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

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Got Any Spare Breastfeeding Books Laying Around?

World Breastfeeding Week kicks off tomorrow. From August 1st-7th people around the world will come together to uplift, support and educate moms about the importance of breastfeeding, especially during that crucial first hour.

In support of World Breastfeeding Week Near Mama's Heart author Colleen Newman is hosting a drive to donate old breastfeeding books to the 2nd Annual World Breastfeeding Week Book Release Challenge.

Last year's drive was launched by Julie Johnson, a Bookcrosser that is also a La Leche League leader. Her efforts saw more than 150 books being shared last year. Colleen has taken up the cause this year and is hoping to double that number.

Colleen writes:

All releases must be about breastfeeding, such as breastfeeding ‘how to' books (i.e. "The Nursing Mother's Companion") or breastfeeding advocacy books (i.e. "Milk, Money and Madness".)

Books can also be children's books that show pictures of breastfeeding or depict breastfeeding as a normal part of family life (i.e. "Near Mama's Heart" or "Mama, Mama".)

Books should be released in places where pregnant or new mothers are likely to catch them, such as childbirth classes, baby-type stores, WIC offices, OB offices, etc.

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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.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Dear Abby Readers Respond

You might remember my post back in May about a Dear Abby column that discussed a new mom breastfeeding in front of guests.

This past week, Dear Abby published reader responses and I was pleased to see that every last one of them was supportive of the mother. (It pained me to see so many focused on using burp cloths or blankets to be "discreet" but it's a start.)

The best response came froma woman in Hurricane, Utah.

DEAR ABBY: After I had my baby, my doctor came into my hospital room and asked if I was planning on nursing my baby. I said I was. He could see my roommate was listening to our conversation, so he asked her if she, too, was planning on nursing. She said no! My doctor, who was known for his frankness, said: "What do you think those breasts are for -- sweaters? Nursing is the best way to go! The milk is always warm, and it comes in cute containers!"

I love the "cute containers" comment. That's just priceless.

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Ohio Mom Told to Breastfeed in Prison Bathroom

If there's anything grosser than a public restroom, it's probably a prison restroom. (Of course I'm only assuming this, having never been in a prison.) That's why Ohio mom Latosha S. McKenzie balked when an Alabama prison guard told her it was her only choice if she wanted to nurse her 8-month old son while she was visiting her husband.

The Huntsville Times has the story:

An Ohio woman said her civil rights were violated when a Limestone Correctional Facility guard directed her to the restroom to breast-feed her 8-month-old son during a recent visit with her husband.

During her most recent visit, July 14, when the guard told her to go into the restroom, McKenzie said she asked the guard if he would eat his lunch in the bathroom.

She said the guard told her that he would not eat in there, but that it was her only choice.

"The guard said, 'You wouldn't go into Hardee's or McDonald's to nurse your child, would you?' And I told him, 'Yes, I'll go anywhere and nurse my child,' " McKenzie said. "I was really humiliated and devastated."


Ok, while I am completely annoyed about this whole thing, I have to admit that the first two thoughts to cross my mind upon reading that were:

1.) Well I wouldn't go into a Hardee's PERIOD
and
2.) McDonald's? Sure! Let's have a little "Boobs, Folks and Fun!"

Seriously though, the guard's comment just floored me. Clearly the man has no concept of a woman's right to breastfeed in public if THAT was his defense for trying to send her off to a dirty bathroom stall.

Looks like the Alabama penal system needs to do a little educating of their employees about state laws.

To note, the Alabama law, which passed in the spring of 2006 reads:

A mother may breastfeed her child in any location, public or private, where the mother is otherwise authorized to be present.

Despite this, the prison has responded in the usual "we think we were probably right" manner:

Brian Corbett, spokesman for the Alabama Department of Corrections, said the matter could be a public safety issue.

"I certainly respect and have empathy for her to breast-feed in a clean environment, but our priority is public safety," Corbett said.

He said the department will seek an attorney general's opinion on how the new breast-feeding law applies to prisons.

"We want to make sure we're following the law, and there is some question based on what the law says about whether it includes a prison visitation yard," Corbett said.


I must say, I am quite curious to know how McKenzie's need to breastfeed would cause a "public safety" issue. Were they worried she'd squirt someone in the eye?

McKenzie is trying to get in touch with the Limestone warden, but hasn't yet been able to speak with him. Alabama does have a Civil Rights Commission, so I'll be curious to hear if she moves forward with action against the prison system.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Welcome Fark Readers!

If you are coming in to The Lactivist Blog via the post about The International Breast Milk Project on Fark, let me say welcome!

Yes, there actually IS a blog about breastfeeding, though it's probably not what you're expecting. (We've got a sense of humor around here folks...)I hope you'll stick around and check things out.

No, you can't read my original comments anymore on the OC Register site. Why? Well, apparently you only need two people to vote against your comment and it's taken down. Way to support free speech OC Register! (I've reposted the comments, but who knows how long they'll stay up this time?)

Anyway, here's what I'd written:

I'm curious to know if you were aware of the fact that Prolacta (the backer of the IMBP) does not actually ship all of the milk collected for the IMBP to the orphans in Africa?

I questioned Prolacta's lack of transparency about how much collected milk they were shipping earlier this year at The Lactivist.

In response to those questions, Prolacta enacted a new policy that they outlined in an open letter to the community. http://www.breastmilkproject.org/ibmp_letter.php

I'd specifically note the following:

"25% of all donated breast milk—an estimated 25,000 ounces each year—will be screened, tested, and shipped by Prolacta each year for free. When you donate milk, Prolacta will segregate 25% of your milk to go to Africa, so every mom knows that some of her milk is going to help babies orphaned by poverty and disease in Africa."

That means that 75% of milk being donated for African orphans is being kept by Prolacta to process and sell as they wish.

While I fully support the right of each mom to donate or give her milk to any organization that she chooses, it's been my experience that most donor moms simply have no idea that all of their milk is not being sent to African babies. I'm disheartened to see an article that so strongly supports the IMBP without sharing with readers the true data about how much donated milk actually reaches these babies.

I'd encourage readers that wish to donate breast milk to an organization that processes and ships 100% of collected milk without making ANY profit to contact the Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA), the only fully non-profit milk banks in service today.


A few links here on the site that might interest you...

1.) Find out how and why the Lactivist got started

2.) Check out my hilarious run-in with a crazy trademark lawyer from The National Pork Board.

4.) Read my post calling out the International Breast Milk Project earlier this year.

5.) Read my response to the IMBP's new policies based on my post questioning them.

6.) Check out my Fark-worthy pro-breastfeeding t-shirts. Where else can you buy a mom's shirt that reads "That's My Baby's Lunch You're Staring At" or a dad's shirt that says "I Play With My Baby's Food?"

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The International Breast Milk Project in the News Again

The Orange County Register is running a story this week about the International Breast Milk Project.

From the article:

April Brown strives to make a difference — even as a stay-at-home nursing mom.

Brown, who breast feeds her one-year-old daughter Bailey Mae, opened the organization's California chapter.

"It doesn't cost anything (to start a chapter) and it's a great cause to help," she said.

Brown has a personal connection to the nonprofit. Her mom, Elena Medo — the CEO and founder of Prolacta Bioscience — partnered with the International Breast Milk Project through her company to fortify human breast milk, needed for preterm babies to grow.


Unfortunately, while the article does include information on the donation process, there is no mention of the fact that Prolacta and the IMBP ship just 25% of collected milk to Africa. (You may recall that the IMBP announced this policy after I questioned their practices here on the Lactivist this past May.)

I wrote a letter to the journalist who wrote the article and left my own comments on the OC Register site, but I will say that it disappoints me (though it doesn't surprise me) to see a news story failing to disclose the actual amount of milk being shipped to Africa.

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Monday, July 23, 2007

Oh The Things They Say (and do) About Breastfeeding

Welcome to the eight "Carnival of Breastfeeding!" I'll be joining our usual round-up of breastfeeding bloggers and a few guest bloggers to post about the topic of what our kids say (and do) about breastfeeding. Granted, this one was a little more difficult for me than usual, since I had to rely on my kids for material. Since one is only 9 months and the other is a 2.5 year old that doesn't talk, that makes for a challenge.

Then again, I've never really shied away from those challenging posts, have I?

Elnora doesn't say much about mother's milk. She drank it exclusively from a bottle for thirteen months and enjoyed quite a few sippy cups of it in the first few months of Emmitt's life while I pumped for a friend. In fact, I've got two posts in the archives about her reaction when she got her first sips of mother's milk months after she'd been weaned.

So most of my stories about Elnora and mother's milk revolve around actions and not words.

Like the time Emmitt was three months old and started crying while we had company. Elnora looked at him, looked at me, looked back and him and came over and tried to tug up my shirt while saying "E-ya Mana" which means Emmitt, Milk! Apparently she thought I was too busy talking to notice that Emmitt was hungry.

Or the time just last month when I sat down on the bed to nurse Emmitt and Elnora told me via sign language that SHE was going to feed him.

"How will you do that?" I asked.

She lifted her shirt and pointed at her nipple.

I laughed. "I'm not sure that's going to work Nora, only mommy's have milk."

She looked a bit dejected, but she put her shirt back down and went off to play with something else.

There have been at least a dozen times where she's wanted to use the breast pump as well, but I keep reminding her that she's not a mommy yet and doesn't have mommy's milk yet.

She's apparently all set to go somewhere down the line though.

Check out the rest of the posts in the Carnival of Breastfeeding:

The yum of "Mum-Mum" at Breastfeeding 1-2-3
The signing nurser at Motherwear
A helpful big sister at Down With the Kids
From the blooper reels at Breastfeeding Mums
Where did they go? at Rattling the Kettle
A collection of quotes at Musings of a Crunchy Domestic Goddess
The greatest hits of breastfeeding quotes from Mama Knows Breast
Why can't YOU feed the baby? at Nurturing Notes

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Sunday, July 22, 2007

TSA Announces New Breastmilk Policy

Three cheers for nursing moms who pump and travel! I'm two days late to this (was out of town on holiday with no wifi), but the TSA has announced a new policy toward breast milk on airplanes taking effect on August 4th that will make for much easier trips for nursing moms.

A press release from the TSA reads:

TSA is also modifying the procedures associated with carrying breast milk through security checkpoints. Mothers flying with or without their child will be permitted to bring breast milk in quantities greater than three ounces as long as it is declared for inspection at the security checkpoint.

As of the writing of this post, the TSA web site still references the old policies. I'd highly suggest that moms who are planning to travel print out this press release and carry it with them to show to TSA agents when declaring their breast milk.

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Like to Swoop In at the Last Minute on Auctions?

Well here's your chance to make some of the final bids in The Attachment Parenting International (API) Auction because it ends at 7pm EST on Saturday, July 21st.

I didn't get my items uploaded until late in the game and many are still available at the starting bid price, so if you've always wanted some Lactivist wear, but couldn't shell out the cash, here's your chance!

As I write this post, all of these products are still available at well below retail price.

I Play with My Baby's Food hat for men
Try Eating With a Blanket Over YOUR Head onsie
That's My Baby's Lunch You're Staring At shirt for women

There are quite a few other great deals as well, so if you haven't already taken the time to check it out, go browse the complete auction catalog and throw a few bids up.

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Oh the Irony...

It's a morning every parent remembers well...the day when your brain spins as you try to answer a simple question.

This morning as I was headed to the shower Greg looked at me and said "Did Emmitt wake up last night?"

I looked at him blankly, racking my brain.

"Wow! No, he didn't!" (Ok, he went to bed at 8 and got up at 11, but he hadn't gotten up since 11)

After a brief moment of celebration I had to laugh at the irony.

What irony?

Well, how 'bout the fact that last night we had a massive line of storms come roaring through. The thunder woke both Greg and I up (but not the kids) and the power went out not once, not twice, but three times. After the first (small) cell went through, Greg and I turned on the weather radar channel in the living room and watched the next line (a red blog the size of our county) head toward us. That meant we were up from about 2am to 3am.

On the other hand, I did get to sleep from 3 until 7:30, which is a pretty good stretch for me.

Here's hoping he does this again tonight, and tomorrow night and the night after that and the night after that...

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

My $45 Movie...

Three hours of Mango's Place for toddler and baby: $39
One movie ticket to Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: $6
One super yummy bento box: $0
------------------------------------------------------------------
The first time I've done something for myself in a year: priceless

Yep...that's right. I spent $45 today just so I could go see a movie. First movie I've seen in about a year.

Actually, what happened is this...

After several days of a nasty summer cold (temperature around 101 last night) my fever finally broke and I got some sleep. Emmitt decided to play nice as well and for the last two nights has gotten up at 1am and 6am, giving me about 5 hours of solid sleep each night.

I woke up with him at 6am this morning, nursed him for about ten minutes and put him back to bed. I was feeling pretty awake, so I figured why not just get up.

I headed out to the living room, checked my email and got some inspiration. An hour later, I had a full article ready to go up at Search Engine Guide. Elnora woke up about then, but still feeling sleepy simply curled up on the couch next to me to watch Clifford. Another hour after that and I'd made three more posts...pretty much wrapping up a day's work on the site.

I'd already made an appointment for the kids to go to Mango's Place today (they usually go on Tuesdays, but since I was sick, we cancelled) I decided to take advantage of it.

I dropped them off and headed to the movie theatre just down the road where I walked in to Harry Potter just as the previews were gearing up. After two and a half hours of peaceful, uninterrupted entertainment (and a super yummy bento I'd packed) I headed back to gather up the kids and head home.

What's funny is that I saw myself when I went to pick them up...

I don't mean I saw myself in the mirror, or that I had some big existential moment...I mean I saw myself in another mom.

I followed another mom and her little boy (I'd guess 15 months) into Mango's Place and waited while she filled out the paperwork to drop off her son. Based on her conversation with the front desk staff I assumed it was her first time there. The front desk worker finished up the paperwork and took the little boy back to the play room while she went to get Emmitt and Elnora.

I watched the mom look at her little boy as he walked away.

She was rooted to the spot, her eyes locked on him as he moved out of site.

"First time using Mango's Place?" I asked her?

"Yes" she responded. "I think I might have to stand here for a few minutes."

"I just brought my kids for the first time last month. They LOVE it here. My two year old talks about playing with the boys and girls whenever I tell her we're coming," I said.

"Really? They like it?"

"Yep. It's been a God-send for us. I work at home and it was getting really hard to get things done. I never wanted to use a day care, but they love it here and the interaction is great for them. Plus I can get things done now."

"Yeah...I only have my son and I can't get anything done..." she trailed off.

"It will be ok. I'll bet he just loves it here. The staff is great and I've been really impressed with the center so far."

"Really? Thank you." She looked at me, almost as if she was a bit embarrassed to be emotional.

"It's hard the first time. I remember."

"Thanks." She looked one last time and she left.

It's so hard for us, isn't it? To let go just a little bit?

But sometimes...for ourselves and for our kids, we have to.

Most days, that's going to mean giving me time to get work done, but every now and then...I think I might sneak in another movie.

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Monday, July 16, 2007

Political Poll

It's a "poll" kind of week here at The Lactivist.

Tanya, over at the Motherwear Blog and I have long enjoyed speculating about why breastfeeding (and other parenting decisions) often transcend political leanings. She and I are perfect examples of this...Tanya leans pretty far to the left (and once worked for Grey Davis, former Democratic governor of California) and I lean way to the right (lifetime member of the NRA, conservative Christian, etc...)

While I have some theories on why political leanings don't always have a lot to do with parenting decisions (or why certain political views can lead to certain parenting decisions), both Tanya and I are curious to hear from our readers.

So please, share your leanings with us via this joint poll (same one running on both sites, so you only need to cast your vote on one of them) and then share any comments or insight you have in the comments area.



(Note: PollDaddy polls have been having some trouble lately, you may need to use IE to vote if this thing gives you fits.)

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Pro-Breastfeeding Commercial

Lactivist reader Bethany just sent me over a link to this fantastic Australian breasfeeding awareness video.



This is exactly the type of thing we need to see happen here in the states. This commercial is a million times more poignant and likely to have an impact than the lame "not breastfeeding is like log rolling while pregnant" commercials the U.S. government sponsored.

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Thursday, July 12, 2007

Vote For Your Favorite Caption!

After all the hubub of family issues and "boob carnivals," it's time to get back to something fun.

Yep, it's time to vote for the best caption from the first ever Lactivist caption contest.

I've picked my five favorite entries, now it's up to you to pick the winner.



(To note: There seems to be an error with the poll daddy site right now and their javascript. The poll is working for some folks, but not for others. It doesn't work for me. There are 159 votes recorded though, so I know it's working for some folks. If you aren't able to record your vote on the poll, simply add it to the comments and I'll tally them all together when the voting is done.)

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

What Would You Do If You Got This Email?

No, this email wasn't sent to me, but it was sent to a friend of mine. I've changed the names to protect the innocent and the not so innocent.

I have a favor to ask for the birthday party…

I know you are 100% totally comfortable nursing in public and around a lot of people but I would really appreciate it if while you are at the birthday party you could go in the house or away from the group to nurse. I have some friends that had preemies and were not able to breastfeed their babies and its upsetting to them and also the majority of our family/friends aren't really that comfortable with overt breastfeeding and I want to do everything possible to make the day as comfortable as possible for everyone.

I totally respect your decision and ability to nurse wherever you want in front of anyone (I certainly couldn't/didn't feel comfortable doing it!) but I'm asking for you to respect our wishes to make the birthday party about Addie and not about everyone feeling uncomfortable.

Also – if you could get Tim to wear a "non-weirdo" shirt that would be great too – we'll be taking lots of family pictures I'm sure and it would be great to look back at these pics and not see one of his shirts with a giant steak and "got beef?" or what not on it – you know how he is with silly shirts hehehehheeee

I hope you understand where I'm coming from with this and let me know if you think that will be a problem!

We can't wait to see you next week – Addie wants to see what having hair looks like, I'm hoping she'll be inspired by Emma and start growing some more!


Yep...you read that all correctly. Someone I know actually just received that email from a family member. She emailed me to ask what I'd do. Here was my response:

Oh. My. Goodness.

Personally (and keep in mind that I'm grumpy from lack of sleep) I would write back and assure her that you won't be nursing at the party and that Tim won't be showing up in a "weird" shirt.

Then I'd visit the post office to drop a nice gift in the mail.

Then I'd stay home.


I asked her about posting it here and she said she'd love to hear reader responses and how they would handle it.

Honestly, I find a few things interesting about the request...

1.) Once again, it's always about making everyone BUT the mother and baby comfortable. Who cares if my friend has to feel like she's doing something wrong or offensive every time she feeds her child? At least other people wouldn't have to confront their own issues with nursing...

2.) The "preemie" logic. I wonder...if one of the attendees had lost a child to SIDS or stillbirth, or even a miscarriage...would my friend be expected to leave her baby home because it might be a painful reminder of what she'd lost? What if one of the attendees was a widow or widower? Should other people leave their spouses home? While I am not unsympathetic to loss, I don't believe in hiding joyous things because of them. I certainly wouldn't flaunt the nursing, but to go and hide? No.

In my mind, any person has the right to make a request of what someone else does or does not do in their own home. This person was totally within their rights to ask my friend not to nurse, or to nurse in private.

But if I had someone tell me that I was not welcome to nurse in their home, then my solution would probably be politely decline to visit their home.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Mother Who Bottle Feeds Booted from Breastfeeding Cafe

Seeing as how it's been a few weeks since I originally received this story from Lactivist reader Anna, I'm actually surprised that I haven't really seen much mention of it elsewhere.

From EDP 24:

A distraught mother was told she was unwelcome at a café for nursing women - because she was not able to breastfeed her baby.

The woman went to the breastfeeding café in Attleborough, one of several run by Norfolk Primary Care Trust, to join friends but was advised not to visit again because she had to bottle feed her four-month-old son.

She has bottle-fed on the advice of medical professionals because of difficulties breastfeeding which resulted in her son going into hospital after losing weight.

One of her friends, who uses both bottle and breast for her baby, was given the message for her and said she felt so under pressure herself that she nursed her child even though he was not even due a feed.

The pair had gone to the café to meet other women with whom they had just finished a baby massage class.

The friend explained to staff what the situation was and was told it would be "inappropriate" to bottle-feed there and asked if the visit was a one-off.


Wow. Just wow.

Of ALL the people who should understand what it's like to be judged and mistreated for the way they feed their child, I would never expect breastfeeding supporters to treat someone this way. I thought this movement was about gaining respect for mothers and protection for their right to feed their children when, where and HOW they need to.

I guess some within the movement feel that discrimination is ok, as long as it's not directed at them.

I wonder...would they have kicked me out before Emmitt was born? Remember...Elnora was bottle fed expressed milk for 13 months. I didn't nurse her.

What strikes me even more is the comments I've heard from a handful of people in response to this article.

One responded by pointing out that the news often misrepresents the truth and that we should, by default, support the breastfeeding cafe because chances were strong that the bottle feeding mom really was at fault and was trying to make a scene.

Yep...that's right.

I wonder, when she reads a story about a mom being tossed from a plane, a gym or an amusement park for nursing her child...does she give the company the benefit of the doubt and assume the mom is a crazy radical trying to make a point by nursing topless?

Somehow, I doubt it.

Funny how the shoe feels tighter when it's on the other foot...

What do you guys think?

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A Little Surreal - Part Two

So back in May, I wrote a post titled "A Little Surreal" where I told about running into someone at Trader Joe's who read my blog.

At the time I wrote...

She looked at me.

"You're the lactivist?!"

I about died. (in a good way!) I said "yeah! have you read my blog?"

Turns out, she ran across my blog a ways back while searching for a topic that I covered and really liked it.

I mean how cool is that? Granted, Trader Joe's is probably more likely to have lactivist readers lurking around it than say...Giant Eagle, but still!


Well this past Sunday, I found myself walking down the vegetable aisle of Giant Eagle and low and behold, I ran into a young couple and their baby. The couple was putting the baby into a sling and when I paused to look at them, the woman asked "Hey...are you the lactivist?"

It took me a moment, but then I realized I recognized her (Hi Kendra!). She's one of the moms from the AP Village forum that came to the Delta Nurse-in last fall. We've also exchanged quite a few emails though and I keep promising that I'm going to get to one of their playgroups some day. ;)

So apparently...Giant Eagle has lactivist readers lurking around it as well. ;)

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Saturday, July 07, 2007

Yo Gabba Gabba Freaks Me Out

Am I the only one who finds this to be incredibly disturbing? This show simply HAS to be from somewhere in the Netherlands or Iceland or some other "land". (No offense to any readers from the Netherlands or Iceland...)



Coming soon to Noggin. Already looping continuously in my head thanks to preview commercials.

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

Friday, July 06, 2007

Write a Quote, Get a Shirt!

Judybright had a great idea. Why not have a quote contest on the picture of grumpy Emmitt in his "milk addict" shirt.

So, here's the deal. I'll give you guys until next Wednesday to post quotes in the comment section of this thread. I'll pick my five favorites and put up a poll to let everyone vote for the two days after that. (No anonymous quotes though, I have to be able to track you down.)

The favorite quote wins the item of their choice from The Lactivist store. (Have friends that also wish they had a Lactivist shirt? Invite them to come and submit their quotes as well!)

Could be fun, no?

So have at it...what's he thinking when he makes this face?

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New York Mom Receives Settlement from Fossil

Darn it all...I love Fossil watches, so I hate hearing things that make me not want to shop with them. (Heck, just this week I dropped an extra $70 each for three tickets to San Jose so I didn't have to fly Delta.)

Reuter's has the story on Yahoo! News.

Watch-maker and clothier Fossil Inc. agreed to pay $3,600 to a woman who was barred from breast-feeding her infant while visiting a company showroom, the New York Civil Liberties Union said on Tuesday.

Lass King, 37, a buyer for a Maine clothing store and a mother of two, said she received a letter of apology and the payment from Fossil after threatening the company with a lawsuit.

In its letter to King, Fossil also said it had issued a policy affirming that breast-feeding was permitted in all Fossil stores and showrooms, said Galen Sherwin, director of the NYCLU's Reproductive Rights Project.


Apparently, the whole kerfuffle with Toys R Us didn't manage to reach the ears of other New York businesses.

The settlement was sparked by an incident King had last summer.

In August 2006, while meeting with a salesperson in a Manhattan showroom, King was told she was making others feel uncomfortable by breast-feeding her 8-month-old son, Cody.

King was taken to another floor to finish feeding Cody but was then not allowed back into the showroom. In January, as she made plans to again visit a Fossil showroom, she was told by a Fossil representative that breast-feeding was forbidden.


How is it that there are still businesses that think this is ok?

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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.

Old Navy Targeting Lactivists?

Probably not, but man, this shirt sure looks like something I'd sell on my site!



I picked it up at Old Navy after one of the women in the Ohio Breastfeeding Coalition emailed me to say she'd spotted them there. Cost me $8, which is way more than I'd usually spend on a onesie, but so worth it!

And isn't that the frowniest face ever? I can't even remember what I did to make him so sad/mad at me, but I had to snap the picture. Then I realized what shirt he was wearing and figured I also had to share it here.

When we went to our picnic on the 4th of July, Emmitt wore that shirt and I wore my black "Milk Jugs" shirt. We made a good pair. ;)

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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.

Sustainable Living - Rain Barrels

One of the things I've always liked about breastfeeding is the fact that it's a sustainable resource. There's no waste involved.

Greg and I are avid recyclers and both of us are always looking for ways to use up less resources, or to make more use of what we've already got. It's a slow process, but we're working on it.

The latest project in that regard is rain barrels. Greg ran across a post on Craig's List earlier this year from a company on the south side of the city that was selling 55 gallon plastic drums for a couple bucks each. They were food grade and the company wanted to get rid of them without throwing them away.

So Greg went down and picked two up. His plan was to turn one into a composter and to turn the other into a rain barrel.

It took him an afternoon and about $10 in parts, but he got the rain barrel up and running.

It's pretty nifty. He found some super fine mesh that he used to make a screen over the open top of the barrel to keep bugs and mosquitoes out. He build an overflow valve into the side of it so that instead of just washing over the side, the extra water is directed away from the base of the barrel. He also has a standard size faucet at the bottom so that he can screw a garden hose onto it. (The overflow valve and the faucet both have the same mesh on the inside to help filter and to keep the mosquitoes out of those holes as well.)

The entire thing sits up on two concrete blocks so that gravity does the work to get the water out. You can see in the picture over there on the left that you simply turn the spout and the water comes out.

Originally, Greg had planned to use the barrel to water our garden (which you can see in the background) but it turns out the two blocks aren't quite high enough to get some good gravity going. In other words, it was slow going with the water in the hose.

For now, we're simply filling up a watering can and doing it that way. In Greg's master plan, he'll find a way to raise the barrel to increase the water pressure and then he'll build a drip irrigation system for the garden.

Now here's the amazing thing about the rain barrel. It's set at the back corner of our one car garage. From that small patch of roof, it takes just a half an inch of rain to fill the ENTIRE 55 gallon barrel. Impressive, eh?

The scary part is that we can drain the barrel in 2-3 days just from watering our small garden. Gives a bit of perspective about how much water we use. We've got 3-4 more spots in the backyard where we could place rain barrels. As soon as we get a free weekend, I think he plans to build a few more. We may have to carry the water a bit further, but if we had four or five rain barrels, I think we could do most of our garden watering without using the hose.

If you guys are interested, I'll have him take step by step photos when he builds the next one and I can post a tutorial on here. It really wasn't difficult at all. They're also super lightweight when they are empty, so come winter, we'll drain them, rinse them out and flip them upside down.

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Thursday, July 05, 2007

If You Hadn't Noticed...I'm Back

Ok folks, I'm sorry.

I must note that I have been properly "scolded" by more than one of you for having been gone from blogging for a bit. I've been backed up lately with projects and family life and haven't been able to do the posting that I should here. I missed covering several major stories.

Apparently, some of you even missed my every day ranting and observations.

So, I'm back.

I'll get a post up tomorrow with some pics from our trip. I'll also have an update on how the kids are doing and some more thoughts on breastfeeding now that we're entering month nine. (Can you believe it! Nine months!)

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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.

Bento Fun!

It's been a while since I've shared a bento with you guys. I'm particularly proud of this one, so here you go:



You'll see...

Cucumber cups (from my garden) stuffed with tuna salad (learn how to make these)
A hard boiled egg decorated with black olives and carrots to look like a hen
Sakura carrot slices
Fresh strawberries
Fresh cherries
Fresh blueberries (from my yard)
Black olives
a Kumquat
Colby-jack cheese cubes
a Babybel cheese
Wheat Thins
Salami bites stuffed with spinach and cream cheese
a Vegetarian egg roll
Two bite size bits of Italian dark chocolate

Want more bento? Make sure to add Bento Yum to your daily blog reading list. We're having a lot of fun over there and many of you have already joined us. (In fact, many of you have even bought sets!)

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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.

Nursing Friendly Industry

In all the conversations I've had with nursing women about unsupportive work environments, I find myself being continually thankful for the support I've received in my industry.

Last week I headed off to Denver for a two day conference. There were five of us speaking to a small seminar of about 40 attendees on the subject of search engine marketing. I spoke on social media marketing and viral marketing and of course used both The Lactivist and Bento Yum as case studies.

Since Emmitt is still refusing to drink breast milk from a bottle or sippy cup, he went along with me. Greg came to keep an eye on him, marking the first time he's gone on a business trip with me. I'd nurse Emmitt before the conference, then again at lunch when Greg brought him by, and then again when the show wrapped up around 5pm. (Emmitt's a night eater, so going for 5 hours during the day is easy.)

What made things great was how supportive everyone was. There was no going off to hide in a corner, or trying to be "business-like." In fact, there were multiple times where conference attendees would come over to talk shop with me while I was sitting there nursing Emmitt.

I had something similar happen at a show here in Columbus in May. A friend was downtown with Emmitt and I since he was eating more frequently then. At lunch, a man in his 40's in a business suit came by our table and asked if he could ask me a few questions. I said "sure, but I'm about to feed Emmitt." The man said "I don't mind if you don't."

So, we sat and talked shop for about 20 minutes while Emmitt had his lunch.

In fact, I've been struck at how many people come up to me after I speak to tell me how much they enjoy this site and to share their own breastfeeding stories with me.

For instance, when I was in New York earlier this year, I did a radio interview. Afterward, the host told me that his wife was still night nursing their 2.5 year old. Just last week at the show, one of the women attending had a 5 month old that was pumping for.

Not sure what point I'm trying to make here other than to say that there as often as we hear about women having problems juggling nursing and work, there are positive stories out there as well. I'm certain I'm not the only person that has found support.

So how about some positive stories. Any one else out there work in a particularly supportive environment and want to share it with us? Sometimes we need that reminder that our culture is changing, even if it's changing slowly.

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

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

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Breastfeeding in Public Bill Passes Pennsylvania House

The breastfeeding legislation working its way through Pennsylvania went before the full House for a vote yesterday was passed unanimously.

Usually, that would be something worth celebrating. Unfortunately, the PA bill was stripped of any real power by the Rep that introduced it and the version that went up for a vote failed to include a proposed amendment that would have given it some teeth.

Since the governor has already promised to sign it, the bill is expected to become law.

The full text of SB 34 is as follows:


WHEREAS, There are benefits to the child, the mother and society by encouraging and enabling mothers to breastfeed their children; and WHEREAS, An infant who is breastfed receives protection against infection, illness and allergies, and long-term positive effects on the development, intelligence and health of breastfed children have been found; and
WHEREAS, A protective effect against various types of cancer and greater emotional and physical health are found for mothers who breastfeed; and
WHEREAS, Breastfeeding promotes sufficient birth spacing, improved vaccine effectiveness and decreased food and medical expenses, which all have positive societal effects; and
WHEREAS, The Pennsylvania Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) promotes breastfeeding education and support; and
WHEREAS, Legislation to clarify the right to breastfeed is necessary to promote breastfeeding and remove any stumbling block from influencing a mother's decision to breastfeed or continue breastfeeding.

The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania hereby enacts as follows:
Section 1. This act shall be known and may be cited as the Freedom to Breastfeed Act.
Section 2. Declaration of policy.
The General Assembly finds that breastfeeding a baby is an important and basic act of nurturing that must be protected in the interests of maternal and child health and family values.
Section 3. General rule.
A mother shall be permitted to breastfeed her child in any location, public or private, where the mother and child are otherwise authorized to be present, irrespective of whether or not the mother's breast is covered during or incidental to the breastfeeding.
Right 4. freedom to breastfeed.
The act of breastfeeding shall not be considered:
(1) Indecent exposure as defined in 18 Pa.C.S. § 3127 (relating to indecent exposure).
(2) Open lewdness as defined in 18 Pa.C. Section 5901
(relating to open lewdness).
(3) Obscenity or sexual conduct as defined in 18 Pa.C.S. § 5903 (relating to obscene and other sexual materials and performances).
(4) A nuisance as defined in 18 Pa.C.S. § 6504 (relating
to public nuisances).
Section 10. Effective date.
This act shall take effect immediately.


Birth Without Boundaries' Jake Marcus, a lawyer who was one of the women working hard on this bill, explains the impact (or lack of impact) made by the bill this way.

...this law does not change the right of the owner of a public accommodation, a store or restaurant, to withdraw a woman's authorization to be there. If he does that, she can be arrested for trespass.

As before, women who are harassed should be sure they are being asked to leave by the owner or person in the highest level of management in a space because only that person can withdraw her right to be there. A waitress or store clerk is not authorized to turn a woman into a trespasser. Police can only arrest for trespass if instructed to do so by the owner of the space.

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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.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Any Of You Like to Write?

NOTE: The request for writer applications has closed. Wendy is no longer considering new writers. She'll be contacting accepted writers soon.

My friend Wendy Piersall runs a site called eMoms at Home. It's a fantastic blog about building a business from your home and I know many of you already read it.

Well yesterday, she dropped me an email asking if I knew any good writers that might be interested in joining forces with her. Don't be put off if you aren't involved in marketing, she's looking for folks to write about tons of topics.

Interested? Here's the info...

Currently, I am seeking 3-5+ bloggers to write content for moms and dads at home – this could be both work at home or stay at home parents. If you already have a blog and think your readers would be interested in this opportunity, I'd really appreciate your help spreading the word!

These are paid positions in which there is a "base" pay plus several forms of incentive compensation:

Each writer would get a percentage of the advertising revenue from their blog
Each writer is free to incorporate their own affiliate links into their content
The entire team will get free training and advice on blogging, traffic generation, affiliate marketing, and content creation

Compensation will increase with more experience and length of time with the company

Although I am fairly open in regards to topics to write about, I'm interested in both 'traditional' mom content as well as perhaps some personal blogs in which writers want to tackle tougher personal, controversial or societal issues – the sky is the limit as I am extremely open-minded. But here are some very basic suggestion ideas (I particularly hope to find someone who wants to cover the topics with a *):

Organization and productivity
Money management
Conception and Pregnancy
Fashion trends for moms
Home improvement, decorating or landscaping*
Recipes and cooking
Freelance service business strategies
Kids activities*
Holiday crafts, recipes, projects (year-round covering all holidays)*
Crafts (recreational how to's and ideas)
Crafts businesses (the business side)
Contests and / or reviews*
Natural and organic living
Tech products for parents
Kids electronics/games/toys
Book reviews
Anything health-related

Additionally, writers would not have to do any blog setup or maintenance – I would take care of all hosting, design, html, everything. All you need to know is a tiny bit about blogging, writing, and how to create a hyperlink in a post.

This is the perfect opportunity for someone who wants to learn more about blogging and online marketing to grow it into their own home based business, or for an aspiring writer who wants a laid-back ongoing work at home gig. If you know of someone who would be interested in this opportunity, please forward this email to them – or if YOU are interested, let me know!

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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.

Lifestyle Family Fitness Settles Civil Rights Case with Ohio Mom

Earlier this year I posted about a breastfeeding in public case here in Ohio that was being heard by the Ohio Civil Rights Commission. It marked the first time that the OCRC had agreed to hear a discrimination case of this type, setting the stage for the OCRC to hear future civil rights violation cases by other moms that have been discriminated against for breastfeeding their children.

If you missed the story, here's the gist.

or the first time, the Ohio Civil Rights Commission has found probable cause that a woman was discriminated against for trying to breast-feed.

Anna Swank of Blacklick filed a complaint Aug. 29, the same day she attempted to breast-feed her then-6 month-old son, Levi, in the Kids' Club at Lifestyle Family Fitness, 5929 E. Main St., after exercising.

Swank, 33, said she was feeding Levi when a manager told her that it was inappropriate, and that if she did it again her Kids' Club privileges would be revoked. She was told to go to a locker room.


It seems that rather than go through the entire court process, Lifestyle Family Fitness has decided to settle the suit. There are pros and cons to this decision (which I'll touch on in a moment) but first, let me share what the terms of the settlement are.

1. Within 60 days, they must submit to the OCRC new or revised customer service policies that affirmatively entitle a mother to breastfeed in their clubs. Any future changes to the policy must be submitted to the OCRC for approval before they can be put in place.

2. Within 90 days, they must take "reasonable steps" to notify all current members that its customer service policies entitle mothers to breastfeed in their clubs. New members must also be made aware of the policy.

3. Within 60 days, they must display the International Breastfeeding Symbol on a 12"x12" sign above, at or near the entrance of every Kids Club

4. Within 60 days, they must provide training to all employees concerning the provisions of the conciliation agreement and provisions of state and federal anti-discrimination laws. Training must be complete within 120 days.

5. Within 10 days, they must pay Anna $2,500.

6. Within 10 days, they must pay the Ohio Breastfeeding Coalition $2,500.

7. They must submit annual compliance reports to the OCRC for the next 5 years.


While #6 is exciting for the Ohio Breastfeeding Coalition (because it provides desperately needed start-up funds) it's #3 and #7 that caught my eye.

You see, it's pretty common for businesses to commit to training employees after an incident like this, but there's often no way to make sure it's really getting done.

The compliance report will ensure that Lifestyle Family Fitness will follow through for at LEAST the next five years. Quite honestly, I would hope five years of compliance will change the corporate culture enough that things will continue on as they should beyond that point.

I was also very interested to see the requirement of displaying the International Breastfeeding Symbol. While I love the fact that it was created, I think we have a long ways to go to get businesses and restaurants to display it. We also have a long way to go to make sure the average person understands it. Getting it displayed in these fitness centers is a great starting point and gives those of us here in Central Ohio more leverage to try and get other businesses to display it as well.

The last thing worth noting is what all of this means to the future of breastfeeding in public here in Ohio. You might recall that Jake Marcus and I were trying to figure out if this suit would set the legal precedence to give Ohio one of the strongest enforcement policies in the country by making breastfeeding a protected civil right.

Well, since the suit has been settled rather than going through a full trial, it doesn't set quite the precedence that we had hoped for, but there is still something interesting to note.

Anna explains:

...[The OCRC] actually found probable cause for discrimination under ORC 4112.02(G) - I was "denied full enjoyment of the accommodations, advantages, facilities, and privileges of a place of public accommodation for reasons not applicable to all persons regardless of sex."

So what does that mean?

Well, it means that even though THIS suit didn't quite accomplish what we hoped it would, it DOES set the stage for the Ohio Civil Rights Commission to hear future cases. That alone is a huge step since the OCRC had refused to hear cases in the past. (Including the case of Robin Neorr and City Kids Day Care.)

I also want to share that it wasn't long after I made my post in April that I was able to get in touch with Anna. I wanted to let her know about the Ohio Breastfeeding Coalition and to see if I could offer any help in her case.

She's since joined forces with us and is now an integral part of the board of directors of the Ohio Breastfeeding Coalition. Like the OBC's founder Robin Neorr, Anna decided to turn her experience into a positive by dedicating her time to building an organization that will help change the culture for other breastfeeding mothers.

Anna's also a Lactivist reader, so I'm also going to sneak in a "Hi Anna!" and an "I think you rock!" before wrapping up this post.

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Welcome New Advertiser - Peek a Boo B Nursing Covers

I'm a bit late getting this one up, but I want to briefly draw your eye to the new Peek a Boo B Nursing Cover ad if you haven't already noticed it.

Cayden Creations, the makers of Peek a Boo B have long been readers of this blog (regular readers like know "Darlene" from the comments area...she's one of the founders of the company.) They're also staunch supporters of the right of a mom to breastfeed anytime, anywhere.

I know, I know, it seems odd for the Lactivist to have an ad for a nursing cover, but as I said in my review of the Peek a Boo B, there are women who aren't comfortable nursing in public for their own reasons. My battle is to make sure every mom and baby can nurse comfortably and if a mom is more comfortable using a cover, then she needs to be supported in that.

The Peek a Boo B nursing cover is a good choice for those moms. It's lightweight, it folds up small enough to slip into a purse or diaper bag, it doesn't draw attention and it's under $25. Can't ask for much more than that in a nursing cover!

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