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

Friday, August 31, 2007

National Nurse-in Against Applebee's on September 8th

Looks like this one is going national ladies...

There's been a new Yahoo group set up for those who wish to help plan their local nurse-ins against Applebee's on Saturday, September 8th.

Now, normally I wouldn't get behind a national nurse-in for an incident that seems to center around the practice of a particular franchise owner...

...but...the word coming out of Applebee's corporate offices have NOT been anywhere close to reasonable. In fact, one mom received the following response in her voice mail after calling the Applebee's International Guest Relations Manager:

"I am calling with the corporate response you requested - and the corporate
response to the breastfeeding in Lexington, Kentucky is that Applebee's and its franchisees love having families dine together at our restaurants. We believe that this franchisee made a reasonable and lawful request of this guest in order to promote a pleasant and comfortable experience for all of its guests."

This now seems to be the standard response being given to callers.

With that being the case, I think I can probably back this one, though I don't have the time to put toward organizing one myself.

Mother Nurture is doing an excellent job of compiling information about the Brooke Ryan / Applebee's incident at her site. If you are interested in pitching in, you can find the resources you need there.

(Sorry to lay low here, but A.) I'm swamped with work, B.) I'm visiting family and C.) I haven't had time to research this story enough to have a solid position on it.)

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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.

Want to Send Emails on the Applebee's Kerfuffle?

Here's the contact information for Mike Scanlon, President and CEO of Thomas & King, the company that owns the Applebee's that gave Brooke Ryan grief over trying to nurse her son.

Mike Scanlon's email address: mscanlon@tandk.com.

Someone sent me the address yesterday via email, but I only just had the chance to confirm that it was publicly available. (I don't like to post private email addresses to this site, but if the email address or phone number is publicly available, it's fair game in my opinion.)

As always, I'd ask that if you send a letter, you read it over a few times before you send it. Keep in mind that strongly, yet politely worded discourse tends to garner a better response than an all caps message from a "shrieking harpy." Let's educate while standing up for our rights instead of simply yelling and stomping our feet in anger.

Also, keep in mind that Scanlon is NOT the CEO of Applebee's, but rather of a different company that owns and operates several Applebee's franchises.

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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, August 29, 2007

Applebee's Ticks off Nursing Moms or "I Won't Be Eating Good at THAT Neighboorhood"

It somehow seems fitting that I found time to sit down and write a post just as another national nursing fiasco is coming to light.

Apparently, "Eatin Good in the Neighborhood" does not include breast milk. At least not if your neighborhood is the Nicholasville Road Applebee's in central Kentucky. I saw the story about Brooke Ryan and her run-in with an Applebee's manager over breastfeeding in the restaurant pop up on MDC and had a few emails about it yesterday. As I sat down to write about it, I saw that it's made it's way into the mainstream press as well.

Here's the synopsis:

The dispute with Applebee's began June 14. Ryan chose a booth in the back of the restaurant away from other customers. When her baby, Michael, got hungry, she began to nurse him discreetly, she said.

But a waitress came over and said that if she wanted to breast-feed, she had to cover the baby with a blanket. Ryan said it was so hot that she didn't have a blanket. The waitress then repeated her request. Ryan said she then asked to see the manager and handed him a copy of the 2006 Kentucky law that prohibits interference with a woman breast-feeding her baby in public.

The manager said he knew about the law but a customer had complained about indecent exposure, so she had to cover the baby with a blanket.

So wait...the manager...KNEW about the law, but decided he didn't have to honor it because he didn't feel like it? Really? How do you think that line of logic would stand up in other areas of life?

"Sorry Officer, I saw the speed limit sign, but it was taking so long to get there."

"Sorry dear, I know we're married and all, but she was SOO hot!"

"I'm sorry teacher, I realize that the answer to 2+2 is 4, but that answer is so boring!"

I didn't realize that in Kentucky, you can pick and choose which laws to obey.

Kentucky's state breastfeeding law is pretty darn clear on the fact that breastfeeding is NOT considered "indecent exposure." It reads, in part:

...requires that breastfeeding may not be considered an act of public indecency, indecent exposure, sexual conduct, lewd touching or obscenity

Oh yeah...it's also pretty clear that mom has the right to nurse in public.

Permits a mother to breastfeed her baby or express breastmilk in any public or private location

So what did Ryan do?

Well, she did exactly what I'd suggest a mom do. She got the manager's name and she worked her way up the chain of command to see a remedy. Her lawyer sent a letter to Thomas and King, the company that operates the central Kentucky Applebee's. They had no response.

So they sent a second letter.

The response will make your blood boil.

After a second letter, a Thomas & King lawyer said the restaurant chain would consider keeping blankets in the restaurant so that breast-feeding women could cover themselves.

Wait...what now?

Seriously, do companies really think things through before they issue statements? Especially ones on paper? To lawyers?

Apparently not.

Mike Scanlon, president of Thomas & King told the Lexington Herald Ledger that he was not aware of the incident, but did share his thoughts on breastfeeding in the company's restaurants.

"It is perfectly legal to breast-feed in public and we support that," Scanlon said. "I'm not sure the manager said cover the baby's head, I think he said cover yourself modestly. This was by no means intended as interference, but a request to do it modestly, which I believe is an appropriate response."

Even better, he goes on to imply that Ryan was intentionally looking to stir up trouble, citing the fact that she carried a copy of Kentucky's breastfeeding law with her.

"I note with interest that she had a copy of the statute with her," he said. "I'm glad to let this become a matter that we can all learn from."

I note it with interest as well. Though from my prospective, I find it to be an incredibly smart move to carry with you the legal statute that allows you to defend yourself when uninformed businesses try to trample on your rights as a mother.

While Applebee's still has not stepped up to the plate with an apology and plans for properly training its employees, there has been some good to come of it.

Firstly, Kentucky Senator Tom Buford, R-Nicholasville, who sponsored the state's breastfeeding bill has backed Ryan completely. Buford told Ryan that he would not only support her in plans for a nurse-in at this point, but would do his best to show up personally to log his support. He even suggested that mothers hold up signs reading "small children are not allowed to eat in this restaurant."

As such, Ryan has organized two events. The first is a "nurse-out" at a nearby mall to raise awareness for Kentucky's breastfeeding laws. The second is a "nurse-in" outside of Applebee's to protest their policies toward breastfeeding moms.

Applebee's violated KRS 211.755 Educate Lexington that KY law protects public breastfeeding and mothers should never be asked to move, hide, cover up, or leave. Decorate posters and display them at a peaceful Nurse-Out.

THEME: Breastfeeding in public is Legal

DATE: Saturday, September 8, 2007

(in case of rain date 9/22/07)LOCATION: 4009 Nicholasville Road
Lexington KY

On the public sidewalk in front of Applebee's
Exercise caution and do not block the right of way.
News crews will be reporting.
Do not park in Applebee's parking lot!

While readers know that I'm not always a fan of nurse-ins (despite having been involved with planning and attending them myself) I feel this is one that I can really get behind.

Brooke Ryan did not run screaming to other mothers the moment this happened. In fact, from the timeline I can put together, she devoted more than two months to trying to work her way through the system. She gave Applebee's every opportunity to work with her to come to a resolution. It was only when the company made it clear they did not get it OR had no interest in fixing it, that she took it to the public.

Good for her!

If you live in the area, I strongly encourage you to show up to offer your support.

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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.

Take THAT Yo Gabba Gabba!

With all the hype (even on this blog) about that great lessons on Yo Gabba Gabba lately...it was refreshing to see a classic clip from Sesame Street show up on YouTube.

If you haven't seen it...here's a great musical montage of nursing mammals...including a nursing human mom and baby. :)

Thanks to Jessica for pointing it out!


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, August 27, 2007

To Keep You Patient...

Apparently I'm not meant to blog in the summer.

I'm back from San Jose and have tons of pics to sort through and tons of updates to post...but I'm still trying to dig out from under nearly 2000 unanswered emails. To top it off, Greg's grandmother fell and shattered her shoulder yesterday, so we're staying up waiting to hear how surgery went before heading to his family's place tomorrow so we can visit with her.

Then it's off to my parents for Labor Day. Thus, things will continue to be light here in terms of posting until summer ends and we get into September. Sorry for the slow posting.

In the meantime, I've shared quite a few picture of Emmitt lately, but not many of Elnora. So here are two shots my dad emailed me. (She's been staying with them since the 20th, I'll head up there on Wednesday.)


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Sunday, August 19, 2007

When One Trip Blends Into Another...

As you guys know, I just came home from Boston a week ago this past Thursday. At the time, I thought I had two weeks before my next trip. I was wrong.

Emmitt and I head to San Jose tomorrow on a 6am flight. (yeegads!) That gave me all of 9 days at home to try and catch up on missed work, work ahead for missed work, spend time with family, do laundry, feed the hogs, water the chickens, etc...etc...

So, it's been a short week here and I still owe you guys quite a few posts. I'll do my best to get some updates posted from San Jose.

In the meantime, here's the super-fast rundown on what's going through my mind...

1.) Had lunch with Motherwear blogger Tanya in Boston. Great time, have pics, will post!

2.) Volunteered to bump from our Boston flight for "a later flight" so a baseball team could all travel together to a game. We missed our connection and got stuck in Boston an extra night. That team better have won.

3.) I'm hearing TONS on custody cases with breastfeeding moms. Judges ordering weaning, moms refusing visitation, dads being unreasonable and all sorts of "can't we all just get along" stuff. There's a lot going through my head on this matter and as soon as I have a moment to collect my thoughts, I'll share them with you.

4.) We're coming up on eleven months of breastfeeding here in our household. Not bad considering I hadn't even planned on breastfeeding (was going to EP) until a month before he was born. I'll share my thoughts on the ups and downs of nursing an eleven month old that STILL won't take a bottle/sippy and STILL doesn't sleep through the night.

5.) I found bento supplies in Columbus, Ohio! (Boston too!) For all you bento addicts out there, I'll post some info on what I found and will also give you guys the first scoop on how to get free bento gear from me. (Oh yeah, you heard me!)

6.) Yo Gabba Gabba still freaks me out, but now it's because I think the folks drinking the Yo Gabba Gabba Kool-aid are hitting the net to defend their show. ;) (Check out the comments section folks...tell me that's all random?)

7.) I've got a new car, Greg's got a new car and we still haven't gotten rid of my old one and we have no plans of getting rid of Greg's truck. Add in my parents car, as they're visiting and my driveway looks like a parking lot.

8.) My flight tomorrow routes through Houston, Texas where we'll be joined by Robert, my publisher. This will be the first time I've ever met him (or even seen what he looks like.) I've worked for him for more than three years and count him as one of my closest friends. Here's hoping we don't drive each other crazy in person.

So sorry things have been clipped here, but as you can see, summer is rocketing toward an end.

I for one look forward to Labor Day and the relative peace that usually follows it.


Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Christa Burton Facing a Potential Court Order to Wean Her Son

Breastfeeding and custody issues are a hot topic right now. Apart from numerous emails I've been receiving about these issues, I spent some time on the phone yesterday afternoon with a midwife who had a client facing the issue as well.

Then I read my email this morning and find multiple messages about the case of Christa Burton. Burton is currently involved in a custody battle over her 15 month old son, Carter. Carter was born six weeks premature and doctors told Christa that breastfeeding him was the best thing she could do for his health. Burton is taking three prescription medications (Ambien, Topomax and Baclofin) but her N.P. cleared her to nurse after checking Dr. Hale's "Medications and Mother's Milk."

Things changed when Carter's father went after custody. WCCO reports:

On July 7, 2007, Carter's father, Andrew Ahmann, asked the district court to appoint a guardian ad litem to advocate for the best interests of the child. Ahmann is trying to get custody of his son, Carter.

The guardian ad litem's report relies heavily on the testimony of the same nurse practitioner that originally recommended breast feeding. She told the investigator "she recommended that given the developmental delays that Christa stop breast feeding" as the various medications can cause delays.

While I might normally err on the side of caution when dealing with issues like this, especially for a child older than a year and technically able to be weaned to something other than formula, we're not talking about medication that any recognized expert thinks is dangerous.

From the story:

Dr. Tom Hale, the author of "Medications and Mothers' Milk" e-mailed Burton, writing about the medications saying, "They are basically all fine, particularly in a 14-month-old infant who can metabolize drugs as good if not better than an adult."

Another expert, Dr. Jack Newman wrote, "I think you are being railroaded by people who don't know what normal is for breastfeeding."

"It's a tough call on some of these issues," according to Brian Ansberry, manager of the 7th District Court guardian ad litem program. He said his investigator was "not a medical expert herself" and "erring on the side of safety."

Yep, both Dr. Hale and Dr. Newman say these medications are perfectly fine. Yet the voice of someone who is "not a medical expert" is being taken over the voices of these internationally recognized experts.

I'm sure there is more to the story than what is being reported and I know more than one lactivist like myself that would like to speak to this mom to see if there's anything we can do to help.

If anyone reading this has contact with Christa Burton, please ask her to email me. I'd really like to see what else is going on here and if there's anyway I can help.


Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

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Monday, August 13, 2007

At the Risk of Sounding Like one of those "Don't Almost Give" Commercials...

Sometimes I think about the people that might have been. Not so much about someone not living up to their potential...but about just how close you came to not existing period.

Emmitt wasn't planned. In fact, he was one heck of a surprise. Had it been up to our timing, it would have been another egg, another sperm and another child altogether. My mother had a miscarriage before I was born. If that pregnancy had lasted, would she have had me?

How many of you have children that weren't planned...but that you now can't imagine life without. How many have lost a child that might have been?

Now I don't usually get all touchy-feely-preachy here, but I was reading an article today about my Grandfather and his time on Iwo Jima during WWII and I was reminded of just how many times he should have stopped existing. (And since my dad was born after the war, you can follow the logic to just how close I came to not existing.)

The article touches on one story (the foxhole) but doesn't really give the details. It leaves out two other near death experiences as well.

1.) The Foxhole - Grandpa was a machine gunner on Iwo Jima. He traveled with a tiny little Filipino national who lay under the rifle and fed the string of bullets in. Grandpa said they could get off two to three bursts of fire before they had to move, because it generally only took that long for the Japanese to zero in on their location. He said the first mortar always went long or short, the second one got a little closer and the third one nailed you.

On this day, they'd gotten two rounds off and Grandpa was ready to move. His partner swore they could get one more burst off if they did it quickly. Grandpa agreed and says that as he pulled the trigger, the world just went dark.

He woke up on the ground outside the fox hole covered in blood. They never did find his loader.

2.) The Landing Craft - Grandpa went on shore on one of those landing crafts like you see in every war movie where they storm a beach. When they got to shore, the front went down and they were all supposed to run out and start making their way up the beach to the cliffs.

The problem was, no one would move. (Can you blame them? I've seen Saving Private Ryan, no way would I want to get out of that boat.) Grandpa says the officer with them ordered them to leave the boat and still...no one moved. Finally the officer pulled out his side arm and said "you either go and risk getting shot by the Japanese, or you stay and risk getting shot by me." Folks still weren't moving and grandpa was standing pretty close to that side arm, so he climbed the side of the boat (they had open tops) and went over the side.

As he was falling toward the water, he heard this huge explosion. A mortar had landed right in the middle of the boat he'd just jumped out of.

3.) Sniper Fire - When Grandpa was on Iwo Jima, the tanks weren't as well equipped as they are now. In fact, the tank drivers really couldn't see out enough to see where they were going. That meant that someone had to walk behind the tank with a walkie talkie, telling them which way to go.

The problem was, the Japanese knew what these soldiers/marines were doing and that made them a prime target for snipers. Because of that, the average life span for one of these guys was about 10 minutes. At one point while he was on the island, Grandpa got assigned to this gig. Half an hour later, he was still alive. One of the officers, who liked grandpa saw him down there and ordered that he be switched out. Somehow, the message never made it down and 15 minutes later, he was still there. The officer saw him again and went and switched him out himself.

The next guy only lasted about 2 or 3 minutes.

Grandpa always said that he never did anything special over there. He was just a kid trying to get home to his family in one piece. Getting out alive reminded him that he needed to spend the rest of his life making an impact.

If you've ever seen Saving Private Ryan, you'll remember the scene where the old man breaks down, wondering if he'd lived a life that was "worth it" after having come home safe and sound.

When you think about it from that perspective...it kind of makes you want to go out and do something to leave your mark on the world, doesn't it? What have you done lately to make sure your life has an impact? It doesn't have to be something major that will get you in the history books. Just something that has a positive impact on someone else's life.

Make it a point this week to say thanks for the simple fact that you exist...that your kids exist...by giving a little something.


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, August 10, 2007

Parents Magazine Says There's Nothing Special About Breastmilk

Oh yeah, you read that right.

From the current (August 2007) issue of Parent's Magazine.

THE CLAIM Breast milk is best for babies.

THE TRUTH: Study after study has documented that breast milk can boost a baby's immune system and IQ and lower his risk for diabetes, obesity, even ADHD. So it's no wonder that the AAP recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 mo. after birth. But not everyone is convinced that mother's milk is a panacea. "Most benefits associated with breastfeeding probably have as much to do with the child's environment and the family's socioeconomic status," says Parents advisor Darshak Sanghavi, M.D., author of A Map of the Child: A Pediatrician's Tour of the Body. "They're not due to some magical substance in breast milk."

THE BOTTOM LINE: Women who want to should certainly breastfeed, but don't feel guilty if you can't.

(bolding is mine...)

Now, I read that and I see this...

Study after study has shown over and over that breast milk has benefits that cannot be reproduced by formula use.

But this ONE doctor says s/he doesn't believe it.

Therefore, that ONE doctor may be a moron. I know I'd be switching to another health care provider if MY doctor chose to ignore medical fact in favor of their own theory.

Unfortunately, millions and million of women will read that, ignore the studies and say "well that person says it's not true and s/he is a DOCTOR! See!!! I told you there was no difference between breast milk and formula."

Let's hear it for responsible reporting.

Want to share your opinion on their idea of educating their readers? Use their online contact form.

This is the type of thing that reminds me over and over why I don't give my hard earned money to the publishers of any of these parenting type magazines...

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Thursday, August 09, 2007

Milestone Update: We're Walking Baby!

I'll be back tomorrow with some super-strength back-posting and updating (including fun topics like "why I'll never volunteer to bump from a flight," "the day I nursed in a moving taxi" and "having lunch with another breastfeeding blogger." For now, I'm trying to recover from three nights of sleep that added up to a combined total of about 9 hours and from an unexpected extra day in Boston.

That said, since The Lactivist sort of serves as my "I'm too lazy to write this stuff down, so I'll just blog it to have the date remembered" tool...

Emmitt walked today! Yay!

Oddly enough, Greg and I were talking about how close he was to walking this morning. Emmitt and I had just gotten home and I mentioned I was glad he hadn't walked while we were away. Greg got to see Elnora's first steps and I was really hoping he'd get to catch Emmitt's as well.

Sure enough, about ten minutes after that conversion Emmitt stood up (on his own without holding onto anything) and took about five steps before grabbing hold of me and giving me a hug.


Guess he couldn't beat Elnora on everything. This will mean they both walked right at ten months.

I'll try to snag some video of it this week to post to YouTube.


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, August 03, 2007

Two Signs I'm Working Too Hard Again...

You know how your brain gets a little fuzzy when you get too little sleep and have too much work to do?

In the last two hours, I've had two clear cut signs that I need to chill soon.

1.) At lunch, the kids and I were eating quesadillas. I had a small bowl of salsa and sour cream that I was dipping mine in. Halfway through the meal, I dipped my quesadilla in Emmitt's plain yogurt instead.

At least I didn't feed him a spoonful of salsa...

2.) A few minutes ago, while being a smart aleck to my publisher about how things in the world were all wacky, I actually typed...

Nothing stranger than dogs and cats walking down the street hand in hand
and the fish running away with the spoon


I think when I get back from Boston next week, I need to take a long nap.


Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

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

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Free Breastfeeding "Support" Kit

Lactivist reader Jess shot me an email last night to tell me about an email that showed up in her inbox this week.

She writes...

I don't know if you got the e-mail but I had to show you this! With National Breastfeeding Month I've been getting lots of "Breastfeeding E-mails." I got one today saying "FREE Breastfeeding Support Kit." I opened the e' and the pic didn't load so I don't know exactly what was in the pic but I followed the link thinking free nursing pads...something I could use. This is what it opened to (link just said "click here")

(I'm not going to link to the page because I don't want to send them traffic, but here's a screen shot of what she got.)

Read the text very carefully, especially the last paragraph.

I kept thinking to myself "of course this kit is specially designed for breastfeeding moms! The formula feeding moms are already buying your product!"

The second thought that popped into my head was all of those commercials from Phillip Morris telling you to stop smoking.

Every time I see one, I think to myself "Why the heck would I take advice on how to quit smoking from the people who sell me cigarettes?"

Gotta say...I see this as the exact same thing.

I'll say it again...I have zero, nada, zip problem with formula feeding moms. But formula companies? Sometimes they make me throw up in my mouth a little bit.


Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

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Gorgeous Professional Nursing and Pregnancy Photos

Lactivist reader Kimberly shot me an email today to point out a photo studio that has a gallery of pregnancy and breastfeeding photos up on their site.

Some of the shots are just amazing. (Especially the wide eyed little girl leaning against her mom's belly and the very close shot of a baby nursing in mom's lap.)

These pictures make me think I need to get a really good posed shot of Emmitt nursing while he's still at it.

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

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So Now We're the Gestapo, Eh?

We knew that World Breastfeeding Week would bring out some folks that are none to happy with the lactivist world. We've already seen it in action this week on shows like The View, where the hosts criticized New York City's new ban on free formula in public hospitals.

If you haven't read anything that ticked you off yet this week, let me point you to a winner of an editorial over at The New York Post.

Columnist Andrea Peyser must be filling like her email inbox has been a little dusty lately. I can't think of any other reason she'd allow her name and email address to be attached to an opinion piece like this.

TAKE it from a mom. The pressure to breast-feed can make a new mother feel as if she lives in a forced-labor camp - where the uniform is half-nude.

It's getting worse.

Now the city has gone beyond propaganda. As The Post reported yesterday, it has banned free formula - the item that nourished an entire generation - from goodie bags sent home with moms at all 11 Health and Hospitals Corp.-run hospitals.

I find her choice of words..."nourished an entire generation" to be interesting.

Anyone out there know the definition of the word nourished?



According to Princeton's Wordnet site...

nourished: being provided with adequate nourishment

Hmm...let's look up a few more words, shall we?

adequate: about average; acceptable

nourish: to feed and cause to grow

So...technically...I could rewrite her statement to say formula is the food that "fed an entire generation enough to grow and be average."

Woo boy. Now there's a ringing endorsement. Call me crazy, but I actually aspire to be ABOVE average and encourage my kids to do the same.

Now, want to read the kicker? Oh, you'll really love this part.

At Metropolitan Hospital in Manhattan yesterday, the staff was giddy about the formula ban.

Breast-feeding "decreases breast and ovarian cancer in the mother. There's less postpartum depression, more bonding and less child abuse," said a pleasant "breast-feeding coordinator" named Dianne Velez.

Then, she said, "They have higher IQs! The IQs of breast-fed babies are 1 to 2 points higher."

Wow. That was enough to make this mother feel guilty for yanking the breast before my kid hit 16. But when I asked Velez for statistics, she did not have them.

"There are studies on this. We're not making things up," said Dr. Sari Kaminsky, the chief of obstetrics.

"The idea is to educate women positively about all the benefits of breast-feeding."

But renegade docs making stuff up is exactly what may be happening.

Leading Manhattan shrink Dr. Shari Lusskin has told me that "some of my colleagues believe the data is made up."


Let's use a shrink to tell us how all those facts and studies and bits of data about improved health due to breastfeeding are all just figments of our imagination.

Some days, I find myself amazed at what the mainstream media will print.

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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.

New CDC Breastfeeding Rates Released

The CDC has sent out new data sharing breastfeeding rates for babies born in 2004. (That includes Nora...guess it takes awhile to compile all that data.)

The good news is that rates are up...slightly. The bad news is they are still dreadfully low.

This chart shows the percentage of children that are breastfed in any amount at birth, six months and a year. You can see that the rates are rising very, very slowly.

The CDC's goals are to raise the rates of exclusive breastfeeding to 60% at age three months and 25% at age six months. That's up from 30% and 11% right now. Pretty ambitious goals, but one that we all need to work toward.

I'm sure it's not a surprise, but the data confirms once again that the more educated and the higher income, the more likely to breastfeed. This is part of the reason that women in the states with strong breastfeeding in public laws can't go home and call it a day. Professional women are far more likely to be able to pump during the work day. In fact, many businesses are now offering lactation rooms equipped with hospital grade pumps and a private refrigerator. However, nursing moms that work blue collar jobs often find it next to impossible to be able to express milk during the work day. We need to work hard to see that every company in every state makes allowances for nursing mothers to have time to express milk so they can maintain their supply and continue nursing their children when they return to the workforce.

The CDC data also shows that once again, Asians have the highest breastfeeding rates (30.6% at three months) and non-Hispanic Black women have the lowest (19.8% at three months). This shows that we still have a long way to go in crossing the cultural divide.


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, August 01, 2007

New York Formula Freebies Ban Goes into Effect

If you had your baby in a hospital, chances are pretty darn high that you headed home with a black diaper bag packed with a tiny paper guide to breastfeeding, a ton of flyers for baby stuff and a couple containers of free formula. If you had your baby where I had Elnora, you may have gone home with a garbage bag (literally) of ready-to-feed Enfamil as well.

Lactivist reader Esmerelda points out that if you plan on having your baby in a hospital in New York City, you'll be heading home with something different now...

According to the New York Post, you'll be heading home with:

...a tote bag stuffed with disposable nursing pads, a mini-cooler for breast-milk bottles, and pint-sized T-shirts for the babies that proudly declare "I eat at mom's."

(Oh, how I wish I'd got the contract on the eat at mom's shirt...LOL)

The Ban the Bags movement isn't new, but it is nice to see New York City signing on. In fact, city health officials are going beyond simply banning the free formula hand outs and are working hard to promote breastfeeding.

"Nationally, there has been a push to return to breast-feeding," said Dr. David Garry, director of obstetrics at Jacobi Hospital in The Bronx. "Human milk is still the best for newborn babies."

Jacobi made the push for 100 percent breast milk in 2005 and now says 25 percent of 2,200 babies born at the hospital each year are breast-fed.

"We are pushing to make sure all women know all the benefits of breast-feeding," Garry said.

It's important to note that any mother who requests formula will still receive it.

Not surprisingly, the formula companies aren't happy about the move...

The infant-formula industry said it supports encouraging more breast-feeding, but is opposed to banning distribution of product samples.

Duh. As if they'd dance with joy while shouting "Thank you for limiting our ability to become the brand of choice for a mom who turns to our samples in desperate frustration!"

Personally, I'm thrilled at the move. While I fully support a mother's right to receive formula for her baby the moment she asks for it, I find the act of sending formula home with every mom to be ridiculous.

Yes, you can donate the formula if you don't want to use it. I donated the free formula I accumulated after Elnora was born (I added it up, it would have fed her for more than two months). That said, study after study shows that moms who go home with those free formula samples breastfeed for shorter periods of time. No big surprise there. The formula companies aren't giving out samples to be nice, they're doing it because they have carefully researched the impact on their bottom line.

Formula is a choice that any mom can make, but any mom that chooses formula should do so knowing full well that it is not the BEST option. You wouldn't expect your cardiologist to tell you about the benefits of a diet of fresh fruit and vegetables and then send you home with a coupon for a free Big Mac Extra Value Meal on the premise of "free choice," would you? Why should pediatricians be any different when it comes to the nutritional needs of our babies?

ETA: I'm curious to hear if any readers caught The View this morning. I hear through the grapevine that they discussed the ban this morning and were quite unhappy with it. The hosts claimed that it stifles "free choice" and said the government was going "too far" to push certain ideals.

Can't say it's a huge surprise to me. Barbara Walters isn't exactly synonomous with "breastfeeding advocacy" and Elizabeth Hasslebeck is a paid spokesperson for Ultra Bright Beginnings Infant Formula.

I've checked and no transcript of the show is available yet, so I'd love to hear input from anyone who saw it.

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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.

Breastfeeding Symbol Activism Kit Available

With World Breastfeeding Week kicking off today, I want to make sure that my readers know about the International Breastfeeding Symbol and the activist kit put together by the team at Mothering.

The International Breastfeeding Symbol was designed by Matt Daigle and has been given over to the public domain so anyone and everyone is free to use it.

From the Mothering Site:

What is the purpose of the International Breastfeeding Symbol?

  • To increase public awareness of breastfeeding

  • To designate breastfeeding and family friendly facilities in public.

  • To provide an alternative to the use of the image of a baby bottle

Where can the symbol be used?

  • In large public places where people stay for extended periods of time. In airports, malls, amusement parks, conferences, convention halls, or expos, for example, to designate a breastfeeding friendly room.

  • In professional offices, retail stores or restaurants to designate the establishment as breastfeeding friendly.

  • In businesses, to designate a lactation room.

Does the existence of the symbol mean that breastfeeding should be hidden?

No, of course, breastfeeding should not be hidden. Breastfeeding does not require a special place and is appropriate—as the Canadian slogan says—"anytime, anywhere." The purpose of the symbol is not to segregate breastfeeding, but to help integrate it into society by better accommodating it in public.

For example, sometimes there are no chairs in public, sometimes nowhere to change the baby, or for the mother separated from her baby, nowhere to plug in an electric breast pump. Mothers welcome quiet, private places in public where they can collect themselves and their children. The symbol could designate these kinds of places.

What can YOU do with the symbol?

Well, if you own a business, you can post it to make it clear that you support the right of mothers to nurse on your property. If you know someone who owns a business, you can suggest that they post it for the same reason.

If you're really bold, you could visit some local restaurants, coffee shops, book stores and so on and encourage the management or the owners to post the symbol as well.

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments: