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.

Dads and Breastfeeding

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If you’re easily offended, don’t watch this video. If, however, you want to see an irreverant take on breastfeeding, you’ll get a good chuckle out of this one from the guys at Dad

So there you have it, my addition to the February Breastfeeding Bloggers’ Carnival. To see what the other participants have to say, visit these sites:
* Tanya at the Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog has some book reviews.
* Stacie at The Twinkies has a joke for us.
* Sinead at Breastfeeding Mums has a story about a pumping multi-tasking disaster.
* Amy at Crunchy Domestic Goddess shares several, shall we say, “titbits.”
* Carol at Happy Sad Mama shares why she loves to nurse her toddler.
* Angela at Breastfeeding 1-2-3 has some search terms that lead readers to her site.

How To Make A Brisket And Get Your Kids To Eat

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I once ate an entire brisket. Of course it didn’t happen in one sitting. But slowly, over the course of four days, I polished off about 5 pounds of meat.
This wasn’t supposed to happen. The boys (ages 1 and 3) and my husband were supposed to pitch in. In fact, the meal was designed to get the boys to eat some real protein. They were going through their white period– bread, bananas, yogurt, noodles, oatmeal and some raisins for variety. Maybe an apple. Definitely nothing green.
I figured that perhaps I needed to get more creative. It was time to focus on giving them a good old fashioned meal. So here’s what I did. I called my grandmother and followed her directions:
1. Buy a big hunk of brisket (first cut) from Fairway.
2. Saute some onions and peppers (add salt and pepper) and line the bottom of a glass pan with the mixture.
3. Add in a big can of crushed tomatoes and a package of dried Lipton onion soup.
4. Put the brisket on top. Add in more peppers and onions (not cooked– but I don’t know why). Some garlic cloves go in too.
5. Add in small, pre-peeled potatoes.
6. Cook at 350 for about two hours.
7. Add in mini carrots.
8. Cook for another hour or more. (It’s not possible to over-cook a brisket). Periodically use a spoon to spread the sauce over the brisket.
9. Take the brisket out of the mix and cut it on a cutting board. Slice thinly, against the grain.
10. Add the slices back into the mix.
11. The result is an incredibly tender meat that tastes even better when you re-heat it and serve it on the second and third day.
Laboring all afternoon, I eagerly anticipated the oohs and ahhs as I put the meal on their plastic, disherwasher-safe plates. I envisioned them grabbing fistfuls of meat and smearing sauce on their cheeks. I thought I’d have to tell them to chew slowly as they smashed carrots and potatoes into their mouths.
Here’s what happened instead. The carrots ended up on the floor, the meat was untouched. “Please, stay in your seat,” I pleaded. “Here, just give this a little try. It’s delicious. No, you can’t have a cookie.” As I cleaned up the dinner debris, I ate what they left behind. This scenario replayed itself out at lunch and dinner for the next few days, and my husband was only home for one dinner. Hence, my brisket gluttony.
There were many times, when the boys were babies, that I worried about whether or not they were eating enough. Even in the early days of breastfeeding, I looked forward to doctor visits to see if they had gained weight. That sense of bewilderment is probably what motivated me to write my book in the first place. And despite my concerns, I do know that the kiddies are on track. At nearly 40 and 30 pounds respectively, pushing them in the double stroller is a serious work-out. Who needs the gym? Just try bench-pressing these guys all day.
My mom says not to worry, that they’ll eat when they’re hungry. The pediatrician assures me they’re fine and don’t need vitamins. I even have a 6 foot plus cousin who spent most of his preschool years, as I recall, eating raisin bread and cheerios. So I know it’s not that big a deal.
But I’m not giving up yet. Every night I try to give them a protein, a fruit and a vegetable. I’ve decided that if they won’t eat it, tough. I’m not going to do fancy cooking gymnastics a la The Sneaky Chef or Deceptively Delicious. I don’t have the time or energy to puree beans and hide them inside other dishes. I do give in to their inner Cookie Monster demands, but not as often as they’d like.
Last week, we spent time with my mom. The first night we were all together we sat down for dinner, and she pulled a brisket out of the oven. I watched her put a heaping portion on the kids’ plates. I looked down at the carpet, quietly thinking about removing a red stain from the fibers. I excused myself from the table for a moment, with a shrug of resignation. When I returned, our 1 year old was actually picking at something on his plate, and best of all, his older brother– well, he had a mouthful of food and was already asking for more.
I can’t explain it. Same recipe. Same presentation. Maybe they were finally hungry. Or maybe it was the grandma touch. Come to think of it, hey mom, want to come to visit us this weekend? The kitchen is all yours.

Keeping a Feeding Log

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When our first son was born I kept a meticulous journal of his feedings. I’d note the time he ate, which breast he ate from, and how long he fed. I also marked down wet and dirty diapers. I was on top of things, and pretty proud of myself. At least I was, until his pediatrician more or less dismissed my note taking. I handed him a copy of the log, and he gave it right back to me. “I don’t need this,” he said. But look at all my hard work, I felt like saying back to him. Look, even my handwriting is neat!
What I realize now, is that he was essentially saying, your son is fine. He’s peeing and pooping and most importantly gaining weight– you can relax.
But fast forward to our second son, I did the same thing again. I kept a journal for a couple of weeks because I found it helped me keep track of what was going on. In a post-delivery fog, and sleep-deprived state, it helped me to remember when he ate. It was especially important because he was a sleepy baby, and I had to wake him to make sure he ate frequently enough.
So, I still like the idea of keeping notes for a little while, at least. And I’m sure some moms do it longer. That’s why I was excited to get a copy of this journal from Random House. “Time to Feed: A Journal for Recording Your Baby’s Feeding Schedule” is a great gift for a new mom. In fact, I just gave it to a friend today. It has simple entry spaces for each feeding, whether its boob or bottle, breast milk or formula. Best of all, there is a basic guide to breastfeeding at the back of the book, written by La Leche League.
Time to Feed Baby.jpg

Answering Your Breastfeeding Questions

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I’ve been doing some guest writing on The Nest Baby, a cool site for new moms. Readers have been submitting questions about breastfeeding and I’ve been answering them. You can check out all of the answers on this link. You can also jump right to the specific questions from these links:
Breastfeeding Positions
Breast Lumps and Nursing
Dealing with Thrush
Inverted Nippes
Milk Blisters
Newborn Eating Enough?
Getting Help At Home
Prepping to Nurse?
Prepping to Pump?
Pumping and Work
Pumping Problems
Storing Breastmilk
Travel while Nursing
Weaning and Milk Supply
Pumping Extra Milk
If you have a specific question, feel free to email me any time at

A BreastFeeding Holiday Poem

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Our neighbors have a wreath on their door. So of course, The Bortsky (age three) wanted to know what it was. “Why don’t we have a wreath?” he asked. “Well,” I paused, choosing my words carefully, “Sarah celebrates Christmas and she has a wreath and a tree. We celebrate Chanukah and we have a menorah.” “Why?” he asked. I gave him a basic “we’re Jewish” answer, and fortunately that sufficed.
I’ll admit that even though Christmas isn’t our thing, I like the lights and decorations at this time of year. Everything seems transformed. I liked watching the Christmas shows when I was a kid and I’m a sucker for a little Holiday lore. Hence, my own version of the traditional poem, “A Visit From St. Nicholas.” I wrote this last year, and thought the newcomers to this site might appreciate it.
So back by popular demand…I bring you, once again…
By Andi Silverman,

‘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,
The guide to Urban Legends linked to this poem.

A Breastfeeding Blogging Bonanza

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Moms love to tell their stories about childbirth. There’s the “I pushed for 14 hours” story. The “you would not believe what happened to me…” story. The “I went all natural” or the “I begged for drugs” stories. And even the “I thought I was going to strangle (insert name)” story.
Now, it seems the story to tell is the breastfeeding tale. That’s what happened today on the new collective blog, New York City Moms. The NY Moms blog is part of a larger blogging network that has sites focused on Silicon Valley, Chicago and Washington, DC. And today, in each region, the focus was on breastfeeding…the ups and downs of boobs, bottles and babes.
I’m new to blogging for NY Moms, and I was thrilled that they asked me to write the introductory post to today’s entries. Click here for a full list of all of the entries from the day. The site administrators got so many requests from bloggers and readers to include their stories, that they ended up opening an entry where anyone can contribute. Click here if you have a tale to tell.

What’s Best for Babes?

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There are a lot of organizations, professionals and moms-on-a-mission who are devoted to promoting breastfeeding. They all do good work. Now here’s another group that is taking a unique approach to increasing breastfeeding rates in the U.S. Best For Babes is a non-profit founded by two moms who are trying to harness the power of mainstream media. I had a chance to talk to the founders Bettina Forbes and Danielle Rigg about their plans. Here’s what they had to say:
What is Best For Babes?
Best for Babes is dedicated to increasing breastfeeding rates and making breastfeeding mainstream. To accomplish this, BfB is the first and only entity to bring together celebrities, corporations, foundations, fashion, advertising and the media to give breastfeeding a makeover. Our motto is “inspire, prepare, empower”: BfB is providing inspiring images and role-models, smart info on how to avoid the “booby traps,” and how to have a game plan for breastfeeding successfully. Our research and experience have convinced us that this strategy is the best antidote to persistently low U.S. breastfeeding rates.
Why did you start BfB?
Because new moms don’t need more pressure or more guilt! They need solutions, and the inspiration to succeed at nursing. We are two moms who endured unnecessary breastfeeding problems ourselves and heard many similar stories from our peers. Danielle took her personal struggle and passion for breastfeeding and turned it into a degree as a CLC (Certified Lactation Counselor) in 2002. Bettina was more recently certified. In our work we kept finding the same problem: too many moms weren’t being motivated, prepared or supported properly. At a time when breastfeeding is being encouraged as never before, women are still being set up to fail.
On the motivation side, we found that many women were being turned-off both by existing breastfeeding groups and by images with which they did not identify. Many moms also were scared-off by stories they heard about breastfeeding problems. The saddest part is that 95% of these problems are easily avoided with the proper guidance.
What are your goals?
We’d love to see the U.S. have the same breastfeeding rates as Sweden—where 99% of women initiate and 79% are still mostly breastfeeding at 6 months. In the U.S., the initiation rate is 64%, and only 14% are breastfeeding exclusively at 6 months. One of our most important goals is to provide celebrity and everyday role models. Many women have never seen another woman breastfeed and don’t know where to turn for support or inspiration.
We also want to simply get the most accurate information into women’s hands. Mainstream articles are not always evidence-based, and put little emphasis on prevention. So, we are educating women on how to be better prepared before birth—which hospitals have the best breastfeeding track record, how to find a pediatrician who is trained in lactation or has an IBCLC on staff, which health insurance covers lactation specialists; which employers provide pumping accommodations and on-site daycare. Women also need social support from families and friends. They need positive media images and stores and restaurants that are nursing-friendly. All of these make a huge difference in breastfeeding success We will also be asking for volunteers: Moms are a powerful force and we think the time is right to harness their energy. Moms deserve to be pumped up, geared up, and to feel fabulous about giving their best mom-made wonderfood™ to their babes.

What celebrities are on board with this idea?

Marilu Henner is one of our founding board members and has been terrific. She immediately “got” our concept and is tremendously supportive. Henner is a well-known actress and a New York Times bestselling author who has dedicated herself to helping people improve their health. We’re expecting other celebrities to jump in soon too.
What did you do before BFB?
Well, immediately before BfB, both of us were trying to figure out how to tend to two small children (apiece), our husbands, our homes, and still find time to change the world! Before that, Bettina worked in corporate philanthropy for Merrill Lynch where she managed a highly successful scholarship program for inner-city youth in ten major U.S. cities. The program received numerous awards, including the nation’s highest honor, the President’s “Points of Light” Service Award, in 1999. Danielle was an employment and labor lawyer working at a prestigious NYC firm, and, later, for a large corporation. She gave all that up when she found her calling to help women learn to breastfeed Danielle’s diagnosis with breast cancer at age 37, has motivated her even more to tout breastfeeding’s protective effect against breast cancer – especially the lesser-known benefit for breastfed baby girls.

What should we watch for next from BFB?

In August we were on the cover of Stork Magazine. This was the first in a series of gorgeous images plus smart info that we have planned for our advertising/media campaign. Look for interviews with us in prominent mainstream magazines, and cross-marketing projects with our partners. Also tune in to the “Boob Tube” at where we set the record straight on latest breastfeeding-related articles, research and products.

Does Breastfeeding Make Your Breasts Sag? New Study Says No

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From December 2003 to March 2006 I was either pregnant or breastfeeding. Not a day off. I got pregnant with The Bear while still breastfeeding The Bortski. So for a while I wasn’t quite sure how things would look in the boob department once I was all done with the baby feeding thing. So what happened? Let’s just say my bra size has changed. I won’t tell you which way it went….up or down. But let’s just say that it’s different. And almost any mom will tell you something similar.
All the literature I’ve ever read says that breast changes are due to the pregnancy itself, weight gain, weight loss and heredity. Breastfeeding has nothing to do with it. Now a study that came out last month confirms that breastfeeding doesn’t make your boobs sag. Here’s some information from WebMD.
“Expectant mothers should be reassured that breastfeeding does not appear to have an adverse effect upon breast appearance,” report University of Kentucky plastic surgeon Brian Rinker, MD, and colleagues.
They interviewed 132 women who came to their plastic surgery clinic to get breast augmentation or a surgical lift for sagging breasts.
The women were 39 years old, on average. The majority — 93 patients — had had at least one pregnancy. Most of the moms — 58% — had breastfed at least one child.
Rinker’s team noted the women’s medical history, BMI (body mass index), pre-pregnancy bra cup size, smoking status, and other factors.
The bottom line: “Breastfeeding does not adversely affect breast shape, beyond the effects of pregnancy alone,” conclude Rinker and colleagues
However, four other factors were linked to breast sagging:
* Older age
* Cigarette smoking
* Larger pre-pregnancy bra cup size
* Greater number of pregnancies
Age and cigarette smoking both hamper skin’s elasticity, note the researchers.

When I first learned about this study, and realized it was done by some plastic surgeons, I was a bit skeptical. Their ultimate goal, obviously, is to plant the idea in women’s heads that a boob job is the way to go post-baby. But put that aside for a moment, and focus on the study’s bottom line. Breastfeeding is not going to change your figure. I guess it’s nice to get a thumbs up for breastfeeding, no matter where it comes from.

Still Trying to Get Amazon to Let Me Create a Tag That Says Breastfeeding

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So far, I haven’t had any luck with my quest to create certain “tags” on the Amazon page that sells my book. Amazon won’t accept any variation of the word breastfeeding. I wrote about this here and here last week. Since then, I wrote yet another letter to Amazon. I got a pretty lame response today.
Here’s my letter.
To the Amazon Team:
I have been trying to create tags for various forms of the word breastfeeding. Breast feeding. Breast-feeding. Breastfeed, breast feed, breast-feed. Amazon will not let me do this. The title of my book is “Mama Knows Breast: A Beginner’s Guide to Breastfeeding.” So these tags are very important to me.
I wrote about my trouble with this on my blog. My blog is linked through RSS to the Amazon site, so the post is visible on my sales page. Can someone please help me resolve this problem? Thank you.
Here’s the response:
Andi, Thanks for contacting us at
I’m sorry, but I will need to research the tag feature further. I
will write back to you with an answer within the next 5-6business
Thank you in advance for your patience, and thanks for shopping at

Some Parenting Sites for You To Check Out

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Here’s what I’ve found recently: has a new breastfeeding Guide. Melissa Nagin is a lactation consultant in New York City. Click here for her bio. She has a great post right now on how she tried to teach her son economics using breastfeeding to illustrate the concept of supply and demand. (Full disclosure, my husband works at About, but I promise, he had nothing to do with this post!)
Jennifer at the Black Breastfeeding Blog, who I’ve mentioned before, has added a cool new audio function to her blog. (She’s using utterz). If you want to hear the sound of her lovely voice, you can check out a review she posted of my book.
Finally, take a look at The Well Mom. Former ABC News Anchor Heather Cabot is running this site. The Well Mom aims to help moms take care of themselves while they are taking care of everyone else, too. She has a fantastic post on her site now about post-partum depression, and legislative efforts to increase funding for PPD research and outreach to moms. Heather also recently interviewed me about my book. Click here to read her piece.