Mama Knows Breast

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Hip to NIP (Nurse in Public)?

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Remember the brouhaha last month when Toys R Us in Times Square asked a breastfeeding mom to take it elsewhere? First there was the incident. Then there was the protest outside the store.
To see if anything has changed in Manhattan since then, a New York Daily News reporter went under cover–so speak– taking her baby with her on a breastfeeding excursion around New York City. The assigment…figure out places where it’s “hip to nip.”
Her findings: An ultra fancy restaurant, Le Cirque? No problem. Public bus? Just fine. The Apple Store? Check. The Metropolitan Museum of Art? More or less fine. Babies “R” Us? Believe it or not, some bumps in the road.
So how do you feel about nursing in public? Comfortable? Uncomfortable? Personally, I’ve feed our kids anywhere and everywhere…as long as it won’t completely offend the people around me. I’ve breastfeed while getting a pedicure; while the baby was getting an ultrasound of his hip; and while sitting in a parked car during a funeral at West Point.
But now I’d love to hear from you. Share your stories about your most unusual lactation location.

Baby Einsteins?

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Have you ever tried to actually read an article printed in a medical journal? I’ve had to do it more than a few times…while working as a reporter, and now, while researching my book, “Mama Knows Breast.” Personally, I find that reading the results of a scientific study is an exercise in skimming and extreme concentration. I’m not a doctor. I don’t play one on TV, and the last science class I took was aptly nicknamed “Physics for Poets.” Science is not my forte. Just give me the bottom line.
Anyway, I just read the latest study that examined the possibility of a link between breastfeeding and intelligence. And here’s the study’s conclusion: “Breast feeding has little or no effect on intelligence in children. While breast feeding has many advantages for the child and mother, enhancement of the child’s intelligence is unlikely to be among them.”
The study was published today in the British Medical Journal, BMJ. Here’s a link. The study notes that since 1929, other researchers have found that children who were breastfed had higher IQ’s. But this new study says some of the earlier research is flawed because it did not consider the mother’s IQ as a factor. Basically, the study published today says that kids inherit their IQ; they don’t get it from breastfeeding.
The authors write, “Children who were breast fed had mothers with higher IQ and with more education and who were older, less likely to be in poverty or to smoke, and more likely to provide a stimulating and supportive home environment.” In other words, the kids were smart because their moms were smart, not because they were breastfed.
As the headline from a Medpage story put it, “Children Inhert IQ From Mom’s Brains; Not Her Milk.” For more news stories on this research, you can go to WebMd, MSNBC, or the CBC.
So why don’t I groove on reading scientific articles? Is it because my mom breastfed me for six months and not longer? I doubt it. I simply didn’t get the math or science gene in the family. It went to my brother, the neurologist. And he got less breastmilk than I did.

Yom Kippur, Fasting and Breastfeeding

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I am not good at fasting. I can barely go three hours without eating or drinking something. If I don’t eat, I get cranky and tired. So Yom Kippur, or the Jewish Day of Atonement, is always a challenge. One year, in fact, I actually got sick from not eating.
Last year I was pregnant and I didn’t feel well so I didn’t fast. Jewish law actually says you do not need to fast if you are ill. So what is the answer for breastfeeding moms? Are you required by Jewish law to fast?
I should state that I’m Reform; in other words, I’m flexible about my religious life. If I was Orthodox, or Conservative, I would probably know the answer to this question about fasting and breastfeeding right up front. Or I would have asked a Rabbi, family member or friend. In my case, I’ve turned to the internet. Bottom line, it seems that Jewish law says that both pregnant and breastfeeding women should fast unless their health, or the baby’s health, would be at risk.
Here is a good site with an explanation as well as guidelines on how to fast while breastfeeding. Nishmat: The Jerusalem Center for Advanced Jewish Study for Women.
Another source of information is Kellymom.
As always, make an informed decision. And if you do refrain from eating, have an easy fast.