Mama Knows Breast

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Breastfeeding Wherever, Whenever

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A number of states, including Mississippi, are passing laws that protect a mother’s right to breastfeed in public. How does your state compare?

Mothers’ Day News–Remembering Milk Banks

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Did you know that there are actually places where you can buy breast milk? There are ten milk banks across the country. But there was a time when it was even more common to donate breast milk. This New York Times article recalls those days, from the 1920′s to 1950, in New York City.

Springing a Leak

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We took a breastfeeding class before The Bortsky was born. Of course I retained virtually nothing from that lesson. And I definitely missed the discussion about the fact that breastfeeding boobs leak. Yes, that’s right. Your breasts take on a life of their own. Sometimes they spontaneously start gushing. Sometimes you know when it’s going to happen. Either way, it can be both embarassing and annoying.
Let’s take the spontaneous gush. Once, in the middle of an exercise class, I looked down to find one side of my leotard completely and utterly soaked. And we’re not talking sweat here. A motherly soul leaned over to me and whispered, “Press your hands against your breasts. That will make it stop.” Uh, too little too late.
Or how about the predictable leak? This often occurs when you’re feeding the baby. The side not in use still gets it’s juices flowing too. The result…a nice wet spot that goes from your bra, through your shirt and right onto your baby’s leg. Great, now you have to change his clothes. Again.
So what’s a Mama to do? To avoid the public show of wetness, buy some pads to put inside your bra. You can find disposable or reusable (ie. washable) ones. Both do the trick. But both stink as well. The washable ones are builky and very visible under a shirt. The disposable ones, I’ve found, tend to mush up into soggy packets that slip to the underside of your boob.
Of course at home, just as I sit down to breastfeed, I always seem to be without said pads. Imagine rooting around a dark bedroom at 3 in the morning, trying not to wake your husband who has to be up in 3 hours. Or imagine sitting on the new sofa (“Please, Bortsky, let’s wash your hands before you climb up!!”), fearing some spillage that might just run down your stomach. In either of these scenarios, grab the nearest thing at hand. A burb cloth, baby blanket, husband’s undershirt or dirty sock will do.
So what do you do to avoid the stains on your shirt? Carry an extra outfit with you everywhere you go? Wear five layers of clothing, even on a spring day? Write back with your comments to tell me how you stop the flow.

MA Hospitals Say NO to Formula Freebies

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If you’ve had a baby recently you may have gotten a gift bag on your way out of the hospital. These spiffy black totes come filled with gifts…primarily formula samples and coupons. So guess who’s behind the bags…the formula companies of course.
In Massachusetts, state policy makers are debating whether to ban the bags. Meanwhile, some hospitals are opting to stop giving out the bags altogether.
Personally, I like the bags. I got one when we had The Bortski at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and I still use it. It’s held up remarkably well for the past 20 months. I got another one when we had The Titty Bear at Mt. Sinai in New York City. I don’t care that they’ve come from a company with an agenda. I save the coupons, intending to use them; and I never do. And I save the formula samples in case of emergency. Getting these bags really didn’t have any impact on my decision to breastfeed or not. Simply put…it saved me from spending a ridiculous amount of money on a fancy diaper bag that would get ruined by weather and spit up.

Breastfeeding World Record…Here are Pictures

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Check out these pictures from the massive breastfeeding gathering yesterday in the Philippines.

Breastfeeding World Record

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3,738 moms gathered today to breastfeed their babies in Manila, the capital of the Philippine’s. This was the largest gathering to date of breastfeeding moms in one place. So will this get them into the Guinness Book of World Records? Probably. The previous record was set in 2002, by 1,135 women in Berkely, California.
Organizers of the Manila event did it promote breastfeeding. Only 16 percent of Filipino women breastfeed their kids for the first six months of their lives. The World Health Organization says about 16,000 Filipino children die each year because their formula is mixed with dirty water or the wrong amount of powder.
Check out this Reuters article.

Bortski to Mama, “You’re Fired”

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There’s a new “Donald Trump” in town, and his name is The Bortski. Last night, at 5 in the morning, he ordered me out of his room. It was the toddler equivalent of “You’re Fired.” The Bortski was crying hysterically, awake for the second time during the night, and the only one he wanted was Da-Da. Da-Da had already taken the 12:30 to 2:00 am awake shift. He tried to do the 5 am one as well. Gave up. Sent me in. And when I got there The Bortski continued to cry for Da-Da. I tried every trick under the sun. Snuggling. Lullabyes. Even books. The screaming for Da-Da continued.
Now let’s put this in context. The Bortski had been sleeping through the night for months, but once The Titty Bear arrived everything fell apart. I also blame the sleep problems on daylight savings time. That, and the fact that he tried to climb out of his crib so we moved him to a bed. So now, he’s no longer caged in a crib that he can’t get out of. Instead, he gets out of bed and hangs off a gate we installed to keep him in his room.
Back to the story. I’ve been up already twice to breastfeed The Titty Bear. Nevertheless, I decide to give it a go with The Bortski, and he literally refuses my help, screaming instead for Da-da. So thankfully Da-da arrives to lend a hand again. Once he does, The Bortski changes his cry to “Ma-Ma bye-bye. Ma-Ma bye-bye.” He sees me almost start to cry. Insulted, I’m tempted to leave the room. But I hold my ground. Da-da and I present a united front. (Isn’t that what the parenting manuals tell you to do?). “No, Mama’s not leaving.” So the Bortski changes his plea again. “Mama door. Mama door.”
Oh the pain. The hurt. Is this what I get for spending so many hours breastfeeding The Titty Bear, and sending The Bortski to the playground with a babysitter? Some how I think not. I’d like to believe, instead, that the preference for Da-da reflects the excellent job Da-da does.
I can’t quite recall how this all resolved itself. I vaguely remember exchanging hugs and kisses with The Bortski, stumbling back to bed, and breastfeeding again. And so another day began.
Hopefully tonight I’ll hear, “You’re hired.” Better yet, maybe there won’t be an opening for an overnight shift. Maybe The Bortski will decide he doesn’t need the additional personnel.

A Guide to the Key Players of Mama Knows Breast

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Here’s a list of the players, the people you’ll meet on Mama Knows Breast:
Mama: That’s me. A 37 year old mother of two boys under two. As of May 1, 2006, one was 19 months, the other was six weeks. Do I need to say any more?
Da-Da: Obviously, of course, this is Mama’s husband. To get the best sense of this name, envision a 19 month old, begging to be let out of his room, at 6 in the morning, plaintively repeating, “Da-Da, please help. Ehh you, Da-da, please help.” He knows Da-Da is more likely to come to the rescue at this hour.
Bortski: That’s the 19 month old. We came up with his nickname one day when he had a little cold. He was making all sorts of snorting noises through his stuffed nose. He thus became “Snortsky.” Over time, this evolved to “Bortski.” I’m not really sure why.
The Titty Bear: This is our newborn.
Nana Funny Socks: This is Mama’s mama. Bortski started to call her Nana Funny Socks after observing her stocking knee-highs. Quite glamorous, I’m sure he thought.
Big: This is Mama’s mama’s mama. In other words, Mama’s grandmother. Or in other words, Nana Funny Socks’ mama. Bortski gave her the nickname. She was the “big” nana, ie. the older nana. For a while she was Nana Big, then just “Big.” Sort of like a rapper.
Papa Peekaboo: Da-Da’s dada. He likes to play peekaboo. He’s a newlywed, often seen hanging out with “Toto.” Again, Bortski created nicknames.
Papa Harry: Mama’s dada. He goes with his wife Carol and their cat Mimi.
Uncle Scott (“Hey Dude”) and Auntie Erica (“Ca-Ca”): Mama’s brother and sister in law.
Uncle Spaulding (“Spa-ba”) and Aunti Gayle (“Ga-Ga”): Da-da’s brother and sister in law.

Singer Faith Hill on Breastfeeding

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Faith Hill laments the bigger bra size she had back when she was breastfeeding!