Mama Knows Breast




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Breast Feeding Video of The Week

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Welcome back to YouBoob, my breast feeding video of the week. Last week I brought you a French commercial from 1971. This week it’s another foreign clip. The videographer says it’s French, but it isn’t. If you recognize the language let me know.
So if you’ve ever breast fed in public and thought people were staring at you, this clip from YouTube should make you smile. Then again my husband, who obviously hasn’t breast fed, thought it was pretty funny too. Click here to watch the video.

Breast Feeding Quote of The Day

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Here’s another feature I’m starting…my favorite breast feeding quote of the day.
This week, it’s courtesy of our two year old, The Bortski.
Let me set the scene: I’m trying to eke out a few more minutes in bed with my eyes closed. The Bortski appears at the side of the bed, his head level with mine. He picks my “over the shoulder boulder holder” (ie. my nursing bra) off the floor, holds it up over his head and says, “Mommy, put your boobies away.”
As they say…out of the mouths of babes…

Breast feeding Blogs

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According to my husband, I’m very “Web 2.0” for running this blog. Web 2.0? As he explained, it more or less means being part of the second wave of the Internet, the wave after the dot.com crash. Check Wikipedia for a further definition.
In any case, I think he was referring to the fact that I’m sometimes distracted by trying to “optimize my blog for search,” i.e. make it easier for people to find my blog. I’ve been running this blog since April, but every day I’m figuring out some cool new trick. I’m really a neophyte at this. Plus, I’m frequently corresponding with people I’ve met through my blog. In fact, I’ve actually stumbled upon a few other women who are also running breastfeeding blogs. We’ve been emailing, and in some cases, helping each other figure out the technical nuances of making a blog run well.
The most established breast feeding blog is The Lactivist. Jennifer just had her second baby, and is providing great running commentary on the early weeks of breast feeding. She also sells some really funny t-shirts with breast feeding slogans. My favorite says “Milk Jugs.” Based on her archives, it looks like she’s been running the blog since November 2005. Happy Anniversary, Lactivist.
The Motherwear Blog is a new blog that started running in September. It’s connected to the clothing manufacturer Motherwear, which makes maternity, nursing and kids clothes. The blogger, Tanya, is a lactation consultant.
Then there’s Breastfeeding123. I think the blogger, Angela, just started doing the blog this month, but I like the information she puts up. There’s always something cool to check out, like this site with breastfeeding art.
Just this week I “met” Sinead, a breast feeding blogger in Ireland. The breastfeedingmums blog will introduce you a whole new vocabulary. Do you know what a cotbed is?
Finally, I’ve had some interesting discussion with moms on the website Promom.org. Part of the site is a chat room devoted to breastfeeding. Write a post or entry in the discussion forum and watch the responses pile up.
So check out these fellow booby bloggers. Maybe this is the start of Mommy Bloggers 2.0.

Breast feeding and Thyroid Problems

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Have you ever tried to take a baby with you to one of your doctor’s appointments? It might seem practical. You don’t need a sitter. You don’t have to worry that the baby will get hungry while you’re away…especially if he won’t take a bottle. So I do it all the time. Maybe not one of my smartest moves.
Invariably, there are the steps to drag the stroller up, a narrow examining room and the challenge of keeping the baby from trying to grab the stirrups in the Ob’s office. Lovely. As always, there’s the perfectly timed crying. Just as the doctor prepares to examine you, the screaming starts. And let’s not forget the last time I took The Bear (our now 7 month old) to the doctor with me– a plane crashed into a building a few blocks away. The appointment was cancelled.
So I had pretty low expectations when I went back to the doctor to try the appointment again. I was seeing an endocrinologist because it turns out my thyroid has decided to go haywire after this pregnancy. I have something called Hashimoto’s. Basically it’s an auto-immune condition where the immune system attacks the thyroid. This creates hypothyroidism, or an under-active thyroid. So now I’m taking thyroid replacement medicine.
Of course my questions were: (1) is the thyroid imbalance bad for the baby if I’m breastfeeding? (2) is it ok to take the medication, Synthroid, if I’m breastfeeding? As any good former reporter (or anal mom) would do, I checked multiple sources. I found this link about breastfeeding and thyroid conditions. And per the pediatrician, my general practitioner, my endocrinologist and my gynecologist (oh and a second endocrinologist I saw after The Bortskerini was born), Synthroid is just fine if I’m breastfeeding. In fact, it should make me feel better.
Now to be fair, I didn’t really feel all that bad. Just VERY tired. But then again I have two kids, and a baby who doesn’t sleep through the night. So we’ll see if the thyroid medication will help. (Exhaustion and depression are hypothyroid symptoms).
In the meantime, maybe The Bear will start to take pity on us and stop waking up at 4 in the morning…a mere two hours before his big brother, The Bortskerini decides to yell, at the top of his lungs, “HELP!!!”
If you’re concerned about any medication you may be taking while breastfeeding, check here.

Breast feeding Videos

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Welcome to my new weekly feature…The Boob Tube…or You Boob.
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We’ve all been hearing a lot about YouTube lately, you know the company that Google bought for $1.65 billion.
To see what all the fuss was about, I checked out YouTube, and did a test. I did a search for “breast feeding” videos and found 72 clips. They range from home movies to television commercials. Some are funny, some are serious. And so, starting today, I’ll do a YouTube breastfeeding video of the week.
To kick things off, I’ll salute my inner francophile and show you a clip of a breastfeeding commercial from the 1970′s. Click here to see the clip.
Now my French is not so great, but here’s a rough translation:
Gesture of love, Promise of health, Give them your milk, To feed better is to live better.
Wouldn’t it be a different world if we had commercials like this on the TV in the U.S?!?! And by all means, if your French comprehension is better than mine, please let me know!

Grey’s Anatomy– BreastFeeding and Breast Cancer

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Last night on Grey’s Anatomy one of the story lines follows a young mom who has breast cancer and is going to have a mastectomy. She arrives in the hospital with her husband and baby in tow. The husband tells the doctors she’s having a hard time, that she had to stop nursing and the baby won’t take a bottle. Talking amongst themselves, one of the doctors says she probably thought the lump was a plugged milk duct.
Hurray to Grey’s Anatomy for highlighting breast cancer during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This is television at it’s finest! A subtle reminder to all women, even breastfeeding moms, to take any lump seriously.
I wrote an entry last week about a Seattle mom who first found a lump while breastfeeding her twins. She now runs an organization called Check Your Boobies, which promotes doing regular self breast exams. If you sign up, you can get a montly email reminder to do a check.
Grey’s Anatomy has been noted before for promoting breastfeeding. One of the main characters, Dr. Bailey, is a new mom. Not only did we get to see her endure some wonderful (imagine sarcastic tone here) labor pains, but we also got to see her breastfeeding. I actually missed that episode, but ProMom.org (another breastfeeding website) encouraged people to write letters to the show commending the writers.
And who said the “boob tube” wasn’t educational?!?!

Pumping and Flying Update

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Update: a new rule effective August 4, 2007 does away with the limits on the amount of breast milk a mom can carry on board a plane.
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A little update from the TSA…
I got an email this morning from the Office of Public Affairs at the Transporation Security Administration. The PR person who wrote to me wanted to add that if you are traveling with your baby, you CAN bring ice through the security checkpoint to cool the formula or breast milk you might be bringing on board. The ice exemption also applies to medications that need to be cooled.

Flying and Pumping–What’s a Mom to Do

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Update: a new rule effective August 4, 2007 does away with the limits on the amount of breast milk a mom can carry on board a plane.
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I love the Style section in the Sunday New York Times. Seriously, it’s the highlight of the paper for me. My husband brings it to me if I’m still in bed, breast feeding the Titty Bear (From here on out, the Titty Bear will simply be called “The Bear.” We decided he might be embarrassed to learn some day that we called him the Titty Bear. What would his friends say?)
I digress. Anyway, I was thrilled yesterday to see a piece in the Style section about a mom who goes on a business trip, breast pump in hand. She describes all the crazy places she had to pump (in the plane, on a bus, in a closet), and ultimately what happened when she had to pass through airport security with a cooler full of breast milk.
The new restrictions for carry-on luggage have made traveling even tougher for breast feeding moms who have left their babes at home and need to pump.
It’s all a little confusing, so I called the TSA to try to figure this out. Here’s the deal: If you have a baby with you, you can bring formula and pumped breast milk on board. You just have to show it to an agent at the security check point. If you don’t have a baby with you, you are more restricted. You can bring on board the plane one, quart-size ziploc bag, with three ounce containers of breast milk inside. (Each passenger is allowed one ziploc bag for any toiletries). If you have more milk than that, you will have to put it in a cooler, pack it up with ice, and send it on it’s way with your luggage.
For a little more information, here’s a link to the TSA’s rules about carry on luggage. Here is specific information about breast milk and formula.
So if you’re planning a trip any time soon, and need to leave the babe behind and instead, tote the pump, good luck to you. I know these flight restrictions are there to keep us safe, but boy oh boy, do you need a serious level of dedication if you intend to bring that liquid gold home with you. Happy trails to you.

Plane Crash Puts Things in Perspective

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If you live in New York City, or watch CNN, you most likely know that a small private plane hit a condominium building today. The pilot, New York Yankee Cory Lidle, and co-pilot died.
At the time of the crash, I was four blocks south of the accident scene, in a doctor’s office at New York Presbyterian Hospital. I had the baby with me. Our older son was at home with a babysitter. While I was sitting in the waiting room, some office workers started talking loudly about an explosion and a fire across the street. A few minutes later, people started saying a plane had hit a building. I called my husband. He checked the internet and confirmed that it was a plane.
Here are the thoughts that went through my head. Am I safer inside, or outside? If I’m inside, what if the fire spreads to this building? If I’m outside, could there be another explosion? Why isn’t anyone telling us what to do?! Ironically, I was never too concerned that it was a terrorist incident.
The doctor I was supposed to see came out to talk to me. We decided we would do the appointment on another day, and we left. I had driven our car across the city to get to the doctor’s office, but now there was no way I was going to be able to drive back. The car was parked one block from the accident scene.
Outside, the street was a total mess. Caravans of fire engines, police cars and ambulances raced up York Avenue. Some people walked calmly, as if nothing at all was happening. But then there were others…TV news trucks trying to make their way through the traffic, videographers and photographers running with their gear, doctors running from the hospital towards the scene. Helicopters hovered overhead.
When I was a reporter, I used to be one of those people running towards the chaos, trying to get the best pictures, rushing to figure out what was happening. Now, I just wanted to get as far away, as fast as possible. I pulled the baby’s hat low over his ears to shield him from the noise, and started my manic-mama-on-a-mission walk.
As it turned out, the biggest risk at that point, was making it safely through the traffic. Everything was bumper to bumper, so crossing the street was a challenge. I made it home one hour later, walking in absurdly high heels, pushing the stroller in the rain, through Central Park on a narrow sidewalk not really meant for pedestrians.
Back home safely, I’m thinking about the two people who died, and the others who were hurt or had their lives severely disrupted. Tonight, all the petty things that I ususally worry about don’t seem so important. I’m not as concerned about the looming book deadline. I’m not analyzing the nutritional value of the Bortskerini’s dinner. So what if the baby wakes up again in the middle of the night. So what.
Tomorrow, we’ll get up far earlier than we’d like. Half asleep, I’ll breastfeed one baby while spoon feeding the other one. I’ll stumble my way through the morning and things will go on as usual. I’ll check my email, re-schedule that doctor’s appointment, and take our older son to school. And at some point, I’ll retrieve my car from the other side of town, and stare at the black scars on the side of a building that some people call home.

Learning to Blog

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I didn’t get my first computer until I was a junior in high school. Then, when I went to college, I had that Mac Se that didn’t have a harddrive. You first inserted the disk with the software into one slot, then the disk you saved things on into the other slot. I’m just not like those crazy kids born in the 80s (our babysitters), for whom computers are intuitive.
That’s why this blogging thing seems like a bit of a joke to me at times. This site looks all fancy…but I had to pay someone to build the pretty graphics and formatting. Every now and then I email her to get help with the code. She doesn’t always respond, and so I turn to my husband for help. He’s much more savvy about this stuff than I am. But it is a little bit of the blind leading the blind…. “I think I broke your blog.” “No, I’m sure it’s fine, you can fix it.” “No really, it’s not working!!!” Argh. Ultimately, he gets the thing going again.
So here I am, trying to get as many readers as possible and learn the ways of the web. Technorati seems to be one way to increase the possibility that people will find my blog. Otherwise, I’m sure you can imagine what happens when you try to search breastfeeding on Google. There are 14,900,000 hits. And God only knows where in that list www.mamaknowsbreast.com falls.
So I’m just following Technorati’s instructions. They told me to put this link here.
Technorati Profile
Let’s see what happens.