<body><script type="text/javascript"> function setAttributeOnload(object, attribute, val) { if(window.addEventListener) { window.addEventListener('load', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }, false); } else { window.attachEvent('onload', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }); } } </script> <div id="navbar-iframe-container"></div> <script type="text/javascript" src="https://apis.google.com/js/platform.js"></script> <script type="text/javascript"> gapi.load("gapi.iframes:gapi.iframes.style.bubble", function() { if (gapi.iframes && gapi.iframes.getContext) { gapi.iframes.getContext().openChild({ url: 'https://www.blogger.com/navbar.g?targetBlogID\x3d18872353\x26blogName\x3dThe+Lactivist+Breastfeeding+Blog\x26publishMode\x3dPUBLISH_MODE_BLOGSPOT\x26navbarType\x3dTAN\x26layoutType\x3dCLASSIC\x26searchRoot\x3dhttps://thelactivist.blogspot.com/search\x26blogLocale\x3den_US\x26v\x3d2\x26homepageUrl\x3dhttps://thelactivist.blogspot.com/\x26vt\x3d6752238980651407769', where: document.getElementById("navbar-iframe-container"), id: "navbar-iframe" }); } }); </script>

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, June 28, 2006

UK Institute Declares Home Birth 'Not as Safe' ... but based on what?

Just ran across this article today...


and it says...

Midwife-led home births appear to be less safe than those co-ordinated by consultants in hospital labour wards, according to the Government's health watchdog.

In new draft guidance, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice), has set out advice on reducing unnecessary medical intervention and how health staff should treat women.
It said a birth at home "increases the likelihood of a normal vaginal birth and satisfaction in women who are committed to giving birth in this setting".

Giving birth that way is likely to result in transfer to a hospital for between 4% and 20% of women in labour.

In a standalone midwifery-led unit, such as a birthing centre, women were more likely to feel satisfied with their labour and need less intervention, the guidance said.

Giving birth in one of those centres is likely to result in transfer to a hospital unit for about 12% of women in labour, it added.

In a consultant-led unit, women are more likely to have access to epidurals, more likely to receive anaesthetic and interventions such as forceps, and are less likely to feel satisfied.

But there is also less chance of the mother or baby dying in that setting, the guidance said.

The problem is...it NEVER cites any studies or data to explain where it gets the "information" that shows that there is less chance of mother or baby dying in the hospital than at home. It also doesn't distinguish if they count overall numbers or low-risk numbers, planned home births or all home births, etc...

Any UK readers have any more information on this new statement?

Labels: ,

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.

Mistrial for Mom Accused of Murder by Breastmilk

The LA Times reports that the trial of Amy Leanne Prien, the mother accused of killing her 3 month old by nursing him after smoking methamphetamines, has ended in a deadlocked jury and has been declared a mistrial. Prien was convicted of second-degree murder in 2003, but the ruling was overturned by a state appellate court due to an error by the judge.

From the article:

Toxicology tests showed methamphetamine in Jacob's blood, liver and stomach.

But the autopsy did not determine how the boy ingested the drug.

Prien used the drug for more than a decade, and friends testified they had used methamphetamine with her throughout her pregnancy and while she cared for Jacob. But Prien told jurors during the second trial that she did not use drugs while she was pregnant.

Yagman contended that prosecutors did not have evidence to prove that breast milk killed Jacob. He noted that Prien's breast milk was not tested at the time of his death.

Prien said she stopped breastfeeding in November, more than two months before she found Jacob dead in her bed on Jan. 19, 2002. But Donald Fox, Prien's roommate, testified that he watched her breastfeed Jacob several days before the child's death.

From what I've read, it sounds like there are some legitimate questions about exactly what happened and exactly how the drug got in his system, but I will say two things...

1.) If she had stopped nursing more than two months before, it would have been pretty easy to show (at the time of death) that she didn't have any more milk. I've not known anyone that could squeeze more than a drop or two after more than two months of no nursing...

2.) Whether the baby got the meth from breastmilk or something else...is there really ANY question that this mother is unfit and led to the death of her child?


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.

Kate Beckinsdale on Breastfeeding

I love it when celebrities aren't afraid to talk about breastfeeding and I especially love it when they have a sense of humor.

That's why I got a kick out of Beckinsdale's comments that she looks forward to having another child because she enjoyed and excelled at nursing.

The actress says, "I think I got more (bigger breasts) than my share...

Breastfeeding is like (when) you call up a pizza and, if you call it up a lot, 27 pizzas arrive. That's what I was like.

"I could hit the wall from quite a distance."


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, June 26, 2006

Techniques to Handle Shoulder Dystocia in Hospital and Home Birth

Ok, so among the many questions and statements revolving around home birth is the issue of "what if X happens." You know how it goes... "if we hadn't been in the hospital, my baby would have DIED." This phrase gets applied on everything from nuchal cord to failure to progress to TRUE emergencies like full placental abruption.

One of the popular ones is shoulder dystocia...where the shoulders of the baby get trapped behind the pubic bone, prohibiting delivery. Now, there are a variety of ways to handle this problem, especially in the hospital. So, I thought I'd do a little write-up on what they are... Note that the "Gaskin Manuever" is the most common resolution in home births but is rarely practiced in the hospital because most hospital moms have epidurals and thus, cannot be properly moved into the position.

So, here we go...

More Info on the following procedures, including diagrams

McRoberts Maneuver

Basically, it says that if you are on your back, your pubic bone does get in the way, but if you push your knees back to your chest (sound familiar?) that it "raises" the pubic bone up and lets the baby slide under it. Of course they seem to miss that simply being on the back closes up the pelvis by about 30% and that if you WEREN'T on your back, you wouldn't NEED to push your knees up to your chest.

It involves sharply flexing the legs upon the maternal abdomen. By doing this, the symphysis pubis is rotated cephalad and the sacrum is straightened. In a high percentage of cases this by itself suffices to free the impacted anterior shoulder.

It goes on to note that this position needs to be "assisted" with suprapubic pressure...that basically means making a fist and pushing on the abdomen where the shoulder would be to "force" it through.

Sounds...umm...painful? And very likely to lead to broken clavicals on baby? Also, the "success rate" of this working is about 40%.

Other methods that are discussed for anyone that's curious...

The Wood's Screw Manuver

Basically, this one rotates the baby in order to "corkscrew" the shoulders out of the body. Often, it involves the doctor sliding his hand INTO the birth canal to locate the baby's lower arm which is then slid up across the chest and delivered next to the head. This then allows for the "relatively easy" delivery of the baby.

Of course it would likely require a VERY generous episiotimy (baby's head AND a doctors hand in there?? eeeeee!) and has a 12% humeral fracture rate in the baby. Of course that is cited as a "small price to pay for the "safe" delivery of the baby."

These are said to be the two most common ways that OBs resolve shoulder dystocia.

On to the others...

Zavanelli Maneuver

In this cephalic replacement maneuver -- now generally referred to as the Zavanelli maneuver -- the head must first be rotated back to its pre-restitution position -- that is, occiput anterior -- and then flexed. Constant firm pressure is applied while pushing the head back into the vagina. Tocolytic agents or uterine-relaxing general anesthesia may be administered to facilitate this process. Cesarean section must be performed immediately after replacement of the head.

It's reported as having a 90% success rate in that it lets the doctor do the c-section to deliver the baby. It doesn't say what happens to the other 10%.... It gets worse...Looking at overall stats for Zavanelli babies...(there were 59 of them in the study)

Apgar scores at 5 minutes were less than 6 in 61% of these babies and were less than 3 in 27%. Four babies in his series had seizures in the nursery, two had permanent neurologic injury, five experienced a permanent Erb palsy, and two died. Three percent of the mothers experienced ruptured uterus and 5% suffered uterine lacerations.

Symphysiotomy (Known to Jen as the "Holy CRAP!" maneuver)

The theory is that by transecting the firm ligaments joining the left and right symphyseal bones, an additional 2-3cm in pelvic circumference can be gained. In most cases this will allow the anterior shoulder to be delivered beneath the symphysis.

Basically, for every 1cm of "joint separation" you gain about 8cm of pelvic space...Apart from the extreme "holy crap!" of the fact that they're basically splaying your legs and cutting your ligaments, it requires five days of a cath to drain the bladder, a patient remaining immobile on her side (often with legs tied together) for a full three days and obvious injury risk to the bladder and urethra.

Thankfully, it says that this manuever is rare in 1st world countries and is really only used or suggested when all other options have been exhausted in a third-world country without access to c-section. Still...gives me the heebie-jeebies.

Gaskin Maneuver (All-Fours)

The average time needed to move the mother into this position and to complete delivery was reported to be 2-3 minutes. Unfortunately, there was no detailed description of fetal and maternal outcome in this report. Also, reports about this procedure have generally been in the midwifery literature, involving a patient population less likely to have epidural anesthesia and thus more likely to be fully mobile.

However, from a study involving the Gaskin maneuver that was published in the Journal of Reproductive Medicine, the following is noted:

Overall, the maternal complication associated with the use of the “Gaskin Maneuver” was 1.2 percent (one case of postpartum hemorrhage, transfusion not required), and the neonatal complication rate was 4.9 percent. . . None of these patients required any additional maneuvers. . . Not only was the Gaskin Maneuver instrumental in relieving shoulder impact in every instance, it is also a non-invasive procedure requiring only a change of maternal position.”

The study that I quote above says that the maneuver was successful in all instances in which it was tried, making for an obviously much higher outcome than an 82% success rate. ;) However, most of the other references that I can find for the Gaskin Maneuver leave the rate at around 80-85%. Whichever number is true, it's still LOADS higher than the rate of ANY of the more common obstetrical techniques.

From Ina May's own site...the following information is quoted...

...32 [shoulder dystocias] were managed by having the mother assume the all-fours position, with no mortality, no birth injuries, and with excellent Apgar scores. All the babies for whom follow-up was possible (29 of 35) were developmentally normal (ages 9 months to 15 years). These statistics compare favorably with the reported mortality rates of 21% to 29% and morbidity rates of 16% to 48%. In addition, despite frequent recommendations that any maneuvers to deliver the shoulders be preceded by a generous episiotomy or proctoepisiotomy, 23 of the babies were delivered over an intact perineum, and there were no 3rd or 4th-degree lacerations. Finally, though some authors recommend the time-consuming step of administering general anesthesia to the mother before attempting alternative maneuvers, these babies were all delivered without anesthesia.

The reason given by that first link (an OB reference site) for this maneuver not being more commonly practiced in the obstetrics world?

Since the all-fours maneuver involves a gravid woman at the end of her pregnancy, exhausted by a long labor, often with an epidural in place, being moved quickly out of her delivery position onto all fours on her bed or on the floor, the practicality of this maneuver for a general obstetrical population is open to question.

So What Usually Gets Done?

Here's what ACOG recommends, in order, for handling shoulder dystocia...

ACOG, in its bulletin on shoulder dystocia, proposed the following sequence of maneuvers for reducing a shoulder dystocia:

1) Call for help - assistants, anesthesiology, pediatrician. Initiate gentle traction of the fetal head at this time. Drain the bladder if distended.

2) Generous episiotomy.

3) Suprapubic pressure with normal downward traction on fetal head.

4) McRoberts maneuver.

Then, if these maneuvers fail,

5) Wood's screw maneuver.

6) Attempt delivery of posterior arm.

Now here's what makes me really, really sad.... and before you read this, keep in mind the 82% success rate of the Gaskin maneuver alone...

McFarland (1996) reported that the use of two maneuvers alone -- McRoberts and suprapubic pressure -- resulted in the resolution of 58% of 276 cases of shoulder dystocia in his series. He found that the addition of the Wood's Screw maneuver and delivery of the posterior arm were sufficient to resolve the shoulder dystocia in all remaining cases.

Now...what was that question people had again about OBs and them not practicing "evidence-based" medicine? ;)

Labels: ,

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, June 24, 2006

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach on Breastfeeding


"Should Mothers Breastfeed if it Disrupts the Marriage?"

There are two effects of breast-feeding that we often do not focus on. One is the de-eroticization of a woman’s body, as in her husbands eyes one of the most attractive parts of her body becomes, in effect, a cafeteria, and second it often means that a husband and wife can’t even sleep in the bed because the baby is either in the bed or the baby cries and takes all the mother’s attention.

So why we must always glorify the benefits of breast-feeding, if it begins to disrupt the marriage itself we have to begin to question if the family is better off with a baby on the bottle because no matter what benefits there are to a baby with breast-feeding, these would all be severely undermined if the parents marriage itself began to crumble.


Now...while I understand that ultimately, saving the marriage needs to take precedence over breastfeeding until a child self-weans...but let's think about this a little more and let's think about things that he COULD have said.

1.) He could have offered up suggestions on how a husband might help ease the "burden" of nursing for a mom so that she has a bit more time and energy. Things like dad getting baby and bringing baby to mom to nurse. Things like dad helping with the laundry, dishes, or whatever else mom might still be trying to handle on top of caring for a baby.

2.) He could have offered up suggestions on how a wife might work to share her needs with her husband and to make a true effort to make time for him. He could have suggested that the wife make sure she gets a scheduled "date" with her husband, even if it just means relaxing together on the couch.

3.) He could have turned to the Old Testament and the vast POSITIVE references of nursing that take place there. He could have noted that both Samuel and Moses were breastfed for YEARS, not months. He could have pointed out the beauty of God's design when it comes to providing food for a child.

4.) He could have suggested marriage counseling and pre-child counseling to help couples prepare for the life-altering reality that is parenthood.

But no... "if it's an inconvience, switch to bottle."

Yeah. That's just GREAT advice... /sarcasm


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, June 20, 2006

More Milk Bank Updates

Elnora and I had the chance to stop down by the milk bank here in Columbus yesterday to visit with the staff for a bit and to get some updates. We also got to drop off the first check from the Lactivist fundraising project. $1000!!! That's what Lactivist readers and shoppers raised for the milk bank in about six months! You guys all rock! Thanks to everyone that made a purchase, sent a link, told a friend, or sent a donation of their own to add to the pot. :)

So some updates and cool bits of information...

When I donated i think I was one of the first twelve moms...I started donating RIGHT when they finally got their equipment up and running. The last time I stopped down, about six months ago, they had grown to their 50th donor. Exciting stuff! This time around they're up to about 175 donors! Interest is really taking off and they've now established drop-off points in Cincinnati, Athens, Dayton, Toledo, Cleveland and even Wisconsin. Apparently, there are some volunteer pilots that have agreed to transport the milk down to our bank while they're logging their flight hours. Very cool. :)

Another nifty bit of news? They're getting ready to purchase some new testing equipment that will not only let them measure things like calorie count, but also protein levels, fat levels and several other bits of information that will allow for more detaild nutritional labeling of donor milk. That will make it even easier to make sure that babies are getting the type of milk that they need.

Finally, they told me that a class of 7th and 8th graders from a school in Ohio had read about the milk bank in a newspaper article and decided to do a fundraiser of their own. They studied up on the benefits of breast milk and donor milk in class, held their fundraiser and sent the money to the bank. How encouraging to see school-age kids thinking about these things. :)

Overall, it was great as usual to stop down there. I hadn't spoken to them in several months, so they didn't know I was expecting again. I'm also getting excited thinking about being able to donate again. They're really expanding the network of hospitals that they service and the need for donor milk is always growing. I'll be glad to be able to get back in the trenches and kick in my share from the Laycock dairy again. ;)


Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

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

Friday, June 16, 2006

Breastfeeding Ads and Commercials from the National Breastfeeding Campaign

Almost anyone that's watched any news in the past week or so has seen the stories that talk about the end of a two-year national breastfeeding campaign aimed at educating moms about the benefits of breast milk and the potential risks of formula. The breastfeeding campaign included a combination of print ads, tv commercials and billboards designed to help encourage moms to breastfeed.

The thing is...with the exception of the billboards, most moms that I've spoken to have NEVER seen the breastfeeding commercials or the breastfeeding print ads. (Unless they catch a glimpse of them during a news story.) That's because the TV ads created a TON of controversy in the early days of the campaign and that, combined with pressure from the formula industry pretty much managed to curtail their runs. The print ads...well...I have no idea where they ran.

The billboard ads were simply white text on a black backround that said "babies were born to be breastfed."

So...here they are!

TV Commercials (I can totally see how these offended people...)

"Ladies' Night" (also knows as "pregnant woman riding a bull"

"Log Rolling (also known as pregnant women running on logs)

Print Ads (Personally, I think these are brilliant!)

"Ice Cream"

Radio Ads (umm...can we say HOKEY?)


Labels: ,

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.

Pregnancy Update - Personal Stuff

Before everyone starts bugging me again ;) I thought I'd post a pre-emptive pregnancy update just to let folks know how things are going.

The pregnancy...

Going very well now! Must better than a month or so ago. I seem to have the ability to survive without daily naps again, which is a big step forward. Regular chiropractic care is also making a world of difference with my back. On the other hand, I'm really kind of glad that I had that really early ultrasound to date things and they only found one baby in there. I am already showing much more this time than last time (I'd say I look about two months ahead of where I did last time.) Also, this baby is a KICKER...way more so than Nora was.

Those two things combined would really have me wondering about the possibility of twins if it hadn't already been ruled out. Again...thank goodness for that ultrasound. ;)

The puking...

Yay! Tis all gone! That high protein diet made a world of difference in my nausea. I wish I'd known to do it the last time around. (Pretty simple really, 75-100 grams of protein a day spaced out in 5-6 meals.)

It's been replaced by heartburn though. The kind that makes you want to cry. With that in mind, not only were Tums ineffective, but I also found out that you really shouldn't take Tums or Rolaids while pregnant. (who knew?! (To save space, find out why you should avoid Tums over here...) So, Tums are out and papaya extract is in! Small, chewable tablets that taste like mild sweeet tarts. They work ten times better and take effect much faster than Tums. These things will become a regular addition to my medicine chest.

The birth plans...

Still going swimmingly. Everything looking good with baby and the birth plans. Still debating over whether or not to rent a birth tub...I can't see the sense of getting one that doesn't have a built in heater, because I really don't want to deal with pouring more and more hot water in to keep it warm. Thus, we're looking at pretty hefty expenses for that...especially since I only want it to labor in, not to birth in. Would love feedback from readers on this...

The predictions...

This is always kinda fun and I did it last time...was right on most of them (except for how long labor would be, LOL.)

So...here it is on record...we'll compare the reality in another 3-4 months.

Birth Date: October 4th, 5th or 6th (hopefully not labor lasting through all three)
Birth Time: Evening...7pm-10pm
Gender: Boy (so totally a boy)
Weight: around 9 pounds
Labor length: 16 hours

Labels: ,

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, June 14, 2006

Hospital Mix-up Leads to Breastfeeding Strangers

Without home birth or rooming in, another bit of anecdotal "evidence" of what can go wrong when mom and baby are separated.


Garcia's joy over her new baby boy Marcelino is tempered by worry over his health.

Monica Garcia, mother: "They tell me something went wrong, and my heart just dropped."

The something wrong was that Marcelino was mistakenly given to another mother -- a stranger also named Garcia, who breastfed him, not realizing it wasn't her son.

Yeeks...though quite honestly, I can't imagine NOT knowing that it was my baby. I mean maybe the other mom had a section or was really foggy from medication or something?

Labels: ,

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.

Hello USA Today Readers!

Just wanted to say hello to any new readers that have shown up to check this site out due to the mention in today's issue of USA Today.

The snippet...for regular Lactivist readers...

Jennifer Laycock, managing editor of the online Search Engine Guide newsletter, published a free e-book about how to start an online business with little cash investment. She spent $10 a month to have her Lactivist breast-feeding site put online, as an experiment, to see how well it would do — and how long it would take to get to the top of Google.

The results: 1,000 links within 30 days and over $1,000 raised from her passionate readers.

"This never could have happened five years ago," she says. "It took the blogging and social networking revolution to make this happen."

Laycock, who works from Columbus, Ohio, with an 18-month-old baby and another on the way, offered breast-feeding information and T-shirts for sale with funny sayings like "My kid's no weaner" via Cafepress.com, which lets businesses open up storefronts for a split of profits. Her e-book, Zero Dollars, a Little Talent and Thirty Days outlines how she did it, day by day.

She began by posting non-commercial notes on parent discussion forums, asking for ideas about products to sell. People responded and started asking about the site she was creating. That resulted in links from all sorts of parenting blogs, she says.

Hopefully we'll see some traffic come in and some new readers will join us. Always nice to expand the family.

For readers that have come looking for the e-book, you can find and download it over at Search Engine Guide.

Labels: ,

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, June 12, 2006

Nurse-In at Florida Starbucks

One of the hardest things about being a Lactivist is having discernment over what battles to fight and what battles not to fight. I firmly believe that screaming foul over every single incident that gets "reported" on the Internet or even in the news does us no good. On the other hand, it's essential that sites like this one exist to help spread the word about both positive and negative treatment of nursing mothers by corporations.

That's why I'm torn on this whole Florida Starbucks issue.

From the Miami Herald...

Nicole Coombs, 22, says she was discreetly nursing 4-month-old Brahm at the Starbucks at 1451 Ocean Dr. when a manager ordered her out May 18.

However...the story goes on to say...

But Starbucks spokesman Alan Hilowitz described a different sequence of events. He said Sunday that a store manager asked Coombs to leave when she refused to stop changing her baby's diapers on a table inside the coffeehouse.

''She continued to change her baby and then she was asked to leave. There was no mention of breast-feeding whatsoever,'' Hilowitz said. ``We welcome nursing mothers in all of our stores. We always have.''

See my point? That's a tough one...

If she was asked to leave because she was breastfeeding, then clearly, I'm going to jump on Starbucks and point out the obvious problems here.

On the other hand, if she nursed her child, but was actually asked to leave because she changed a diaper on a table in the cafe, then I absolutely side with Starbucks. Changing a diaper on a table that people eat food on is digusting and a health hazard and anyone that does it SHOULD be asked to stop. Thus, I can envision a scenario where a mom has both nursed and changed the diaper in Starbucks and decides that it's the nursing that has caused her to be kicked out.

So I leave it at this...it's a he said/she said issue and it's a tough one to call. I don't know this woman from Adam. She may be completely sincere, she may be simply mistaken or she may be trying to get attention and exploit the situation. Who knows.

Labels: ,

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.

Government Takes Hard-line Stance on Breastfeeding

A lot of Lactivist readers probably remember the super controversial pro-breastfeeding commercials that featured a pregnant woman being thrown off of a mechanical horse, or competing in a log rolling contest. The line was "you wouldn't risk your baby's health while you were pregnant, why do it after they are born" and was designed to tout the benefits of breastfeeding over formula.

Understandably, many mothers were offended and the commercials went off the air. (Heck, even as a Lactivist I found the commercials to be a little bit extreme...)

Anyway...the New York Times has a story running right now called "Breastfeed or Else" that looks at some of the statements coming out of the government about the issue and some of the proposed solutions.

Some select quotes from the article:

There is no black-box label like that affixed to cans of infant formula or tucked into the corner of magazine advertisements, at least not yet. But that is the unambiguous message of a controversial government public health campaign encouraging new mothers to breast-feed for six months to protect their babies from colds, flu, ear infections, diarrhea and even obesity.

"Just like it's risky to smoke during pregnancy, it's risky not to breast-feed after," said Suzanne Haynes, senior scientific adviser to the Office on Women's Health in the Department of Health and Human Services. "The whole notion of talking about risk is new in this field, but it's the only field of public health, except perhaps physical activity, where there is never talk about the risk."

Senator Tom Harkin, Democrat of Iowa, has proposed requiring warning labels, on cans of infant formula and in advertisements, similar to the those on cigarettes. They would say that the Department of Health and Human services has determined that "breast-feeding is the ideal method of feeding and nurturing infants" or that "breast milk is more beneficial to infants than infant formula."

The article goes on to talk, in-depth about some of the problems facing the United States in our attempts to get more mothers to nurse. Obviously the paltry amount of maternity leave that is available to most mothers, as is the fact that few workplaces are truly supportive of mothers that pump. Add in the fact that day care is rarely located near enough to work for mothers to visit and nurse and you basically are left with a world where only SAHMs and the absolute most devoted of mothers are able to pull off long-term breastfeeding.

Those are real issues facing us...it's not just about educating, it's also about enabling.

The article also talks quite a bit about the various health benefits being studied for both mom and baby when a breastfeeding relationship is established and maintained. Overall, it's one of the better articles I've seen in the mainstream press when it comes to the issue of breastfeeding's benefits.

Nice job NY Times. ;)


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, June 06, 2006

Target Makes Public Statement on Breastfeeding in Their Stores

I'm always a little dissapointed when lactivists jump on a store, rather than an employee for a breastfeeding in public incident. Thus, I think it's important that when it's not store policy and the store immediately stands up and says that the employee was wrong, that we should support the company and celebrate the choice of a major corporation to show the normalcy of nursing in public.

Here's the story...

Apparently a mom was told by a Target employee in Minneapolis that she could not nurse her child in a fitting room. According to CBS Chicago, the incident went someting like this:

While Dover was nursing in her usual place, the fitting room attendant knocked on the door and asked if she was OK. Dover replied that she was fine and was feeding her baby. "She said, 'You know, you're not allowed to do that in there,'" Dover said.

When she had finished nursing Kendall, she confronted the worker. The employee told her "it's unsanitary; it's a liability; it's store policy -- all the excuses in the book," Dover said. She then asked the employee where she should nurse instead.

"And she said I should go into the bathroom," Dover said. "There's no chairs in there, no place to set up other than on toilet. I'm not going to sit in the bathroom and breast-feed my baby. Then, she said, 'Well, you should feed her before you come.' Which I did, but we'd been out for a few hours, and she needed to eat again. It was insulting."

At the checkout, Dover asked for a manager, who backed up the fitting-room attendant.

However, when she called Target's national hotline, she was told that the employee and store manager were the ones in the wrong and that corporate policy was that nursing mothers were welcome in Target stores. As such, Target has responded with a public apology and the following statement:

"Target has a long-standing practice that supports breastfeeding in our stores. We apologize for any inconvenience the guest experienced and will take this opportunity to reaffirm this commitment with our team members," company representative Kristi Arndt said.

"For guests in our stores, we support the use of fitting rooms for women who wish to breastfeed their babies, even if others are waiting to use the fitting rooms. In addition, guests who choose to breastfeed discreetly in more public areas of the store are welcome to do so without being made to feel uncomfortable.

Good for Target!

Labels: , ,

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, June 05, 2006

Update on Italian MP

Last week I wrote about the member of the Italian Parliment that was lobbying to have a nursing room added to the parliment building so that she could nurse her 3-month old on breaks.

UPI has since reported that she's won her battle and succeeded in lobbying to have an old office revamped into a nursery.


Labels: ,

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.

Hospital Birth and Risk of Infection

Dunno how many Lactivist readers caught the Dateline special on Sunday night. I rarely watch the show, but it was just coming on and the preview caught my eye, so we tuned in.

MSN has the story online if you missed it: A routine epidural turns deadly

(Note: The title of the article is a bit inflamatory, the epidural didn't kill her, the infection did, they think the infection was introduced via the epidural, but no one knows for sure. A better title would be..."a routine birth turns deadly.")

It's a long article, as it's basically the transcript of the show, but it's well worth a read. To summarize...

A woman went to the hospital for an induction, gets an epidural that seems to overmedicate her. They disconnect it, let it wear off and come back to place a second one. The second one works. She gives birth, but later that night starts to run a high fever and to have headaches, swelling and some other problems. Turns out that she has a staph infection which enters her brain, causes swelling, massive brain damage and eventually, kills her. All within about 24 hours of the birth of her son.

The story focuses on the risk of infections in hositals and cites the stat that about 2 million patients each year (1 in 20) will get an infection FROM the hospital during a hospital stay. Of those 2 million, around 90,000 will die. The problems exist on several levels...

1.) Because of the environment of the hospital, only the strongest bugs survive...that means that the infections that people get in the hospital tend to be more severe than what they would contract elsewhere and means that in some cases, regular antibiotics are not enough to do the trick.

2.) Studies show that only about half of all doctors and nurses actually wash their hands between patients. Obviously this can cause infections to spread quickly if a doctor comes in contact with one of these super bugs.

Watching the story made me think of two things that people really need to take away from this news...

1.) 1 in 20 is a pretty serious number. I know that I fell into that category. The hospital that I had Nora at insisted on a quick cath after she was born because I was not able to IMMEDIATELY pee on my own. They wouldn't even give me 30 minutes. I had 3 UTIs within a month after leaving the hospital, caused by something that got into my system via the cath.

Thankfully it was just a UTI and not something more serious. In the story, they believed that the staph infection entered her system via the epidural. That essentially put the infection on a fast track through her spine up to her brain, causing the damage to spread faster than they could contain it.

So how to keep yourself safe? Well for one, consider an intervention free birth. In the hospital, your risk of infection goes up every time something is "introduced" to a spot that it shouldn't be. A catheter, an epidural, an IV, vaginal exams, an internal monitor for baby...all of these interventions create opportunity for an infection to be introduced. The more of them you can avoid, the lower your risks of contracting an infection.

2.) It was another reason to feel good about my decision to plan a home birth. Despite the fact that my house is messy, and in some spots even a bit dirty, the reality is that my body is used to the "germs" that are in my home. They're common, garden variety germs and viruses and my body already has immunities to them. That means that my body will pass those same immunities to my child. The risk of infection with a home birth is microscopic compared to that of a hospital birth unless of course you like to smear your walls with raw meat. ;)

Labels: ,

Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

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

Friday, June 02, 2006

Let me tell you why the flu and pregnancy don't mix...

Reason #1: Because you already feel kinda yucky when you are pregnant and adding "flu" yucky to it emphasizes all the...well..."yuckines."

Reason #2: Because the only thing worse than having an upset stomach is having an upset stomach and a baby that likes to kick you in it on a regular basis.

Reason #3: Because apparently, if you throw up hard enough while pregnant, the slight incontinance that can happen during pregnancy can cause you to wet your pants. (Oh yeah, that's REALLY fun!)

Reason #4: Because you convince yourself that you are now throwing up hard enough that you will put yourself into pre-term labor.

Reason #5: You know how hard it is to get comfortable when you have the flu? Imagine getting comfortable when you can't sleep on your back or your stomach...

Reason #6: It's not a good thing to get dehydrated or not eat when you have the flu, but it's much more dangerous to get dehydrated when you are pregnant.

Reason #7: Because it just sucks! So feel sorry for me. :-P

Hopefully this is a quick bug...I've not kept any food in my stomach for about two days now and I'm down to just water, grape juice and apple juice. I don't dare eat anything else. Last night, simply eating red jello resulted in completely body wracking retching that made me discover reason #3. The only thing more fun than sitting on the floor in front of the toilet is sitting ON the toilet trying to hold on to a garbage can to throw up into.



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.

Idiocy in the News

Whether you are pro-life or pro-choice, I don't think there's any arguing that the "logic" being used here is a bit of a stretch...

Conscience Clause

For those who believe that human life (and full human rights) begins at conception (aka, fertilization), abortion is murder. And there can be no logical distinction between Plan B and breastfeeding. Both can cause fertilized eggs to “die” by failing to implant. Follow the logic: mothers nursing their babies since the dawn of our species have been unwittingly murdering hundreds of millions of their own children. Breastfeeding should be banned. Indeed, for sexually active women, breastfeeding is manslaughter, if not premeditated murder.

The argument being made is that since the Plan B contraception pill (a version of the morning after pill) keeps an egg from implanting, rather than expelling an implanted egg or embryo. Thus, they are saying that it's no different to take the Plan B pill than it is to nurse a child and to take the chance that a fertilized egg may not implant due to the hormones that occur in a nursing mother.

Labels: ,

Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments: