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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.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Things You Don't Think You'll Say...

"Stop driving the tractor on the dog's head!!!"

(Me, to Elnora a few minutes ago while she ran her Little People style John Deere tractor back and forth on the dog.)


Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

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

A Thought on the Big Pork Battle

I'll be back later today with more news about the battle with the big pig, for now I'm buried under email, comments and well...lots of stuff.

For now, just thought I'd link to a VERY appropriate scene from a really enjoyable movie called Kung Fu Hustle. (Hopefully the producers find this to be a great way to spread the word about their movie rather than cracking down on the poster for copyright infringement.)


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, January 30, 2007

Peek a Boo B Nursing Cover Review

When I received a package a few weeks ago from Cayden Creations that had a Peek a Boo B nursing cover inside for me to test out and review, my husband laughed.

"YOU'RE going to review a nursing COVER?!?" He asked incredulously...

Yeah...he thought it was a hoot.

I explained to him that while I've always been very vocal about my person belief that nursing covers tend to scream "Hey!! I'm nursing over here!!" I've also always tried to make it clear that I have no problem with a mom using one because she WANTS to.

See, there's a world of difference between someone covering up because they think they have to and someone covering up because it makes THEM feel more comfortable. As such, I felt that it was more than fair to review the Peek a Boo B nursing cover for the moms that DO prefer to cover up while nursing in public.

The Lactivist Says: The least noticeable nursing cover I've seen (yes, that's a GOOD thing)

Extremely light weight
Coverage where YOU want it
Put on and take off with one hand

Material sometimes clings to baby
Could be a little bit longer

When I first received my Peek A Boo B nursing cover in the mail I was surprised by how...small it was. I don't mean lacking in coverage, I mean compact as in doesn't take up much space. You can see it here in the picture folded up next to a tin of Altoids to give you some perspective on the size. It would easily tuck into a diaper bag or even a small purse. Heck, if you were wearing a fleece or a jacket, you could likely just tuck it into the pocket.

When you unfold it, you've got a large rectangle with a stitched hole in the middle of it. Basically, it works sort of like a poncho, you just slip it over your head and turn it so that it's covering the areas that you want covered. Apart from the size, my other favorite feature about this nursing cover is how light weight it is. It's a very thin, filmy material that weighs next to nothing. Since one of the complaints that I often hear about nursing covers is how "hot" they are for mom and baby, that's a definite point in the "pro" column for this product.

So how is it in the functionality department? Well, you know me...I love me them YouTube videos...so I filmed myself using the Peek a Boo B nursing cover for the first time so that you could see how it works for a mom that hasn't even bothered to perfect her "nursing cover technique." (Because seriously, does anyone think I'm going to sit around PRACTICING being ultra-discreet? Have you even read my blog?)

Give it a watch:

First let me tell you what I don't like.

You'll note that in the position I'm holding Emmitt in, the cover just barely goes over his head. Now, I know that I nurse in a really funky position (I'll post on that later this week) so I'm not really a fair comparison on this one...but I do think that large chested (or just all around large) women may end up having some length issues with the standard Peek a Boo B sized cover. I'd say 90% of women are going to find it to be the perfect length (because you don't want to go getting it caught or snagged on things, right? that would defeat the whole purpose of having a nursing cover...just imagine the ruckus you'd cause if you snagged the table and knocked yourself on your rear trying to stand up!) but for me...well, just a tad short.

The other negative is mostly related to the length and is sort of a catch twenty-two... The fact that the cover IS so light weight means that it can settle onto the baby more closely than it would if it were one of those circus-tent style cotton nursing covers. For Emmitt, not being used to being covered up, well, he was a little resistant. (you can see his arm waving around a bit in the video.) I think if I'd had him in a better position where the cover could drape more rather than settling right on him, there wouldn't have been an issue. (Stupid giant breasts!)

So on to the positives...

It was SUPER easy to put on. I could easily unfold it and get it over my head with one hand (which is great if your baby is already getting fussy and you're holding him as well.) It was very light weight which made it easy to situate. The neck opening is also wide enough that you could easily pull it back and see your little munchkin. That's handy for things like making sure they're latched or even just making googlie eyes at them.

Another thing that I liked, that I'm not sure the designers even thought of was the fact that you don't really have to use it to cover up your baby while nursing.

See, my biggest issue with nursing in public isn't the fear that someone might *gasp* see my breast or *even bigger gasp* see my nipple. It's that if I'm not wearing a nursing top, chances are pretty good that in order to hike my shirt up enough for Emmitt to nurse, I'm also leaving my post-partum love handles in wide open view. Yeah...not too keen on that idea. With this cover, you could easily turn it so that it was covering up the "side" without really covering up your baby. We all know that babies' heads cover breasts and baby's body covers tummies (and rock covers paper) so for many women, it's that issue of letting their love handles hang out there for the world to see.

The final point added to the positives column was the price. At just $25, it was easily the least expensive nursing cover that I've run across online. (Most of the popular nursing covers run $35-$45 depending on material.)

Overall, while I wouldn't use it (because again, I don't really go for nursing covers) I WILL find a friend to pass it on to and I would highly recommend it to a mom that simply won't nurse in public without a cover. As someone that has long made fun of nursing covers (because seriously, they look like circus tents) I actually had to admit that this one was pretty nice.

Now if you're looking for super trendy designs and crazy-fun patterns, this may not be the nursing cover for you. Since the goal here is muted functionality (getting the job done without letting the world know what the job is) the colors are all pretty neutral and pretty demure. The owner's sense of humor does show through though as the colors have names like "Mothers' Wine" and "Busty Black." You can see Elnora over there on the left in "Barely Beige."

Two last points of interest? First, the creators are both breastfeeding advocates. I've had the pleasure of sharing quite a few emails with one of the owners and I can assure you that she's out there fighting the fight with the rest of us. I love supporting companies that aren't just talking the talk. Second, they have an affiliate program, so if you think your readers might be interested in buying Peek a Boo B nursing covers, go ahead and sign up and promote a way. (and just to note, I am not an affiliate, so I don't earn anything if this review makes you want to go buy it...I think reviews get tainted if there's money involved.)


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.

MSNBC Covers Breastfeeding in Public

Well, apparently I wasn't deemed "quote-worthy" enough for this one. ;) The journalist that I spoke with last month has her article up on the MSNBC web site this week. It's a pretty solid, in-depth look at the issues of breastfeeding in public, discrimination and a variety of other issues. Well worth a read.

A snippet:

While lactivists — the name breast-feeding activists have come up with for themselves — defend their right to nurse publicly, others say the pro-nursing argument can sometimes go too far, making mothers who can’t or don’t want to nurse feel guilty. Breast-feeding should be sold on its benefits, they say.

They argue that mothers won’t respond to negative messages like the television ad in one federal government-funded campaign that showed a pregnant woman riding a mechanical bull. “You wouldn’t take risks before your baby’s born. Why start after?” the announcer asked. The conclusion: failure to breast-feed puts babies in danger.

Alicia Feldman, an Iowa mother, breast-fed all three of her children — including her twins. But she believes women need to be supportive of each other, regardless of how they feed their children.

"I have friends who have been successful at breast-feeding, and some who haven't," she says. "You don't judge each other. Sometimes your body won't keep up."

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West Virginia Journalist Speaks Out Against Breastfeeding Bill

Apparently the West Virginia Breastfeeding Legislation has caught the eye of the political editor at the West Virginia State Journal.

Here's what he writes:

I was somewhat disappointed to see that last year's grand champion of unnecessary bills -- the one that would have forced merchants to let women breastfeed anywhere in their establishments -- has returned but in somewhat diminished form.

A gaggle of state senators is calling not for breastfeeding on demand on private property but for some more constitutional steps, such as a program encouraging employers to encourage breastfeeding at the workplace and automatic excuses from jury duty for breastfeeding mothers. It omits breastfeeding from public indecency laws.

Much better.

But in the House of Delegates, the war for the right to nurse in other people's establishments rages on. After all of the outraged "lactavists" we heard from last year, I would have been disappointed if they would have given up in both houses.

Want to share your thoughts? Chris Stirewalt can be reached at (304) 720-6553 or by e-mail at cstirewalt@statejournal.com.

Here's the letter that I just sent...

Mr Stirewalt,

Having just read your article about the "waste of time" bills being pushed through the West Virginia Congress this year, I couldn't help but share my own comments.

Exclusively breastfeeding a child for the first six months of its' life and continuing to nurse to a year and beyond has been proven to lower the risk of obesity and to improve long-term health (thus extending life expectancy and lowering health care costs). Since survey after survey shows that fear of breastfeeding in public (and facing the embarrassment and shame of being pointed out and asked to leave) is a primary reason that many mothers quit breastfeed (or never start at all), bills that protect the rights of nursing mothers are essential to increasing the rates of breastfed children.

As such, I would consider the proposed breastfeeding legislation to be a great way to address three (obesity, life expectancy and uninsured citizens) of the five issues named by you in your column. Perhaps you need to work on item number three on your list (education) so that you might be better informed about the potential impact of these types of bills.

Some day the public may get beyond themselves and realize that the issue here isn't about a mother's right to nurse in public, it's about a child's right to eat. Last time I checked adults (and non-nursing children) were allowed to enjoy their meals without being asked to place a blanket over their head or to retire to the nearest public restroom.

Then again, maybe we are moving in the direction where we should be allowed to banish anyone that offends us. I suppose if mixed race couples bother me, I should be allowed to ask them to leave my property and to call the police if they refuse. Or perhaps I dislike people that are overweight. May I kick them out of my restaurant as well? What about Republicans? Democrats? Can I tell someone to leave because their beliefs offend me?

Perhaps if Americans would grow up and learn to look the other way if they're offended by a child eating then we wouldn't have to waste the government's time with issues like these. "

Jennifer Laycock

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Pennsylvania Midwife Charged With Practicing Medicine Without a License

Lancaster Online is running a story about Diane Goslin, a Pennsylvania lay midwife that serves the Amish and Mennonite community. Goslin appeared before the state Board of Medicine on Friday to face charges for practicing medicine without a license. (Pennsylvania does not license direct entry midwives.)

From the article:

The 15-minute hearing allowed Goslin's attorney and the state to review and agree on the facts of the case. There was no testimony, and a decision is not expected for at least six months.

Goslin admits she holds no license and does not have credentials required by the state to get a midwife license, including a registered-nurse degree and a passing grade on an exam.

But the 49-year-old says she is certified to perform midwifery by North American Registry of Midwives, a certification organization which she said is recognized by 28 states, but not Pennsylvania. She also has 25 years' experience in the ancient tradition of midwifery, most often serving women in local Plain communities.

She also disputes she helped deliver a child in 2005, an event from which the accusations against her stem, saying she was "present for the birth of the child, but did not 'deliver' the child."

Goslin faces $40,000 in fines if charged.

To note, Goslin is licensed by NARM, a certification that is recognized by 28 states. (My own state of Ohio also fails to recognize or issue licenses to NARM midwives.)

The problems here are three fold...

1.) Direct entry midwives are needed within the Amish, Mennonite and even English communities. For those without insurance, the cost of a home birth generally runs less than half that of a standard vaginal hospital birth. Since home birth has been proven to be every bit as safe as hospital birth for low risk women (and to have lower morbidity rates) direct entry midwives provide a safe and cost effective way to handle birth.

From the article:

One speaker, Daniel King, an Amish father of eight from Lancaster County, said lay midwives offer those in Plain communities a less-costly option of home birth — which Goslin said typically costs $800 to $2,000 — compared with a minimum cost of $6,000 for hospital births.

"(Lay midwives) can come to our homes any time of the day or night because we have no transportation," King said. "There are high costs in hospitals, more disease in hospitals. My wife is more comfortable at home. We have no insurances.

"My wife and neighbors are afraid of what will happen to them if Diane Goslin gets shut down."

2.) Direct entry midwives are currently "alegal" in states like Pennsylvania and Ohio. That means that they're not breaking any laws when they attend births (unless they perform a medical procedure like an episiotimy, stitching a tear or administering prescription drugs) but they also risk prosecution any time someone wants to claim that even catching a baby counts as "practicing medicine." In states where lay midwifery is alegal, most midwives DO carry life saving medicines like pitocin or methargine for dealing with hemmorage knowing that if they use them to save a mom's life, their own freedom is at risk.

3.) On the other hand, when direct entry midwives are brought "into the system" by state licensing boards they are usually forced to operate under much stricter guidelines. In most states that recognize DEMs they are unable to attend breech deliveries, multiples deliveries, births before 38 and after 42 weeks and in a variety of other situations. That takes control of birth out of the hands of the mother and places it in the hands of a doctor.

Of course there's also the issue of a small number of midwives going up against the huge ACOG lobby. The last recorded figure I heard put planned, attended home births at about 0.5% of births each year. That makes for a pretty small group of supporters fighting for the right to home birth. That said, there were more than 300 supporters gathered at the courthouse in support of Goslin.

I'd encourage any Pennsylvania readers to consider contacting their local newspapers and representatives to show their support for Goslin.


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, January 29, 2007

The Taste of Milk

There's this scene in Napoleon Dynamite where he's in an FAA milk judging event. He's got three big containers of milk in front of him and as he drinks each one, he has to explain what makes that milk unique. You know, things like "this one tastes like the cow got into an onion patch..."

I laughed, but Greg (who actually went to state (or was it nationals) for FAA milk judging) swore to me that you really could tell. You could pick out bleach, onions, whether the cow was grain fed or grass fed and so on. Seemed weird to me, but whatever. Milk is milk, right?

Well, I started buying organic milk for Greg and I about a month ago when we started on our "healthier eating" journey. I kept hearing about how organic milk tasted better and being someone who LOVES milk, I thought that sounded great.

Here's the problem. When you remove all the crap that comes in conventional milk, there's nothing left to mask the flavor of whatever the cows ate. We've been through three brands now and I'm amazed at how clearly you can taste the different things that the cows have eaten. We started off with Meijer brand organic (which is what Elnora has been drinking for a year.) It was hit or miss. The first carton was pretty good, the second carton...well...the word "dirt" came to mind.

Next we tried a local Ohio organic milk that was about 75 cents less per half gallon. Greg thought it was wonderful. He declared it grass fed milk and raved about the taste. I thought it tasted like dirt. In fact, I couldn't drink it straight (and it was barely passable on cereal.)

This week, it's been Stoneyfield Farms organic milk from Giant Eagle. It's $3 a half gallon, which is 30 cents less than the Meijer brand organic.

It's fantastic! Best I can tell, it might be from grain fed cattle. There's no taste of dirt, no strong, pungent flavor, just cool, crisp, yummy milk.

So what's that have to do with breastfeeding?

Well if you think about it, it makes even me sense now why some babies get mad when we eat certain things. I mean if we can tell if a cow ate grass or grain by drinking their milk, why wouldn't what we ate make an impact on what our milk tastes like to our babies. Yesterday I loaded up on garlic...tons and tons of garlic. I'd imagine that taste got passed on to Emmitt.

Babies are going to have taste preferences the same way that we do. Unfortunately, most of them can't tell us yet what they think of these flavors. They're hungry though, so they have to drink it even if they hate it. That whole fussy at the breast thing makes sense to me now. I'd be pretty fussy if I'd been forced to drink that dirt milk.

So my question is to those of you nursing older kids. (2, 3, even 4 years old.) Do me a favor and ask them how the milk flavor changes and what they think of different foods. I really, really wanna know about this, but I'm not going to drink my milk myself. ;) Throw back a bunch of garlic and ask your 3 year old what they think. Load up on the barley or rye or some other strong grain and see what they say.

Then tell me. Because I'm super curious. :)

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Must. Get. Sleep.

Emmitt has apparently figured out what comfort nursing is.

While the last two nights have been pretty good (he ate at 10:30, 2:30 and 6:30) the two nights before that were "every hour on the hour" type nights and I've yet to catch up. As best I can figure, the poor little bugger is teething. He'd wake up, fuss, act like he wanted to nurse, would nurse for 5 minutes, then pass out. He wasn't swallowing much, so I can only imagine that he just wanted to feel better. Unfortunately that messed his schedule up during the day as well and he ended up being awake from 10am to 11pm for two days with NO naps.


So I've been playing catchup. I dosed him with a little bit of infant's motrin last night and that seemed to help. His awake hours are mostly spent chewing on anything he can find, usually my hands.

When you have to rotate through all four fingers and the thumb on your hand because they keep getting pruney, you know the kid needs some serious chewing. It also makes me realize why all those babies go around with bibs on. Elnora never drooled (though she also didn't cut teeth until about 9 months) so I just never "got" it.

It would make sense that the bottle fed kid would get teeth late and the boob nosher would get them early...

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Friday, January 26, 2007

West Virginia Breastfeeding Legislation in the Works

Well let's be thankful one of us is on the ball this week because until I saw Angela's post, I completely missed the news about the proposed breastfeeding legislation in West Virginia. (Though I did manage to tell you about Indiana and Toronto...so I guess I'll just say Angela and I planned this as a tag-team effort...yeeaaaaah....that's it...tag-team....)

So, head to Breastfeeding 1-2-3 to get the full scoop, though I'll give you a snippet:

Senate Bill 7 would require the establishment of a program to encourage and recognize breastfeeding-friendly employers and would allow breastfeeding mothers to be excused from jury duty. House Bill 2244 is the whole package. It provides the breastfeeding protection described above, it clarifies that a mother breastfeeding a child is not engaging in lewd conduct or violating nudity laws and is entitled to an expectation of privacy, it allows breastfeeding mothers to be excused from jury duty and it establishes the breastfeeding-friendly employer program.


Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

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This Week in Healthy Eating

My healthy eating journey continues. Stepped on the scales this morning. I'm down six pounds since I started cutting HFCS out (and adding in more fiber) two weeks ago.


Now, I could say that since everything has HFCS in it, I'm just eating less and that's what caused the weight loss. While that's true to an extent, it's not the whole story. After all, M&M's don't have HFCS. ;) Neither does Meijer brand chocolate chip cookie dough. I've eaten my fair share of both of those in the last two weeks. On the other hand, I've eaten very little bread, eaten far more fruits and veggies and made a concentrated effort to cook more foods from scratch.

So the good and the bad...

Well, I discovered yesterday that Giant Eagle not only has a very nice (and affordable) organic section, they also have a new fresh meat section. It's not organic, but everything is free range, grain fed, hormone free and antibiotic free. The price is about halfway between conventional meat and organic meat. Works for me! That said, I had some frustration in the bread aisle. In the entire aisle, I found ONE loaf of bread that didn't have HFCS. That included all the so-called "healthy" whole grain breads that come double packaged to stay fresh. So I came home with Sara Lee Blueberry toasting bread.

So help...I like bread. I don't need to eat it often, but I like to have it around for toast and what-not. Anyone know any good national brands of bread that are whole grain and free of HFCS? Or, got a good homemade bread recipe that stays good for more than a day or two? (Lindsay, this is where I think you come in...)

The good? Mmmm...fresh cooking. Made my famous "Not so chili" last night with some of that Giant Eagle ground beef, ground turkey, organic diced tomatoes, organic carrots, onions, mushrooms, some jalepeno and serrano peppers and a big old combination of yummy spices.

Ain't nothing wrong with losing weight while enjoying M&Ms and chocolate chip cookies.


Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

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Thursday, January 25, 2007

Victory! Potty Time

It's darn hard to teach a kid that doesn't talk how to go to the potty. You *think* they get it, but you don't know because they can't tell you.

We started Nora with her potty about a month ago. We'd encourage her to sit on it with her pants on while we sat on the potty. About a week ago we got her to consistantly take her pants off to sit on the potty. (We'd always ask, she'd say no, so the pants stayed on.)

The last three days she has "asked" to go potty by pointing to the bathroom. We've tried, but no luck.

Today she took her pants off and brought me a diaper. She wasn't wet yet so I asked if she had to go. She nodded, so off we went.

Sure enough, we got about a full cup (geeze!) of pee in the little potty! We did a little dance and clapped and smiled and yelled Woo hoo!!

I'd imagine we may still have a long road to haul, but hey, it's a start. I'll take one small victory at a time. Besides, she's only 26 months, so I figure even if it takes six more months to get the hang of it, that's not bad. :)

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Elnora's Got Soul...

Elnora's a picky one when it comes to music. If I turn on the radio while we're driving, she gets very opinionated on what we should listen to. I can flip channels and she'll say yes or no on each one (usually no) and without fail always ends up wanting to listen to whatever station is playing 70's rock.

So today, we were driving down to the library to return some things and I had on Muddy Waters. "Got my mojo workin'" came on and I was sort of doing that car dance thing where you're moving your head from side to side.

Suddenly from the back I hear her protesting. I looked back and asked what was wrong. She pointed at me and shook her head.

"You don't want mommy to dance?" I asked.

She nodded. Then she pointed to herself.

"Nora wants to dance?" I asked.

She nodded again. I said "ok, go for it."

And I swear, the kid immediately starts doing this weird head bob thing that looks exactly like any bass player you've ever seen in a REAL blues band. She's bobbing her head all over the place, shaking her shoulders etc...

Apparently she didn't think I how to car dance to the blues, so she had to show me.


Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Another Family Kicked Off Airline

Yep, you read that right, AirTran kicked a family off a plane earlier this month. No, not because of breastfeeding, but because the family's three year old threw a temper tantrum and could not be "confined" to a seat.

According to the Chicago Tribune...

"The flight was already delayed 15 minutes and in fairness to the other 112 passengers on the plane, the crew made an operational decision to remove the family," AirTran spokeswoman Judy Graham-Weaver said.

Julie and Gerry Kulesza, who were headed home to Boston on Jan. 14 from Fort Myers, said they just needed a little more time to calm their daughter, Elly.

"We weren't given an opportunity to hold her, console her or anything," Julie Kulesza said in a telephone interview Tuesday.

The Kuleszas said they told a flight attendant they had paid for their daughter's seat, but asked whether she could sit in her mother's lap. The request was denied.

The Kuleszas were rebooked on another flight the next day, had their complete airfare refunded AND were given three future tickets to anyplace that the carrier flies.

The Kuleszas are NOT happy. In fact, they're making a pretty big media stink about the whole ordeal. Google news currently logs more than 300 news articles about the incident. Mr. Kulesza says that they will never fly AirTran again.

As you can imagine, the story is already drawing some comparison to the Emily Gillette incident last fall.

Here's the difference.

Ms. Gillette was seated calmly and quietly in her seat while holding her less than two year old daughter on her lap, per FAA regulations. They were not keeping the plane from taking off, they simply offended a flight attendant.

In the case of the Kuleszas, you have a mother and a father with a three year old that cannot be controlled. The family claims that they simply "needed more time" but you have to consider a few things. First, parents with small children are always welcomed to board early or first. It takes at least 15-20 minutes to board a plane. News stories tell us that the plane was "delayed" for an additional 15 minutes before leaving the gate. That means that the family had a minimum of 15 minutes and a maximum of 35 minutes to get their child under control, or at the very least, strapped in to a seat.

According to AirTran spokeswoman Judy Graham-Weaver "...she was climbing under the seat and hitting the parents and wouldn't get in her seat."

Now, FAA regulations require that a child older than the age of 2 must be sitting in their OWN seat on the plane and must be wearing a seat belt. Thus, the plane could not legally take off before this child was secure in her seat.

There were 117 people on that flight and who knows how many planes being schedule to take off after it. Planes simply cannot sit around at the gate waiting for a 3 year old to finish their tantrum.

I don't blame AirTran in the slightest. I would have removed her as well. The fact that they completely refunded their tickets AND offered them additional tickets seems like more than enough compensation for me.

Let's get one thing straight. Kids have tantrums. If you have a child and your child hasn't had a tantrum at a bad time in a bad place where you can feel like a total fool...give it time. They WILL do it. I don't think there's a parent out there that can't sympathize for the Kuleszas and the frustration they must have felt when their daughter wouldn't cooperate. I certainly do.

HOWEVER, part of being a parent is accepting that sometimes WE have to be inconvenienced in order for other people to get through their days. In my mind, there's a world of difference between being offended at one mom feeding her child and asking another mom to remove her screaming child from a flight that cannot take off while she's on it.

What do you think? Who was right? Should the airlines have waited around until the child could be brought under control? Should the parents have volunteered to leave? Does the airline owe them an apology? Are they simply trying to milk this for some media attention and maybe a "please shut up now" settlement?

What would you have done if you'd been in the Kuleszas shoes?

Hat tip to Mir at BlogHer.


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.

Nursing - The Physical Bond Part II

Last week I wrote a post that I called Nursing - The Physical Bond. The more I think about it, the more I realize that I should have titled it Nursing - The Emotional Bond. When I think about it, everything that I described was emotional.

The reason I realize that I mistitled it is because tonight I planned to sit down and write about the physical bond and I realized I'd already used that post title. Oh well, live and learn.

So I've called this one...part two.

One of the biggest differences in my relationship with Emmitt over my relationship with Elnora is the actual physical attachment that I have to him. I don't just mean in terms of how often I nurse, I mean in terms of our physical proximity to each other...day, night, weekends...all the time.

You see, with Elnora I had the benefit that many bottle feeding mothers talk about. I didn't have to be the one to feed her. Yes, I was "tied down" in that I had to pump on such a tight schedule, but the reality was that outside of those four times a day pumping sessions, I was "free." As such, I took two business trips during that time period, both a week long, while she stayed with my mother. My husband and I also enjoyed several weekends all to ourselves as my mother-in-law kept her for the weekend once a month from the time she was 8 months old until right before Emmitt was born.

Even while I was home, there wasn't the same physical closeness. She moved from our room to her crib when she was a week old. She spent far more time in her bouncy chair or playing in her gyminy than she did in my arms.

None of this was because I didn't love her every bit as much as I love Emmitt...it's just because things were...different.

Emmitt was a baby that required physical closeness from the start. For the first three days of his life, he rarely left my arms. He fussed if we put him down for more than a few seconds and of course there was the nursing. The constant, ALL THE TIME nursing.

Because of that, he not only started off in the pack-n-play just a foot or two from our bed, but he has stayed there. He's nearly four months old and I don't see the need to move him to his room anytime soon. In fact, as we debate switching rooms around, I'm considering just putting his crib in our room. He's going to outgrow the pack-n-play soon.

Emmitt spends a good 2-4 hours a day sitting in my lap (not counting when he's nursing.) He just doesn't like to be on his own. He'll go from fussy and unhappy to laughing and smiling the second I pick him up. I don't even have to be talking to him, he just wants to feel a warm body next to him and I'm happy to oblige.

But it goes beyond that.

I had a business trip this past December. Emmitt was just ten weeks old. I simply could not leave him. My "excuse" was that I was afraid if I left him for two days with just a bottle that he wouldn't want to nurse when I returned. Deep down, I know that I couldn't leave him because...well...I COULDN'T leave him. We've had a few dates now...while I'm glad to go on them, I can't be gone more than three or four hours. He'll take a bottle, but I don't want him to. I want to be there for him. Last week I went out of town with my best friend for her birthday. I could have left Emmitt with Greg and some bottles of milk.

Emmitt went with me.

In April, I have a 6 day trip to New York for work. He'll be almost seven months old. I could pump enough milk to leave with him and he could stay with Elnora at my mother's.

Emmitt is going with me.

Once again, I'm terrified that if I leave him for that long...he will refuse to nurse when I come home. So, I've talked my best friend into taking a week off work and I'm taking her to NYC with me to play nanny during my sessions. The rest of the time, we'll have some fun doing whatever it is you do with children in New York City.

In August, I have a 5 day trip to San Jose. He'll be nearly a year old. I don't know yet if he's going with me or not, but right now I'm leaning toward "yes" if I can find someone to go with me.

It's interesting really. I don't know if this is something that all moms feel, something that nursing moms feel, or what the deal is. Again, I love both my kids more than I could imagine, but for some reason I'm ok with leaving Elnora and I just can't be away from Emmitt.

I have two theories on this.

1.) Emmitt is my last child (unless God surprises us) and I wonder if deep down I'm just trying to cherish every last second of babyhood. I'll never have another cuddly, wiggly little one of my own, so I don't want to miss any chance to get some baby loving in. They grow so fast...and Elnora isn't much for snuggling up.

2.) I hated pumping more than I ever realized. I did it because that's what it took to get that milk into Elnora, but I hated it. I never realized that I resented having to pump and that I was sad about having to give bottles. I really never got it until I got to experience the other side of things. As such, I think that deep down I'm still terrified of being rejected by him. I think it's why I held off on bottles so long, I think it's why I don't want to be gone long enough that he'll have to take a bottle. I think it's why I'm afraid to leave for more than a few hours.

So what is it ladies? Anyone else bottle feed one and nurse one? Did you feel physically closer to the breastfed baby than the other baby? Or do you think it's more likely that I've got some weird abandonment issues going on here and I'm simply afraid of being "rejected" by Emmitt?

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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, January 23, 2007

Wal-Mart Offers "Nutrition and Feeding Educational Seminar" for New Moms

Yeah, that caught your eye didn't it. It's not quite what you think...or maybe it is.

Either way, Colleen Newman has an interesting idea.

Over at My Baby and More (her blog) she mentions that Wal-Mart is planning an "All Things Baby" event on February 3rd. She writes...

Wal-Mart has dreamed up an event, most likely to boost their declining sales this year, called "All Things Baby", which is scheduled for February 3rd. Go to their "All Things Baby" event and receive: "Bundles of information and helpful ideas and solutions." And . . . drum roll please . . . You can even enjoy a "complimentary gift bag with samples (while supplies last)!!"

Hmmm . . . I wonder what those generous samples will be? I’ll give you a hint . . . "Take part in an exclusive Nutrition & Feeding Educational Seminar sponsored by Similac".

Colleen suggests that she just might head to her local event to take part in a little lactivism. I can't help but wonder about the idea myself.

Can you imagine some new moms sitting down for that seminar and then all of a sudden, half a dozen or more of them put baby to breast?

It brings a smile to my face. Especially since the Wal-Mart nearest me hassled a breastfeeding mom earlier this year.

I don't know if I've got the energy to try and push for a nation-wide nurse-in at this event, but part of me says that it would be an awful lot of fun.

I dunno...what do you guys think?


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.

Product Review: Customized Mint Tins

Had a chance to check out some really cute customized candy tins this week. I know this seems a little "off" from traditional breastfeeding products, but I had a company contact me about reviewing these from the "baby shower favor" and "birth announcement" front. I'm always a little lost about what to do for baby shower favors and I've always liked the idea of cute birth announcement type things but haven't ever done then. (Had friends who named their son Heath and gave out fun size Heath bars...it was cute.)

So I figured why not and told them to go ahead and send me some. The tins are from Plum Drama and come in eleventy-million designs. They aren't cheap, though they're also not insanely expensive. They run $2.50 each with a minimum order of 30 tins. (Perhaps a bit high for most showers, but a nice number if you wanted to use them as birth announcements.)

They sent me three designs, each with a different flavor of candy in them. I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the printing. A lot of times when you see a company offering this many "customized" options, they're using fairly cheap labels that are simply printed out and slapped on. These tins are pretty nice though. Smaller than an Altoids tin, but bigger than a credit card, they're a nice size for throwing in your purse or diaper bag. The print quality was excellent and the site notes that you can send in a picture or a design of your own choice to have printed on the tins.

They come in four flavors: peppermint, sugar-free peppermint, cinnamon and fruit punch. They sent me the first three.

The sugar-free peppermints (I don't usually eat sugar-free things, but for you guys, I gave in and tried them) were pretty good. Very "altoidish" in their strength. Nice peppermint flavor. The cinnamon ones were excellent. They reminded me of a "red hot" but they weren't chewy, they were crunchy. One of the better cinnamon candies I've tasted, actually. But the regular peppermint candies were kind of gross. Something about the texture I think...it wasn't so much the flavor as something just seemed "wrong" about them. Greg agreed with me on all three mints. Elnora put her vote in for the cinnamon (she kept trying to sneak them).

To note, they can obviously be used for far more than baby shower favors or birth announcements. They have designs for tons of occasions... Baby's first birthday, weddings, first communion, even bar/bat mitzvahs and quinceanera.


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.

City of Toronto Stands Up For Breastfeeding Women

Apparently the United States isn't the only place where women run into problems nursing in public. The Toronto Star reports that some northers in the Canadian city of Toronto have experienced some problems breastfeeding in public. As such, the Toronto Public Health commission is urging the city's health department to create a new policy that more clearly defines the rights of a woman to nurse her child in a public location.

The issue of women breastfeeding in public has at times stirred controversy, with occasional instances of mothers breastfeeding in restaurants, movie theatres or parks being asked to stop.

The Ontario Human Rights Commission says nursing mothers have legal rights.

Its policy states, in part, "You have the right to breastfeed a child in a public area. No one should prevent you from nursing your child simply because you are in a public area.

"They should not ask you to `cover up,' disturb you, or ask you to move to another area that is more `discreet.'"

To note, the Star is also asking for input from the public on the issue of nursing in public. If you'd like to share your two cents, you can use their online form to share your comments.

Here's what I sent...

It never ceases to amaze me that some people have a problem with children eating in a public place.

I think it's very easy for some people to claim that a mother "shouldn't" do this or that. (A mother "shouldn't" breastfeed in public, a mother "shouldn't" breastfeed without covering up, and so on.)

If they'd take the time to stop looking at it from that perspective and to start realize that what they are ACTUALLY saying is that a child doesn't have the right to eat in public or the right to eat without a blanket over their heads, they might realize how silly they sound.

This isn't a mother's rights issue, it's a child's rights issue.

In other words, it's not about my right to breastfeed, it's about my child's right to eat.

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

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

A Pregnancy Tip for Nausea - Lots of Protein

A friend of mine is in the early stages of pregnancy right now and like many of us, finds those first few months wrought with debilitating nausea.

With my first, I has such severe nausea that I lost 15 pounds in the first three months. It wasn't until my sixth month of pregnancy that I finally began to gain weight. I threw up so often that I knew exactly which meals were the "best" both coming and going. (Note: Cheese curls liquify when they reach your stomach...do NOT eat an entire bag just because you crave them because it is more than a little unsettling to throw up florescent orange liquid.) I spoke with my OB about this problem many times and was simply told that it would pass and to try to keep down as much as I could.

Gee. Thanks Mr. MD, you went to school for how many years to learn that?

With my second pregnancy, I switched to midwife care. In my first phone conversation with my midwife (to setup an appointment) she asked how I was feeling. I mentioned the horrific day and night nausea and gave a brief bit of info on my first pregnancy.

"Protein," she replied.

"Huh?" I said.


She explained to me that pregnancy wreaks havoc on not only your hormones, but also on your appetite, which we all know. Since many moms will often feel a little nauseated and then start cutting back food, they start to experience highs and lows in their blood sugar. Anyone that has dealt with hypo or hyperglycemia knows that dramatic blood sugar swings can make you instantly nauseous.

Now, what do we do when we get nauseated? We eat simple carbohydrates, because they are bland. We avoid complex carbohydrates and foods rich in protein because they are "heavy." Unfortunately, simple carbohydrates are quickly turned into blood sugar in your system and cause dramatic spikes (and then drops) in your blood sugar levels. Complex carbohydrates, high fiber foods and proteins process more slowly and help keep blood sugar levels more stable which helps alleviate nausea.

My midwife's suggestion? 100 grams of protein a day.

It's daunting...finding and eating that much protein, especially if you have a pregnancy induced aversion to meat. I tried it though...reading labels, calculating what foods I could eat for the most protein packing punch, and taking small containers of high-protein drinkable yogurts to bed with me for a middle of the night protein boost.

You know...it works. At least it did for me and it's working right now for my friend. It's also worth nothing that there's speculation and some studies that imply that high protein diets can make Pre-E, HEELP syndrom and some other pregnacy problems less common.

I found that on the days I hit at least 80 grams of protein I had almost no nausea. On the days that I slacked off, I felt like dying.

So what are some high protein foods that make a good fit for this pregnancy diet?

Chicken or Turkey (about 40 grams in one cup)
Fish (30-35 grams per fillet for most types of fish)
Pork and Beef (25-27 grams per 3 oz serving)
Cottage Cheese (30 grams per cup)
Soybeans (28 grams per cup)
Couscous (22 grams per cup)
Baked beans (17 grams per cup)
Long grain white rice (13 grams per cup)
Lima Beans (12 grams per cup)
Yogurt (8-12 grams per cup)
Trail Mix (10 grams per half cup)
Cow's Milk (8 grams per cup)

There's obviously a ton of other stuff, but if you get creative, it's pretty easy to hit. I'd often have a hard boiled egg or a drinkable yogurt in the middle of the night. For breakfast I might have eggs, toast and fruit. Lunch? A PBJ sandwich on high protein bread, a glass of milk and some veggies. Dinner? Meat, a high protein veggie, and a complex carbohydrate.

I'd keep trail mix, granola, almonds, peanuts and such around as snacks. It was amazing to see that if some nausea started to creep up on me and I'd simply eat a handful of nuts or drink a glass of milk that things would seem to level back out. I did try those high protein "candy" bars a few times but found them almost impossible to eat. I suppose you could also mix protein powder into a fruit smoothie or something else as well, but I was aiming to get my protein from 'whole foods' whenever possible.

So I'm curious...did anyone else's doctor or midwife stress the 100 grams of protein a day to them? I seem to hear it a lot from women who used midwives but not so much from people who used OBs.

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

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

A Little Breastfeeding Humor

True story? Cute joke? I'm not sure, but Lactivist reader Evi Adams shares this gem.

"During a commercial airline flight a Navy Pilot was seated next to a young mother with a baby in arms.

When the baby began crying during the descent for landing, the mother began nursing the infant as discreetly as possible. The pilot pretended not to notice and, upon debarking, he gallantly offered his assistance to help with the various baby-related items.

When the young mother expressed her gratitude, the pilot responded, "Gosh, that's a good looking baby...and he sure was hungry!"

Somewhat embarrassed, the mother explained that her pediatrician said nursing would help alleviate the pressure in the baby's ears.

The Navy Pilot sadly shook his head, and in true pilot fashion exclaimed, "Damn! And all these years I've been chewing gum.


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, January 22, 2007

Breastfeeding Legislation Proposed in Indiana

Indiana State Senator Vi Simpson has introduced new legislation (Senate Bill 225) aimed at protecting breastfeeding mothers that need to return to work. The legislation would require companies to allow their employees to use break time to express milk and would also require them to provide a refrigerated storage area for that milk.

"The benefits of breastfeeding to infants and moms are widely known," said Simpson. "Allowing working mothers who nurse their babies to use breaks to express milk and to properly store that milk for later consumption is a way we can demonstrate our commitment to the health of Hoosier children."

Only eleven states currently have laws on the books related to breastfeeding and the workplace, so this would push Indiana ahead of most of the country in terms of lactivist progress.

Simpson also sponsored legislation back in 2003 that provided breastfeeding moms with protection from indecency laws. (That bill passed the Senate unanimously.)

If you are an Indiana mom, please consider contacting your local representatives to make sure they know you expect them to back the bill.

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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.

$38K on a Birthday Party

Breastfeeding and childbirth, two of the "hot button issues" when it comes to the mommy wars get a lot of play on this blog. I've often heard it said (usually by people that disagree with me on the importance of breastfeeding) that "none of this stuff will matter in five years."

Apparently what I'm supposed to care about in five years is how I'm going to "keep-up" with everyone else when it comes to birthday parties.

Ask a parent about birthday parties and you'll probably get a sigh and a description of the last party their kid went to — limousine service, a petting zoo or Ferris wheel, and definitely elaborate goody bags — followed by their despair at having to organize their own equally expensive party for their child's birthday.

Really? Guess I missed that boat on that one. For Elnora's first birthday, we went to dinner with Greg's parents and his brother's and their wives. There were 9 of us. We came home, put Elnora in the high chair, she had a piece of cake, she went to bed. For her second birthday, Greg and I (plus the kids) went to his parents for the weekend. My parents went too. We ate dinner at his parents house and gave Nora a slice of birthday cake. She went to bed.

Emmitt's first two birthday parties will likely go the same way.

Who are these children that have 20 friends at the age of 2?

It makes me think of that line from "The Wedding Singer" ... "you're eight years old! you only know your parents!"

You know which birthday parties I remember the most growing up? The Murphy family that lived two doors down. They had eleventy billion kids (ok...five) and most of them had birthdays in the summer. That means that at some random point while we were all out playing, their mom would mention that we were welcome to come have cake that night. My brother and I would go home and mention it to my mom. She'd pull a couple Matchbox cars (dad always kept a good supply of new in box Matchbox cars for just such an occasion) down and wrap them up. Off we went to the "party."

It was a blast. It didn't cost anyone anything and since we were 5 or 7 or 9 years old...what did we care?

When I got older, birthday parties were usually sleepovers with half a dozen or so friends. We'd stay up, eat pizza and junk food and watch movies. (Dirty Dancing...Goonies...The Breakfast Club...) We'd play truth or dare and light as a feather, stiff as a board.

It was a blast. It didn't hardly cost anyone anything and since we were 11 or 12 or 13 years old, what did we care?

The "fancy" parties were the years when the parents would load a bunch of us into a minivan or two and take us to see a movie or to go bowling. I never once went to a party with a hired clown or magician. I've never been to a party at Chuck E. Cheese.

I don't remember coming home from someone else's birthday party with a gift of my own.

Now will someone please explain to my why I should feel obligated to throw an actual PARTY for my 2 year old? Or perhaps next fall when Elnora turns 3? Quite honestly, she's probably not going to get a party with anyone but family then either.

I look at it this way. When my child is old enough to both ask for a party and to tell me who she'd like to invite, she can have one. I'll ask her input, we'll plan it together, but I'm not taking out a loan to finance it.

"You have to perform to a certain level," says Carol Cadby, a teacher and mother of a 7-year-old and a 10-year-old in Arlington, Va.


"A lot of parents feel they're on a birthday-party treadmill that gets faster every year. They're afraid their birthday party won't measure up and their child will be disappointed."

Who ARE these people???

When did it become a BAD thing for a child to "end up disappointed?"



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.


What's grosser than having a child throw up in your bed?

Having a dog do it.

While said dog is under the covers.

And then having the dog do it AGAIN after you've stripped the bed and changed the sheets at 1:30 in the morning.


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.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Possible Side Effects May Include...

If you put a bunch of breastfeeding activists and lactation consultants in a room and had them come up with a commercial for breastfeeding, it might go something like this...

Slow and gentle orchestral music starts up in the background as the picture fades in to show a newborn baby in his mother's arms. The mother gazes down at her child in rapt adoration and gently raises the child to her breast. As the music swells and we watch various shots of mothers and nurslings snuggled together in nursing bliss, you'd hear the voice over.

"Every parent wants what's best for their child. Breastfeeding is one of the most natural and beautiful ways to ensure the health their health. Breastfed babies have lower rates of colic, allergies, illness, ear infections and even diaper rash. They are less at risk for childhood cancers, obesity and death from SIDS. Breastfeeding takes far less work than bottle feeding, is inexpensive and portable."

The commercial would go on and on about how wonderful breastfeeding is for both mother and child. Then at the end, Mr. Fast-Talking-Announcer-Man would speedily say:

"Possible side effects may include sleepless nights, breast infections, cracked and bleeding nipples, latch pain, thrush, reliance on breast pumps, societal pressure and a general desire to crawl into the nearest closet to hide."

What's my point? Well, on the heels of my post about the beauty of the nursing bond between mother and child I think it's only fair to talk about one of my biggest issues with lactation consultants, breastfeeding campaigns and nursing mothers.

I think that far too many of them underplay the difficulty that breastfeeding spells for many women.

You often hear it glossed over as "after the first two weeks, breastfeeding is...[fill in the blank]" That "after the first two weeks" part is usually said quickly and quietly.

I've spoken to so many women in real life and online that expressed sheer amazement at just how difficult breastfeeding was. In fact, apart from my friend who had a baby a month ago, pretty much every mom I know TRIED to breastfeed and quit within a week or two. It was just too hard and they couldn't see the light at the end of the tunnel.

To be honest, I felt the same way with Elnora. Sure, exclusively pumping worked out for us, but we were very blessed. Had I not known of that option, or had I not had a good supply for the pump, Elnora would have ended up on formula. Not because I didn't want to breastfeed, not because I wasn't educated, not because I didn't have support...but because NO ONE ever told me how hard those first two weeks would be.

I'm a "natural childbirth" advocate as well as a breastfeeding advocate. I love to try to educate and encourage women about their options when it comes to unmedicated birth. The first thing I tell them if they mention that they'd like to "try for a natural birth" is that they have GOT to prepare. We go out of our way to tell women that natural childbirth is like running a marathon. You've got to prepare, you've got to take classes, you've got to know that it's likely to be one of the hardest things you've ever done.

We tell them about transition...the point at which almost every mom, even the most hard core natural birthers think about the epidural. We tell them that that point is usually the hardest point of labor and that if they can hold on past transition, it gets a lot easier and they'll make it.

I wonder why we won't talk about breastfeeding the same way? Sure, I've heard moms talk about the need to have an LC's number on hand or the need to get to a LLL meeting before the birth. I've even heard moms talk about the need to take a breastfeeding class before the birth. What I rarely hear is a mom lay it out in raw, honest truth.

Breastfeeding is HARD for most moms. That first week or two can be enough to make even the most determined mom dissolve into tears at the thought of latching their baby on again. Even with lactation consultants and breastfeeding classes, many moms find that the first week or two results in painful latches, cracked or bleeding nipples, painful engorgement and so little sleep that you think you might pass out. We write things off by saying "get to a LC, it's not supposed to hurt" when the reality is that even with a perfect latch, that first week of nursing DOES hurt for some moms.

Do we do a disservice by talking about the wonderful benefits of nursing and skimming over the problems as if they're the simply the disclaimer at the end of a pharmaceutical ad? Do we lead moms into a false sense of "this should be easy" that leaves them confused, bewildered and heartbroken when they find that it's so much more difficult than they ever dreamed?

I realize the desire to avoid scaring moms. I get it, I really do. But women are intelligent. Can we really not come up with a way to be honest about what moms might face and to make sure that they are equipped with the ability to deal if and when things get tough?

I think I would have made it with Elnora if only I'd known that a few more days might have worked things out. I have to think that I'm not the only one.

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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.

OT - Boot Scoot 'n Boogie

The most challenging thing about breastfeeding for many moms is the feeling of not being able to get out and go anywhere. In fact, up until two weeks ago, I had gone out exactly ONE time without my children since Emmitt was born last September. The past three weeks I've tried to give myself one night a week to go out for a few hours and have a little fun, sans kids. On Friday night, that meant taking my best friend to the rodeo for her birthday. (Those are my boots on the left, hers on the right.)

We had a good time. It was sort of like AAA ball...these cowboys were just starting out and hoping to earn a spot on the TV tour. I'd wager most were between 18 and 24. We wondered briefly if rodeos were anything like hockey. (If a puck flies up and falls in your lap, you get to keep it...does the same go for cowboys?) We had great seats, front row, center of the arena. Close enough that when one bull went a little crazy and flew around the ring kicking up his rear I ended up with a little umm...bullspit ;) on my jeans.

The interesting thing to see was that this rodeo does not use cattle prods or other "shocks" to try and get the bulls to go a little crazy or to make them "ride." That meant that about every four or five rides, the bull would simply decide that he was NOT going to take that cowboy for a spin and would lay down in the pen. You could see the other cowboys back there reaching in and trying to prod him to get up with their hands but he was having none of it. So the cowboy climbed off, they let the bull go and run around the ring once and back to the pen he went. You could almost see the bull laughing. ;)

We didn't take Elnora, but apparently we should have. Maybe when she's a bit older.

Wanna see what we saw? I uploaded about eight clips to my YouTube account, but here's one to give you a quick sample.


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.

Depo Provera and Mother's Milk Supply

Micky over at MochaMilk has a must-read post on her site about Depo Provera. Now I'm not a fan of hormonal birth control (in fact, I blame it for my own fertility problems) but her blog post made me even more upset at the ways these products are being promoted.

Micky's post covers a pretty broad spectrum. From the impact of Depo on a mother's milk supply to the use of it on inner city single mothers without their knowledge, you'll likely find yourself more than a little ticked off after you've read it.

Here's a sample of what she has to say:

Lactation consultants will tell you story after story of mothers who struggle to bring in any milk supply at all after receiving an injection of Depo Provera. Even worse, how many mothers now think this is one more way that their body doesn't work; they could not produce milk for their baby. Yet, it didn't have to be that way.

Do doctors know they are sabotaging their patients? Do they care?

It gets worse...

I have heard time and time again of it being given with and without consent to black mothers (some young, some low income, some not) in the hospital. Apparently some doctors are so concerned that these potentially "non-compliant" patients will either skip the 6 weeks appointment or come back pregnant that they are willing to trample on their right to make an informed decision (especially one they may not agree with).

Anyone else as incensed about this as I am? Now long-time Lactivist readers already know my opinion of obstetrics as a whole (if not, just read the childbirth related posts here on the blog) but this just....arg...it just ticks me off. It's one thing to coerce a mother into a bad birth experience for the convenience of the doctor, it's a whole other thing to take away a mother's fertility without her knowledge and to put her ability to breastfeed at risk. It reeks of the days when moms were given shots in the hospital to "dry up their milk" because doctors believed that formula was so much better than breastmilk.

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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, January 20, 2007

Tandem Feeding

At least some of you just read that title and thought to yourself "no, it's tandem NURSING." Ha! Yourself would be wrong. It's tandem FEEDING.

At least it is in my house.

I've mentioned a few times in past posts that Elnora is on breast milk again, though I haven't really given an explanation. I wanted to experiment a bit before I wrote about it here, but today seems as good a day as any.

As you know, I have enough milk to feed a daycare center. Granted, I'm too lazy...err...busy these days to pump it all out, but I've got the supply. Back when I was pumping for a friend's baby I got in the habit of pumping every morning. (I usually get up before Emmitt, so the timing is good.) I can get about 10-13 ounces in about 15 minutes. Once my friend didn't need milk anymore, I had started freezing it for the milk bank.

Then I got to thinking. As you know, Elnora is VERY thin. She's in about the 2nd percentile and only climbed back onto the charts within the past few months. She's perfectly healthy, but I always worry about what might happen if she'd catch a bad stomach bug. It happened once before and we had to take her to the children's ER and put her on IV hydration. Her little body just has no reserves to pull her through a bad bug.

I know that the milk bank sometimes sends milk out to toddlers, older children and even adults that have severe weight issues. For some reason, breast milk seems to stimulate weight gain. I mentioned that to Greg and he pointed out that while she's always been small, she never got "skinny" until after I stopped pumping.

So I wondered...how weird would it be to put her back on breast milk? After all, lots of two year olds are still nursing. It certainly couldn't HURT her and there was a good chance that it would help her. There was a momentary "yuck" factor in my brain (after all, she's been on cow's milk for a year) before I snapped to my senses and got over it.

The next morning, that 10 ounces went into her Nuby cup. I put it in the fridge for a few hours so that it was cold, then swished it around and gave it to her.

She took a drink. Paused, looked at me with a quizzical look on her face ("Mom, this tastes different") and then proceeded to CHUG all 10 ounces. I could just hear Cousin Eddie's voice in her head going "it is gooooooooooood."

So for the past three weeks, Elnora has gotten 8-10 ounces of milk about 5 days a week and the milk bank has gotten about 5 ounces of milk each day.

Now here's where it gets interesting. On the days that she starts off with breast milk...she eats like a HORSE. It's uncanny. The first few times I thought it was coincidence, but it's the absolute truth. On a cow's milk day, she eats hardly anything, just like she did before, on a breast milk day, she eats everything in site. For example...

On a cow's milk day, she might eat this...
10 ounces of cow's milk
6 ounces of juice
6 ounces of water
a quarter of a waffle or an 1/8 cup of organic honey nut o's
half a banana or one clementine
a half a slice of bread with butter
5 or 6 green beans
a handful of goldfish crackers

On a breast milk day, she might eat this...
10 ounces of breast milk
6 ounces of juice
6 ounces of water
1.5 waffles
a whole banana
1/4 cup fresh pineapple
2 clementines
1/2 cup organic honey nut o's
1/2 cup green beans
1/2 CAN of canned pasta (or on one day, 3/4 of a personal pan pizza)
whole slice buttered bread
1/3 cup corn or broccoli
1/2 cup goldfish crackers

No joke, I'd estimate she takes in two to three times the amount of calories on the days that she has breast milk. I don't know if it triggers something in her digestive system or what the deal is, but it sure seems to be working. I told Greg that we'd weigh her in a month or so and see if she's gained some weight. In reality, as long as I'm nursing Emmitt, it's not a problem to pump and give her some expressed milk. I suppose she can have it for the next year or so if she wants. We'll just see how it goes.

So my question is...am I nuts? Has anyone else tried this? Again, I know lots of people tandem nurse, but does anyone know of a child who was weaned and then put back on breast milk a year later? Do you let your older children have expressed milk if they've weaned? Just curious to hear your thoughts on the subject.

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

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Organic Food at Meijer

Ok, I'm amazed.

I've been shopping at Meijer for about 9 years now. It's been my pretty much "exclusive" grocery store since the kids were born. (I used to be one of those "go to three stores and only shop the sales" people until I had kids, then I had to consolidate with one trip and the lowest average price.)

Lately, I've been trekking to Whole Paycheck...errr...Whole Foods...every two weeks and to Meijer once a week. Trying to find a mix of being able to eliminate some things like HFCS, Trans Fats, etc.. and to move to more whole foods. I prefer organics, but my bigger issue is what the ingredients are. (I'm not made of money, I've got to prioritize.)

So count me surprised when I drove from Whole Foods to Meijer this week to finish my grocery shopping. I don't know if this is a new thing or if I simply never noticed it before, but Meijer has a LOT of whole grain and organic options. They even have Meijer brand organics! Now I've been buying Meijer brand organic milk for more than a year, but I never noticed how many other organic options they have. This time, I saw them all over the place, though I only ended up buying a couple. What absolutely amazed me was that they had organic "spaghetti-o's" and organic canned ravioli! My first thought was "I'm saved!" (Those two foods are one of the few that Nora will eat consistently, so I always try to keep them as "back-ups") In fact, they not only had them as organic, they were also just $1.15 a can. That's what name brand Chef Boyardee goes for around here. The generic non-organic is still $1.00 a can. Organic it is!

I journeyed through the store working carefully to shop for organics when I could, to buy as much "whole food" as possible and to focus on whole grains and non-HFCS products. Here's what I managed to buy...(a few things are missing from the picture as they got tossed in with my Whole Foods bags.)

Organic Celery (same price as non-organic, they were on sale)
Organic Russett Potatoes ($1 more than non-organic for 5 pound bag)
Organic Red Raisins ($3 for a very large can and wow are they good)
Conventional Pineapple
Conventional Sweet Onions
Three bags conventional frozen fruit (berries and such for smoothies)
Meijer brand organic apple juice
Hormone free (but not organic) whole chicken
Hormone free (but not organic) ground turkey
Pork tenderloin
Fresh perch fillets
Life cereal (whole grains, no HFCS)
Meijer brand whole wheat dry macaroni (no added ingredients)
Ortega salsa (no preservatives, no sweeteners, just veggies)
Del Monte Organic tomato sauce
Del Monte Organic tomato paste
Meijer organic diced tomatoes
Meijer organic canned pasta
Prego organic spaghetti sauce
100% fruit spread (blackberry, mmmm)
Conventional honey

Yes, I did buy a few other things too...I'm not quite ready to give up my Pillsbury brand frozen waffles. ;) Also snagged things like shredded cheese, whipped cream cheese and a few other "not awful for you, but not great either" products. I was pleased to see that Tostito's brand corn chips are simply white corn, salt and vegetable oil. That means I can keep buying them too.

My point here is that organic foods seem to be starting to get popular enough to make the mainstream retailers build their own house brands. (Walmart also boasts quite a few organics, but I can't stand to shop there.) I know this is a bad thing in that these stores have the power to lobby toward lowering organic standards. They also have the supply chains to source it overseas, which makes it harder on our organic farmers. That sucks, but at the same time, I simply cannot afford to do organic unless I'm getting at least some of them from a shop like Meijer.

So next time you hit the grocery store, look around. You might be surprised at what's offered.


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, January 19, 2007

Peek-A-Boo Times


Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

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Thursday, January 18, 2007

Nursing - The Physical Bond

All this talk about cross-nursing and casual sharing has me thinking about why it is that I'm fine with casual sharing but a little wigged out by the idea of cross-nursing. (I don't mind others doing it, just not for me.)

I think part of it is that until I had Emmitt, I never really understand what nursing mothers were talking about with that intense, physical bond that they form with their child. In fact, I'll admit that I was fairly insulted when breastfeeding moms talked about the "bonding" that they had with their babies and implied that I could never have that same level of bonding with my own bottle-fed (albeit with breast milk) child.

I get it now and it's hard to figure out how to share it without offending people. I'm going to go with it though and trust that my readers know me well enough to get what I'm trying to share and that I mean no offense by it.

Nursing a child really is one of the most intimate things I've experienced in my life. Not intimate in a sexual manner, intimate in a "takes your breath away at the sheer innocence and beauty of it" kind of way. As much of a Lactivist as I am, up until Emmitt was born I really only ever planned to nurse him because that's what's best for HIM. It never really dawned on me how I might feel about it. (To be honest, I expected to feel a little bit yucky about it, even knowing how natural it is...I totally GET moms that find the prospect of nursing to be "icky.")

The first time he nursed, I wanted to cry. Not because it hurt, not because it represented potential victory over the long arduous days of pumping, but because it was one of the most beautiful experiences of my life. I'm not a romanticizing person, nor am I a person who cries...but even now, three months later, I still find my eyes occasionally welling up as I gaze down at him nursing. (And if you say it's pregnancy hormones, I'm going to show you pregnancy hormones! :-P)

It's so multi-faceted.

It's feeling him snuggled so close to me in that skin to skin contact that I never had with bottle feeding.

It's the way his mouth opens wide and he absolutely DIVES at my breast.

It's the way his eyes just LIGHT UP when he sees that nursing bra flap come down.

It's the fact that he's annoyed with other large chested women that have the gaul to hold him without giving access to those boobs. ;)

It's the times that he falls asleep at the breast and his mouth falls lazily open while a little dribble of milk runs down his cheek.

It's the times that he lets out the smallest, softest sigh of contentment when he's had his fill.

It's REALLY the times that he actually laughs while nursing. Looking up at me with those big old innocent eyes that crinkle at the corner before he lets out that funny little laugh between sucks.

It's all the touching, heart-felt, amazing moments that they tell you about even though you think they're insane in those early weeks. (After all, what's touching or beautiful about cracked nipples and latches so painful you have to bite your lip to keep from crying?)

It's all those things and so much more that make me so eternally thankful that I dropped my plans to EP from the start with him and decided to give this nursing thing one more shot. It's those things that make me want to encourage other moms that had trouble with their first child to not give up.

If you want to nurse but it hasn't worked out in the past, give it another try. Take a breastfeeding class, find a good LC BEFORE you give birth, setup a support system. Remind yourself that no two children are alike and that while the first time around may have been hell, this time it could be a dream. Remember that breastfeeding doesn't have to be a zero sum game. Nursing isn't entirely about nourishment. If you have low supply or other problems that make it physically difficult for you to produce enough milk, nurse what you can and bottlefeed what you can. Do what works for you and your baby, but don't give up on nursing if it's something you want to experience.

I get now why some moms are reluctant to wean. I may feel differently in another year or two, but for now...I can't imagine giving this up.

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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.

Great Breastfeeding News from Madison, Wisconsin

Not too long after Dane County passed similar breastfeeding legislation, the city council in Madison have put in place an ordinance that gives some great protection to breastfeeding mothers.

The legislation goes beyond simply stating that breastfeeding in public is legal. (It already IS legal everywhere...laws making it "legal" simply keep moms from being prosecuted under indecency laws.) This legislation actually makes it illegal to INTERFERE with a breastfeeding or pumping mom. That means that anyone that tries to get a mom to leave a public place for breastfeeding will be subject to fines. Unfortunately the use of the phrase "public place" means that private business owners will not fall under the legislation. In other words, it's a start, but it still doesn't go far enough.

From Channel 3000 News:

The ordinance bars anyone from interfering with breastfeeding or pumping in public places. The measure was prompted by recent reports of mothers being escorted off planes or even out of Camp Randall Stadium because of where they've chosen to breastfeed, WISC-TV reported.

The council's decision parallels the progress made by similar legislation around the region. The Dane County Board of Supervisors passed a nearly identical measure earlier this month and state Sen. Fred Risser said that he will introduce a similar bill at the state level.

Hat tip to Angela for spotting this one first.

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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.

Share Your Breastfeeding Advice, Win a Gift Certificate

Tanya over at the Motherwear Blog is running a new contest to gather up great nursing tips and advice for the Motherwear catalog.

If you send us a tip of your own, and if Motherwear uses it in a catalog, they'll send you a $25 gift certificate.

Here's what you do:

1) Browse the section of nursing tips on Motherwear's website, and then write your own.

2) Email your tip to me (Tanya) using the "email me" link on the sidebar to the blog. Include your home address and telephone number so that we may contact you with any questions.

3) Send your tip to me no later than noon EST on Friday, January 19th (that's tomorrow).

Go check out the full post. It includes links to the existing tips (so that you don't duplicate) and has Tanya's email address so that you can send your tips in.

Hey, who wouldn't want a free shopping spree at a great site like Motherwear?

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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, January 17, 2007

Woo Hoo!

Emmitt just rolled over! Granted it was from his tummy to his back, but still. That's about a million years earlier than Elnora managed to do it. Now he'll probably wait until he's four to walk. ;)

Ironically, I shot this video just hours before...


Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Casual Sharing of Breastmilk

While the idea of wet nursing has been in the news recently, there's also been a lot of talk about "casual sharing." What's casual sharing? Basically, it's when one mom provides breast milk for another mom without having gone through official screening and processing like you'd have with a milk bank. Sometimes it's between two moms that know each other, sometimes it's between complete strangers.

It's happening every day. People just don't talk about it.

So I'm going to.

I confess, I'm a "casual sharer." Yeah, I'm also an actual screened and processed milk donor for my local HMBANA bank, but this go round, I've also dabbled in the arena of casual sharing.

The idea first entered my mind shortly after I weaned myself from the pump with Elnora. I'd stopped pumping in early December and got to talking with a friend of mine in January. She'd had a c-section that previous October and ended up exclusively pumping after some nursing difficulties. She was putting forth a valiant effort, but it just wasn't working out. She, like many moms, simply couldn't get enough milk from the pump.

So I offered to re lactate to help her out. (I have no idea what I was thinking at the time...I'd just given the pump up, I didn't REALLY want to pump again, but I did want to help.) To be honest, I think I freaked her out. (Ok, to be honest, I kinda freaked myself out.) We never mentioned it again and she switched to formula a few weeks later.

Fast forward to early December of this past year. A dear friend ended up with an emergency c-section at 34 weeks due to a previa. She'd gone from a planned home birth to a difficult surgery in which she lost a lot of blood. It was a difficult recovery for her, not to mention the baby spending a few days in the NICU. She was bound and determined to breastfeed, but the baby just wasn't strong enough yet to fully nurse. So she found herself trapped in the nurse/pump/supplement cycle.

Her milk took awhile to come in...not uncommon with a c-section, tons of IV fluids and the severe blood loss.

Supplementing was a must.

We'd briefly discussed the situation before her surgery. She'd been hospitalized at 31 weeks for a previa bleed and we went over the options as far as donor milk if the baby required an extensive NICU stay. As it turns out, the hospital she was having the baby in does not allow donor milk. (They're not very pumping friendly either, but that's another rant.) We talked about sneaking in my milk if she ended up coming home before the baby but didn't yet have enough of a supply. Basically, she was going to get breast milk in this kid one way or another and I was happy to do what I could to help.

As it turns out, the baby came home the same day she did, but it seemed like the baby would constantly increase her intake faster than my friend could increase her output. So I offered to pump. They accepted. Out came my Medela PISA.

For about a week, I took over 10 ounces a day. By the second week, it was about 10-12 ounces every other day. By the third week, they were hardly touching the extra stash I'd provided. By the end of the third week, it was all gold and they didn't need my milk anymore.

I cooked a few meals for them those first few weeks. It seemed funny to drop off a meal for them and to know that I was actually helping to feed the WHOLE family. ;) I was happy to do it though and I know she would have done the same for me.

Now, I want to make two very, VERY important point here.

First...I would NOT suggest this as a good course of action in all circumstances. I'm a screened milk donor for a HMBANA bank. The screening process is stringent. I've had blood work done, my milk has been tested, we KNOW that my milk is 100% safe. In this instance, it went beyond my friend simply taking milk from someone she trusted. We could look at this and know that the only difference between me dropping off the milk and her getting it from a milk bank was that it wouldn't be pasteurized. Otherwise, it was the exact same milk.

Second...our midwife (we used the same one) learned that we were sharing milk (she already knew that I was a donor and a milk banking activist) and thought the idea was wonderful. She actually ended up calling me twice about other client she'd had that had problems getting the milk in. In one case, the mother was 12 days out and still had no milk. She wondered if I'd mind donating some for the mom to use with an SNS. The other time it was a mom that had had twins and that simply wasn't keeping up with their supply needs quite yet.

Both times I said yes, but both times the parents decided to go with formula instead.

I think they made a good choice.

Formula is NOT the devil. It's not evil, it won't kill your child. Yes, in the cases of premature babies in the NICU, donor milk can mean the difference between life or death, but in these instances, the HMBANA milk banks are the place to turn. For healthy full term infants, formula is an acceptable (not equal, but acceptable) alternative. There ARE real risks associated with formula, but none of them are so severe that I'd advocate taking milk from strangers without some major precautions in place.

What do I mean by precautions?

Well, IF you were to insist on taking milk from someone that wasn't a family member or close friend that you had the absolute utmost trust in, I'd recommend doing the following.

1.) Begin your screening by asking the questions used in pre-screening by the HMBANA banks. (I'll try to dig this up and post it in the next week or two)

2.) Pay to have blood screening done. I believe the lab fees on this are around $150 or so.

3.) Consider buying a home pasteurizer. They run $200-$400 and will process small batches of milk.

To be honest, as much of a Lactivist as I am, I'd use formula before I'd take milk from a stranger. But if I was going to take stranger's milk, I wouldn't do so without following those three steps.

How about you? Anyone out there want to own up to casual sharing? Would you share with a friend or family member? Would you take milk from a friend or family member? How about sharing with or taking from a stranger?

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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.

Welcome Washington Post Readers

For regular Lactivist readers, there's a very interesting article today in the Washington Post that examines the current trend toward milk banking, cross-nursing, casual sharing and even paid wet nursing. I spoke with the author a week or two ago and I've got to say that I'm very impressed with the article she put together. It's a very even handed and accurate look at what's going on. If you haven't read it yet, take a few minutes to go do so.

If you've found your way here for the first time from the Washington Post...Welcome! I hope you'll stick around and check things out.

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

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

2.) Learn about our current fundraiser for the Mother's Milk Bank of Ohio (yes the post says December, but we've extended it into January)

3.) Learn more about how you can become a milk donor.

4.) Wondering how I came up with all that extra milk? (27 donated gallons actually) Read about my experience with my first daughter and exclusively pumping.

5.) For you sentimental baby types...read the birth story of my second child...the one who actually figured out how to nurse. ;)

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

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

The Answer: 3

The Question: What size diaper do BOTH my 3 month old AND my 2 year old wear?


Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

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Will Ferrell and Wife Viveca Paulin Plug Medela

I missed this, but now I wish I'd seen it...

Apparently, last night during the red carpet preview of the Golden Globes, Will Ferrell and his wife Viveca Paulin arrived sans their two week old baby but WITH Ferrell toting a Medela Classic breast pump. They ended up having a conversation with the interviewer about it and about Paulin's pumping schedule.


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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, January 15, 2007

Great Stats on Who Breastfeeds

Well...ok, on who attempts to breastfeed. Initiation rates don't always seem to be indicative of actual breastfeeding rates. Especially since only about 25% of the moms that I know who attempted to nurse were still doing so at the end of the first week.

Anyway, Tanya over at the Motherwear Blog has a really interesting point that examines the CDC data for 2006 and breaks breastfeeding moms down by race, class and other social factors.

From her post...

Race. Rates of breastfeeding were 81% for Asian Americans, 79% for Hispanics/Latinas, 75% for Whites, 67% for Native Americans, and 59% for African Americans.

Mothers' age. 50% of women under 20 breastfed, 68% of women between 20 and 29 breastfed, and 77% of women 30 and over breastfed.

Education. 63% of women with less than a high school diploma breastfed, while 84% of college graduates breastfed.

She's also got a state by state map that shows the rates. It was pretty sad to see my own home state of Ohio down toward the bottom of the list. Of course neighboring states Kentucky and West Virginia are in the bottom five. We've got a lot of work to do ladies...

A LOT of work.


Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

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

The Journey to Healthy Eating

Last week I posted on HFCS and had some interesting responses. Apparently you guys don't mind me going a bit off topic now and then, though I guess ultimately what we eat affects our children just as much as how we birth and whether we breastfeed, so it IS on topic. (So there!)

Anyway, while I've dabbled in organics and whole foods in the past (I did a pretty good job of feeding Elnora mostly organics between 6 months and a year as I made all her baby food and we grew much of it.) Now that she's a bit older and it's an absolute struggle to get her to eat ANYTHING (let alone what I deem healthy) I'm starting to look into it again in terms of the whole family.

I've finally switched Greg and I to organic skim milk and have cut us back from nearly 3 gallons a week (I know, can you imagine?) down to about 1. I also discovered a great little organic foods pocket guide that you can print out and take to the store with you. It's a reminder of which twelve foods are most important to buy organic and which 12 are least important. If you're shopping on a budget and can't afford all (or even lots) of organic, it's a great way to prioritize.

That said, I'm also seeing the value of larger whole foods retailers. While I'm generally a big fan of locally owned businesses, there are times when I just can't pull it off.

Case in point? Two weeks ago I made the 35 minute trek to the Whole Foods Market. I bought about three large paper bags full of groceries including produce, cereal, dairy, boxed goods, etc... I spent about $40. Things were more expensive than say...non-organics at Meijer, but it wasn't painful. (Though the drive was...)

This week I visited The Raisin Rack, an Ohio-based natural foods store. They just moved from a teeny-tiny strip mall location into an old Big Bear store. The new store is beautiful and has tons of products, but OUCH. The prices were horrendous. There were multiple things (especially boxed goods) that were AT LEAST twice as much as what I would have paid at Whole Foods.

I let with a gallon of organic skim, a half gallon of organic whole milk, 6 organic bananas, a box of Kashi a small bag of granola and a pound of organic whole wheat flour (so that I can try Lindsey's "borrowed from Amanda" granola. The price? $22.75

Also trying to work out options to come up with cheaper organic meats. We eat meat about 4 nights a week and obviously organic meat is MUCH more expensive. Now I did find a farm near us that will sell a quarter of organic angus for $2.25/lb cut and wrapped (amazing!) but a quarter is 300 pounds. We don't even eat 100 pounds of beef in a year, so I'd have to go hunting for folks to split it with.

We tend to eat more chicken, ground turkey and lean pork. No idea where to find that cheaply.

To revisit the HFCS...I think I'm going to have to compromise. I've found that I can cut it out of 90% of what we eat by making different choices or by making things myself. There are some areas though that just seem impossible. BBQ sauce...haven't found one yet without it, though I haven't been back to Whole Foods. Syrup...that's a biggie. I HATE real maple syrup and I can't find "fake" syrup in health food stores.

I keep telling myself that if I cut it out most places that a little bit won't hurt us. I am NOT giving up my fake syrup.


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.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Wet Nursing Back in the News

There's been a lot of talk about milk sharing and wet nursing in the news lately. In fact, I've spoken to two reporters in the last two weeks about the subject. Most of the talk stems from Australian author Rhonda Shaw's latest article "The virtues of cross-nursing and the 'yuk factor'."

Ruth Hill of the Sunday Sun Times down in New Zealand covers the story today.

Sisters and close friends are more likely to spontaneously feed each other's children while babysitting but some women have more formal arrangements.

Two single working mothers Shaw interviewed had agreed to share childcare and cross-nurse each other's babies to accommodate work schedules.

"There was an economic driver in that case, because the women felt pressured to get off the DPB and back to work, which is actually quite sad."

In another case, a woman having cancer treatment begged a sister to feed her baby. Another mother agreed to feed her sister's newborn while the new mother was unconscious after a caesarean section delivery under general anaesthetic.

Many of the articles that I've read have mentioned the fact that there is now a company in Hollywood that hires out nanny/wet nurses. Why? Because there are some members of the Hollywood elite who have had breast surgery that has left them unable to lactate. These moms, realizing the importance of breast milk for their babies, are looking to find it elsewhere.

Now, I have no issue with casual sharing or cross-nursing under certain conditions. (More on this tomorrow) However, I have a great deal of concern over the idea of wet nursing and it stems from the concerns I've shared in the past about for-profit milk banking.

As soon as women begin wet nursing or "sharing" their milk for money, their own babies get put at risk.

For example, it's not uncommon in China for the very well to do to hire wet nurses from the countryside to come and suckle their infants. These moms are extremely well paid (often making more in a month than the average Chinese worker makes in a year) but they must leave their own infants behind to take these jobs. That leaves their babies to either be wet nursed by someone else in the village, or to be fed formula.

Here in the United States I've expressed similar concerns over for profit milk banks like Prolacta. Currently, Prolacta will pay hospitals and localized "independent" milk banks roughly $1 an ounce for the breast milk that they can convince women to "donate." They call it a "processing fee." (I call it a kick back.) Prolacta then processes the milk and sells it to hospitals for $35-$45 an ounce. The non-profit HMBANA milk banks sell processed milk for roughly the cost that it takes to cover the processing, or about $4 an ounce.

That means that if this all moves forward, we could see mothers being paid anywhere from $1 to $5 an ounce for their milk.

Now can you seriously tell me that some mothers out there won't sell ALL of their milk and simply use the money to buy formula before pocketing the rest of the profits? Associating profit with breast milk whether it comes straight from the tap or from a bottle gets VERY dangerous.

I'll write more about "casual sharing" and "casual cross-nursing" tomorrow. In the meantime, I'm curious to hear your thoughts.

Does the demand for wet nurses signal that we're making progress in the breastfeeding movement? Or, does it simply signify a problem in that some women see breast milk as a commodity that they can buy if they have enough money. Would you sell your breast milk? Would you buy breast milk from someone else? Where does the line get drawn for you?

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments: