Mama Knows Breast

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Quote of the Day

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Once again…out of the mouths of babes…
This one is courtesy of our two year old, The Bortski. We had this conversation while the baby, The Bear, was busy nursing:
“Mammee, the baby has boobies.” (translation: “Mom, the baby breastfeeds.”)
“Yes, that’s right. Do you still have boobies?”
“Not yehhht,” he said with authority and a sly smile.

Breast Feeding Video

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Welcome back, once again, to my breast feeding video of the week, YouBoob.
Here’s a clip from the Australian Breastfeeding Association. At first glance you may think this is a little too sentimental. But I promise you, it’s worth watching the entire clip. Trust me! CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE VIDEO.

Donating Breast Milk

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There are a lot of things you simply don’t know about your breasts before you have kids. I, for one, didn’t know that boobs can leak or grow exponentially. And I certainly didn’t know that you can donate your breast milk. It simply never occured to me that you can donate breast milk in the same way that you can donate blood.
Welcome to the wild wild west of parenting. Lots to know. Lots to know.
Here’s the scoop. Milk banks have been around since the turn of the century. The first one opened in 1909 in Vienna, Austria. In 1919, milk banks opened in Boston and Germany. Today, the Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA) is a non-profit that is sets the standards and guidelines for milk banks in Canada, Mexico and the U.S. It was founded in 1985. There are currently 11 milk banks that distribute the milk to hospitals, and babies who are home and need breast milk. Sometimes they are even able to help babies who have been adopted.
The milk banks screen donors and carefully process and pasteurize the milk. If you’re interested in becoming a donor, contact the milk bank closest to you.
In addition to the milk banks that are affiliated with the HMBANA, there is now also a company called Prolacta. This for profit operation is also collecting breast milk and selling it to hospitals.
Prolacta recently announced a deal with the University of Minnesota Medical Center to collect milk. Like the milk banks of HMBANA, Prolacta then sells the milk back to hospitals. Only it charges a lot more. This recently caught the attention of some of my fellow breast feeding bloggers. To read The Lactivist’s take on Prolacta, click here.
Prolacta is also a sponsor of an organization called The International Breast Milk Project that collects milk and sends it to children in Africa who are orphans because their parents had HIV. Here’s a news story about donations to children in South Africa.
Whatever your take on Prolacta, I think the main thing to focus on here is that there are moms out there whose generosity is helping improve the lives of babies who need help. Think about how tiring it is to feed and care for your own children. Now consider that these donors are also taking the time to pump milk to help babies that they’ll never meet.
Breast milk donors, we applaud you!

Breast Feeding and Sleep

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Sleep, oh, sleep, where for art thou, sleep?
The Bear is now 7.5 months and has decided that in the middle of the night he wants to party. We had a few good months– months 3, 4 and 5– where he slept through the night. From 6 pm to 6 am he dozed away, uninterrupted. It was sheer bliss. But then, sometime this past summer, he fell off the wagon. Now, he won’t go back to sleep unless I breast feed him. He’s up at least once during the night. Sometimes twice. I’ve been trying to do the Ferber sleep training thing, but it’s not working yet.
I know there are many different approaches to teaching your kids to sleep. I’ve bought the books. I’ve asked the pediatrician and friends for advice. Still nothing is working yet. As The Bortski would say, “Help, Please, Help!”
Any and all advice is welcome. Or if you don’t have any specific recommendations, simply tell your tales of sleepless nights. This might not be Shakespearian, but I’m sure it will make for good reading. Misery loves company, right?

Breast Feeding Icon– You Can Vote

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We all recognize certain international symbols. There’s no mistaking the men’s and ladies’ room. We know what a handicapped sign looks like. And of course there’s the no smoking logo.
Now the folks at Mothering magazine think it’s time for an international breastfeeding icon that could indicate a place that is breast feeding friendly. Mothering says, ” Ideally, the space would be private, quiet, with a comfortable chair and an electrical outlet for pumping.” The icon could be used in offices, restaurants, airports, malls, libraries, parks. You get the idea.
Apparently examples of breast feedind icons have been spotted in Canda and Singapore. But Mothering thought it best to create a new logo altogether. The magazine has been holding a contest to design the logo and they’ve narrowed the choices to three finalists. They’ll make the winning image available worldwide (copyright-free, as a public domain image).
So check out some of the other entries that are no longer in the running.
And while you’re at it…Vote for your favorite of the three finalists.

Bottle Versus Breast

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A couple of weeks ago I got a call from a reporter, Mackenzie Carpenter, at the Pittsburgh Post Gazette. She was working on a piece about the “politics” of breast feeding and bottle feeding. It was pretty cool to get her call. As a former reporter, however, I was agonizingly aware of every word I uttered during our conversation. This was the first time I was ever interviewed, and I wasn’t ready for it.
I asked Mackenzie to go easy on me, and she reassured that I shouldn’t worry. Today I got an email from her telling me the piece ran in yesterday’s paper, but that unfortunately my quotes got cut by her editor. Oh well.
Anyway, the story’s headline pretty much sums up the piece– “Bottle vs. Breastfeeding: Cultural Confusion Engulfs Moms No Matter Which Method is Used.” The basic idea is that moms face societal and personal challenges whether they breast feed or bottle feed.
Here’s my take on it. As moms, we question our child rearing choices all the time. Is the baby getting enough to eat? Am I reading enough to the baby? Does he have the right toys? Should he have a play date or is it ok to just be around his older brother? Bottom line, it’s all too easy to feel guilty about the choices you make, and I think breast feeding and bottle feeding are simply an easy flash point for all of that parental guilt to come to a head.
I’m not sure I said anything remotely like that when Mackenzie interviewed me. In fact, when we spoke I was so tired, and so busy breast feeding The Bear to keep him from crying, that I can hardly recall anything I said.
In any case, it was fun to talk to her on the phone. Hopefully, I’ll be a bit more mentally prepared for the next time the phone rings!