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

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Child Led Weaning

What do you do when your child says that they will "never" wean?

When they say "I think people should drink breast milk forever, it's the most marvelous thing."

It's adorable coming from a toddler. It's cute coming from a pre-schooler...but what about when it comes from an eight year old?

Someone has finally uploaded a clip from the British documentary titled "extraordinary breastfeeding."



My honest reaction? Umm...okay then.

I'd be lying if I didn't say that I thought this was strange...very, very strange. At the same time, I firmly follow the "whatever works for you" style of parenting. The mother and children seem perfectly normal, the dad is ok with it and the family dynamic seems to work. It icks me out, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't be doing it.

Though I do have to say that I laughed out loud when the older daughter said that breast milk is "better than mangoes even..."

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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.

German Ad Blames Mothers for Killing Their Babies and I Share Another Unpopular Opinion

Nope, I'm not just being sensationalistic...

Before you read any further, go and look at this German ad.

The rough translation of that ad is:

"the chin from grandpa, the eyes from dad and AIDS from mum"

Now, go and view the second ad from the campaign.

Rough translation of that ad:

"same as mum - having AIDS" as the headline
"the babies get infected during birth or through breastfeeding" in the text.

Now, this ad has the breastfeeding community up in arms. Absolutely 100% up in arms. How DARE those ads tell women that breastfeeding will cause their babies to get HIV. Don't they know that exclusive breastfeeding lowers the risk of HIV

Well, once again, I'm going to take the unpopular view point...

You see, these ads are tasteless...there's no doubting that. (Especially since you can't deny that mom sometimes gets AIDS from dad, so let's keep the "blame" where it belongs...) I liken them to the American campaign for breastfeeding that had pregnant women competing in log rolling or riding bulls and compared it to not breastfeeding. It's sensationalistic and does far more to offend than it does to convince.

However...I'm a little astonished at the fact that all of the email lists that I'm on that feature breastfeeding professionals are focusing in on one theme...

Exclusive breastfeeding reduces the risk of HIV transmission.

From Science Daily:

A study by scientists at the Africa Centre for Health and Population Studies, South Africa, has shown that exclusive breastfeeding can significantly reduce the risk of HIV transmission from mother to child in infants aged under six months when compared to those also given solid foods or replacement feed (i.e. formula milk).

Now...go back and read that again and notice the word "also" in the last sentence.

I've taken a look at the study and to save you the time, here's the deal.

HIV positive mothers that EXCLUSIVELY breastfeed their babies for a full six months have MUCH lower transmission rates than HIV positive mothers that introduce formula or solids IN ADDITION TO BREASTFEEDING during the first six months. The theory is the introduction of formula or solids causes some damage to the virgin gut. These tiny spots of damage make it easier for the HIV virus to pass through the digestive system and into the blood stream. Makes perfect since when you think about it. Secondary causes are that a mom that does not exclusively breastfeed is more likely to have mastitis, plugged ducts and other breast issues that could pass blood (which more easily transmits HIV) into the mother's milk.

So here's how the results break down.

Exclusively breastfed: 4% risk of transmission
Breastfed AND formula fed: 8% risk of transmission
Breastfed and fed solids: 40%+ risk of transmission

Now, let me inject a little bit of reality into the situation...

NOT breastfeeding (i.e. going straight to donor milk or formula) carries zero risk of transmission once the baby is born.

So let's break this down further, because there are two issues at play here...

In African nations (and other developing nations) where HIV is running rampant, people are poor and clean water sources are scarce, breastfeeding can mean the difference between life and death. While there are obvious risks to formula in developed nations, those risks are multiplied significantly in third world countries. Without clean water sources to prepare formula and without the income to actually afford formula, the risk of a baby dying from intestinal diseases is extremely high.

In fact, in Indonesia, one in ten children dies each year from diarrhea.

Consider the following from an article on the state of health in third world countries.

Formula is relatively expensive: for a three-month-old child, it can cost 50 to 60 per cent of the minimum wage in some developing countries, plus the price of the equipment. Because of the high cost there is a tendency to stretch the formula by overdiluting it. This practice leads to nutritional marasmus, a condition resulting from severe protein and calorie deprivation.

Breast feeding is cheaper and always nutritious; the only added cost is for the mother’s extra nutritive needs. Although the components of breast milk will vary depending on the woman’s health, even an undernourished mother is a remarkably efficient producer of nutritious human milk.

Contamination of the formula, the bottle or other equipment leads to infectious diarrhea. Breast milk comes sterile from the breast. And anti-infective properties cannot be put into formula, nor is there any indication that such a process will be possible in the near future. Conversely, at least a dozen anti-infective factors are found in breast milk, including antibodies, lysozyme, lactoferrin and interferon.


In other words, even for mothers that are HIV positive, the risk of disease transmission is much lower than the very real risk of death simply due to not being breastfed. In these situations, breastfeeding is a no brainer.

Now, with all of that said...where exactly is it that I differ from many people on this issue?

Well...I'd just like to note that the ads are running in Germany, not in a third world nation. In Germany, much like in the United States, the risk of HIV transmission from a pregnant mother to a baby can be reduced to about 2% through the use of anti-virals. Once baby is born, formula is easily available, as is a clean water supply. Children in Germany and the United States are at extremely low risk for dying from diarrhea and other intestinal diseases. In fact, even if they contract them, treatment is available that virtually assures they'll come out healthy on the other side.

So knowing that breast milk is the BEST form of nutrition, but that formula is extremely likely to result in a healthy baby as well...

Why in the WORLD would you encourage a mother to risk a 4% transmission rate of a disease that kills every single person that contracts it? When the risk of death from using formula is far, far lower than that?

It's called the risk/reward ratio people.

So could someone please explain to me how the 4% risk of HIV transmission is worth the reward of what breast milk gives? Sure, it's great for that 96% of babies that end up healthier and HIV free...but what about that 4%?

To be completely blunt, let's put it this way...

If your child was born and you were told that if you chose to breastfeed instead of formula feed, that your baby would be lined up with 24 others and one of them would be randomly killed.

What would you choose?

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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.

Pregnant in America Trailer

Wow, am I the only one really interested to see how this turns out?

The synopsis from the Pregnant in America web site:

Pregnant in America examines the betrayal of humanity's greatest gift--birth--by the greed of U.S. corporations. Hospitals, insurance companies and other members of the healthcare industry have all pushed aside the best care of our infants and mothers to play the power game of raking in huge profits.

His wife pregnant, first-time filmmaker Steve Buonaugurio sets out to create a film that will expose the underside of the U.S. childbirth industry and help end its neglectful exploitation of pregnancy and birth.

Pregnant in America is the controversial story of life's greatest miracle in the hands of a nation's most powerful interests.


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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.

Oregon Pumping Bill Passes the House

Oregon House Bill 2372 passed the house in a vote of 49-7 this week. It now moves on to the senate, where it is expected to pass before the end of the legislative session.

The version of the bill that passed the house requires businesses that employ 25 or more people accommodate nursing mothers. They must do this by:

1.) Providing a clean and private location (not a bathroom) to express milk
2.) Provide unpaid break time for the employee to express milk

The bill does not require them to provide storage for the breast milk and it includes provisions for companies to negotiate an alternative if the accommodation places "undue hardship" on the business.

Things are really trucking along in the last year or so in terms of breastfeeding legislation.

My own state of Ohio is working on a bill to exclude nursing mothers from jury duty and of course I'll be helping Robin and the Ohio Breastfeeding Coalition move forward in the fight to end day care discrimination against breastfed children.

Congrats Oregon moms!

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

Friday, March 30, 2007

Breastfeeding Victory in West Virginia

Heidi over at me, Molly & the Moon writes to tell me the pending West Virginia breastfeeding legislation is going to be signed into law on Monday.

Governor Manchin announced this week that he'll be signing SB 148 into law at 10:30am on Monday at the Capitol building.

The bill will exempt breastfeeding from West Virginia's indecent exposure laws. It also provides $20,000 in funding to West Virginia's WIC program for the specific purpose of a week long training program to educate West Virginia medical professionals about breastfeeding.

If we've got any West Virginia moms reading, (apart from you Heidi!) I'd encourage them to consider attending the signing. At the very least, check and see if your representative or senator voted in favor of the bill and drop them an email to say thank you.

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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Breastfeeding...the First Six Months

Wow. I cannot believe it's been six months already. I've made it to the 12% club.

What's the 12% club? That's the number of Ohio mothers that are still exclusively breastfeeding at 6 months. (31% of Ohio moms are still breastfeeding at least occasionally at six months.)

It's been an amazing journey so far and I count myself as amazingly blessed to have been able to do this. My prayers go up that we'll make it through the next six months. (I'm taking it six months at a time...)

It's funny when I look back on things and see how my opinions have changed over time.

(cue background music and fuzzy outline of reality as we drift into flash back mode...)

When I was pregnant with Elnora, I remember having a conversation with a friend of mine about breastfeeding. She was due two months before me and she commented on how she hoped to breastfeed until her child was three months old. Then she'd switch to formula, because nursing past three months was "strange." I told her that I was aiming for six months, but that after six months, I thought it was a little "strange" myself.

To be brutally honest...there was a part of me that wasn't sad when breastfeeding didn't work out with Elnora. Sure, I lamented the loss of the convenience factor, but the idea of another human being nursing from me sort of icked me out. I knew deep down that it was what was best for her, but it was still something that I planned to do reluctantly. When I ended up exclusively pumping, it seemed like the best of both worlds. I knew she was getting my breast milk, but I didn't have to deal with my own hang-ups about breastfeeding.

The good thing about that year I spent pumping is that I was learning more and more about breast milk and breastfeeding. I was also learning more about the issues facing breastfeeding moms.

For instance, when I had Elnora, I went out and bought a few ponchos so that I could "cover up" while nursing. When I had Emmitt, I bought a few nursing tops because I knew how hard most moms found it to nurse under a cover. (And besides, why should I use a cover?)

When I had Elnora, I thought that nursing past a year was "creepy." I think I even used the line "if they're old enough to ask...." And yet...before Elnora was a year old, I remember hearing a friend use that same line and I found that my opinion had already changed.

"You know, it's not like those moms wake up nursing a two year old. They nurse a baby and that baby gets older one day at a time. Why would you think that all of a sudden they'd wake up one morning and what was ok yesterday isn't ok today? Where do you cut them off?"

Looking back, I think that was the start of the Lactivist coming out in me.

Flashing back to the present, I find that my opinions have continued to change.

A few month before Emmitt was born, I decided to give nursing another try. What's shocking is that while I planned to try again, I was still thinking..."I'll nurse until he's six months, then I'll pump until he's a year." Why? Because despite being the Lactivist, despite being a proponent of child-led weaning, despite not being even remotely icked out by someone else nursing a toddler, it still creeped me out to think of doing it myself.

But here I am...six months later.

Give up the nursing and take up the pump?

Ha! Like that's going to happen.

Earlier today, I was sitting in the bedroom nursing Emmitt before putting him down for his nap. I was thinking about the fact that he's six months old...in another six months, he'll be walking...talking. I hope we'll still be nursing. It's really not much different nursing a six month old than it was nursing a newborn.

He's heavier now...20 pounds instead of nine and a half...

He's longer now...he used to fit in my lap and now he kind of hangs over both sides...

He's got a tooth....it just popped through this week.

But he's still my little guy. He still wants to snuggle up. He still falls asleep at the breast. He still gives me that goofy, milky grin. He still gets happy enough that even though I can't see his mouth, I notice his eyes crinkle and I know he's smiling. He still laughs when he gets squirted in the nose/eye/face with milk. He still holds on to my shirt for dear life and he drinks.

He's still my baby.

Nursing a six month old? Nope...not weird at all.

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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.

Babies "R" Us Breastfeeding Fair

It's nice to see that the Toys "R" Us Folks have learned something from the Times Square incident and are now working as a corporation to support breastfeeding.

Or, perhaps they simply learned some lessons from the Wal-mart "Nutrition and Infant Feeding Seminar."

Either way, Lactivist reader Heather Dornbusch dropped me an email to point out that Babies "R" Us is advertising a "Breastfeeding and Maternity Fair" on April 14th. The copy of the ad reads...

Join us as we showcase the latest information on breastfeeding and maternity services. Enjoy hands-on demonstrations of the latest innovative breastfeeding products from today's top brands. Babies "R" Us has the biggest and best selection of breastfeeding essentials and we're here to get you started!

I hope it's really pro-breastfeeding and not one of those "the breast is best, but here's what to buy if it doesn't work" type things. I'm going to think positive on this one. From breast pumps to breastfeeding pillows to nursing pads to nursing wear, there are certainly plenty of items for them to push while still being supportive of breastfeeding.

I'll be on my way back from a conference in New York City that weekend, so I won't be able to make it. I do hope that if any Lactivist readers swing in to see what it's all about they'll drop me a line and let me know how they did.

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Infantino Sling Recall

Just in case any Lactivist readers use Infantino Slings and haven't seen the recall notice yet, Jennifer Minson (a Lactivist Reader) has reminded me that I should share the link.

Here's the "must know" information...

Hazard: The plastic slider on the fabric strap can break. This can cause the strap supporting the carrier to release and infants to fall out of the carrier.

Incidents/Injuries: Infantino has received 10 reports of plastic sliders breaking, including eight reports of babies falling out of the carriers. There were four reports of impact injuries where the child was taken to the emergency room. One of these children fractured her skull.

Description: This recall involves the Infantino SlingRider™ carriers with item numbers: 141-210; 151-210; 151-528; and 151-534. The SlingRider™ consists of a fabric carrier with a strap attached that is worn by the user to carry an infant up to 20 pounds. The carriers are sold in black or khaki. “Infantino” is printed on the plastic slider located on the strap. The item number is printed on a label inside the SlingRider.™ Products labeled “Made in Thailand” or “New 2007 Design” are not included in the recall.

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Last Call for the Lactivist Bash

Well I've had more than 40 people RSVP so far. In fact, it looks like we may make it to 50! Pretty impressive numbers so far. Still room for more, as I haven't reserved a pavillion yet, so if you've been on the fence about coming, or are the type that has to know they'll be enough people there for you to "blend in" then never fear.

Come and join us. It's going to be fun!

RSVP to me via email by Saturday. I'll be sending an email out early next week with information on where the bash will be held.

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

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An Update on Signing...

Ok, this signing thing is bloody brilliant. If you haven't tried it yet and you've got little ones, get thee to Amazon.com and buy up some books and videos.

Elnora now knows the signs for...

More
Sleep
Eat
Drink
Ball
Baby
Bird
Cat

She's learning new ones every day. She's also started two conversations out of the blue. One was while we were at a restaurant. She got our attention and then signed "baby" and pointed. We looked, and sure enough, a couple was sitting a few tables over with a very small baby. So we talked to her about the baby for a bit and reinforced the sign. (yay!)

Then a few days ago, I was doing online seminars. The first day, I locked myself in the guest room while my mom played with the kids. Apparently, mom told Elnora that I was sleeping. The next day, when I went back there again, Elnora went to my mom and said "Ma" then signed "sleep" and pointed to the room.

Even better is that she's also picking up words. In the last week or two she's added several. She's even started echoing "Amen" after we pray at night. LOL. Last night when Greg was reading to her, she repeated "A", "B", "C", "D", and "E." (then she got distracted, lol.) I think there's something to the idea that as they learn that communication gets things faster than "uhhhhh" and "ehhh!" sounds, that they're motivated to learn more.

If you're considering trying it yourself, I liked the books that I bought from Amazon, especially Signing Smart but I've really been impressed with the Signing Time videos. We've got Signing Times Vol. 1 and Signing Times Vol. 3 right now from the library and Elnora watches one of them each day. I think I may break down and buy the series since we'll use it with Emmitt too.

Ha! As I wrote this, she just picked up "shoes" and "socks."

This is going to be fun!

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

*sigh*

Sorry, random rant.

The news just had a preview for tonight...

"Could Daycare make your child smarter? At What cost?...Find out how new studies show that children that attend day care may be smarter than those that don't, we'll also tell you about some of the problems that may come from day care."

Wow! You mean that the choices we make in life have both pros AND cons?

No way!

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

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Monday, March 26, 2007

A Day of Firsts

The first walk of spring. (It was 80 today.)
Elnora's first trip to the "big" playground.
Elnora's first time going down the "big" slide.
Emmitt's first stroller ride through Sunbury (he passed out and slept).
Elnora's first ice cream cone.

And so...a montage of images from our afternoon walk.





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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 Forgotten Children

Ok, so it's more the forgotten child in this case, but I think it's still a greater point worth thinking about.

MamaBean and I've been emailing a bit today talking about this whole Anna Nicole Smith fiasco. There's been talk now about the number of drugs that were in her system not only when she died of an overdose, but also while she was pregnant with her daughter Dannie. What strikes me is that so much media attention is being paid to how Anna died, who gets her body and who gets her money. Sure, there's going to be a custody battle over little Dannie, but am I the only one that thinks whoever gets Dannie needs to know that ALL of that money is going into a trust fund that can't be touched by anyone but Dannie until she turns 21?

Wonder how many people would still be fighting for her then?

I see the same thing with the Britney Spear / Kevin Federline custody battle. I mean really...did you ever think you'd find yourself saying "yep, those kids are probably WAY better off with Kfed?"

I could cry for those kids. Not just for the kids of celebrities, but for all kids caught in nasty custody battles. For the child in the case I wrote about last month where the mom is nursing, but the dad insists on keeping baby for full weekends. The mom can't pump enough and her supply is failing due to the separation.

Even apart from custody battles, I see this...this focus on the parents and absolute ignorance about how things might impact the kids. My mom was telling me today about a news story she saw. A couple had intrauterine insemination and the wrong sperm was used. The baby is black. The parents are not. In a statement about the law suit that they've filed (and hey, I TOTALLY back a lawsuit in that case) the parents are quoted as saying "we love our child, but every time we look at her, we're reminded that she's not our daughter."

Can you imagine growing up and looking back on those news stories as a teen or even as an adult and reading a quote like that from your parents? (And let me make the obvious point that it was IUI, not IVF so the child actually IS the biological offspring of the mother.)

I've written about the fact that Lactivism needs to be about fighting for the rights of children rather than the rights of mothers. I strongly believe that and I honestly don't think we'll see real progress until we manage to make that point. That's fine and dandy for us lactivists and our own causes...but I just don't know how far we're going to go in life when society (and parents) places so little value on our kids.

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Florida Breastfeeding Coalition?

I guess we know what Darlene is doing for her Power of One pledge! :)

Just got this in my email...

Jennifer,
Thanks so much for the post celebrating the formation of the Ohio Breastfeeding Coalition. What a terrific idea! This is just the sort of empowering action that more of us need to take if we truly want to make an impact and help breastfeeding women. Imagine if there was such an organization in every state...and maybe one at the national level?

While Florida has been a leader in creating legislation codifying a woman's right to breastfeeding wherever she wants to, there is still much to be done. I do not profess to know how daycare centers treat breastfed children here (yet) and I am no longer 'in the muck' so to speak because my youngest child is 30. However, I did breastfeed my kids and know all too well what it was like, how easy it was for people to misunderstand, and the lack of knowledge about the importance and benefits of nursing a child. On that score, I know that not much has changed. I read every day about the difficulties today's moms face. My business partner is a breastfeeding mom and she too has had issues with breastfeeding in public.

As you know, our corporate mission is to help promote breastfeeding and support breastfeeding organizations. Well, you have helped us decide upon the vehicle to put that in motion and I propose initiating a Florida Breastfeeding Coalition to lobby for legislation, provide linkages for other breastfeeding organizations to work together, and to partner with businesses who can help make a difference. "Alone, I am only an opinion...together we are action."

If you have any readers in Florida who are interested in helping us get started, please put them in touch with me. They can email caydencreations@yahoo.com.

Thanks for being the catalyst for us to step up and do our part for the breastfeeding community.

Darlene

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Sunday, March 25, 2007

World Breastfeeding Week Celebration Challenge

For those that aren't aware, this year's LLL sponsored "World Breastfeeding Week Celebration" will run May 1st to September 30th. (Yes, World Breastfeeding Week is actually August 1 - 7, but LLL, like the Lactivist likes to make the party last...)

The theme is "The Power of One" and plays off of the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) slogan "Breastfeeding: The 1st Hour - Save ONE million babies!"

From the WBWC site:

The Power of One...

...drop of colustrum
...pumping
...phone call
...LLL meeting
...conference
...feeding at the breast
...hour, the first hour of bonding
...milky smile
...mother supported, encouraged, listened to, informed, enlightened
...answered email
...mother told "You can do it"


So what's the challenge?

The challenge is what YOU can do to be the power of one. Much like Tanya issued the challenge to make the Motherwear Pledge back in January, I'm going to issue a challenge to my Lactivist readers.

What one thing will you do to celebrate World Breastfeeding Week and to support the cause?

I'll tell you what I did...I coughed up the cash that I earned from t-shirt sales after the great pork fiasco and bought a Gold Level sponsorship of LLL's World Breastfeeding Week Celebrations. I'm proud to see that twelve other businesses have joined the ranks of event sponsors as well. But I challenge my readers that run businesses related to mothering or breastfeeding to do the same. Why aren't YOU sponsoring the World Breastfeeding Week Celebrations? You can become a sponsor for as little as $100. $100...that's not even $15 a month from now until the end of the celebration. Wouldn't it be great to see one hundred businesses sponsoring the event?

Now, on to the rest of you! What are YOU going to do to push "The Power of One?"

Here's what I'm doing... I'm helping Robin launch the Ohio Breastfeeding Coalition. Because the power of one group of determined women can impact the the atmosphere that our daughters and our granddaughters come into as nursing mothers. I'm also throwing the Lactivist Bash so that no mom feels like the only one. Not the only one nursing at the picnic, not the only one nursing a two year old, not the only one pumping, not the only one struggling to do the best they can, not the only one that believes in breastfeeding.

So tell me dear readers...what will YOU do to showcase The Power of One. Tell us in the comments...or better yet, write up a post sharing your thoughts and post a comment linking us to that post.

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

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The TSA Breast Milk Debacle

It's tough...trying to figure out how to fly as a nursing mom, especially if you're flying without your infant. While the TSA has pretty clear-cut rules about this issue, they seem to have a lot of problem making sure their own agents know the exact policies.

Now the official TSA policy is NOT difficult to understand.

If traveling with your child, you may bring breast milk on board with you. If you are not traveling with your child, you can either store it in three 3 oz containers in a one quart zip lock bag OR you can check it. Obviously, if you have any quantity of breast milk, it needs to be checked.

Doesn't sound all that complicated, does it?

Apparently, TSA officials can't get it straight. There have been several instances in the last few months of moms being forced to miss flights or to dump their expressed milk. In some cases, that's because the mom hadn't taken the time to familiarize herself with the new TSA rules and is trying to carry breast milk on without properly packaging it. In other cases, the mom was following the rules to a tee and the TSA officers simply didn't understand them or enforced them improperly.

Well, there's another story about this in the news and I'm getting frustrated.

Heidi Souverville of Sacramento is upset because she was told that she could not bring 27 ounces of expressed milk on board with her. (She WAS given the option to check the luggage.)

I can't find any details on how Souverville had her milk packed. I don't know if she had it in three ounce containers and had few enough of them that she could fit them into a one quart bag, or if she simply read the guidelines stating that you could carry breast milk on board and missed the part about needing to have your baby with you. (Yes, I KNOW that rule is idiotic...)

A quote from an article on News10.net:

On the TSA website it said if you were carrying more than three ounces, if it was breast milk or formula, that was OK," Souverville pointed out in an interview at her Curtis Park home.

TSA officers insisted the exemption only applies to mothers traveling with their children, and the rule was stated clearly on one section of the TSA Web site.


CBS13 claims that the TSA updated the site to clarify the policy just last month after the issue happened. Here's what I found on the TSA site today under their general guidelines for what is allowed on board...

Allowed as Carry-On
Baby formula and food, breast milk and other baby items - These are allowed in your carry-on baggage or personal items. You can take these through the security checkpoints and aboard your plane. However, you must be traveling with a baby or toddler. [emphasis mine]

That snippet also linked to the full guidelines on traveling with children (or breast milk.)

The first paragraph on that page has the following line:

If you're not traveling with a baby or toddler, any formula or breast milk you're carrying must meet the requirements for carrying liquids, gels and aerosols (3-1-1).

On the 3-1-1 page:

3-1-1 for carry-ons = 3 ounce bottle or less; 1 quart-sized, clear, plastic, zip-top bag; 1 bag per passenger placed in screening bin. One-quart bag per person limits the total liquid volume each traveler can bring. 3 oz. container size is a security measure.

and also...

Declare larger liquids. Prescription medications, baby formula and milk (when traveling with an infant or toddler) are allowed in quantities exceeding three ounces and are not required to be in the zip-top bag. Declare these items for inspection at the checkpoint. [emphasis mine]

Now, I can't go back in time and see exactly what the policy USED to say, but I do know that when I flew to Chicago back in December the TSA site was VERY clear on the fact that you either had to have a baby with you or you had to check your milk. (the option of carrying it on via the 3-1-1 rule did not exist when I took my Chicago trip.) It took me less than five minutes on the site (in December) to find out that if I wasn't traveling with my child, I'd need to check any expressed milk.

However, the articles that I've read state that Souverville was given the option to check her bags. I guess I'm not clear on how the option to dump your milk OR check your bags suddenly becomes "being forced to dump breast milk." (According to Souverville, she didn't want to check her breast pump bag because the bag isn't designed to be checked.)

Let me be clear that I have the utmost sympathy for ANY mom that is forced to throw away hard-earned expressed milk, but this issue has been in the news so much, I guess I just don't see how moms can claim ignorance. I had no problem finding the rules back in December (which were stricter than they are now). In fact, any time that I've checked the TSA guidelines in the last five months (and I've checked at least half a dozen times) it has clearly stated that moms traveling with breast milk but without baby must check the breast milk.

So just to be clear, let's summarize...

Traveling with baby = breast milk allowed
Traveling without baby = up to 9 ounces of properly packaged breast milk allowed... check the rest.

For the time being, these are the rules folks. You don't have to like them, but you DO have to follow them. Otherwise, you're going to run into trouble.

Now, what DOES strike me as odd is a line from KCRA 3 that says it wasn't just about the breast milk.

Souverville said she had never had trouble bringing her breast pump on board a plane, until a February flight from Phoenix to Sacramento.

She said TSA agents refused to let her bring on board her pump and 27 ounces of breast milk.


So wait...she couldn't take her PUMP on board? None of the other articles mention the trouble taking the pump on board, so it could be a mistake in this story, but if that's the case, it's something that I can TOTALLY get up in arms about. There's absolutely NOTHING on the TSA site that says there would be any problem with taking a breast pump on board and I'm flabbergasted that a TSA agent would have an issue with it.

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

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Hearing on Wisconsin Breastfeeding Bill Garners Support

More than 20 people testified at a recent hearing in regards to breastfeeding legislation making it's way through the Wisconsin Assembly Committee on Health and Health Care Reform. An additional 90 people registered as supporters of the bill. Not a single dissenting voice was present.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinell reported this week that the bill is under review, but is expected to successfully move out of committee. If the bill passes in it's present form, it would be one of the strongest laws on the nation in terms of protecting breastfeeding mothers from harassment.

As it's currently written, the bill would explicitly protect the right of a mother to nurse her child in any public OR private location that the two of them are otherwise authorized to be. The bill also levies a $200 fine against any individual (including security guards and police officers) that attempts to prevent a child from breastfeeding.

Wisconsin's currently breastfeeding legislation merely exempts breastfeeding from being considered "lewd behavior."

The bill is receiving support from breastfeeding mothers and health care professionals.

Jenny Thomas, a Racine pediatrician and lactation consultant, told the committee that despite research showing breast-feeding is the healthiest option for infants and mothers, many women don't try it because of cultural barriers toward feeding when out of the home, Thomas said.

"What we're trying to do is make women feel comfortable in the public arena," Thomas said.

Karissa Andrews, a mother of two from McFarland, said she was nursing her baby in a Madison mall when a store employee told her she had to stop and reported her to security. Security guards approached the bench where she nursed but didn't confront her, she said.

"Breast-feeding harassment is a problem for many Wisconsin families, and it needs to stop," Andrews told the committee.

Some lawmakers asked about provisions in other states' laws regarding breast-feeding that say nursing mothers should be discreet.

More than 35 states have laws to protect nursing in public, and a few say the mothers must be discreet, Thomas said. She argued that such a provision wouldn't help encourage women to breast-feed because determining what is discreet is entirely subjective.


I hope any Wisconsin readers that haven't already contacted their representatives to encourage them to support the bill would do so. Wisconsin is at the forefront of lactivism right now...the wording of this bill (specifically, the inclusion of a fine) really gives this law teeth.

What I wonder though, is how this law gets enforced. It's great that there's a fine, but what qualifies as harassment and is a mother's word enough to get the fine levied? Obviously if someone calls the police, there's a record of the harassment and it would be easy enough to levy the fine, but what happens in more murky cases.

What if a mom is nursing in the mall and someone approaches them to let them know that there's a nursing mother's room. Not because they want them to leave, but because they thought they were being helpful. Can an angry mother have that person charged under this law? Or is there a clear line drawn between "informing" and "demanding?"

Let me be clear, I think it's fantastic that a breastfeeding law with teeth is being considered, but as someone that knows any law can be abused, I'd like to know exactly how this law is going to be enforced and where lines would be drawn.

Jake? You around? Can you share any insight with us?

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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.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Announcing: The Ohio Breastfeeding Coalition

Yep...that's right. Ohio has joined the ranks of states that actually has an organized group aimed at promoting breastfeeding, pushing for new guidelines, lobbying for legislation and (hopefully) connecting moms with the resources they need to make breastfeeding work.

Robin Neorr (who you'll remember as the mom in the City Kids Day Care incident) has just filed the paperwork for launching the Ohio Breastfeeding Coalition with the Secretary of State. In a few weeks, she'll be applying for tax exempt status as a registered non-profit.

We're hoping that the Lactivist Bash on April 21st will also serve as a "launch party" for the group. Robin will be running the Ohio Breastfeeding Coalition and I'll be serving on the Board of Directors. She's not ready to announce the rest of the board just yet, but they should be in place by the launch next month.

Robin tells me that the first goal of the Ohio Breastfeeding Coalition will be to get the guidelines for licensed day care centers amended so that no center can discriminate against breastfed children.

Even beyond that, we've got a lot to tackle. Ohio has one of the lowest breastfeeding rates in the nation.

If you're an Ohio mom and you're interested in joining, (you don't have to live in Central Ohio, just in Ohio) you can register for the Ohio Breastfeeding Coalition email list that we've setup through Yahoo Groups. Robin will also be launching a blog shortly so that she can keep everyone up to date on the latest happenings, meeting minutes, etc...

So let's have some cheers for Robin! It's easy to complain about being treated poorly...it's a whole other thing to put the time and effort into launching a new group to make sure that other moms don't have to go through what you went through.

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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.

A Milk Bank Donor's Story

Sometimes I get an email that I really think is worth sharing with my readers. This one comes from Jessica Lietz, a Lactivist reader here in central Ohio.

...I made my first milk donation to the Mother's Milk Bank of Ohio yesterday!

Yesterday was my 28th birthday and I was thrilled to do this. Georgia gave me the tour and I saw your name on the plaque as being one of the first donors. That is awesome! I am so excited to be able to have extra milk to donate. My only sibling, my sister Mary was born at 23 weeks gestation and could have benefited from a milk bank. Mary is 24 years old now but was never expected to survive the ambulance ride from Port Huron (MI) where she was born to Detroit Children's Hospital. She weighed 1# 2oz and was the length of a Barbie doll.

I was 3 when she was born. Our Mom had difficulty while pregnant with me and I was an emergency c-section. My Mom was 19 when she had me and 22 with my sister.

Mary is deaf, blind, has cerebral palsy and has severe mental retardation as a result of her prematurity. BUT, she has a beautiful smile and laugh, she loves to ride horseback, loves rides at the fair and likes to go for walks with my parents. My parents still take care of her at home and in MI she goes to school yet for another year.

I've been involved in OhioSIBS since I moved to Columbus almost 5 years ago, it's for adult siblings of people with special needs. I had a fellowship at OSU's Nisonger Center and was their first epidemiology fellow. So donating to the milk bank to help babies that need the benefit of human milk is an extension of what I've been doing for years. And not only is it me helping, but Natalya helping as well because if it weren't for her, I wouldn't have all this milk!

So, it was an unusual way to celebrate my birthday but it made me very happy.

And Georgia said they were getting low on milk and were looking forward to my donation (about 200 oz) so they really made my birthday a special one. I hope my birthday makes some baby's "birth" day special too :)


If you've never considered donating milk and live anywhere near a HMBANA bank, give it some thought. As I've mentioned before...every drop counts.

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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, March 22, 2007

Apparently, I Make Someone Think...

The question is... do I make them think as in "hmmmm....interesting..." or do I make them think "man, she's a moron!"

I'm gonna go with answer A.

Amy (You know Amy...AmyGeekGirl...) over at Crunchy, Domestic Goddess has decided to award me the "Thinking Blogger Award." (Thanks Amy!)



Apparently, Amy is able to see beyond my ranting and my occasional "hey, my kid just did the same stuff that every other kid does but it's important because it's MY kid and hey, isn't s/he cute?" posts and gets a little brain juice out of my blog. Either that or she only reads five blogs and I got tagged by default...

So now it's my turn to pass the prize. It's a tough one, because there are so many great bloggers out there, but if I'm forced to narrow it down to five, here are my picks:

TulipGirl
Chewymom
Navelgazing Midwife
Nature Moms Blog
Milliner's Dream

Yes, I know that none of those are breastfeeding blogs. Guess what...most of you already know the great breastfeeding blogs. Here's a chance to expand your horizons and read some other great bloggers that do, in fact, make me think.

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

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Denver Milk Bank Offering Loaner Pumps

Earlier this month I put out a call for breast milk donors for the HMBANA milk bank in Denver. I mentioned that their freezers were running low and that I hoped that any moms in the area would consider donating.

I heard back today from Amy at Crunchy Domestic Goddess. She said she contacted the bank and mentioned that she had plenty of milk but didn't have a good electric pump for expressing it. Turns out that the Denver milk bank will lend out pumps to their donors!

If you live in the Denver area and have considered donating but lack a good pump, I hope that you'll give them a call and see if you qualify as a donor.

Every drop counts.

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

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The Lady Bucks Formula FastBreak Controversy

This is one of those issues that I hesitate to weigh in on, but I'm starting to see it pop up in more places, so I figured I'd best share my thoughts before the email starts pouring in. (Because wow, you guys don't let me miss anything these days...)

The "Lady Bucks" is made up of the wives, family members and employees of the NBA Milwaukee Bucks players. Their latest fundraiser is "Formula FastBreak." To let the Lady Bucks press release explain it:

The event will take place in Lobbies A, B, C and D at the Bradley Center. Donation barrels and cash collection tables will be located in each of the four lobbies. Fans are encouraged to donate any infant/baby formula product (powder or liquid), or cash that will be used to purchase formula. Donations will be accepted from the time the doors open at 1:30 p.m. through the conclusion of Sunday’s game, which begins at 2:30 p.m.

“We all know how expensive and valuable infant formula is,” said Sherrie Tussler, Hunger Task Force executive director. “Thanks to the dedication of the Milwaukee Bucks, Piggly Wiggly, and concerned Bucks fans throughout Milwaukee, mothers will be able to sleep soundly knowing their newborn children will receive the formula they need to be healthy.”


Now I don't know about you, but when I read this announcement, my first thought was "hey, helping single mothers is nice." My second thought was to read "formula they need to be healthy" and to think "I bet that's going to bug some people."

The thought that never crossed my mind was to be absolutely, 100% outraged by the very idea that a group of women would have the GALL to do a fundraiser that DARES mention formula because as we know, ALL women MUST breastfeed and ANY mention of formula that isn't preceded by "the mother had a double mastectomy due to breast cancer, and can't afford donor milk so she uses..." is cause for FREAKING OUT.

Apparently, that IS the thought that crossed many people's minds.

This perplexes me.

Breast milk is the absolute best food for babies and young children. There's no doubt about that. We need to increase breastfeeding support for new moms and make sure that there's protection in place for moms that need to return to work. We need to help educate people about the fact that breast milk doesn't lose it's value once a baby reaches six months.

What we don't need to do is to live in a fantasy world that refuses to acknowledge that some people can, and do use formula either by choice or by necessity.

Because really now...how does that help our cause?

I've read a wide range of criticisms about this program. Some are understandable and lament the fact that the group isn't raising money to help supplement lactation consultant fees or promoting milk banks ALONG WITH running the formula drive. Some simply claim that the group should raise funds or food products or school supplies for these families. Those don't really bother me.

What bothers me is the posts I'm running across that claim the only thing that is being accomplished by this drive is that the big bad formula companies (and yes, I do think they are big and bad) are getting free advertising and that the Lady Bucks are contributing to the down-fall of society by helping mothers get free or low-cost formula. They claim that instead of providing formula, the group should provide education and lactation consultants so that these moms can breast feed.

Ok, that's great...but what about the fact that there ARE women out there that are already giving their children formula (for whatever reason) and struggle to afford it? Shall we simply let their children starve and say "well, that will teach you...maybe you'll breastfeed your next child."

Think I'm nuts and totally coming at this from the wrong angle?

Ok, let me paint an analogy for you.

You know those "save the children" commercials that you see now and then? All those poor children living in the middle of nowhere with no food, no education, no job prospects, no medical care?

Let's stop sending them money. After all, by sending them money, we're helping them to eek out enough of a living that they can grow up and make MORE children that they won't be able to afford to feed. Maybe if we let them die out, they'd stop having babies that they can't afford to feed the people that were left would have enough food to go around.

Sound like a good idea?

Because honestly, I see the two lines of thinking as being pretty much the same.

Come on people. This is NOT how we're going to move the lactivist cause ahead. The greatest majority of moms in this country will formula feed at some point in time. In fact, that number stands at more than 85%. We are not going to win support by telling 85% of the moms in the world that they've damaged their children by giving them formula. We're going to win support by educating people with compassion and understanding. Yes we need to stand up for our rights, but standing up for our rights doesn't mean stomping all over other people's feeding choices.

As with the Super Nanny incident, I just don't see how pitching fits and writing letters about this one advances our cause. Let's save the righteous indignation for the times when a mom is tossed from a mall for daring to feed her child or when a day care center says "we won't accept your child" because that child is breastfed.

Let's leave the well-intentioned folks that are simply trying to help people out alone.

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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.

Coke With Sugar

Yep, you heard me.

I have 24 cans of it in the trunk of my car as I type this.

Coke...REAL coke...with SUGAR instead of High fructose corn syrup.

How did I manage that, you ask?

Apparently the Coca-cola company puts out "Kosher Coke" each year before the Passover season. (I never knew corn wasn't kosher, but apparently it's not.) They release Coke made with sucrose instead of HFCS in areas of high Jewish population in 2 liter bottles and six-packs of cans.

I spent all morning calling around to the grocery stores in the two suburbs that have high Jewish populations and while most of them were already sold out, I found a Kosher market that had just received a shipment.

So into the car went Elnora, Emmitt and I and off to Bexley we drove.

Cost me $3.29 per six-pack, but I came home with four of them. I'll just have to spread them out so they last me a few months.

Mmmm....Coke that doesn't break my HFCS ban.

Incidentally, I've also learned that many Mexican groceries carry Mexican coke, which is also made with sugar instead of HFCS...even comes in glass bottles.

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

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Gaining Appreciation for the Potty Training Parent

(Be warned, gonna be a serial posting day, lots to catch up on...)

Well I gained a new appreciation this week for what parents go through when they potty train. We started Elnora on her potty about two months ago, but haven't "pushed it." Pretty much showed her that it's there, ask her if she wants to go whenever we go and give her high fives when she "pees in the potty."

I figure if we don't make it stressful, but we do share that it's a happy thing, we can potty train over time without a ton of stress. After all, it's not really THAT big a deal to change diapers, but since she's interested in the potty and loves flushing it, I thought it was worth trying.

Well in the last week, she's really started progressing. She's been going in the potty about twice a day (and having about two wet diapers a day) and sometimes even tells us when she needs to go.

Last night, she actually woke up at about 1am and started yelling for us. Greg went up to check on her and she said she had to go to the potty. (which means she went "yuck! yuck! duka duka duka!") He brought her down, plopped her on the potty and sure enough, the kid pretty much filled it up.

Cool.

But today...we were out and about she started freaking out in the car (once again with the refrain of "yuck! yuck! duka duka duka!") and telling me she had to go to the potty.

Which is great...

Except it was pouring the rain.

Ever try and get a 6 month old and a 2 year old out of the car and through a busy parking lot in the pouring rain while praying that the Wendy's toilet wasn't going to be to nasty?

Thankfully...we were in the ritzy part of town and the bathroom was spotless. So I set Emmitt's carrier down (see! they ARE handy!) and held Elnora over the toilet. Sure enough, the kid had enough pee to float a canoe. Her diaper was totally dry.

High fives!

And while we were in there, it stopped raining.

Guess it wasn't so bad after all. :)

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The First Annual Lactivist Bash

Disclaimer: No actual bashing of this lactivist or any other lactivist will take place.

Well, I've received close to twenty emails from women that are interested in attending "Lactivist Bash 2007" here in Columbus, Ohio, so I've gone ahead and worked out some details.

When: Saturday, April 21st from 11am to 3pm (we'll eat at noon)

Where: One of the Columbus Metropark pavilions (I'll announce which after RSVPs)
I'll be renting one of the large covered pavilions that has attached parking, a play ground and modern restrooms. That way we're covered even if it rains.

What to bring: Yourself, your family, some food to share and any games that you or your kids want to play. (There should be a lot of green space, so Frisbees, toys, whatever...

I'll provide paper products, drinks (Lemonade, Ice Tea and Water) a fresh fruit tray and a vat of my famous chili dogs. (I know, they aren't super healthy, but I'll get turkey dogs and use ground turkey for the chili...besides, you gotta live a little at picnics...)

So, please RSVP by email (please don't just post in the comments, send me an email too so that I can email out directions) by March 31st so that I have time to get a pavilion. Let me know how many are coming and what you think you might bring. That way I can make sure we don't end up with 27 veggie trays and one bag of chips. ;)

Also, if anyone else has a 5 gallon drink cooler, let me know. I've got one that I'll use for ice tea, but it would be nice to have another one for ice water and one for the lemonade.

Gotta say, I'm looking forward to this. I turn 30 on April 20th, so this will be a nice way for me to enter the next decade of my life...surrounded by people as crazy as I am. :)

Oh, and feel free to pass this on to other Ohio moms, anyone that supports breastfeeding is welcome to come. Just make sure they RSVP to me by March 31st.

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

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Monday, March 19, 2007

Good for The Limited

I'm generally not a fan of the Limited. After all, this is the company that thought it was a good idea to sell thong underwear emblazoned with slogans like "wink, wink" and "eye candy" in little girl sizes.

That said, my cousin's boyfriend has started working at the corporate offices of their "tween" division and he reports back that they have lactation rooms with corporate pumps, storage space, comfy chairs and locked doors. ;) (Don't ask me how he knows this, I'd imagine it was mentioned on his tour and he paid attention since he knows I'm such a lactivist.)

So, to the folks at "The Limited"...you suck for trying to sex up our kids, but at least you get a little credit for knowing that they need breast milk in the years before you turn them into tramps.

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

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Movement on Oklahoma Breastfeeding Bill

There's potentially good news for working moms that breastfeeding in Oklahoma. After suffering from problems last session that resulted in a severely watered down version of the bill, House Bill 2372 is headed to the floor for a full House vote. If it passes, it will move on to the Senate.

The bill calls for businesses with more than 25 employees to make "reasonable effort" to provide a location for breastfeeding mothers to express their milk and also requires them to offer 30 minute (unpaid) breaks for either expressing milk or breastfeeding.

Oklahoma moms are encouraged to contact their state representatives and state senators to encourage them to vote for the bill.

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

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Mom Booted from UK Cafe for Breastfeeding

It never ends, does it?

The Portsmouth Today News is reporting that a mother was tossed out of "The Spring Cafe" on High Street in Portsmouth for nursing her six month old. The crazy thing is that the woman even had her son covered with a blanket!

Mrs Dore said: 'I argued a bit at first. He said all the other customers would be offended, and I couldn't understand that because I sat in the corner and covered myself.

'Then he started taking our drinks and saying "get out".'

Mr Ozdemir said the cafe welcomed up to 20 buggies every day, and that he was thinking of his other customers when he asked Mrs Dore to leave.

He said: 'I get hundreds of people come in here with babies and I've got no problems with them. But I can't have someone breastfeeding while another table next to them is eating.

'At least she should turn away and do it in a proper way. She just argued with me while I politely asked her to leave.'


Wonder exactly what he means by "do it the proper way"... I suppose he means in a way that no one but mom and baby can see? Heaven forbid those other mothers see a child eat.

And when, when WHEN are people going to understand that a breastfeeding baby IS EATING. So you can eat at your table, but my child can't eat at mine?

Now as I understand it, Scotland has legislation that protects the right of a mom to nurse in public, but it doesn't look like England does? I did some hunting, but didn't find much apart from some articles that are a year or two old talking about a push for legislation.

Any of my UK readers care to update us on the issue?

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

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7 Hours!

Yep, you read that right...seven hours!

Emmitt slept pretty well over the weekend. I like to think it's because he knew Elnora was gone and that it was my one chance to get some rest (babies are intuitive) but I think it's more likely that he actually got good naps on Saturday and Sunday and thus, he slept well.

(I never understood why kids sleep better/longer at night if they get a lot of naps, but who am I to tell that gift horse to open up his chompers so I can take a look?)

I did a lot of running around on Saturday and Sunday so he got some great naps in the car. Saturday night he slept from 11pm to 10:45 am, waking only at 5am and 8am. Not bad.

Last night, he went to bed at 10pm, woke up at 1am and then slept until a little after 8am this morning.

I woke up and thought "why do I feel so awake? what's going on?" before I looked at the clock and did the "holy smokes, is he still breathing!" baby check.

So today, my goal has been to ensure that this kid gets good naps. That's fairly tough since Elnora is...well...a LOUD 2 year old and Emmitt doesn't like to take naps in his pack n play. I got him to take two naps on my bed (nursed him to sleep then snuck away) and now he's sleeping soundly in his bouncy chair while I bounce it with my foot. Hopefully I can get one more nap in early this evening. (He never sleeps for more than an hour at a time during the day.)

Then we'll test my theory.

I couldn't possibly get 7 hours of straight sleep two nights in a row, could I?

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

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Sunday, March 18, 2007

Our First Few Days of Signing

My ASL for babies sign language books showed up early last week, so I thought I'd give you all a quick update. I only just started signing with Elnora on Wednesday and she was gone from Friday evening until this afternoon, so she's really only had about 48 hours of signing so far.

So far she's picked up "baby" and "more" and has signed "drink" and "jump" once or twice. Turns out she was already making the signs for "wait" and "brush your teeth." I think she finds "more" to be quite handy. ;)

I've started incorporating the following phrases into our every day interactions...

what
more
done (finished)
wait
no
eat
drink
milk
baby
jump (she LOVES to jump)
book
bird
cat

I occasionally throw in a few others, like mom or dad, but mostly, we'll wait until she starts to pick up some more and then we'll add them. I don't want to overwhelm her. ;)

I've also been devouring the books I bought (including Signing Smart) and I'm just fascinated by this whole babies and sign language thing. Totally pumped about it.

Also found a fantastic site that has a dictionary of more than 7000 ASL signs. It's searchable by letter and when you select a word, it actually plays a video of someone making the sign. Very, VERY handy.

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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.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Why Generalizations Suck

If you home school your kid, they will be extremely intelligent, but socially inept.

If your kids go to public school, they'll barely be able to read and will do drugs at age 8.

If you breastfeed, you'll NEVER be able to be separated from your child.

If you formula feed, your child will have non-stop ear aches and colds until they are four.

If you home birth, you must dance naked in the yard under a full moon and then eat the placenta.

If you use an OB you'll be sliced stem to stern.

If you co-sleep, your child will stay in your bed until they go to college and you'll NEVER have sex AGAIN!

*sigh*

When will we move past the point of taking one potentially bad outcome of a situation and applying it to anyone and everyone that chooses that route in life?

The Columbus Dispatch ran an article this past week about co-sleeping. It was one of the most ridiculous pieces of so-called journalism that I've ever read. (Of course, I have to remind myself that journalism classes no longer include that part about telling both sides of a story...)

Now remember, I'm not really a co-sleeper, but I do support the ideas behind it.

You guys will just looooooooooove this...

On the second floor, Harrison, 5, is splayed, sideways and snoring, across his parents' king-size bed — having muscled his mother out and pushed his father, 35-year-old photographer Paul, to the edge.

Any of you co-sleepers out there actually let your children push you out of bed? Cause last time I checked, co-sleeping doesn't mean giving up your authority as a parent. Oh wait...sorry, we're talking about sensationalist press here...CLEARLY if you let your children sleep with you, you must give up ALL control.

Let's continue...

The couple aren't alone in not being alone in their bed.

They also aren't happy about the "family bed," which has inched its way into the mainstream among indulgent parents who fail to set limits for their children.

"It is everybody's Achilles' heel, I think — this rotating and not sleeping," she said. "Yet it is so gross to think you've ended up with a family bed."


Um....yeah. If you aren't happy about the "family bed" why don't you stop having a family bed? Once again...any of you co-sleepers out there that would allow your children to continue to sleep with you if it was no longer working for your family and you weren't getting any sleep?

Because yeah...sounds to me like these aren't "co-sleepers," they are indulgent parents who fail to set limits that just happen to co-sleep. So rather than lumping all co-sleepers into the "indulgent parents who fail to set limits" club, let's call a spade and spade instead of dubbing every single garden tool a spade.

More than a decade after infant-sleep expert Dr. Richard Ferber warned parents against co-sleeping and advocating a "cry-it-out" approach...

Oops...sorry. Just had to throw that line in there so that you could all laugh at Ferber STILL being referred to as an "infant-sleep expert."

Back to the train wreck...

"Everyone I know has been to some sort of sleep center," said Liz Lange, the maternity-wear designer, who "went the sleep consultant route" for help with the peripatetic nighttime ways of her son, Gus.

Umm...ok. Now see, I understand that there are kids that have sleep problems. I GET that there are children that just will NOT stay in bed at night. And yes, these kids (and their parents) probably need some help getting things figured out. That may mean a family bed (if the FAMILY is happy with that solution) or it may mean getting help in coming up with a plan to get the child to sleep in their own bed...

but...

Does anyone else see a pattern here? Very rich, very famous parents that, as Lange puts it, "work long, hard days and come home exhausted" and then have trouble having the energy to actually enforce ANY discipline on their kids?

(...and don't ya love how the author threw "peripatetic" in there to look smart? It means "walking about".)

Listen to what Lange says...

"By the time I get into bed at night," she said, "I've really had it. I can't spend from 1 to 3 in the morning running back and forth, moving them back to their beds. I will tell you that my daughter does kick and spin. My husband will swear she pulls the chest hairs out of his chest. But if I don't make an issue out of this, I do — we do — get a decent amount of sleep, at least six hours. The only thing that gives me a little bit of hope and comfort is the thought that I'm sure I won't have teenagers sleeping in my bed."

In other words...it's hard work being a parent. I think I'll just let my kids run amok and hope that some day I get more sleep.

Uh huh...

Anyone else read this article and think "this has nothing to do with co-sleeping, this has to do with lazy parenting?"

Quite honestly, I've yet to meet a co-sleeping family that has these types of issues.

It's kinda like the mom on SuperNanny that everyone wanted to dub as being "AP" simply because she was breastfeeding a 14 month old and carried her around a lot. (We'll ignore the fact that she hit, slapped and spanked her kids non-stop.)

Co-sleeping isn't the problem here folks, lack of parenting is.

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

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Daisy Gear Sport Bag Review

Some women obsess about purses or shoes...I obsess about diaper bags. Maybe it's because I've never been a purse person, (or a shoe person for that matter...the only "cool" shoes I own come from my best friend who has great fashion sense, is young, single and gets bored with her shoes while they are still trendy...) but for some reason I've been obsessed with cool diaper bags ever since I had Elnora.

Which is ironic really since my diaper bag for the first year or so of Elnora's life was that black Similac (or was it Enfamil?) bag that every new mother leaves the hospital with. It was insulated, small, had some pockets and served it's purpose. Besides, I'd ripped the brand name tag off it so they weren't getting any advertising out of the deal and I've never used formula, so I sort of felt like it was a "ha!" on them. (You know, sort of a "nya-nya I'm using your diaper bag and you didn't make any money off me!")

But when I found out I was expecting my second and I realized that I'd need to cart around enough stuff for two kids, I became obsessed with finding the perfect diaper bag. I scoured the web drooling over bags that were trendy, yet practical. Of course that meant that they had trendy price tags to go with them.

Then I connected with the team at Daisy Gear. I originally talked to them about reviewing their Dad Gear Fleece Diaper Vest (review on that coming up soon), but I ended up getting one of their Daisy Gear Sports Diaper bags to review as well.

The Lactivist Says: I LOVE this diaper bag. Love it, love it, LOVE it! (Have I mentioned that I love it?)

Pros:
Huge variety of colors (plus the cover is reversible)
Super roomy
Integrated wipe dispenser
Built in clips to attach it to your stroller
Messenger style bag is long enough to cross over your chest

Cons:
Expensive
Body of the bag attract dog hair like mad

Quite honestly, I think this is my absolute favorite product of all the things I've reviewed so far. I'm a total scrooge when it comes to spending money, but I would totally pay the $66 that this bag retails for. When I first received this bag to review I looked it over and decided that I'd load it up and set it aside to use for "all-day" trips. After all, I already had a purse sized bag that held most of what I needed for quick jaunts with two kids and who wants to carry around a larger bag if they don't have to.

Apparently, I do. I took this bag on two day trips and then came home and packed away my other diaper bag. I like this bag enough that it's now my "go-to" diaper bag. (Ok, so I've really just always wanted to say "go-to" in regards to something...humor me folks.) I've been using it on a daily basis for about five or six weeks now and I adore it. In fact, I've had at least a dozen compliments on it since I've started carrying it.

So let's break down the features to see exactly why I'm such a huge fan of this bag.

Roomy!

This is the absolute key to any diaper bag that I'm going to use. It's simply GOT to have space. I don't carry a purse anymore so the diaper bag needs to be able to hold anything that would go in my purse plus the supplies I need for two kids. This one has that issue down pat. in fact, here's a listing of what I've taken with me on an "all day" errand run...

Change of clothes for Elnora
Change of clothes for Emmitt
4 diapers + wipes
Sippy cup for Elnora
Bottle of water for me
Snack cup for Elnora
2 bibs for Emmitt plus one bib for Elnora
Set of Elnora's silverware
Comb
A toy for Emmitt
My cell phone, wallet, digital camera and keys
Two cloth grocery bags from Whole Foods

And there was still room left in the diaper bag! The nice thing is that there are two sectioned pouches inside the bag. I use one for diapers and one for clothes. It also has four or five other zippered sections scattered around the inside and outside, two "pockets" on the front of the bag under the flap and a pocket on each side of the bag that's the perfect size for a cell phone. The large zippered section on the back of the sports bag includes a changing pad. The rest of the stuff just gets tossed in the bag.

Stroller Friendly

One of the challenges I've had is finding a stroller friendly diaper bag. See, my double stroller is wonderful because it's really compact, but it's biggest downside is that it really doesn't have much in the way of a storage basket underneath. That means that I either have to carry the diaper bag or attach it to the handles. Daisy Gear does this up right...with two little built in loops that allow you to fasten it to your stroller.

Since the diaper bag is messenger style, it lays pretty flat against the back of a stroller. That means it's not knocking you in the knees every time you take a step. Since each side attaches to the stroller it also means that it's not bouncing around like it would if you simply hung it from one of the handles. The shot here shows it hooked onto our stroller with the back seat fully reclined. Even still, it doesn't get in my way when I'm pushing the stroller. If I had the seat sitting up, it would be even more out of the way.

Colors and Design

The nice thing about the Daisy Bag is that it comes in more than a dozen colors. In fact, they have a "billboard series" of bags that is partially made from recycled billboard advertisements. These bags are one of a kind and are pretty darn cool looking. The flaps on them are also reversible so that if you want a pink one, and your husband isn't secure in his masculinity (tee hee) he can quickly unzip the Velcro on the flap and reverse it so that the black side is facing out. It takes about 30 seconds to make the switch. (Or, you can go buy the same bag in "manly" colors at Dad Gear.)

Now I will note that one of the few negatives I found with this diaper bag was that the material the bag is made from is the type that gathers dust, hair and dirt like mad. Yes, you can mostly wipe it off, but as we all know, dog hair has amazing magnetic properties and adheres to anything it comes into contact with until you pull it off with a pair of tweezers. Since our dog has tan hair and the bag is black...well...yeah. It's ok though...going out with a little dog hair on the diaper bag is really the least of my problems.

Integrated Wipes Container

Now to the pièce de résistance of the Daisy Gear diaper bag. The "integrated wipes dispenser." Why no one else has thought of this before is beyond me because it's fan-frickin-tastic! Basically, there is a wipes container that snaps into the front of the bag so that you don't have to go digging for your wipes. Apart from the obvious convenience of not having to dig for wipes, let's consider the handiness of that feature in public restrooms.

With the Daisy Gear bag, I never have to take a hand off of Emmitt while changing him. I can open the bag with one hand while still wearing it, pull out a diaper, get it slid under his other diaper, open the dirty diaper, grab a wipe from the wipes dispenser, (again, with one hand because I don't have to dig for it in the bag and then hold it in one hand while getting a wipe with the other) wipe him off, pull the dirty diaper out from under him, fasten the clean one, toss the dirty one in the trash, put his clothes back together, pick him up and bam, we're done.

It's awesome.

I've run across several products here at The Lactivist that I feel comfortable recommending to my readers, but this is honestly the first one I've reviewed that I can suggest without the slightest hesitation, as long as you can handle the price tag. Oh, and if you aren't a fan of the sports bag, Daisy Gear offers a larger messenger diaper bag and a backpack diaper bag as well.

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

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He Said, She Said - Breastfeeding in Public

Every now and then I run across an article on breastfeeding in public that makes me wonder. Now I've already made it VERY clear here that I do not support breastfeeding laws that include language like "discreet" or "covered" or anything else that leaves things open to judgement...because really, who gets to define discreet?

At the same time, I don't like the idea of a woman nursing her child in public with an entire breast exposed. Sure, it's her right, but I think it sets back the movement by creating backlash against nursing moms. Now I would never tell a mom that she should stop, nor would I shoot her a dirty look because who knows, she could be a new mom that's still learning how to nurse. She could also be someone trying to make a point and as much as I think these people are rare, I don't doubt that there are a few women in the world that WOULD expose themselves purposely just to make a point. I disagree with their methods, but hey, still their right to do it.

That said, it's been my experience that moms work to show absolutely as little as possible while they nurse. Yes, I hear stories online all the time about women 'whipping it out' (I hate that phrase) to nurse, but I've NEVER seen this. At most, you might see a quarter inch of breast if the mom's shirt isn't quite pulled down to baby's nose. Heck, my own son will occasionally grab hold of my shirt and try to lift it up a bit more. It's fun for him. ;) Not so much for me, but you do what you gotta do.

So what's with that rant? Well, a reader sent me a story today out of Cullman, Alabama. Apparently, Elizabeth McDowell was nursing her child in Johnny's Barbecue last week when she alleges that one of the employees put a dirty dish towel over her six month old son's head as he ate. (Ohh...you want to talk about something that would earn you a whippin...I would have been absolutely furious.) The owner's side of the story is that the woman was exposing her entire breast and that many of his patrons were complaining.

It gets a little more confusing, at least based on the news story that I could find online...



Becky Smalley, a Johnny's Barbecue Employee, said she was at work when McDowell was feeding her child. She said the woman exposed most of her breast. Smalley and her daughter-in-law, Katrina James, argued with McDowell outside the restaurant.

"Why would you do it?" Smalley asked.

McDowell replied "you can't breast feed yourself."

McDowell said she wants to encourage people who are offended by public breast-feeding to first approach mothers verbally, and to never act aggressively toward the mother or child.

"It is a mother's protected right to breast-feed her child in any public or private place where she is allowed to be," she said in a prepared statement. "For the upset person to take matters into their own hands is frightening and unacceptable."


I can't for the life of me figure out what McDowell meant by her "You can't breast feed yourself" comment. I don't know if it's just bad reporting or if she said it and it just didn't make sense. Does she mean that Smalley isn't able to breastfeed or that a woman can't nurse from her own breast? I would assume she probably meant the former, but even if she did, what point would that make?

I also can't really get behind the idea of "encouraging" people to approach mothers verbally if they are offended by public breastfeeding. I'd personally encourage people to look the other way and mind their own business if they don't like public breastfeeding. It's what I do if I don't like something that someone else is doing. Never seemed all that difficult to me.

That said, this part of the article really stood out to me and seems to really represent the views held by a lot of people.

I call this "lip service."


James said she is the mother of an infant, and that she doesn't have a problem with public breast-feeding as long as women are discrete.

"I just don't think you should do it in the middle of a restaurant where people are eating," she said.


How can you say you don't have a problem with public breastfeeding and then follow it up by saying that you shouldn't do it in public? Or is it ok to do it in public but not if anyone else is eating? Because apparently a child enjoying their meal suddenly makes you unable to enjoy your own?

Disappointing to see that only three mothers showed up to support this woman.

To note, Alabama is a state that has laws that specifically make it legal for a mother to breastfeed in public. However, as I've explained in the past, these laws do NOT override the ability of a business owner to refuse service to someone, they simply keep a mother from being prosecuted for nursing. Thus, if a business owner wants to, they can call the police and claim that the mother and child are trespassing and refusing to leave their property. In other words, sure, it's legal to breastfeeding in public, but it's just as legal to ask someone to leave, cover up, etc.

We still have a long way to go.

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

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Why We Retired the Bouncy Chair

I LOVE bouncy chairs. They were my salvation when I exclusively pumped because I could set Nora in it with a toy and bounce her if she got fussy while I pumped. With Emmitt, who ONLY takes cat naps, it's the best way to get him quickly from breast to sleep so that I could enjoy twenty minutes of work.

It was also great because I'd sit him in there while I cooked dinner and he'd watch me quite happily as I wandered around the kitchen getting things done.

But alas, I think our bouncy chair days are over...

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Friday, March 16, 2007

Yay for Spring!

This is why I am so excited for spring...



That's across the street from my house. On the right side of the image, the creek (which sounds funny since it's 20 or 30 foot across) drops over an 8 foot dam. It was warm enough to open the windows in the living room yesterday and I could hear the water rushing over the dam.

When it gets warmer, we'll be able to leave the windows open at night and we can fall asleep the the sound of rushing water.

It's absolutely awesome.

Hurry up Spring! I'm done with snow.

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Shipping the Kid off to the In-Laws

Ahh...sweet sleep and peacefulness, I shall be with you soon.

Which is ironic since I'll still have Mr. Nurse-all-Night with me...

Anyway, Elnora is heading to the farm this weekend for the first time in about seven months. You see, back before Emmitt was born, my in-laws (who live an hour away on a farm) would keep Elnora one weekend a month. It was a great way for them to spend quality time with each other and it gave Greg and I a free weekend each month to go out in the evenings, sleep-in in the morning and get work done during the day. Since I adore my in-laws and trust them implicitly with Nora, it worked out well for all of us.

Well, timing wise it just hasn't worked out to send her since Emmitt's been born. They were here last weekend though and made mention of the fact that they missed having her. (I *think* they got that whole sentence out before I blurted out "when can you keep her!?" but I'm not sure...)

So all was arranged and it was decided that Elnora would spend the weekend with them this week.

Wait...it gets better.

Yesterday I spoke with my sister-in-law and found out that she and my brother-in-law are headed down there as well. Did I want them to take Elnora down with them to save myself a trip? (I *think* she got that whole sentence out before I blurted out "woo hoo!" but I'm not sure...)

So it's arranged. I have to drive about 20 minutes to drop Elnora off with my SIL this afternoon and they'll take her south. She LOVES Greg's brothers and their wives, so this will work out great. Plus, Greg's parents are bringing her home on Sunday, so I don't have to drive either time.

Life is good.

Yes, I'll still have Emmitt, but hey...he'll take naps and I can nap with him. Plus, I can do all the running around I want with him because he'll sleep wherever. (And with my new Ergo (review coming soon) I can also get stuff done around the house or go for walks.

Now...just another year or so and I can ship them BOTH off for the weekend.

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

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Thursday, March 15, 2007

Just curious...

Would you guys be interested in a Lactivist podcast? No promises... (though I am launching a podcast aimed at work at home parents next month via Search Engine Guide) but I've been giving it some thought.

I'm thinking some weeks it would be thoughts, rambling, fun type stuff. Other weeks it would be interviewing folks about things like breastfeeding legislation, milk banking, tandem nursing, maybe interviewing some doulas or midwives... Same stuff you get here, just...well, in podcast form. ;)

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Updates on Breastfeeding Bills

It's been a busy week in the world of breastfeeding bills and legislation. You can check out an update on the Pennsylvania breastfeeding legislation that I posted earlier and you can get a quick summary of what's going on in New Mexico, Arkansas and West Virginia in this post.

New Mexico

HB 613 was signed into law yesterday in New Mexico. The bill was designed to help support working mothers by making sure employers provide a clean and private location that is NOT a bathroom (woo hoo!) to express milk and the flexible break time to get the job done. The bill does not require companies to provide a location to store the mother's milk nor does it require her to be paid for the time she takes to pump. The law goes into effect in 90 days.

Arkansas

House Bill 2411 which was introduced by Rep. Pam Adcock is designed to exempt breastfeeding from the state's indecent exposure laws. The bill has not yet passed but is moving through legislation. Arkansas currently has no breastfeeding related laws on the books. Unfortunately this is a very toned down version of the original bill which would have given a woman asked to stop breastfeeding in public cause to take action against the individual or business that asked her to stop. That part of the bill was removed when it went through committee.

West Virginia

Despite claims that he has "no problem" with a bill that would exempt breastfeeding from West Virginia's indecent exposure laws, West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin vetoed the bill claiming that it conflicted with another bill addressing indecent exposure. That marks the third time in three years that the bill has failed to pass. The bill also provided for an exemption from jury duty for breastfeeding mothers.

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Milk Banking Article in Good Housekeeping

Well now there's something you don't expect to see...

This month's (April 2007) issue of Good Housekeeping Magazine has a nice two-page article on human milk banking. I had Greg pick me up a copy last night, but I wouldn't be beyond simply suggesting you read it while you're standing in the checkout line. ;)

It shares the story of a newborn and a 6 year old child that are currently receiving donor milk and does a great job of taking about how the process works and what the benefits are. Also has an interview or two with a few donors, including one mom that said it really helped her heal emotionally from the baby she lost in a ruptured ectopic pregnancy.

Anyway, it's really, REALLY nice to see milk banking (specifically the HMBANA banks) getting some positive press in a mainstream magazine. Here's hoping that this helps the word spread.

The funny thing? I saw someone on a lactation forum complain that the story includes an image of a bottle.

Umm...what do they think donor milk comes in? Cute little disposable boobies? Perspective people...perspective.

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Hathor Weighs In on City Kids...

Hathor the Cow Goddess had a cartoon last week about the City Kids Day Care issue. My bad, I missed it until I saw the traffic in my log files today.

Thanks Heather! :)

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Party With the Lactivist?

Cairo Mama sparked an idea in the comments section of 5 Things, but I thought it'd be easier to do it here.

She's going to be in Ohio in April...I've been wanting to meet some Lactivist readers anyway...who's within driving distance and up for a Saturday or Sunday BBQ in April? Maybe the 21-22 or 28-29? (I get back from NYC on the 13th Cairo Mama, so I think the 14th is out...)

If you're interested, drop me an email and we'll handle this off the blog. Don't want addresses and such floating around on here. :)

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More on Organic Eating

So it's been about two months now since I started making a real effort to get us on a more healthy diet. I've written in the past about how happy I was to find quality, affordable organics at Meijer and at Giant Eagle. I also make a trek to Whole Foods every now and then to stalk up on some staples since their store brand is pretty cheap and they've got a wide variety of products that may not be organic, but at least have nothing artificial in them. (and NO transfats.)

I've succeeded in getting about half of our produce switched over to organic in the last two months and I've managed to do it without significantly increasing our grocery bill. How? Well, I still buy convention on the things that are drastically more expensive as organics. For instance, strawberries...they're INSANE to buy organic. (Though once May hits, I can buy them at my local farmers market for much more reasonable prices...also debating planting a strawberry patch here at the new house.) But carrots, celery, potatoes, lettuce, bananas, apples and oranges are all pretty reasonable. In fact, I've found that if I forgo convenience, I can buy a lot of organics.

For example, I buy a two pound bag of whole organic carrots (remember when you had to peel carrots?) instead of a two pound bag of peeled baby carrots. The organic carrots are actually less when I do this. (.99 cents a pound for the organics.) I buy full heads of organic lettuce (romaine, iceberg and bunches of unwashed spinach) instead of the washed and cut conventional. I end up with way more salad for less price and it stays good longer.

I'm not on organic meat yet and quite honestly, unless we find a good local source, I don't think it will happen. I just flat out cannot afford to buy organic meat from the grocery store. Whole Foods is the only place that has it anyway and I'd end up spending in meat what my entire weekly budget for ALL fresh foods is. (and that's with having cut back our meat consumption dramatically.) That said, Giant Eagle has a nice selection of "natural" meats. They aren't organic, but they are hormone free, antibiotic free, grain fed (no animal by products). The price on these is about halfway between conventional and organic, so I aim to buy them whenever possible.

Dairy...well, Greg and I have joined Elnora in drinking organic milk. This was a HUGE increase in cost for us since even store brand organic milk is $6 a gallon around here. We have cut down from two gallons to one gallon a week, but I can't see dropping any more than that. I now have milk only on my cereal and maybe one glass a week. (I used to drink a glass or more per day.) We're also on organic eggs now. Haven't switched cheese yet as the cost there would be HUGE. Same for butter. Organic yogurt's too expensive, but Dannon has a new "Natural" line that uses sugar instead of HFCS and has no artificial ingredients. Tastes darn good too. I even bought some kefir this week to try in my fruit smoothies. Not bad, but expensive.

Boxed and Canned goods...this is where it gets tough. Giant Eagle and Meijer both have pretty reasonable prices on their store brands of things like organic pasta, organic canned or frozen veggies, organic rice, organic flour, etc... When organic is too expensive, there are at least "natural" alternatives that help me cut out some HFCS, PHOs and artificial ingredients. That said, I've found that Whole Foods and Trader Joe's also has good prices on their house brands. I'm still building my strategy on this because Whole Foods and Trader Joe's are about 30 minutes away so I've got to make special treks to stock up. (For instance, I bought 4 boxes of Kashi GoLean Crunch and 6 boxes of Whole Kids Honey Nut Oats the last time I went there...but we'll go through that in a little more than a month.)

So, now that we're succeeding in our goals to eat more organics, I've decided to take the pledge at Mission Organic. (Hat tip to Jessie Hawkins over at Vintage Remedies.) Basically, you commit to making sure that 1 out of 10 items in your grocery cart or organic and/or that one out of ten meals will be organic.

Oh yeah...and that bread thing? I've tried the organic brands from three stores. They taste like cardboard. Thus, my choice so far seems to be accept HFCS bread or make my own. So, I'm trying to make it once or twice a week. I think I've had four slices of HFCS bread in the last 6 weeks.

Oh, and I've lost 8 or 9 pounds since I cut HFCS. ;)

Another benefit of shopping more naturally? I've bought some of the reusable grocery bags from Whole Foods and Giant Eagle (Love them! they hold so much and are easy to carry) and I stuff them in my diaper bag when I go grocery shopping. This past week I discovered that Meijer gives you a 50 cent store credit for every one of your own reusable bags that you bring. Since the bags only cost me $1 anyway, it obviously doesn't take long to start profiting. :)

How bout you? Any one else working on cutting things like HFCS or PHO's...or working to go toward organics or even just "natural" foods? What are your tips for saving money and eating organic affordably?

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