Category Archives: Breastfeeding

Bottoms up! Gettin’ Your Drink on While Breastfeeding



You’ve probably heard about the recent incident in which an uniformed & uneducated about breastfeeding waitress called the police on a mother who was drinking & breastfeeding. The waitress reported that the mother was consuming “drink after drink” & “even took a drink WHILE breastfeeding the baby” GASP! The mother maintains that she only had two drinks.
News flash lady….our mouths don’t act as a funnel leading straight to the breast. So really, since it takes a little while for the tiny amount that is actually passed through the milk, the mom was doing the best thing, since by the next feeding the alcohol would be gone!
Anyway, the mama was arrested for child endangerment & the waitress was fired.
I’m glad the waitress lost her job.
She was completely out of line.

So in light of that, and because it’s the Eve of New Years Eve, here are some facts about consuming alcohol & breastfeeding!

If you are sober enough to drive, you are sober enough to nurse!

Alcohol doesn’t go into the milk and just live there forever. As it exits your bloodstream, it also exits your milk.

Here is a brilliant post from Dr. Jack Newman about breastfeeding & alcohol consumption:

The following is from a blog by a mother who tested her milk for alcohol. Not one of those useless kits that you can buy at various stores, but tested at a toxicology laboratory. I will copy from her blog the method she used and the results. I think this puts the lie to the notion that women should not drink while breastfeeding or need to “pump and dump” (an appalling term) after having even one drink. The following is an exact quote from her blog:

First I took a sample of my milk (about 1 mL) prior to drinking any alcoholic beverage. I expressed the milk mid-nursing session to ensure I had a goodly portion of fore & hind milk. After completing the nursing session, I mixed myself an alcoholic beverage consisting of 2 oz of 80 proof (40%) vodka in 10 oz of soda (Sprite). I proceeded to drink the entire 12 oz in about 30 minutes. About 30 minutes after finishing (1 hour after beginning to drink), I expressed some milk (about 1 mL) and labeled it ‘immediate’. I then waited 1 hour and expressed more milk (about 1 mL) and labeled it ‘2 hours’. In the 2 hours (from the beginning), I did not drink any more alcoholic beverages, drink other beverages, or eat any other foods. Another day, 1/2 of a beer (4.3% alcohol) and 2-6 oz glasses of wine were consumed within 1.5 hours. About an hour from the beginning of the last drink, a milk sample (about 1 mL) was taken. This sample was labeled ‘1 hour – 3 drinks’. Another sample was taken about an hour after that (2 hours after the beginning of the last drink). This sample was labeled ‘2 hours – 3 drinks’.

The samples were stored in the refrigerator until processing. An Agilent headspace instrument was used to run the tests. Propanol and ethanol standards were also tested to ensure the instrument was within limits. The instrument is maintained by the KSP Lab Toxicology Section and used in forensic determinations of blood and urine alcohol content.

The sample labeled as ‘immediate’ registered as 0.1370 mg/mL which correlates to 0.01370% alcohol in the sample. The sample labeled ‘2 hours’ registered as 0.0000 mg/ml which correlates to 0.0000%. The sample labeled ‘1 hour – 3 drinks’ registered as 0.3749 mg/mL which correlates to 0.03749% alcohol in the sample. The sample labeled ‘2 hours – 3 drinks’ registered as 0.0629 mg/mL which correlates to 0.00629% alcohol in the sample.

The alcohol content in breast milk immediately after drinking is equivalent to a 0.0274 proof beverage. That’s like mixing 1 oz of 80 proof vodka (one shot) with 2919 oz of mixer . By the way, 2919 oz is over 70 liters. Two hours after drinking one (strong) drink the alcohol has disappeared from the sample. Completely harmless to the nursing infant. Drinking about 3 drinks in 1.5 hours resulted in higher numbers, but still negligible amounts of alcohol would be transferred to the child. One hour after imbibing in 3 drinks, the milk was the equivalent of 0.07498 proof beverage. That would be like adding 1 oz of 80 proof vodka (one shot) to 1066 oz of mixer (1066 oz is over 26 liters). Two hours after imbibing in 3 drinks, the milk was 0.01258 proof. That would be like adding 1 oz of 80 proof vodka to 3179 oz of mixer (over almost 80 liters). So, even though an infant has much less body weight, any of these percentage of alcohol in breast milk is unlikely to adversely affect the baby. Bottoms up!

So, from this we see that very little alcohol is passed to the baby.

My tips for drinking while breastfeeding:

Consume right after a feeding (or even during) so that by the next feeding, the alcohol will be gone from your milk.

If you plan to consume several drinks, plan ahead and pump a bottle or two & resume breastfeeding when you feel sober again.

NEVER share your bed with your baby while intoxicated!

Useful links:

Infant Risk Center

La Leche League info on Breastfeeding & Alcohol Consumption


Party on, beautiful mamas!

Embarrassed: Children Taken Away for Breastfeeding


I vividly remember a story that circulated in the news in 2000 about an Illinois woman whose son had been removed from her home & taken into state custody because she was breastfeeding him. A babysitter reported the mother to CPS and they promptly took him into custody, citing abuse by the mother.
At the time, I had just given birth to Justin, my second child, and my heart was broken for this mother. My oldest child, Gabe, was also still breastfeeding at the age of 2.5. I kept running the unimaginable scenario of what I would do & how I would possibly cope should Child Protective Services declare me an unfit or abusive mother because I was breastfeeding. I was 21 and single with little money, a very modest (and by modest I mean a 30 year old, 2 bedroom trailer with a leaky roof & appliances that only worked only 35% of the time) home, and extremely limited support. It was a very real possibility, given that I lived in small-town Mississippi where the views on breastfeeding are skewed, to say the least, and bottle feeding is “the only way to go ’cause breastfeeding is gross & perverse”.

Yes, people (plural) really say that regularly here.

The extraordinary part of the story is that the child was six years old, and when questioned by police had seemed embarrassed about it and allegedly told them that he didn’t want to breastfeed anymore, which was the basis of their case with no other claims of abuse by the mother. It was solely because she was breastfeeding him. They were under the impression that she was force-breastfeeding him against his will and, according to investigators, that it constituted abuse.

Yea, right.

Have you EVER tried to breastfeed a child that didn’t want to be breastfed? Clearly the investigators had not!

Of course he seemed embarrassed…he was being drilled by police officers! If policeman came and drilled me just about some of the normal, everyday things that I do (or don’t), I’d be embarrassed too!

I can see it going something like this:

“Ma’am, how do you feel about leaving your family’s laundry in a basket for an entire week?”

“So you’re telling us that you only dust once every six months, on good years?”

“Tell us about your vacuuming routine…”

“What do you mean, you only take a shower and wash your hair every few days???”

“How many times a month do you put off washing diapers until you are down to the very last one?”

I’d be embarrassed as hell.

We are talking about a six year old, who has been yanked out of his home and interrogated about something that was normal to him.

Had they questioned the way that he stacked Legos, he would probably have been embarrassed about that, as well.
My sons are embarrassed when I hug them in public or even wave to them as they are hanging out with their friends at football games. That doesn’t mean that I’m abusing them when I do it.

The mother stood her ground and told the press that the only reason that he was taken is because she was expected to parent according to American society’s views of parenting rather what is biologically normal.

Research by Katherine Duttwyler, PhD, an anthropology professor who has researched at Texas A&M and the University of Delaware & is also a well known advocate for breastfeeding, shows that the natural weaning age of humans is between 2.5 and 7 years of age. See her paper “A Natural Age of Weaning” here.

So, it’s not an issue of biological norm, but rather an issue of the way that mothers who choose to let their children self-wean are viewed by society, and presumptions that society is right. They are not.

Many mothers choose to parent this way, although many do it secretly because of possible negativity from family members & friends, and it is not only completely normal, but according to Duttwyler, carries significant benefits.

“In terms of the benefits of extended breastfeeding, there have been a number of studies comparing breastfed and bottlefed babies in terms of the frequency of various diseases, and also IQ achievement. In every case, the breastfed babies had lower risk of disease and higher IQs than the bottle-fed babies. In those studies that divided breastfed babies into categories based on length of breastfeeding, the babies breastfed the longest did better in terms of both lower disease and higher IQ. In other words, if the categories were 0-6 months of breastfeeding, 6-12 months, 12-18 months and 18-24+ months, then the 18-24+ month babies did the best, and the 12-18 month babies did the next best, and the 6-12 months babies did the next best, and the 0-6 months babies did the worst of the breastfed groups, but still much better than the bottlefeeding group. This has been shown for gastrointestinal illness, upper respiratory illness, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, heart disease, and on and on and on. Likewise, the babies nursed the longest scored the highest on the IQ tests. One important point to notice is that none of these studies looked at children who had nursed longer than 2 years. Anyone 18-24 month or longer was lumped into big category. Presumably, the benefits continue to accrue, as your body doesn’t *know* that the baby has had a birth day and suddenly start producing nutritionally and immunologically worthless milk.”

Ultimately, the child was returned to the mother, but only after a six month separation which some viewed as a state enforced weaning, even though reports from counselors who worked with the child stated that there was no evidence whatsoever of abuse from the mother.

In another disturbing case in 2011 in Spain, social workers removed a 15 month old from her mother because they were outraged that the mother breastfed her on demand and co-slept. The mother had left an abusive relationship & was living in a shelter that has a policy in place that requires residents to wean.
According to the story on

As a condition to living in the shelter, Habiba and other mothers had to complete these therapies which involved abandoning extended and on demand breastfeeding, as they consider it to be ‘chaotic and prejudicial for boys and girls.’ To help accomplish the goals of the shelter, mothers are forced to take a medication to dry their milk supply.

Her “chaotic” breastfeeding patterns caused the child’s removal for three weeks, and was returned to the mother after an international campaign ignited, according to one account of the story seen here.

“She uses breastfeeding as a pacifier and a toy , offering her breast any time the girl cries and letting her take it anywhere, no matter the time and context,” says an edited version of the report produced by supporters of the 21-year-old mother, known as Habiba.


I know all too well about the ignorance surrounding full-term breastfeeding and child led weaning. I had CPS called on me by a “family member” (I use that term loosely) when Justin was around 2 years old and still breastfeeding. Thankfully the social workers who came to my house recognized right away that my children were well taken care of (despite my living in not much more than a chozo) & was far from abused, so they never came back.

Back when the boys were born, there were no Facebook groups or pages, no Instagram circles of supportive moms, no Google to check my level of “normalcy”. I was basically alone in my breastfeeding journey except for a couple of moms in my La Leche League group who breastfed their toddlers. They were supportive, but we weren’t particularly close, so I felt very isolated and sometimes unsure of if what I was doing was the right thing.

Almost all of the time I was embarrassed.

Not because I thought what I was doing was wrong, deep down I couldn’t imagine not giving my babies the one thing that brought them comfort in my chaotic life, but because everyone around me made me feel that way.

I am so thankful for the conversations that mothers like attachment & gentle mama advocate the Badass Breastfeeder, child star turned genius, attachment parenting advocate Mayim Bialik and attachment parenting, adoption, and Waves for Water advocate Jamie Lynne Grumet have started.
Mothers who breastfed their toddlers & pre-schoolers flocked together via social media after the Time Magazine cover of Jamie breastfeeding her almost four year old.
When Jamie was featured on the cover of Time magazine, I had just had my fourth child.
My daughter Kynli.
I had endured so much NON-support when I breastfed my sons until they self weaned at 3.5, 2.5 (actually that was more me than him, but that’s for a separate post altogether) and youngest son Bryson self-weaned at 4 years of age.
I was sick of defending myself and MY choices.
So when I saw that cover, I literally burst into tears. “Thank God!”, I thought, “there ARE people like me!”
A wave of relief came over me & I suddenly felt not ashamed or embarrassed, but EMPOWERED!
There was no doubt in my mind that I would let my daughter self-wean also, but already at only one month old I was getting the “You’re not going to nurse her until she goes to kindergarten, are you?” questions from family members.
My youngest son, who was 8 at the time, came home one day and told me that my mother in law had told him that he should have weaned at a year old.
Now why in the hell would she tell him that except to shame him for breastfeeding for so long???


Of course, in the weeks after the magazine came out, I’d stumble across the nasty and ignorant comments about the cover. I’d see Jamie holding her head high, unapologetic about her parenting choices in interviews and I read her blog only to find out that she was not only an amazing mother, but also a humanitarian who was on a mission to bring clean water to those not fortunate enough to have access to it in Ethiopia.
What an amazing role model to have!
I chose to ignore the negativity and “controversy” surrounding the magazine cover and focused instead on the immense support I felt from an amazing mother, and so many others like her, that I didn’t even know, but felt a kindred spirit with. Her courage to speak out has given so many women the courage to parent on their own terms, and without shame.

It was a game changer for me.

I would never be embarrassed again.
…and you shouldn’t be either.

Enforce the Right: Protecting Breastfeeding Mothers



As World Breastfeeding Month comes to a close, I’m reflecting on all of the things that have occurred this month….the positive & the negative.
As the month started out with amazing events such as the BIG Latch On that bring awareness to the importance of breastfeeding & helps to normalize it, which is vitally important as evidenced by the countless women who were discriminated against this month as they fed their babies in public and was asked to cover or to leave.
The negative.
Texas mama Lucy Eades was harassed by an employee at her local gym for nursing her days old baby. This harassment was captured on video by her husband and Lucy received support from around the country after the video went viral on the internet. See it here.
Only a couple of days later, my own La Leche League group was asked to leave our local mall by a security guard because we were breastfeeding in the play area at center court. My post about it on Facebook received 20,000 views, shares, likes, and comments before it was removed by Facebook the following day. See the media coverage here. and Pa.laa’s coverage here.
Fortunately, in both of these instances, an apology was issued and policy changes have occurred due because of them.
Unfortunately, not all breastfeeding harassment cases have been so positive.
Just in case you missed the American Airlines incident, in which a mother was asked to cover & then offered hush money (a whopping $100!) to keep quiet about the incident, read blogger’s in-depth story here.

This should not be happening!
Although breastfeeding mothers are protected by law to breastfeed wherever they need to, there are no provisions in place to enforce these laws, which means that until there are, there are no real consequences for businesses harassing or discriminating against mothers.
This will not stop until there are real consequences!
This is why I have decided to team up with beautiful mama Lauren Quackenbush, and am starting the Enforce our Right Campaign
Lauren has started a White House petition urging them to put in place provisions to fully protect breastfeeding mothers rights, and offer consequences to those who do not adhere to the laws that are already in place. See the breastfeeding laws by state here.

Our goal is to get 100,000 signatures by September 27th.
It’s a tall order but we CAN DO IT!

The petition seen here reads:
Fully protect a woman’s right to breastfeed her child in public, including full enforcement provisions for that right.
Most states (though not all) have laws stating that a woman is free to breastfeed her child anywhere, public or private, that she and her child are otherwise allowed to be. However, with the exception of a few states (CT, DC, NJ, VT, & WA), there exist no enforcement provisions. This means that as soon as a woman who is legally breastfeeding her child is asked by a business owner or security to leave, she is then trespassing.

Other countries (i.e. Taiwan, the UK) have fines for those who would interfere with a woman’s right to breastfeed; the US should as well.

A woman should not be forced to hide, whether under a fabric cover, in the restroom, or in her car, simply because she elects to breastfeed her child. At its core, this is an issue of discrimination and should be treated as such.

Please help us by signing the petition!
And by sharing on Facebook, twitter, and Instagram by hash tagging #ENFORCEOURRIGHT & by helping us to spread the word!
We need full protection from discrimination!
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the support that this community gives other women!

Sinclair College student told to go to bathroom to pump.



Shelbi Wallace, an American Sign Language major at Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio, has been denied a place to pump for her two month old baby and has been forced to pump in the hallway while using a cover. Any mother who has ever pumped knows that not having a quiet, comfortable place to pump can greatly decrease letdown and the amount of milk pumped can be compromised from the stress. This can be detrimental to the breastfeeding relationship between mother and baby.

Ms Wallace has gone through several different support services at the college to no avail. She called the ombudsman, whose job according to Sinclair’s website, is:

The Ombudsman provides assistance to the students who indicate they have problems/issues or concerns that need resolution.

It may involve:

  • Listening Carefully
  • Answering Questions
  • Investigating Complaints
  • Making Appropriate Referrals
  • Mediating a Resolution
  • Helping Students Persist Toward Educational Goals

The Ombudsman can:

  • Listen to problems
  • Investigate
  • Mediate, facilitate, and clarify policies and procedures

Ms Wallace was basically told, “Sorry, there’s nothing that I can do. But at least we know about it. Good luck.” She then spoke with the director of the ASL lab where she was told to use the bathroom, even though there are private areas that could be used for pumping. Someone named Kevin in the Department of Facilities told Shelbi that “there was nothing he could do until his manager got back from vacation in 2 weeks and that all the space they have is for learning”

Hey Kevin…find an empty classroom with a plug in! Simple as that!

She finally decided to seek help on Sinclair’s Facebook page and their reply to her post was, “We contacted several departments and were given the same reply, so we aren’t sure who else to contact that could make some progress…perhaps the Ombudsman. She is the campus/student advocate for Sinclair and may be able to help move your voice along. You can contact her office at 937-512-2205. It’s no guarantee that she’ll be able to find a new spot for you, but at least she’ll be aware of the situation. Good luck and please let us know if you have any more questions or concerns!”

Then when she pressed further, she was told that there was a locker room that she could use in buiding 8, which is all the way across campus from where her classes are in building 9, which would mean her having to walk 15 minutes across campus, pump, then walk 15 minutes back to class. This is an unreasonable suggestion and is flat out discrimination.

They were nice enough to provide a map for her, though with the message, ” Shelbi — according to several campus sources, the women’s locker room in building 8 is available for these sorts of things. We attached a campus map so you can visually see where building 8 is.”

These sorts of things? Seriously, Sinclair? This woman just wants to be able to provide milk for her child!

What I find ironic though, Sinclair offers a list of 53 resources spanning from drug addiction to preparing resumes, but absolutely none for mothers who need to pump for their babies. Find that page here:

They even provide a nice little powerpoint presentation on helping students to succeed seen here, , but yet they have no interest in helping Shelbi to suceed, since clearly she doesn’t fall into the appropriate category of those who need support, her being a breastfeeding mother and all…

In Shelbi’s words, “It’s a shame I have to use my energy in finding a place to pump instead of focusing on my classes”

Perhaps we should MAKE them care about supporting breastfeeding mothers….

Here is their facebook page:

Ohio State University has 8 nursing rooms on their campus. Duke University has one in every building. Maybe Sinclair should take some serious notes from them!

Shelbi has started a petition urging the school to support breastfeeding mothers.

A breastfeeding mother who returns to work or school cannot continue to breastfeed if she can not pump. A breastfeeding mother cannot express milk sufficiently if there is not a comfortable and sanitary place to do so. The United States government has recognized this issue and has put in place “The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” (PPACA).The law requires employers to provide “reasonable” break time and a private place other than a bathroom where a working mom can express breast milk for her nursing baby. However, the law doesn’t say anything about college’s doing the same for their students.This petition can help change that for Sinclair. As of right now, there is one area that is known as the “mother’s room” and this room is actually a locker room. A locker room is not an appropriate place to make food for a child. It also does not offer privacy. In addition to it being in an inappropriate location, it is only on one side of campus. What about the mom’s who have classes on the other side of campus? It is not reasonable to think that these mom’s can leave class, walk 10-20 minutes to this space, pump for 15 minutes, and then walk back another 10-20 minutes. In the time it takes for someone to do that, class would be over. Some women might be embarrassed or not want to deal with the hassle of getting someone to help her find a place to pump and thus, quit breastfeeding. Sinclair should support breastfeeding and encourage mother’s to continue to breastfeed by providing spaces that are not a bathroom and that have privacy available. These spaces should also be available through out campus and not just one area. It is important for mothers perusing their education, to know that just because they are going to college, does not mean that they have to sacrifice their breastfeeding relationship with their child.

You can sign the petition here:


After the blog post went viral, Shelbi was finally contacted by SCC and was told that they would open up the lactation room for students. She was also given a private spot in her building to pump.
This happened after several media outlets like the one seen heregot word of the story and started contacting the school.
Do you think this is enough or should they take further steps? Let us know on our Facebook page