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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, September 28, 2007

Happy Birthday Emmitt!

Look for a reflection on 12 months of nursing coming up soon...

For now, I want to throw this post up before it hits midnight and I'm too late. :)

Happy Birthday Emmitt!



We didn't have a big party, just my cousin and her boyfriend came over. Greg's parents are coming tomorrow, so I figured I'd do cupcakes. That way, even if we eat some, you can still "see" what the cake looks like. I ended up doing Cookie Monster cupcakes. They came out way better than I thought they might.



They were super easy to make too. :)

Bonus Video: Emmitt playing with a new ball last week.



Finally, a birthday story...

This morning, Nora, Emmitt and I were on the back porch and I was asking Nora if she remembered when Emmitt joined our family. She said she did. I asked her if she remembered where he came from (thinking she'd say the porch, because she was in the living room watching cartoons while he was being born on the porch.)

She looked at me and said "plane" while signing plane.

I laughed and said "Emmitt came on the plane?"

"Mmm-hmm...YEAH!"

Ok then. Apparently in our technology filled world, the stork has been replaced by the airplane.

...then again, this is the same kid who thinks all school buses are "going for ice cream." Man, is SHE in for a rude awakening...

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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.

Weighing in on the Sophie Currier Case

I have no doubt that many of you have been wondering why I haven't mentioned Sophie Currier or her fight to gain time to pump during her medical boards.

The reality is, I simply haven't felt prepared enough to write fairly about it. By that, I mean I didn't feel I had enough information to argue for or against her. Even now, I've heard a million different arguments on both sides and have a hard time keeping everything straight. As you guys know, I try not to jump on issues with my gut, so in a case like this one, it can be difficult for me to form an opinion I'm willing to share publicly.

Now it may seem like a clear cut case. A mom needs an accommodation to allow her to pump. She should get it, right?

Well, perhaps. I'm cautious enough in my long term lactivist thinking to know there can be more to the story. So questions popped into my head...

1.) Is she the first pumping mom to take the test? Have there been others? Have they found the existing breaks to offer enough time? Why is she the first to petition for more time?

2.) How long is the test? How many breaks are allowed?

3.) What is her flexibility in terms of when she can/must take the test? Can she schedule it at a later date? Could she have taken it in the past? Did she take it in the past?

4.) How would her being given extra time affect the people around her. Would it give her an unfair advantage?

The list went on and on.

As you know, it's been a busy summer. One that has left me with far less time than I'd like to research such things. So for the most part, I've watched and listened and waited to form an opinion. I've had a little more time in the last week to read about the issues surrounding the case, and while I still have some mixed feelings, I'm a little more confident in my opinion.

I bet, based on the thread earlier this week, that many of you think I'm going to say she shouldn't have been given more time.

Many of you would be wrong.

My first reaction, when I heard about this incident (a while before it hit the press actually...Ms. Currier did seek to work things out before going public) was outrage. How idiotic to not allow a mother time to pump during this test. Quickly though, my critical thinking side kicked in and I found myself wondering why Ms. Currier was the first person ever to ask for or need this accommodation. After all, surely she's not the first lactating mother to sit for the medical boards, right?

That last one was answered pretty easily. It doesn't really matter if she's the first person to speak up about it. We all know that plenty of folks "suck it up" even when they shouldn't have to because they're afraid of rocking the boat. (haven't we spent the last two days discussing this very thing? While I support sucking it up in regards to "wants", I don't think a job always qualifies as an automatic "want.") I've heard from more than one women in the medical field that there are many unspoken rules and expectations and that women who "expect" anything perceived as "special" are labled as troublemakers. That leaves me not quite ready to dismiss the need for more time simply based on the idea that other women said they had enough time to pump.

I've also learned that not everyone pumps like I did. Some women genuinely need more time than others.

My second reaction was to laugh at the irony. The medical board...the people who are supposed to value and promote breastfeeding...were telling a mom she should just wean her daughter so she could pass the boards and become a doctor.

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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, September 26, 2007

Breastfeeding Doesn't Give You The Right to Do Whatever You Want

There's a pro-breastfeeding shirt that reads "I make milk, what's your super power."

It's always bothered me.

Always.

I see the humor in it. I understand why so many moms like it. But there's something about that shirt that really bothers me.

Maybe it's because I don't see milk production as a super power. I simply see it as part of being a mom. In fact, I feel downright uncomfortable with the implication that breastfeeding makes me "special." That somehow, I'm able to do things other people aren't.

It's a theme I'm seeing pop up more and more in the past few weeks.

In fact, there seems to be a new lactivist tide rising and it worries me.

But I'm SPECIAL!

Lately, I'm seeing the idea pop up that being a breastfeeding mom some how confers special rights on a mother. I've actually had several emails in the last month or two from mothers who are upset that they were not allowed to take their breastfed baby some place. To note, I'm not talking about being denied the right to breastfeed in a place where a baby could be bottle fed. I'm talking about someone who gets upset when they can't go anywhere they want with their breastfed child.

You know...bingo halls, bars, day spas, and so on.

These moms are upset that a business would dare deny them the right to bring their breastfed baby with them.

I've responded to each to point out that if the business allowed breastfed babies, they'd have to allow ALL babies. After all, to do otherwise would be to discriminate against bottle fed babies.

Unfortunately, these moms don't seem to be bothered by that.

In fact, most responded to argue that the discrimination here is against THEM because as a breastfeeding mother they can't go to this business or facility unless they bring their babies with them. They go on to point out the language of the law here in Ohio.

A mother is entitled to breastfeed her baby in any location of a place of public accommodation wherein the mother otherwise is permitted.

According to these mothers, that law gives them the right to breastfeed their child whether the child is allowed on the premises or not.

In fact, one mom told me she never even dreamed her child might be considered a violation of the rule. After all, she can't go there without her baby, and she's allowed to nurse wherever she is, so it must be ok to take the baby, right?

Well, no. It's actually not right. (To note, I'm not a fan of that form of the law and have said as much. I prefer the wording that includes the phrase "mother and child are permitted to be" because it makes this issue crystal clear.) That said, the Ohio wording of the law still does not back these mothers.

One thing I've learned in my time here at the Lactivist is that most people (myself included) have a hard time understanding the finer points of the law. I've had to spend a LOT of time asking questions and seeking clarification on the subtleties of legal language. I've had to learn about how where a law resides (civil code, health code, etc...) can have an impact on how it's interpreted. I've also had to swallow the very difficult truth that the greatest majority of breastfeeding laws in the United States do NOT protect a mother from being kicked out of a business for breastfeeding.

So let's break this law down a bit to understand WHY it doesn't mean you get to take your breastfed baby anywhere you want.

First, the law does not confer ANY rights on the child. While you may *think* the word child is implied by the very fact that a mother cannot nurse unless she has a child to nurse, the truth is no legal rights are given to the child by the wording of this law.

Second, the law actually has nothing to do with conferring rights on mother or child to BE anywhere. The law has to do with their actions. It makes it legal for a mother to breastfeed her child wherever she may be. It does NOT give her, or her baby, the right to go where they are otherwise not allowed to be. That law would actually be part of what are called "public accommodation laws." Most states DO allow businesses to "discriminate" against children based on issues of safety. (Can't take your kid to a bar, along with you to your job at a steel mill, have them in a casino, etc...)

Some states also allow businesses to "discriminate" against children for other reasons. Think of the retirement community that does not allow children or the high end spa that says no one under 16 is allowed.

To the best of my knowledge (and those I asked), I do not know of any instance in which a breastfeeding law was interpreted to create the right to bring a baby into a space they are otherwise not allowed to be.

One or two of the moms I spoke with plan to fight the companies that told them they could not bring their breastfed babies along with them. I can't say I believe they'll win.

I also don't think they should.

See, here's the thing. Breastfeeding does NOT give you the right to trounce over pre-existing rules. Not when those rules have nothing to do with breastfeeding. Your baby isn't exempt just because only you can feed him or her. YOU are not exempt just because you have to take care of your child. While it may be poor customer service to tell you your child isn't welcome, it's FAR from discrimination.

Lest you think I'm unsympathetic to the needs of a breastfeeding mother, let me remind you that Emmitt would not take a bottle or sippy until a few weeks ago. That meant I spent 11 months being the ONLY person who could give him breast milk. Since he's a frequent eater, it's also meant that he has to go with me everywhere. This means I get to go less places.

That's life. I deal with it.

I've mentioned in the past that Emmitt travels with me to the conferences I speak at. I've also mentioned that at smaller shows, he's stayed with me during networking events and that I've even nursed him while discussing business with attendees. However, several of the shows I go to have a "no one under 18 rule." I actually happen to know the folks who run these shows. They're kind enough to allow whoever travels with me to meet me in the speaker's room when I'm between sessions, but I am NOT allowed to have Emmitt anywhere at the show. Not in the back of the room, not outside the door of the room, not in the hall near the rooms, not in the expo hall. NO kids allowed.

Does it make my life less convenient? Yes, by a lot. Is it how life goes? Yes. I count myself lucky that Emmitt can be in the same city as me at these events. I'm not going to complain if I have to walk an extra 5 or 10 minutes to get to him.

If I would interpret the breastfeeding law as liberally as some of the women I've spoken with, I should be able to carry Emmitt into the room where I speak and deliver my presentation while nursing him. That's great if it's a lactation or childbirth conference. Not really so appropriate or realistic when you're speaking to a room of 1000 about marketing.

Heck, if we're going with liberal interpretation, I would have been able to nurse Emmitt in the kitchen of the cafe I used to work as a barista at. Doesn't matter if the health code says no one under 18...he's nursing.

I suppose Rosie the Riveter could have taken her breastfed baby on the factory floor with her. Safety comes second, right?

My point is that not only do these moms lack the legal right to do what they are demanding, they also miss the common sense factor. There are REASONS why businesses have "no children" rules. Sometimes it's about the ambiance, sometimes it's a genuine issue of safety. Either way, there IS a reason. (And that reason is rarely "we don't like to see breastfeeding.")

Even beyond that, consider the reverse discrimination that would occur if these exceptions were made. Does anyone REALLY think it's ok to say "no kids, EXCEPT breastfed ones."

Really? Anyone? I'd love to hear your reasons why.

As the mother of both a bottle fed (exclusively pumping) and breastfed (refusal to take a bottle) child, I can tell you that it would NOT sit well with me. Not at ALL.

This new tide of lactivism reeks to me of "I breastfeed and that makes me special." While I have the greatest respect for moms who put the time and effort into breastfeeding, I firmly believe that this attitude is bad. Bad because it leads to a sense of entitlement and bad because it leads to hard feelings with moms who cannot breastfeed. Mostly though, it's bad because it hurts our movement. It takes us from a legitimate movement fighting for equal rights to a fringe movement that wants the world to revolve around us.

We won't get ANYWHERE that way.

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

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

Monday, September 24, 2007

Back from Houston

Got in from Houston this afternoon. Feels good to be home after so much summer travel. I think I'll actually be around for a bit the next few months. No major travel planned until after Thanksgiving.

I've got quite a bit to write about this week...several high profile NIP cases, and quite a few reader emails as well. I'll warn you though, npt all of you will like some of what I have to say. Story of my life though, right ladies?

On the light side, came home to find an awesome new toy... An iPod Touch, a thank you gift from an industry friend. Typing this entry on it actually. It's darn cool!

Give me a day to catch up, then expect some good conversation.

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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, September 19, 2007

My New License Plate

They arrived this week!



Yay!

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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, September 18, 2007

The Little Mom

I'm sick today. Started getting sick last night as I wrote my entry for the carnival of breastfeeding, but it hit full force today.

It's a Mango's Place day (pre-school), so despite feeling pretty nauseated and achy, I packed up the kids and headed south. I went to Panera Bread where I suddenly had the chills added to the fun, but I did manage to get a fair amount of work done.

Headed home, put Emmitt down for his nap, got overcome with sickness and went and threw up, then put Nora down for her nap. Passed out on the couch and actually managed to sleep for about two hours. (yay!)

Unfortunately, Elnora got up around 4pm. (She usually sleeps until 5ish.) Fortunately, she's developing some nice empathy.

She came in and looked at me and said "Ma's sick" while signing it. She looked sad.

I said "yes, Ma is sick."

She patted the pillow on the couch and said "Ma lay down."

I said "will that help me feel better?"

"Mmmm Hmm, yeah. Ma lay down."

I told her I was already leaning against the back of the couch (I was trying to work again) but I'd like it if she crawled up and sat down with me.

So she did. The she looked at me and said "Ma sick. Me rub tummy." (this is what we do when she doesn't feel well.)

Sure enough, she climbed up, leaned her head against me and rubbed my tummy for about ten minutes. Then she sort of patted me on the shoulder and went off to look at a book.

Emmitt actually slept for four hours.

They may leave me exhausted, but somehow, they seemed to know I needed a little bit of slack while sick.

Now if only my fever would come down. (I'm flying to Houston Friday morning.)

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

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

Monday, September 17, 2007

To Sleep, Perchance to Dream

You'd think a topic like sleep would unite mothers everywhere. After all, who doesn't believe that getting some sleep is a good thing?

The reality is that sleep is like anything else related to babies. It's unpredictable. What works for one mother and child may not work for another.

In fact, my own family is the perfect example of this. Elnora began sleeping through the night (12 solid hours) at 7 weeks of age and did not wake up a single night until she was 7 months old. For the next several months, she woke up about once a night, but generally went back to sleep pretty easily if I rocked her with a bottle or sippy cup of my expressed milk. (For new readers, I exclusively pumped for the first 13 months of Elnora's life.)

Honestly? I never understood what the big deal about using bottles was. I made up two bottles each night and put them in an insulated bag with an ice pack before we headed up to bed. When Elnora woke up, I'd set the bottle upside down under the sink with hot water running over it and go change her diaper. By the time I had her diaper changed, the bottle was warm enough for her to drink. We'd settle into the rocking chair in her room, I'd sing her a song as she drank her milk and then I'd put her back in her crib and head back to bed.

We never had to deal with any night crying until she was seven months old and started waking up again. Then, she'd occasionally cry out in her sleep. She was a night fusser, but we learned over time that the more actively we tried to comfort her, the more frustrated she'd become. It was like she couldn't unwind with the extra stimuli. Our rule quickly began to give her five minutes to fuss before we'd go and check on her. Nine times out of ten, she'd fuss for a few minutes and then go back to sleep.

Overall, life was fairly easy in terms of sleep. With just Elnora around, I was able to take naps during the day when she took naps, so while I was tired, I was never "beat."

Emmitt couldn't be more different.

Nursed at the breast from the start, Emmitt began life nursing once an hour and didn't quit until he was nearly two months old. With a 22 month old in the house to care for (who was down to one nap a day), sleeping while Emmitt slept was not an option. Add in the fact that I work from home and nap time had to become work time by default.

I'd like to say it ended there, but even when he stopped nursing on the hour, he simply moved to nursing every two or two and a half hours. Even today, at just shy of a year, he still wakes up a minimum of twice a night and often three or four times a night. I honestly believe that hell is someone poking you to keep you awake for all eternity. He's been in our room from the start, in a bassinet next to my side of the bed. At three months he transitioned to a pack n play and at six months we moved the crib into our room and put him in that.

In the early days, he spent about half the time in our bed and about half the time in his. By five months, he was sitting up and rolling all over creation and I had to start putting him in his crib after each feeding.

While sleep deprivation is bad, the hallucinations and black outs are worse.

During those first six months, I'd wake up, gather him in my arms, change his diaper on our bed and then lay down to nurse him. That's where my memories ended. I would wake up and start frantically searching through the covers for him, having no memory of putting him back in his crib. On a weekly basis, I'd have complete hallucinations.

This is the point at which I would have done almost anything to get more than two hours of sleep in a row.

Unfortunately, I sit here typing this entry as Emmitt nears his first birthday and things aren't much better. Emmitt woke up six times last night. Four of those times I had to get up with him to nurse him. The other two times, he woke up, rolled around, played for a few minutes and went back to sleep.

Like Elnora, he occasionally cries for a bit as he goes to sleep as well. There have been nights where I've spent two and a half hours trying to get him to sleep because I didn't want to let him cry. There have been other nights where I let him cry for less than five minutes and he was out like a light. The same goes for nap time. As much as I don't like to let children cry, the reality is that when you have two kids in two years, you're going to have a point in time where they both need you at once. Sometimes that means one of them has to cry and sometimes, that someone is the baby.

Night weaning is heavily on my mind.

It's been nearly 18 months since I've slept more than five hours straight and even that has happened only a handful of times. I'm a grumpy person. I'm not near the wife or mother I'd like to be. I would say I dream of the night I can sleep six, seven or even eight hours, but I rarely sleep long enough to dream.

I honestly don't remember what it's like to feel awake. I have no recollection of having energy.

I've decided that as soon as Emmitt is weaned, I am going away for a weekend, whether anyone comes with me or not. I don't care where I go, as long as it has a comfy bed and a Jacuzzi tub.

No, you can't come with me. It'd be dull anyway. All I'm going to do is sleep.

Check out the rest of the entries in this month's Carnival of Breastfeeding:

Motherwear talks about finding what works for you
Mama Magic is "So Tired"
Hathor serves up a family sleep cartoon
Breastfeeding Mums was as tired as I am
Leche Baby is dreaming of night weaning
Veggie Way says "let em sleep!"
Breastfeeding 1-2-3 speaks against sleep training
Crunchy Domestic Goddess relies on co-sleeping
Life with Twins speaks in defense of sleep training
Mama Knows Breast hasn't slept in years

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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, September 15, 2007

Bill Maher on Breastfeeding in Public and the Applebee's Nurse In

I've never been a fan of Bill Maher. (Uh oh, here we go again, with me shocking all my readers who won't believe that I'm actually a conservative Republican.)

While I understand that liberals and "progressives" find him amusing and think the vitriol with which he attacks Bush and conservative causes is amusing, I find him unimaginative and trite. (Oh and did I mention crass?) I've had things I care deeply about insulted by him enough to not be surprised anymore.

My liberal readers on the other hand, may be surprised.

Maher talked about breastfeeding in public on his HBO show this past week and it was NOT pretty. (Nor amusing, though Drew Carey seemed to think so.)

The overall rant was that

A.) Maher shouldn't have to see a child breastfeeding when he's out in public

B.) Moms that want to breastfeed in public are lazy

C.) Breastfeeding in public is no different than masturbating in public

D.) Breasts should only be seen in public if they're on display for his pleasure

E.) Lactivists are petty little women fighting for a stupid cause (Hmm...that one sounds familiar...)

Interestingly, Maher seems to have lived under a rock for the past decade, at least in terms of breastfeeding in public. He claimed that last weekend's Applebee's nurse-in was the "first ever" nurse-in. Umm... ok. Way to do your research there Bill.

Some choice quotes from his tirade:

"I'm not trying to be insensitive, your baby needs to eat, but so do I. If I'm at Applebee's, I'm already a little nauseous. Let's not add to it!"

"Breastfeeding a baby is an intimate act and I don't want to watch strangers performing an intimate act...unless I'm paying for it."

"There's no important principle at work here other than being too lazy to plan ahead or cover up."

"It's not fighting for a right, it's fighting for the spotlight. When you go all Janet Jackson on everyone and get to drink in the "oohs" and "ahhs" from other customers because you made a baby. Something a DOG can do."

"This isn't about women taking their breasts out in public, as much as I like that. It's about how petty and parochial our causes have become. How activism has become narcissism."

"There is a place where breasts and food go together...it's called Hooters."

Want to see for yourself? Here's the clip. (Note, you'll need to "fast forward" to where there are 2 minutes and 51 seconds left on the clip to skip to the breastfeeding in public commentary.)



(Special thanks to Sara at Suburban Oblivion for pointing this out.)

My take?

Maher is the perfect example of the title he tries to thrust on lactivists. I can't see how it's anything OTHER than narcissistic to be a professed fan of Hugh Heffner and Playboy, but to take issue not only with the LEGAL right of a woman to nurse her child in public, but the very idea that mothers are willing to stand UP for that right.

In other words, it's just fine for Bill to enjoy breasts when and where he pleases, but heaven forbid a baby try to.

Apparently Bill Maher hasn't heard that breasts aren't just for selling cars anymore.

What do you think folks?

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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, September 13, 2007

The Dumbest Baby Product I Have Ever Laid Eyes On

I used to think the Tummy Tub was the stupidest baby product I'd ever laid eyes on. After all, what could be dumber than having to hold your child by the head to keep them from sliding down into this bucket to drown?

But hey...it "let's you view your baby from all sides" and "replicates the womb" so I guess it's a "must-buy" for a mom like me, right? ;)

Well now I've spotted something even dumber than the Tummy Tub.

I want you to imagine this...

Imagine sliding an electronic chip into your baby's diaper that has a thin cord attached to it. Imagine that the thin cord of about 18" is attached to this chip on one end and a scary stuffed animal on the other.

What do you think would happen first? Your poor baby would get electrocuted, or strangled?

Yet somehow...someone thought this was a good idea. It wasn't enough to be able to leave your kids with a bottle attached to a pacifier so you didn't have to hold them during feeding time. Now someone wants to make sure you never have to check your kid's diaper again either.

Introducing the "Wet Baby Dipper Alarm" (That's not a typo)

The sales pitch?

Attach this device to a baby's diaper to detect wetness. When the baby wets the diaper, the alarm's CMOS chip immediately gives out music to alert you to change the diaper. Helps to keep baby clean and dry.

Oh joy!

Anyone wanna take bets on whether it's made in China?

Any grown men want to volunteer to stick that electrode down their Hanes to try it out?

Anyone?

Bueller?

Yeah, that's what I thought.

Who comes UP with this stuff??

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

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

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Oh How Far Fast Food Has Come...

I remember growing up and eating fast food VERY rarely. It happened now and then if we were out shopping and it was usually Arby's...but it did happen now and then.

In those days, if you went to McDonald's or Burger King, you probably got a cheeseburger, fries and a small soft drink. If your parents didn't want you drinking soda, you got Hi-C, the world's lamest attempt at "well, it's better than pop."

Things have come far. Very far.

I try not to eat fast food very often and I try not to feed it to my kids very often, but the reality is that we end up eating it several times a month. Sometimes it's on a drive home to visit my folks because I'm snagging food on the run for the trip, sometimes it's running errands around town when I've forgotten to pack bentos for everyone.

Today I was out with the kids and needed to snag a quick bite for them. I was thinking about what my options were and I realized they weren't near as bad as they used to be. We ended up at Wendy's where each kid got chicken nuggets, low-fat strawberry yogurt and milk. Sure, the nuggets aren't super healthy, but they're not the end of the world terrible either. I had the option of a turkey sandwich or a ham sandwich for them as well, but I'm not a big fan of lunch meat and neither are the kids.

That's when it struck me. The irony that I probably could have done "better" at McDonald's. I have long loathed McDonald's. Their burgers are gross (Greg and I have wondered if their new "Angus" burgers come from herds of cattle they simply name "Angus" rather than from the breed or if they're simply the Angus that die of natural causes in the fields) and their fries are horrifically bad for you. In the last couple of years, they've made some progress though.

If we'd gone to McDonald's today, I would have ordered myself a grilled chicken chipotle snack wrap or two. The kids would have had a grilled chicken snack wrap (sans the sauce), an order of apple dippers and some milk. When you think about it...that's really not such an unhealthy meal. It's certainly not any worse than what I often end up feeding them at home.

Then I spotted an article at AdAge that discusses Burger King's plans to appeal to parents that want a few more healthy options. Burger King will soon be introducing the "frypod." It's basically a fry container served full of raw apple slices cut to look like french fries. There's no sugar added and they're served up fresh. Based on the picture to the right, they look pretty darn cool.

The article went on to say Burger King was also developing grilled chicken bites to offer in place of the fried, nugget style ones. They'll also be offering up small bottles of milk like McDonald's and Wendy's have been using for awhile now. The move was part of the decision to join the Better Business Bureau's Children's Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative. Burger King will also be limiting their advertiser to children under 12 and will use "healthier option" meals when they do market to kids.

The thing I like most about this shift is that it's not being forced by the government and it's not limiting people's options. There's absolutely nothing wrong with eating a burger or nuggets now and then, or letting your kids have some french fries. But in a world that moves as fast as our does, it's VERY nice to see companies recognizing that parents want to feed their children healthy foods and want the OPTION to make better choices as they cruise through the drive 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.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Frustrations and Irony

I'm sitting here at Panera Bread...my home away from home two days a week while the kids are at Mango's Place. I come here to work so I have a chance to write without tiny adorable, yet often distracting children.

The last three times I have been here, some mom has been here with a screaming child. In fact, about 20 feet away is a mom with two young kids having lunch with a friend. The younger child (looks about one) has been screaming almost nonstop for the better part of 15 minutes.

She doesn't seem to care.

At all.

I don't say that in that she doesn't care about the kid. She's picked him up a few times, she's offered him food and drink...she's not ignoring him.

She simply seems to be ignoring the fact that she's out in public.

Now I understand that moms need to get out. I'm a mom of toddlers myself and believe me, I GET the need to go out. But one thing I have been hard core about since day one is removing my children from the situation if they start fussing or screaming. I have left many a restaurant meal get cold while I took one of my kids outside or to the car to settle them down. After all, other people are paying good money to go out and enjoy a meal. They shouldn't have their experience ruined by the fact that my kid is having a bad day.

You can't "look away" from a crying or screaming baby. You still hear them.

So why is it that moms figure the rest of us should just ignore their screaming and fussing kids?

Am I just being really grumpy from lack of sleep, or is this not a little on the "rude" side? And seriously, even if you are desperate to remain engaged with the people you are keeping company with, how much can you really be enjoying yourself with a screaming kid in your lap? How much can your company be enjoying themselves?

Give me a reality check here folks. Am I missing something? How long do you let your kid fuss or scream before you remove them from a restaurant? From church? (I say this because there has been a crying kid in church the last two weeks...as in crying for 10+ minutes during the sermon because neither parent got up to take the kid out of th sanctuary.)

Incidentally, I find it oddly amusing (in that ironic and sad way) that people seem less bothered by this than they would be if she'd lift her shirt and start nursing him.

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

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

Monday, September 10, 2007

Where Oh Where Has the Lactivist Gone?

I'm here, but my sanity and time are not.

Emmitt is teething and a very big and not fun way.

For the last week, he's hardly eaten a thing (other than breast milk of course) and has been quite the unhappy boy. The not eating has led to diapers of the variety you never want to see, not to mention four, count 'em FOUR full blow-outs.

Sleep is no better. He's been up four times a night and takes at least an hour to get down for the night. (and that's only if I let him cry a bit...it'd be two hours or more otherwise.)

So, needless to say, I'm sleep deprived, stressed and have hardly had time for my "real" job, let alone my hobby sites. So, despite having a ton to say, I find myself having difficulty wanting to sit down and blog during the 30-60 minutes of free time I might get each day.

It won't last forever (I keep telling myself) but he only has seven teeth, so we've got a long way to go.

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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.

Thousands Turn Out for More than at 100 Applebee's Nurse-Ins Around the Country

Reports are in and it seems there was quite the turn-out at the nationwide Applebee's nurse-ins this past Saturday. According to Birth Without Boundaries, more than 2000 breastfeeding supporters showed up at more than 100 restaurants in 44 states. That's a pretty hefty turnout, especially when you consider the Delta nurse-in garnered around 800 supporters at roughly 36 airports.

On the down side, Applebee's showed that they seriously don't get it by issuing a public statement that included the following:

We ask that mothers who nurse their children in our restaurant do so in a respectful manner.

Funny, that doesn't sound like an apology to me, it sounds a lot more like "well SHE started it!" It also makes it clear they don't understand that Kentucky state law doesn't give them the right to define their own version of "respectful manner" and enforce it. Kentucky law simply says that a mom can feed her baby.

Besides, as with the discreet argument, who the heck gets to define what a "respectful manner" actually is?

The good news is that many Applebee's restaurants were supportive of the moms that showed up for the nurse-ins. Some even report that the managers came out to speak with them and brought drinks and cookies. I'm not surprised. Even if the corporate office doesn't get it, I have no doubt that many Applebee's around the country are managed by men and women who respect and support a child's right to eat. I say kudos to the managers who were so supportive last Saturday!

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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, September 04, 2007

First Day of Preschool

We swooped back in to town last night, just in time for Elnora to start preschool this morning. She's going two days a week from 9am-11:30am at Mango's Place, the drop-in daycare center I've been using all summer.

It was interesting to watch the dynamics at play in the other kids and parents that were there this morning. There were probably six kids there by the time we arrived. The class only holds 10, so most had already shown up. Half the kids were crying and holding onto their parents (who were also crying.) The other half were quietly standing back by their parents, waiting to see what was going on.

Elnora walked in, headed over to the table, checked it out, went to a cubby, checked it out, looked at me, waved and said "bye ma!" I laughed to myself, went to the next room to drop Emmitt off and headed out the door.

She certainly is her mother's daughter.

I imagine at least some of my readers will make comments about how there's no need for kids to be independent at a young age, but I'll fully admit that I'm glad to see Nora developing an adventuresome spirit. She's never been clingy (unlike Emmitt who was a snuggle-bug from the moment he was born) and has been happy to go stay with her grandparents, aunts, uncles or family friends since the time she was a baby.

The class is all 3 and 4 year olds, except for Nora. (She'll be three in November.) I talked to the teacher when I picked her up and she said Nora did great. (Though she wasn't ready to be done singing "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" and kept asking for more verses during song time, lol.) I asked her if it was going to be a problem that Nora was so far behind in terms of speech, but she said she seems to hold her own quite well.

She's been coming along really well with her speech this summer. She can say almost all of her ABC's (about 4 letters trip her up) can say 8 of the first 10 letters (four and seven trip her up), and is speaking in full sentences now (In fact, while she stayed with my mom last week, she told her "Me go to wa-wa's [great-grandma] house, eat pancakes, mmmmm-mmmm good").

She's still clearly behind most kids her age, but she's catching up rapidly. I'm hoping by the end of the year she'll only be a little behind instead of a lot behind. In the meantime, those wheels keep spinning in her head.

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments: