Breastfeeding IS a Big Deal…

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I recently ran across a blog post that posed the question, “Should We Stop Acting Like Breastfeeding is a Big Deal?”

While I agree with a few of her points, I believe that the post is very subjective and the author has blissfully lived in a land of acceptance and privilege and has never encountered the harsh realities that some of us have. But the answer to the question is ABSOLUTELY NOT!

I do agree with the fact that breastfeeding should be viewed as the normal thing to do. It absolutely is the normal thing to do. However, the whole world doesn’t see it that way, and until it does, and mothers are no longer being harrassed for doing such a normal thing, there is a real need for activism in the breastfeeding community.

The author wrote this, which really stuck out to me:

 I (like most nursing mothers) was never ever asked to leave or cover when nursing despite doing it front and center in the middle of church, at theme parks, stores, and restaurants and even wedged between two men on many a flight and many other places. I never once had a negative word spoken to me while nursing and lived in three states with widely varying opinions and acceptance for breastfeeding (California, Texas and New Mexico).

Maybe that’s why she doesn’t understand why we should NOT stop acting as if breastfeeding is a big deal.  She has never had to deal with the negativity. She’s never been asked to leave the mall while she was breastfeeding her toddler in the play area because the security guard on duty wasn’t made aware of the malls pro-breastfeeding policy. I have, and it wasn’t fun. It was humiliating. It was embarrassing. It should never have happened, and the reason that it did is because I live in Mississippi and just the word “breastfeeding” is associated with a shameful act.

Perhaps she doesn’t understand why we should NOT stop acting as if breastfeeding is a big deal is because she hasn’t been forced to nurse or pump in a filthy bathroom or encountered the glaring looks of her fellow worshipers during church services while she breastfeeds her infant.

Or maybe she hasn’t been called a “child molester” because she was “still” breastfeeding her 3 year old or had her child taken away because he was breastfed longer than what is socially acceptable. She hasn’t been told that she was only doing it for her own pleasure and that she was leaving a permanent scar on her child because of it.

If it were so easy to “just breastfeed as if it were the normal thing to do” the breastfeeding rates wouldn’t be so low and this wouldn’t be an issue.

So it isn’t realistic to say, “Oh, just simply breastfeed.” That’s exactly what we are trying to do. We aren’t trying to make a statement, we aren’t trying to create controversy, nor do we have an agenda. But when these things happen, breastfeeding mothers NEED support. They need others to rally around them and know that there are others who understand and support them. It isn’t about getting blog hits or creating drama. It’s about mothers supporting mothers.

Part of the problem, though, is that it isn’t just that easy. In this hyper-sexualized culture, breastfeeding is the underdog. Many children don’t grow up seeing others breastfeed, and the deficit in the breastfeeding rates is contributed largely to that.  Breastfeeding is a right-brain function, therefore, when mothers don’t see it, sometimes they really don’t know how to do it. We are bombarded with books and information on how to breastfeed, but when we over-think it and let the left brain take over, the emotional aspect takes a back burner. The way that we remedy this is by seeing other mothers breastfeed. When we learn from others, we don’t have to “overthink” it too much and that allows the right brain to take over.

So, what happens when we don’t know any other breastfeeding mothers to watch?

This is where social media comes into play for a lot of mothers. In an informal poll on my Instagram account, I asked mothers about their experience with breastfeeding and social media, and if any of them “learned” to breastfeed through social media and immediately got comments like these:

I totally did!! Y’all I’ll be honest- I never gave it much thought. I wasn’t for or against it. But during my pregnancy I found websites, blogs, etc and discovered just how AWESOME breastfeeding is! And through pages like this one I saw pictures and it made it seem beautiful and natural. I’m proud to say we are going on 8 months ebf and have no end in sight. It’s a beautiful and sweet experience and I’m SO SO SO thankful for social media making it out there and ‘normal’ for mass amounts of people.”
Social media didn”t help me “learn” to breastfeed BUT I did learn a lot breastfeeding in general. But ultimately, taking a breastfeeding class while I was still pregnant was the best decision I ever made. And then having a great LC afterwards. Social media did help me decide to nurse in public!
 
Several people mentioned that they had learned to breastfeed from watching YouTube videos. So, having those “in your face” breastfeeding photos has a very important purpose for those without the priviledge of a “real life” support system.
 
The point is, until breastfeeding IS viewed as the normal thing to do, breastfeeding needs to be marketed  just as much as formula is marketed (although it won’t happen, since we are up against BILLIONS of dollars…). We are in the overwhelming majority, and when mothers are harrassed and discriminated against it is a big deal.

 

Is Your Doctor *Really* Breastfeeding Friendly???

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Latch The Babes:

I cannot stress how important having a truly supportive and well educated (on breastfeeding) doctor is!

Originally posted on Breastfeed Chicago:

The-Big-Latch-On-MainPhoto Most parents assume that finding a doctor who is supportive of breastfeeding will be an easy task; after all, the medical field applauds the health benefits of breastfeeding for both mothers and babies.  Unfortunately, other than very basic knowledge about the benefits of breastfeeding, this topic is sadly overlooked in medical education.  Unless physicians receive extra education on breastfeeding, as well as make a commitment to spend time with breastfeeding dyads, they may not be as supportive as breastfeeding as one would hope.

So how do you know if your doctor is truly supportive of your breastfeeding goals?  Let’s look at the big five–GROWTH, SLEEP, SOLIDS, MEDICATIONS, and VIBES.

GROWTH

Did you know it’s normal for newborns to lose some weight in the first few days after birth?  Your doctor should!  Your doctor should also know that exclusively breastfed babies grow differently than their formula fed counterparts. In the first…

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Pumping in the Bathroom: A Look at the Real Dangers

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A Fall River, Massachusetts breastfeeding mother who was prepared to meet her civic obligation as a juror in district court last week was told by an officer of the court to pump breastmilk for her 5 month old baby in the restroom.

Although there are no laws to specifically exempt breastfeeding mothers from jury duty, according to the Massachussetts Trial Juror’s Handbook, jurors “have the right to reschedule your jury service to a date that is convenient for you, up to a year from the date you were originally summoned.”
Nonetheless, nurse & first time mother Colleen Swanson, who was at the time unaware of the hardship extension clause, showed up for jury duty prepared to pump for her baby during their absence, but reasonable and sanitary pumping accomodations were not given to her. Mrs. Swanson told me that apparently this is not the first time that a breastfeeding mother has been asked to pump in the restroom since the officer didn’t seem taken aback when she asked for a place to pump and immediately directed her toward the restroom and even gave her an extension cord to use.
She was told by a local reporter covering her story that a representative from the court stated that had she complained, she would have been given better accommodations.
Thankfully, Mrs. Swanson was not impaneled, which is a good thing since the case involved was a murder trial!
I doubt that, given their lack of sensitivity in regards to a sanitary, private pumping area, they would have been accommodating for a mother who has to step out to pump every couple of hours.

So what’s the big deal? The bathroom isn’t so bad, and at least it’s a private place, right?
WRONG!!!!

Let’s just put this matter into perspective with peer reviewed research, shall we?
Raise your hand if you refuse to even sit down on a public toilet seat? I canter into a public restroom and proceed to squat over the seat, being very careful not to touch the germs that I know are lurking there. (Ok, most of the time I do use the seat covers & sit down…I just said that to make the point that we already know that bathrooms are gross) I flush with my foot, and after I wash my hands, I keep my paper towel so that I won’t have to touch the germ-laden door knob. But according to the research, toilet seats are the least of our worries…
New research conducted by microbiologist Dr. Charles Gerba of the University of Arizona, showed that the average toilet paper dispenser has more than 150 times the amount of bacteria than the average toilet seat. Paper towel dispensers were found to have over 50 times more bacteria on average than a typical public restroom toilet seat. Further, this study concluded that toilet plume aerosol (the water & particles that are ejected from the toilet when we flush) could play a contributory role in the transmission of infectious diseases.
That’s right. When we flush, millions of tiny fecal (POOP!) particles are thrust into the air and land on all of the surfaces of the restroom. Have you ever been into one of those mega-fast, overdrive toilets that sound like a jet plane taking off flushed? Can you imagine the “plume aerosol” from those???

A study by the Infectious Diseases Society of America seen here showed that mall, hospital, offices, lecture hall, conference center, department stores, restaurants, airport, and resort restrooms contained “predominant gram-positive organisms including Staphylococcus spp., Micrococcus spp., Bacillus spp., and Enterococcus spp. Isolated Gram-negative microorganisms were mostly Enterobacteriaceae (e.g., Escherichia coli, Klebsiella spp., Cronobacter spp., Leclercia spp., Pantoea spp., Serratia spp.) or non-fermenters. Quantitative cultures documented extensive contamination of all high-touch surfaces. For several restrooms, the quantity of microorganisms was too numerous to count (TNTC), even given our process of counting up to 1,000 CFU/ml. Faucets, soap and paper dispenser operating levers, and the exit door handle of restaurants and aircraft restrooms were more likely to have concentrations of microorganisms TNTC compared with other locations. “
You read that right: There were so many harmful microbes in the restrooms that they tested, because there was so much bacteria, it was too much to count!
Whoa.
They concluded that “documented extensive bacterial contamination of high-touch environmental sites in 22 public restrooms and aircraft, including a wide spectrum of Gram-positive and Gram-negative microorganisms. Cultures obtained in the restrooms of fast-food restaurants were more likely to have quantitative colony counts TNTC. Cultures of high-touch sites in three restrooms located in different areas of a tertiary care hospital yielded six microorganisms that are responsible for two-thirds of healthcare-associated infections.”

Private, indeed.
Actually, when we use a public restroom, it isn’t a private experience at all. We are subjecting ourselves to all of the bacteria of all of the people who have used that restroom recently, and this poses a serious heath risk, especially for vulnerable individuals such as infants.

A restroom is no place for food, of any kind, and is certainly not the place for a tiny baby to eat!
Knowing all of the dangerous germs that are lurking in public restrooms, would you prepare your food or sit down and eat your dinner there?
Certainly not! So please don’t expect an infant to.

Here’s how you can help:
Call or write the Fall River District Court and let them know that a public restroom is NOT a sanitary place for breastfeeding mothers to pump and respectfully ask them to make accommodations for future use.

Mailing Address
Fall River District Court
186 South Main Street
Fall River, MA 02721

Main phone number
(508)491-3200

Have a boobiful day & leave a supportive comment for beautiful mama Colleen! ❤️

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And on Instagram & Twitter @latchthebabes

My Body is My Own: Breastfeeding After Sexual Abuse

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****TRIGGER WARNING! This post deals with sexual abuse and the content may be disturbing to some.****

I hate the phrase, “Time heals all wounds.” The truth is, it doesn’t. Some wounds are so deep that it becomes ingrained in who we are. Sure, time makes them easier to bear, but like a glass vase that has been broken and then glued back together, those scars will always be there, even when it appears that the seams of the shattered glass match up perfectly.
I would love to say that I am a survivor of sexual abuse. I would give almost anything for that to be true. However, as I sit here struggling to find my words and calm my train of thought, I have the bitter taste of bile rising in the back of my throat and I realize that I still have very deep wounds that I may never completely recover from. I have moved on in a lot of ways, and I try to not let it dictate my life, but it’s still a struggle. Every day. It’s a struggle in self worth, mainly, but also a struggle of trying to arrange emotions in a way that they make sense. It’s how I deal with things..I rationalize them. This, however, is almost impossible, because what happened to me will never make sense.
I was sexually abused.
When I was around the age of eight, the fondling started by my step father. He and my mother had lived together then married a couple of years before the abuse started, and I had grown to love him as the stable father figure in my life. This is one of the things that makes it so hard for me to deal with. I had conflicting feelings when it started…on one hand, I did love him. On the other hand, I really didn’t know how to feel. It wasn’t a case of me feeling victimized as the abuse was happening. I was a child, I didn’t fully understand exactly what WAS happening, and the hardest part for me to deal with: at times I may have even enjoyed the attention. He didn’t cause me physical pain, and he never tried to have intercourse with me, thankfully, but I was still forced to deal with very adult issues as a very young girl. It started out as a very subtle thing. Now I know that he was grooming me. There would be a touch here and there, sometimes he made it seem accidental, sometimes not. Sometimes playful, sometimes serious. This is why so many child molestors get away with what they do…because they groom, and according to they do it in six stages.
In the first stage, they target their victim, which was easy for my step father, since I lived in the home with him and was a seemingly trustworthy person to my mother and the rest of my family.
In the second stage, they gain trust. He did that for probably two years before it began. He wasn’t the typical “bad guy” that I was warned about by well meaning family members; he was family, and family can be trusted, right? He wasn’t the creep who might offer me candy to get into his van, like I had seen on movies. He was a normal, decent looking, well dressed, hard working guy. Most are.
The next thing that child molesters do is stage three: fill a need. I’m going to be honest here, I believe that he knew that he could take advantage of me from day one. I also believe that a child molester can stand in a room filled with 100 children and pick out the ONE that they can molest. I had grown up in an unstable home environment up to this point. My parents divorced when I was a baby, and since my mother worked two jobs, I was basically raised by my great aunt and uncle. My mother had been married three times prior to this man. No doubt that he used that entire situation to place himself into our lives. I’m not even convinced that he didn’t marry my mother for this reason, even though the molestation did not start immediately.
Stage four is when they isolate the child. They will create a special bond with the child and create opportunities to spend time alone. This was easy since he drove a truck and was able to carry me on trips with him, and because of my mother’s long working hours.
Stage five is when they start to sexualize the situation. When the abuser has the childs trust and emotional dependence, the molester will progressively sexualize the relationship, and will desensitize the child to various situations, and then use that to exploit a child’s natural curiosity. This is the absolute most difficult part for me to deal with personally. He manipulated me until he found what aroused me and used that to extend the relationship, and he used the things that I loved to create opportunities for himself. I remember on several occasions, we would be alone in the house and he would bring me my mothers sexy nighties to “try on” and “play dress up”, then he suggest that we have a “dance party”. He knew that I loved to dance more than anything. He danced with me, and at some point would pick me up over his head and then slide me down his body, and his underwear would slide down with me and his naked penis would be exposed. Then he would stroke himself as I continued to dance at a distance and tried unsucessfully not to sneak glances at his penis. My curiosity got the better of me, as he knew that it would.
Stage six is maintaining control of the child. He had it. I “clearly” liked it, and whatever was happening was my fault too, since I went along with it. In my own mind, I wasn’t a victim, although I had conflicting feelings of liking the attention, but yet not wanting it to continue…and no one else, I felt, was going to see me as a victim either. Not after what I had done.
I didn’t hate it at first, and that’s what I hate myself for now that I am an adult. However, as I grew older, my feelings about it transitioned as I came to the realization that what was happening was wrong.
Since he drove a semi-truck over the road, he didn’t have a regular work schedule and was home in the afternoon and weekends while my mother worked. When I was out of school for holidays and the summer, I would go on over the road trips with him. I enjoyed getting out of the house and seeing the country. I also liked the fact that we ate at different truck stops and he allowed me to order anything that I wanted. We traveled by day and when the sun went down, I would climb in the back and sleep. He would climb into the sleeper with me when he parked the truck for the night and then he would start to fondle my overdeveloped for my age breasts, then he would raise my shirt up and start to lick and suck on them. Most of the time, I would pretend to be asleep, because I thought that would make him lose interest. Sometimes it did, but sometimes he would continue for most of the night.
He never touched me when my mother was at home. He was an opportunistic predator.
The molestation continued until I was ten, almost eleven. I will never forget the day that I decided to tell my mother. I’d been dreading it for days and went back and forth on the decision to talk to her about it. The day that I finally got up the courage to tell her, I wrote her a note and stuck it on the kitchen table. I knew that she would blame me, and I honestly didn’t want to live anymore. I just wanted to die, but I didn’t want to die with this secret. I went to the kitchen and took almost an entire bottle of aspirin, thinking that it would kill me in my sleep, and then I went to bed. I woke up a few hours later and my mother, brother, and step father had gone out for dinner and left me there. I stayed in the bathroom all night puking up the aspirin that I had taken and wondered why my mother hadn’t came in to check on me. Apparantly she hadn’t read the note that night, because it was the next day when she came in. She gave me a speech about the seriousness of my accusations. I was a seriously dramatic child by nature, and was sure that she would think that I was just trying to cause a stir. He knew this too, and I think it’s why he thought he would get away with it. I believe that my mom was in shock over the allegations and went through different stages as we talked. Nonetheless, when I convinced her that it was really happening, she packed me up and took me to my grandparents to get me into a safe environment while she worked everything out. Afterwards was a whirlwind of going to doctors, counselors, and lawyers offices. My grandparents got emergency temporary custody of me and my mother eventually divorced him and she and my brother moved.

Fast forward several years, I got married and got pregnant my first baby. I knew when I got pregnant that I wanted to breastfeed, but I constantly questioned my ability to endure it. How could I allow an infant to suckle on the same breasts that my abuser fondled and licked? When I brought my baby up to my breast, would I see my molestors face? Would the stimulation be too much for me to bear, and would I develop an aversion toward my baby from breastfeeding him? I was haunted by severe apprehension. My greatest fear was that I would be so overtaken by my emotions that it would destroy any confidence in breastfeeding that I had.
Although I carried horrendous emotional scars that I wouldn’t face even for years to come, I convinced myself that I would push through it if those scars resurfaced after the birth of my baby.
Thankfully, when my baby was born, the hormones and instinct took over and the dread that I had felt about it was much worse than the reality. I was able to disconnect myself from what had happened and keep those feelings locked up for a while to sucessfully breastfeed, but it wasn’t easy, and eventually they did resurface.
However, the breastfeeding isn’t what stirred them again.
It was simply being a mother.
I developed an overwhelming urge to protect my child from what had happened to me, but in order to do that I had to face it. I had to take myself back and re-feel all of those emotions. I had to remember and ponder on the events that led up to what had happened to me. It was important to me as a mother to understand the mind of the one who molested me and stripped away my child-like view of the world entirely too soon.
Overcoming my abuse is still a daily struggle, but writing about it and talking about it has helped me to start to heal, and ironically, the thing that I thought would be a trigger has been what has allowed me to face my demons and begin to move on.
Knowing that my body is being used for what it was designed to has changed my outlook completely. I believed that I would struggle with not having my body “to myself”, yet the opposite has happened. I don’t view it in that way. My intense self-loathing has subsided a great deal just knowing that my body has supported four tiny lives, all on its own. It has been empowering to know that my body came through for my babies and its intended purpose, even though I did not treat it very well in the years follwing my abuse. I feel as though I have reconnected with my own body through my breastfeeding journey and have been able to not only accept my body, but also appreciate the magical thing that it has done in creating and sustaining life. My body is my own, even though it was used to grow and feed my babies. My babies may have been demanding, but not in the same malicious, devious way as my abuser. Their innocence and dependence on me allowed me to remove those mind barriers and fear that I had conjured up in the beginning of my first pregnancy. Having and nourishing my babies has ALLOWED me to claim back my own body.

I may periodically come back and add things to this, as my emotions are always evolving as I take steps to heal. I feel that it’s important as a victim to get those emotions out and at least try to put them into perspective.

Other mothers have sent me their experiences to be included in this and I would like to share them below:

When I was little a male family member abused me many times. It was right after I had started developing breasts. Since then I have had a very negative view of my breasts.
I didn’t tell anyone about the abuse for 5 years. I blamed it on myself, my breasts were too large, they were gross. I felt they were something to be ashamed of. As a teenager with size D breasts it was something I really struggled with.
In my sexual relationship with my partner, I asked to keep my breasts out of it. He was a total boob man, but respected my past and never touched my breasts.
Once pregnant I took the usual baby class and one night was breastfeeding night. After learning all the benefits for my son, I SO wanted to breastfeed him. But, I was scared. If I couldn’t let my partner touch my breasts after 3 years of having sex how would I feel with this little baby touching and sucking on my nipple?
I had nightmares about it throughout my pregnancy. Yet I was still 100% determined to breastfeed.
When my son was born we cuddled, his birth was unmedicated so he was very alert. He soon found his way to my breast. One of the nurses went to touch my breast, without asking, and I quickly asked her not to. I helped my son latch and we began our beautiful breastfeeding relationship.
I feel so lucky that I have never felt any of the things I feared I would. But if I had never tried, I wouldn’t know how beautiful breastfeeding truly is.

When I was 14 and my boyfriend at the time was 16, he decided he was ready for sex. I was not. I begged for us to be able to wait, I was too young and scared. He wasn’t willing to accept that and told me that “if I truly loved him, I would let him.” He forced himself onto me and took my virginity. He covered my face with a pillow and held me down while I cried the entire time. He continued to abuse me physically and sexually, threatening my life, until I was 17. I gained the strength to leave him after losing my father. I became pregnant a year later with my now husband’s baby. The first time I breastfed my son in the hospital, I cried the entire time. I convinced myself that because of my past, I couldn’t nurse my son. I felt too dirty, and almost as if I was abusing my son somehow. I cried every single time I breastfed my son. I made it to 3 months of nursing until I gave up. It took a few years of soul searching and turning to God before I was able to realize that what happened to me, was NOT my fault. In 2013, I gave birth to my daughter. She is almost 7 months old and has not had a single drop of formula. I feel guilty at times that I wasn’t able to overcome my problems to breastfeed my son, but he is a beautiful healthy and happy 4 year old. I am thankful everyday that I am able to give my daughter the best start I can by breastfeeding her.

Important Resources

http://www.themamabeareffect.org

http://www.childhelp.org/pages/hotline-home

Victoria’s Secret: Go Breastfeed in the Alley

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Yet again, a breastfeeding mother has been discriminated against, but this time in the incident happened inside a Victoria’s Secret in Texas.
Of course it’s fine to show your breasts…just not if there is a baby attached to it!
This brought of memories of my own experience when my local BIG Latch On group was asked to leave our local mall for breastfeeding. We were sitting quietly in the play area when a security guard told us that we had to leave. When we informed him that we were protected by law to feed our babies anywhere we need to, he argued that because we were on private property, the law didn’t apply.
Anyway, just yards away were Victoria’s Secret posters that exposed MUCH more skin than any of us! One mom in our group was even using a cover!
The Mall at Barnes Crossing repeatedly apologized, and Victoria’s Secret issued a statement apologizing to the mother, but this brings up the serious issue that businesses need to inform their employees of the law protecting breastfeeding mothers BEFORE things like this happens!

The news story from Fox 7 in Austin, TX states this:

A mother shopping at the Victoria’s Secret store at the Domain says she was denied the right to breastfeed. Instead, she was told to go to an alley.

Under Texas law, “a mother is entitled to breast-feed her baby in any location in which the mother is authorized to be.”

But that wasn’t the case for one mother who came to us in disbelief. Now she’s hoping other women don’t have to go through what she had to.

Ashley Clawson had just finished spending $150 at Victoria’s Secret. But she left with more than she bargained for.

“I was humiliated by the whole thing, I immediately called my husband,” Clawson said.

On Monday afternoon she asked an employee behind the counter if she could nurse her 4-month-old son in the fitting room. It was the response she got that came as a shock.

“Said no, you cannot nurse your son in our fitting room but you can go outside to the alley and nurse him there, no one usually goes there,” Clawson said.

After clarifying with the employee what was said, she knew it was no misunderstanding.

“I don’t even know what alley she was talking about. I didn’t explore it because my son. Obviously if you’ve been around a baby… once they start crying there is no going back,” Clawson said.

Once she got home, she posted what had happened on Facebook, getting more support than she could have ever imagined.

“Some of these people I’ve been getting friend requests from I have no clue who they are and people who have shared it on their page, their friends have shared it, and they’ve tagged certain groups that I never even knew existed,” Clawson said.

She filed two complaints before being told she would be receiving something in the mail. Clawson now has a different perspective on the company.

“The posters and everything are just women showing their breasts and obviously to Victoria’s Secret in my eyes, it’s looked at as a play toy. Not necessarily, means for you know nursing your child, which is why we have breasts to begin with,” Clawson said.

She is hoping this situation can be used as an example for change.

“I do think that Victoria’s Secret needs to train their employee’s better on the breastfeeding policy and know the laws on it,” Clawson said.

Victoria’s Secret issued the following statement:

“We take this issue very seriously. We have a longstanding policy permitting mothers to nurse their children in our stores and we are sorry that it was not followed in this case. We have apologized to Ms. Clawson, and we are taking actions to ensure all associates understand our policy that welcomes mothers to breastfeed in our stores.”

I have tried to contact Mrs. Clawson & will update when I get a chance to speak with her.

In the meantime, I encourage you to call or email Victoria’s Secret and let them know the importance of informing all of their employees of the laws protecting breastfeeding mothers. All it takes is a simple note on a bulletin board or by the time clock, people! Get it together, businesses!

The contact page for Victoria’s Secret is here.

We’ll Never Be Rested: What if Parents Rewrote the Lyrics to Lorde’s ‘Royals’?

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Latch The Babes:

Hilarious.

Originally posted on Groundswell:

Lorde’s song “Royals” was everywhere in 2013. But my wife and I wondered, what if instead of a 17 year-old superstar, it was overtired parents of young kids who had written this song. The lyrics below are the result. My friend, singer/songwriter Lisa Hillary  recorded our lyrics and it is amazing. Listen to the track and go check out Lisa’s music.

UPDATE: Thanks to fans of the song we now have a video! Check it out.

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Breastfeeding Friendly Companies?

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I recently found out about a new company named 16 Minute Club that was geared toward providing subscription boxes products for breastfeeding mothers. I was thrilled about it and even recommended them to my Instagram and Facebook followers. They were one of a kind and really seemed like they would be providing quality products geared specifically toward a demographic that is sometimes left out of the mainstream mommy product lines.

My elation about the company was short lived.

This morning while browsing around on Faceboook, I noticed a post by this company of a pouch of powdered (freeze dried) organic banana baby food.  From first glance it seemed like a cool product… the instructions on the front stated to “just add breastmilk or water”. Ok, fine. Seems like a cool product. But then I saw it.

4+ Months

So, knowing that according to the WHO:

Adequate nutrition during infancy is essential for lifelong health and wellbeing. Infants should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life to achieve optimal growth, development and health. Thereafter, to meet their evolving nutritional requirements, infants should receive nutritionally adequate and safe complementary foods, while continuing to breastfeed for up to two years or more

 UNICEF

Exclusive breastfeeding is the perfect way to provide the best food for a baby’s first six months of life, benefiting children the world over. But breastfeeding is so much more than food alone; breastfed infants are much less likely to die from diarrhoea, acute respiratory infections and other diseases: a non-breastfed child is 14 times more likely to die in the first six months than an exclusively breastfed child. Breastfeeding supports infants’ immune systems and helps protect from chronic conditions later in life such as obesity and diabetes. Suboptimum breastfeeding still accounts for an estimated 800,000 deaths in children under five annually (about 13% of total child deaths), according to the Lancet 2013 Nutrition Series. Data from 2011 indicate that only 39 per cent of 0-5 month olds in low-income countries are exclusively breastfed.

the AAP, and pretty much every major health organization in the world now recommends that babies not be introduced to solids until at least 6 months, I commented something along the lines of this:

Cool product. But I wish the package included the current recommendations for solids rather than 4 months.

I also posted this article on delaying solids from Kellymom about introduction of solids.

My comments were deleted and they responded with this:

That article is from 2011. Studies show that adding fruits & vegetables between 4-6 months increases a childs chance of regularly eating fruits & veggies at 7 years.

Ok…fair enough. But what you are missing is that babies who are introduced to solids before 6 months are at a higher risk of obesity, diabetes, eczema and celiac disease.  Further, the “studies” that they cited was a 2009 study by ALSPAC and formula fed babies and breastfed babies were not differentiated. That makes a big difference.  Also, the study refers to babies who are introduced to lumpy foods.  Powdered bananas mixed with breastmilk is in no way lumpy. They then began to copy and paste “information” off of the products website.  First off, I tend to not take all of my advice from someone who is trying to sell me something. Second, if I were selling something, I would definitely want to hear the concerns of my consumers and target audience.

And given the choice between a potentially picky 7 year old and possible serious health concerns…I will gladly take the latter.

Anyway..

Babies are not physically capable of digesting solid foods until around 6 months. They have what is called an open gut…

From Kellymom:

If solids are started before a baby’s system is ready to handle  them, they are poorly digested and may cause unpleasant reactions  (digestive upset, gas, constipation, etc.). Protein digestion is incomplete in infancy. Gastric acid and pepsin are secreted at birth and increase toward adult values over the following 3  to 4 months. The pancreatic enzyme amylase does not reach adequate  levels for digestion of starches until around 6 months, and carbohydrate  enzymes such as maltase, isomaltase, and sucrase do not reach adult levels until around 7 months. Young infants also have low levels of lipase and bile salts, so fat digestion does not reach adult levels until 6-9 months.

From Breastfeeding Essentials:

  • The younger the baby, the more likely it is that any foods other than human milk will cause food allergies. While solely breastfed, the baby is protected by components in mother’s milk that prevent foreign proteins from entering the baby’s system and causing an allergic reaction. At about six months of age, the baby begins producing enough antibodies to prevent such allergic reactions. This benefit is especially important for a baby whose family has a history of allergies.

     

  • Because a young baby’s digestive system is immature, he may not be able to digest other foods as well, perhaps making spitting up, constipation, and diarrhea more common. Waiting until the baby is at least six months old lessens the probability that these unpleasant reactions will occur.

     

  • Solids displace breastmilk in the baby’s diet. The more solid food a baby consumes the less breastmilk he consumes. Early introduction of solids puts the baby at risk for premature weaning. An inferior food has been substituted for a superior one, and partial weaning has begun.

     

  • Breastfed babies are rarely obese, but when they are it is most often related to the early addition of solid foods. This may be because a younger baby is less able to communicate when he has had enough, perhaps resulting in overfeeding.

     

  • Breastfeeding provides some degree of birth control. It is most effective, however, when the baby is exclusively breastfeeding – no formula or water supplements and no solid foods. The addition of these cuts down on the amount of time the baby spends at the breast, therefore reducing the amount of stimulation necessary to inhibit ovulation in the mother.

     

  • A young baby still possesses the tongue-thrust reflex which causes the food to be pushed out of the mouth rather than swallowed. This coupled with the fact that most young babies are unable to sit up alone results in feeding that is messier and more difficult. Once a baby has reached six months of age the tongue-thrust reflex has faded and baby can take a more active part in feeding time

So, thats all I have to say about early introduction of solids. The research speaks for itself.

My main concern is this…

After my comments were deleted from their Facebook, I went over to their Instagram and basically said that since my comments were deleted, I would be unfollowing them. I felt that they were not taking my concerns about this product seriously.

I was right. Other mothers began to show concern and commented about the dangers of introducing solids and those comments were also deleted.

Let me get this right… your targeted audience is breastfeeding mothers, but yet you are alienating those very people?

When mothers would persist with the information from the WHO, UNICEF, and AAP, they were blocked. Myself included.

No reputable research allowed, apparantly!

 

Here are some of the comments on their post that were deleted and the poster blocked by the company:

@kristarathert  Two words: virgin gut!!!

 

@kristinbenandjeremiah solids aren’t to be added at 4-6 months, that’s misinformation, not to be rude.

 

@kristinbenandjeremiah The misinformation about solids before 6 months is dangerous because people look to you to provide correct knowledge.  The WHO says nothing but breastmilk until 6 months, and putting anything in a bottle can cause obesity, allergies, and can cause babies to choke. So spoon would be the only option, and we know thats not recommended until baby can sit fully unsupported. So maybe later than 6 months.

 

@chelseyjordan Unfollowing since you are giving incorrect information.  Saying that this is not solids is a lie and there are many parents out there who won’t realize this or the harm that it can cause!

 

@eutheria No thanks, my milk is perfect as is.  Love how you’ve handled this bit of controversy. Nothing like enraging your target group and then censoring them as a way to build up your client base! Or wait, that doesn’t seem like a good idea at all. Oops.

 

@bindyjam Fun? Adding banana to breast milk is fun? Banana causes most babies to become constipated. Fun? Babies don’t need this stuff in their milk. I can’t believe ou are supporting this by posting it.

 

@katiaxo_0601 did you really say “when breast milk or formula milk do not meet the nutritional needs of an infant anymore? Are you kidding me? Shame on you.

Basically they kept responding with “Please direct questions toward <the manufactuer>” and then this, which disturbed me greatly, given that they are representing themselves as a point of support in breastfeeding.

Some mothers may have every intention to breastfeed 6 months or longer.  However, some don’t for many reasons. This product offers a way for some mothers to transistion if they so choose.

I don’t disagree that mothers should be supported, regardless of their choice. But here is my point: You are a supposed to be a company that encourages breastfeeding, but yet you seem more concerned with weaning. You are in a position to educate women. To give out misinformation is dangerous.  First, babies shouldn’t be transitioned from breastmilk to purees that derive from a powder. Second, if a mother wants to transistion her baby off of the breast, feeding him bananas or other sugary fruits is not the best way. Babies need breastmilk or formula to be their main source of nutrition until at least 12 months, with complementary foods after six months.

And here is my last point…

Another reason why breastfed babies should not be introduced to solids at 4 months is because that is the time for the “notorious” growth spurt!

SO many mothers  wean around this time because they believe that their milk has dried up due to the increasing needs of the baby! It hasn’t, and continuing to allow the baby to nurse as much as he/she wants, it will adjust to those specific needs. But if you start replacing nursings with food or formula supplements..its probably gonna start to dwindle!

So what’s the big deal? Why are you going nuts over this? If you don’t want the product, throw it out or don’t use it!

But its not that simple.

Anything that is not supportive of breastfeeding has the potential to sabatoge it when it is “hand delivered” to mothers. It’s just like the “breastfeeding care packages” given out to mothers from formula companies….It can ruin breastfeeding and not all mothers have the liberty of being educated about the “booby traps” that could cause her milk to dwindle down, or may not have the information about the open gut and the importance of delaying solids. 

The product isn’t the issue. It seems like a good product. The issue stands in the age recommendations for it. The issue stands in the way that the alleged breastfeeding supportive company disallowing comments that points toward the research. The issue stands in them completely disregarding and dismissing legitimate concerns about a product from the very consumers that will potentially buy it.

It also stands in the fact that ALL of the research was not allowed. This is the most important. Don’t give careless “research” like, “Studies show that adding fruits & vegetables between 4-6 months increases a childs chance of regularly eating fruits & veggies at 7 years.” and disallow, “They also have yet to develop the proper gut bacteria that allow them to process solid food safely, potentially leading to gastroenteritis and diarrhea, Dr. Gold said. The early introduction of solid foods has also been linked to increased risk of obesity, diabetes, eczema and celiac disease.”

If you are going to sell a product geared toward a breastfeeding mother, make for damn sure that that product is not going to destroy the nursing relationship that she has fought like hell for. And for God’s sake…LISTEN to the concerns of your target audience. So far I have received reports of over 40 moms being blocked because they voiced concerns about the product. Even sadder than that…the owner of the company is an IBCLC.

 

 

 

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