Ok, this post is going to look a little funny stashed in with the other "healthy eating" posts, but I can't resist.
Tonight was like a little taste of Memphis. Greg and I are huge fans of good old southern Memphis style BBQ. While there's one place here in town that we can get it, anyone with two kids 2 and under knows what a hassle it is to go out to eat.
What am I talking about? Well, I've been working on some recipes and I think I've got two of them down pat. Tonight we had pulled pork, fatback green beans, hash brown casserole and corn bread. (It's the pulled pork and corn bread recipes that I've been working on...it's darn hard to find a corn bread recipe that has a good, cakey quality with just the right sweetness to it.)
Anyway, just have to show off these shots. Here's a shot of the pork shoulder ready to go in the oven after sitting all night with my homemade rub on it.
Now here's a shot of it part way through the cooking process (about 10 hours at 250 degrees) when I had it out of the oven to apply the "mop" to it. (This is also the point at which Greg said "ew! it looks like a heart!)
I ended up using the Daddy Sams bbq sauce on it after I shredded it and put it in the crock pot to cook a bit longer. It had a nice flavor, a bit heavy on the molasses, but still nice. Just not quite what I'm looking for. (Of course now that I've perfected the pulled pork in the oven recipe, I'll have to start working on a bbq sauce recipe.)
The other victory was the corn bread. This is the third try on this corn bread recipe, with a little bit of variation each time. The first time I made it it was tasty, but too crumbly. The second time I made it I switched from white corn meal to stone ground yellow corn meal. The problem there was that the corn meal stayed too crunchy. Good flavor, but just the wrong texture. This time around I doubled the milk and let the corn meal soak in it for two full hours before making the corn bread. Much better, but still not quite there. I think I may have to switch to regular yellow corn meal OR try simmering the corn meal in milk on the stove to break down the texture more.
The nice thing is that its the kind of corn bread that you can crumble into a bowl and pour milk on and eat as a dessert. It's like corn cake.
Mmmmmmmmm....bbq. Now if only I could get myself a smoker...
No, not wannabe lactivist you goon, I already AM a lactivist. I'm sort of a wanna be LC, but not really.
So what am I talking about?
I wanna be a midwife. Oh, how I wanna be a midwife. I'm absolutely fascinated by them. I've read most books that I can get my hands on that really delve into their every day life (Peggy Vincent's Baby Catcher is my absolute favorite) and I spend a great deal of my free time hosting the Childbirth Choices board over at Baby Center where I can dig up research, brainstorm with other readers and have great conversation about childbirth with a collection of moms, nurses, childbirth educators and doulas.
Basically, I'm a childbirth nut. (You might be surprised to know that I've way more obsessed with childbirth than I am with breastfeeding...)
Last night I had the chance to go and sit in on a meeting of a few midwives and their apprentices. They asked me to come to speak about milk banking. How could their clients become donors, when might their clients NEED donor milk, how the whole setup works and so on. It was a lot of fun and I could tell they really enjoyed getting the information. I, on the other hand was fascinated by the conversation before and after my little 'talk.' The stories of the latest deliveries, interesting new clients, new research, questions on how to handle complications. Just absolutely fascinated.
If I was living another life, I think I'd go for it.
Alas, I have two small children, two jobs that I love and not near enough time in my days. Apart from not having the time to pursue midwifery, I must also admit that the idea of that job also terrifies me. While birth nearly always "goes right" there are those instances where it doesn't. The idea of being responsible for two lives and for knowing when and how to react is so daunting to me. I have enormous amounts of respect for the women (and men) that do this.
I also can't even begin to fathom the time commitment. The life of a midwife is unpredictable. You're sitting down to dinner and your phone rings. (Even if it's Christmas dinner.) Your child is about to blow out the candles on their birthday cake and your cell phone goes off. You're on your way out for your first date in months...yep, a mom is in labor. Let's not even talk about the 3am waking and the snowy drives in the middle of the night. I don't know how they do it.
And so, here I sit on the commentator sidelines. Hoping to educate, hoping to spark thought, hoping to lend support. But also staying away from any of the "real" responsibility that comes with that career choice.
So how bout you? Anyone else out there wish they could be an LC or a Midwife or a Doula or some other similar job? Am I the only one that's a wannabe? ;)
Angela over at Breastfeeding 1-2-3 is doing a fantastic job of covering the Michigan Day Care incident involving Katy Kramp. She's just posted an update today that includes a response from the center and Angela's take on that response.
We adhere to the State of Michigan licensing rule R400.5205a (effective 12/7/2007) by supporting and accommodating breastfeeding and by providing a designated place set aside to accommodate mothers and their children who are breastfeeding. We have chosen a designated area which provides a quiet, soft environment for the nursing child and Mom with comfortable adult seating that includes a rocking chair. This area offers a place that will allow one-on-one time for the breastfeeding child and Mom. Our primary goal is to offer a caring atmosphere for children combined with a structured curriculum.
Never at anytime has a parent enrolled in our program been prohibited from breastfeeding, nor were children "evacuated" due to exposure to breastfeeding.
Now, Angela does an excellent job of breaking down the response with her own counter points, and I'd strongly encourage you to go visit her blog to check those points out.
In the meantime, I want to make two points.
First, Rainbow Child Development Center is either playing a game of semantics, is flat out lying, or is accusing Katy Kramp of lying with this line:
Never at anytime has a parent enrolled in our program been prohibited from breastfeeding, nor were children "evacuated" due to exposure to breastfeeding.
Katy told both Angela and I that she was told she could no longer breastfeed her child in his room when she dropped him off or picked him up. She was told that she could nurse him in the infant room. So while they are "correct" in stating that she wasn't prohibited from breastfeeding, she WAS prohibited from breastfeeding in her son's room.
Katy also told us both that when she tried to nurse her son in his room again, the teacher had all of the children leave. Call that "evacuating," "being removed," "taken elsewhere" or whatever you want, it's all the same thing. So unless Katy was lying, (and I can't see any reason she'd have to do so) then Rainbow Child Development Center is either lying or playing a word game.
Second, I find this to be a very dangerous precedent to be set in terms of the whole "designated area" concept. The laws around the country that include that language were meant to ensure that mothers have SOMEWHERE to nurse if they want to go some place private. They were NOT meant to set up a situation where a mom can ONLY nurse in that location. Unfortunately, Michigan does not currently have a law protecting breastfeeding in public (they simply exclude it from public nudity laws) so Katy doesn't have much standing behind her other than public opinion.
Quite frankly, I see this issue as one of the next frontiers in the lactivist fight.
A great deal of the mothers in this country either choose to work or must work for financial reasons. These mothers should not be forced to choose between their jobs and their ability to breastfeed. Unless working moms and at-home moms alike stand together to fight these types of cases, working moms will continue to deal with discrimination when it comes to trying to pump at work, trying to maintain milk supplies and trying to ensure that their child still received the best possible nutrition even while being cared for someone else.
Breastfeeding is not the right of a stay at home mom, it's the right of EVERY child born in this world.
What better way to help lessen the impact of the mommy wars than by getting all moms to work together on this issue?
Finally, the letter also includes the following:
If you have further questions please address them to Karen Krygier at the Home Office 248 569-2500. The Director of the Plymouth location, Mary Buchin is only following her job duties and should not be subjected to calls and/or e-mails; her time needs to be focused on the children in her care not defending a policy that is in compliance with the State of Michigan guidelines.
To an extent, they're right. I know I'd certainly support people calling Patricia Elam directly instead of calling the day care center, but no one that I've spoken to (including reporters) has been able to track down direct contact information for Ms. Elam.
With that said, I'd STRONGLY encourage folks to go ahead and contact Karen Krygier at 248-569-2500. Let her know exactly what you think. ;)
A new comment that just came in on the post about tandem feeding reminded me of a post I'd been meaning to write. What do our toddlers remember and how long do they remember it for?
I've heard stories of very young children talking about when they were born and I've usually written it off. After all, how could a two or three year old possibly remember their own birth?
But lately, I'm wondering.
When I first gave Elnora breast milk in a sippy more than a year after she'd been weaned, she took a drink, looked at me, and then chugged the bottle. That look had something in it...something that said "holy cow! I remember this stuff!"
Still, I wrote it off. "It just tastes good," I thought.
Then I pulled out her old gymini for Emmitt to start playing with. Elnora spotted and it made a beeline for that thing. She immediately lay down under it and pulled on a toy. When the star hanging from the top didn't immediately play music and light up, she looked at us. We turned it on, and she pulled on a toy again, setting the star to it's singing and light show jamboree.
Greg and I kind of looked at each other...Did she really remember a toy that she hadn't played with since she was six months old? Or was she just smart enough to figure it out again?
There have been several times now that we'll get a new toy out for Emmitt and before we do anything with it, she shows him how it works.
I have one memory from the age of two...it's of riding past the drunken sailors on the Pirates of the Caribbean in Disney world and then through the mouth of the whale. That flash is my earliest memory. Other than that, I don't think I remember anything prior to say the age of 5.
Nora doesn't talk, so I can't ask her things, but observing it has started to make me wonder if I'm writing toddlers off too easily. After all, I can remember things that happened a year or two ago, but I start to get fuzzy about things that happened three, five, ten or more years ago. Why would it be any different for a kid?
So enlighten me, those of you with children that spoke early. Any "proof" that your child remembered something from long ago? Have they told you stories that amazed you? Do they remember things like their birth, or a toy they haven't seen in years, or a person they haven't seen in forever?
While things are still moving forward full speed, I wanted to post an update on the situation going on here in Ohio where the child care chain City Kids Day Care has been discriminating against breastfed children. (If you're just catching the story, read the original post about City Kids Day Care.)
First, some updates on the past few days...
Robin has decided that she would like to move forward with a lawsuit against City Kids Day Care. While she has no interest in profiting financially from this incident, she would like to file a discrimination suit that would help push toward new legislation or guidelines in Ohio that would keep this from happening to other moms. (A lawsuit against Wal mart by Ohio mothers that were harassed for NIP is what led to the passing of our own breastfeeding in public bill a few years ago.) She is still seeking out legal representation and I'd invite Ohio attorneys to contact me if they have an interest in taking on Robin's case.
Next, I've sent emails to all of the organizations that Ms. Elam claims to be a member of on the City Kids web site. I've heard back from one organization (which asked not to be named on the blog) and they told me that they have no record of Ms. Elam being a current member and that they also could not find her in the database for the past three years. I also attempted to check City Kids Day Care's listing on the Better Business Bureau, but they are not listed as members.
A Lactivist reader dug up some interesting data on the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services site. The site lists any compliance issues that an Ohio Child Care center is having. Here are a few of the compliance issues listed for City Kids from their inspections late last year.
During the inspection, it was observed that toilets were not being flushed after each use in the Borders restroom.
During the inspection, it was observed that children were not being properly supervised, in that the staff members in the little professors classroom were sitting at the table and the children were placed in the back of the room in an area where the could not be seen by the staff members.
In review of the employees' records, it was determined that criminal records checks were requested, as required, several months ago however, the results had not been received from BCI&I for those persons listed on the Employee Record Chart.
At the time of the inspection, it was observed that a medication, sunscreen, was within the reach of children in the Nickelby room.
During this inspection, the following food preparation items were observed to be in need of cleaning: unclean refrigerator the foil is not covering the rusted shelves which food/milk containers are sitting on top of unclean front/side of the cabinet.
During this inspection, it was observed that proper diaper changing procedures were not followed as a staff member placed the child on the floor after a diaper change then touched a toy without handwashing her hands which contaminated the toy.
The safe handling of breast milk sounds like the least of their problems to me.
Having spoken with Robin via email, she is also in agreement that a nurse-in at the City Kids Day Care center would not be the best course of action for the cause. It's important that we remember that the point of Lactivism is to fight for, and protect, children. Nurse-ins at retail outlets or places of public accommodation do not put children directly in the "line of fire." I think it's very important that we consider the potential disruption that a nurse-in at the day care center might have on the (innocent) children that attend that center.
As such, what we're looking to do is to build a state-wide list of interested moms so that we can plan a LARGE nurse-in at a public location (perhaps the state house) in an effort to push for new guidelines or legislation that would make it illegal for day care centers to discriminate against breastfed children. This gets the same point across, still cites City Kids as the catalyst for the nurse-in, but protects the children that attend that center. (Again, drop me an email at jennifer at thelactivist dot com if you are interested...)
With all of that said and done, I also want to alert you to another incident with a day care center in Michigan. Katy Kramp is a mother that has just pulled her two year old son out of the Rainbow Child Development center in Plymouth, Michigan. Katy had long nursed her son at drop-off and at pick-up to help ease his transition into the new environment. However, this past January, she was told by the staff at the center that she could no longer nurse him in his room. Katy's best guess is that someone complained about the fact that she was nursing her son in the toddler room and the center reacted by claiming she could now ONLY nurse in the infant room. They cited Michigan's day care regulations which read:
(b) The center shall have a designated place set aside to accommodate mothers and their children who are breastfeeding.
Apparently they've chosen to take "a designated place" quite literally and were demanding that they had now set a designated place and Katy could ONLY nurse her son there. Katy (and myself) firmly believe that the spirit of that guideline is to make sure that day care centers provide nursing mothers with someplace that they CAN go, not to force mothers into that one specific location.
Here's what Katy had to say about her attempts to nurse him in the "new" location.
They wanted me to nurse him in one of the two infant rooms. This did not work for us: The babies and new toys were so distracting that he wouldn't nurse. And the point of nursing at this point is to ease the transition at a point where transitions are difficult. Going into his room to drop off his stuff, then going to the infant room, then back to his room, then facing him wailing as he realized that he'd missed his chance for milkies - it just made an already tight routine nearly impossible.
When she attempted to nurse her son in his classroom again, the staff of the Rainbow Child Development center responded by evacuating the children from that room.
When I asked Katy if this was a center specific regulation or a chain-wide regulation she responded:
I had a hard time getting a clear answer on this one. The director gave me the impression that it was a state decision that had nothing to do with her (though I am pretty sure the state wouldn't pick the rooms for her.) The regional director said that it was that location's decision, but that it was consistent with the policies in other locations.
Angela over at Breastfeeding 1-2-3 did a great job of putting together contact information for all relevant parties. So I'd ask that you once again get your fingers out and prepare to do some typing (or dialing) to share your thoughts on yet another day care center discriminating against a nursing mother.
Please help continue to spread the word. Keep those emails and phone calls rolling into City Kids (get the contact info from the original post) and start sending calls and emails toward the Rainbow Child Development Center as well. Contact your local news sources, national news sources and your state representatives and share with them the need to put new guidelines or legislation in place that would keep this from happening in your state. (Remember, unless you live in Louisiana, there are no laws keeping day care centers from discriminating against breastfed children.)
I had an email from Robin just a bit ago and she told me that she was interviewed by Channel 10, the CBS news affiliate in Columbus this afternoon and the story should run on the 5pm news. It ran on the local Fox and ABC affiliate last Friday, but the video clips have not been uploaded to the web site.
On the note of news coverage, I've also been in touch with some national reporters that have some interest in covering this. If any lactivist readers have run into similar problems with day care centers not wanting to deal with breast milk, please email me at jennifer at thelactivist dot com. Between Robin and Katy we've got the start of an interesting national story. If I could find a few more moms in different states that have run into similar problems, I'd like to add their names to the list of contacts.
Last Friday I had the opportunity to be a guest on the Dave Ross show on 710 KIRO talk radio in Seattle. Dave wanted to talk about the recent MySpace brouhaha over a picture of a nursing child on a mother's profile. We also had some general conversation about nursing in public and why people take issue with the use of breasts for nourishment.
While I was sitting here brainstorming some points to make on the show, one thought popped into my mind that I really hadn't addressed before.
Why all the misdirected disgust?
Here's what I mean by that. In general, when the whole breastfeeding in public debate comes up, we hear a lot of detractors talking about how "gross" and "inappropriate" it is to nurse in public. We also hear lots of accusations about moms "whipping it out" and claims that nursing mothers are simply exhibitionists trying to get their kicks by flashing their nipples in public. Us moms tend to do a lot of defending by making points about it being a natural way to feed our child, by making claims that nearly all moms go out of their way to be discreet and by claiming that children have the right to eat when and where they're hungry.
Those are all good points...but I can't help but wonder what the reaction might be if we turned it around a little.
What if WE started acting appalled and disgusted by the people that equate breastfeeding with sex. What if instead of defending ourselves, we made comments like
"Well I'm quite concerned that the sight of a child eating turned that man on...I just don't know how to react to that."
"Why is this woman staring at my breasts? I don't understand what the attraction is...I mean I understand the attraction for my child, but why is she so fascinated by them?"
What kind of world do we live in where we demonize the moms that feed their children and give free pass to the people that equate eating time with "dirty sex"? I have a feeling that if we responded that way, more people might start shifting their tactics away from the "ooohhh!!! naked breast = sex = baaaaaaaaaad" line of thinking and and back toward "well, I'm just uncomfortable" with it which makes it more clearly THEIR issue and to which the perfect response is "well, there are lots of other directions to look."
Sorry not to get this update up sooner, but was out of town without the laptop over the weekend. (This is the third day out of the last 9 that I've actually been home.)
Anyway, the nurse-in to support Leigh Bellini at the Berkshire Mall near Reading, PA went off without a hitch on Saturday afternoon. More than 150 moms, kids, dads and relatives showed up. (Proving why Saturdays are a GREAT day for nurse-ins...I love that so many dads went!) The mall owners have not made any comment on the nurse-in, but I have no doubt that the media coverage (it made the news as far away as Billings, Montana) will really help garner some support from PA legislators as Leigh and company look to push through legislation that would protect a mother's right to nurse in public.
One of the attendee's husband snapped more than 80 images of the nurse-in. They're absolutely fantastic. You can check out the full gallery of photos online.
There's quite a bit of coverage over on YouTube, though this was the only one I spotted that was news coverage.
There's also excellent media coverage (and video) over at the local CBS affiliate. Shows what a great cross-section of folks were there. I see strollers, I see slings, I see shirts and buttons and signs with some favorite Lactivist slogans (including the ever popular "I make milk, what's your superpower?"). Really looks like a great event!
If any Lactivist readers were there, I'd LOVE for you to leave your own thoughts in the comments section. It's about an eight hour drive for me, so a little too far to make it. ;) But my congrats go out to Leigh and to ALL the moms, dads, siblings and relatives that showed up. What a great Lactivist showing!
Now if this one won't get your feathers ruffled, I don't know what will. It's about ten times more important that we spread the word on this than it was to spread the word about the Pork incident ladies, so please help me out.
Here's the deal...
There's a mother named Robin Neorr here in the Columbus area. After her daughter was born late last year and she went back to work, she enrolled her daughter in one of the City Kids Day care in downtown Columbus.
Robin was told that she would need to pay an extra $50 per WEEK because her 3 month old daughter is breastfed. You read that right, an extra $50 a week to feed that little girl the best food available for her.
Well, Robin was given several reasons.
She was told that her milk was a hazardous body fluid that had to be kept separate from all other food. As such, the day care center kept the prepared bottles of breast milk in a separate refrigerator in the director's office. (They even labeled it with a "bio-hazard" sticker, apparently confusing breast milk with, I don't know...uranium?) They also claimed that they would have to purchase a separate warming pot for heating up the breast milk. In other words, they had to go through SOOO much extra trouble that they would have to charge her an extra fee.
What was their reasoning for needing all this extra fuss over breastmilk? Well, Robin was never really able to find out the answer to that question.
The Centers for Disease Control does NOT consider breast milk to be a fluid that requires "special precautions." The Ohio Department of Health also does not consider breast milk to require any special handling. In fact, when I searched the Ohio Administrative Code, I stumbled across Chapter 12, which covers the Rules for Licensed Child Care Centers. I found it VERY interesting to read the section on "Infant formula and food."
Here are a few snippets from it...
Center policies and practices shall support parent preferences in infant feeding, including breast feeding and introduction of solid foods as long as developmentally appropriate and not detrimental to the health of the child.
Infants shall be served food in conformity with dated written instructions from the parent or guardian or physician. The instructions shall include amounts of food, type of food, and feeding times and be updated as needed based upon the child's needs and parent's instructions.
Now, it gets more interesting if you keep digging. Here's what it says about the requirements for day care centers as they handle bottles of breast milk.
If breast milk is provided by the parent or guardian, it shall be labeled with the child's name and the date of receipt and immediately refrigerated or frozen. Refrigerated breast milk shall not be stored for more than twenty-four hours. Breast milk shall be kept frozen no more than two weeks.
If formula or breast milk is to be warmed, bottles shall be placed in a container of hot (not boiling) water or be placed in a commercial bottle warmer. The container of water shall be emptied and cleaned each day. The bottle shall be shaken well, and the milk temperature tested before feeding. Frozen breast milk shall be thawed under cold running water or in the refrigerator.
The unused portion of formula, breast milk or food remaining in a container from which the infant has been directly fed, shall not be reheated or served again.
Now, that doesn't really seem so tough does it? Take a gander at what's required for the handling of formula...
Bottles prepared at center: when infant formula is prepared by the center, it shall be prepared in conformity with written instructions from the parent or guardian, or physician. All powdered or concentrated formula shall be prepared according to the manufacturers' instructions unless written instructions from a physician or an advance practice nurse certified to prescribe medication are on file at the center.
The center shall clean and disinfect all counter surfaces and equipment needed to prepare the formula. All equipment shall be washed in a dishwasher or scrubbed with hot water containing soap, and be thoroughly rinsed. Equipment not washed in a dishwasher shall be boiled for five minutes or more just prior to filling bottles. Handwashing facilities shall not be used for formula or food preparation or for rinsing or washing dishes and bottles. Handwashing facilities shall not be used for formula or food preparation, or for washing dishes and bottles or rinsing for reuse.
Open containers of ready to feed and concentrated formula shall be covered, dated and refrigerated. Prepared formula and food shall be discarded if not used within twenty-four hours.
Any formula or food to be stored at the center for any period of time, whether prepared by the parent or guardian or the center, shall be labeled with the child's name and date of preparation and shall be used only for the intended child.
Until used, all formula or food shall be refrigerated immediately after preparation or upon arrival if prepared by the parent or guardian. Formula or food that is commercially prepared may not be required to be refrigerated until after opening. Formula and food shall be stored no longer than twenty-four hours.
Now tell me...which one do YOU think requires more work?
Here's where it gets even more interesting. One of the posters on the AP Village discussion forum called City Kids to ask about enrolling their own child. According to her post, here's what she was told:
"Well, I have to see, I think there is a new policy about breastmilk. We might charge extra or maybe we aren't taking them any more. It's nothing with me or the director but the owner has a problem with breastmilk."
When asked by the caller if they were serious she stated that "all day care centers are going to this policy soon."
Yeah, can you even believe it?
Now Ohio does have legislation giving moms legal protection when they breastfeed in public but it currently has no laws on the books in regards to the use of breast milk in day care centers. In fact, only the state of Louisiana has a law (House Bill 233) making it illegal for day care centers to discriminate against breastfed children.
Robin understandably wanted to avoid negative press while her daughter was still being cared for at the center. However, her daughter's last day was Tuesday and Robin is now on a crusade to not only spread the word about this day care center that has chosen to discriminate against breastfed children but also to push for new Ohio legislation that would keep this same situation from happening to other breastfeeding moms.
So, what do we need you to do?
First, help spread the word. It took all of two days for the National Pork Board to change their course when faced with the onslaught of phone calls and emails from the Lactivist community. If we can mobilize to protect one web site then we sure as heck can mobilize to show day care centers that we will not stand for this type of discrimination against breastfed babies. So please, blog the article, post it in your favorite discussion forums, get the word out.
Second, make your voice heard with the parties involved. Patricia Elam has owned and operated the downtown Columbus and Hilliard City Kids centers since 1989. If you'd like to contact her to let her know what you think of her center's policies, you can email City Kids at email@example.com or you can call either of their centers at (614) 464-1411, or (614)777-4320.
If you are a Central Ohio mom and would be on board for a potential nurse-in at City Kids Daycare, please drop me an email so that I can start building a contact list. If you are a mom anywhere in Ohio, please give serious thought to contacting your local representatives and your state senators about the need to push through legislation that would protect breastfed children.
If you are a lawyer or know one that might be interested in taking on a civil suit against City Kids Day Care, get in touch with me and I'll get you in touch with Robin. If you are a reporter that would like to cover the story, drop me a note and I will DEFINITELY get you in touch with Robin.
We can not let day care centers dictate what we feed our children.
My mother-in-law just sent this...thought you all would get a kick out if.
The Biology class was taking its mid-term exam.
The last question was: Name seven advantages of "Mothers Milk."
One student, who had partied late the night before, had some difficulty coming up with seven.
1. It is perfect formula for the child. 2. It provides immunity against several diseases. 3. It is always at the right temperature. 4. It is inexpensive. 5. It bonds the child to mother, and vice versa. 6. It is always available as needed.
At that moment, the student was stuck. Finally, in desperation, just before the bell rang, indicating the end of the test, he wrote:
A few weeks back I spoke with a rep of Jim Hightower. Jim's a nationally syndicated radio and newspaper commentator and he was interested in covering my battle with the National Pork Board.
The column ran yesterday in the Austin Chronicle if you're interested in reading it. It's a nice, succinct take on the whole debacle.
It's the second story, so you'll have to scroll down...but here's a snippet.
Now here's a thrilling story: Goliath bullies David, David slings a stone that stuns Goliath … then Goliath apologizes and gives David some money!
"David" is Jennifer Laycock of Columbus, Ohio. "Goliath" is the National Pork Board, the front group for major pork processors and producers. This outfit is famous for its advertising slogan: "Pork: The Other White Meat."
Few moms plan to become lactivists. I know I sure didn't. I don't think Emily Gillette did. Somehow, I doubt that Leigh Bellini planned on it either.
And yet...an incident involving Bellini has sparked yet another firestorm of activity within the breastfeeding community that will culminate in a nurse-in that's expected to draw more than 100 moms to the Berkshire Mall near Reading, Pennsylvania on Saturday, February 24th at 1pm.
For Bellini's full account of the story, you can check out Angela's coverage over at Breastfeeding 1-2-3. Her post includes the following:
But now due to this argument everyone in the area was staring. During this interaction I was enraged by the suggestion of going into a bathroom to breastfeed, that I took it upon myself to draw more attention by yelling “I REFUSE TO FEED MY BABY IN A BATHROOM” over and over. The security guards brought up the police again in an attempt to scare us into compliance. My husband informed them again that they would have to call the police if they wanted us to leave before my son was finished his meal. The security guard gave up and stated that if he got one more complaint he was definitely calling the cops. My husband said that that is what they were going to have to do. My son then continued and finished his meal. After we returned our purchases and explained to the store associate why we were never going to return to this store or this mall again we went home.
I'm with Angela in thinking that while there's nothing funny about the situation, I've got smile at Bellini's shouting. I think it's exactly how I would have responded and in reality, she probably did more to embarrass the security guard than anything. I also applaud them for taking the time to return their purchases and for explaining why.
As I mentioned in a previous post about my own experience breastfeeding in public in Pennsylvania, there are no laws on the books in that state that give nursing mothers protection. If you are a Pennsylvania mom that lives anywhere near the Berkshire Mall, I'd encourage you to attend the nurse-in. If you're a Pennsylvania mom that doesn't live close enough to attend, I'd encourage you to contact your local representatives to share the need for new legislation that protects the rights of children to eat when and where they are hungry.
I'm not a baby wearer. I've tried, believe me I've tried. I've been through pouch slings, ring slings, padded ring slings, homemade pouch slings and even a wrap. I don't know if it's the chest, the fact that Emmitt is friggin huge or what...I've simply NOT been able to make it work.
I've got an Ergo on the way for what may be one last try, but the first five months, I've had to either carry him or use the baby carrier.
That's why it's irked me more than a little bit this past week when I've seen a few comments to the effect of how bad people feel for all those poor babies in the baby carrier and "why don't those mom's carry their babies??!!"
Well, there are a few reasons.
1.) Some of us have baby carriers because *gasp* we have cars. I know it's an amazing thought, but sometimes, when you live in Ohio and there is occasionally 18 inches of snow, it's easier to put Emmitt in his carrier while in the warmth of the house before covering him with a blanket and then with the cozy that attaches over the carrier. Believe me, this is one million times easier than forcing him into an infant snowsuit and then lugging him out to the car while trying to lock the front door, open the garage and get both he and Nora into their seats.
2.) Emmitt often sleeps while I run errands. I'd like someone to explain to me why it's better to WAKE HIM UP, take him out of his infant car seat, put him into a sling, run inside the grocery store for ten minutes and then run back out to wake him up AGAIN as I put him back into the car seat than to simply lift the car seat from the car to the shopping cart and then back to the car. Is it REALLY better for my baby for me to wake him up twice rather than to let him peacefully slumber in the cozy confines of his carrier?
3.) Not every baby likes to be held. While Emmitt LOVES to be held (which is why I tried so hard to get the hang of a sling) Elnora did not. She would sleep peacefully in her carrier while I was out or if we were in church, she would NEVER sleep in my arms. In fact, she'd squirm and fuss until I put her down.
4.) There are instances where it is NOT easier to use a sling than a stroller. If I'm headed to the mall to try on clothes it's far more logical to put Emmitt in a stroller than in a sling. If I put him in a sling that means putting him on the floor of the dressing room while I try on clothes. Do you really want to put your baby on the floor of a dressing room? Even if you put a blanket down first? Again, why not let them peacefully hang out in their stroller?
Now let me be clear...I know the benefits of baby wearing and I believe in them. I think that some babies do amazingly well in a sling and some moms would never get any work done without them. I love the idea of a sling in urban areas where you walk everywhere or take the subway. So much easier than wrangling a stroller into a cab or on the subway. I'd love to be able to use a sling or carrier when we walk downtown to the farmer's market in the summer.
I don't dislike slings. In fact, I very much hope that this Ergo does the trick because I'm planning a business trip to New York in April and would LOVE to be able to use the stroller or Ergo as the situation dictates.
I simply think that some people need to think before they speak. Baby carriers are not evil. Moms that use baby carriers are not neglectful. Slings are not for every mom and every baby. They are not a requirement for breastfeeding. (In fact, if you're built like me I can't even FATHOM how you would nurse in a sling.)
Slings are a wonderful tool that serve a great purpose. Kinda like baby carriers... ;)
(I'm feeling a little ranty today, so you're going to see two ranty posts in a row.)
I've been thinking a bit on this whole "I don't care if moms breastfeed in public, I just think they should be discreet" thing lately. I've heard this line several times both on TV interviews and in news stories, usually from someone responding to legislation moving through various states in an attempt to provide moms and babies a bit more protection when it comes to meal time.
Here's my issue with this topic. Who in the world gets to define what is and isn't "discreet."
The problem with writing "discreet" requirements into laws is that you also have to define the very meaning of discreet. My friend Judy pointed out that it would probably go something like this:
...not revealing more breast than is necessary to comfortably feed the child, yet not placing undue burden to completely conceal the breast/nipple.
(Note: it's not that Judy thinks this is how it should be, simply that this is how some legislator would probably write it.)
But think about it...even if you legally define "discreet" with a phrase like that, you're still left with so much grey area as to make it worthless. After all, how much breast is "necessary" to comfortably feed the child? An inch? Two inches? 20% of the surface area of the breast? Also, since I'm a DD cup, do I get to show more than my friend Cara who is, at best, a B cup? What qualifies as an "undue burden" in terms of concealing the breast or nipple?
Emmitt likes to grab hold of the edge of my shirt and then throw his fist in the air. (As in "hey world!!! Look!!! Mom's FEEDING ME!!!) Do I need to tie his hands to his legs to keep him from doing that? Personally, I'd say that would qualify as undue burden.
What if discreet means "put a blanket over that kid's head" to one person and "don't take your top off" to another? Which one wins? Because if the answer is "only a judge can decide" then we're right back where we started.
I'm really trying to understand where people are coming from on this one because again, I have never in my entire life seen any part of a woman's breast while she nursed in public. Even at the nurse-in I attended at Port Columbus, I didn't see ANY breast while the moms were nursing. Granted, I didn't spent a lot of time staring at their chests...but still. I just don't get it. I just don't get the need to say "sure you can nurse in public, but only if you do it MY way."
So my question to readers is this...
Do you support language that requires a mom to be discreet? If so, why? What do YOU personally define as discreet?
When Colleen Newman over at My Baby and More dropped me an email to ask if I was interested in reviewing her book "Near Mama's Heart" I happily said "send it over!" Since I had exclusively pumped for Elnora, breastfeeding was still a new experience in our house. Elnora had been fascinated by it from the beginning and sadly, hadn't really had the chance to be around many other nursing moms.
I had also just received Mama's Milk from Tricycle Press and she liked it, so it seemed like a great time to move on to a breastfeeding book that had photographs instead of illustrations.
The Lactivist Says: A heartwarming collection of breastfeeding photos
Pros: Real photos of nursing mothers and their children Cute rhymes talk about breastfeeding as a normal part of life Shows nurslings of a variety of ages
Cons: Paperback Images of older toddlers nursing may turn some families off
When the book arrived I flipped through it fairly quickly smiling at the catchy rhymes and interested to see the wide variety of breastfeeding photos. From the touching image of a newborn baby nursing to some cute shots of older toddlers practicing nursing acrobatics, this book does an excellent job of presenting breastfeeding as something normal and natural for both babies and young children.
Proponents of child led weaning will love having the chance to share a book like this with their children. That said, it may not be the best book choice for more conservative breastfeeding families that are uncomfortable with the shots of older nurslings. (Then again, it could be a great way to introduce them to the beauty of the nursing child.)
I do wish that the book was available as a board book though. Elnora loves to take books to bed with her for her nap but she's not quite old enough yet to be trusted with paper books. (They mysteriously seem to end up with tears in them...) That said, we often read the book before nap time and she loves to point out the babies and the moms.
Janice Reynolds put together an outstanding photo slide show featuring photos from some of the nurse-ins over the past years. You'll spot shots from The View, the Times Square Toys R Us and Delta Nurse-ins from across the country. (If you look close, you'll even spot two shots from the Columbus nurse-in, including a shot of Emmitt and I. I'm sitting on a bench in a grey shirt looking the other way, lol.)
It's funny how sometimes the things that are sad really aren't so sad.
I thought that very thing several times while sitting in the funeral home in a row with all of my cousins and their spouses as the minister gave the sermon at my grandmother's funeral.
My grandmother was born in 1919. She lost her mother at the age of seven to breast cancer. She and her older sister (Elnora is named after her) were raised by her father and a huge host of extended family. She was married to my grandfather for almost sixty-five years and was 87 when she died. She had three children, seven grandchildren and ten great grandchildren. She lived a long, full, wonderful life, save the last five years when she wished on a regular basis that God would take her home. She was a believer and there's no doubt in my mind that she now walks with her Lord in a body that's whole with a mind that's sharp.
How could I NOT be happy for her?
I'm sad for my grandfather. I'm sad for my father and my aunt and uncle. But the truth is that the woman we all loved left us many years ago. What we buried was simply the vessel.
As I sat at the funeral home yesterday morning I marveled at the fact that Emmitt was the happiest I can remember him being. He laughed and bucked and grinned at everyone he saw. I watched face after face of my grandmother's elderly friends pass by her coffin only to look up and be greeted by his smiling face. I'm glad that we took him with us, even if he left for the baby sitter's before the actual funeral. I watched Elnora cling to my father, somehow able to know that something wasn't quite right. She cried. She never really knew my grandmother so I can only imagine that she was crying for my father. We asked her if she was sad and with the saddest face I've seen on her she simply nodded her head yes. She's two, but she knew that her "ba" was hurting.
When it dawned on me that my parent's pastor was speaking at the funeral I wondered at the fact that just as he was now shepherding a loved one out of this life, it's not even been five months since his sister-in-law shepherded Emmitt into his.
Life ends and life begins. It's what you do in between that counts.
Just stopping in again to check email and publish comments to the blog. (Have to give my hair half an hour in a towel before I can blow dry it, so good excuse to hop online.)
I'll have a really long post later tonight or maybe tomorow, but wanted to thank folks for the input on the taking Emmitt or leaving him thing. The funeral is at the nursing home. (because there is an extra hour of calling hours this morning and since there's more than two feet of snow here, moving her to the church didn't seem like a good idea...also not having graveside services.) Even if it was at the church, it wouldn't be a big deal to nurse him there, this is the type of church where if you nurse the old ladies look lovingly at the baby and give you those knowing smiles. Plus the pastor's wife (who happens to be my midwife's sister) nursed all three of her girls through services as they were growing up.
We decided that we'll take Elnora and Emmitt with us to calling hours this morning, but that Greg will run them down the street to the church (and babysitters) about twenty minutes before the funeral starts. That way I can nurse Emmitt at the funeral home right before Greg takes him to the church. We should be at the church for the dinner not more than an hour or two after that so he should end up being fine for that long. I'll send a bottle but he still holds out as long as he can when offered one. (That's my little boob man!)
In the meantime, everyone is holding up pretty well. My dad and uncle are still working mostly on keeping busy, but they're doing well. Grandpa tears up now and then (understandable when you lose your wife of almost 65 years) but he also seems relieved in knowing that she's not in pain anymore.
By the way, I wanted to say a quick thanks to my readers. I've really enjoyed making the transition from "breastfeeding blog" to "mommy blog with a focus on breastfeeding" over the past six months and I really appreciate that my audience seems to not only be ok with that, but has expanded and become even more talkative in the comments. Thanks for indulging me.
As I sit here on the full size bed in my old room hooked up to the milking machine (a.k.a. my PISA)
Anyone ever notice how hard it is to find dress clothes that are easily accessible to nurslings? I know that Motherwear and other online companies have some great options, but I mean like...you are packing to leave in a few hours, you've lost enough weight that you weigh less than when you were pregnant, but when you try to wear your pre-pregnancy dress clothes the effect of your post-partum stomach makes you look like you belong on Jerry Springer...and yet...you need clothes for calling hours and a funeral?
Got in to town at 4:00pm. Headed out at 5pm with my cousin to try and find clothes. Great success at our first stop until I realized that I'd picked out a button up shirt and a suit vest. Yeah...I'm sure my very conservative family will just love it if I unbutton both my vest and my shirt to give Emmitt access. LOL
Next challenge...finding a pullover top that's both dressy enough and LONG enough (I'm tall through the torso.)
I finally found two shirts, both very nice, very dressy and actually long enough. (And hey! One of them came off the clearance rack for $12!) So poor little Emmitt gets to eat after all. ;)
The tough part now is deciding whether to try and take him to the funeral or to leave him with the babysitters that have been arranged for at the church. (Oddly enough, my midwive's three nieces...) Greg and my grandmother (the one that's still alive of course) will take shifts watching them during the two sets of calling hours today. Thankfully the funeral home is literally at the end of my parent's street so I can nurse him, head down for the first two hour set, come home and nurse him and go back for the next two hour stint. It's just deciding what to do about the funeral tomorrow.
(No, I didn't forget Elnora. She's staying home and going to the baby sitters, she's watched them before and all her cousins will be there as well, so I don't mind leaving her...but Emmitt's the only one small enough to not be walking, so I'm hesitant on leaving him...)
Ok, full milk bottles, off I go. (And a sincere thanks to everyone for their kind words, prayers and thoughts!)
Just a head's up that there may or may not be Lactivist updates this weekend. My mom called this morning to let me know that my grandmother had passed away last night.
Yes, it's sad, but it's also a relief, it's been a horrific couple of years as her mind went and she decided that she didn't want to live anymore so she'd do her best to make everyone around her miserable. In other words, the grandmother that I know "died" about six years ago, it's just her physical body that's gone now.
I expect we'll be out of town until at least Monday, though I'll have my laptop with me, so we'll see. Blogging is always a good escape, but I also expect we'll be busy with family stuff, so you'll probably either see nothing from me, or marathon posting.
One note...about ten years ago I wrote a letter to my grandparents telling them how much I loved and respected them and sharing the amazing memories that I'd created in my years growing up with them. Looking back, I'm so glad that I did that when they were both still in a mental state that let them read and understand what I was saying. If you've got loved ones in your life and you've never done that...give it some thought. It sure makes death easier when there aren't things that you wish you'd said.
Seriously...I write a rant about sleeping and BAM! Emmitt sleeps five and a half hours straight last night.
So...umm...Gee! I haven't...umm...slept for more than...let's see...SEVEN hours in like a year! Boy, it sure sucks that Emmitt doesn't sleep for more than SEVEN hours straight! Oh, woe is me! I'm so sad and depressed because Emmitt doesn't sleep through the night...
On the rare day that I get to the mall to take the kids for a walk I always end up with a conflict. As I walk past the Cinnabon stand, my mouth waters, my eyes glaze over and my hips instantly expand by at least 1/2". Yep...all I have to do is smell them and I gain weight. Thus, I look longingly at them as we walk by, but deep down, I really feel like I'll regret it if I "give in."
And that, my friends, sums up my internal conflict with the idea of co-sleeping.
With Elnora, we never even considered it. Cause as you know, co-sleeping with your child results in:
1.) INSTANT DEATH!!! DEATH AND DESTRUCTION!!! YOUR CHILD WILL SMOTHER!!!!
2.) You'll NEVER have sex again.
3.) They'll sleep with you until they're in high school and that's just SICK.
So, like a good little American mommy, Elnora slept in a pack n play across the room for the first two nights she was home. Then, (due to more than a little pressure from well meaning family members) we moved her to her crib. I didn't sleep for the next three nights. Every single sound on the monitor made me want to go look. Every single LACK of sound on the monitor made me want to go look. I wrote it off as first time mom jitters. But deep down, I didn't really believe it. After all, I'm the mom that raised my first kid like she was a third kid. (Germs? Ehh...whatever...it's only been on the floor five minutes...who cares if the dog licked it?)
When Emmitt was born, I was bound and determined to nurse him. We spent the first week on the back porch. He was eating about once an hour so I'd simply sleep in the recliner with him on my chest. We tried side lying but we had a bad latch and I ended up with cracked nipples. (And woo boy, ain't nothin' more fun than big old cracks in your nipples...) Since his nursery was upstairs and our bedroom was downstairs (and there was no WAY I was traipsing upstairs eleventy billion times a night) we stuck him in a bassinet next to the bed.
Until three weeks later when he outgrew it. (LOL, yep...my four week old was too big for a bassinet...he's a hoss.)
So we traded our pack n play with my mom's because her's had a full size bassinet insert. (So I didn't have to lean over so far to get him in and out.)
Almost five months later, he still sleeps in there, in our room, next to the bed. In fact, he's never been inside his nursery.
Now you're asking yourself...why am I not co-sleeping this time around? Surely I don't really believe those three things I wrote above...
Not at all...but I DO have my reasons...
1.) I'm not going to be able to convince Greg to put the mattress on the floor. It's just NOT going to happen. Since we have a tall bed and hardwood floors, well...obviously if Emmitt did slip out, it would be bad. (I've already dropped him on his face once...don't really want to do it again.)
2.) Greg is a cover-guy. He wants sheets, blankets, comforters...all that great baby smothering stuff. Since I spent the first year of Elnora's life waking up in a cold sweat convinced that she was buried under the mounds of covers (while she slept peacefully in her crib), I'm a little hesitant to try it out in real life.
3.) While I LOVE cuddling up with my little guy and find side-lying to be a fantastic way to get some sleep while he nurses, I also know that I don't want a 3 year old sleeping with me. Heck, I don't want a 2 year old or even an 18 month old sleeping with me. (More on this later.)
4.) I don't sleep as well with Emmitt in the bed as I do with him in his pack-n-play. Sure, I can sleep while I nurse, but other than that, I end up being worried about him getting buried in covers, so I sleep SUPER light. That leaves me exhausted in the mornings...more so than I am with having to get up to feed him.
See, we do co-sleep sometimes and Greg would be fine with it if we did it all the time. (Especially when it's 4am and I'm ready to cry...his response is "just put him in bed with us!") Usually it's the last feed of the "night" which actually happens around 7. Greg's getting up to get ready for work then anyway and I usually have until 8 or 8:30 before Elnora's going to wake up. So...I snag Emmitt and the two of us sleep in the bed by ourselves for another hour or two after he nurses back to sleep. On the rare day that I have my work done early and I can nap while Elnora naps, Emmitt and I take a nap together in the bed during which he nurses once or twice.
Ok...all of that ramblingness was to get to this point...
I have no problem with co-sleeping...I think it's a great idea...I really enjoy doing it and I have no fear of "spoiling" my child. That said, I have an immense fear of forming a habit for my child that I will then be forced to either live with, or break.
Knowing how difficult it is to convince a two year old to do something that they don't want to do, I realize how tough it would be to get a two year old out of our bed if I decide that we don't want him there any more. As such, if I were to shift to co-sleeping, I'd pretty much be committing to doing it until he decided on his own that he was fine with switching OR until I was ready to go through the "fun" of making him move.
Neither one of those options appeal to me. In fact, they sound so awful that they're enough of a reason to keep me from going to full time cosleeping.
So while I love the idea (much like I love the smell of those Cinnabons) I'm just not sure that I want to live with the "consequences."
My current plan is to get both kids' rooms moved downstairs within the next month or two. (We have two bedrooms downstairs and two bedrooms upstairs.) That way, I can put Emmitt in his crib for naps during the day so that he can get used to sleeping in there, but he can stay with Greg and I in our room upstairs until he begins sleeping through the night. Once he does sleep through the night, it shouldn't be as hard to switch him to his crib because he'll already be used to sleeping there during the day.
Which leaves me curious to hear your experiences... Did you co-sleep with any of your kids? With one but not with others? How long did you co-sleep? How hard/easy was it to transition them to their own beds? How old were they when they moved out? (I'm not worried about the sex, you can have sex anywhere...lol...it's really the "habit" that worries me.)
Elnora slept through the night at seven weeks. In fact, she slept through the night EVERY single night from seven weeks to seven months. (Don't hate me!) Then she started teething and from seven months until about 18 months she woke up about once a night a few days a week.
Emmitt on the other hand...well...the boy does NOT like to sleep. He might nap a total of two hours between 9am and 10pm each day. He also wakes up 3-4 times a night. He slept for six hours straight ONCE, but most nights, he wakes up every 2.5 to 3 hours.
Man that's rough. Especially when you can't nap during the day.
What's funny is that I knew that when I chose to breastfeed instead of bottle feeding that there was a good chance that Emmitt would take longer to sleep through the night. (Why is that? Elnora had breast milk too...simply from a bottle...do they just eat less at a time when they nurse?) Quite honestly, for the first four months it didn't bother me to wake up with him. I'd get up, nurse him, go back to sleep.
But this last week or two it's really draining me. There have been one or two times that he's gotten up every 2 hours at night...and by the third or fourth waking I'm actually ready to cry at the thought of having to get up again. I'm fine by morning (because it won't last forever) but there...in the moment, in the middle of the night when I'm so tired I can't see straight...I want to cry.
What makes it more frustrating is that in the morning he'll go a good five hours without eating. (Eats at around 6am or 7am, then not again until 11 or 12.) Why can't he do that over night?
The funny thing though is that a common response to this problem is "well why not just give him a bottle?"
Which cracks me up.
Umm...hello? Even if he drank a bottle instead of getting it from the tap, I'd still be the one doing all the feeding. In fact, I'd get less sleep. Right now, I wake up, roll over, pick him up (he sleeps 2 feet away in his pack n play) nurse him, put him back and go to sleep. I never even have to leave the bed. If I bottle fed, I'd have to get up, go to the kitchen, get a bottle, heat it up, feed him, put him back to bed, go put the bottle in the fridge and then go back to bed.
By the time I did all that, I'd be wide awake. I know, because I did it for those months before and after Elnora slept through the night.
So why, pray tell, do people think bottle feeding is easier on moms at night? Even if Greg did get up with him on the weekends (he did with Elnora) that would still leave me doing so much extra work five nights a week.
I'm too lazy to bottle feed...but man would it be nice to sleep through the night just once. It's been about 8 months since I've slept more than four or five hours at a stretch. It's been 5 or 6 months since I've slept more than 3 or 4 hours at a stretch.
Hmmm...as a formula fed child that actually WAS voted "most likely to succeed" in high school (Ha! Bet you thought I got "most likely to whip them out in public" or "most likely to get sued by those porkers, didn't ya?) a study that I ran across today makes me wonder just what I might have been capable of had I been breastfed.
Now we all know that breast milk is best and that there are tons of health benefits for the nursing child. Did you know that according to a decades long study conducted on more than 3000 people in the UK, breastfed children are more likely to grow up to be more successful than their parents? In fact, the study claims that breastfed children are 41% more likely to move up a social class than their formula fed counter parts. The study followed 3182 individuals from infancy to their senior years. (Started in 1937, concluded in 1997.) The study claims that they've accounted for possible discrepancies based on region, household income, food expenditure, childhood height, birth order and number of siblings. The study also says that the longer a child was breastfed, the more likely they were to move up a social class.
Now that may sound like good news, but being ever the skeptic, I've got some issues with this study. As I've written in the past, I firmly believe that there are enough proven health benefits to breastfeeding that we really don't need to go on a crusade to prove (through often shaky "studies") that breastfeeding will keep your child from wetting the bed or will ensure that they grow up to be president.
1.) It started off by following 5000 British children in the late 1930's. Whether or not they were breastfed (and for how long) was self reported by the mothers. In the late 90s, 3182 of the study participants were sent a follow-up survey. Just over half of them (1648) returned the survey. When all was said and done, only 1414 of the participants were able to provide information on social class and income from both their childhood years and their adult years.
In other words, the study not only relies on a very small group of individuals, but it also relies on self-reported data. Anyone that's ever taken a stats class or learned about reading studies will tell you that self-reported data is notoriously inaccurate.
2.) They did not adjust the data based on each individual's education levels. It's not hard to theorize that an individual's education level plays a dramatic role in their ultimate social class placement. In other words, people with higher education tend to get higher paying jobs. Duh.
3.) The study data states that those from the lowest initial classes were 54% more likely to have FAILED to respond to the final call for input and data.
4.) When you dig into the details information from the study you find that while more breastfed individuals moved up a class, there were still more bottle fed individuals than breastfed individuals in the highest class levels. Wouldn't that mean that those against breastfeeding could take this same study and say 32% of bottle fed children ended up in the highest social class while just 26% of the breastfed individuals ended up there? To go even further, 28% of the breastfed individuals ended up in the lowest social class while just 22% of the bottle fed individuals ended up in the lowest social class.
See how this study could be interpreted to mean multiple things?
I can see it now...some anti-breastfeeding mom reads this same study and posts to her blog with something like this...
"See? I told you! Turns out that if you're breastfed, you're more likely to end up in a lower social class! That's why my kids are getting formula!"
I guess I just think that there are enough "real" reasons to breastfeed that we don't need to stretch the findings of a study like this. I mean how many moms that aren't convinced to breastfeed by all the proven health benefits are suddenly going to say "Hey! there's a chance my kid may move up a class if I nurse! Let's get this kid on the boob!"
I ran across a fascinating story today out of the UK. (Now chances are good that some of you have already heard of this and are going to say "duh...that's been going on forever." Fine...you're so much smarter than me. Yay for you. :) Now explain to me exactly why you haven't already emailed me to tell me about this great idea? Now that you've been put in your places, let's get on with the story. ;)
So...again...I ran across a fascinating story today out of the UK that involves a 73 year old woman, a lactation counselor and some wooly boobs. What? Did you read that right? Yep...WOOLY BOOBS.
Apparently one of the hospitals over in the UK ran out of funds to purchase the expensive plastic breasts that are often used by LCs to show mothers how to latch baby on, how to manually express milk and so on. The solution? Find a pattern for knitted breasts and ask a grandmother to go to work.
They did, and she did and the result are some of the softest (and most colorful!) breasts that you can imagine.
It seems the woolly boobs have been a surprise hit on the maternity ward. "They are much cheaper to make,' says Marie. 'It costs about 30p for each one. And as I get better at making them, I am branching out and knitting all different colours, and sizes to suit all shapes of mum and mums of ethnic origin.'
Kate, 45, told the paper; ' It sounds funny but it is an important public health issue. Breastfeeding can be tough, and a lot of woman lack the confidence to do it. My mum is saving us a lot of money and helping out so many new mums.'
I was able to find a group in Australia that offers these wooly boobs for sale and that actually shows some great images of what they look like. Check out this lucky little guy slumbering peacefully in a nest of breast.
Personally, I think the idea is just priceless.
I've also learned that some cancer survivors are also making use of knitted breasts after having mastectomies. In fact, I found a site called "Titbits" that will custom create a knitted breast for you. If you know a breast cancer survivor with a sense of humor, they just might love this site. Any site that sells "everyday tits," "fancy tits" and even "floozie tits" is ok by me! There's even a pattern available online.
One of the challenges of raising children to see breastfeeding as normal is the number of dolls and books that come with baby bottles. It's almost unheard of to find a children's book where baby nurses rather than getting a bottle. Since Elnora loves to have books read to her, I'd been on the hunt for some good children's books that presented breastfeeding as normal and natural.
That's why I was thrilled to receive a review copy of Mama's Milk by Michael Elsohn Ross and Ashley Wolff. This richly illustrated book teaches children that breastfeeding in a natural way for both humans and animals to feed and bond with their babies.
The Lactivist Says: One of Elnora's favorite books (and that's saying something!)
Pros: Beautiful illustrations Great for kids that love animals Flowing rhymes
Cons: Not available as a board book
Can I just say that this is a book that I will buy for any breastfeeding mom that I know is pregnant with a second, third, fourth, etc... child? It's that good. The book features one line of rhyme per page to tell the story of all the ways that moms love their breastfeeding babies. It shows babies nursing while mom sleeps, babies nursing in the park, a foal nursing in a field, a coyote nursing her young, even a shot of both a dolphin and a whale nursing their offspring while swimming in the ocean.
The pictures are beautifully painted water colors and the back of the book features a great little collection of all the images with interesting facts about the animals. (Kangaroo milk is pink, elephants nurse for 2 to 4 years, etc...) While the pages are paper, it is a hardback book which helps make it a little more sturdy.
Now it's important to note that while I'm a proponent of child led weaning and have no problems with images of older children nursing, the reality is that many moms that are new to breastfeeding still aren't comfortable with those ideas. With that being noted, this is a "safe" book for any mom, even those that are only comfortable with breastfeeding "infants."
Elnora often asks for this book when I'm putting her to bed and she loves to point out the nursing babies, the moms and all of the animals. She especially love the image of the nursing piglets and the nursing foal on the farm and it's been a real joy to be able to share a book with her that shows great images of animals (and babies) nursing in their natural environments.
Mama's Milk is available for sale on March 5th from Tricycle Press. The book costs $12.95 and can be purchased online in a few weeks. (Making it a great Easter or Passover gift.)
It's time for the boobie brigade to go into blog carnival mode again. This month's topic is "baby love." I'll link you up to the other entries below, but first, here's my own take...
Before you have children you hear stories about this magical mama bear instinct that takes over once your child is born. You hear about moms lifting cars off of their trapped children (and you wonder, are these Yugos or Hummers?), you hear about moms donating kidneys, you hear about moms working three jobs. You hear about all those amazing moms that sacrifice everything for their kids.
Now I've never had to lift a car (thank GOD! My chiropractor would be rolling in dough...) and I've never had to donate a kidney (though you bet I'd do it!) and while I work two jobs...that's not quite three. ;) But I do stand amazed sometimes at the things that my children inspire me to do.
Before I had children I was a pretty mainstream person. The only thing I felt really strongly about was wanting to be home to raise them. From the time I was in high school, I've worked toward a career that would allow me the flexibility to work at home. (Thankfully, it worked...I've spent 7 of the eleven years since I graduated high school working from home.) I had no strong opinions on childbirth, breastfeeding, child-rearing and so on.
In the three years since I got pregnant with her, I've gone from planning on an epidural to having a home birth. I've gone from "I'll try to nurse for the first 12 weeks" to exclusively pumping for 13 months. I've gone from "if they're old enough to ask for it, they're too old to nurse" to planning on at least 18 months of nursing for the second. I've gone from "it's no big deal to travel" to scaring up friends to act as nannies so that I can take Emmitt with me when I travel for business. I've gone from never having heard of milk banking to becoming a donor, evangelist and fundraiser. I've gone from thinking circumcision was just something you did to preparing to punch the lights of out anyone that suggested my son wasn't absolutely perfect the way he was born. I've gone from "children belong in cribs" to having a four month old that's never even seen the inside of his own nursery. I've gone from Chef Boyardee "rocks" to seeking out the most affordable organics. I've gone from "home schoolers are doomed to be social outcasts" to "wow, what a great idea!"
In other words, my children have turned me into a hippie.
I've given a presentation to a room of 1000 people wearing a shirt that says "milk jugs" on it.
I've allowed a South Korean film crew to film me using a breast pump for a documentary.
I've taken on the National Pork Board. ;)
I've pumped in airplanes, in cars, at amusement parks, on rifle ranges and in tour buses. I've nursed anywhere and everywhere you can think of.
I've been puked on, sneezed on, coughed on, peed on, pooped on, drooled on...I've both worn and cleaned up body fluids from every orifice you can think of.
I've had to turn the TV off when the news tells a story of an abused child because I cannot physically watch it.
I've had to give up Law and Order SVU if it's a child abuse case.
I've done a million things that I never thought I would do and I've done them all because of those two little beings that are my inspiration.
It's part of being a mom. We're sucked into this world that suddenly revolves around other people. We look at those helpless little babes that rely completely on us for everything and we find ourselves thinking "I must protect this at all costs." It's nothing amazing, it's nothing astonishing, it's nothing that every other mother out there doesn't do. It's simply love and the actions that are inspired by it.
As Valentine's Day approaches and love fills the air, I continue to be amazed at the depth of love that the human soul is capable of. While my husband is my best friend and my lover, my children are part of my soul. It's fascinating to me to realize that love can run so deep in such different ways. My love for my God, my husband and my children is all equally powerful, yet astonishingly different.
I'm thankful for it every day. Truth be told, I can't wait to find what the next few years and even decades have in store.
Want to read what everyone else's take on the topic of "baby love" is?
This song popped into my head today as something I should share. I was thinking about Emmitt's birth and remembering that the night before I went into labor I skipped Hypnobabies and listened to a few select songs on my iPod. This one came on and I started to bawl. (I don't cry...like...ever.) It's how I knew I'd go into labor in a few hours...
The words don't do it justice...it's really worth finding on iTunes or at least listening to the Amazon.com snippet.
The Things We've Handed Down -Marc Cohn
Don't know much about you Don't know who you are We've been doing fine without you But we could only go so far
Don't know why you chose us Were you watching from above s there someone there that knows us Said we'd give you all our love
Will you laugh just like your mother Will you sigh like your old man Some things skip a generation Like I've heard they often can
Are you a poet or a dancer A devil or a clown Or a strange new combination of The things we've handed down
I wonder who you'll look like Will your hair fall down in curls Will you be a mama's boy Or daddy's little girl
Will you be a sad reminder Of what's been lost along the way Maybe you can help me find her In the things you do and say
And these things that we have given you They are not so easily found But you can thank us later For the things we've handed down
You may not always be so grateful For the way that you were made Some feature of your father's That you'd gladly sell or trade
And one day you may look at us And say that you were cursed But over time that line has been Extremely well rehearsed
By our fathers, and their fathers In some old and distant town From places no one here remembers Come the things we've handed down
Every now and then when you're having a really good kids day, you'll snag one of those compliments like "I don't know how you do it" or "Wow, I could never do all that."
The moms that hear this (myself included) usually laugh inwardly and think to themselves "ha! if they could only see me on an average day!"
I had that comment from a friend yesterday and I laughed inwardly knowing how very many flaws I have in my mommy-ing abilities.
Then this morning, I made a HUGE Mommy-mistake. One of those ones that you hope no one saw.
I dumped my kid on his head.
Yep, face first, onto the floor.
From a dead sleep.
What a way to wake up.
But let me backup...
We were in church this morning and about ten minutes into the sermon, Emmitt decided he wanted to start laughing. Now that's much better than crying or screaming, but it's still fairly noisy and I try to be respectful of the people around me. So off Emmitt and I went to the Cafe to sit in the cozy chairs and to listen to the sermon where his sense of humor wouldn't distract anyone.
(The goal of these trips out of the sanctuary is usually to get him to sleep so that we can creep back in and catch the rest of the sermon.)
So he played a few minutes, then he nursed for about ten minutes then he settled down and fell asleep in his bucket as I rocked him back and forth.
I stood up, threw the diaper bag over my shoulder, reached down to pick up the bucket and as I was picking it up I had that sudden "oh crap!" moment of realizing that the handle hadn't locked.
As such, the bucket rotated, out fell the blanket and BAM! Out fell Emmitt face first into the blanket on the floor.
I knew he wasn't hurt, I saw him hit. He fell a whole six inches and he landed in three inches of crocheted blanket. However, the shift of going from peaceful slumber to blanket face plant was not a pleasant one and as you can imagine, screaming chaos ensued.
Now here's the part that makes me a bad mommy.
I laughed at him.
I LAUGHED at the fact that my four month old just did a face plant into the floor due to MY mistake.
Yep. I just lost my seat in the Mommy Hall of Fame.
Now I did pick him up and rock him and love him and rub his head to calm him down...but still. I laughed the whole time.
Many mothers may not think twice about their right to breastfeed, but not Melissa Garris. She says, "My baby went from being with me 24/7 to being with his daddy for an entire week."
A judge granted split custody of Garris' four month-old son to her husband during an emergency hearing. The couple is separated and lives an hour apart.
Garris' Attorney Leigh Hunter said, "There used to be a tender age doctrine where there was a presumption the child would be with the mother during the tender years, but that's no longer the case here in South Carolina. We are going more towards the trend of giving dad a lot more time." Garris is battling that trend. Her son is now eight months-old.
According to Hunter, neither Melissa or Carl Garris claims the other parent endangers the baby, but Melissa Garris says babies need stability and consistency, especially when it comes to breast feeding. "That's what women were made for. They're made to nurture babies. That's why women have breasts," Garris told News 2's Jenny Fisher.
In light of the story, the South Carolina Breastfeeding Action Committee is pushing for legislation that would guarantee custody to a breastfeeding mother UNLESS there is indication that the child would be in danger. Maine, Michigan and Utah already consider breastfeeding when awarding custody.
Again...it's a tough one.
When you've got two loving, wonderful parents, joint custody is usually the best option for all. Children need to spend time with both their mother and their father. However, if you take a child under the age of one, you're putting the breastfeeding relationship at serious risk by having the extended separations that can come with joint custody. (I think nurslings that are a year and older could probably be a little more flexible in terms of drinking expressed milk for a few days and then picking up nursing when they're with mom again...but that's just my opinion.)
On the other hand, I hate to think of a loving father missing those tender years of his child's life. I'd like to think that parents would work to make sure they lived close enough together that they could work the situation out on their own, but we all know that's not always possible.
For health reasons, I've really got to side with the mothers on this one. Not every mom can maintain a supply through pumping, especially when you're talking about pumping 24/7 instead of simply during the few hours that mom is at work. There's also the issue that not every breastfed baby will even take a bottle.
So what do you think? At what point does it become ok to ask a mom to share custody of a breastfed child? When they're a year? When they're two? When they self-wean? Would you support laws of this type?
Elnora's been back off breast milk this week. As I wrote last month, I'd decided to start giving her a sippy cup of expressed milk each day. It seemed to make a huge difference in her appetite.
It's been about a month. She's now at around 23 pounds. That's about a 2 pound gain!
I've cut back on the breastmilk now because I don't want to put a lot of weight on her really quickly and I also want to have some to give to the milk bank. (I pump about 10 ounces a day.) I'll probably switch to giving her two sippies of it a week and freezing the rest for the bank.
She's continuing to do better at eating though. Still having some trouble with veggies (she loves corn and green beans, but not much else) though she's now up to several fruits (any berry, bananas, apples, oranges, and fresh pineapple.) She's even had some meat! (She might have had a total of 16 ounces of meat in the first two years of her life.)
She at the chicken n dumplings that I made last night and a week or so ago she ate a few pieces of pork tenderloin.
The other interesting thing is that she's really cut her fluids down by a lot. She might have one sippy of milk (mine or cow's) and one sippy of half juice, half water now. For juice, we're using V8 fusion which is a combination of fruit and vegetable juices. It's a little lower in sugar than OJ and Apple juice and not as sweet.
We'll see how it goes...if I notice her appetite dropping off again, I think we'll go back to the "glass of breast milk a day" scenario.
I'm with others, I'd LOVE to see a study on this. I really like the theory that breast milk gets digested so much more quickly that it leaves her hungry sooner than the cow's milk did...it makes good sense.
The Badger Herald has a story today about the breastfeeding bill making its way through the Wisconsin legislature. Sponsored by State Sen. Fred Risser, and Rep. Sheldon Wasserman, the bill would not only protect a child's right to nurse in public, but would also level a fine against anyone that attempted to interfere with a nursing mother and child.
This version of the law would set Wisconsin far above most other states in terms of protections for breastfeeding rights. While the greatest majority of states have laws on the books that state a mother and child may nurse in public, the reality is that those laws simply protect a mother from being arrested. Unless there is a statement making it illegal and/or levying a fine for interference, a mom can still be asked to leave and has little recourse against the business that kicked her out.
From the Badger Herald:
Wasserman, co-author of "The Right to Breastfeed Act," said many women in Wisconsin fear harassment when nursing, and added that the bill will include punishment for such behavior.
"We encourage breastfeeding," Wasserman said. "And if anyone bothers people breastfeeding, they can receive a ticket up to $200."
Not everyone in the state supports the bill, however.
Julaine Appling, executive director of the Family Research Institute of Wisconsin, said nursing is important for children, but it should be done with discretion.
"Breastfeeding is very natural. However, I don't think that we need to have legislation that gives special sanction to it," Appling said. "Just because something is normal and natural — it doesn’t mean we have to condone [it]."
First let me say that if you live in Wisconsin, I encourage you to contact your local represenative and let them know that you support this bill and would like to see it passed.
Beyond that, I'm left with this thought:
Am I the only one getting a little sick and tired of this "done with discretion" crap?
There are two issues at play here...
1.) Who gets to define discretion? To me, discretion means that I don't stand on a chair and scream "HEY EVERYBODY! I'M GOING TO BE PULLING MY BREASTS OUT NOW!" before I nurse. To others, it means "covering up" with a blanket or nursing cover. To others, it means pulling the shirt down to cover most of the breast. To others, it means that you shouldn't be able to tell the baby is nursing unless you stick your head up the mom's shirt. To others, it means "don't leave your house you hussy!"
2.) When did people lose the ability to look away? I see a lot of things in public that I don't like. I see teenagers wearing clothes so small that I can tell when the last time they cleaned their belly button lint was. I see women shoving themselves into clothes four sizes too small. I see men that need to invest in belts and suspenders to avoid showing us their own little grand canyon when they bend over. I see people with mullets.
You know what I do? I look the other way. I don't have the right to "not be offended." I have the right to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." That's it.
Now beyond that, I really, really REALLY want to know where this magic land is where women "whip it out," "flop it out" and "hang it out" for all the world to see while they nurse. Granted, I live in a state with fairly low rates of breastfeeding, but I have never, ever EVER in my life seen even a smidgen of breast while someone was nursing in public. Not once. (Ok, truth be told, I have a hard time seeing moms nurse in public period...)
Every time I read one of these "done with discretion" comments I go back to that early Lactivist post where I wrote about the women that apparently nurse their children while standing on top of the bar with a tassel attached to the other breast shouting "hey everyone!! look at me!! I'm nursing!!!'