Mama Knows Breast

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Join Our Breast Feeding Carnival

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It’s that time of month again…no, not that time…when The Booby Brigade is starting to think about our blogging carnival. Remember, once a month, four other bloggers and I are banding together to bring you our thoughts on a given topic or idea. For January, we’re writing our New Year’s Resolutions. And once again, we’re calling on other bloggers to join in.
We now have a couple of carnivals under our belt. In Home for The Holidays, I wrote a parody of the poem “‘Twas The Night Before Christmas.” And in Gifts For the Breastfeeding Mother, I wrote and ode to my DVR. So now that we’re getting the hang of this, we’ve got a few guidelines:
Submissions are due, by email, on December 23rd.
Entries should be on the topic “My Parenting Resolutions for 2007.”
Entries do not have to be about breastfeeding. But they should be well-written– grammar counts!
If you’re accepted (we vote), you have to link to the other members of the Booby Brigade as part of your post: Breastfeeding123, The Lactivist, The Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog and The BreastfeedingMums Blog.
The Carnival will be on January 1st.
And by the way, I still haven’t had “that time of the month” yet since I’m breastfeeding. Add that to the list of reasons to breast feed!

Breast Feeding Video

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Things have been a little serious around Mama Knows Breast lately. So it’s time to lighten up. Here’s my YouBoob video of the week, courtesy, once again of YouTube.
This is one kid who knows what he wants, and he’s not shy about trying to get it!
Anybody out there have a video of their own they’d like to share? If so, let’s try an experiment. Upload it to YouTube and then send me an email letting me know it’s there.
Personally, all of the videos we’ve shot are sitting in a box in my desk. I don’t have the patience to figure out how to transfer the video to our desktop. It’s not like I used to work in television or anything.

Breastfeeding Bill of Rights For New York?

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Update on December 11, 2006: I just got an email from State Senator Liz Krueger, saying she found this post on my blog. She wrote, “I wanted to thank you for helping spread the word.”
I’ve breastfed The Bear all over New York City. We’ve done it in Central Park, playgrounds and restaurants. Today alone, I breastfed in a coffee shop, during a kiddie music class and at a preschool meeting. In general, I’m shy. But with breastfeeding, I just don’t care. If The Bear is hungry, I’m not going to make him wait.
So I’m fortunate that New York has a law that allows a mom to breastfeed in any public or private location. But according to State Senator Liz Krueger, it’s time for New York to take things one step further. (Thanks to Tanya of The Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog for pointing this one out). Krueger has introduced a bill she’s calling the Breastfeeding Mothers’ Bill of Rights.
The Press Release outlines these objectives:
Before You Deliver: The right to information free from commercial interests, which provides the nutritional, medical and psychological benefits of breastfeeding; An explanation of some of the problems a mother may encounter, and how to avoid or solve them.
In the Maternal Healthcare Facility: The mothers’ right for her baby to stay with her after delivery to facilitate beginning breastfeeding immediately; to insist the baby not receive bottle feeding; to be informed about and refuse any drugs that may dry up breast milk; 24 hour access to the baby with the right to breastfeed at any time.
When You Leave the Maternal Healthcare Facility: The right to refuse any gifts or take-home packets, distributed by the maternal healthcare facility, that contain commercial advertising or product samples; access to breastfeeding resources in one’s community.

Sounds like a good idea if you ask me. When The Bear was born in a New York City hospital, I had a strange experience the second night we were there. The nurse wouldn’t let me take him out of the nursery because he had been having a spitting up problem and they wanted to keep an eye on him. I was fortunate that they were exceptionally vigilant, but I also felt compelled to feed him after a certain number of hours had passed. I asked the nurse if I could sit in the nursery to feed and she said that wasn’t possible. I don’t remember the reason she gave. I waddled back to my room, determined to make a stink if they didn’t let me have him within the hour.
Quite honestly, I wish I could remember how this situation resolved itself. Chalk it up to post-partum fuzz. I think I eventually demanded that they let me have him. I knew it was important to keep feeding him regularly, and I was confident (second child) that I would be able to rush him back if there was a real problem.
Krueger’s bill could have helped in this area since it would require “24 hour access to the baby with the right to breastfeed at any time.” But let’s be real, the burden would still fall on moms to speak up. That’s what we as moms do after all. We advocate for our kids. It’s a life long enterprise. And it starts on day one.
Nevertheless, if you live in New York, let Senator Krueger know that you support her. Give her office a call.

Massachusetts Moms– Call Today to Help Pass Breastfeeding Law

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Did you know that Massachusetts is one of only 5 states that doesn’t have a breastfeeding law to protect moms and babies? In fact, moms have no legal protection if they want to breastfeed in public in Massachusetts.
There is a bill that could change that, but it’s stuck in a committee right now. Tanya at The Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog has a great explanation of what’s going on in the Commonwealth, my home state. She writes:
The Massachusetts Breastfeeding Coalition is urging calls to the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, especially today (Thursday, 12/7). SB 2704 is stalled in this committee, and the bill is encountering opposition from restaurant owners. They are urging calls to Chairman DeLeo of the House Ways and Means Committee at 617-722-2990. I just called, and it was quick and easy! You can find talking points here.
Unfortunately I don’t live in Beantown anymore, so my call won’t count. But yours could help. Click on Tanya’s post for more information. And help make Massachusetts the progressive state that it claims to be.

Which Breast Pump Do You Use?

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When The Bortski was a baby, I pumped milk all the time. I pumped so I could go out to dinner with my husband. I pumped so I could do some freelance work. I pumped so I could go skiing for a couple of hours. The Medela Pump In Style was my best friend. Sort of.
When baby number two, The Bear, was born eight months ago, I pulled my breast pump out of the closet and pumped to relieve engorgement. But now, that pump is back in the closet next to my husband’s shoes. It is literally gathering dust. I have used a hand pump (the Medela Harmony) a few times. I even stuck it in my purse once and took it to a black tie wedding. But even that pump isn’t getting much use lately.
Why have I abondoned pumping? I’m not quite sure. Perhaps because The Bear sleeps solidly between 6 pm and 11pm, so there’s little risk he’ll wake up hungry and torture a babysitter if we went out. Perhaps I don’t pump because I’m working from home. Or maybe I’m just too lazy.
So why the ramblings about my pumps? Another blogger, The bOOb Lady’s Blog, has asked me for suggestions of the best pumps. So I turn to all of you. Which ones do you use? Which do you love? Which do you hate? What’s the best bang for the buck? And while you’re at it, anyone have any good pumping stories to share?
Meanwhile…I have to say, in a weird way it’s a blessing I haven’t been pumping and stockpiling frozen milk. Our refrigerator is not working well, and I would be absolutely beside myself if I had to throw out pumped milk. But the refrigerator…man, don’t get me started. That’s another story altogether.

Tragic End– Missing Man Found Dead

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Authorities have found the body of James Kim, the San Francisco man who got lost with his family during a snow storm in Oregon. Kim’s wife, Kati, and their two daughters survived. Kati breastfed the four year old and the seven month old when they ran out of food. They were found Monday in their car. James had left the car on foot, hoping to find help for his wife and kids.
Kim was a senior editor at CNET. This is a website set up by the Kim family.

Lost Mom Saves Her Kids By Breastfeeding

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This is a truly remarkable story.
A San Francisco family was stranded in the snowy Oregon wilderness for nine days, and the mom kept her kids alive by breastfeeding them. The four year old and seven month old are doing well now. The San Francisco Chronicle has details of their trip and how they got lost. ABC News has a piece on how breast milk kept the kids alive.
Unfortunately, the father is still missing. He left his wife and kids to try to get help.

Very Funny T-Shirts

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Here are some t-shirt slogans for you:
“I’m No Weaner”
“I suck”
“ain’t yet quit the tit”
Want to buy one of these shirts, or another like it? Then head over to The Lactivist. For every t-shirt that you buy this month, Jennifer is donating 100% of the proceeds to the milk bank in her home state of Ohio. And that money is sorely needed. According to Jennifer’s current post:
One of the great things about the HMBANA milk banks is the fact that they are non-profit. They charge ONLY enough money to cover the processing and storage costs for the milk. While insurance often covers the cost of the milk, some insurance companies refuse to pay. In other situations, the parents of the baby simply don’t have insurance. Since HMBANA milk banks are committed to providing that milk for any baby that medically needs it, that means that they sometimes send out milk that they will never be reimbursed for. In fact, the average milk bank never receives payment for 15-20% of the milk that they ship. Here in Columbus, that percentage if even higher. Add in the fact that the milk bank is barely two years old (and thus hasn’t yet recouped enough costs to pay for all their equipment) and you’ve got a milk bank that’s really struggling to the point that every single dollar of donations REALLY counts.
So buy someone a funny holiday gift. You’ll all get a good laugh out of it, and help a worthy cause at the same time.

Gifts for The Breastfeeding Mother

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Welcome to the second Breastfeeding Carnival. For those of you just tuning in, once a month four other bloggers and I join together to post on a specific theme. Last month, in time for Thanksgiving, we did Home for the Holidays. This time, we bring you Gifts for the Breastfeeding Mother.
Jennifer at The Lactivist has a list of some goodies we all may want.
Angela at Breastfeeding123 has tips for buying cost-effective gifts.
Tanya at The Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog has a lactation consultant’s take on all of this.
Sinead at BreastfeedingMums Blog has her personal wish list; at the top is a full night’s sleep!
We also have some thoughts from two visiting bloggers: I Don’t Know and Momma’s Angel.
As for yours truly, I’ve composed an ode to my digital video recorder. So read on…
I Want My DVR
I want my, I want my, I want my D-V-R…
That is my anthem for the breast feeding mom. For the holidays, there is nothing a breast feeding mom (or any new mom, for that matter) needs more than a Digital Video Recorder. Yes, that’s right, I’m advocating melting your brain while you breast feed. Breast feeding is your license to sit down, kick back, and watch some television in the middle of the day. And with a DVR, you can watch whatever you want, whenever you want.
Dire Straits must have been on to something way back in 1989 when they wrote “Money For Nothing“– a/k/a– “I Want My MTV.” And if the band was around today, I’m certain the lyrics would have been “I Want My D-V-R.” If you weren’t old enough to watch MTV back then, here’s the video from YouTube.
Before our kids were born, I never would have watched TV at 3:00 in the afternoon. First of all, I would have been at work. And if it was the weekend, I would have been doing something more “productive.” The guilt would have been too great. But as a mom, I’ve realized breast feeding is as productive as it gets. Plus, you can’t really send emails or cook dinner while breast feeding (at least most of us can’t) so you might as well relax.
I first discovered the beauty of the DVR when I was pregnant and on bed rest for two months with The Bortski (our now 2 year old). I had resisted the notion of TIVO for months, arguing that it was a waste of money. But then, my husband went ahead and got it anyway. Once it was installed, I begrudgingly admitted that it was pretty cool.
I quickly developed a Sex And The City-Miranda-like obsession with the TIVO. Remember how upset she got when her cleaning lady accidentally deleted her favorite program? Ironically enough, during that pregnancy I watched, thanks to TIVO, every single episode of Sex and The City. I was also really into Arliss, the tale of an uptight sports agent.
Once The Bortski was born, I fell under the spell of Monk, the obsessive compulsive detective with an uncanny ability to solve crimes. And Monk-like, I realized the true benefit of the DVR– I could religiously watch the show without missing a single episode or scene. I could breast feed while watching 20 minutes of the program. Stop. Change a diaper. Go for a walk. Do some work. And when I came back the next day, for another feeding, the show was right there, ready to pick up where I had left off.
As an aside, I have to admit that TIVO and I did have some rough days. For a while, I didn’t have the patience to figure out how to program shows. To top it off, our universal remote sometimes gave me fits. Remember, when I was a kid we had to manually change the channel; there were about 6 channels to choose from, and some stations even went to bars and tone at night. So, a note to gift-givers– please, answer your cell phone in the middle of the day when Mama calls asking you how to turn on the TV.
Now, back the the regularly scheduled program…
When we moved from Boston to New York, and I was pregnant once again with The Bear (our 8 month old), we had to live in a temporary apartment. Our stuff was in storage and we were without our TIVO. Oh, did I suffer withdrawal. If I missed an episode of LOST, it was lost and gone forever. If I had to pee (which we all know was quite often) I couldn’t pause the show. I had to go fast. But if I didn’t have to pee, I actually had to watch the commercials. I kept pressing the remote, hoping I could pause or fast forward the program. The reflex was that ingrained.
Lo and behold, when we finally moved into a permanent apartment, and I was still pregnant, we suffered another TV calamity. The TIVO was broken. Somewhere along the way it had gone on strike. Fortunately, we were able to replace the TIVO with a DVR that was built into our cable box. Back in business.
Since the fall television season started, I’ve got my new list of favorites: How I Met Your Mother (my husband thinks I’m a mix of Lily and Robin); Desperate Housewives (unrealistic, but who cares); 30 Rock (love Alec Baldwin as the meddling boss); Studio 60 (hope the network holds onto this one); Six Degrees (hope the network brings it back soon) and Walking the Bible (an author’s journey to locate key places in the Bible). Boy do I watch a lot of TV! Sorry mom.
All of this brings me to another television item which is a great gift for the breast feeding mom– a premium cable channel. If you pay for HBO, you can watch some of the most creative shows on television. I’ve been hooked, at various times, on Big Love (fascinating characters), Entourage (the guys’ Sex and the City), Curb Your Enthusiasm (how can she be married to that guy?) and The Comeback (almost too painful to watch). Plus, if you get HBO, you’ll also have HBO on Demand which gives you a whole bunch of movies to watch at your leisure…. No, they are not paying me to write this.
Today, The Bear has been less than pleased with my television watching habits. I used to be able to put the TV on mute, and read the captions without distracting him from his meals. But now, when I breast feed, the flashing lights catch his attention and he pops off the boob and cranes his head to see what’s going on. I think my days with the DVR are numbered.
But even if that’s the case, the DVR is already serving another purpose. It’s the perfect babysitter at 6:00 am when The Bortski wants to watch Dora, again and again and again.
Come to think of it, where is that remote?! “Bortski?!?!?!?”

Dallas Nurse In A Success

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They came, they saw, they nursed!
Twenty-seven adults and twenty-nine kids (according to organizers) met at the Dallas/Fort Worth airport for their nurse-in. This time, the police let them stay. That’s Texas justice for you!
The Mommy Blawg has a fantastic description of the events at DFW including a power outage in the middle of the whole thing. She also had this insightful commentary:
Then it struck me. For every Emily Gillette who is strong enough and educated enough to stand up for her rights – get a lawyer and file a complaint, know the right people to contact to inspire over 700 people in 40 cities to show up at their local airports two days before Thanksgiving garnering national and international media coverage – there are countless others who are intimidated, harassed, or embarrassed, and do nothing. Worse, think of the mothers who never breastfeed because they are daunted by the thought of nursing in public and want to have a life. Think of the babies whose hunger cries are ignored because they come at an “inconvenient” time or place, impairing the nursing relationship and reducing their mom’s milk supply.
Modesty, or “discretion”, is a red herring. I see women and girls all the time dressed immodestly. I would love to ask a woman with a lace thong peeking out of her ultra-low-cut jeans to just wrap a sweater around her waist. I don’t want to see that, and I don’t want my husband or young boys to see it either. What would be so hard about covering up a little? But I don’t, because she is free to dress how she wants, and so am I. We invaded Afghanistan to defeat the Taliban (and their oppressive treatment of women), but some misinformed people here at home still try to dictate what a mother and baby can do in public.
This battle is about raising awareness of the law. Until policemen, flight attendants, restaurant managers, store owners, movie theater ushers, and last but not least the mothers themselves know that a baby has the right to breastfeed anytime, anywhere, and its mother is not legally required to be “discreet”, the Nurse-in will continue to be used until society as a whole, “gets it”.