Tag Archives: breastfeeding

If a baby is old enough to ask for it, he’s too old to be breastfeeding!!

“Mom, can I play Wii?”

“Nope, you’re old enough to ask for it, so you’re too old to play Wii.”

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“Mom, can I have an apple?”

“Nope, you’re old enough to ask for it, so you’re too old to have an apple.”

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Kind of illogical, don’t you think? I mean, if nothing else, the ability to ask for something doesn’t preclude someone’s need for it. So why do people bring out similar logic in this situation:

“Mama, nurse!”

“No, dear. You’ve gotten old enough to ask for it so you’re obviously too old to be breastfeeding.”

WUT. 

I mean, come on. The AAP recommends nursing for at least a year, and as long as mutually desired by mom and child. The World Health Organization recommends a minimum of two years of breastfeeding. All of my kids have started with words by 9-10 months old, and they all could sign “milk” by six months old.

Your logic simply does not apply. #sorrynotsorry

Who is losing their ability to choose, really?

A dear friend on Facebook posited to me the thought that the whole Latch On NYC initiative being promoted by Mayor Bloomberg takes away a mother’s choice in how to feed her baby.  

I want to point out first that this is a VOLUNTARY program that NYC created and it does not forbid formula feeding; it simply restricts formula marketing in hospitals. You can read more about it here: Latch On NYC (via the City of New York Department of Health and Mental Hygiene website)

The reality is, most women are not choosing to formula feed. The majority of women who give birth do initiate breastfeeding. Most women do NOT choose to formula feed, rather, it was their only alternative after  breastfeeding failed. That’s NOT really a choice, that’s a fallback. But formula marketing is *proven* in studies to reduce the rates of breastfeeding in women who WANT to breastfeed. Who’s to say that if that formula marketing hadn’t woven its fingers into the very workings of the hospital where a woman who tried to breastfeed and then gave up, if her outcome would have been different; however, studies show time and again that it might have been. And if any mother perceives that sort of outcome as a personal failure then the formula marketing has REALLY been effective, because they’ve managed to sabotage it without any sort of implication.

Study after study after study after study demonstrate that free formula samples adversely impact breastfeeding rates in women who choose to breastfeed.

I absolutely agree that the decision to feed formula vs. breastfeeding is a personal decision and every mother has the right to make that decision for herself and her baby. However, if (like studies show) the presence of free formula, misinformation from formula companies, and the implied endorsement of formula by medical staff through merchandise and freebies sabotages womens’ efforts to breastfeed and get help when they need it, then who is losing out on really having a choice?

Increasing Breastfeeding rates will reduce government health costs

How does your state rate on the CDC’s Breastfeeding Report Card?

http://www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/pdf/2011BreastfeedingReportCard.pdf

Chances are, not well.  Most states aren’t doing a great job at this.

It’s a puzzle as to why, since so many states are having trouble financing Medicaid and WIC programs, and many also have state-sponsored child and/or family health insurance programs.

Breastfeeding is so important to reduce costs for families and for our state governments!  Of course formula provides adequate nutrition, and many babies do just fine on it.  But it’s certainly not ideal, and it definitely costs more money.

So why is breastfeeding important?  Well, here are a number of articles you may peruse for more information (all from very reputable sources):

Why Breastfeeding is Important (US Office of Health & Human Services)

The Economics of Breastfeeding: A Cost/Benefit Analysis (Ph.D. in Parenting blog)

Affordable Health Care beings with Breastfeeding (USLCA)

More Breastfeeding could save U.S. billions (Reuters, citing a study in Pediatrics)

How can we get there?  The answers begin in the articles linked above.  But the big answers, in my opinion, are:

  • Incentivize hospitals to become “Baby-Friendly
  • Get more certified Lactation Consultants into practice, both privately and employed by hospitals/pediatric medical practices/WIC organizations
  • Require medical pediatric training programs (for pediatricians, obstetricians, midwives, and OB/pediatric nurses) to include a minimum amount of course hours on infant nutrition and breastfeeding
  • Restrict marketing by formula companies and force them to be more WHO-compliant, and make WIC organizations only do business with companies in WHO compliance for the marketing of breast-milk substitutes
Unfortunately, breastfeeding is only a ‘money maker’ for those who it saves money: families, health insurance companies, and governments.  I’ve seen some positive changes in health insurance circles (with my last baby, I received a whole book on infant care and nutrition from my insurance company that had very thorough and good information on breastfeeding, that emphasized its benefits).  But as a people (and government, remember, is supposed to be of, by, and for the people) we need to drive the changes we need to see that are best for us as a society. 

I’m a mom again

We went, we delivered, and we are home. 🙂

It was quite an interesting saga, the lead-up to the birth. Because I have (albeit mild and easily diet-controlled) gestational diabetes, my midwives were itchy to get the baby out, and started talking an induction if I didn’t go on my own by my due date, as I have previously chronicled. I did my research and was OK with postponing any induction until Thursday, if needed. Well, Monday I had an appointment and midwife Sue was generally OK with the few days’ postponement, but we both agreed it would be reassuring to have a biophysical profile done (an ultrasound where they specifically check baby’s well-being, blood flow from placenta, amount of amniotic fluid, stuff like that). So I had that done on Monday as well, and while the baby was looking very healthy and everything else looked good, I was apparently low on amniotic fluid… which mostly means it makes it easier for the baby to accidentally wedge up against the cord in utero and cut off its own oxygen supply. Combined with the gestational diabetes, it was a good reason to not wait until Thursday, but given the baby’s otherwise very healthy status, Sue let me wait until Tuesday morning which also gave me an opportunity to drink lots of fluids and try to get the amniotic fluid up a little. I was told to report to the hospital at 6:30 a.m.

Well, long story short… some strong contractions woke me up at 4:30 a.m., and we left for the hospital at 6:15 a.m. I was, quite fortuitously, seemingly in labor, all on my own. Called the midwife from the car, told her we would be just a little late (there had been a little snowfall and the roads were a little slick) but that I was pretty sure I was in active labor.

Got to the hospital, got checked in and changed into hospital garb, my very awesome OB nurse checked, and I was already at 6 cm. That was about 7:30 a.m.

Continued to progress, got the all-clear to push around 8:40, which was good because I really really wanted to push. I think I was still only in transition because the contractions never let up. I JUST HAD TO GET THE BABY OUT. NOW. Her head emerged almost immediately, they got me to pause for just a second because she had the cord loosely wrapped around her neck, so they slipped it off, and I went about the very quick business of pushing out her shoulders. The midwife had me reach down and grab the baby and finish delivering, and lift the baby onto my own chest. So awesome!! She also asked me to do the identifying… “Lisa — what do you have?” she asked. My first delirious thought was “It’s a baby, duh!” but then I realized she was talking about looking for gender!! I took a very hard look, because even delirious I knew I didn’t want to make a misidentification, certainly my husband would never let me live that down. And once I was incredibly certain there was no penis to be found, declared “She’s a girl!”

She cuddled skin to skin with me on my chest until her cord stopped pulsing, then the midwife clamped it off and Frank did the honors of cutting it. I delivered the placenta and was just exhausted. I knew I’d torn a little (how could I not have, I delivered her way too fast…) and while my labor wasn’t very long, it was very intense. The OB nurse took the baby while I started to get stitched up and did all the weighing and measuring and other requisite birth things, and I took her back about 20 minutes later. She latched on at that point and nursed pretty well. I also decided, in an odd fit of whimsy, that we were going to keep the placenta and buy a new tree and plant it under the tree in the spring. Never even hearing of anyone doing this before, let alone with the complete absence of any discussion between us, my dear husband took these new plans in stride. 🙂

And our baby is, in a word, awesome. She’s a great nurser, she sleeps pretty well, she has amazing periods of quiet alertness where she just does her best to look around and see as much as she can (before her eyes cross from the strain, but then she just blinks a couple times and tries again). She is crazy strong, too… even the pediatrician at the hospital commented on it. If she’s laying on your chest, semi-upright, she can lift her head and chest up and do a little push-up. It took her about a day to pick up that little trick, mostly because it helps her look around better.

Since I avoid using real names for my kids on this blog I shall only give you her nickname, and that is Catie. She is perfect and I am in love. Her birth was a great experience and I am so happy and proud that I got to have another drug-free birth… but I am also quite pleased that I never have to do that again, since we have no intention of having any more kids.

Cover girls, June 2006

June 2006 was an interesting month for magazine covers. We saw this one:

Cosmo June 2006

Cosmo June 2006

Now as far as Cosmopolitan goes, this ain’t all that racy. But there’s definitely some boob, and those pants are very low riding. And not very long. And sorta see-through.
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Then, there was Harper’s Bazaar:
Harpers Bazaar June 2006

Harper's Bazaar June 2006

This wasn’t long before the trainwreck heard ’round the world. But she’s obviously pregnant. And obviously happy (or manic, as it were). And obviously, glaringly naked. I’m not quite sure how we’re managing not to see nipple on this, in all honesty.
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And this one:
People June 2006

People June 2006

There’s Angelina Jolie, gorgeous as always. And Brad Pitt, gorgeous as always. And a cute baby, who is destined to be either a gorgeous mega-superstar or a meth addict. Heck, maybe both. But back to the picture. It’s sweet, it’s innocent…. but what’s that?! You can sort of see Angelina’s bra straps… and that’s a NURSING BRA! Neat.
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Lastly, there was this one, which came out a couple months later:
babytalk June 2006

babytalk August 2006

Out of all these covers… this is the one I remember best. Not because the image is so incredibly striking, although there is definitely an intimacy to it that I like. I remember this cover the best because people went off the freakin’ deep end because of it. It was indecent, it was gross, it was offensive. This simple picture, of a baby doing what’s it’s supposed to do, sent people into hysterics. We can quibble over the square yardage, but really I don’t see much difference in the boobage exposed here vs. in the Britney cover. Now, I know there are lots of people around who’d gouge their own eyes out with a knitting needle if they happened to witness the abhorrence that is breastfeeding in public. I really don’t get it, but whatever. But man, did this cover make those people ooze out of the woodwork to vociferously vocalize their objection and disdain of this cover. It simply blew my mind.
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All this comes to mind because the new issue of “W” magazine is supposed to feature pictures of Angelina Jolie taken by Brad Pitt, and at least one of the pictures is of her nursing at least one of her twins. I was reading an AP article that recalled her nursing bra strap showing picture on the People cover and how it “caused a stir”. I know it fueled a few conversations, as I was privy to at least a couple of them, but a stir? Really? Over a bra strap? Isn’t “causing a stir” like causing a controversy? Was her bra strap, and her implicit endorsement of breastfeeding really controversial, given that every health agency from here to China advocates breastfeeding as the best way to feed a baby? Anyway, I digress. “W” is coming out with Angelina breastfeeding on the cover, and I’m very curious to see what the reaction will be. Will she be labeled a “lactivist” who wants to shove her breastfeeding in everyone’s face… or is that label only saved for us more normal, homely looking moms? Will she be lauded for being so open about breastfeeding, and praised for her open advocacy? Will my blog get more and more hits for people searching for husbands breastfeeding? I’m guessing all of the above. One thing certainly accomplished — I’d never heard of “W” magazine before reading the article on CNN.

Cut it out, you pervs

I’ll be back to the rest of the presidents soon, I promise.  I just needed a day off!

Now, I’ve written a lot about breastfeeding so I get some weird search engine hits.  Which is fine, I’m a big girl, I can handle it.  Except yesterday… yesterday was a first.  Someone found my blog by searching for “dog who wants to be breastfed”.  Maybe there is a noble reason behind this search… an orphaned puppy that yearns for its mother.  But I have my doubts.

And thus I reiterate my prior declaration of “You people are perverts!”

In other news, my friends Amanda and Dave had their baby today.  Congrats you guys, and welcome to the world, Irene!  It’s pretty cool here, I think you’ll like it.  And your parents are already madly in love with you.  Lucky for you they are a couple of pretty awesome people, so I think you’re in for a good life.  Make the most of it, kiddo.  I can’t wait to meet you, and hopefully it will be very, very soon!

A correction

I wrote yesterday that all my public breastfeeding experiences had been positive.  I forgot about the only one where I’d gotten a negative reaction.

Lane was about five or six weeks old, and I was out shopping for a crib for her.  (No time like the present!)  As I’ve mentioned, she has impeccable timing.  As the saleslady was writing up the sale on the crib and changing table, my boobs were enthusiastically summoned.  So I nursed her, discreetly, sitting in a glider rocker on the sales floor and finished conducting my business.

Later on, a friend who was with me and helping me shop commented that he was taken aback by my actions…. he never outright condemned what I’d done, but made it clear it made him uncomfortable and questioned whether the public nursing was appropriate.

Lucky for him, he’s a good guy and a close friend, and I didn’t punch him in the balls.  It helped that his wife, another very good friend, was there too and totally took my side.  Honestly, I was a bit taken aback myself.  I’d mentally prepared for negative fallout from strangers but didn’t ever expect it from a close friend!  I can’t remember most of what was said as I was still sort of in that newborn-baby-induced-sleep-deprived-fog but I think the gist of my message to him was “get over it” and “when you have a kid, I’m sure your wife will do it, too” and his wife heartily concurring with both points.

(I can say in his defense that his exposure to my breastfeeding my kids is probably his first real experience with such a relationship.  I may have been his first close friend to have a baby, and while his brother had a baby before I did, I’m pretty sure she was formula-fed.  This was new territory for him.  And since he’s so opinionated open and communicative, he was eager to share his point of view with me.)

It’s funny to reflect on that now, because his wife, my very good friend, is due to have their first baby — technically in a month but really, anytime soon.  She is 100% totally determined to breastfeed, so good for her.  And he’s come a long way… I’ve nursed in front of him a ton more since then, so either he’s more comfortable with it in general, or he just learned to keep his piehole shut.  Maybe it was a combination of the two… at first, shut piehole, but gradually getting desensitized until one day he realized “hey, this isn’t freaking me out.”  Regardless, he loves my kids like they are his own and they totally dig him too (and the same goes for his wife, who I know reads here and I don’t want her to think I don’t know she adores my kids.  I know.  I love them both immensely for the love and affection they show my children.)

Anyway, he’s going to be a great dad, even if he does get a little overprotective of his wife’s breasts from time to time.  I’d love to be able to reassure him by saying “Hey, don’t worry!  Nobody’s trying to look at your wife’s boobs” but the truth is, she’s got big frigging boobs.  Everyone looks at her boobs.  I look at her boobs.  And pregnancy has made them even bigger… who knows what her milk coming in will do to them.  So, sorry buddy, they are looking.  But they’d be looking anyway, even if there wasn’t a baby attached.  Don’t get too worked up over it.