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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.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Perspectives: It's Not About A Mother's Right to Breastfeed

I've been thinking about this for a few weeks...starting just before our nurse-in here at the Port Columbus airport. I wondered what I might say to the press or to folks that stopped to ask us what was going on.

Now I realize that I'm probably not the first one to think or say this, but I think it really needs to be reiterated.

It's not about a mother's right to breastfeed. (stick with me here...) I think that by putting so much focus on the woman and her rights, we end up losing the battle with those who have puritanical values. It's easy enough for people to tell a woman that they should "respect" other people (ironic, eh?) or that they should "plan ahead" (always said by people that have never breastfed).

So if it's not about a mothers' right to breastfeed, what is it about?

It's about a baby's right to eat.

Seriously. I've found that when you change the perspective from mothers' rights to babies' rights, you tend to win people over more quickly and more easily. After all, while people wouldn't think twice about asking a grown woman to inconvenience herself, most people understand the ridiculousness of expecting a baby or toddler to do the same. While we've made this a battle for the women's movement, we need to be making it a battle for children's rights.

It's not that a mother has the right to breastfeed wherever she might be, it's that the baby has the right to EAT wherever that baby might be.

It's not that mom shouldn't have to cover herself up, it's that the baby has the right to eat without a blanket over their head.

It's not about mom not having to skulk away and hide, it's about baby being able to enjoy the world while enjoying a meal.

I know it's simply semantics, but I can't help but wonder if we might see more progress if we changed our focus as Lactivists. The mothers' rights and needs that we should be campaigning for are the right to good information from health care providers, the right to access lactation consultants and peer counselors and the right to express milk during the work day. The fight to breastfeed in public without being harrassed needs to morph into the simple "fight" to allow a child to eat in public without being harrassed.

Again, when we make it about the woman, it's very easy for other adults to write that woman off. After all, adults are inconvenienced on a daily basis by this or that. It's easy to say "well it's not too much to ask" (even if it is.) But when we're talking about children...well it's a lot harder for an adult to write off a child's need to eat without REALLY looking like a colossal jerk. ;)

What do you think? It it pure semantics, or is this a shift in focus that we need to see in the Lactivist community? Do we stand to make more progress by focusing on the rights and needs of the child rather than on the rights and needs of the mother?

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Breastfeeding Mothers' Bill of Rights

New York State Senator Liz Krueger introduced a "Breastfeeding Mothers' Bill of Rights" as Senate Bill S8511 yesterday. The proposed legislation draws upon "baby-friendly" recommendations from the World Health Organization, Best Hospital Practices and the New York State Rules and Regulations. Krueger explained that she wants to make sure even more is being done to not only protect a mother's right to nurse her child, but also "empowers and supports" new mothers as they seek to breastfeed their children.

"New York has been a leader in protecting a woman's right to breastfeed for decades. So, our goal should be to make mothers comfortable—not just protecting the rights of women who choose to breastfeed, but also supporting their decision and making sure they get responsible, medically-factual information," said Krueger.

Included in Krueger's Breastfeeding Mothers' Bill of Rights:


Before You Deliver:
* The right to information free from commercial interests, which provides the nutritional, medical and psychological benefits of breastfeeding; An explanation of some of the problems a mother may encounter, and how to avoid or solve them.
In the Maternal Healthcare Facility:
* The mothers' right for her baby to stay with her after delivery to facilitate beginning breastfeeding immediately; to insist the baby not receive bottle feeding; to be informed about and refuse any drugs that may dry up breast milk; 24 hour access to the baby with the right to breastfeed at any time.
When You Leave the Maternal Healthcare Facility:
* The right to refuse any gifts or take-home packets, distributed by the maternal healthcare facility, that contain commercial advertising or product samples; access to breastfeeding resources in one's community.


Here's the thing...I'm happy to see politicians making strides to help women breastfeed, but I read that "Bill of Rights" and I think "Wow, do we really have to make this a law?" I mean really...women already have the "right to refuse" any gifts or take home packets. Last time I checked, they didn't follow you to your car and shove it in the door as you left. You didn't have to agree to take it before the Ped would discharge your child. In other words...you can simply walk out the door and leave it sitting on the bed if you want.

Access to breastfeeding resources? Well again...isn't that already a "right" of breastfeeding moms? I mean sure it would be nice if hospitals sent you home with contact info for your local LLL leader and the names and numbers of some IBCLCs...but anyone with Internet access or a local library can find that out for themselves.

Now the first two obviously SHOULD be happening already, but are obviously not. As someone that had their own breastfeeding relationship tanked by hospital staff and forced separation, I really get why it's essential to get all hospitals on board with these two items.

I just find it so obnoxious that we even have to think about saying things like "mom must have 24 hour access to the baby with the right to breastfeed at any time." I mean I'm sorry, but I was under the impression that baby "belonged" to mom and dad, not to the hospital. The very idea that they could be DENIED access to their own child...well it's just infuriating.

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Blog Carnival Deadline

Forgot to mention...if you want to make a submission to this month's breastfeeding blog carnival (Topic: Holiday Gifts for Breastfeeding Moms) you'll need to get your submission in to me by Saturday, December 2nd. I'll notify the selected posters on Sunday and the Carnival post will go up on Monday.

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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Want to Join the Breastfeeding Carnival?

Last month, I posted the first "breastfeeding blog carnival" post that talked about tackling the holiday season as breastfeeding moms. The "boob brigade" and I (tee hee...they don't know I call them that...) are having another carnival of breastfeeding next week and this time, we're inviting our readers to join in.

Here's how it works... Next week's topic is "Holiday gifts for breastfeeding moms." If you'd like to participate, write up a post for your own blog that addresses this theme and email it to me. (jennifer at thelactivist dot com) I'll pick the BEST entry to be part of the official carnival. That means it will be featured on all five of our blogs (read: lots of new traffic to your site). Then I'll pick a few more posts that I really like and will include links to them from the Lactivist.

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Review: Lansinoh Disposable Nursing Pads

Most breastfeeding moms have heard of Lansinoh, though for the most part, we tend to associate them with their lanolin ointment. That said, it's well worth taking the time to try out some of their other products. I made good use of their breastmilk freezer bags when I was pumping for Nora (review of them coming up down the road) but since Emmitt was born, I've also become a big fan of their disposable nursing pads. The Lansinoh disposable nursing pads run about $8 for a box of 60 and are touted as being "super-thin" and of having some magical "special polymer" that helps draw the moisture away from your body. So, let's get on with the review...

The Lactivist Says: Love it!

Pros:
Super thin
Highly absorbent
Individually wrapped

Cons:
More expensive
Individually wrapped (yes I know I said that under pros too...)

If you recall, the primary issue that I had with the Gerber Nursing Pads was that they were not very absorbent and that what they did absorb still managed to stay wet enough to create a nice little moisture-fest for yeast and bacteria to flourish in. That's really the number one reason that Lansinoh pads are on my "must-have" list for new nursing mothers. These pads hold a TON of liquid and still manage to keep you dry. They remind me of that Luvs commercial where they put the water balloon in the diaper and let the whole thing drain. I've been tempted to measure out some fluid just to see how much they'll hold, but based on sheer weight of the pad when I throw it away, I know that it's at least a couple of ounces.

If you're a leaker like I am (not really what I aspired to be when I grew up...but there you have it) then these are the pads that you need. What makes it even better is that these pads are among the thinnest disposable pads I've seen. They're also much larger in diameter than some of the other disposable pads, which means that even if they shift a little in your bra (I never bother to peel off the sticky that holds them in place) you still aren't going to end up with big old wet spots on your shirt.

Granted, the downside of these pads is that they cost a few dollars more than most of the other ones on the shelf. That said, you've got to consider the whole package. Sure I spend an extra $2 on a box of Lansinoh than I would on a box of Gerber, but I have to use 4-6 sets of Gerber pads a day whereas I can get away just fine with a single set of Lansinoh pads. A good example of getting what you pay for.

So that leaves me with one last issue...the whole "individually wrapped" bit. You'll notice that I listed that under both the pros and the cons. That's mostly because it depends on the situation I'm using them in. I'll fully admit that on a normal day when I'm getting dressed at home, I'm pretty annoyed at having to pull them out of that little plastic wrapper (which means a trip to the nearest trash can) before sliding them in to my nursing bra. That's a definite con simply on the convenience side of things. However...when I'm traveling it's awfully nice to know that my nursing pads are protected from whatever might be lurking in my purse, suitcase or the diaper bag. So it would be nice to have the option of buying them either way...but hey, you can't be too picky, right?

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MSNBC Talks Breastfeeding and Planes

There's a good article on the whole Emily Gillette incident over at MSNBC. It includes a bit more information on exactly what happened, including more details on th response of the co-pilot.

Read: Breasts on a Plane

The article contains this interesting passage:

As they left the plane, the fight attendant was standing there, and Gillette said in tears, ‘Why are you doing this?’ ” According to the Gillettes, the flight attendant pointed to the door and said, “Get off the plane.” One of the copilots followed them out and apologetically explained that he could not overrule the flight attendant’s decision. “He said, ‘I’m so sorry. I have two children, and there’s nothing I can do about this…The same way that I have control over the cockpit, she has control over the passenger area.’”

The article also outlines some of the packpeddling that took place on the parts of the two airlines...

When her story first made the news, a spokesman for Freedom Airlines told the Burlington (Vt.) Free Press that “a breast-feeding mother is perfectly acceptable on an aircraft, providing she is feeding the child in a discreet way” that doesn’t bother others. As the level of protest rose, however, Freedom Airlines issued a written statement asserting that they “firmly support a mother’s right to breastfeed a child” and they “do not expect (and will not in the future request) that nursingmothers use a blanket to cover their child while nursing.”

Now one thing that I wonder about this whole incident is how it's going to impact other nursing moms that plan to fly.

For example, I'm flying to Chicago next week with Emmitt and my mother for a conference. We're booked on American Airlines who I fly pretty regularly and obviously I'll be nursing Emmitt during take-off and landing. Now personally, I expect that I won't be given ANY hassle if for no other reason than that airlines will want to avoid the problems facing Delta right now.

But I do wonder if moms that would have never thought twice about breastfeeding on a plane will now worry that they may face the same problems as Gillette.

What do you think? Will this incident scare women away from nursing on planes in the immediate future, or will it galvinize their will into KNOWING that they can safely nurse their children without any fears of being embarrassed or bothered.

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Delta and Freedom Airlines Miss Deadline

Apparently the PR departments at Delta and Freedom Airlines still haven't managed to get their ducks in a row. The two companies filed for an extension yesterday with the Vermont Human Rights Commission after missing their original deadline for response (which was Monday.) According to Emily Gillette's lawyer, the companies now have until December 14th to make their filing.

Interesting. One has to wonder how hard it is to say "We're sorry...we screwed up."

Of course I imagine that their legal department has them ducking and dodging because they are afraid that any actual apology could be used against them in any future civil suits. While that's certainly a viable point, I've got to think that there are better ways to go about things than this. In fact, based on what I've read about Ms. Gillette, I've also got to think that she'd be willing to sign a waiver stating that she would not pursue a civil suit so long as the companies actually prove that they have instituted training and new policies within a reasonable amount of time.

But the legal and public relations dance continue. I wonder if their legal team is more skilled than their public relations team...as the latter seems to have stepped on the feet of everyone else on the dance floor...

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Monday, November 27, 2006

Cute Home Birth T-Shirt

I'm back from Thanksgiving and will be up and posting again later today. (Down with a cold right now though, so we'll see how I'm feeling.)

Lots of content coming up this week...a roundup of news on the Delta Nurse-in, two product reviews and some insight on how important it is to normalize breastfeeding in your own little niches...

For now, just had to stop for a quick post with a link to a shirt that I just bought for Emmitt on CafePress.

Cute Home birth t-shirt

I also ordered a few of my own shirts...boob man for Emmitt and I Share! onsies and t-shirts for Emmitt and Elnora.

Also working on some new shirts for the site for Christmas. Hope to have them up by the end of the week for holiday shopping fun. ;)

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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Nurse-in Coverage at The Columbus Dispatch

We're the featured story on the front page of the Metro section in today's Dispatch. Yay!

Here's a link to the full story.

From the story...


Amid the bustle of Port Columbus yesterday morning, Jennifer Laycock reached under her shirt, unhooked her nursing bra and put 7-week-old Emmitt to her breast.

Slowly, one by one, more mothers joined her. Twelve in all had brought 18 children, and just about all of them nursed while sitting on a bench or the floor, in plain view of the Delta Air Lines ticket counter.

It was an attempt to show support for a New Mexico woman who was kicked off a Delta/Freedom Air flight with her family on Oct. 13 when she refused to cover her 22-month-old nursing daughter with a blanket.

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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Kids and I Made the AP Wire

Well, Elnora, Emmitt and I all made it onto the AP Wire.

In this first image, you can spot her in her pigtails wearing a white t-shirt. In the second image, you can see me nursing Emmitt while Nora drinks some juice. ;)

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Round-up Of National Nurse-Ins

Reports are pouring in from around the country and it looks like the national nurse-in against Delta was a success across the country. I've already posted with the tale of our Columbus gathering, but thought I'd post a round-up of what's going on in other areas of the country...

We're still waiting on numbers from three airports, but right now it looks like we had 773 participants at three dozen airports across the country!

Here's how it breaks down...

Boston

Boston has a turnout of 7 moms at Logan International and attracted the attention of local media including crews from channel 4 (CBS), the AP, the Boston Globe, Reuters and New England Cable News (NECN). Boston coverage is being updated on the Human Lactation Information blog.

New York (JFK)

Apparently airport officials met mothers at the door to the airport and refused to allow them to enter as they were not "ticketed passengers." No head count was gathered as it was simply too cold for mothers and babies to gather outside.

Sacramento

Twenty moms and their children showed up at the Sacramento airport and attracted the attention of reporters from the Sacramento Bee and Channel 10 news.

Indianapolis

Half a dozen moms gathered at the Indianapolis airport this morning with their children. WISH-TV and The Indy Channel in Indianapolis have coverage.

Baltimore

The BWI nurse-in attracted a total of 50 people and five different news outlets. There's a video up on the WJZ web site reporting on the issue.

Santa Barbara, California

While there was no local news coverage, five moms and six children showed up for the Santa Barbara nurse-in.

Columbus, Ohio

There were thirteen moms and 19 children that gathered at Port Columbus International airport. While we were asked to leave by airport officials who claimed we needed to apply for a permit, they left us alone when we pointed out that we were not protesting (but simply nursing on public property) and would be staying put. We were met by reporters from The Columbus Dispatch, Channel 10 News, NBC 4 News and a photographer from the Associated Press.

Dallas/Fort Worth

Six moms and nine children spent 15 minutes at the airport before being kicked out for lack of a protest permit. The nurse-in did get coverage on WWJ 950 radio however, which mentioned that the "nursing mothers protesting Delta airlines were chased away by police."

Bradley Airport in Connecticut

Seven moms, one dad and a gaggle of kids showed up for this protest. They also had quite a bit of media...local newspapers and crews from the local NBC, ABC, CBS and FOX stations. The Hartford Courant has coverage. The local organizer also made mention that she was approached by a TSA representative who asked what they were doing. When she was told they were having a nurse-in, she replied "That is awesome! Breastfeeding rocks!"

Philadelphia

One mom showed up, no local media coverage.

Daytona Beach

Two moms and a handful of news crews, though the nurse-in only lasted for about half an hour.

Albuquerque

Thirty people (moms, babies AND dads) gathered at the Albuquerque airport this morning for their nurse-in. So far, they've garnered coverage in the Albuquerque Tribune.

Reno, Nevada

No head count yet, but they did get coverage in the Reno Gazette Journal.

Los Angeles (Burbank Airport)

No media, but two moms who stated they got mostly good feedback from passers-by.

Phoenix

Great turn-out with twenty moms, three news crews, two radio stations and AP photographer and even Emily Gillette's uncle. Local media is already running coverage.

Tucson

Seven moms accompanied by quite a few kids. Two TV crews showed up.

Louisville

Coverage is already showing up for the nine adults (8 moms, one dad) that showed up to this Kentucky airport. The moms in Louisville were approached with the same "you need a permit" line that we heard in Columbus though no one bothered them until they were leaving. ;)

Fort Lauderdale

Thirteen women and thirteen children showed up at this south Florida airport. They passed out stickers and flyers and attracted the attention of some photographers and the local Fox affiliate.

Houston

Three moms showed up in Houston along with two news stations.

Washington Dulles

Five moms were met by a CBS news crew at this D.C. airport.

Cincinnati

Only one mom showed up but she did get to speak with some media crews that were there to cover the Comair Pilot strike.

Reagan National

The largest nurse-in so far that I can find record of. 28 moms, friends and family added up to more than 70 people. They had coverage from The Washington Post, NPR, AFP International wire services and their local Fox, ABC and NBC affiliates.

Burlington Vermont

More than 45 moms showed up at the airport where it all started. As expected, they were swarmed with location and national media crews. I'll add news links as I find them.

Portland, Oregon

More than 40 moms gathered with their kids (and one grandma) at Portland International. Crews from the local ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox affiliates showed up along with reporters from The Seattle Times and the Associated Press. The Portland crew had stickers and flyers and said that they were very well received by both passers-by and representatives from the airport.

Jacksonville, Florida

I don't have a head count yet on Jacksonville, but they did manage to snag local coverage from News Channel 4 WJXT.

Detroit

Ten moms and an equal number of children gathered at Detroit Metro Airport this morning. The Detroit Free Press reports that the moms were gathered for just twenty minutes before an airport representative came and told them that they could not gather without a permit. (Again, the same line used on us in Columbus, though we stayed.)

I don't have reports, but I do have numbers from the following cities...

Anchorage Alaska - 5 adults, 4 children
Boise, Idaho - 5 moms
Manchester, New Hampshire - 3 adults
Harrisburg, PA - 25 (total moms and children)

I'll be updating this thread throughout the day as I find more links to articles and stories. Especially since the story is evening getting International Coverage now. I'll also post a round-up tomorrow when we get the full versions of all the Columbus stories. I do hear that the issue will be on the O'Reily Factor tonight and I expect we'll also see it covered on the national evening news.

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Port Columbus Nurse-In a Success!


I just got home about an hour ago from the Columbus version of the National Nurse-in against Delta Airline. Things went amazingly well, especially considering that we just started getting organized on Sunday evening. I'd spent all day yesterday contacting local media and was feeling a little depressed that no one called me back, but decided to go for it anyway.


I knew that things were looking up when I heard 610 WTVN mention the nurse-in during their news break while I was driving to the airport. Then I arrived and found a reporter and a photographer from The Columbus Dispatch waiting for us. Within moments of starting to speak with the Dispatch reporter, the Channel 10 (CBS) news crew showed up...followed by a news crew from Channel 4 (NBC) and a photographer from the Associated Press. Better still, we ended up with 12 nursing mothers (most from the AP Village forum here in Columbus) and 18 children gathered from about 10am to around 11:30am.


Overall, it went very, very well. I was the first to arrive, which was good since I needed to unload two kids and the media kits. As I was doing so, the Dispatch reporter came over to interview me. He asked quite a few questions including how I got involved, why I was there for the rally, how I felt about the Delta issue and so on. While he was speaking with me a representative from the airport showed up. I introduced myself, shook hands with her and assured her that we weren't there to cause any trouble and that we'd be staying back against the wall and out of the flow of pedestrians.


That's when she told me that the airport requires a "permit" for any protest and that I'd need to file the proper paperwork and then wait the 24-48 hours for things to be approved. "We'd like you to leave" she said.

I looked at her and replied "Well, we're not here to protest. We're simply gathering on CITY property to LEGALLY breastfeed our children in a show of support for nursing moms. We will NOT be leaving, but we also won't be doing anything to cause problems."

She looked at me, she looked at the reporter standing there listening.

"Well, how long will you be here?"

"I expect for about an hour or two."

No response. She simply walked off. ;) She then proceeded to hover about 25 feet away for more than an hour, shooting us not very happy looks. But...she didn't make a scene nor did she try to call the cops.

I have to think that the four news crews standing there with us might have had something to do with that.


Ultimately, NBC and CBS each interviewed several moms and the reporters and photographers took TONS of pictures. The CBS and Dispatch reporters (both men) were exceedingly pleasant and stuck around for quite awhile making conversation and asking questions. The NBC reporter (a woman) was nice enough while interviewing us, but one mom saw her roll her eyes as she and her camera man finally walked away.


The story ran on the noon CBS news, though I haven't seen it yet. It's also up as a "breaking story" on the Dispatch site, but I expect the full version will show up tomorrow. I'll be sure to post updates and links as I find them. In the meantime, here are a ew pictures taking by me and by Rachel of the AP Village forum. I expect to have more photos to post later.

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Monday, November 20, 2006

Gerber Nursing Pad Reviews

I've decided I'm going to start doing product reviews on the Lactivist. After all, promoting breastfeeding isn't just about organizing lactivist events and sharing stories and advice...it's also about helping moms arms themselves with the best products out there to make life easier. To that end, I'll be reviewing the products that I use or try on my own, but I'll also be doing some reviews of products that have been sent to me for the express purpose of being reviewed. If you'd like to see your product reviewed, feel free to drop me an email to chat about it.

So, my first review is for Gerber's disposable nursing pads. These run about $6.00 for a package of 60 pads and are advertised as being "breathable" and as "drawing moisture away from the skin." I picked up a box a few weeks ago at my local CVS and thought I'd give them a try.

The Lactivist Says: No thanks!

Pros:
Inexpensive
Disposable
Thin (they don't show through a bra/shirt)

Cons:
Too small
Does not stay dry

I've gotta tell you, for a company that's synonymous with babies, Gerber needs a few lessons about how to build a nursing pad. My first complaint is that they're simply too small. They're probably about 2/3 the diameter of most other nursing pads that I've tried and since they don't have the peel-off "stick" on the back, they can move around in your bra. Put those two issues together and it's not uncommon to end up leaking into your bra rather than into the nursing pad.

My next complaint is that the pads not only fail to stay dry, but they also fail to hold any amount of fluid what-so-ever. I was using these at about week four of breastfeeding and I found that I would soak completely through a pad every single time I nursed Emmitt. In other words, just the amount that leaked out of one side while nursing on the other was enough to render the pad unusable. Even worse, the pads weren't simply full, they were soaking wet on BOTH sides. That meant that milk often made its way to my bra AND that my nipples were spending their time surrounded by warm, wet pads. NOT a good thing since yeasts just loooooooove warm, wet places.

I worked my way through the entire box simply because I hated to throw them away, but that usually meant that every time I nursed Emmitt I had to run back to the box to get a replacement pad. (On the plus side, that also meant I used them up in a matter of days.)

Sorry Gerber...I think you can do better.

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Port Columbus Nurse-In is a Go!

Well I've now confirmed that we'll have at LEAST a dozen moms showing up at Port Columbus tomorrow morning at 10am for our part in the National Nurse-In against Delta. Hopefully the word will continue to spread and we'll see even more than that show up.

I've contacted all the local media, TV, radio, newspaper, everyone. Hopefully we'll get at least some coverage. I've got our press kits printed out and ready to take with us and I'll be heading there armed with Lactivist shirts for some of the moms to wear.

Either way, I'm looking forward to meeting a lot of great Columbus moms. I'm taking the digital camera, so I'll try to pictures posted tomorrow.

Nurse on ladies!

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Sunday, November 19, 2006

Nurse-in at Port Columbus

For all my Ohio Lactivist readers, here's hoping that you can schedule some free time this coming Tuesday at 10am. I'm hoping to get together with some of the moms from the AP Village to gather at least a dozen moms to head to Port Columbus to take part in the National Nurse-in against Delta Airlines.

If I can confirm at least a dozen moms by tomorrow, I'll put together press releases and get them to some of my contacts in the local press. So, if you're within driving distance of Port Columbus and you are a nursing mom, plan to one day nurse, used to nurse, or simply want to support the rights of a mom to nurse, please drop me a note and let me know if you're available. You don't have to have a nursling to attend a nurse-in, you just have to want to show your lactivist stripes.

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

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Friday, November 17, 2006

National Nurse-in Scheduled for Delta Counters

This could be fun...

It appears that once again, a corporation has underestimated the power of moms and the Internet. Thanks to a post over at Mothering.com that has now spread through quite a few online communities (and will shortly over take the blogosphere, I'm sure)...it appears that there will be a NATIONWIDE nurse-in next week.

The nurse-in is scheduled for next Tuesday, November 21st in at 10am in front of Delta ticket counters at airports across the country. Remember, you don't have to be a nursing mom to attend a nurse-in, you can go as a soon to be nursing mom, a past nursing mom, the father of a nursling, or even just someone that wants to support a womans' right to nurse her child whenever...wherever.

You can follow the planning at the Mothering forums or at ProMom.

For now, I'm off to dig up information from some boards to see if I'll be the only one at Port Columbus or if some other nursing moms plan on showing up as well. ;)

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Freedom Airlines Apologies...Sort Of

While I've yet to see any official word come out of Delta over the whole Emily Gillette incident, the Burlington Free Press does have an article today that includes a second official statement from Paul Skellon, the genius that announced earlier this week that Freedom was just fine with moms breastfeeding...so long as they were following Freedom's definition of "discreet." (Which apparently included covering up an infant with the germ ridden airline blanket that had been used by passengers on earlier flights...)

The company statement:

"Please accept the following in response to your e-mail of November 14, 2006. At the outset I would like to emphasize how seriously Mesa Air Group and Freedom Airlines takes this situation. As soon as the facts were brought to our attention, we immediately launched a thorough investigation. We concluded that the flight attendant in question acted contrary to the Company's expectations. We believe our disciplinary action was appropriate and was taken after considering all of the facts leading to this incident. I do believe it is worth noting that the events described in the article failed to include the fact that the flight attendant in question was young and new to her job. Furthermore, following the incident, the Captain apologized to the passenger and her family and immediately requested that they be re-boarded for their flight (an offer the family refused).

"We are reinforcing the manner this situation should have been handled with our front line employees. Our handling of this investigation and resolution of any deficiencies found to have occurred were focused on raising awareness of this issue for our employees. I hope you can appreciate our efforts to prevent any similar occurrences in the future.

"To clarify our policy, Freedom Airlines firmly supports a mother's right to breast feed a child. We understand that air travel presents particular difficulties to a nursing mother as airport facilities and aircraft are not designed to maximize privacy for passengers. Moreover while blankets are available for passengers convenience, we do not expect, (and will not in the future request) that nursing mothers use a blanket to cover their child while nursing. My comment in the original article to the contrary was not an accurate statement of our policy. I thank you for expressing your views to us and truly hope that you find our response both genuine and satisfactory."


You've got to wonder if Mr Skellon tripped and sprained anything after back peddling so fast and so hard...

That said, it WAS nice to see a "sort of" apology...(note that the statement just says that they investigated and they are restating their policy, it never really says that they're sorry for what happened to Gillette.)

However...it's interesting to note that the Burlington Free Press quotes Gillette as saying that the statement from the company just isn't true. According to Gillette, she and her family were NEVER offered the opportunity to reboard the plane. "I would have jumped at the opportunity," Gillette said to the paper.

Hmm...I hate to be a cynic, but wouldn't you think that if you were going to try smooth things out after all of this negative press, that you'd at least hire a PR firm that was smart enough to know that reporters often call the alleged victim to double check their side of the story?

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Same milk...but oh so different...

It never ceases to amaze me that two children can grow so differently on the same source of nutrition.

Elnora was 8 pounds, 4 ounces when born. Not huge, but not tiny either. Yet she weighed just 16 pounds at a year and weighs exactly 20 pounds now at two years. She's a slow grower...she even dropped off the bottom of the growth charts at about 6 months. But...she's totally healthy, active and rarely sick. She had nothing but my milk for the first six months and continued to have my milk along side some solids until she was 14 months.

Emmitt was a bit bigger at birth at 9 pounds, 7 ounces. The difference is that he weighed 11 pounds, 12 ounces at three weeks and tipped the scales at 14 pounds as of yesterday when we had my seven week checkup with the midwife. I went back and looked at Nora's growth book. It took Elnora 5 months to weigh what Emmitt hit at three weeks and it took her 10 months to weigh what he does now.

Granted, I have no idea how much milk he's getting when he nurses, though I do know that I've got very high calorie milk. He usually nurses about 10 times over 24 hours and spends 5-10 minutes eating each time. (He nurses on one side per feed.)

Maybe my nipples just operate like little milk filled fire hoses...

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The Continuing Delta Breastfeeding Saga...

There's now a petition setup at MomsRising.org that asks Delta to reevaluate their policies and that asks Congress to add protection for breastfeeding moms to the Civil Rights of 1964.

A petition not quite lactivist enough for ya? Well, how bout a phone call to the CEO of Delta? ;) You can reach Gerald Grinstein, Delta CEO, at (404) 715-2600. Just press 0 to get the operator and ask to speak with Mr. Grinstein. While you're on the line, you can also try asking for Lee Macenczak, Delta's Chief of Customer Service.

The story is also rapidly flying through the mainstream media. When I first wrote about it, the Burlington Free Press seemed to be the only mainstream media source covering the story. By yesterday, it had spread through across blog and online discussion forums at lightening speed. This morning, Google news is showing 139 news stories about it, including one in USA Today. In fact, the story is now spreading around the globe, which certainly can't be making Delta (which operates International flights) very happy. Too bad, so sad.

Great posts from out in the Blogosphere keep popping up as well. Keda at Mamahog says:

if someone asked you to cover yourself with a blanket while settling down to a meal at your favourite restaurant, because they felt uncomfortable looking at you due to some weird juvenile complex they had, would you do it?

if we continue to be ashamed of our own bodies, of providing the best food for our children and of seeing other bodies and human contact in it's most innocent form, we are not only repressing ourselves, but making sure that the next generation has the same hang ups. and all the underlying sexual predatory danger, and inequality that goes with it.


The Queen of Spain blog points out the idiocy of Delta's "cover up with a blanket" policy in a different way...

And the blanket. On our flight from Atlanta to WV our flight attendant TOLD US to put our blankets on our seats for the next passenger on the next flight. YOU WANT ME TO COVER MY CHILD WITH THAT???

You know the more I think on this the more upset I get. Usually with nursing in public type stories there's always that issue of "well was she being discreet or did she whip her shirt off" and that's what gets debated in the media. That sucks as it totally takes the focus off of the REAL issue which is that babies have the right to eat. period.

But when you consider the fact that Gillette was in the second to the last row of the airplane, sitting in the window seat with her husband next to her...you've got to ask yourself...could ANYONE on the plane other than those who chose to walk to the VERY back of the plane or who happened to be sitting in the aisle seat directly across from her have had ANY chance of seeing her? No. Delta planes are not exaction bastions of open space...in fact, about the only way to see what someone is doing is to stand in the aisle right next to their seat.

So this has nothing to do with ANYTHING except for the fact that some Delta flight attendant is apparently a big old prude. Add in the fact that Delta and Freedom are willing to back her up instead of towing the usual business line of "Our policy is to support nursing mothers, unfortunately one of our staffers was not clear on policy...blah blah blah..."

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Thursday, November 16, 2006

Lactivists Give Delta a Piece of Their Minds

I wrote yesterday about the New Mexico mother that was removed from a flight for refusing to cover up with a blanket while nursing her daughter during boarding. I shared the letter that I wrote to Delta and Freedom Airlines to express my feelings about the incident. Thankfully, some moms in Burlington (where the incident happened) took it upon themselves to let their actions speak louder than their words yesterday.

From the Burlington Free Press:

About 30 mothers and fathers — and dozens of their young children — gathered in front of the Delta Air Lines check-in desk at Burlington International Airport this morning, staging a "nurse-in" to say they were upset that a woman was kicked off a plane for breast-feeding.

The incident has also sparked comments from all over the web. Here are a few of my favorites...

MamaMidwife included this observation in her letter to Delta...

If your flight attendants had a problem with the sight of a nursing mother then perhaps it is they who should have covered their head with a blanket, or simply looked away.

Cranky Mama makes her points with just the right amount of snarky humor...

Take a moment to think about that. A woman. Kicked off a plane. For feeding her child. Why should that sentence be any different with the word “breast” in it?

And if it’s a breast issue, what exactly do we intend to do about women in low-cut blouses? Are they given blankets? (I’m entertained to no end by this idea, but that’s neither here nor there.) Even the most eagle-eyed fellow passenger, craning his or her neck to ogle the breastfeeding mother, can see no more exposed breast than is visible in your average tank top.


Jennine at "My Ovaries Made me Do It" has some good insight as well...

It is the new taboo in our society to utilize our breasts for anything other than the socially acceptable peep show geared towards men's (and maybe Rosie O'Donnell's) viewing pleasure.

Amy at BlogSchmog hits on one of my favorite points about this whole stupid "you are offending me" line of thinking.

If you’re bothered, look away. I find golf clothes bothersome and distracting. I don’t get to tell people not to wear them though.

And finally, the award for the biggest leap in logic goes to "Curious George" who posted alongside the article in the Burlington Free Press...

...if we teach our little children that some body parts are private, and our actions show otherwise, we send a very confusing message to our children. If your little girl sees YOU doing something it tells her it is OK to do it. Get the picture? Your action could inadvertently tempt a predator or worse because your child thinks it's okay to bare the chest.

Yep, you read that right folks. Women breastfeeding in public will teach little girls to expose their breasts to others which then leaves them open to being molested by a pedophile.

That same poster went on to say:

Do you want your husband to be forced to look at other women's breasts?

Isn't it funny how one nursing mom can exercise her amazing super powers to force a man's head to lock into position with his eyes burning holes in her chest? I always thought husbands could look anywhere they wanted...including AWAY from other women's breasts...silly me.

Anyone else feel like beating their head against the wall?

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Delta and Freedom Airlines Make Boobs of Themselves

It seems ironic that I ran across this story shortly after making a post about holiday travel and breastfeeding... Apparently a New Mexico woman was actually kicked off a plane after she refused to cover up while nursing her 22 month old daughter. I have to admit I'm floored...I wouldn't have been surprised to have heard about a woman being asked to cover up (even though that's totally lame) but I never would have fathomed that an airline would actually remove a mom and her family from the flight. Talk about idiotic!

From the Burlington Free Press:

Emily Gillette, 27, filed a charge with the commission last week -- a step citizens can take before suing in court -- after a Freedom Airlines flight attendant allegedly told Gillette that she offended her, ordering her to cover up.

Gillette said she was seated in the second-to-last row, next to the window, when she began to breast-feed her daughter. Breast-feeding helps babies with the altitude changes through takeoff and landings, Gillette said. She said she was being discreet -- her husband was seated between her and the aisle -- and no part of her breast was showing.

Gillette said that's when a flight attendant approached her, trying to hand her a blanket and directing her to cover up. Gillette said she told the attendant she was exercising her legal right to breast-feed, declining the blanket. That's when Gillette alleges the attendant told her, "You are offending me," and told her to cover up her daughter's head with the blanket.

"I declined," Gillette said in her complaint.

Moments later, a Delta ticket agent approached the Gillettes and said that the flight attendant was having the family removed from the flight.


Absolutely ridiculous. Delta and Freedom Airlines should be ASHAMED of themselves.

I've sent off my own letter to Delta and Freedom Airlines that reads as follows...

I am writing to express my dismay at the actions of flight attendants and Delta ticket agents in regards to having Emily Gillette and her family removed from Delta Flight 6160 on October 13th because Gillette chose to exercise her LEGAL RIGHT to nurse her child on board.

While Gillette was nursing discreetly, the reality remains that even if she had chosen to expose a full breast while nursing, her right to do so is legally protected.

Freedom Airlines Spokesman Paul Skellon's comment:

"A breast-feeding mother is perfectly acceptable on an aircraft, providing she is feeding the child in a discreet way," that doesn't bother others, Skellon said. "She was asked to use a blanket just to provide a little more discretion, she was given a blanket, and she refused to use it, and that's all I know."

shows no sign of apology from the company, nor of understanding of a mother's legal right to nurse in public. It also ignores the fact that even if a mother was ok with covering herself and her child with a blanket, the reality is that many children will simply refuse to nurse with their heads covered.

I'd ask how many Delta and Freedom Airlines employees enjoy their daily meals with a blanket over their heads.

I would strongly encourage both Delta and Freedom Airlines to acknowledge the error in judgement that was made by both the flight attendant and the ticket agent and to issue a public apology to Ms. Gillette. I'd also encourage them to properly train their employees as to the legal rights of nursing moms so as to avoid future issues.

Sincerely,
Jennifer Laycock
The Lactivist Breastfeeding Blog
http://thelactivist.blogspot.com


It's sad to think that these types of incidents are still happening. That said, it continues to outline the need of not only nursing moms to bravely nurse where no mom has nursed before (tee hee), but also of ALL of us to stand up and shout for other women's rights when they are being trampled. I'd like to think that if I, or the many Lactivist readers have been on that flight that we would have stood up and fought for that woman's right to remain on the plane or that we would have exited with them in a sign of protest again the action.

UPDATE: Someone on a board that I frequent called Delta Airlines to ask what their policy was on breastfeeding on the planes. You guys will just LOVE this...

According to her, the man she spoke with said that the issue is at the flight attendant's discretion and that yes, they MAY require you to cover up. He went on to say that if that causes concern for a nursing mom, he suggests they come prepared with a bottle.

Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhttttttttttt............

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Happy Birthday to Us!

This past Saturday marked a birthday and an anniversary.

The Lactivist blog turned a year old and my daughter Elnora (the whole reason I started this blog) turned two.

If you're curious how this all got started, you can go back and read that first post. Otherwise, enjoy a couple of birthday pics...

Two years old and definately not a "girly-girl."

From November'06


Playing with birthday presents...

From Trip to Hubba...


and one with Dad (who happens to share the same birthday)

From Trip to Hubba...


(Ok, and one of Emmitt too so he doesn't feel left out...)

From November'06

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A Little Breastfeeding Humor

Because sometimes, a picture really is worth a thousand words.



;)

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Holiday Breastfeeding Blog Carnival

Today marks the first of many (hopefully) breastfeeding blog carnivals with my cohorts in the boobie-blogger industry. With Thanksgiving, Christmas and Hanukkah just around the corner, nursing moms everywhere are gearing up to hit the road, visit family, or host family in their own homes. That tends to mean stress, stress and more stress...especially for those moms that plan on hosting their own events while nursing little ones or that will be spending time with family that isn't supportive of breastfeeding.

To that end, we've all gathered together to share some tips, advice and a little fun to help you gear up for breastfeeding over the holidays. I made my own contribution yesterday with a post that talks about understanding your breastfeeding rights in the states that you might be visiting along with some tips about the new regulations for breast milk on airplanes.

Tanya over at the Motherwear Breastfeeding blog has offered up a post titled "It All Starts Somewhere" that talks about the challenges that nursing moms face when spending time with friends and family that are either unsupportive or even downright hostile toward breastfeeding.

Across the pond, my friend Sinead of the BreastfeedingMums blog offers some tips on holiday breastfeeding while keeping your sanity despite family get-togethers, long road trips, and figuring out how to entertain the eleventy-million children that might be bustling around while you are nursing.

Mama Knows Breast's Andi Silverman gets a little creative with a holiday themed breastfeeding poem that parodies the always popular "Twas the Night Before Christmas."

Angela at Breastfeeding 1-2-3 shares some tips for maintaining good breast health despite the hectic schedules of holiday travel. With ten tips ranging from the simple (get some sleep!!) to the usually-forgotten (hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!) Angela's post will help you make it through the end of the year without a plugged duct in sight.

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Monday, November 13, 2006

Breastfeeding and Holiday Travel

Any woman that has nursed her child in public has had "that moment." No, not the moment where someone approaches you and makes a comment about what you are doing, but that moment when they notice another person in a restaurant, at a sporting event or even in the park that gives you the vibe that they might make a scene.

I had that happen for the first time this past week. I was in Northeast Ohio visiting my parents for the week, since most family up there hadn't yet met Emmitt. My parents live on the Ohio-Pennsylvania border and we often drive across the border to shop or eat out in PA. That's how I found myself with the kids, my mom and my grandmother at an Eat-n-Park in Pennsylvania. As we sat down and got ready to order, I slipped my hand through the neck hole of my shirt to undo my nursing bra. I'm getting to be old-hat at this (getting the boob ready for feastage while keeping things covered) and didn't think much of it until I glanced at the table next to us. There sat a mom, a boy that looked about 3 and what I can only assume was the grandmother. I saw a brief flash of eyebrow raising from the grandmother and realized that she was directly in the "line of view" for the side I was going to nurse on. I was sitting in a chair at a table and I was on the aisle. I was wearing a nursing top, so I knew no one was going to get flashed, but there was also going to be no doubt what I was doing.

Mentally, I prepared to do battle. I have no qualms over nursing in public, I've done it all over the place so far, restaurants, fast food places, department stores, malls, church, doctor's offices...if I'm there and he needs to eat, I feed him. If anyone ever says anything, my first response will be to politely point out that I have a legal right to breastfeed my son. If it continues, I'll offer them a blanket to cover their head with. ;)

Then I realized, I'm not in Ohio.

Sure, I know the law in my own state, but I have no idea what the laws are in Pennsylvania. Suddenly I was left only with my smart aleck remark and with no TRUE recourse should someone make a complaint.

The lady never said a word, but it got me thinking. The holidays are coming up and nursing moms across the country will be preparing to travel home to visit family members. While there's usually some talk around the holidays about how to deal with nursing your child around unsupportive family members, we often forget to think about the actual logistics are for the traveling nursing mom. From pumping to flying to knowing your rights, breastfeeding and the holidays can be enough to stress out even the calmest mom.

Pumping

The biggest tip here is to remember to take your pump with you! A few years back I flew to Chicago in December for a conference. It was right about when I had begun to wean Nora anyway, but the fact that I forgot to take my breast pump kinda solved that problem. It was a "full" couple of days, but it did give me a definitive end to something that I was a little sad about doing.

Flying

Most breastfeeding moms know that nursing is a great way to keep baby calm on the plane. It's also a great for take-off and landing to help baby's ears adjust to the pressure. Just like adults will often chew gum, or swallow repeatedly on purpose, nursing (or bottle feeding) a baby will allow them to swallow and therefore equalize the pressure.

It's also ESSENTIAL that moms be aware of the new restrictions on taking expressed breast milk on board. While moms are allowed to carry breastmilk and pre-mixed formula on planes despite the new liquid ban...they can only do so if they are traveling with an infant. Moms that might be doing some holiday traveling without their tots and that will be pumping milk during the trip will need to place that milk in their checked baggage. For most, that will mean getting an insulated bag and packing the milk in lots and lots of ice. (Zip lock bags full of ice or freezer packs should do the trick for most trips within the U.S.) On that note, don't forget to check out the petition to allow mothers to carry their milk on-board with them sans baby.)

Legalities

There are currently 37 states that have passed laws that give mothers the explicit right to nurse their child in any location that the mother is otherwise allowed to be. That means that if you'll want to know if you will be traveling to one of the 9 states that does NOT offer legal protection for nursing moms. Those states are:

Arkansas
Idaho
Kansas
Massachusetts
Nebraska
North Dakota
Pennsylvania
West Virginia
Wyoming

Additionally, there are four states that do not have laws stating that a mother may nurse in public but that DO have laws that exempt breastfeeding moms from public indecency laws. Those states are:

Alaska
Michigan
Washington
Wisconsin

To find out the exact law in your state (or the state you'll be traveling to) you can check out the 50 States Summary of Breastfeeding Laws list at the National Conference of State Legislatures site.

Beyond that, it's important to remember that mothers can legally nurse in public on any federal property. That means that national parks, national monuments and federal buildings are ALWAYS breastfeeding friendly.

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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Those Udder Breastfeeding Blogs

Oh come on, give me at least a chuckle, I sat here a whole five minutes trying to come up with some witty subject line...

Anyway, just wanted to note a few new blogs that have been added to the Lactivist Blog Roll as of late. There's Angela...a former lawyer blogging over at Breastfeeding 1-2-3, Tanya...a lactation consultant that runs the Motherwear blog and Sinead a SAHM from across the pond that blogs at BreastfeedingMums.

Later this month, I'll be joining forces with Angela, Sinead and Tanya along with Andi of Mama Knows Breast to present a monthly blog carnival focused on the topic of breastfeeding. Each month we'll pick a particular topic, write up our own posts around that topic and help you find your way to each of the five postings. We'll be starting off by blogging about breastfeeding and the holidays, be it with family, traveling or maybe even great gifts for nursing moms.

Stay tuned to see what we come up with. :)

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Friday, November 03, 2006

Article in The New Yorker on Childbirth

Interesting, and VERY long article on childbirth in the U.S. and the development of the Apgar score. (hat tip to doulicia for spotting this)

Read the full article

I never knew how it came about or why, but it's kind of a neat story and the article has some interesting commentary...

Throughout her career, the work she loved most was providing anesthesia for child deliveries. But she was appalled by the poor care that many newborns received. Babies who were born malformed or too small or just blue and not breathing well were listed as stillborn, placed out of sight, and left to die. They were believed to be too sick to live. Apgar believed otherwise, but she had no authority to challenge the conventions. She was not an obstetrician, and she was a female in a male world. So she took a less direct, but ultimately more powerful, approach: she devised a score.

The score was published in 1953, and it transformed child delivery. It turned an intangible and impressionistic clinical concept—the condition of a newly born baby—into a number that people could collect and compare. Using it required observation and documentation of the true condition of every baby. Moreover, even if only because doctors are competitive, it drove them to want to produce better scores—and therefore better outcomes—for the newborns they delivered.


It also has some sharp criticism of the Obstetrics model...

Ask most research physicians how a profession can advance, and they will talk about the model of “evidence-based medicine”—the idea that nothing ought to be introduced into practice unless it has been properly tested and proved effective by research centers, preferably through a double-blind, randomized controlled trial. But, in a 1978 ranking of medical specialties according to their use of hard evidence from randomized clinical trials, obstetrics came in last. Obstetricians did few randomized trials, and when they did they ignored the results.

And shares why the Apgar Score, which originally helped improve results, eventually led to a common problem with the profession...way too many c-sections...

The question facing obstetrics was this: Is medicine a craft or an industry? If medicine is a craft, then you focus on teaching obstetricians to acquire a set of artisanal skills—the Woods corkscrew maneuver for the baby with a shoulder stuck, the Lovset maneuver for the breech baby, the feel of a forceps for a baby whose head is too big. You do research to find new techniques. You accept that things will not always work out in everyone’s hands.

But if medicine is an industry, responsible for the safest possible delivery of millions of babies each year, then the focus shifts. You seek reliability. You begin to wonder whether forty-two thousand obstetricians in the U.S. could really master all these techniques. You notice the steady reports of terrible forceps injuries to babies and mothers, despite the training that clinicians have received. After Apgar, obstetricians decided that they needed a simpler, more predictable way to intervene when a laboring mother ran into trouble. They found it in the Cesarean section.

This procedure, once a rarity, is now commonplace. Whereas before obstetricians learned one technique for a foot dangling out, another for a breech with its arms above its head, yet another for a baby with its head jammed inside the pelvis, all tricky in their own individual ways, now the solution is the same almost regardless of the problem: the C-section. Every obstetrician today is comfortable doing a C-section. The procedure is performed with impressive consistency.


Finally, a few other interesting and sometimes scary passages...

A measure of how safe Cesareans have become is that there is ferocious but genuine debate about whether a mother in the thirty-ninth week of pregnancy with no special risks should be offered a Cesarean delivery as an alternative to waiting for labor. The idea seems the worst kind of hubris. How could a Cesarean delivery be considered without even trying a natural one? Surgeons don’t suggest that healthy people should get their appendixes taken out or that artificial hips might be stronger than the standard-issue ones. Our complication rates for even simple procedures remain distressingly high. Yet in the next decade or so the industrial revolution in obstetrics could make Cesarean delivery consistently safer than the birth process that evolution gave us.

and

And yet there’s something disquieting about the fact that childbirth is becoming so readily surgical. Some hospitals are already doing Cesarean sections in more than half of child deliveries. It is not mere nostalgia to find this disturbing. We are losing our connection to yet another natural process of life. And we are seeing the waning of the art of childbirth. The skill required to bring a child in trouble safely through a vaginal delivery, however unevenly distributed, has been nurtured over centuries. In the medical mainstream, it will soon be lost.

and

In a sense, there is a tyranny to the score. Against the score for a newborn child, the mother’s pain and blood loss and length of recovery seem to count for little. We have no score for how the mother does, beyond asking whether she lived or not—no measure to prod us to improve results for her, too. Yet this imbalance, at least, can surely be righted. If the child’s well-being can be measured, why not the mother’s, too? Indeed, we need an Apgar score for everyone who encounters medicine: the psychiatry patient, the patient on the hospital ward, the person going through an operation, and the mother in childbirth.

Interesting...all very interesting. I think the main thing that I took away from this though was the concept of vaginal birth becoming a lost art. I guess in part, I never really thought about the skill it takes to allow a vaginal delivery to progress. After all, if you don't know what's normal, you can't identify what's wrong either. The point about c-sections becoming the answer to all problems also shows the danger that we're in of being able to handle even MINOR complications of vaginal birth. How long before the medical community loses even MORE skills and the c-section rate skyrockets even further?

Thank God for midwives.

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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.

The Things They Teach in School...

Now I, being a conservative, have never been a fan of the somewhat "out there" teachings of your average college professor.

That said, Angela over at Breastfeeding 1-2-3 shares the following quote from Dr. Jordan Finkelstein of Penn State...

Taste some infant formulas sometime. Why any kid would drink this is beyond my comprehension, this stuff tastes awful. And if you ever get the chance you should taste some breast milk, I’ll have to tell you that this stuff tastes delicious.

Tee hee...anyone else wondering if his wife breastfed...and if she didn't...how it is that he knows what breastmilk tastes like? ;)

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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.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Pointless Laws Simply Pay Lip Service to Breastfeeding Moms

There has been a lot of positive movement in the United States in the last year or two in regards to more firmly establishing and protecting the rights of breastfeeding mothes. There were more than half a dozen laws passed this past year that specificly protected the right of a mother to nurse her baby in any public location. Still more states added laws guaranteeing moms the right to pump milk at work and a few others gave breastfeeding moms a pass from jury duty.

That said, there are also some fairly toothless laws out there that might as well include the whiney voice-over that says "well geeeeeeeee.....maaaaaaaaaybe you could" as a predecessor to the text of the law.

Case in point? Oklahoma. Tulsa World has an article about a mom that ended up leaving her job because her boss simply would not allow her the time she needed to express milk during the day. While Oklahoma has a law on the books regarding this issue, it's a pretty lame one.

Barnett didn't have enough breast milk for her daughter as a result of being unable to pump at work.

She said her boss wouldn't give her additional breaks.

"I didn't want to have conflict and lose my job, so I wouldn't say anything, and Delainey suffered," she said.

A law that took effect this week addresses the problem, but it doesn't solve it. The law says employers "may provide reasonable unpaid break time" for an employee to breastfeed or pump breast milk, but it doesn't require it.

It says employers "shall make a reasonable effort" to give employees a clean place not far from the workplace -- that's not a toilet stall -- to breastfeed or pump breast milk.


"May provide?" Note the different between "May provide" and "MUST provide?"

I wonder if Oklahoma takes the time to pass laws that says things like "Should not rob" rather than "May not rob..."?

According to the article, Barnett was giving a single one hour break during an 11 hour shift. Any nursing mom knows that you have to pump more than once in 11 hours to be able to maintain a supply. (Or you're going to have to nurse every hour or two overnight and get baby to flip their days and nights...of course that only works if you have a baby that sleeps 12 hours at night...)

So what's up with this law? Well, apparently even the sponsor realizes now that it may not really have accomplished much...

State Rep. Dale DePue, R-Edmond, wrote the bill that became Oklahoma's law on breastfeeding and the workplace. He wanted to take on the issue but didn't want to force employers to do anything they couldn't afford or provide.

"We're trying to get employers thinking about this, but we just didn't make it real tough," he said. "Maybe it will have to come to that."


Hmm...once again, it's kinda like saying to the bully on the playground "Umm..could you maybe stop punching that kid in the face?....No? Ok...well, it's your choice, but I'd like you to think about it."

Yeah...THAT'S gonna work...

Now I'm not a fan of the government stepping in and telling people what they need to do in their private business. In fact, I generally oppose those types of laws...I don't believe in requiring the smallest of small businesses to build or otherwise outfit a specific room for moms to pump in...after all, some small businesses simply could NOT afford to do so. It goes beyond reasonable, though it SHOULD be something that any good business owner is willing to do to keep a good employee. (Even if it's just letting them use the boss's office for a bit each day...)

That said, giving someone two or three 20 minute breaks a day, or allowing them to work an hour longer in order to GAIN some break time during the day? That's really not going to kill anyone's business. In fact, I'd argue that it's going to make mom even MORE productive during the rest of the day because she has the peace of mind that she gains from being able to continue giving her child that liquid gold.

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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, November 01, 2006

Still Working on it...but Accepting Feedback...

Ok, still fine tuning some things...(trying to get the green to go away in the links... and working on increasing the font size on the post titles...oh yeah, the ads will come back too, lol...) but this is pretty close to what the new look will be.

Hope you like it...been tied to the chair ALL day either nursing or holding Emmitt, so I spent my day digging in code working on getting this thing ready to go.

Thoughts? Comments? Opinions? Formula-hater-lady should be happy...no formula ads on here right now... ;)

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments: