Mama Knows Breast

Andi in the news

Watch Andi on the CBS Early Show: Click here.

Watch Andi on The NBC NIGHTLY NEWS: Click here.

Watch Andi on THE TODAY SHOW: Click here.

Help Me Finish My Book

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For months my book has been “gestating” and now it’s time to deliver this baby. We are in labor over here. Yesterday I met my editor. She came from her office at Quirk Books in Philadelphia and invited me to a book party for The Handbook of Style. It was at chic salon in SOHO– thankfully I got my hair colored a couple of days ago.
But I digress. The point of the visit was to go over my manuscript. And now, I have two weeks to turn in the next draft. So, as I type, I’m staring at a copy riddled with the editor’s questions– in all capital letters, highlighted in yellow. As I’m going through the edits, I’m going to post questions here from time to time. So let’s get started…I’m looking for answers to the following questions:
What did it feel like when your milk “came in” the first few days after birth? What does it feel like now, when you feed your baby?
If you’ve used formula, how much would you estimate you’ve spent in one year?
What are the best things (the “pros”) about breast feeding?
What are the worst things (the “cons”) about breast feeding?
Has breastfeeding impacted your relationship with your spouse? How about your sex life?
If you had a c section, which breastfeeding position worked best for you after birth?
So, as The Bortski (now 28 months) has said on occasion, “HELP, PLEASE HELP.” I’d love to hear your comments. And watch here for more requests to come.

The Man’s Guide To Breast Feeding

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Breastfeeding is back in the news. This time, it’s the MSNBC website, that takes on the topic of public breast feeding. (Thanks to Louise for pointing me to these two articles).
The main article, “Food or Lewd? Breast-feeding Reveals Divide,” doesn’t tell us much of anything new. Yeah, yeah, we know public breastfeeding elicits a wide range of responses.
Even though health authorities have said for decades that breast is best for baby, American attitudes about nursing are still heatedly divided. In some cases, women who don’t or can’t breast-feed are made to feel like they’re bad mothers. And those who do breast-feed — and nurse in public — can be the targets of complaints and outrage. Men often don’t know what to do in the presence of a nursing mom and other women can be most critical of all. Why are we so conflicted? “Our society still doesn’t recognize the functional use of breasts,” says Karen Peters, executive director of the Breast Feeding Task Force of Greater Los Angeles. “It only recognizes the sexual aspect.”
This brings me to the second, and more interesting piece– “A guy’s guide to breast-feeding: Don’t be a boob.” The subtitle gets right to the point– “To look or not to look? How men should act around a nursing mom.” The author writes:
…(D)epending on the situation, breast-feeding can make us uncomfortable, not because we are opposed in any way, but because we feel trapped. If, say, we were sitting at an airport gate waiting area, and the woman sitting across from us began breast-feeding, we wouldn’t be entirely sure what to do. If we pause for longer than an instant, we risk being accused of voyeurism, even if the sight of mother-baby bonding is simply making us feel warm and fuzzy inside. But if we make a show of NOT looking, we risk being accused of being disapproving…
Because breasts are dual-purpose machines, we men can have some trouble completely severing the link between boobs and sex and replacing it with boobs and nurturing babies. Expecting us to regard them as the teats of a lowland gorilla is like asking a seventh-grade boy not to look at Pamela Anderson.

So ladies (and gentleman, if there are any of you reading this) what advice do you have for men who might be a little ill at ease, or not sure how to react, if they see you feeding your baby? And please, be kind.

An Update on My Book “Mama Knows Breast”

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As you may have gathered from this site, I’m working on a book called “Mama Knows Breast: A Beginner’s Guide to Breastfeeding.” It’s a tongue in cheek, irreverent look at the life and styles of breastfeeding moms.
I got the idea to write the book when I realized– after 6 months of feeding The Bortski– that I knew more about his car seat and stroller than I did about my own boobs. I looked for a fun book about breastfeeding, and all I could find were some pretty serious, albeit useful, tomes. That was my “light bulb” moment.
So here’s a little update on the progress of the book in case (like me!) you’re wondering what’s going on. The book should be published by September. That’s the latest from my editor at Quirk Books. In fact, she’s coming to the city on Monday and we’re going to start whipping this thing into shape. I handed in a draft months ago and now it’s time to start revising.
I’m nervously waiting for her comments. You could say I’m a book virgin– never written one of these things before. So I have no idea what I’m in for.
As for some other first time authors, I went to a book party this week for the launch of Babyproofing Your Marriage. (My husband knows the husband of one of the three authors). Anyway, these ladies reached the holy grail of all writers this week– they were on the Today Show. I’m reading the book right now and I’ll bring you a review as part of the next Breastfeeding Blog Carnival on February 12. So far, it’s a good read– especially the chapter on sex.
And if you’re looking for another fun book, check out Haiku Mama which is published by Quirk Books. The author is the blogger Kari from Haiku of The Day.
So that’s the latest from book land, cross your fingers for me and my meeting with my editor.

Breast Feeding Links

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Here are some links I’ve found recently that I thought were interesting or amusing:
Babble has a beautiful essay this week called “Breast Friends.” The author describes her experience cross-nursing. She and a friend feed each other’s kids, making them “milk-siblings.”
Can men breastfeed? This short video, Milk Men, claims that they can. Watch and judge for yourself.
Breastfeeding Photos is a blog devoted to breastfeeding photographs. You can supposedly post your own but I haven’t figured out how to do it yet. Even if I could figure it out, I’m not sure I have anything even I want to look at.
Here are two more breastfeeding blogs: Adventures of a Breastfeeding Mother focuses on “breastfeeding, homebirth, mothering and attachment parenting.” Mocha Milk is written by Micky who describes herself as “A fierce brown-skinned mama on a mission to impact the health and wellness of the African-American community through breastfeeding awareness and support.”
And finally, the Celebrity Baby Blog has a post about an article in Us Weekly about breastfeeding celebrities.
Anyone want to add anything to my list? Sites you’ve recently found? Articles or blog entries worth mentioning. Send me your story ideas.

Consumer Reports Recalls Its Own Report On Infant Car Seats

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Consumer Reports has always been my Bible. I would never buy a car or a children’s product without first checking what CR has to say.
Well today, my faith in CR is shot. They’ve withdrawn the scathing story they published earlier this month about infant car seats. It seems there was a big mistake in the report. The report claimed CR tested the car seats at a certain speed, 38 m.p.h, when in fact it was closer to 70 m.p.h according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
CR is backpedaling furiously. If you try to find that original story on its site, it is gone. Gone. Completely gone. I wrote a post about the original report. And now, when I click on the links in that post that are supposed to take me to the study, I’m directed instead to today’s press release.
Here’s a quote from that orginal study:
Cars and car seats can’t be sold unless they can withstand a 30-mph frontal crash. But most cars are also tested in a 35-mph frontal crash and in a 38-mph side crash. Car seats aren’t.
When we crash-tested infant car seats at the higher speeds vehicles routinely withstand, most failed disastrously. The car seats twisted violently or flew off their bases, in one case hurling a test dummy 30 feet across the lab. Here are the details:
Of 12 infant seats we tested, only 2 performed well: the Baby Trend Flex-Loc and the Graco SnugRide with EPS.
Nine infant seats provided poor protection in some or all of our tests, even though they meet the federal safety standard. One seat, the Evenflo Discovery, didn’t even meet that standard. We urge federal officials to order a recall of that seat.

Here’s what CR is saying today:

Consumer Reports is withdrawing its recent report on infant car seats pending further tests of the performance of those seats in side-impact collisions.
A new report will be published with any necessary revisions as soon as possible after the new tests are complete.
We withdrew the report immediately upon discovering a substantive issue that may have affected the original test results. The issue came to light based on new information received Tuesday night and Wednesday morning from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) concerning the speed at which our side-impact tests were conducted.

For a minute now, let’s put aside the colossal error CR seems to have made and look at the bigger picture. If these seats were actually tested at 70 m.p.h, and they “failed disastrously,” then maybe the seats really are dangerous. Honestly, don’t most of us drive on highways from time to time? If so, we’re not going 38 m.p.h., that’s for sure.
In which case, maybe it’s NHTSA which should come under a bit of scrutiny here. According to the New York Times, NHTSA only requires car seats to pass a test at 30 m.p.h.
The federal government requires that the seats protect babies in front impacts of 30 m.p.h. The highway traffic safety agency said it was trying to develop a side-impact standard. It rates cars under a New Car Assessment Program, which it uses to award “stars” to each model, and those are done at 38 m.p.h. for side impact.
So, while I’m disappointed in Consumer Reports, I do think there may just be a kernel worth hanging on to in their report. Moms and dads, check out their original study, it’s worth considering.

Contests For Breast Feeding Moms

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Hey mommas…Here are a couple of things you may want to check out.
Motherwear clothing is running a contest to find the best breast feeding tips. You can send yours to the Motherwear blog for a chance to win a $25 gift certificate. The deadline is Friday the 19th.
Also…there’s a photography contest in advance of World BreastFeeding Week (August 1- 7). The deadline to submit your photos is March 15th. Click here for details on how to enter the contest.
And just a little advance warning…I’m going to be running a contest of my own coming soon. The winners will get some really cool baby products. Watch here for more details.

Breast Milk For Sale– Milk Banks, Wet Nurses and Casual Sharing

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The Washington Post has an excellent story today on the growing trend of alternative ways to feed your baby breast milk, even if you aren’t breastfeeding. The piece, “Banking on Milk: Options Are Growing for Women Who Can’t Breast-Feed,” covers all its bases– non-profit and for-profit milk banks, wet nursing and cross nursing.
Breast milk, touted by the government and even formula-makers as the best food for babies, is becoming a hot commodity. Ten nonprofit milk banks that match donors to those searching for milk are accredited members of the Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA). For-profit milk banks and wet nurses for hire are also available. Countless other private transactions go on, many facilitated by the Internet, creating a sisterhood among strangers. Some moms “cross-nurse” with babies of friends and relatives.
But the milk-sharing movement, still largely an underground network, brings up many questions. First, there is worry about the safety of unscreened milk, which can pass diseases such as HIV and syphilis to babies. Others debate ethical concerns, such as whether people should make money selling human milk and how such businesses should be regulated.

Best of all, Jennifer of The Lactivist is quoted in the article!

Will Ferrell Carries A Breast Pump to The Golden Globes, Maggie Gyllenhaal Nurses While Getting Ready for The Awards and Brooke Burke Breast Feeds

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Here’s the latest from LA…
Will Ferrell and his wife Viveca Paulin carried a breast pump (click here for excellent photo!)to the Golden Globe Awards last night. Maggie Gyllenhaal got her hair and makeup done for the Awards between nursing sessions. Plus Brooke Burke, co-host of Rock Star Supernova (love the show!), is breastfeeding her third child.
Pretty meaningless information in the grand scheme of life. So why do I bother to bring you these stories? Oh I don’t know…maybe I hope it will bring some new readers to this site. But that aside, it is nice to see people in the spotlight…or on the “red carpet”… talking about breast feeding.

The Terrible Twos

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Again, not a breast feeding story, but I can’t resist.
The Bortski pulled a fast one on me last night. He was supposed to be in bed asleep. I was doing the dishes. It’s been a struggle to get him to sleep. But he was quiet so I thought all was well. But then, I went in to check on him as I had promised, AND HE WASN’T IN HIS BED!
In fact, he wasn’t anywhere in his room. He wasn’t in the kitchen, living room or dining room. (Keep in mind we have a 2 bedroom apartment). That’s when I started to panic and shout his name. I turned on all the lights in his room. I went blazing into the bathrooms and our bedroom. STILL NO BORTSKI.
By way of background, I recently caught him trying to break out of the apartment. He was standing on the seat of his stroller and tinkering with the top bolt on the door. He said he wanted to run in the hallway. So, we have precedent here for exit attempts. And on this particular night, I realized I had forgotten to bolt the door.
I was about call the doorman and to tell him to scan the security cameras for a runaway two year old, when I heard a little squeak. Sure enough, there he was, hiding under the double stroller. He had kept quiet the whole time I was yelling for him.
If you’re on your first child, this is a glimpse of things you can look forward to. If you have an older kid, you know what I’m talking about. Certainly Loopie Chick does, since she finally had to turn to an ENT to get a walnut out of her son’s nose.
My advice…keep a good bottle of wine on hand. You never know when you’ll need it.

Read the rest of this entry »

Breast Feeding Bloggers’ Carnival For February

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Here we are again, planning our next blog carnival. Since you’ll aready find Valentine’s Day candy in the stores, The Booby Brigade has picked the theme “Baby Love” for February. So calling all bloggers, think about what that phrase means to you and send us your submissions.
Here are our guidelines:
Submissions are due, by email, on January 26th.
Entries should be on the topic “Baby Love.”
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 February 12th.
As for me, I’m going to go feed my chocolate craving with a bag of Hershey’s Kisses wrapped in silver and red foil.