effect as soon as the Labor Department lays out some basic rules in the coming months. Until then, there are several uncertainties about the law, according to law firms, trade associations and advocates of breastfeeding.

For one, the provision says mothers must be given a “reasonable” amount of time to lactate, without defining what is reasonable.

The law also says employees do not have to be paid for work during their lactation time. That could cause confusion, because it is contrary to the existing Fair Labor Standards Act mandate “that employers pay employees for breaks of less than 20 minutes,” according to a primer on the new law by Jackson Lewis.

It’s also unclear how the law will be enforced, although the Labor Department should provide guidance on that, says Gina Ciagne, director of breastfeeding and consumer relations at Lansinoh Laboratories, a manufacturer of lactation supplies.

For employers, the law could raise other practical concerns. Retailers with small stores might have to give up sales space for lactation rooms. The law does not specify the size but says the place may not be a bathroom and must be private, shielded from view and free from intrusion from co-workers and the public.

Asked if employers are scratching their heads over all this, DeFilippis said it’s too soon because “I think that most employers probably aren’t aware of it.”


Celiac Disease and Breastfeeding – The Missing Link

Celiac disease became a rising epidemic in Sweden in the mid 1980’s. The influx of celiac patients under 2 years old was cause for concern, considering neighboring countries were seeing a decline in celiac patients during that same time period. The Swedish celiac epidemic pattern was eventually correlated to the new dietary guidelines, which as a result of the study, were later changed. The initial dietary guidelines mandated that infants were to be introduced to gluten only after they were weaned from breastfeeding, and larger amounts of gluten were given to the infants during this time.

The recommended age is older than 4 months of age, but younger than 7 months.  It is also recommended to introduce gluten gradually, in small amounts and while your child is still nursing.


Ohio Billboard Promotes Breastfeeding, Offends Some

The billboard in question features a young child with a little bit of milk dripping out of its mouth and the slogan “Breast milk satisfies.” The kid looks pretty satisifed so far as one can tell from a staged photo. There are no bare breasts in sight, so what’s everyone finding so offensive about this ad? Apparently, it’s the fact that the milk coming out of the baby’s mouth is breast milk.

Never mind how cute or attractive people find the “Got Milk” campaigns and the trademark milk mustaches. A baby with breast milk on its chin is disgusting, you know, because it came from a woman and not a cow.


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Filed under breastfeeding, Breastfeeding in the News, 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.


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

Breastfeeding in the News: Sept. 25th – Oct. 4th, 2009

Hello All,
Looks like I’ve fallen behind again, but I have to say I had a great time at the Massachusetts Breastfeeding Coalition conference this week! It was great to see everyone again, especially those of you who made the trek from beyond Worcester.
There’s been a lot of encouraging news lately! McGill University Health Center in Montreal just received $350,000 to support their breastfeeding programs. The US Air Force now gives women a 6 month assignment deferment after giving birth to allow more time for breastfeeding (they used to allow only 4 months, the Navy however gives 12 months). And in Brunei breastfeeding education has been incorporated into their premarital courses so that both prospective parents will be better prepared before they even conceive!
Major flooding in the Phillipines is being met with donations of breast milk so that stressed out refugee mothers struggling to keep up their milk supplies won’t have to rely on formula. And get this – they have even sent in wet nurses!
In Jamaica they are now turning their attention to educating men. “Some men mistakenly believe that breastfeeding is strictly confined to women and babies. They see their role as that of a passive or neutral observer who has little influence on the process, but fathers actually have tremendous potential to either facilitate or undermine the success of breastfeeding,” says Mr. Scott of the Jamaican Health Services. “A father’s support is critical to a successful breastfeeding, simply by listening to the mothers. It requires that you actively play a role in your partner’s life without being invasive.” Well said Mr. Scott, well said! Mr. Scott even added, “that if fathers spend the first weeks after a child’s birth doing some of the household chores and involving themselves in the health and well being of the child, the issue of exclusive breastfeeding will become a norm for mothers.”
Meanwhile in Australia it seems that it is not the men who need educating but the women. When a mother was asked to hide the fact that she was breastfeeding while nursing her 3 month old on a plane this exchange occurred: Mrs Ward said “she told the attendant that she had a right to breastfeed, but was asked again to cover her baby because a man seated near her ”might not like to see it”. ”I said to [the man], ‘Does this offend you?’ and he said, ‘No, not at all.’ [The flight attendant] said, ‘Well, people walking down the aisle might not like it”’
Two new scientific studies have been reported and the way they have been interpreted might interest you. The first showed that due to calcium loss during lactation mothers should be doing more weight bearing exercises (“Breastfeeding moms need more aerobic exercise”). But before we start sending mothers off to the gym don’t you think we should remind them that carrying your baby (i.e. baby wearing) is also a weight bearing exercise?
And in a new study from Spain came the news confirming what we already knew – that breast milk can make a baby sleepy! By anaylizing the types of nucleotides produced over the course of 24 hours, they have found that the milk produced during the night time hours is designed to help a baby sleep, while the milk produced during the day is designed to help keep a baby alert! This is pretty cool! We’ve always said that a mother’s milk continually changes to meet her baby’s needs and this is further proof of that. But again what worries me is the way this has been interpreted. “Breast milk should be drunk at the same time of day that it is expressed.”
After reading this headline I was complaining to my 12 year old daughter that this was just going to make it harder for working moms. Not only do they have to pump, now they will be expected to keep track of when they pumped each ounce and care takers will be scolding them for bringing them “sleepy time” milk when they need the “cappuccino” version, to which my daughter replied “It’s called being organized Mom!” ( I should point out that the “organization gene” is something she gets from her father not me.) My daughter’s opinion not withstanding, I fear that for mothers who already rely too heavily on charts and clocks, this little study will totally push them over the edge. Can I say it again? The real answer is keeping mothers and babies together – we need more maternity leave!
In other news the Canadians were having great success organizing a competition to break the record for most number of babies being breastfed at the same time (I love how they even got the mayor of one city to participate!), but in Montreal the event was called off because of concerns about Swine Flu. In celebrity news, “Gossip Girl” actress Kelly Rutherford has requested a restraining order on her ex-husband because she claims that his actions have caused her so much stress it has affected her milk supply.
And lastly is a very interesting (dry, but fascinating) article outlining the problems surrounding the need to make nutrition in early life a global priority. This report makes the case that not only does early nutrition have lasting effects over the course of a child’s lifetime (“To further complicate the issue, studies from high-income11 and from low-income and middle-income countries6 strongly suggest that the worst-case scenario for several chronic diseases is the combination of undernutrition in early life and rapid weight gain during late childhood and adolescence”), the window of opportunity for intervention is indeed short, that what happens before a child reaches the age of 3 is more important than what happens afterwards.
If I am reading this right they are suggesting that less attention should be placed on school lunches (“The assumptions behind school feeding programmes and growth monitoring for all children younger than 5 years, for example, should be re-examined.”) and international food aid, and instead there should be more emphasis on breastfeeding and complimentary foods. The real problem for policy makers seems to be “how to promote rapid weight gain in the first 2—3 years of life, but not thereafter.” My thanks to Arun Grupta for sharing this article with everyone.
Hope you are all well, and again I love hearing your comments!
Kathy Abbott, IBCLC
On Facebook: “Breastfeeding in the News”
My Blog: http://TheCuriousLactivist.wordpress.com/

Ministry Proposes Breastfeeding Course (Brunei)
Bandar Seri Begawan – The Ministry of Health (MoH) has proposed exclusive breastfeeding as one of the topics to be covered in premarital courses in order to provide early knowledge to soon-to-be mothers on the importance of the practice, said acting principal nursing officer Hjh Meriah Pengarah Hj Buntar yesterday.
‘All this time, topics covered by the religious ministry during the courses conducted were more focused on marriage in Islam, but now with the addition of topics under the health aspects, soon-to-be-mothers will have a better knowledge on the benefits of the practice before they conceive,” she explained, adding that the soon-to-be-mothers will at least be well prepared before starting a family.
Their spouses will also then understand the importance of breastfeeding and be supportive, she added.
PGH to embark on breastfeeding mission in ‘Ondoy’ evacuation centers
Instead of canned goods and used clothes, a team of doctors from the University of the Philippines–Philippine General Hospital is bringing a unique donation when they embark on a relief mission to “Ondoy” evacuation centers: breast milk for babies.

Dra. Maria Asuncion Silvestre, head of the PGH Lactation Unit and Milk Bank, said the medical mission aims to help breastfeeding mothers cope with the stress from the massive floods that ravaged their houses and, more importantly, to prevent the spread of diseases among infants.

Silvestre likens breast milk to a “vaccine” that can protect infants from sickness especially in disaster and emergency situations.
Silvestre said the news of infants catching diarrhea and pneumonia in evacuation centers prompted the PGH Newborn Medicine department and some of its partner organizations to educate mothers on how to breastfeed properly during times of crisis.

She discouraged donors from giving infant formula to the evacuees, saying this may bring more harm than good. Even raw breast milk that has not been pasteurized is safer than formula milk, the doctor said.

“In disaster areas, it’s very restricted. The centers can be unsanitary, they have no clean water. They have no way to boil (sterilize) the milk bottles. Formula milk can be contaminated because there are many sources for contamination,” Silvestre explained.

More than half a million people have sought refuge in 726 evacuation centers, where disease and crowded conditions are major concerns.
As of Thursday noon, the relief mission had collected more than 100 liters of breast milk.

For the breastfeeding mission in Cainta, infants up to six months old will be cup-fed by volunteers from the medical school.

“The breastfeeding moms will proceed to our designated area where they will be given some refreshments and Vitamin A. Some of them will be given breastfeeding t-shirts and they will be educated on how to sustain their breastfeeding, even though they are stressed and tired,” Silvestre said.

The t-shirts, drinking water, and a cargo of pasteurized breast milk will be provided by mother-support groups like Mommy Matters and Latch.

Five wet nurses, or mothers who breastfeed children that are not their own, from the support group Arugaan are also joining the mission.

Through the endeavor, Silvestre hopes to provide mothers with the necessary knowledge in caring for infants in disaster situations.

“If the (breast milk) supply for that evacuation center is gone, at least moms can continue breastfeeding their babies. The mission is not meant to be a dole-out; it’s meant to have a multiplier effect,” she said. – GMANews.TV
Breast milk should be drunk at the same time of day that it is expressed
The levels of the components in breast milk change every 24 hours in response to the needs of the baby. A new study published in the journal Nutritional Neuroscience shows, for example, how this milk could help newborn babies to sleep.
Breast milk contains various ingredients, such as nucleotides, which perform a very important role in regulating babies’ sleep. The new study, published recently in the journal Nutritional Neuroscience, confirms that the composition of breast milk changes quite markedly throughout the day.
The scientists looked for three nucleotides in breast milk (adenosine, guanosine and uridine), which excite or relax the central nervous system, promoting restfulness and sleep, and observed how these varied throughout a 24-hour period.
The milk, collected from 30 women living in Extremadura, was expressed over a 24-hour period, with six to eight daily samples. The highest nucleotide concentrations were found in the night-time samples (8pm to 8am).
“This made us realise that milk induces sleep in babies”, Cristina L. Sánchez, lead author of the article and a researcher at the Chrononutrition Laboratory at the University of Extremadura, tells SINC.
“You wouldn’t give anyone a coffee at night, and the same is true of milk – it has day-specific ingredients that stimulate activity in the infant, and other night-time components that help the baby to rest”, explains Sánchez.
In order to ensure correct nutrition, the baby should be given milk at the same time of day that it was expressed from the mother’s breast. “It is a mistake for the mother to express the milk at a certain time and then store it and feed it to the baby at a different time”, points out the researcher. .
Sánchez, Cristina L.; Cubero, Javier; Sánchez, Javier; Chanclón, Belén; Rivero, Montserrat; Rodríguez, Ana B.; Barriga, Carmen. “The possible role of human milk nucleotides as sleep inducers”. Nutritional Neuroscience Vol. 12(1):2-8. 2009.
For Baby, A breast milk cappuccino
Breastfeeding moms need more aerobic exercise
Cheryl Lovelady and her team from the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) measured bone mineral density in 20 women four to 20 weeks post pregnancy.

They found that those who didn’t exercise lost around seven percent of their lower-spine bone density in that period.

“During lactation, women transfer around 200 milligrams of calcium per day from their own stores to their breast milk,” Lovelady said.

“Calcium is critically linked to bone density and health, and this depletion can result in loss of bone mineral density. When mothers wean their infants, bone mineral density usually returns to normal levels,” she added.
“We proposed that weight-bearing exercise would minimise bone losses during lactation and decrease the risk of osteoporosis later in life,” Lovelady said.

Exercise – especially strength training – can slow bone loss during lactation, the study found.

Besides, regular weight-bearing exercise has an added benefit for moms trying to shed post-pregnancy weight: It significantly improved their body composition compared to the non-exercisers, lowering their body fat percentage and increasing lean mass, even without dietary intervention.

The findings were published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise .
Effect of Exercise Training on Loss of Bone Mineral Density during Lactation
Airline’s breastfeeding bungle
A MELBOURNE mother says she was left in tears after a Tiger Airways flight attendant repeatedly asked her to hide her breastfeeding baby from other passengers on a flight earlier this month.
Kathryn Ward said she was feeding her three-month-old son, James, on a flight between the Gold Coast and Melbourne when a crew member asked her if she had a blanket to cover him.
Mrs Ward said she told the attendant that she had a right to breastfeed, but was asked again to cover her baby because a man seated near her ”might not like to see it”.
”I said to [the man], ‘Does this offend you?’ and he said, ‘No, not at all.’ [The flight attendant] said, ‘Well, people walking down the aisle might not like it.’ ”
MUHC breastfeeding resources get pumped up
Sep. 29, 2009
The Lucie and André Chagnon Foundation donates $350,000 to support breastfeeding programs at the MUHC
As the birth rate in Quebec continues to rise steadily for the sixth year in a row, Mr. Claude Chagnon has some good news for Montrealers and it could not have come at a better time. As President and Chief Operating Officer of the Lucie and André Chagnon Foundation, Mr. Claude Chagnon announces a $350,000 donation to support breastfeeding at the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC).

Already on the path to becoming a designated World Health Organization (WHO) Baby-friendly hospital, this donation will allow the MUHC’s Women’s Health Mission to further support all breastfeeding mothers under their care. “Thanks to this financial support, we have been able to upgrade our technology and purchase state-of-the-art breast pumps to serve our most vulnerable patient populations,” explains Luisa Ciofani, Clinical Nurse Specialist in Obstetrics and International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. “We have also been able to increase the number of lactation consultants working with our new mothers.”

At the MUHC, 87% of new mothers try breastfeeding. Among them, 50% continue to breastfeed exclusively. As a result of the donation, the MUHC will be able to make a greater investment in training personnel in the hopes of further increasing rates of exclusivity.
As a Centre of Excellence for breastfeeding, the MUHC acknowledges the importance of continued research in the field. Sonia Semenic, Nurse Scientist for the MUHC’s Women’s Health Mission, has received a grant from the Fonds québécois de la recherche sur la société et la culture (FQRSC) to study the implementation of Quebec’s policies to protect, support and promote breastfeeding, As part of this study, the MUHC’s Royal Victoria Hospital will participate in an evaluation of barriers and facilitators to the implementation of the World Health Organization’s Baby-Friendly Initiative.
Breastfeeding challenge hits Chilliwack
Each pre-registered mother and baby will receive a goody bag and commemorative certificates that makes a great keepsake for the baby book. This year participants will enjoy addresses from both Mayor Sharon Gaetz and naturopathic doctor Joanne Menard
At 11 a.m. on Saturday, mothers and children at sites across Canada, the United States and other countries will compete to set the record for the most children breastfeeding at one time. The winners of the competition will be the cities or regions with the most children participating as a percentage of the birth rate.
To level the playing field between large and small, each site will be entered into groups determined by birth rate. Last year B.C won first place in it’s birth-rate category.
Two of the biggest hurdles for mothers continue to be lack of support and marginalization by the community. In North America this lack of support is demonstrated as many women find breastfeeding in public a major barrier.
The Quintessence Breastfeeding Challenge began in 2001 in British Columbia Canada with 856 children at 26 sites. By 2008, there were 7,632 children in nineteen countries at over 300 sites with a total of over 20,000 supporters.
Men Urged to Help in the Promotion of Breastfeeding (Jamaica)
Parish Manager for the Manchester Health Services, Stanhope Scott, wants men to help promote breastfeeding for infants.
“A father’s support is critical to a successful breastfeeding, simply by listening to the mothers. It requires that you actively play a role in your partner’s life without being invasive,” he told a breastfeeding forum organised by the Manchester Health Department, on Thursday (September 24) at the Mandeville Park.
Mr. Scott added that if fathers spend the first weeks after a child’s birth doing some of the household chores and involving themselves in the health and well being of the child, the issue of exclusive breastfeeding will become a norm for mothers.
“Some men mistakenly believe that breastfeeding is strictly confined to women and babies. They see their role as that of a passive or neutral observer who has little influence on the process, but fathers actually have tremendous potential to either facilitate or undermine the success of breastfeeding,” he stated.
He told the audience, consisting mainly of personnel from the Health Department and young mothers, that fathers must equip themselves to actively support mothers in the breastfeeding drive, for healthier children.
The Ministry of Health, with support from the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), is on a drive to increase the number of mothers that are exclusively breastfeeding
Healthy skepticism
Is there a conspiracy out there to make parents feel guilty? Don’t answer that. Just consider a recent item on UrbanBaby.com, the website that fancies itself a guide for parents in the know. “If you went to college,’’ it read, “will your daughter develop an eating disorder?’’
Seriously? Seriously. The post summarized a Swedish study of 13,000 women born between 1952 and 1989, and offered these useful facts: Girls were twice as likely to develop eating disorders if their mothers went to college, and six times more likely if their maternal grandmothers went to college. Girls who had high grades were at especially high risk. The researchers figured that girls were reacting to pressure to achieve. And the subtext was clear: Sorry, smart ladies, you messed up again!
This is, mind you, the same UrbanBaby that issued an apology in June for a post titled “Does Breastfeeding Cause Autism?’’ It was about another study, by a California neuroscientist, that examined toxins in the breastmilk of rats. The study contained a host of caveats (such as: People are different from rats). The brief UrbanBaby post did not, raising the ire of breastfeeding and autism-awareness activists – two groups that one should think twice before crossing.
Assignment deferment extended for births, adoptions
Air Force officials here announced recent modifications to the post-birth and post-adoption assignment deferment policy will increase the time a parent can delay reporting to certain assignments, re-emphasizing the Air Force’s commitment of taking care of its people.

Birth mothers and adoptive families now have a six-month-deferment period instead of four months before reporting to an assignment, including family-member restricted overseas tours, accompanied overseas tours when concurrent travel was denied, and temporary duty assignments or deployments.

This policy change brings the Air Force in line with its sister services. Only the Navy allows more deferment time, up to 12 months.

The extra two months enables behaviors that can positively impact the family later, said Lt. Col. Leslie Wilson, the chief consultant for maternal-child medicine and pediatrics at the Air Force Medical Operations Agency at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas.

“From a medical perspective, this will give the mother and infant a substantial benefit because it allows for eight additional weeks of breastfeeding, which not only helps build the baby’s immunity system, but it helps the mother return to her pre-pregnancy weight faster, reduces her risk of breast and ovarian cancer, and improves family bonding,” Colonel Wilson said.
Breastfeeding activities cancelled in Quebec over H1N1 worries
Quebec Health authorities have cancelled a series of breastfeeding gatherings across the province fearing the H1N1 virus could pose too much of a health risk to mothers and babies.
The Breastfeeding Challenge is held each year in October in some 20 cities across the province with the goal of having the greatest number of babies breastfeed at the same time around the world.
The activity attracts some 2,500 women and their babies in Montreal and 500 in Quebec City.
Authorities said they don’t know how the pandemic will evolve and would rather err on the side of caution.
“Statistics gathered during the first pandemic wave show pregnant women, women who just gave birth, newborns and young children are more vulnerable to the virus and risk developing major complications,” the health agency said in a press release.
Moreover, the agency said babies and toddlers can’t follow the basic hygiene guidelines such as washing hands regularly
Nutrition in early life: a global priority
On Oct 14—18, Berlin will host the first World Health Summit. The prevention of adult chronic diseases through interventions in young children is one of the summit’s key topics. Promotion of good nutrition in early life is essential for health later in life because either undernutrition or overnutrition can cause lifelong, irreversible damage. This matter is especially relevant at a time when the global food and financial crises are disproportionately affecting nutrition of the poorest families in low-income and middle-income countries.
Why is nutrition in early life so important? Since the Barker hypothesis in the 1980s,1 cohort studies from high-income countries showed that fetal growth restriction is associated with adult diseases, especially cardiovascular and metabolic conditions. Over time, emphasis has shifted from low birthweight to growth during the first 2 years of life,2 and from the harmful effects of undernutrition to the dangers of rapid weight gain and of child obesity.3
Nine out of ten children, however, are born in low-income and middle-income countries where undernutrition is common. Published reports from these countries have long emphasised that maternal, fetal, and child undernutrition increase short-term morbidity and mortality in young children.4, 5 Recent long-term follow-up studies—including birth cohorts6 and intervention trials7—give convincing evidence that early undernutrition also affects adult human capital. Good nutrition in early life helps adults to become taller, stronger, and more intelligent, thus improving school achievement, economic productivity, and earnings.
If early nutrition is so important, when should one intervene? The window of opportunity is short. National surveys show that growth faltering occurs from conception to about 2 years of age. Thereafter, the average growth of children from low-income and middle-income countries is similar to that of children from high-income populations.8 Interventions to reduce undernutrition have positive effects on human capital if targeted to children aged 3 years or younger, but, except in the few countries where wasting is frequent, interventions after this age do not seem to confer benefit.7 Longitudinal body-composition studies from low-income and middle-income countries also show that growth in utero and in the first 2 years of life is essential for building lean mass, but later rapid weight gain mainly results in fat-mass deposition. Therefore the net balance between positive and negative consequences of rapid weight gain depends on when it occurs,6 and thus the concept of a window of opportunity is essential for designing intervention strategies.9 However, how to promote rapid weight gain in the first 2—3 years of life, but not thereafter, is a major challenge to policy makers.
Another major challenge is to understand the long-term consequences of nutrition in early life in populations undergoing rapid change.
Our population-based studies in Pelotas, Brazil,10 describe time trends in weight for age in 4-year-old children in the top and bottom quintiles of family income (figure) in the 1982 and the 2004 birth cohorts. Over time, both poor and rich children became fatter, especially the former. The large number of poor children in the 2004 cohort who were above 2 Z scores shows how overweight has become more common among these children, in whom undernutrition was prevalent in 1982. Within-country inequalities in nutritional status might therefore need different approaches for specific population subgroups, which is an additional challenge for policy makers.

Figure Full-size image (51K)
Changes in weight-for-age in children aged 4 years in the bottom and top quintiles of family income in Pelotas, Brazil, in 1982 and 200410
To further complicate the issue, studies from high-income11 and from low-income and middle-income countries6 strongly suggest that the worst-case scenario for several chronic diseases is the combination of undernutrition in early life and rapid weight gain during late childhood and adolescence. This situation is increasingly common in countries undergoing the nutrition transition,6, 12 in which promotion of rapid weight gain, irrespective of the child’s age, might do more harm than good. The assumptions behind school feeding programmes and growth monitoring for all children younger than 5 years, for example, should be re-examined.
Despite the importance of nutrition in early life for adult health and human capital, this topic has received little international funding, especially when compared with large investments for the control of other diseases.13, 14 Furthermore, the limited funding for combating undernutrition is dominated by programmes for food aid and micronutrient supplementation.13 Although such programmes have a definite role in some circumstances, one would also like to see strong investments in community-based approaches—eg, the promotion of breastfeeding and appropriate complementary foods—which have well-established effects on child survival and nutritional status.15
The Berlin summit will allow discussion of policy implications of these findings and of remaining research gaps. For example, how can we reconcile findings from high-income countries on the potential dangers of rapid weight gain in early life as a risk factor for chronic diseases with those of low-income and middle-income countries, which show that undernutrition not only increases short-term morbidity and mortality, but also irreversibly affects human capital?
There is still much to be learned about specific aspects of the associations between early nutrition, adult health, and human capital. Nevertheless, the importance of preventing undernutrition in utero and in children during the first 2 years of life is gaining increasing importance in light of new findings on long-term effects. The main challenge now is how to incorporate these findings into health policies, and especially how to convince governments that early nutrition programmes are long-term investments in human and social development.

Gossip’ Mom Rutherford Gets Restraining Order Over ‘Threatening’ Ex
‘Gossip Girl’ actress Kelly Rutherford has been granted a temporary restraining order against her estranged husband, claiming that his presence has been threatening to both Rutherford and her nanny. In the legal filing, Rutherford claims that Daniel Giersch “has begun to follow me, my mother and my nanny and he shows up unexpectedly to threaten and scare us.” TMZ reports. Rutherford also claims that Giersch’s behavior and the stress that has been caused by it has affected her breast milk production.

“From time to time I have some extra milk, but I never know when…I believe that the stress Daniel has created for me is also negatively impacting my ability to produce milk,” the documents say


Filed under breastfeeding, Breastfeeding in the News, Uncategorized

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


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