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Breastfeeding and Working

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Here’s my latest post on the giggle GAB blog.  It’s about how to continue breastfeeding when you have to go back to work.  Here’s an excerpt:

First of all, being pregnant is work. Giving birth is work.  And raising kids is work. You may not get paid for it, but it does require physical and mental exertion and long hours.

Now that we got that out there, let’s put it aside and focus on what happens when you’ve got to get back to the office. How are you going to handle those meetings, conference calls and work trips while continuing to breastfeed?  With multi-tasking of course. Spend your maternity leave establishing a good breastfeeding routine. Feed your baby on demand, whenever she shows signs of hunger. Make sure she’s latching on well for each feeding and gaining weight. And if you are having any discomfort or problems, get help as soon as possible from a lactation consultant. It will be harder to take the time to get advice once you’ve gone back to the office…

For the rest of the blog post, continue reading here at the giggle GAB site.


Moms Donate Breast Milk to Breast Cancer Survivor’s Newborn

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This is an amazing story from Brooklyn, New York.  A group of moms is donating breast milk to a new mom who can’t breastfeed her newborn because she had a double mastectomy.  Here’s an excerpt from the New York Daily News:

A 40-year-old cancer survivor is collecting breast milk from dozens of her Brooklyn neighbors to help feed her 3-week-old son.

Eva van Dok Pinkley can’t nurse Oliver herself because of a double mastectomy. Twenty-five women have already stepped up, pumping milk and donating it to the Carroll Gardens mom.

“What they are doing, it’s not easy to do,” Pinkley said. “I’m just stunned at the amount of trouble that they are going through for me. I think of them and what they have done and give thanks.”

The actress and researcher for “House Beautiful” magazine has endured multiple miscarriages and two rounds of failed fertility treatments. By the time she was diagnosed in April 2010 with noninvasive breast cancer, she had given up on having children of her own.

But a mere two months after her double-mastectomy, she got pregnant. Pinkley knew right away that if she carried the baby to full term, she wanted to use breast milk. She just hadn’t figured out how…

IRS Says Breastpumps are Tax Deductible

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Now here’s some good news from the IRS! Not something you’d expect every day… breast pump expenses are now tax deductible. From the Washington Post:

The ruling, long sought by advocates, means that women will be able to use money set aside in pretax spending accounts to buy the pumps and related equipment, which can cost several hundred dollars. For women without flexible spending accounts, the cost of pumps will be tax deductible if their total medical costs exceed 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income.

Previously, the IRS considered breast pumps to be feeding equipment, not medical devices. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics argued that breastfeeding has many medical benefits for both mother and baby. Advocates hope that making breast pumps more affordable will enable more women to breastfeed longer.

Lactation Rooms on Capitol Hill

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The New York Times has a cool story today about the lactation rooms for people who work in Congress.

There are four lactation suites throughout the Hill — two in House office buildings, one that is undergoing renovation in a Senate office building and one in the Capitol itself — along with several health stations. All are clean, private areas where mothers can nurse their babies and pump their milk. They are also one of the few truly bipartisan spaces left on the Hill, neutral zones amid partisan warfare.

“I definitely got to know Republicans who I wouldn’t have otherwise known,” Ms. Walsh said. “Especially with all of the limitations on travel and trips and everything like that these days, there’s not a lot of camaraderie up there, there’s not a lot of room to meet people on the other side of the aisle.

“You all have something very significant in your life in common,” she said, “and you can all relate to each other and sympathize” about the difficulties of motherhood.

The first suite specifically for lactating mothers on the Hill was opened in the fall of 2006, by Congress’s Office of the Attending Physician. But after taking up the gavel in 2007, Nancy Pelosi, the first female House speaker, was instrumental in making that chamber what she called “family-friendly for new mothers.” She opened the first nursing-only rooms on the House side, and others soon sprang up.

“It is good for our country — more young moms in Congress, pretty soon more women leaders in Congress,” Ms. Pelosi said at a news conference in 2009. “And, who knows, maybe one of these new young moms will be the president of the United States.”

The rooms, which can be entered only through doors with electronic locks, are similar to those in many large corporations, with hospital-grade breast pumps, comfortable chairs and couches, a sink and a mini-refrigerator. There are also a smattering of magazines, telephones and a television often used for watching floor votes — this is Congress, after all.

Besides bottles filled with mothers’ milk, they have also yielded unexpected job opportunities, moments of quiet reflection amid the bustle of Congress and some unlikely friendships.