Posts Tagged ‘attachment-parenting’

Larrivo maternity nursingwear review and giveaway!!

I used to think nursing tops were not necessary, just another way for someone to make some money. Then Judy from A Mother’s Boutique asked if I would try Larrivo’s Emily nursing tunic, so I agreed. The first night I used this as sleepwear, I totally got the whole nursing top thing. It was soooo much easier than wrestling with an oversized t-shirt while half-awake at 3am as my son was desperately trying to latch on.

Showing drop cup access in Madison

Now I want to know if this baby comes in long sleeved versions as it’s getting right cold outside, and is there such a thing as a nursing robe for those cold nights, or is that taking things a bit too far?

I now wish I would have invested in a couple nursing tops and dresses that I could have worn to church, weddings and other family events that I have attended during my nursing career. The investment would have paid for itself. Yes, I’m kicking myself. After all, this is my 2nd child and my first nursed for more than 2 years. I admit I am a little slow to adapt.

The tunic has a built-in bra, so you don’t have to lift your shirt (and expose that post-baby belly), or dig down the neck opening to unsnap the cup when you are trying to discreetly nurse in public, or battle a hungry baby. It also features easy-to-use and drop down cups that snap open and closed easily with one hand (very important).

I have the tunic in Skye. Alone it looks like sleepwear, but when you pair it with some cute leggings and a jacket, you are ready for a day (or night) out on the town. Or for a business look, I think the Skye cami would look really cute under a sand-colored suit. Also, the empire waist style is forgiving – it’s slightly ‘flowy’ helping to disguise that lingering baby belly. Or can even be worn throughout pregnancy.

Comfort is also important, and the Emily nursing tunic delivers. It’s very soft and offers good bra support as well. It’s definitely comfortable to sleep in, so you know it will be comfortable for any event.

The Larrivo Emily nursing wear is a winner in my book!

You can buy Larrivo nursing tops at A Mother’s Boutique or enter to win one here! Winner will receive their choice of the tunic or dress style in either the Skye or Madison Garden print.

To be entered into this contest please leave a comment on this post which tells us which is your favorite type of nursing access – drop cup or empire – In addition, please tell us if you think you would wear these pieces for sleepwear or daywear – This is MANDATORY in order to be considered for a prize.

Get bonus entries!! You can enter for extra chances to win one of these great tunics or dresses by doing any of the activities below. Just be sure to come back here and leave us a comment for each one – letting us know which ones you completed.

1) Sign up to be a fan of Larrivo on facebook.

2) Spread the word! Tweet about this post and link back to it – be sure to include @greenparenting in your tweet and a link back to this page, and leave a comment here with a link to your tweet (you can do this once per day during the contest).

3) Spread the word some more! Post about this contest on facebook and tell all of your friends about it! (you can do this once per day during the contest)

4) Don’t have a blog, not on facebook or twitter? No problem, we want you to have extra chances to win too – so go ahead and send an email to any of your pregnant or nursing friends. Be sure to cc: us on your email (bhamgreenparent@gmail.com) and leave a comment here too! We promise not to add anyone to any mailing lists unless they specifically request to be added.

5) Purchase any item from Larrivo in A Mother’s Boutique Store – and leave a comment here with the last 4-digits of your order number. You will get 4 extra chances to win for every purchase!

That’s it! Lots of ways to win a tunics or chemise dress from Larrivo!! This contest ends 12/29/09 at 11:59pm EST. All entrants will be verified and must complete the mandatory entry before completing the ‘extra’ entries. Invalid entries will be disqualified. This contest is open to people with US-based delivery addresses ONLY. Winner must respond to email within 48 hours or we reserve the right to choose another winner.

Disclosure:
This product was received free of charge from Larrivo and A Mother’s Boutique. No compensation was received for writing this review. The opinions expressed here are my own fully, honest opinions and in no way was influenced by receiving this product.

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Diapers on sale!

Diapers.com is having a sale on diapers. Check out their great sale. Save an additional $10 by using coupon code AMOMS10 at checkout! Code applies to new customers.

Diapers.com has expanded their offerings and now offers all kinds of gear, trinkets and whatnot for babies, including feeding supplies for breastfeeding, bottle feeding and solids; cloth diapering; strollers and other gear; toys including wood; formula and so much more!

Don’t forget to use coupon code AMOMS10 to save $10! Oh, and if you spend $49+ you will also get free 2 day shipping! 

Shop now because the sale ends at the end of February!

Breastfeeding advocacy shirt giveaways

Judy at Mother’s Boutique recently starting blogging about breastfeeding and other mommy news like getting your child to take a nap! To kick off the new year, she is giving away breastfeeding advocacy shirts for mom or baby. Visit her blog here to learn how to enter this great giveaway.

She is also having a Valentine’s Day special on pink and red maternity and nursing items in her boutique, so don’t forget to visit her store to save 25% on pink and red items with promotion code VALENTINES25.

About a Mother’s Boutique
When it comes to preparing for your new baby, A Mother’s Boutique is here to help. We carry everything you need from maternity clothing to breastfeeding clothing, nursing bras, breast pumps, slings and breastfeeding accessories.

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Extreme Breastfeeding — 20/20

OK, so I didn’t watch 20/20’s episode on Extreme Mothering. I was interested in the breastfeeding portion, but I knew the stance they would take, so I didn’t even bother watching.

It almost humors me that people are so against “extended breastfeeding” when they know absolutely nothing about breastfeeding period. Breastfeeding is a wonderful experience and the American Academy of Family Physicians, the World Health Organization and UNICEF all recommend a MINIMUM of 2 years of breastfeeding. That’s just the bottom requirement. It’s like getting a D, you just passed.

The mother featured in the 20/20 episode was breastfeeding her 6 year old. Her older 2 children also breastfed for about that long as well. All 3 kids are great, outgoing kids. Nature supports breastfeeding until about 8 years of age, so this mother/child relationship still has a few good years in it. :)

Nature supports extended breastfeeding for many reasons:

1. The natural age of weaning is approximately 2.5 – 7 years of age with 4 as the median age.

2. During childhood, the child’s immune system is still developing, thus the antibodies in mama’s milk offer immunity support during these years.

3. Between the ages of 5 and 8 a child’s milk teethfall out, permanant teeth come in and the jaw line changes in such the child loses the suckling reflux necessary for nursing.

4. The brain is still developing and breastmilk offers the best balance of fats needed for this development.

There are many biological reasons and this mom does a great job of outlining them here.

There are many great reasons to breastfeed period, other than the ease of it — healthier child, lower cancer rates for mom and child, great bonding experience, higher child IQ, lower rates of diabetes, fewer ear infections, etc. Plus, breastmilk is great for curing many common ailments like pink eye, cold sores, diaper rash, ear infections, etc.

So really people, if you don’t know your facts, don’t comment on how breastfeeding past a certain age or milestone (like you must stop when a baby gets teeth — that is just ridiculous!), because the facts just are not on your side. Now you may not like it or agree with it, which is fine, but that is your opinion and nothing more. My daughter weaned at 28 months when I was halfway through my pregnancy with my son. My husband was like all the naysayers, but once he saw what great benefits it had for our daughter, he is now a lactavist! We will also let our son wean himself when he and I are ready.

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Breastfeeding: Why doctors are so wrong about solids

I found this very interesting news brief today…. it supports the view of the WHO, AAP, AAFP and Unicef’s recommendation of exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months with continued breastfeeding for a minimum of 2 years.

“Doctors are keen to introduce solids as early as possible as a supplement to breast feeding – and they couldn’t be more wrong.

Babies who are exclusively breastfed for the first three months at least – and sometimes for the first 12 months – have better cognitive abilities and general intelligence by the time they are six.

Compared with children who were fed solids early on, breastfed babies registered far higher scores for verbal IQ, performance IQ and general IQ when they were tested at six-and-a-half years. 

Researchers made the discovery when they assessed the cognitive development of 13,889 children who were exclusively breastfed for a prolonged period.”

Cloth baby wipes showdown

A couple weeks ago, I made the horrifying discovery that my favorite baby wipes, Kirkland Premium Baby Wipes (from Costco), contained an extremely hazardous ingredient and vowed to switch to cloth wipes. Well, we made the switch and so glad I did for many reasons.

I researched to find the most economical, yet efficient cloth wipes and selected 3 to try (granted there are oodles of cloth wipes out there). I only considered unbleached cotton or bamboo. Two of the wipes I selected were all cotton, one terry and one flannel, and the third was bamboo.

Kissaluvs are my favorite. They are thick, unbleached, undyed, terry cotton with two sides. One side is burley terry loops, perfect for cleaning up bigger messes and the other side is smooth for the final touches. They are soft, effective and not to thick, yet not to thin. But if you are used to a thin baby wipe and prefer something very thin, you may not like these as well. I however, had no problems going from a thin baby wipe to these. Kissaluvs wipes hold a lot of mess too, even with a pretty messy diaper, I only needed 2 wipes and in less messy occurrences, only one wipe was needed to do the job. They also washed very well and though we’ve only used them a couple weeks, they seem like they will be the most durable of the bunch. They are affordable to at $1 per wipe. I give them an A.

BumGenius’ bamboo wipes were also excellent. They were very soft, made of bamboo and a touch of polyester. Bamboo is more environmentally friendly in that it grows quickly and does not require the use of pesticides like cotton traditionally has. They are thinner than the Kissaluvs, but still have a two-sided texture, though more of the two-sidedness of a cheap Gerber baby washcloth, which they reminded me of, though the BumGenius bamboo wipes were certainly much, much softer. These wipes are a tad thicker than a disposable baby wipe, so those looking for a thinner wipe may prefer these. The also did the job well and did I mention they were soft? These would also make great washcloths for baby’s delicate skin. They are a little more pricey averaging $12.95 for 8 wipes. I give these an A-.

The unbleached cotton flannel wipes were also nice. These were the thinnest of the bunch, about the same as a disposable wipe. They were great for smaller messes and were fairly soft. However, you will need to use a few more of these than you would the Kissaluvs, which would mean more washing. They also did not wash as well for me – the ends were rolling after 1 washing, which is not a huge issue, but my concern was they would not be as durable as the other 2 wipes. I did like the fact that they were made of unbleached cotton. But if you prefer a thinner, no frills wipe, then you will certainly like this one. The flannel wipes are also the most affordable at 15 wipes for $9 for the ivory version. I give them a B (To be fair, I may have given them an A- if I didn’t like the Kissaluvs so much! The minus would be for the ends curling.)

As for how I used these wipes, I got a #5 plastic squeezable water bottle from Target and filled it up. All the wipes were roughly the same size and folded in half they fit in a regular wipe container. When I needed a wipe, I squirted one with water and wiped away. I keep (or try to) a small bowl in the closet by the changing table to dump the dirty wipes into. When the job is finished I take the wipes to the laundry room where I have a bucket of water to dump these in. Come wash time, I wring them out, toss ‘em in the washer and that’s it. A little more work than a disposable, but surprisingly, it’s not as much effort than I thought it would be. I work full time, so it’s not like I am looking for things to fill my “spare time” up with. 

How many will you need? That really depends on how often you do washing. If you cloth diaper, it would be easy to toss these in the wash and you could get by with less. Since I planned on 1 time a week and my daughter is 2, I figured I could get by with a few less, but baby #2 will be here in 15 or so weeks, so I also considered that. I got 20 of the Kissaluvs, 8 of the BumGenius and 15 of the flannel wipes (counting individual wipes). I probably go through half this in a week with the 2 year old, but I know the new baby will require much more! Probably starting with 20 is reasonable, more if you have a younger baby (who poops more) and plan to wash only once as week.

Care is also very easy. I received a little “instruction” manual with the wipes. It was recommended that they be washed and dried 3 times before use to help remove the natural oils. This was probably the most painstaking part. I washed and dried them with towels, then with bed sheets, then with more towels… But soon we were up and running.

Again, I am glad I made the switch. I feel like this is a win-win-win. I feel good that these are gentle on my daughter’s bottom, both in softness and lack of chemicals being “applied” at each wipe. I feel good that I am not adding to landfills, and these are being washed with items that I wash weekly anyway, so I am not using extra water or electricity to wash the wipes. We will still use disposable wipes for on the go, but I will make sure they are unbleached, chemical-free and safe, like Seventh Generation or Tushies wipes . As a last resort we will use Pampers Sensitive wipes since they are more readily available, though they do contain parabens, so will not be my first choice, but who does not run out of wipes on the go? Happens to the best of us…

Flavor of breastmilk may influence child eating habits

Any breastfeeding mother will tell you that her diet can definitely affect her milk, but this takes a step beyond that saying the varying flavor of breastmilk can influence the child’s eating habits when he starts eating solid foods. The study suggests that breastfed babies are used to a variety of flavors and are more willing to accept new foods than a formula fed baby. Formula is very bland and the flavor never changes, so a formula fed baby may not be as willing to give a new food much of a chance.

I can definitely see this with my daughter who breastfed until she was 2. She still nurses occasionally. My daughter eats pretty much anything, especially hummus, lima beans, Mexican food, broccoli, and jambalaya. She also will eat salsa and likes spicier foods. I will say that I ate a lot of all these foods when I was pregnant and nursing. Other moms I talk to (who I know formula fed) are in envy of the variety of foods she will eat.

Now of course, this is not an exact science. There will be breastfed babies who are picky eaters and formula fed ones who will eat absolutely anything you put in front of them. But for sure the flavor of breastmilk definitely changes, and that is something that is only beneficial. More research would need to be done to get a better idea of the extent breastmilk can influence a child’s eating habits later in life. And as more mother’s are making the decision to breastfeed, that could help encourage better eating habits and lower the rates of childhood obesity.

Read the entire article here.

Breastfeeding Makes Top Ten List of Cancer Preventers

Breastfeeding Makes Top Ten List of Cancer Preventers

Breastfeeding has been named as one of the Ten Recommendations to Prevent Cancer by the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) following analysis of a major new study.

The five-year study, released on October 31st found a strong correlation between breastfeeding and the prevention of both pre-menopausal and post-menopausal breast cancer.

According to the study, breastfeeding lowers a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer throughout her lifetime. Equally important, the evidence shows that infants who are breastfed are likely to have a lower risk of becoming overweight or obese throughout their lives. This also translates into a lower cancer risk.

Because the evidence is so strong that breastfeeding offers cancer protection to both mothers and their children, the AICR has made breastfeeding one of its “Ten Recommendations to Prevent Cancer.”

The study states, “at the beginning of life, human milk is best. The evidence that lactation protects the mother against breast cancer at all ages is convincing.” Furthermore, “The evidence on cancer … shows that sustained, exclusive breastfeeding is protective for the mother as well as the child.” This is the first major report to specifically recommend breastfeeding to prevent breast cancer in mothers, and to prevent overweight and obesity in children.

The study goes on to say that “Other benefits of breastfeeding for mothers and their children are well known. Breastfeeding protects against infections in infancy, protects the development of the immature immune system, protects against other childhood diseases, and is vital for the development of the bond between mother and child. It has many other benefits.” For a complete copy of the AICR report, visit: www.dietandcancerreport.org.

Throughout its 51-year history, La Leche League International (LLLI) has supported breastfeeding mothers and their children. Celebrating its 50th year in 2006, LLLI continues to reach out to women seeking information, support, and encouragement for breastfeeding their babies. Local LLL Leaders across the United States offer support through local Group meetings and telephone help, online meetings, and a national toll-free 24-hour help line.

For more information about breastfeeding and for mothers needing assistance with breastfeeding, contact… www.llli.org or 1-800 LA LECHE

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What if I want to wean my baby?

This is a GREAT article by Diane Wiessinger. If you are debating or wanting to wean your baby, she offers great guidelines and the benefits of breastmilk at every age. Even a day is the best gift you can give your baby.

And for those who do not want to wean, but feel the pressure to will also find comfort in this article.

What if I want to Wean My Baby?

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  • Breastfeeding Language

    This is a great article written by a lactation consultant.

    Watch Your Language
    By Diane Wiessinger, MS, IBCLC

    The lactation consultant says, “You have the best chance to provide your baby with the best possible start in life, through the special bond of breastfeeding. The wonderful advantages to you and your baby will last a lifetime.” And then the mother bottlefeeds. Why?

    In part because that sales pitch could just as easily have come from a commercial baby milk pamphlet. When our phrasing and that of the baby milk industry are interchangeable, one of us is going about it wrong…and it probably isn’t the multinationals. Here is some of the language that I think subverts our good intentions every time we use it.

    Best possible, ideal, optimal, perfect. Are you the best possible parent? Is your home life ideal? Do you provide optimal meals? Of course not. Those are admirable goals, not minimum standards. Let’s rephrase. Is your parenting inadequate? Is your home life subnormal? Do you provide deficient meals? Now it hurts. You may not expect to be far above normal, but you certainly don’t want to be below normal.

    When we (and the artificial milk manufacturers) say that breastfeeding is the best possible way to feed babies because it provides their ideal food, perfectly balanced for optimal infant nutrition, the logical response is, “So what?” Our own experience tells us that optimal is not necessary. Normal is fine, and implied in this language is the absolute normalcy–and thus safety and adequacy–of artificial feeding. The truth is, breastfeeding is nothing more than normal. Artificial feeding, which is neither the same nor superior, is therefore deficient, incomplete, and inferior. Those are difficult words, but they have an appropriate place in our vocabulary.

    Advantages. When we talk about the advantages of breastfeeding–the “lower rates” of cancer, the “reduced risk” of allergies, the “enhanced” bonding, the “stronger” immune system–we reinforce bottlefeeding yet again as the accepted, acceptable norm.

    Health comparisons use a biological, not cultural, norm, whether the deviation is harmful or helpful. Smokers have higher rates of illness; increasing prenatal folic acid may reduce fetal defects. Because breastfeeding is the biological norm, breastfed babies are not “healthier;” artificially-fed babies are ill more often and more seriously. Breastfed babies do not “smell better;” artificial feeding results in an abnormal and unpleasant odor that reflects problems in an infant’s gut. We cannot expect to create a breastfeeding culture if we do not insist on a breastfeeding model of health in both our language and our literature.

    We must not let inverted phrasing by the media and by our peers go unchallenged. When we fail to describe the hazards of artificial feeding, we deprive mothers of crucial decision-making information. The mother having difficulty with breastfeeding may not seek help just to achieve a “special bonus;” but she may clamor for help if she knows how much she and her baby stand to lose. She is less likely to use artificial milk just “to get him used to a bottle” if she knows that the contents of that bottle cause harm.

    Nowhere is the comfortable illusion of bottlefed normalcy more carefully preserved than in discussions of cognitive development. When I ask groups of health professionals if they are familiar with the study on parental smoking and IQ (1), someone always tells me that the children of smoking mothers had “lower IQs.” When I ask about the study of premature infants fed either human milk or artificial milk (2), someone always knows that the breastmilk-fed babies were “smarter.” I have never seen either study presented any other way by the media–or even by the authors themselves. Even health professionals are shocked when I rephrase the results using breastfeeding as the norm: the artificially-fed children, like children of smokers, had lower IQs.

    Inverting reality becomes even more misleading when we use percentages, because the numbers change depending on what we choose as our standard. If B is 3/4 of A, then a is 4/3 of B. Choose A as the standard, and B is 25% less. Choose B as the standard, and A is 33 1/3% more. Thus, if an item costing 100 units is put on sale for “25% less,”the price becomes 75. When the sale is over, and the item is marked back up, it must be marked up 33 1/3% to get the price up to 100. Those same figures appear in a recent study (3), which found a “25% decrease” in breast cancer rates among women who were breastfed as infants. Restated using breastfed health as the norm, there was a 33-1/3% increase in breast cancer rates among women who were artificially fed. Imagine the different impact those two statements would have on the public.

    Special. “Breastfeeding is a special relationship.” “Set up a special nursing corner.” In or family, special meals take extra time. Special occasions mean extra work. Special is nice, but it is complicated, it is not an ongoing part of life, and it is not something we want to do very often. For most women, nursing must fit easily into a busy life–and, of course, it does. “Special” is weaning advice, not breastfeeding advice.

    Breastfeeding is best; artificial milk is second best. Not according to the World Health Organization. Its hierarchy is: 1) breastfeeding; 2) the mother’s own milk expressed and given to her child some other way; 3) the milk of another human mother; and 4) artificial milk feeds (4). We need to keep this clear in our own minds and make it clear to others. “The next best thing to mother herself” comes from a breast, not from a can. The free sample perched so enticingly on the shelf at the doctor’s office is only the fourth best solution to breastfeeding problems.

    There is a need for standard formula in some situations. Only because we do not have human milk banks. The person who needs additional blood does not turn to a fourth-rate substitute; there are blood banks that provide human blood for human beings. He does not need to have a special illness to qualify. All he needs is a personal shortage of blood. Yet only those infants who cannot tolerate fourth best are privileged enough to receive third best. I wonder what will happen when a relatively inexpensive commercial blood is designed that carries a substantially higher health risk than donor blood. Who will be considered unimportant enough to receive it? When we find ourselves using artificial milk with a client, let’s remind her and her health care providers that banked human milk ought to be available. Milk banks are more likely to become part of our culture if they first become part of our language.

    We do not want to make bottlefeeding mothers feel guilty. Guilt is a concept that many women embrace automatically, even when they know that circumstances are truly beyond their control. (My mother has been known to apologize for the weather.)

    Women’s (nearly) automatic assumption of guilt is evident in their responses to this scenario: Suppose you have taken a class in aerodynamics. You have also seen pilots fly planes. Now, imagine that you are the passenger in a two-seat plane. The pilot has a heart attack, and it is up to you to fly the plane. You crash. Do you feel guilty?

    The males I asked responded, “No. Knowing about aerodynamics doesn’t mean you can fly an airplane.” “No, because I would have done my best.” “No. I might feel really bad about the plane and pilot, but I wouldn’t feel guilty.” “No. Planes are complicated to fly, even if you’ve seen someone do it.” What did the females say? “I wouldn’t feel guilty about the plane, but I might about the pilot because there was a slight chance that I could have managed to land that plane.” “Yes, because I’m very hard on myself about my mistakes. Feeling bad and feeling guilty are all mixed up for me.” “Yes, I mean, of course. I know I shouldn’t, but I probably would.” “Did I kill someone else? If I didn’t kill anyone else, then I don’t feel guilty.” Note the phrases “my mistakes,” “I know I shouldn’t,” and “Did I kill anyone?” for an event over which these women would have had no control!

    The mother who opts not to breastfeed, or who does not do so as long as she planned, is doing the best she can with the resources at hand. She may have had the standard “breast is best” spiel (the course in aerodynamics) and she may have seen a few mothers nursing at the mall (like watching the pilot on the plane’s overhead screen). That is clearly not enough information or training. But she may still feel guilty. She’s female.

    Most of us have seen well-informed mothers struggle unsuccessfully to establish breastfeeding, and turn to bottlefeeding with a sense of acceptance because they know they did their best. And we have seen less well-informed mothers later rage against a system that did not give them the resources they later discovered they needed. Help a mother who says she feels guilty to analyze her feelings, and you may uncover a very different emotion. Someone long ago handed these mothers the word “guilt.” It is the wrong word.

    Try this on: You have been crippled in a serious accident. Your physicians and physical therapists explain that learning to walk again would involve months of extremely painful and difficult work with no guarantee of success. They help you adjust to life in a wheelchair, and support you through the difficulties that result. Twenty years later, when your legs have withered beyond all hope, you meet someone whose accident matched your own. “It was difficult,” she says. “It was three months of sheer hell. But I’ve been walking every since.” Would you feel guilty?

    Women to whom I posed this scenario told me they would feel angry, betrayed, cheated. They would wish they could do it over with better information. They would feel regret for opportunities lost. Some of the women said they would feel guilty for not having sought out more opinions, for not having persevered in the absence of information and support. But gender-engendered guilt aside, we do not feel guilty about having been deprived of a pleasure. The mother who does not breastfeed impairs her own health, increases the difficulty and expense of infant and child rearing, and dismisses one of life’s most delightful relationships. She has lost something basic to her own well-being. What image of the satisfactions of breastfeeding do we convey when we use the word “guilt”?

    Let’s rephrase, using the words women themselves gave me: “We don’t want to make bottlefeeding mothers feel angry. We don’t want to make them feel betrayed. We don’t want to make them feel cheated.” Peel back the layered implications of “we don’t want to make them feel guilty,” and you will find a system trying to cover its own tracks. It is not trying to protect her. It is trying to protect itself. Let’s level with mothers, support them when breastfeeding doesn’t work, and help them move beyond this inaccurate and ineffective word.

    Pros and cons, advantages and disadvantages. Breastfeeding is a straight-forward health issue, not one of two equivalent choices. “One disadvantage of not smoking is that you are more likely to find secondhand smoke annoying. One advantage of smoking is that it can contribute to weight loss.” The real issue is differential morbidity and mortality. The rest–whether we are talking about tobacco or commercial baby milks–is just smoke.

    One maternity center uses a “balanced” approach on an “infant feeding preference card” (5) that lists odorless stools and a return of the uterus to its normal size on the five lines of breastfeeding advantages. (Does this mean the bottlefeeding mother’s uterus never returns to normal?) Leaking breasts and an inability to see how much the baby is getting are included on the four lines of disadvantages. A formula-feeding advantage is that some mothers find it “less inhibiting and embarrassing.” The maternity facility reported good acceptance by the pediatric medical staff and no marked change in the rates of breastfeeding or bottlefeeding. That is not surprising. The information is not substantially different from the “balanced” lists that the artificial milk salesmen have peddled for years. It is probably an even better sales pitch because it now carries very clear hospital endorsement. “Fully informed,” the mother now feels confident making a life-long health decision based on relative diaper smells and the amount of skin that shows during feedings.

    Why do the commercial baby milk companies offer pro and con lists that acknowledge some of their product’s shortcomings? Because any “balanced” approach that is presented in a heavily biased culture automatically supports the bias. If A and B are nearly equivalent, and if more than 90% of mothers ultimately choose B, as mothers in the United States do (according to an unpublished 1992 Mothers’ Survey by Ross Laboratories that indicated fewer than 10% of U.S. mothers nursing at a year), it makes sense to follow the majority. If there were an important difference, surely the health profession would make a point of staying out of the decision-making process. It is the parents’ choice to make. True. But deliberately stepping out of the process implies that the “balanced” list was accurate. In a recent issue of Parenting magazine, a pediatrician comments, “When I first visit a new mother in the hospital, I ask, ‘Are you breastfeeding or bottlefeeding?’ If she says she is going to bottlefeed, I nod and move on to my next questions. Supporting new parents means supporting them in whatever choices they make; you don’t march in postpartum and tell someone she’s making a terrible mistake, depriving herself and her child.” (6)

    Yet if a woman announced to her doctor, midway through a routine physical examination, that she took up smoking a few days earlier, the physician would make sure she understood the hazards, reasoning that now was the easiest time for her to change her mind. It is hypocritical and irresponsible to take a clear position on smoking and “let parents decide” about breastfeeding without first making sure of their information base. Life choices are always the individual’s to make. That does not mean his or her information sources should be mute, nor that the parents who opt for bottlefeeding should be denied information that might prompt a different decision with a subsequent child.

    Breastfeeding. Most other mammals never even see their own milk, and I doubt that any other mammalian mother deliberately “feeds” her young by basing her nursing intervals on what she infers the baby’s hunger level to be. Nursing quiets her young and no doubt feels good. We are the only mammal that consciously uses nursing to transfer calories…and we’re the only mammal that has chronic trouble making that transfer.

    Women may say they “breastfed” for three months, but they usually say they “nursed” for three years. Easy, long-term breastfeeding involves forgetting about the “breast” and the “feeding” (and the duration, and the interval, and the transmission of the right nutrients in the right amounts, and the difference between nutritive and non-nutritive suckling needs, all of which form the focus of artificial milk pamphlets) and focusing instead on the relationship. Let’s all tell mothers that we hope they won’t “breastfeed”–that the real joys and satisfactions of the experience begin when they stop “breastfeeding” and start mothering at the breast.

    All of us within the profession want breastfeeding to be our biological reference point. We want it to be the cultural norm; we want human milk to be made available to all human babies, regardless of other circumstances. A vital first step toward achieving those goals is within immediate reach of every one of us. All we have to do is…watch our language.

    If you found this article of interest, you may desire to ensure you regularly receive your own copy of the Journal of Human Lactation(JHL). Taking out membership in the International Lactation Consultant Association(ILCA)includes the benefit of four issues of the JHL a year. See www.ilca.org for how to join.

    Reprinted from the Journal of Human Lactation, Vol. 12, No. 1, 1996

    References: 1. Olds D. L., Henderson, C. R. Tatelbaum, R.: Intellectual impairment in children of women who smoke cigarettes during pregnancy. Pediatrics 1994; 93:221-27.2. Lucas, A., Morley, R., Cole, T.J., Lister, G., Leeson-Payne, C.: Breast milk and subsequent intelligence quotient in children born preterm. Lancet 1992; 339 (8788): 261-64. 3. Fruedenheim, J.L., Graham, S., Laughlin, R., Vena, J.E., Bandera, E., et al: Exposure to breastmilk in infancy and the risk of breast cancer. Epidemiology 1994, 5:324-30. 4. UNICEF, WHO, UNESCO: Facts for Life: A Communication Challenge. New York: UNICEF 1989; p. 20. 5. Bowles, B.B., Leache, J., Starr, S., Foster, M.: Infant feeding preferences card. J Hum Lact 1993; 9: 256-58. 6. Klass, P.: Decent exposure. Parenting (May) 1994; 98-104. to kayhh’s Breastfeeding page

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