Boston may be famous for its technologically advanced hospitals, but little Concord, New Hampshire has Boston beat when it comes to offering all of their youngest patients the best possible nutritional start. Donated breast milk can now be found in the freezers of Concord Hospital making it the first hospital in New England to offer banked human milk as part of their official standard of care.
As a general rule I tend to regret decisions made out of fear but it looks like it was last fall’s anxiety over the H1N1 virus combined with the CDC’s recommendation that all babies receive breast milk that pushed the hospital into opening an on-site repository that would be capable of storing screened breast milk procured from the recently opened “Mother’s Milk Bank of New England”. Unlike most knee jerk decisions made out of fear this is one decision that should have long lasting positive consequences.
In celebrity news now that Michelle Obama is spearheading an anti-obesity campaign she is being pressured to speak out in favor of breastfeeding. Reportedly the first lady breastfed both of her girls so many are wondering why she doesn’t speak more openly in favor of breastfeeding especially since there seems to be a fair bit of evidence connecting breastfeeding with lower obesity rates. (A new study just came out linking the early introduction of solid with later weight gain.)
In a refreshing change of pace, unlike most celebrities 36 year old mother of four, fashion runway model Heidi Klum isn’t bragging about her ability to lose weight through breastfeeding. Instead she says it was a choice she made because it was best for her baby. Says Heidi, “I never looked at breastfeeding in terms of, ‘This is something that helps me.’ Breastfeeding helps my child.”
Football star Tom Brady’s wife/model Gisele, is also bucking the celebrity trend to put mamma first. After having her baby at home in a water birth not only did she decide to breastfeed she has also put off hiring a nanny just yet. Good for you Gisele – enjoy that baby!
Staying home and enjoying one’s baby may be easier for many Australians now that Premier Tony Abbott has surprisingly begun pushing for a national law providing 6 months of paid maternity leave. Maybe the hope is that mothers will stay home and nurse their babies in private as there seems to be a raging debate going on in Australia at the moment about whether or not it is okay to breastfeed in the handicapped stall in the rest room.
In France however author Elisabeth Badinter is on the attack against the country’s “green” politicians. She says that they are pressuring mothers to breastfeed and (gasp!) use cloth diapers. Badinter sees this as a return to conservative values that will undermine the gains made by the feminist movement. The woman seems intent on taking the whole “cloth” vs “disposable” argument to a whole new level.
While the French debate breastfeeding implications for feminist the people at UNICEF can take pride in the fact that their efforts to promote breastfeeding worldwide have resulted in a remarkable decrease in the infant mortality rates of countries at war. Most civilian war time casualties are the result of diseases springing from unsanitary conditions. “Children younger than 5 are twice as likely to die in war than adults…” Breastfeeding plays a major role in protecting those who are most vulnerable.
Fiji has just introduced a law making it illegal for retailers to offer free give-aways that could undermine breastfeeding. And in Pakistan a country struggling with low breastfeeding rates (only 37% exclusively breastfeed compared with 76% in Sri Lanka) the government has declared they want to make breastfeeding the norm in their country. Meanwhile the Philippine government thanked UNICEF with an award for helping them to achieve more towards the promotion of breastfeeding in 6 months than they had been able to achieve on their own in 20 years. Maybe we should invite UNICEF to help us here in the US.
A new study out claims women’s brains are no fuzzier during pregnancy and breastfeeding than they were before pregnancy, so we should just stop blaming our hormones for every time we lose our car keys. ” Researcher Helen Christensen believed baby brain – also known as “placenta brain” and “milk brain” – was related to what women expected to happen to them in pregnancy and motherhood…” But many mothers disagree; they claim that their ability to concentrate seriously deteriorates during these periods.
In social networking news the WIC (the US Women Infant & Children) program in Michigan has been the first to WIC office to join Facebook. It will be interesting to see if this will make them more accessible to their target audience. Speaking of WIC, my 13 year old daughter came rushing out of her bedroom the other night to let me know she had just heard a radio ad telling people that WIC offers help with nutrition and breastfeeding. She shook her head in disbelief. “Breastfeeding!?” I mean really, how is WIC going to help with breastfeeding??” Deciding she was missing a vital piece of information I asked her if she knew what WIC stood for. “Yeah, of course I do.” She replied rolling her eyes at me. “It stands for Wikipedia! Now how is Wikipedia going to help a mother breastfeed??” Hmmm, this might be something for the WIC folks to think about, I wonder how many others make the same assumption?
And last but not least I’ve included a link to trailer for the new documentary by Thomas Balmes. To be released in April “Babies” will follow a year in the life of four babies from four different parts of the world (the US, Japan, Africa, & Mongolia). What better way to show that most of what we consider to be good parenting is dictated by our social geography and not our biology. I can’t wait to see it!
Kathy Abbott, IBCLC
on Facebook: “Breastfeeding in the News”
County WIC first in state on Facebook
“Calhoun County’s Women, Infants and Children, a supplemental aid program for low-income families, reports it is the first in Michigan to use the online social networking tool Facebook.”
RP Awards Presidential Citation to UNICEF for Breastfeeding Advocacy
Thursday, 04 February 2010 17:34 MOMAR G. VISAYA | AJPress New York
“The President of the Philippines, through special envoy Dr. Elvira Henares-Esguerra, awarded last week the Presidential Order of the Golden Heart to UNICEFfor its work in supporting the country’s breastfeeding movement over the past decade.”
“”Together, we accomplished in six and a half months what the government could not accomplish in 20 years,” Dr. Henares-Esguerra said.”
“The partnership with the UNICEF through Dr. Alipui began in January 2005 when he referred to a statement of a presidential spokesman who cited that the sale of formula milk is surpassed only by the sale of cell phone services.”
Breastfeeding During War Helps Lower Infant Mortality
By Women’s eNews Contributors
“The rise of breastfeeding in countries at war has contributed to a marked decline in infant mortality during armed conflict, a recent report says.
Children younger than 5 are twice as likely to die in war than adults, mostly from disease, the The Shrinking Costs of War indicates. The report, released mid-January by Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada, also says infants up to 6 months old who are exclusively breastfed are seven times less likely to die from diarrhea and five times less likely from pneumonia than infants not breastfed.”
“Campaigns promoting breastfeeding by the World Health Organization, WHO, and the U.N. Children’s Fund, UNICEF, which work with governments in around 150 countries, have contributed to a stunning 60-year decline in war deaths worldwide. In 1950, the average conflict killed 33,000 people, while in 2007 fewer than 1,000 people died per war, the study says.”
Flying Salmon and the Myth of Baby Brain
February 7, 2010
“Pregnant rats actually get better at performing spatial tasks compared to non-pregnant rats and they are also much better at managing their anxiety and their fear levels,” Professor Christensen said.
Asked to comment, a spokesrat for pregnant and breastfeeding rodents bared its teeth and looked cranky.”
Michelle Obama Urged to Speak Out for Breastfeeding
By Malena Amusa
Monday, February 8, 2010
Michelle Obama breastfed both her daughters and advocates are hoping she will use the platform of her anti-obesity campaign to promote breastfeeding and share her own experiences.
“Obama declined to comment about the role of breastfeeding in her obesity fighting initiative, despite the potential link between breastfeeding and obesity reduction. However, the White House has announced Obama, along with members of the President’s cabinet, mayors and other leaders, will hold a press conference Tuesday to unveil details of her obesity initiative.”
The Babies Are Coming! (movie trailer)
A year in the life of 4 babies – from California, Mongolia, Japan, & Namibia
Infants take to donations like mother’s milk
By AMY AUGUSTINE
“A new Concord Hospital initiative is relying on donor breast milk to meet the nutritional needs of its youngest patients.
The hospital is the first in New England to offer human donor milk as a standard of care for babies whose mothers cannot produce milk themselves. The program, offered to patients free of charge, has been well-received since it launched in October, said Jan Greer-Carney, the hospital’s director of nutrition.”
“Concord Hospital officials had discussed the possibility of opening an on-site repository for several years, Greer-Carney said, but nothing solidified until fears over the H1N1 threat peaked last fall. Until then, the hospital had provided newborns with formula, but when the CDC advised it was preferable for infants to be fed with breast milk, it made the switch.”
Tony Abbott proposes 6 Month’s Paid Parental Leave (Australia)
Posted by Amber Robinson at 9:56 AM on February 10, 2010
“It seems that Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has come around on the idea of paid parental leave.
Although he last year described the government’s 18-week paid parental leave scheme as ”Mickey Mouse”, he has now come out with his own plan for six months paid leave.”
Fiji bans milk giveaways to young mothers
“The Fijian government has passed a new law banning milk retailers from offering free giveaways that could discourage women from breastfeeding their babies.”
First Look: Gisele & Tom Brady’s Son!
February 9, 2010
”She returned to work just six weeks after giving birth — doing a photo shoot for the Brazilian brand Colcci.
“But little by little I recovered the form,” Gisele told Brazilian newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo Veja about her post-baby body. “It helps that I have not gained much [weight], have had natural childbirth and [am] breastfeeding.”
Obesity Risks Reduced By Longer Breastfeeding?
Obesity risk in later life appears to be more slim when babies are fed solid food at a later age, according to one study.
“Researchers discovered that among the sample participants, body mass index was lower and healthier among the people who had been breastfed until they were at least four months old. The participants were all in their forties at the time of the study, and yet the researchers were able to determine that the odds of being overweight had been lessened 5 to 10 percent for each month they were not fed solid food.”
Heidi Klum Is Breastfeeding for Baby, Not Body
“If you’re living your life, not sitting on the couch … a woman will go back to how she looked before she was pregnant.”
What’s more, the weight loss associated with breastfeeding is something else that Heidi feels people “blow out of proportion.” She adds,
“I never looked at breastfeeding in terms of, ‘This is something that helps me.’ Breastfeeding helps my child. The after effect: yes, you lose your weight in a normal manner.”
Breastfeeding, child nutrition rules launched in Pakistan
Pakistan Times Federal Bureau
“ISLAMABAD: Minister for Health Makhdoom Shahab-u-din has said that the government was making arduous efforts to promote primary health care services in the country with special focus on women and children.
“…He said the ministry intends to address issues relating to mother and child health particularly low rate of exclusive breastfeeding by strengthening its existing health programmes. Launching of rules was a reaffirmation by the government for making breastfeeding a norm, to secure the life of the newborns and infants of the country, he said.”
Pakistan has lowest breastfeeding,
“Pakistan has the poorest exclusive breastfeeding rate of 37% in the region, as against 76% in Sri Lanka, 53% in Nepal, 46% in India, and 43% in Bangladesh. As if that was less of discomfiture, the country also has the highest bottle-feeding rate of 32% in the region.”
Breastfeeding in a Disabled Loo – Is it Ever OK?
Posted by Amber Robinson at 1:30 PM on February 12, 2010
“There are two topics guaranteed to start flame wars on parenting boards. Circumcision and breastfeeding.
But combine breastfeeding with disability rights and you’ve got a 350-comment furious debate on your hands.”
“…In the end, the new mum apologised for her mistake and agreed to feed elsewhere from now on, although said she just couldn’t do it at a restaurant table.”
French feminist challenges greens
A leading French feminist, Elisabeth Badinter, has accused green politicians of neglecting European women’s needs in a new book
“Attacking the green movement’s support for washable reusable nappies, she told French media the disposable nappy was an aspect of women’s liberation.
Women, she argued, were also being pressured into breastfeeding when for some the practice was hateful.
“We are not baboons, all doing the same thing,” she said.
Detecting a creeping return to conservative values, Mrs Badinter said a lot of European women were not prepared to accept this “regression”.”