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.



Massachusetts State Legislature Passes Breastfeeding Bill

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I’m in Boston right now, excited to see that today, the MA State Legislature passed a bill that would protect a mom’s right to breastfeed in public. It’s now up to the Governor to sign it into action. To see what the law is in your state, click here.
And here’s the article from Boston.com:
Mothers who want to breastfeed their children in public would get legal protection under a bill that received final approval from the Legislature today.
The bill, “An Act to Promote Breastfeeding,” is headed to the governor’s desk after being enacted by the Senate, said Senator Susan Fargo, the Lincoln Democrat who championed the bill.
Currently, women who breastfeed their children in public could be prosecuted for indecent exposure or lewd conduct. If convicted, they could even be forced to register as sex offenders, Fargo said. The legislation authorizes breastfeeding in public places and makes it clear it is not illegal.
Massachusetts has been one of three states in the nation without such a law on the books.
“For something that’s so healthy and so natural and supported by so many health groups, it just makes so much sense” to pass the protections for breastfeeding, Fargo said.
“No longer will mothers be forced to feed their children in the restroom of a restaurant or mall. … Women who nurse should not be treated as second-class citizens,” Representative David P. Linsky, a Framingham Democrat who pushed for the bill in the House, said in a statement.
Proponents say breastfeeding is healthier for kids and thus reduces healthcare costs.
The bill now heads to Governor Deval Patrick’s desk. Fargo said she was confident he would sign it. No one answered the telephone this afternoon at the governor’s press office.

And now… I’m signing off. Happy New Year everyone.

CBS Early Show and The Facebook Breastfeeding Story

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Of course I had insomnia last night… and I NEVER have a problem sleeping. And I somehow managed to drop and crack my hair dryer this morning… but I made it to the CBS Early Show studio on time. It’s amazing how easy it is to get around Manhattan at 6:45 a.m.
If you were fortunate enough to be asleep at 7:40, here’s what you missed. The show did a story about the online protest of Facebook’s decision to ban some breastfeeding photos from the site. As of today, more than 95,000 people have joined the group “Hey Facebook, Breastfeeding is Not Obscene.” And during the virtual nurse in on December 27th, roughly 11,000 people put breastfeeding pictures on their Facebook pages. According to the protest organizers, the Mothers’ International Lactation Campaign (M.I.L.C.), Facebook is still pulling down some pictures. Here’s a link to those pics. And here’s the video from this morning’s show:

Watch CBS Videos Online
Facebook is clearly trying to have it both ways here. The site says it won’t take down all breastfeeding photos, just the ones that users complain about and that show a visible nipple. Does Facebook really want to put itself in this policing position?
A fun footnote to the day… I was on with media guru Jeff Jarvis who runs the blog Buzz Machine. (Waiting to see if he posts anything on this). He has a new book out called “What Would Google Do.” Today, maybe Facebook is asking itself the question, “What should we have done?”

Watch The CBS Early Show on Wednesday Morning

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I’m on my way back to NYC right now, getting ready to be on the CBS Early Show tomorrow morning. I’ll be talking about the Facebook breastfeeding photo controversy.
The segment is supposed to be on around 7:40 am. But things could change. So stay tuned, and leave a comment here if you have a thought you’d like me to share.

Thoughts on the Facebook Nurse In

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This is a post I’ve written for the NYC Moms Blog. It should appear on that site shortly.
I love Facebook. It helps me stay in touch with friends and find people I haven’t spoken to in years. It gives me a platform to promote my book and share my thoughts. And most importantly, it provides an unrivaled distraction and procrastination technique when I’m working.
But lately, Facebook has let me down. From what I understand, the site is removing breastfeeding photos that some moms want to put on their pages. And so, these moms are getting together for a cyber “nurse in.” They’re protesting Facebook’s policy on December 27th by changing their profile pictures to breastfeeding pictures. Some plan to even gather outside the Palo Alto offices.
Despite my general appreciation for all things Facebook, I changed my profile picture. And my husband did, too. We put up an illustration of a nursing mom. (The one photo we have of me nursing seems to be lost in the digital universe of my computer).
I think Facebook is missing a big opportunity here. Moms love to share pictures of their kids, and sometimes, that includes nursing photographs. And why not? Remember, humans are mammals. We breastfeed. It’s how we survived long before formula was invented. And so, we breastfeed at home and even in public. In fact, our right to breastfeed in public is protected by law in most states.
So what’s the big deal? Apparently Facebook is concerned about some photos, but not all. Here’s a statement Facebook gave to the New York Times.
Breastfeeding is a natural and beautiful act and we’re very glad to know that it is so important to some mothers to share this experience with others on Facebook. We take no action on the vast majority of breastfeeding photos because they follow the site’s Terms of Use. Photos containing a fully exposed breast do violate those Terms and may be removed. These policies are designed to ensure Facebook remains a safe, secure and trusted environment for all users, including the many children (over the age of 13) who use the site. The photos we act upon are almost exclusively brought to our attention by other users who complain.
It will be interesting to see if something changes as a result of the efforts of this group, the Mothers International Lactation Campaign. (Type either this phrase, or M.I.L.C. into the search bar on Facebook if you want to find it). Maybe it will. Maybe it won’t. Either way, this event has people talking about breastfeeding. And that, certainly, is a positive thing. Photos or no photos.
(As the day goes on, leave a comment here with a link to any news story you might find on this topic. Thanks!)

A Breastfeeding Holiday Poem

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Two years ago, when I was still breastfeeding, I wrote a poem for the holidays. Never mind that we’re a Chanukah family… I still felt inspired by the spirit of the season to do a parody of the poem A Visit From St. Nicholas. So, here it is, 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

Cirque du Soleil

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We had the good fortune (I won the tickets!!) to see an amazing show last weekend…we took the kids to see Cirque du Soleil’s production of Wintuk in New York City. I wrote a post about it on New York City Moms’s Blog. Click here to read the post.

Books on My Desk Right Now

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Here’s what I’m reading, or planning to read:
Crafty Mama by my friend Abby Pecoriello. The subtitle says it all: “49 Fast, Fabulous, Foolproof (Baby & Toddler) Projects.” The only problem for me… I’m not crafty AT ALL.
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Pregatinis: Mixology for the Mom-to-Be, by Natalie Bovis-Nelson. I had the great fortune to meet Natalie at a cocktail party for method that she bartended. She makes an amazing mojito. And the drinks in the this book look so good I’m going to give them a shot, even though I’m not planning on getting “preggatini.”
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The No-Cry Nap Solution by Elizabeth Pantley. This one is from the bestselling author of “The No-Cry Sleep Solution.” We’re having some issues right now with our 2 year old who has developed a strong aversion to naps. So this one is kinda relevant.
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A breastfeeding book of course… “Mommy’s Little Breastfeeding Book: 101 Tips Your Baby Wants You To Know About Nursing” by Michele Leigh Carnesecca. This book is amazing. It has all the main things a new mom needs to know about nursing. It’s presented as bullet points. Easy to read. Practical. A big thumbs up!
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And finally, Are You Chanukah or Christmas? by another friend, Felicia Miller-Stehr. This picture book helps young kids, ages 2 to 7, understand the true meaning behind the season’s holidays.
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Breast Milk and Environmental Chemicals

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And one final blog post for a snugly Saturday night when it’s too cold to do anything and all of your babysitters are on vacation…
There’s a new study that found that despite the presence of some environmental chemicals, breast milk is still better than formula for babies. Here’s a link to the study in the journal Breastfeeding Medicine. From the study:
The essential conclusion for healthcare providers and new parents is that in studies of breastfed versus formula-fed infants across time, including times when levels of environmental chemicals such as dioxins were higher, beneficial effects associated with breast-feeding have been found.
And from a story in The New York Times:

Researchers reviewed data from three studies, among them a Dutch study of 418 infants and mothers, half of whom breast-fed and half of whom used formula; a smaller Dutch study of 38 mothers that assessed the impact of different levels of dioxin exposure; and a German study of 232 mothers and babies who had been exposed to dioxin before birth.
The studies noted minor differences among the exposed babies, such as higher levels of thyroid hormones and lower blood platelet counts, compared to infants who were not exposed to dioxins. But the researchers said these differences did not appear to have any impact on the children’s health and development, and they emphasized that the measures were not abnormal.
At the same time, breast-fed babies scored significantly higher than formula-fed babies on tests of mental development when they were seven months old and again at 18 months, according to the Dutch study.

Actress Kelly Rutherford and Breastfeeding

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Here’s a story about the Gossip Girl star Kelly Rutherford…. apparently she’s breastfeeding her toddler.
Personally, I had no idea who she is. I don’t watch Gossip Girls. And when I saw her picture I confused her with another actress who is in Lost. But that’s not so relevant.
Bottom line… it’s great to see a celebrity talking about extended breastfeeding in The New York Daily News:

Rutherford, 40, whose second child with hubby Daniel Giersch is due this summer, decided to keep breastfeeding for as long as possible after being inspired by the doula who cared for her when her son Hermes was an infant.
“She had breastfed her children anywhere from two to four years of age and let them naturally wean themselves,” Rutherford says. “All of her kids are super strong, healthy smart kids. So I just decided, well, I will try it and just see how it goes.”
Rutherford travels frequently and says breastfeeding her two-year-old makes a lot of sense when she takes him along, since he hasn’t been prone to any earaches while airborne.

Facebook Nurse In Update

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Another update: In addition to the virtual nurse in on Facebook, there is an actual nurse in at the Facebook offices in Palo Alto, CA.
Time: Saturday, Dec. 27th at 11:00 am to 2:00 pm
Place: 156 University Ave, Palo Alto, CA

An update… as you may have read here, some moms are planning a December 27th “nurse in” on Facebook. This is to protest apparent Facebook’s practice of removing some pictures of women breastfeeding.
Here’s a story from the New York Times, with a comment from Facebook management:
…Facebook spokesman Barry Schnitt at about 4:30 EST today:
Breastfeeding is a natural and beautiful act and we’re very glad to know that it is so important to some mothers to share this experience with others on Facebook. We take no action on the vast majority of breastfeeding photos because they follow the site’s Terms of Use. Photos containing a fully exposed breast do violate those Terms and may be removed. These policies are designed to ensure Facebook remains a safe, secure and trusted environment for all users, including the many children (over the age of 13) who use the site. The photos we act upon are almost exclusively brought to our attention by other users who complain.