I like the way this guy thinks

After answering why he doesn’t like and thinks we shouldn’t say, “Breast is best,” (because it puts formula-feeding as the norm), he goes on to answer the following question:

Q. Okay, breast is normal. But surely infant formula is second-best isn’t it?
A. No, the second-best feeding option is obviously other breast milk, for example expressed milk from a child’s own mother or milk from another mother in good health, whether directly from the breast or a human-milk bank. And if there is no breast milk, infant formula, which we should never forget began as a crisis commodity for emergency use only, is the least-bad alternative.
To put this alimentary aberration into perspective, consider routine use of infant formula as the feeding equivalent of emergency devices on airplanes – for example overhead oxygen masks and under-the-seat life jackets – suddenly transformed into everyday must-have fashion accessories. Infant formula pitched as somehow suitable for routine non-emergency use is immediately denatured, thereby forfeiting its only claim to legitimacy – as a life-sustaining crisis commodity.
But no matter how appropriate infant formula might be when infants are denied access to breast milk, feeding an inert pediatric fast-food based on the milk of an alien species remains a deviation from the biological norm for the young of our species. I invite you to reflect on this not-so-rhetorical question: At what point should society begin to regard a routine deviation from the biological norm as deviant behavior?

Breastfeeding, Dr. Seuss Style

Just go read it — hilarious!

And since I’m on the subject of breastfeeding, “What does breastmilk taste like?

….and this humorous commercial:

…and this picture of breastfeeding in public 🙂

Contaminants in Breastmilk

I haven’t read this whole article, but thought it looked interesting. It begins with a laundry-list of benefits of breastmilk for the infant, then asks aloud whether these benefits are worth the risks of the possible contaminants and pollutants that may exist in breastmilk; the remainder is an attempt at answering that question. With sections on the history of anti-breastfeeding, “Human Milk: Its own Immune System,” and other sections specifically looking at particular types of contaminants, it presents a detailed look at what is known on the various subjects. The conclusion is “Net Gain”:

After having considered the problem of environmental contaminants in human milk, the WHO, the U.S. Surgeon General, and the American Academy of Pediatrics continue to recommend breastfeeding. “After three decades of study, there is now fairly good evidence that little if any morbidity is occurring from the more common and well-studied chemical agents found in human milk,” says Walter Rogan, a clinical investigator in the NIEHS Epidemiology Branch. “There are very few instances in which morbidity has been described in a nursling that was due to a chemical pollutant in milk.”

Labbok agrees. “To date, no environmental contaminant, except in situations of acute poisoning, has been found to cause more harm to infants than does lack of breast-feeding,” she says. “I have seen no data that would argue against breastfeeding, even in the presence of today’s levels of environmental toxicants.”

Still, Rogan cautions, human milk contains no proven antidote to contaminant exposure. “To the degree that the overall benefits from breastfeeding overlap with the deleterious effects of the chemicals, those benefits might appear to cancel out the harm, but this is hard to study epidemiologically,” he says.

Because of human milk’s nutritional, immunologic, anticancer, and detoxifying effects, Wang, Rogan, and other environmental scientists encourage women to continue the practice of breastfeeding even in the context of widespread pollution. “At the same time,” says Pronczuk, “breastfeeding mothers should be helped and advised on how to avoid alcohol and drugs and remove themselves from polluted environments, while also creating healthier, safer, and cleaner environments for themselves and their children.”

Breastfeeding: Instinct or Instruction?

This brochure is cool — everybody needs to read it, particularly if you’re pregnant, a new mom, or have ever had breastfeeding problems with your current baby or a previous one. I will say that I do think that breastfeeding is instinctive… but that we’ve seen so many wrong and unnatural ways of feeding our babies, that this is what we automatically assume, thinking it’s what is right and natural. Have you ever noticed that one of your older children, or the child of a sibling or friend, has unconsciously or subconsciously picked up on some little habit, phrase, movement, or mannerism of one of their parents? If we only see women feeding babies with bottle, then that’s the way we’re going to automatically (but not necessarily “instinctively” or “naturally”) hold our babies. If everyone tells us that you must sit or lie down in this position in order to properly hold or position your baby, then you’re going to think that everything else is wrong… when it’s not necessarily so. We want to do what is right, so we listen to the “experts”; and as long as they’re telling us right, then that’s all well and good. But if they’re accidentally (or purposefully) leading us astray, then we would be better off shutting our ears and doing what truly is natural.

Nursing in Public

Woman, Uncensored has an excellent post on the topic. If you’re easily offended by certain images or words, be forewarned that it is a rant. If you’re more world-hardened (i.e., you’ve been down the checkout aisle of the grocery store with all the women’s magazines and tabloids with their offensive pictures and suggestive titles), you won’t have a problem with this. For the most part, it’s G-rated, but there are a few words and pictures that aren’t. (Although I’ve seen worse pictures at the grocery store and on regular TV.)

Win a copy of Breastfeeding with Comfort and Joy

Today, I reached 200,000 hits on my blog stats!  Woo-hoo!! To thank all of my readers, I am going to be doing another giveaway:

a copy of the book Breastfeeding with Comfort and Joy: A Photographic Guide for Mom and Those Who Help Her, by Laura Keegan!

Here is the review I wrote when I first read the book, and you can read other glowing reviews at Stand and Deliver, Permission to Mother, and Best for Babes.

And, here is photographic proof that it works — check out those fat rolls! 🙂

IMG_4251

Breastfed with comfort and joy!

This baby actually had to spend her first two weeks in the NICU due to a breathing issue, but her mom was able to pump and give her breastmilk, and then to fully breastfeed. Her mom said that the book helped out a lot, because although she had a lactation consultant in the hospital to help at first, after a few days, the LC didn’t come around any more, but she still had the book to help her out. Although the baby has started on table food, she rarely eats it, preferring to nurse. In fact, she is now over nine months old, but still almost exclusively breastfed. I’d call that a success story! 🙂

Now, onto the rules…

I will pick one winner at random from all entries received, and you can have more than one entry, to increase your chances. Here are all the different ways to enter:

  • Blog about the giveaway, linking both to this post and the book’s website: www.breastfeedingwithcomfortandjoy.com. Because Breastfeeding with Comfort and Joy is self-published, it’s only available at this website.
    [If you have more than one blog, you can write a post about the giveaway and get one entry for each blog!]
  • If you’ve read the book, write a review! If you’ve already written a review, link to it in your blog entry about the giveaway.
  • Add Laura Keegan’s breastfeeding blog to your blogroll, if you have a blog; and/or add it to your reading list, subscriptions, Google Reader, bookmarks, etc. — however you keep up with the blogs you read — you get the idea! [if you do both, you’ll get two entries]
  • Spread the word – share about the giveaway and/or the book on email lists, bulletin boards, as a comment on other blogs [but, please, not in a spammy way!], internet chat rooms, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Del.icio.us, Digg, Mixx, etc., etc.,  or just good old-fashioned phone calls or in-person conversations.
  • Contest open to U.S. residents only.

As you do these things, drop me an email at kathy_petersen_283 at yahoo dot com or leave a comment on this post letting me know you’ve done it. If you tell someone about the book — whether through the internet or in person — please tell me a little about why you mentioned the book — is your friend a fellow birth junkie? a mom who has had trouble breastfeeding in the past? expecting twins? a new mom? a pregnant cashier at the grocery store? your midwife or doctor, or your baby’s pediatrician?

There is no limit to how many entries you can have, so the more you tell others about the book, in any way of communication, the more entries you will get. BUT, this is very important — you must tell me that you’ve done it, in order for me to know that you’ve done it! :-) The contest will run for two weeks (closing at midnight of Nov. 25, the day before Thanksgiving), and I will pick the winner at random. I will put each person’s name on a piece of paper, one time for every entry, and will put all the paper in a hat or bowl, and pull out one piece of paper. I will announce the winner the following day, which will be pretty cool since it’s Thanksgiving, it will give someone a little extra to be thankful for! 🙂

Good luck, everybody!!

How Breastfeeding-Friendly is Your State?

Recently, I came across this link, which summarizes the laws of the 50 states (plus D.C., Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands) as relates to breastfeeding:

  • Forty-three states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands have laws with language specifically allowing women to breastfeed in any public or private location (Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington and Wyoming).
  • Twenty-eight states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands exempt breastfeeding from public indecency laws (Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming).
  • Twenty-four states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have laws related to breastfeeding in the workplace (Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wyoming).
  • Twelve states and Puerto Rico exempt breastfeeding mothers from jury duty (California, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oregon and Virginia).
  • Five states and Puerto Rico have implemented or encouraged the development of a breastfeeding awareness education campaign (California, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri and Vermont).

Several states have unique laws related to breastfeeding. For instance,

  • The state of Virginia allows women to breastfeed on any land or property owned by the state.  Puerto Rico requires shopping malls, airports, public service government centers and other select locations to have accessible areas designed for breastfeeding and diaper changing that are not bathrooms.
  • At least two states have laws related to child care facilities and breastfeeding. Louisiana prohibits any child care facility from discriminating against breastfed babies. Mississippi requires licensed child care facilities to provide breastfeeding mothers with a sanitary place that is not a toilet stall to breastfeed their children or express milk, to provide a refrigerator to store expressed milk, to train staff in the safe and proper storage and handling of human milk, and to display breastfeeding promotion information to the clients of the facility.
  • California requires the Department of Public Health to develop a training course of hospital policies and recommendations that promote exclusive breastfeeding and specify staff for whom this model training is appropriate.  The recommendation is targeted at hospitals with exclusive patient breastfeeding rates ranked in the lowest twenty-five percent of the state.
  • Maryland exempts the sale of tangible personal property that is manufactured for the purpose of initiating, supporting or sustaining breastfeeding from the sales and use tax.
  • California, New York and Texas have laws related to the procurement, processing, distribution or use of human milk.

Following this, the website lists the actual statutes, which is a handy reference.

I was refreshed to see that my state (Mississippi) was on almost every one of these. I was actually afraid that it was one of the places where women might be accused of public indecency for breastfeeding. If your state does not have such a statute, perhaps you can contact your state legislators to see if they can get it on the books. It is pretty bad that only 12 states specifically exempt a breastfeeding woman from jury duty. While I daresay that some judges can and will dismiss a woman who pleads breastfeeding for a reason to get out of jury duty, I have heard cases where women have been forced to serve. This may not be horrible for a single day, but imagine if it were one of those trials that drag on for weeks or even months! And I’m not just talking about the baby having to be given formula, if the mother couldn’t pump enough breastmilk, but just the sheer discomfort of being a woman who goes from nursing her baby on demand to pumping on rare jury breaks. Makes me hurt just thinking of it!

If you really want to get the ear of your state legislator, one way to do it is to volunteer in his or her election or reelection campaign. This year is likely an off election year for most states, but just a little tip for next time. If you get to know the legislator, and volunteer your time for his or her election efforts, then you won’t be just a name or just a face when you go to ask him or her to support or sponsor legislation you would like to go through.