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Monday, December 23, 2013

Can I have a Drink?

Breastfeeding and Alcohol Consumption

A response to the waitress fired for reporting mom drinking and breastfeeding.


This story of a waitress being fired for reporting a mother to police for drinking while breastfeeding caught my eye.  As a breastfeeding mother who enjoys the occasional glass of wine this story and made me worry.  Do people judge ME because I drink as a breastfeeding mother?
The story reports that the waitress watched as the mother allegedly consumed drink after drink while breastfeeding her 7 month old baby.The waitress acted in the interest of safety for the baby. Unfortunately, we will not be able to hear the mother’s side until her trial but she does try to say that it's been blown out of proportion and she’s not a horrible person .  Also, as for the waitress, she was let go from her job a few days after the incident. It seemed like the action against her was in response to her calling the police.  Maybe it was not handled correctly according to restaurant policy or was there another reason she was let go?
As for “rules” on alcohol consumption and breastfeeding, there are some conflicting views. However, to simplify things I decided to go with what I saw on LaLeche League https://www.llli.org/faq/alcohol.html
As  Dr. Jack Newman, member of the LLLI Health Advisory Council, says this in his handout
"More Breastfeeding Myths":
“Reasonable alcohol intake should not be discouraged at all. As is the case with most drugs, very little alcohol comes out in the milk. The mother can take some alcohol and continue breastfeeding as she normally does. Prohibiting alcohol is another way we make life unnecessarily restrictive for nursing mothers.”
I personally do not drink and breastfeed simultaneously or for 1-2 hours following consumption and my daughter is just fine. Plus if it helps you to relax after a long hard day, a relaxed mommy is way better than a tense, stressed out one. The positive results can outweigh the potential negative ones.
For more details and information see the recommended websites as well as check with your physician or pediatrician.

What Would You Do?
If you noticed something that didn't look right involving a child and parent in public would you act to make it right or would you let it go thinking it's not your place? Was calling the police without first trying to speak to the woman the best response in this situation?

Friday, December 6, 2013

Mom’s Night Out

Mom’s Night Out

    I did something nice for myself the other night and it was much needed.  Local shop owner and self-claimed “mompreneur”, Jessica Walsh of Illuminated Baby hosted a Mommy Mixer in Woodstock at Oriole 9.  As stated in a recent article in the Chronogram, Jessica is looking to create a community and I think she’s got the right idea. http://m.chronogram.com/hudsonvalley/the-amazing-adventures-of-the-marvelous-mompreneurs/Content?oid=2214810&issue=2214726

    She really has a way of putting together a great group of people and facilitating new friendships.  When I arrived at the restaurant  I was greeted by some familiar and some new faces. I was then directed to a table with name tags where I was to write my name, my child’s name and age. This along with another of paper of questions was  an icebreaker type of game. Not seconds after I was done putting on my name tag I was grabbed into a conversation with two moms eager to fill in their sheets.  “How old were you when you gave birth to your first child?” one lady asked. “What month was your child born?” asked the other, and then the next question, and the next.  Very quickly we warmed up and began chatting away.  
    Even though the intention was for moms to get out by themselves and be with other moms, I did notice there were actually many women with their sweet little ones and even some dads. The dads were great, walking around chatting, taking care of babies while the women got together, and just being supportive. Also amongst the crowd we had doulas, midwives, and lactation consultants mingling about.  I met women who had just very recently given birth, some who had toddlers, some stay at home moms and some who have returned to work. 
     I am tending to see more and more women reinventing their careers to suit their family life.  Jessica Walsh, for instance, is a local shop owner who offers unique and luxury baby products, is a lactation counselor and a community breastfeeding advocate.  She is able to be with her child the majority of the time while still being very active in her career and in the community. I met another mom who is a financial advisor and she is interested in reaching out in the mom community specifically, to give guidance and resources for the growing family. Another mom uses her skills in knitting and crocheting to create hats and other cozy articles of clothing.  
     I say I am among that group of reinventors. I loved what I did before becoming a mom and I put all of myself into it. Now that I have a child I cannot see myself doing that anymore so I’d like to use my skills and talents in a way that I can have a more balanced work and family life. I have so many ideas and blogging right now is my great start to where I want to be.  For me having the independence to get things done within a more flexible time frame than if I were in a traditional work environment is most comfortable for right now. I can be there for my baby all day and go out and explore the world with her. In my downtime I can write.
    The Mommy Mixer was a great event and it was a nice feeling to talk with other women who have a similar mindset to exchange ideas and encourage each other to go for it.
    Not only did I walk away with a wonderful door prize of handmade baby hats, I also walked away with a great feeling of confidence and camaraderie.  While I was gone, daddy and baby bonded and he was able to put her to bed by himself for the first time. Win Win!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Brestfeeding Tent at the Farmer's Market

 The Breastfeeding Initiative of Ulster County (BIUC) in New York had a breastfeeding tent every week at the farmer's market. With chairs and a baby changing table women felt supported. We had poster boards and markers and asked people to share their breastfeeding experiences. Here are some of the shares.

I make milk. What's your super power. 16 mos. n still going strong.

Hi! Brestfed my son for 2 years, he weaned himself, my daughter for 4 years. She weaned herself. The best time of our lives. Reggi

Breastfeeding promotes good maternal and child health and it's a wonderful bond between mother and child.

18 mos. and 17 mos. YES!

I nursed y son for three years, he is 40 now. He is very successful and very healthy! Never been really sick in his life. None of my friends breastfed but I persisted and loved it! It was the best part of having a baby. Susan Friedman

Go Breast Power! What a gift!

Breastfeeding is the best way to feed, nourish, and nurture your children.

Do it in the food court!

Ben breastfed many years ago -Now 24...years old!

Yeah; Mommy milk is breast/best!!!

Until 2 1/2!

Eric until 10 months Inez until 16 moths, Wonderful experience!

Rebecca Shea and Kaya Butterfly 2 1/2 yrs of Beboo!

I nursed my baby in line at a military commissary.

While walking along, giving a children's tour of a 100 yr old ship my little one in back pack climbed over my shoulder to nurse.

Nurse everywhere.

Nursed for 2 yrs- easy.

Breastfed three for a total of 3 years! Best for kids!

Power of women

Breastfeeding sucked my uterus back into shape.

I support this work. Joanne

Recycle yarmulkes as breast pads.

My sister nursed my niece- wonderful experience for both.

Recipe for healthy kids.

Cabbage leaves really work.

I nursed 2 children- (self weaning)  for 9 1/4 years! LOVED IT. Very close with them as adults.

More to come in a future blog.

Good Morning America Breastmilk

Breastfeeding in the news
Just when I was thinking the world was mine.  Just when I’m thinking all the world can breastfeed freely in public…. I saw a piece on Good Morning America covering the topic and they were emphasizing a spot in the movie, Breastmilk, with the man who is uncomfortable with women nursing in public.  Then it hits me! We still have a lot of work to do to make breastfeeding normal and commonplace.
Here is the link to the ABC news blog in which the story is covered.
They’re actually talking about the documentary by Ricki Lake and Dana Ben-Ari and they’ve chosen to focus on the husband who confesses his embarrassment about seeing women, even his own wife, nursing in public. Ricki Lake was quoted, "I believe this film will start an important conversation about how we can better support all new mothers, whether they breastfeed or not, and evolve to a place where breastfeeding is not so politically charged." I agree this is raising some good public discussion.  The comments section on ABCs blog shows some interesting ideas from the general public. Many people are supportive and just ask that mothers be modest or discreet about it.  The people that have a hard time separating the sexuality of the breast from feeding an infant seem to be the ones who are embarrassed by it the most and would rather it be done in private or completely covered up.
I agree with Mother of two and CafĂ© Mom contributor, Sasha Brown-Worsham, who breastfed both of her children. She can only hope, as quoted in ABC's blog, "The more that women do breastfeed in public, and are able to do that, the better, because it normalizes the situation," she explained.  "I’m just going to keep on doing what I’m doing and feel happy and blessed that in this very supportive community that we live in, in the Hudson Valley of NY, that I have not yet had any confrontation about my public breastfeeding.  Lets keep supporting each other and educate those who are confused about feeding babies".

Friday, October 25, 2013

Breastmilk The Movie

This post was written in October shortly after the screening, there will be a new screening on February 8th at the Rosendale Theatre. Get ready for a night of discussion and revelation. This film is so thought provoking that it was very difficult to write about after only one viewing. I look forward to seeing it again. It is truly revolutionary.

Breastmilk is a truly amazing film that was screened October 4th at the Woodstock Film Festival. This film is so revolutionary that it is difficult to describe, so I will start by paraphrasing the film's official website:  Director/producer Dana Ben-Ari, after the birth of her first child, became fascinated with breastfeeding then decided to cover the subject of breastmilk and breastfeeding, after the birth of her second child, on film. The intent of the film is to provoke discussion and examine why, while breastmilk is touted as the best thing for babies and mothers, are there still so many women who are not successful at exclusively breastfeeding for the recommended first 6 months or more. (www.breastmilkthemovie.com)

The film followed the stories of several different families and their experiences with breastfeeding, or obtaining breastmilk for their babies. In addition to the wonderful images of happy nursing babies and toddlers,there were thought provoking and delightful images, like a child drinking her mama milk with a straw while blowing bubbles into it and a mother adding breast milk to her morning omelet. The film sadly shows however, that there are still issues in our society surrounding the subject and perception of breastfeeding. Nursing in public is sometimes seen as obscene, and all too many of the mothers struggled with the fear of not producing enough milk. These mothers were advised to supplement with or completely switch over to infant formula by medical professionals or by well-meaning but misinformed fathers. Some women simply lacked the confidence and support to continue to breastfeed. One of the younger mothers, in the end, stated that going to school and working made it too difficult to successfully breastfeed and pump even though she tried and her initial plan was to breastfeed.  She ended up exclusively using formula fairly early on. 

I found the story about a lesbian couple from Australia who co-nursed their daughter to be fascinating. The non-gestational mother was able to induce lactation naturally and they both successfully shared the nursing duties. It was amazing to hear their story.  I knew that with hormone prescriptions lactation could be induced ,but I had no idea that it could be done without any artificial hormones or drugs. This couple also shared their feelings on nursing and how different Americans’ attitudes toward breastfeeding are from Australians’. They couldn't understand how so many American women seem to have supply issues. They speculated that it is a cultural issue because milk supply issues are almost unheard of in Australia. 

The movie  also gave a glimpse into the challenges low income mothers face by showing a discussion between a WIC counsellor and a mother. The mother was at a WIC office to obtain a new formula for her child because she had been allergic to a few of the others she had tried. The counsellor asked the woman if she felt confused about the messages sent by WIC about breastfeeding because they offer  free formula. The mother felt that her decision to use formula was very clear and there was no confusion at all.  A community educator from WIC who is very pro-breastfeeding mentioned that it would be interesting to see what would happen if WIC no longer offered formula.  Would it force more women to at least try to breastfeed? Did they really want to “force” women to breastfeed?  She knows all they can do really is offer the info, educate, and support the women’s choices.  
There was also a wonderful montage of bountiful squirting lactating breasts of all sizes, shapes, colors and amounts of milk.  It was a great representation of how every mother and baby are similar but unique.  We mothers have a kinship but we can all mother differently and still have great thriving families just the same.

At the Q&A portion of the evening with the film maker, one man stood up to say that he thinks that men will LOVE this film.  Secretly I groaned inside thinking, “what a pig”…and then he redeemed himself by saying there is so much a man can learn from this film. He felt that men will be fascinated by the “mechanics” behind lactation that they might not otherwise be informed about.  I was excited to hear that, and I totally agree that if more men saw this it would help society see breastfeeding as normal and there would be more support for it. A successful breastfeeding relationship between mother and child largely depends on the partner’s comfort level with it and overall support.  One family in the film spoke about how when they became pregnant the father’s attitude totally changed. This self described "rock and roll slacker" suddenly kicked into full gear to work hard and  provide for his family. Once the baby was born he did all that he could to make sure the mother was taken care of so that she could do what she needed to do for their child.  That was the best example of fatherly support I could imagine.
Overall, I think the movie points out that in society ideas about breasts are all over the place.  Are they sexual, are they mothering, are they comforting, are they for babies?  I think that the answer is that they are all these things and that’s wonderful.  

Saturday, October 5, 2013

“The Mom-mune”

As I’ve said before, everyone needs a little support once in awhile and I found the best circle of moms to turn to.  No, I didn’t just happen to have friends who all had babies around the same time together. I did, however, have one co-worker/friend who gave birth 2 months after I did.  She had to get back to work much sooner than I chose to so that makes things a little awkward between us.  What I did end up doing was reaching out in the mom community. To use a term my friend coined, I needed to create a "mom-mune".  You know, a commune of moms to turn to.
In the first month I hit some bumps in the road.  I was on an emotional roller coaster, a touch of postpartum depression mixed with SAD, in the frigid month of January.  Motherhood was not a magical switch that turns on after you hold and nurse your baby for the first time as I had hoped. Everyone was always asking how I was doing and saying how amazing it must be to be at home with our baby. I would say it was great but really I felt, well, a bit scared.  I was only going to have help from my mom for a little while and my husband was going back to work in a week. Anytime someone close to me said something nice or asked how I was I would cry.  My first line of support my first week alone was my chiropractor and friend, Emily.  She is a mother of 3 and heard in my voice that I needed some help; mother’s intuition. She, without hesitation, told me we are going out to lunch tomorrow. That was it, she was the one who got us out of the house.  After that I realized I cannot stay home feeling so isolated and expect to get better.
I searched for and found my local La Leche League group.  I arrived to the meeting late even after trying so very hard to get out the door early enough.  I walked in wearing my darling daughter, clumsily carrying a diaper bag, and water bottle then just melted into a puddle of tears when I tried to  introduce myself to the group.  I had been struggling with night feedings.  It was a combination of having a difficult latch on the left side and a lack of sleep.  Everyone looked at me and I felt so much compassion and understanding from everyone there.  Evidently, I am not the only mom who's ever had some difficulty adjusting to this new role.  The LLL leader Donna Bruschi is also a board certified lactation consultant.  She took some extra time to work with me after the meeting to help me figure out some good night nursing positions and even let me stay for a much needed nap.

I also have to say Facebook has been a great way to connect for me.  I was chatting with a lady in a local shop who was admiring my baby girl.  -Something I’ve realized, babies are great conversation starters.  You can’t be shy for long if you go out in public with your baby.-  This lady was telling me about how her daughter is always looking for new mom friends and we exchanged information.  Two days later on a beautiful spring morning I got a phone call from this mom saying she and some other friends were meeting up for a playdate at the park and I should join them.  After meeting everyone, there were a few ladies that I connected with. We wanted to stay connected so we found each other on Facebook. They also told me about a social mom’s group on Facebook as well as a nursing mother’s support group right at our local hospital.  Since that day I believe in the importance of surrounding yourself with other wise women for fun, support, and friendship. We still organize outings together and we share so much information and really help each other. I know that if I really needed someone just to come over, I have a commune of moms.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Introducing Jenn C.

This is the second post from Jenn, (she also wrote the NIP post.) She will be the main blogger at Nursing Mothers Welcome. Jenn will be speaking to you about her personal breastfeeding journey and about news and events that relate to the mission of Nursing Mothers Welcome.

Mission Statement.
Our Mission is to have breastfeeding become more accepted and respected world wide by showing images of discrete breastfeeding so that future generations grow up knowing that breastfeeding can be done anytime and anywhere.

It was the week before Mother’s day 2012. I had a positive pregnancy test. I could hardly believe it. “This might actually happen for us after all,” I thought as I ran to show my husband of 7 years. After a few much needed confirmations from bloodwork to early sonograms we were on our way to parenthood, due January 15, 2013. It took us over three years to have a successful pregnancy. As the baby and I grew, my husband and I would talk about our plans for the future and how we would raise this child.
The thing at the top of my mind was breastfeeding. I would think how wonderful it would be if I could breastfeed successfully. Whenever people would ask me if I plan to breastfeed I would reply that I would at least try but there was this seed of doubt in my mind about it. I only knew what my mother told me of her experience with breastfeeding me and my sister. I found in my baby book that my mother kept at day 3 after I was born she started me on formula. She told me that she could not breastfeed. She was so afraid I was not getting enough so she fed me formula that way she knew I was at least getting fed. I assumed that maybe it was something inherited that I would most likely fail at breastfeeding too. I did not take into consideration that my mother may not have had a whole lot of positive breastfeeding support and encouragement at that time. I was looking at an article in the journal of nutrition called The Resurgence of Breastfeeding at the End of the Second Millenium by Anne L.Wright and Richard J. Schanler. They cited from studies conducted in 1972 (in the era when I was born) showed that initiation to breastfeed was on its way up to around 55%, however mothers that continued to breastfeed into the 6 months mark dipped to a low of around 23%.
Numbers are showing now that with more support and education regarding the benefits of breastmilk in 2009 the CDC surveys show that 76.9% of mothers initiated breastfeeding and at the 6 month mark 47.2% had continued to breastfeed.
My husband was my first and most important line of support. He reminded me not to set myself up for failure before I even started. If I am to succeed I need to think positive right now so as my pregnancy went on I began to proudly state that, Yes I AM going to breastfeed this child. I believe in the importance of breastfeeding to give my child her best start. I learned that breastfeeding can reduce the risk of diarrhea, asthma and ear infections as well as reduce the risk for obesity and diabetes. Even more, I was surprised to learn about the benefits breastfeeding has for the mother too! Breastfeeding enhances mood, helps you to bond with your baby, it burns 500 calories a day and reduces a mother’s risk for certain types of breast cancer because breastfeeding brings a woman’s breast into full maturity. I was armed and ready to go!
Once my baby, Francesca Rose, made her appearance four days early on January 11, the hospital encouraged me to have her latch on as soon as possible. There was a lactation consultant available, the nurses helped us and the hospital encourages the mothers to have the babies room in. My doula, who was a successful mother of 3 breast-fed babies, came to check on us once we were home. She was a huge influence in my life as I had watched her start her own family before we even got started. She offered me some wonderful advice so as to not feel so overwhelmed. She said the job of feeding the baby is top priority and it will take a lot out of me, so do like the baby does- Sleep, eat, feed, change diaper and nothing else matters. Stay on the couch and let my husband take care of me and the menial household chores.
Whenever I was unsure of something or just needed encouragement I had a number of resources to turn to for help from doulas, and other mom’s, to my husband, lactation consultants, and the web. It really does take a village, ya know, so don’t be afraid to ask for help. I cannot say enough about having a doula or a lactation consultant to turn to. Included is a link to Doulas of the Hudson Valley http://www.doulasofthehudsonvalley.com/our-doulas.html and breastfeeding resouces from the Breastfeeding Initiative of Ulster County http://breastfeedingulstercounty.wordpress.com/ucbf-resources/lactation-consultant/

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

NIP Nursing in Public


My thoughts and feelings have changed and grown regarding breastfeeding since I began this journey with my baby.  We are now at 8 months going strong and counting.  My breastfeeding goal is for at least 1 year and to go with baby-lead weaning.  I’ve had great success with babywearing and co sleeping as tools for bonding and picking up on breastfeeding cues.  I feel confident in discreetly nursing in public now because of a baby carrier.
One of my first NIP (that’s Nursing In Public) experiences was nerve-wracking but an overall success.  When my baby was almost 3 months old we went on our first grocery shopping trip just the two of us.  I had just recently figured out how to use a Moby wrap as a means of carrying or wearing my baby.  As soon as we walked into the store with the shopping cart she began to bob her head and route around.  I guess I didn’t feed her right before we left the house. I decided to put this wrap carrier to the test and attempt nursing while wearing her and shopping.
I quickly scurried into the restroom to figure out how to position her while looking in a mirror to see if I could make it look not so obvious, got a good latch, then off we went into the brightly-lit super market.  I was so afraid someone might realize what I was doing and have something to say about it.  I had heard stories of people being harassed for feeding their babies and I was not that confident yet to endure any criticism. I was avoiding eye contact with people as we passed in hopes that they wouldn’t look or notice.  Nobody said a word and in fact a few women who saw me nodded at me approvingly and with silent applause encouraged me to do what I had to do while going on with my everyday activities. I left that day feeling like I could do anything.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Kudos to Chronogram!

Kudos to Chronogram!
This months Chronogram magazine, dated Sept. 13th has a wonderful photo of discrete breastfeeding. The photo shows two women, in a crowded public place, nursing children. There is very little breast showing in the photo, and none at all in the foreground. It looks very natural and unposed.
The photo is in the “While You Were Sleeping” section of the magazine. This section of the magazine reprints news items that did not get much (enough ?) attention in the mainstream media. The picture accompanies some recent data about breast feeding's ties to intelligence in children. It also talks about health benefits for nursing mothers.
You can check out the photo and information at Chronogram's website, or by following this link.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Inspiring Breastfeeding All Stars

The Breastfeeding Initiative of Ulster County had their one year birthday party at the Kingston Farmer's Market during breastfeeding week. Successful mothers,helpful fathers, agencies, businesses, and individuals all joined to be honored with certificates, “Nursing Mothers Welcome” DVD's and cake and cookies. Senator Tkaczyk was represented, she has been a breastfeeding mother and said she would love to help.

One highlight was a mother who was honored for donating to a milk bank. Women were also celebrated for longevity as nursing mothers, and breastfeeding in difficult circumstances. Supportive fathers were nominated for awards by their wives, and many excellent community organizations like WIC, La Leche League, YWCA, BIUC and Northern Dutchess Hospital received awards.

Here are a few of the inspiring stories that resulted in nominations:

Shelia Dvorak: An amazing mother who in the face of severe adversity and health problems continues to drive long and far to obtain pumped milk for her daughter.

Shaquoia Hilton: A young mother who successfully breastfed through a year in a homeless shelter while working towards independence. She is now pumping at work and is a true model of inspiration.

This letter was sent in to nominate Miriam Pickett :
I'm nominating Miriam Pickett for breast feeding me and my sister in the 1970's for goodness sakes!
When my mom was pregnant with me, her mother was very sick. She knew that she would probably pass away but she wasn't sure if it would be before or after I was born.

She went into labor on Rosh Hasshana and her mother was making a big dinner to celebrate. My mom didn't want to let on that she was contracting because she didn't want to excite her mother and put her into cardiac arrest. My mom actually went food shopping, cooked dinner with her mom and sat for a big dinner, all while she was having contractions! So eventually she couldn't hide the fact that she was in labor. I was born 4 weeks before my due date and my mother and I were separated after I was born. They actually knocked her out and she doesn't remember the delivery at all. She said she woke up and I was gone and her mother was dying. Her mother passed away two weeks after I was born. My mother was depressed. She had planned on breastfeeding me, but as she put it her milk ”dried up” while she was depressed.

So, cut to the funeral then sitting shiva at her fathers house. She was sitting there and I began to cry ( as babies do at the most annoying times) and her mother in law, my father's mother, picked me up and carried me into another room and shoved a bottle in my mouth. My mother watched this, became extremely pissed off, snatched me back and put me to breast. The rest is history!! She nursed me exclusively after that. She built up her supply and never used another bottle again.
Please send us your inspiring nursing stories and or photos we can share. We want to encourage nursing anytime, anywhere!