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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 30, 2008

Need Help #2 - Bye, Bye Meat?

Ok. Here's the deal. I need to lose weight. 25-30 pounds to be exact.

I'm done having kids, done nursing, done having "excuses" to lug around this extra weight. I started going to the gym three days a week again back in November, so I'm started on the exercise part, but I need some work in the "food intake" area.

I've also found myself sucked in to a contest with some of my fellow SEOs. Basically, ten of us are going to live blog our weight loss attempts over the next two months. There are five women and five men participating and we're gathering up sponsors. (Anyone interested? Email me.) At the end of the two months, the man and woman with the highest percentage of weight loss will go head to head in a vote. Winner gets all of the sponsorship money for the charity of their choice.

Now obviously, I'm going to be playing for the milk banks.

We've got $2500 raised so far and we're all working our contacts. There's a good chance we can get the pot to $10K or more.

That's obviously pretty good motivation for me. I mean geeze, fit into skinny jeans AND help the milk banks? It's a win-win.

So to pull this off, I need a game plan. I'm going to be relying on bento boxes for portion control and healthy eating while I'm out and about (no more fast food) and I'm going to be mixing pilates into my workout schedule to cover me on the days when I don't make it to the gym.

Beyond that, I'm giving VERY serious consideration to giving up meat. (Please do not even think of suggesting I become a vegan cause it ain't gonna happen. I can live without meat, I refuse to live without organic dairy and organic eggs. :-P) I know several of my readers are vegetarians/vegans and I would love it if you'd share your favorite recipes and resources.

(NOTE: I'm reminded now of why I don't generally write and publish posts on the fly. Clearly people are reading this post and thinking I'm giving up meat as a "diet" to lose weight. That is not what I mean. I'm saying I'd like to try giving up meat because there are health benefits to doing so and because it will force me to work harder to incorporate whole grains and new veggies into my diet. There are sources of protein other than whole milk and peanut butter. ;) Giving up meat does not mean eating tons of fatty foods as protein replacements.)

It will be a challenge for me as I don't like tofu, lentils or red/black beans. That said, I fully recognize the health benefits of eliminating meat from my diet. So...I'm willing to experiment with tofu, but let's aim for tofu in terms of stir-fry and maybe chili or spaghetti...not tofu as in "this chocolate dream pie made with silken tofu is fantastic! really, I promise!" ('cause I believed them and they're wrong.)

I also need a cheering squad/accountability squad. I need people to pester me about working out and what I eat. That might be in the comments here (because I get email notice) or even in the comments over there once I start posting later today. In an ideal world, some of you would join me. :) If anyone is interested, let me know and I'll post weekly accountability posts here on The Lactivist where everyone can share their progress.

So, what do you say folks? Anyone have any tips, resources, ideas? Anyone want to join me in publicly saying "yeah, yeah, I'm fat. Let's get this fixed?"

Oh and is it cheating to eat a bunch of junk today to get it out of my system and to give me more weight to lose? (I kid! I kid!)

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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.

Call for Resources - Homeopathic Ear Treatments

The first of two posts today where I'll be asking for your help.

I've been out of town (down in Houston preparing for our upcoming Search Engine Guide conference) which hasn't left me much time for posting, but I've had a few things come up.

First, we had our appointment yesterday with the ENT specialist for Emmitt. You might remember that he had a killer of an ear infection around Thanksgiving last year. Three rounds of oral antibiotics and two direct injections cleared it up a bit, but due to the intensity of the infection, our Ped referred us to a specialist.

Yesterday was that appointment and I was disappointed to learn Emmitt STILL has fluid in his ears. To make it worse, hat fluid is on its way to getting infected again. The ENT said they generally either look for three bad ear infections over six months OR one really bad infection that resists treatment for three months before they do tubes.

We're more than two months into this current infection.

So, here's the plan.

He gave us another round or oral antibiotics (the strongest of the three we tried last time) to see if we can clear this up. It could be purely an anatomical issue, or it could be an immune issue as in he just can't fight off the infection all the way. We go back in three weeks. If it's cleared up, there will be no push for tubes. If it doesn't clear up, he'll push for tubes.

Now, I'm not a paranoid mother at all. BUT...the idea of general anesthesia terrifies me. Absolutely terrifies me. I'm also not a fan of any surgery that isn't 100% necessary. So, I'm in process of exploring our options. Here's what I've got so far, would love input from anyone with knowledge in this area.

1.) Breast milk. I've still got that 200 oz in the basement. While I assume it's too old to be good, easy enough to find out. I'll be thawing out two bottles today. If it's good, he's going to get it in his sippy the next two weeks.

2.) Cutting out dairy. I know dairy contributes to mucus which contributes to fluid in the ears. We'll be cutting out cow's milk for the next couple weeks for him. (or, at least dramatically reducing it if the breast milk isn't good.)

3.) Chiropractic care. I called my chiro yesterday and he said he often does adjustments on toddlers to help clear sinuses and improve drainage. I'm going to take Emmitt down later today for his first adjustment.

4.) The antibiotics. I'm not a fan of them, but I'm willing to give them a go in conjunction with the rest of this if it lowers the chance of needing tubes.

Anyone else have any thoughts?


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 22, 2008

Final Push to Raise Funds for New England Milk Bank

Thanks to everyone who voted for the HMBANA milk bank in New England in the Ideablob contest last week. Thanks to your help, they've made it into the finals!

That means we need another push this week. For the next ten days, the milk bank will go head to head with seven other business ideas. Whichever one garners the most votes wins $10,000 in startup funds to get things moving.

The milk bank desperately needs this money to get up and running, so please take a moment to register and make sure to spread this message far and wide!


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 20, 2008

An Amazing Pumping Mom

I'm honestly not sure I can do justice do this article if I try to add my commentary, so I'm simply going to link you up to an article about one of the most amazing pumping moms I've ever heard of.

(Thanks to Lactivist reader Krista for sending it my way.)


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 18, 2008

Two Clicks Can Raise Money for Two Breastfeeding Friendly Groups

It's time to mobilize again ladies (and gents.)

Project The First: Help the Mother's Milk Bank of New England Raise $10,000

There's a web site called Ideablob that is sponsored by Advanta, the company responsible for a huge portion of the small business operating loans in this country. It's a new site I discovered a little ways back while doing some research for my day job.

When I saw it, I noticed that it didn't take more than several hundred votes for a busisness idea to win, so I contacted Tanya Leiberman of the Motherwear blog and suggested the New England Milk Bank submit in an attempt to gain some much needed start-up funds.

Tanya emailed me back last week to let me know the bank had submitted their proposal and that the race was on to get enough votes to get into the finals. The milk bank is in the lead right now, but voting runs until the 21st. Please register at Ideablob and cast your vote for the milk bank so we can make sure they get into the finals. (When they do, I'll let you know again so we can rally to get enough votes to make sure they win.)

Project the Second: Help Raise $50K for One of My Readers to Launch a "Cafe and Play"

Some of you may recognize the name Alissa DeRouchie from the comments section here on The Lactivist. Alissa has been a long time reader and an active player in the conversations that take place here. As it turns out, she's also been bitten by the entrepreneur bug.

Alissa and her husband are looking to open a new kid friendly cafe with healthy, affordable options. Picture the benefits of a Chik-fil-et or Burger King play area with the bonus of yummy, healthy food like you might find at a place like Panera Bread. What parent of toddlers wouldn't want a Cafe where their kids could safely play?

Alissa's idea is one of five finalists in QuickBook's Just Start small business contest. Voting for the contest runs through the end of this month and the business idea that gathers the most vote will win $50,000 in start-up funds.

I'll tell you, I live here in the Columbus area where Alissa is located and I would LOVE to see this idea come to fruition. I've cast my vote and am asking my readers to consider adding their votes as well. Alissa is in second place right now, we need to get the votes moving.

You can follow Alissa's blog following their journey for this contest at Vote Cafe and Play. You can watch their video entry for the contest to get an even better idea of what they're planning.

I had hoped to get word of these out sooner, but my laptop has been out for repairs all week. I just got it back about an hour ago. The good news is that I've seen both of these stories circulating around email lists and parenting boards, so both are already getting really great exposure. That said, let's add some more votes for each cause and make SURE we advance breastfeeding and parenting.

Please go vote and then spread the news of each of these stories as far and wide as you can!

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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 14, 2008

Article on Exclusively Pumping

There's an article over at Babble today about mothers who choose to exclusively pump. I was interviewed for the article and you'll find several quotes from me.

It's an interesting article. It addresses some of the challenges faced by moms who lead them to EP and some of the problems with EPing in terms of what the baby misses out on. (Proper jaw development is a major one, higher risks for obesity as well.)

Overall, I was pretty pleased with the article. I'm not so thrilled that I came out sounding like I thought pumping was better than direct nursing, but I certainly can't blame that on the reporter who accurately quoted me. Just sort of shows how single sentences can have different tones when taken on their own.

Anyway, I'll be making a post here in the next week or two about my thoughts on EPing verses EBFing, so stay tuned.


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 12, 2008

For a Little Bit of Fun...

Last night I got to go have some fun. Greg, being the absolutely awesome husband that he is stayed with the kids while I went out with my best friend. It was the first time in nearly a year that we'd had a chance to go out and do anything.

So, we went to dinner, went somewhere else to snag some dessert (note: if you have a BJ's Brewery near you, go eat a Pizookie right now) and then off to a movie. We rounded it out by heading back to her place for a Buffy the Vampire Slayer Marathon. I crashed at her place and came back today in time to get the kids fed and down for their naps while Greg went to do some running around.

The point of all this is to tell you to go see the movie we saw last night. My readers are a little off-beat, but smart, so there's a good chance several of you have already seen the preview for Juno. If not, here ya go.

This movie was hands down one of the best movies I've seen in the theatre in years. The writing was great, the music was off-beat and the story was just excellent. Great acting too.

What really struck me though was the audience around us. We saw this in a part of town that gets overrun by teenagers. Generally, I avoid those theatres, but time-wise, it was our best bet yesterday. Of course I rolled my eyes and wondered how much talking we'd have to put up with. I couldn't have been more wrong.

That audience was one of the quietest, most attentive audiences I've ever watched a movie with. You could FEEL these kids getting sucked into this movie and the plot line. They laughed at the right times, you heard sniffles at the right times, and I never head a peep out of anyone.

In fact, during some of the most heartfelt moments, I glanced to my right and saw that the teenage boys next to me were REALLY digesting what was going on on the screen.

Juno is one of those movies that a lot of folks will jump to conclusions on. "Oh no! A pregnant teenager! The horrors!" I found myself wondering "geeze, what message is this going to send to these kids?"

An awesome one. From the scene where Juno goes to get an abortion to her conversation with her parents about being pregnant to her "relationship" with the baby's father...this movie really hit the nail on the head. It passed on great, realistic messages without being preachy.

I can't say enough good things about this movie.

If you watch the preview above and write this off as being one a teen comedy or a sarcastic take on a serious story, you're wrong. This movie has heart.

So if you're looking for a little bit of fun and you can actually take an evening out, put this one on your list. If not, keep an eye out and rent it when it comes due. I doubt you'll regret it.


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 08, 2008

Change in Milk Banking Rules

Wanted to pass along word I just received about a change in the rules for donating milk to the Mother's Milk Bank of Ohio.

One of their long standing rules was that you had to stop donating when your youngest child turned one year old. (I'd never quite gotten a good explanation for that, but apparently it's a common rule for HMBANA banks.)

I found out just this past week that the milk bank here in Columbus has lifted that rule and will now test milk from any mom and will accept it if the calorie and fat count reaches a certain level.

I don't know if this is a change at all HMBANA banks or just the Ohio bank (which is VERY short on milk), but it's worth checking if you're a mom with excess milk and open to donating.


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 07, 2008

It's Official. I Am No Longer a Nursing Mother

I posted a week or so ago to let you know Emmitt had started sleeping through the night, thus eliminating his last nursing session without any help from me.

At the time, I wondered if that really meant he was weaned, or simply meant he was sleeping through the night. While it had been 10 days since he'd nursed, I didn't really figure I could say he was weaned until it had been "tested."

By tested, I mean until he woke up at night and I had to get him back to sleep.

The last time Emmitt nursed was December 21st. While I got up with him in the middle of the night on December 22nd, when I offered to nurse, he turned his head away and said no. I rocked him a bit before putting him back to bed and that was the end of it. For the next two weeks, he slept through the night all but once. That night Greg got up with him and had no problem settling him back to bed.

This past Friday night, Emmitt woke up at midnight. Greg was still up, so he went in to settle him down.

Emmitt would have none of it. He began pitching a royal fit and started yelling "mommy!" So, I dragged myself out of bed thinking "rats. we were so close!" and headed downstairs to get him.

I walked into the room and he literally dove for me. I gathered him in my arms and he buried his head in my shoulder. Then he pointed at the door of his room and shouted, so I walked out the door. Then he pointed down the hall. So I walked down the hall. Then he pointed to the kitchen, then to the fridge and finally, to the sippy cup of milk sitting on the shelf.

After I laughed out loud, I picked it up and handed it to him. We walked back to his room, sat down in the rocking chair where we rocked and sang songs for a few minutes. Finally, he handed me the sippy cup. I picked him up, gave him a kiss, settled him into his crib and he rolled over and went back to sleep.


We're officially done. :)

I know, I know, if I was a "good mom" I'd be all sad and sentimental and broken hearted that my baby is growing up...but right now, I'm just relieved at getting to sleep for the first time in 18 months. I'll be sad and reflected in another month or so when those continual late night wakings are but a distant memory. ;)

So, that leaves me with some upcoming posts to make.

1.) My "after" thoughts on the weaning process
2.) What I think about 14 months of breastfeeding verses 14 months of EPing
3.) What were the pros and cons of breastfeeding

Probably a few others as well. If there's anything specific you've wondered about or wanted my take on, let me know in the comments and I'll either address them there or put up a new post.

To my readers who are either in process of weaning or preparing to, I'll say this. Plan LOTS of time and lots of patience and know that with a little gentle encouragement, you CAN wean your child without trauma for either of you. You WILL get to sleep again, I promise. :)

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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.

Myth Busting - Average Age of Weaning 4.5 Years

Since I've already been accused (again) of being mean this week, let's also gear up to get me accused of being anti-breastfeeding. ;) (For you new readers, that's called me having a sense of humor. It in no way means I am mean or anti-breastfeeding. I can't speak to the former, but the latter couldn't be further from the truth.)

Moving on...

My friend Anna and I have both found ourselves in discussions recently where someone pulled out that old "well the average age of weaning world-wide is 4.5 years" stat when the subject of weaning came up.

I've heard this one bandied about myself several times, including once or twice during the recent weaner-gate fiasco. To be honest, this "stat" has always really bothered me. Not because I don't think mothers should nurse for as long as they and their children desire (I do), but because this stat gets used as a "you're a bad mother" stat for moms who choose to wean prior to age two (or at all, really.)

For your average American mother who chooses to breastfeed for whatever reason, but does not choose to arm herself to the teeth with stats and studies, or who does not hang out with mothers who practice extended or child-led weaning, this stat sounds crazy.

Here's why.

It says the AVERAGE age of weaning is 4.5.

Let's get a reminder of what average means. To get the average age of weaning, you would add up the ages of every child who naturally weaned and then divide that number by the number of children tallied. The average is the result of that division. For every child who falls BELOW 4.5, there has to be a child who lands ABOVE 4.5.

Now, take a moment and think of the conversations you've had with women who allow their children to wean on their own. If I think of my own friends and acquaintances (online, few folks I know offline nursed at all, let alone let their kids wean at their own pace) most kids stopped nursing sometime between 10 months and 3 years. I can think of a *few* instances where the child nursed until 4, but only one or two where someone nursed past 4.5.

Now, for every one of those children who self-weaned prior to age 4.5, there has to be a child who went an equal amount PAST 4.5.

In other words, there'd have to be a TON of nursing 6, 7, 8 and even 9 year olds running around in the world. In fact, there'd have to be an equal number of them as there are children who wean prior to age 4.

Anyone out there believe that to be true? Anyone?

Yeah, me neither. Which makes that stat sound like a total made up piece of crap to a mainstream mother who is weaning her child at 10, 12, 18 or even 24 months. It also makes the person spouting it look like they have an agenda. (Which they do, and that's ok, but when that agenda makes you lose credibility, it's not good.)

Now, I'm not a fan of using anecdotal knowledge to try and push back on "FACT." (See it done all the time with birthing and it drives me nuts.) So, I wanted to find out what the source of this stat was thinking *maybe* there are enough countries with longer nursing periods going on to actually make up that difference.

There's not.

Neither Anna nor myself knew where this stat came from and when we questioned the people throwing the stat around, we didn't get an answer from them either.

That number is totally, 100% made up.

In fact, I ran across a link today to Katherine Dettwyler's "A Natural Age of Weaning" article. This is the article that the 4.5 number seems to come from, which is funny because even Katherine Dettwyler says the number is "made up."

One often hears that the worldwide average age of weaning is 4.2 years, but this figure is neither accurate nor meaningful. A survey of 64 "traditional" studies done prior to the 1940s showed a median duration of breastfeeding of about 2.8 years, but with some societies breastfeeding for much shorter, and some for much longer. It is meaningless, statistically, to speak of an average age of weaning worldwide, as so many children never nurse at all, or their mothers give up in the first few days, or at six weeks when they go back to work. It is true that there are still many societies in the world where children are routinely breastfed until the age of four or five years or older, and even in the United States, some children are nursed for this long and longer. In societies where children are allowed to nurse "as long as they want" they usually self-wean, with no arguments or emotional trauma, between 3 and 4 years of age.

Dettwyler goes on to explain that she (and others) have spent a ton of time researching the weaning ages of animals (who don't have cultural matters weighing in on weaning decisions) and speculating on what the biological weaning age of children *might* be. They looked at issues like length of gestation verses length of breastfeeding, time it takes to double or triple weight verses length of breastfeeding, even introduction of molars to the length of breastfeeding.

Using those criteria, they decided that the "natural" age of weaning for humans was probably somewhere between 2.5 and 7 years of age.

While that's very interesting information, it's also a pretty big window.

Best I can figure, someone decided to split the difference, arrive at 4.5 and start touting it as a "fact." People heard it, believed it and passed it on.

Now, leaving apart the question of whether or not looking at how long other species nurse has anything to do with how long humans nurse, the reality is this is a completely made up fact that does nothing to promote the benefits of long-term nursing.

We do not help our cause when we "rely" on made up facts. Personally, I'd love to see this stat get tossed out the window and for more women to focus on the myriad of stats we DO have to promote breastfeeding and extended breastfeeding.

Incidentally, if you didn't follow the above link to read Dettwyler's piece, I'd strongly encourage you to give it a read. It's quite interesting on many levels, but also brings up a very important point. Dettwyler points out how few studies actually distinguish the benefits of nursing beyond the age of two. In other words, in studies of the impact of long-term breastfeeding, everyone who nurses longer than two years gets lumped in together. Prior to the age of two, things tend to get broken down into blocks of 1, 3 or 6 months.

Wouldn't it be great to see some REAL data come out that actually looks at the difference between nursing to three years as opposed to two? Or to three and a half as opposed to three? And so on? To really break things down into smaller chunks? A study that examines the composition of milk beyond that second year to find out how the immunities change and what other properties of the milk might change?

Personally, I think it would be interesting information. In terms of the breastfeeding movement, I think it would give CLD and extended nursers some GREAT, factual information they could use to educate nay-sayers about their choices.

To moms who have thrown out that number as a "fact," I'd encourage you to let it go, or at least to clarify how the number came about. To other moms who have had it used against them, here's your info to refute the claim.

And once again, this post is NOT about discrediting breastfeeding or giving reasons why moms should NOT nurse for as long as they wish. It's about promoting the FACTS and not the fiction.

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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 05, 2008

Why I'm "Harsh" Toward the Lubbock Nurse-in

Regulars here know it's nothing new for someone from the Lactivist movement to come in and call me mean or harsh. I knew what I wrote on Thursday wouldn't be popular, but I strongly felt it needed to be said.

I just finished writing a response in the comments of the original post that further clarified my line of thinking and I realized it probably needed to be it's own post.

breastfeedingmominlubbock wrote in the comments

I'm a little surprised by your harsh criticism to be honest. Some of the other options you mentioned sounded like great ideas, but to call nursing mothers "pouting" because an "apology" was given does not make sense to me, and is offensive.


I appreciate the suggestions for other actions. I just don't feel it's appropriate to call names when people in Lubbock are finally standing up for something as important as the right to breastfeed in public. Let's help each other out with suggestions, not call each other names!

Here's my response.

I completely stand by my statement that to have a "protest" of something that has already been "remedied" is pouting.

I realize that those who attended in Lubbock are very happy with the outcome. I think that's fantastic.

But I also look at these issues on a broader scale. A victory in Lubbock that makes it harder to win a victory somewhere else does NOT advance the movement as a whole. Until women start looking at these issues on a national and even international level, we're going to have a hard time building a cohesive movement that really incites change.

See, while the women who were involved in Lubbock were glad to go, those outside the area are going to see the news of this and say "wait, why were they protesting something that was already remedied? sounds like a bunch of women who just want to raise a ruckus.

That hurts the movement as a whole and contributes to the stereotype of lactivists as "shrieking harpies with too much time on their hands."

(I have no doubt those who attended are glad they went. It's a great experience and provides a nice feeling of empowerment. I won't doubt that at all...but feeling good and causing change are not the same thing.

To note, once it was planned and started to spread, I have no problem with women gathering together to nurse, despite the fact that the city already apologized.

We had this happen last year on the east coast when a woman was told she couldn't nurse in a shop selling party supplies. Some women jumped the gun and planned a nurse-in before the woman had a chance to work her way through management. By the time the nurse-in was due to take place, management had apologized and taken action to put new policies and training in place.

A nurse-in there would have been much like the one that took place in Lubbock. A protest after things had been resolved.

Thankfully, the women at that nurse-in reversed course. They called the management to see if they could change focus to a "nursing rally" that was a celebration of the management's positive changes. In other words, instead of a protest, it became a "we're happy to do business with you because you are willing to change your ways for something better."

They issued new press releases, management came on site for the event, a big party was had and the press was quite positive on all sides. It was a fantastic way to salvage what could have been another eye-roller to those outside the movement.

I would have fully supported something like this in Lubbock. It would have been a great way to accomplish the benefits of yesterday's nurse-in (drawing attention, sparking debate, showing power in numbers and mobilizing nursing moms) without also bringing on the negatives (making the movement look like people who can not be pleased no matter what.)

Beyond that, the "press release" that was issued via Mothering was appalling. I know that sounds harsh, but I'm sorry, it's true. I didn't make it more than a paragraph in before I was shaking my head in sadness.

The content was all over the board, it was completely unprofessional, it had no focus. It basically looked like a giant rant from a random person on a message board.

As a marketing professional AND professional blogger (not this site, my day job) it killed me.

We can spend all day talking about the passion and sincerity with which this event was planned, but passion and sincerity do not win over the general populace. There's a reason marketing and PR professionals exist. It's because they know how to frame a message to appeal to the most people.

There are quite a few of us in this movement with the experience and knowledge to put those types of releases together. (In fact, the media kit that was put together entirely by volunteers for the Delta nurse-in was VERY impressive.)

Had someone simply asked, I would have been happy to call on my contacts to help put together a press release. I have no doubt that dozens of other lactivist moms with marketing and PR backgrounds would have done the same.

This movement has GOT to get beyond the idea that any action is good action. It's not. The wrong type of action can hurt the movement as a whole. It's fantastic to see women getting motivated and wanting to do something. I love that, I encourage that. But we've also got to encourage a more organized, logical approach to these things.


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, January 03, 2008

My Thoughts on the Lubbock Nurse-In

It's been awhile since I've had a chance to sit down and write a post on lactivism and what's been happening in that realm. I've been keeping an eye on what's been happening in Lubbock since I first got an email from a woman there last month.

If you hadn't heard, the city manager's office of Lubbock, Texas decided to censor an upcoming art display at the city owned Buddy Holly Center because it included pieces by Lahib Jaddo showing a breastfeeding mother and a nude pregnant woman.

Now first, I'd like to point out that in my humble opinion, it was probably the nude pregnant woman and not the fully clothed nursing mother that got the artist banned. Personally, I would have liked clarification on what actually prompted the uproar on the part of the city planners, but since they didn't share, I'll give lactivists the benefit of the doubt and look at this as if the breastfeeding was the (or even A) issue.

ETA - A Lubbock resident has pointed out in the comments that BOTH paintings were specifically banned. Thanks for the clarification. Disappointing, but not surprising.

When this first happened, I had an email from a woman who lives in Lubbock asking me about organizing a nurse in. Here's part of my response to her:

I'd actually suggest you shy away from a nurse-in. Nurse-ins are at risk of becoming yesterday's story. They were effective when they were used sparingly, but these days they're being called for any and every reason. That means if we, as breastfeeding activists want to continue to attract news coverage, we need to come up with more creative alternatives.

So, here's what I'd suggest. Have you considered approaching some local art galleries (even smaller, independent ones) about doing a "childbirth and breastfeeding" show? I've heard of one or two state breastfeeding coalitions doing this to raise money for charity. It might be an interesting approach. Especially if you can get the original artist on board as a headliner and find a charity (there's a milk bank in Austin) to partner with. You've already got great media leverage if you play this as a 'response' to the short sightedness of the city planners.

As you know, I tend to think nurse-ins should be reserved for the times when they are the most effective option...generally after quite a few other avenues have been explored first. Nurse-ins also need to take place with clear and concise goals. Otherwise you are simply protesting, you aren't seeking resolution.

There's a point to protesting of course, but it's the seeking of resolution that brings about real change.

The person I originally emailed with was interested in the idea of the art show, but by the time she'd responded to me, someone else was already planning a nurse in. I see now from an announcement on Mothering that the nurse-in is planned for tomorrow.

I see two problems with this on the strategy front.

1.) The nurse-in has no clear and stated goal. The announcement says "A clarification that breastfeeding pictures are not indecent or inappropriate, would be greatly appreciated," but that's closer to a "please sir, may I have some more" than an actual demand or goal.

2.) The city manager has already apologized to the artist and has invited her to exhibit at the Buddy Holly Center.

So...well...the problem has been solved. So why have a nurse-in and protest a decision they've already reversed and apologized for?

Isn't that called pouting?

Wouldn't it be far more productive to get the artist to return and to do a ton of positive press (and perhaps invite nursing mothers to the gallery event) around the reversal?

We have GOT to get past this "let's do a nurse-in" mentality if we want to push this movement forward. Nurse-ins have their place, but remember folks, they are NOT our first line of defense.

It's time to start thinking strategically and to start getting creative. It's time to remember that one tactic only works so many times before it gets boring. That means you can use it sparingly or you can start coming up with new tactics.

So tell me, if you were the queen of the lactivist universe (wouldn't that be a funny title on a business card?) what would you have done in response to the Lubbock situation?


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 01, 2008

I Can't Be Everywhere at Once, but Swicki Can!

Ok, so as you know, I've been trying to figure out exactly what direction to take this blog as we move forward with me as a "retired" breastfeeding mother. I'll still be offering up my commentary and thoughts on the subject and I'll likely be inviting some guest posts on the topic as well. (I'll be roping my friend Anna in for a few since she's now expecting twins...a breastfeeding topic I can't speak to, lol.)

In the meantime, one of my regrets is that I simply can't keep you guys as up to date on breastfeeding news as I'd like. So, I have a solution. Or rather, Eurekster does.

Some of you may have noticed the new sidebar over there on the left. (I know at least a few of you have because folks have been using it.) That sidebar is called a swicki and it's a free community tool offered up by the good folks at Eurekster. I spoke on a panel with their CEO last month and have been playing around with the swicki option since then. I've got to say, it's kind of cool.

Basically, you can setup a topical category and seed it with some URLs to start things out. (You can also exclude URLs, which means I've already blocked any domain I could find that was associated with formula companies.) People run a search on a keyword and they get blog posts, videos and news stories that match. People then vote the story up or down, just like they would on a more general site like Digg. The difference is, this one is targeted toward breastfeeding news and related topics like childbirth, natural family living, etc...

You can see the results it in action on the breastfeeding news swicki.

Want to get in on the action? Start using the site to find and vote on stories.

Have a blog of your own? You can add the code for this to your site if you'd like to give your readers one click search access to the news and information in this community.

Over time, the categories, sites and such will refine as more people come in and run searches, cast votes and suggest new sites. Basically, this is a great way for the breastfeeding community to take the next step and build a great resource together. It will also give us a one-stop place to find all the latest news and information on the topics we're interested in.

Now, there's talk that as Eurekster grows, they'll do revenue share from the ads that appear on each swicki. This isn't happening yet, but hopefully it will soon. As the creator of the swicki, these funds would currently go to me. HOWEVER, since I want to push this as a community thing, you have my word that if this swicki grows and produces any revenue, I'll donate 100% of anything I earn from it to HMBANA milk banks.

I can't be everywhere at once, so the readers that only come here often end up missing out on some of the stories I don't have time to cover. This is my way to solve that and to help all you other bloggers solve it for your readers as well. It's also a great way for all of us to keep track of the hottest stories so we get a chance to discuss them.

So check it out!


Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments: