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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Hilarious.

Josh Stearns

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.

View original post 421 more words

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.

 

 

 

Useful links:



Bottoms up! Gettin’ Your Drink on While Breastfeeding

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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:

Method:
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.

Results:
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.

Conclusion:
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

Kellymom

Party on, beautiful mamas!

Embarrassed: Children Taken Away for Breastfeeding

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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 Examiner.com

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.

Wait…WHAT?

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???

Unbelievable.

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

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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 Paa.la’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:
WE PETITION THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION TO:
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!