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Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Friday, July 28, 2006

GASP! A Breast!?! On a Parenting Magazine?! Oh the HORRORS!

Yeah, seriously... if you haven't already heard, the cover of BabyTalk magazine is causing quite a stir right now...

Here it is, in all it's highly "offensive" glory. Shield your children's eyes...prepare the shredder....and hold your breath!



Oh no! It's a breastfeeding baby! And you can actually see a little bit of boobie!

*sigh*

Is anyone else getting tired of this debate? I mean seriously...there's no nipple showing... I can see that much of a breast watching pretty much any Hollywood red carpet event. Heck, I can pretty much see that much breast on the teens walking around my local mall. ;)

If you find it hard to believe that the general public...especially the moms that make up the target audience for this magazine are up in arms over such a simple and beautiful picture, take a look at what's being reported by the Associated Press.

"I was SHOCKED to see a giant breast on the cover of your magazine," one person wrote. "I immediately turned the magazine face down," wrote another. "Gross," said a third.

These readers weren't complaining about a sexually explicit cover, but rather one of a baby nursing, on a wholesome parenting magazine — yet another sign that Americans are squeamish over the sight of a nursing breast, even as breast-feeding itself gains greater support from the government and medical community.


also...

One mother who didn't like the cover explains she was concerned about her 13-year-old son seeing it.

"I shredded it," said Gayle Ash, of Belton, Texas, in a telephone interview. "A breast is a breast — it's a sexual thing. He didn't need to see that."


The editors of BabyTalk say that they've had more feedback about this cover (more than 700 comments so far) than about any other cover or article they've ever run. Susan Kane, BabyTalk's editor explained her surprise at the public's reaction to breastfeeding much the way I did in one of the earliest posts here on the Lactivist...

‘It's not like women are whipping them out with tassels on them!’

On the other hand, maybe we should be? People pay good money for that kind of stuff... ;)

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Video of a Hospital Birth with Episiotimy

No...seriously...NOT for the faint of heart. I almost didn't watch it myself...now that I have, my stomach is lodged somewhere up around my throat.

So, two reasons why SOME doctors absolutely SUCK.

Video of Hospital Birth with Episiotimy

1.) Episiotimy (note the difference in blood before and after)

2.) Refusing to allow baby to come out on their own (I'm surprised this baby's neck didn't snap, even if this was a case of shoulder dystocia, and it doesn't appear to be, there is absolutely NO reason to justify this kind of "delivery.")

Now...I will say that not ALL hospital births are like that. (thank goodness!) Mine sure wasn't... Most doctors these days are pretty good about guiding baby out instead of ripping them out by the head.

Now, here's another video of a baby crowning and being born at a midwife and doula attended home birth. (not at all scary, you don't really even see anything gross, I promise.)

Video of home birth, no episiotimy

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Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Breastfeeding is an Effective Comfort Method...Duh!

Jax over at Making it Up sends in this news piece from the BBC:

Breastfeeding 'Kills Baby's Pain'

The article gives a bit of a summary of some research in the Cochrane Library that looks into the potential calming and painkilling effects of nursing a newborn infant during routine hospital testing procedures like heel pricks. The study did not look at the painkilling or comforting effects when babies were undergoing repeat procedures like those having long-term stays in the NICU might experience.

From the article:

A review of research found that breastfeeding newborns helps relieve the pain from a needle prick used to screen their blood for disease.

Breastfed babies appeared to experience less pain than those who were swaddled, given a pacifier, or a placebo. Comfort from a mother's presence may be key.

The researchers say that the key to the effect of breastfeeding may be that an infant simply draws comfort from the close proximity of its mother.

Alternatively, breastfeeding may help to divert attention away from the pain of a needle prick.

They also suggest that the sweetness of breast milk may be a factor.

Another theory is that breast milk contains a high concentration of a chemical which could ultimately trigger the production of natural painkillers called endorphins.


As great a news as that is, it's important to note two things...

1.) Babies given a supplement of sugar water experienced "similar" levels of comfort
2.) The study did not seem to compare the effects of breastfeeding with the effects of kangaroo care or with holding a baby closely while giving a bottle of expressed milk or even formula.

Thus...as much as it sounds great to say that nursing brings comfort and as much as any mom that has ever nursed will say "Duh!" There's also the reality that the benefits may be just, or almost as strong if a mother is simply holding and comforting her child during the procedure.

Which makes me wonder...is this a new reporting trend? Grab on to what appears to be somewhat flimsy research and use it as a reason to promote breastfeeding? Seriously folks...there are enough REAL and proven reasons to promote breastfeeding...to me, it seems like these articles, if read by someone with a critical eye actually DAMAGE the movement by making it sound like we're making giant leaps and bounds in our assumptions about the "power" of nursing.

What do you think? Do stories like this one help the Lactivist movement or hinder it?

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Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

A Bunch of Boobs...

No, I'm not talking about the ones that ride around underneath shirts and occasionally make appearances for play or feeding...I'm talking about the individuals that were interviewed for comment this morning on Good Morning America. My online friend Shannon Dowdell talks about the show and her own experience nursing in public in a blog post made earlier this morning.

57% of people DO NOT APPROVE of breast feeding in public

one woman went on to say that "it is disgusting" and "it is not moral"

moral? since when is feeding your baby not "moral"?

it was also discouraging to see the numbers on breast feeding women:

70% of women try breast feeding
36% are still nursing at 6 months
17% are still nursing at one year...17%!

Of course it isn't really surprising after hearing what people on the street were saying about breast feeding in public. There is little to no support for women to continue. 56% of women say that they stopped nuring before they wanted to quit.

Also, there was this woman who is a reporter for some newspaper in Philadelphia interviewed forthe report that had some really offensive things to say about beast feeding in public such as things like "it [public breastfeeding] is not modest and should be done in the privacy of your own home." and "I don't want to be out somewhere and see some woman take of their shirt so they can feed their baby." Take off their shirt? I don't even want to get started on that comment.


There doesn't appear to be any video of the segment online yet, though the GMA site does have a link to vote on whether or not women should nurse in public. Unfortunately, the poll isn't working so all you get is an empty pop-up window.

Part of the problem is that so many moms that choose not to breastfeed remain hostile to any mention of the fact that breastfeeding *IS* best. That's demonstrated in quotes like this one from an ABC News Story...

"We need to be clear about this — that any amount of breast milk a baby gets is a gift," said Alison Walsh, a mother who chose to breast-feed. But Spitzer, who decided not to breast-feed, said that type of thinking makes her feel guilty. "Sitting next to you, being the person that bottle feeds, I almost feel as if you're saying I didn't give any gifts to my child."

Look, the reality is that the breast *IS* the best. If you can't nurse, you shouldn't feel any guilt because it's not your fault. If you CHOOSE not to nurse and then feel some guilt when faced with the very real benefits of nursing, well...I'm sorry but that's not really my problem. I hate to sound insensitive, but I'm quite frankly tired of women having to walk on eggshells about the realities of the health benefits of breastfeeding just become someone else made a different choice and doesn't have enough confidence in that choice to come face to face with the truth.

I mean seriously, if you are so confident that your decision not to nurse was best for you and your family, then why do you CARE what anyone else thinks?

Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Midwife Attended Births Double since 1990

There was a good Associated Press article last month that I somehow managed to miss. It talked about the growing interest in midwife attended birth and in home births and cited the fact that the number of midwife attended births has doubled since 1990.

In 2003, the most recent year for which stats are available, 8% of births were attended by midwives. In fact, attendence by CNMs has risen every year since 1975.

From the article:

But choosing a midwife is about more than merely selecting a care provider or deciding between birth at a hospital or home. It represents a paradigm shift in how a woman approaches pregnancy, some in the field say. Although certified nurse midwives are licensed to administer medication, they generally encourage a drug-free birth and rely primarily on natural methods of care.

At the core, it's a rejection of the quintessential birth scene: the pregnant woman lying in a single bed, a nurse at the ready with a pain-relieving epidural shot and a hospital room full of people yelling, "Push!"

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Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Canada Issues Warning About Buying Breast Milk

A "performance art" exhibition last week in Canada called "the Lactation Station Breast Milk Bar" has prompted Canadian officials to warn against the practice of purchasing breast milk off the Internet.

Artist Jess Dobkin got a grant from the Canadian government to fund her exhibit, which invited viewers to sample breast milk donated by six different lactating women. The artist claimed that the milk was screened and pasteurized, but the exhibit still sparked concerns about the health risks of drinking breast milk from "unknown" sources.

What makes the story interesting is that health officials aren't simply concerned about parents buying breast milk online for their infants...they are concerned about adults buying breast milk online for the touted health benefits.

From the Earth Times:

The government is, however, concerned about the growing online sale of human milk as women try to buy breast milk if they are not able to produce it themselves. Breast milk is known to have rare properties and its consumption is recognized as the only way to pass on valuable nutrients and promote development among infants.

Health Canada is more worried that even adults may be buying human milk for their own consumption in view of its publicized immunological properties. There are several websites exclusively selling breast milk.


The story goes on to state that the government knows nothing about the amount of breast milk that may be being sold online, nor have they had any reports of anyone falling ill due to purchased breast milk.

That said, it's a good reminder that parents especially need to first look to the HMBANA approved milk banks for properly screened and pasteurized milk. Beyond that, it's best to work with a close friend or family member while keeping in mind that medical screening and home pasteurization are essential to the process.

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Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Friday, July 14, 2006

The Shape of a Mother

I love it when I find not just another news article or stat to share...but something really inspiring and thoughtful, especially when it's a whole new blog.

That's why I want to share a link to "The Shape of a Mother" blog. The purpose of this site is to let women share their stories about their bodies before and after they had babies. Some of the moms also nursed their children for months or years. There are before and after pictures along with each mom's thoughts about how her body has changed and how it's made her feel.

From the model that gained 100 pounds during her pregnancy to the mom that still deals with a c-section pouch, these are the types of stories that not only change our perceptions of beauty, but that also shed light on the fact that we who are able to bear children should celebrate those changes as signs of the blessings that have been bestowed on our lives.

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Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Breastmilk for Preemies Helps Long-Term Brain Development

A new study out of Brown Medical School in Rhode Island finds that premature babies that receive breastmilk rather than formula during their early days score much higher on mental development tests later in life.

Breastfeeding is Good for the Brain

The results were published in the journal Pediatrics and cites the fact that micro-preemies are often born up to three months early. That means that they are exiting the womb long before the brain has a chance to finish it's early development. The study finds that the fatty acids that are naturally found in breast milk contribute to better brain development during those early days.

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Happy 50th Birthday Le Leche League!

50 Years of Mother's Milk

In 1956, seven breastfeeding mothers of Franklin Park, Ill., formed the international, nonprofit, nonsecretarian organization as a way to preserve and protect a natural practice that threatened to go out of style upon the commercial distribution of artificial baby formula.

The organization now has more than 3,000 groups in 66 countries.


Well done ladies...well done. ;)

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Great commentary on modern birth...

Midwife Attended Birth and Modern Medicine

Love this...not only does it show a good sense of humor, but it makes some really good points about the reality of birth today.

John Robbins wrote about one such study that compared an equally matched number of midwife-attended home births to hospital births.

"The study found that women birthing in hospitals were five times more likely to have high blood pressure during labor; nine times more likely to tear; three times more likely to hemorrhage; and three times more likely to undergo cesarean sections."

But aren't all the interventions justified to protect the babies, even if they are somewhat tough on the moms?

"The hospital-born babies were six times more likely to suffer fetal distress before birth; four times more likely to need assistance to start breathing; and four times more likely to develop infections," according to the study.


Also love this one...

Using an obstetrician for normal birth is like using a pediatrician as a
babysitter," wrote birthing specialist Marsden Wagner.

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Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Study Shows Increased Risk of C-Section for Inductions, Early Admission

All my friends know that I'm a natural childbirth junkie and that I plan on having this next baby at home. What a lot of people still don't realize though is that I don't think everyone should have babies at home. In fact, I don't even get upset when women opt for epidurals of even elective c-sections. (believe me, I know why women get epidurals.) But...I do wish that women would educate themselves enough to be protected from some of the common pitfalls. Childbirth choices means just that...choices....but a choice isn't a TRUE choice unless it's an informed one.

There's a good article in the Sacramento Bee this week that talks about a new study that was done to look at the difference in c-section rates. For example, moms that choose an elective induction (meaning there's not a medical reason like pre-e or PIH) DOUBLE their risk of c-section simply because a body that isn't ready to go into labor isn't going to go into labor, even with medical help. Another interesting trend that showed up though was the increase in c-sections for moms that simply check in to the hospital too early. Turns out that doing that ALSO doubles the risk of c-section. (That's because active management of labor makes a c-section more likely and active management of labor is more likely the earlier you get there.)

Here's a chart from the story...



And here's a snippet from the story...

The C-section rate in the United States has increased more than 40 percent since 1996 and has never been higher than it is today, representing more than 29 percent of births, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.

That's almost double the rate -- at least for low-risk pregnancies -- that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services had set as a national goal for 2010.

Despite arguments that C-sections are easier on babies and result in fewer pelvic problems for women later in life, most experts agree that surgery generally increases complication risks for mother and baby.

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Study Shows Increased Risk of C-Section for Inductions, Early Admission

All my friends know that I'm a natural childbirth junkie and that I plan on having this next baby at home. What a lot of people still don't realize though is that I don't think everyone should have babies at home. In fact, I don't even get upset when women opt for epidurals of even elective c-sections. (believe me, I know why women get epidurals.) But...I do wish that women would educate themselves enough to be protected from some of the common pitfalls. Childbirth choices means just that...choices....but a choice isn't a TRUE choice unless it's an informed one.

There's a good article in the Sacramento Bee this week that talks about a new study that was done to look at the difference in c-section rates. For example, moms that choose an elective induction (meaning there's not a medical reason like pre-e or PIH) DOUBLE their risk of c-section simply because a body that isn't ready to go into labor isn't going to go into labor, even with medical help. Another interesting trend that showed up though was the increase in c-sections for moms that simply check in to the hospital too early. Turns out that doing that ALSO doubles the risk of c-section. (That's because active management of labor makes a c-section more likely and active management of labor is more likely the earlier you get there.)

Here's a chart from the story...



And here's a snippet from the story...

The C-section rate in the United States has increased more than 40 percent since 1996 and has never been higher than it is today, representing more than 29 percent of births, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.

That's almost double the rate -- at least for low-risk pregnancies -- that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services had set as a national goal for 2010.

Despite arguments that C-sections are easier on babies and result in fewer pelvic problems for women later in life, most experts agree that surgery generally increases complication risks for mother and baby.

Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Breastfeding Makes Bed Wetting Less Likely

I'm not making this stuff up! I swear! ;) It's like every new news report gives yet ANOTHER reason why breastfeeding is the way to go.

The latest one, published by someone at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick, New Jersey suggests that the developmental edge brought on by breastfeeding may make it less likely for children to wet the bed as they get older.

Now, granted, this is based on a VERY small sample size and I can't find any data on how the study was conducted or what the parameters were. It's quite possible that this is all a total concidence. (In other words, I'm not making this up, but someone else could be...)

Either way...it's interesting stuff.

From Reuters:

The study was based on 55 children who were bed-wetters at ages 5 to 13 and 117 in the same age range who were not. Of the bed-wetters, 45 percent had been breast-fed, compared to 81 percent of those who were continent at night. The study also found that babies who received breast milk supplemented with formula had a similar rate of bed-wetting as those who received formula alone.

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