Mama Knows Breast




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Nationwide Nurse In on Tuesday, November 21

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When The Bortsky was a baby we took him on numerous airplane rides and I had not a single qualm about breastfeeding him. He was hungry, so he ate. Plus, it had the added benefit of keeping him from screaming bloody murder. I’m sure it also helped his ears during the flight. So I can just imagine how I would have felt if a flight attendant had asked me to stop. Could I have found myself in the same situation as Emily Gillette, the mom who was kicked off a Freedom Airlines flight for breast feeding her child?
Now, it seems a nationwide protest is brewing. This grass roots “nurse in” is scheduled to be at Delta airport counters on Tuesday, November 21, at 10 AM, local time. Freedom Airlines runs some of Delta’s regional flights.
To follow developments on the protest, check out the discussion boards at ProMom and Mothering.
To update you on Gillette’s story, Freedom Airlines has written a public letter responding to the incident. The letter says the airline disciplined the flight attendant because she acted contrary to the company’s policy which supports a mother’s right to breastfeed. The letter also said the pilot offered Gillette the chance to get back on the plane. But she says that didn’t happen. The dispute continues…

International Breast Feeding Symbol

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A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the contest Mothering magazine was running to create an new international breast feeding symbol. The idea is that there should be something similar to the signs which indicate no smoking, or a ladies room or handicapped access. So at long last, breast feeding moms, there’s something for you too. Drum rollllllllll please….here’s the winner.
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The magazine has made the image available copyright free, for use in the public domain. That means anyone can download it. Go to Mothering to download the symbol for your own use, and to read what the magazine has to say about the symbol. Here’s an excerpt:
The purpose of an international symbol for breastfeeding is to increase public awareness of breastfeeding, to provide an alternative to the use of a baby bottle image to designate baby friendly areas in public, and to mark breastfeeding friendly facilities…(S)ometimes there are no chairs in public, sometimes nowhere to change the baby, or for the mother separated from her baby, nowhere to plug in an electric breast pump. Mothers welcome quiet, private places in public where they can collect themselves and their children. The symbol could designate these kinds of places. In addition, businesses could use this symbol to designate a lactation room, required now by law in California. Restaurants could use the image to let moms know, “Breastfeeding welcome here.”
You can also read an interview with the creator of the symbol, Matt Daigle of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He is a stay-at-home dad, freelance graphic designer, and cartoonist. He and his wife have a one-year-old son.

Elizabeth Vargas Fake Breast Feeding Photo Update

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A few days ago I wrote about how Marie Claire magazine published a fake photo of ABC anchor Elizabeth Vargas breast feeding. I’ve now had a chance to review the article, and here’s my take.
The piece is nothing earth shattering. It’s a Q &A about Vargas’ career and family. What do we learn? That she’s not exactly like the rest of us– she has a cook, an immaculate apartment and she’s married to the singer Marc Cohn. Not to mention she is one of THE stars of ABC news. (You may remember she and Bob Woodruff were supposed to be the future of ABC’s evening news. They were named co-anchors after Peter Jennings died. Then Woodruff got seriously injured in Iraq and Vargas got pregnant. So now she’s back at 20/20 and Charlie Gibson has the anchor job). But in other ways she is like the rest of us. She has to figure out how to balance work and family. When she was anchoring the evening news, her son wouldn’t go to sleep until she got home.
As for that photo…from my perspective, there is no reason your average reader would think it was a fake. The story byline says “By Judith Newman, Photo Illustration by Eric Cahan.” Does that mean anything to any of you? Certainly not to me. I just don’t get what Marie Claire was thinking. Didn’t it occur to them that most people wouldn’t get the distinction, and that ultimately, someone (Drudge) would point out the liberties they took?
The Boston Herald ran a story on this today. There was an additional comment from Marie Claire:
“We wanted an arresting, satirical image to make the reader stop and read this important story about what happens when job and family collide. This is an image illustration and is stated so with the byline of this story.”
Wouldn’t a real photo have made the case just as strongly?
Oh, and by the way, the photo at the top of this entry is from The Boston Herald. Just wouldn’t want anyone to be confused.

Mom Kicked Off Plane For Breast Feeding

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File this one under– you’ve got to kidding.
A New Mexico mom says Freedom Airlines kicked her off a flight for breastfeeding her daughter on board the plane. The plane was waiting to take off from an airport in Burlington, Vermont, when 27 year-old Emily Gillette says a flight attendant asked her to put a blanket over the baby’s head. Gillette says she refused. That’s when a Delta ticketing agent asked Gillette and her husband and daughter to get off the plane. Freedom was operating the Delta flight between Burlington and New York City.
Now, imagine for a minute you are a passenger on this plane. Which would you prefer– (a) or (b). (A) listening to a screaming, miserable baby on your flight, and maybe, by chance, feeling a little odd about the slight potential that you could see a little bit of the mom’s boob. Or (B), contentedly– in silence– reading your trashy novel, working on your lap top, listening to your iPod, or trying to meditate to transport yourself away from the sardine box in which you are all crammed. I’m sure most of you picked (B), thinking, “Just feed the poor child and make the crying stop already!!” And if you picked (A), think about how you would feel if the flight attendant said, “Sorry, no pretzels for you on your flight today.”
But back to the story at hand…
Here’s what a Freedom Spokesperson had to say about the incident to The Boston Globe:
“A breast-feeding mother is perfectly acceptable on an aircraft, providing she is feeding the child in a discreet way,” that doesn’t bother others, said Paul Skellon, spokesman for Phoenix-based Freedom. “She was asked to use a blanket just to provide a little more discretion, she was given a blanket, and she refused to use it, and that’s all I know.”
Gillette has filed a complaint with the Vermont Human Rights Commission as well as Delta and Freedom Airlines. She told the Burlington Free Press she’d like to see the airlines change their policies. In addition, she’d like the airlines to make a donation to an organization of her choice and give her another trip.

Elizabeth Vargas Breast Feeding– Photo is a Fake

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Here is the latest from the Drudge Report:
ElizabethVargas.jpg
Marie Claire magazine has published a fake photo of ABC News’ “20/20″ anchor Elizabeth Vargas breast feeding. I have to go pick up the December issue of the magazine to see for myself. But here’s what Drudge has to say:
A source close to the anchor says Vargas’ is disappointed but has a sense of humor about the whole thing.
“Elizabeth was more than happy to sit for the interview but was disturbed that the magazine would set aside basic journalistic standards to photoshop her head onto a fake image. Vargas did joke that her real baby is cuter, that she is proud to breastfeed her newborn but wouldn’t do it at the anchor desk and that she wouldn’t be caught dead in that ugly gold blouse!”
A MARIE CLAIRE spokesperson counters: “There isn’t a working mother who can’t relate to this image and immediately identify with the very real dilemma Elizabeth Vargas wrestled with. We do not believe anyone seriously thought she would nurse and report the news the same time! This is an image illustration and is stated so with the byline of this story. We only want to make the point that women choosing between their career and being a parent is a tough decision that we are very sensitive to. We at MARIE CLAIRE think that Vargas is a great journalist and we look forward to watching her on 20/20. We are also grateful for her interview, which we hope reaches the many women who can relate to this serious topic.”

Here are my thoughts:
First, I really like Elizabeth Vargas. I like her reporting style. And on the superficial side, she always has great clothes and hair! Plus, I used to be a former television reporter, so I can relate to the challenges she must face as a working mom. Television news, like many professions, is incredibly demanding on your time. It can be unpredictable. You can be called off to work at the drop of a hat. It’s not easy then to find a balance between work and family. So hats of to Vargas for pulling it off. I’m looking forward to seeing what she says in the interview.
Second, as a former reporter, I simply don’t understand why Marie Claire would feel the need to fake a photograph. It’s wrong journalistically. They didn’t need to do an “image illustration” — or whatever that is, as they call it– in order to make the point that being a working mom is tough. We know that. No news there. Besides which, the photo doesn’t exactly support that point. Where’s the burp cloth? Everything looks just a little too perfect. No one is that poised when breast feeding.
So, it will be interesting to see how this story develops. As they say, stay tuned…

Breast Feeding Bloggers’ Carnival

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In honor of the approaching holiday season, I wrote a poem entitled “‘Twas The Breastfeeder’s Nighttime.” As I’m sure you’ve guessed, it’s a parody of “A Visit From St. Nicholas,” (otherwise known as “‘The Night Before Christmas”) by Clement Clarke Moore.
This poem is my contribution to the first ever Breastfeeding Bloggers’ Carnival. Once a month, four other bloggers and I are banding together to bring you our thoughts on a given topic or idea. This month, we’re all writing about the theme “Home For the Holidays.”
Here’s what you’ll find at our first carnival:
Jennifer, of The Lactivist Breastfeeding Blog, has the scoop on breastfeeding laws in every state. Check here if you’re traveling to visit relatives away from home.
Tanya, of The Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog, writes about the challenges of dealing with unsupportive family members during the holidays.
Angela, of Breastfeeding123, has ten tips for keeping your breasts healthy during the stressful holiday season.
And all the way from Ireland, Sinead, of BreastfeedingMums Blog, brings you advice on how to keep your wits about you during this hectic time.
By the way, before I met these other bloggers, I had never heard of a blogging carnival. Apparently, they’re quite common. To see other carnivals, check out this site, The Blog Carnival index.
I first posted this poem yesterday. So in case you missed it, I bring you once again…
‘TWAS THE BREASTFEEDER’S NIGHTTIME
By Andi Silverman, www.mamaknowsbreast.com

‘Twas a holiday eve and the babe was asleep,
Swaddled tight in his crib he made not a peep.
My boobs were depleted from feeding all day.
“Please don’t wake. Sleep all night,” to the babe I did pray.
But his lips, how they moved, as he lay in his bed.
Visions of milky breasts danced in his head.
Dad in his boxers and I in my sweats,
Could we get some shuteye? Go ahead, place your bets.
The moon on the breast of my t-shirt did glow,
Gave a luster to leaking spots set to grow.
My nursing pads were soaked, they fell out of place.
My bra had unsnapped. How I missed sexy lace.
For months I’d been feeding our babe everywhere.
Coffee shop, park bench, museum, movie chair.
All my modesty gone, nothing shy anymore.
If the kiddo was crying, I knew how to score.
And now with the holidays, things often got dire.
While out buying gifts, I sometimes drew ire.
I breastfed in clothing stores. Changing rooms rock.
I breastfed in bookstores. To the stacks I did flock.
When from the babe’s room there arose such a clatter.
We sprang from our bed to see what was the matter.
Away to his room we flew with a flash,
Threw open the door, in the dark I did crash.
What a klutz I can be, ‘twas those bags made me fall.
Sacks for our trip, all arranged in the hall.
We were going to Grandma’s, a five hour drive.
Holiday time—Will I make it alive?
One big huge duffle held all the babe’s stuff.
Diapers, wipes, onesies. Did I bring enough?
Now don’t forget burp cloths, crib sheets and toys.
Books and Bjorn, we’ll exhibit such poise.
On breast pump, on bottles, on stroller and boppy.
On car seat, on cradle, on blanket and binky.
Fill the back of the car, fill the trunk with our haul.
And we’ll drive away, drive away, drive away all.
Now don’t forget stopping to feed long the way.
Gas stations, McDonalds and rest stops, oy vey.
Of course there’ll be lots of those diapers to do.
Get out the Purell, you’ll be covered in poo.
When we finally arrive, now what will await?
Lots of food and embraces, it’ll be really great.
No, no one will not fight. I will not shed a tear.
Ok, a white lie— but rejoice in who’s here.
And what about wine or a champagne or two?
Will it make my milk bad? Old wives tale or true?
And will anyone say, “Can he now take a bottle?”
“How long will you breastfeed?” How these questions can throttle.
Now back to that “clatter,” the babe and that noise.
We had rushed right on in, leaping over the toys.
When what to our wondering eyes did appear,
Our babe still asleep, oh how sweet, oh how dear.
His cheeks, how they glistened, his hair soft and furry.
And I smiled when I saw him, despite all my worry.
How delicious, his belly, moving in and then out.
How precious, his lips in a sweet little pout.
He had not woken up! He did not need to eat.
He had had quite enough, his day quite complete.
And so back to our bed we did quietly crawl.
Happy Holidays to one, happy sleeping to all.
© 2006, Andi Silverman, www.mamaknowsbreast.com

A Breast Feeding Poem

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You can smell the holidays right around the corner. Christmas commercials. Decorations in stores. Chocolate, food and more chocolate…
Well here are my thoughts for the holiday season– a poem to make you smile. It’s a parody of “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” otherwise known as “The Night Before Christmas.” This poem will be featured tomorrow on the very first Breast Feeding Blogger’s Carnival.
And now, without further ado, I bring you…
‘TWAS THE BREASTFEEDER’S NIGHTTIME
By Andi Silverman, www.mamaknowsbreast.com

‘Twas a holiday eve and the babe was asleep,
Swaddled tight in his crib he made not a peep.
My boobs were depleted from feeding all day.
“Please don’t wake. Sleep all night,” to the babe I did pray.
But his lips, how they moved, as he lay in his bed.
Visions of milky breasts danced in his head.
Dad in his boxers and I in my sweats,
Could we get some shuteye? Go ahead, place your bets.
The moon on the breast of my t-shirt did glow,
Gave a luster to leaking spots set to grow.
My nursing pads were soaked, they fell out of place.
My bra had unsnapped. How I missed sexy lace.
For months I’d been feeding our babe everywhere.
Coffee shop, park bench, museum, movie chair.
All my modesty gone, nothing shy anymore.
If the kiddo was crying, I knew how to score.
And now with the holidays, things often got dire.
While out buying gifts, I sometimes drew ire.
I breastfed in clothing stores. Changing rooms rock.
I breastfed in bookstores. To the stacks I did flock.
When from the babe’s room there arose such a clatter.
We sprang from our bed to see what was the matter.
Away to his room we flew with a flash,
Threw open the door, in the dark I did crash.
What a klutz I can be, ‘twas those bags made me fall.
Sacks for our trip, all arranged in the hall.
We were going to Grandma’s, a five hour drive.
Holiday time—Will I make it alive?
One big huge duffle held all the babe’s stuff.
Diapers, wipes, onesies. Did I bring enough?
Now don’t forget burp cloths, crib sheets and toys.
Books and Bjorn, we’ll exhibit such poise.
On breast pump, on bottles, on stroller and boppy.
On car seat, on cradle, on blanket and binky.
Fill the back of the car, fill the trunk with our haul.
And we’ll drive away, drive away, drive away all.
Now don’t forget stopping to feed long the way.
Gas stations, McDonalds and rest stops, oy vey.
Of course there’ll be lots of those diapers to do.
Get out the Purell, you’ll be covered in poo.
When we finally arrive, now what will await?
Lots of food and embraces, it’ll be really great.
No, no one will not fight. I will not shed a tear.
Ok, a white lie— but rejoice in who’s here.
And what about wine or a champagne or two?
Will it make my milk bad? Old wives tale or true?
And will anyone say, “Can he now take a bottle?”
“How long will you breastfeed?” How these questions can throttle.
Now back to that “clatter,” the babe and that noise.
We had rushed right on in, leaping over the toys.
When what to our wondering eyes did appear,
Our babe still asleep, oh how sweet, oh how dear.
His cheeks, how they glistened, his hair soft and furry.
And I smiled when I saw him, despite all my worry.
How delicious, his belly, moving in and then out.
How precious, his lips in a sweet little pout.
He had not woken up! He did not need to eat.
He had had quite enough, his day quite complete.
And so back to our bed we did quietly crawl.
Happy Holidays to one, happy sleeping to all.
© 2006, Andi Silverman, www.mamaknowsbreast.com

Breast Feeding Video

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Welcome back to YouBoob, my weekly breast feeding video courtesy of YouTube. This one is a ballad. A dad and his infant sing a duet entitled, “Where’s My Boob?” This one is heading right to top of the charts!
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CLICK HERE to watch, or click on the image above.

Breast Feeding and Actress Rachel Weisz

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Here’s the latest from our celebrity mom star-struck media. People Magazine reports that actress Rachel Weisz credits breastfeeding and Pilates with helping her get back in shape after giving birth in May.
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The magazine quotes her as saying:
“I don’t really have a magic potion or pill…I do Pilates. Nursing burns a lot of calories, 500 calories a day. So, if I could help promote breast-feeding, that would be a good way…I was seven months pregnant when I won the Academy Award!…Really, since then, I’ve just been a mom, mainly. It’s the most ultimate honor you can get. But I had to duck out of the rat race for a bit and be Mom… I have respect for all working moms out there, because it’s definitely a complicated balancing act, which millions of women are doing all the time…But I’m part of that club now.”
Welcome to the club, Rachel.
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Home For the Holidays

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Last month I wrote about the new friends I’ve made through this blog– 4 other women who are also blogging about breastfeeding. There’s Jennifer of The Lactivist, Tanya of Motherwear, Angela of Breastfeeding123 and Sinead of Breastfeedingmums. Well this crew has decided to band together once a month and bring you a “carnival of blogs.” Basically, we’ll all be writing about one particular topic, and linking to each other. This will give you the perspectives of a bunch of different booby bloggers. On my site, I’m going to call this monthly carnival, “Of Babes and Boobs.”
Next week will be the first installment of “Of Babes and Boobs.” The topic is “Home For the Holidays.” So the five of us have our homework cut out for us. We’re trying to come up with tips, stories, advice and inspiration for your holiday season as a breastfeeding mom.
My assignment isn’t due until next week, so for now, I turn to you dear readers. Do you have any stories or ideas for me? Send your letters to “Dear Mama, All I want for Christmas (or Chanukah, or whatever holiday you celebrate) is _______________.” I’ll be here, working on my list.