Mama Knows Breast

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Breastfeeding and Medicine

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Here’s an excerpt from my latest post for the giggle GAB blog… it’s about breastfeeding and taking medicine: (And click here for the full post).

Be thankful for modern medicine. It can get us through a common cold and is often critical when managing a chronic condition. But when you’re breastfeeding, every medication can get into your breast milk. While some medicines are compatible with breastfeeding, others are not. So what’s a mom to do?

For starters, do your homework. For over-the-counter medications, read the packaging.  There should be information for breastfeeding mothers. And if you’re taking a prescription, be sure to tell your doctor that you’re breastfeeding…

… the “bible” on breastfeeding and medications is Dr. Thomas Hale’s Medications and Mothers’ Milk. You can look up a medication and check its safety for breastfeeding. You can also call the InfantRisk Center associated with Dr. Hale at 806-352-2519. They can answer questions about drugs, over-the-counter drugs, herbal products, chemicals, vaccines, and other substances. Of course, there’s now even an iTunes and Android app that has the book’s information. (Here’s a YouTube video showing how it works.)

Another resource is the LactMed database. Type in a medication and you’ll get a comprehensive look at its safety information. Finally, don’t forget that herbs require some research as well. I also recommend reading this La Leche League article about Maternal Medications and Breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding and Babies at Disney World

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We did the inevitable recently. We took the kids to Disney World in Orlando, Florida. They’re at just the right age… old enough to go on all the roller coasters, young enough to think it’s the greatest place on the planet. By the end of the trip, and hitting a park a day (Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Epcot and Hollywood Studios), we were wiped out.  We also had a mountain of dirty laundry, so it was time to come home.


As we went through the parks, I was amazed to see so many toddlers and babies.  When our kids were that age I think I was too tired to have enjoyed the trip.  But maybe I should just embraced the exhaustion.  In fact, the Disney parks seem designed with new parents in mind.  Well located bathrooms, plenty of benches and food at every turn.  But it’s not just that.  The parks also have designated Baby Care Centers.  I have a Flickr album with photos from each of the parks that you might want to look at.

You can of course breastfeed anywhere you’d like in the parks. But if you’re looking for a quiet, designated space, with soft lighting, the Baby Care Centers are a good choice. Some of the rooms even have signs welcoming breastfeeding moms.  The only thing I didn’t entirely like, was that the Disney website indicates that the Baby Care Centers are sponsored by Carnation formula.  This information isn’t anywhere in the parks.  Nevertheless, as with just about everything Disney, you’ll find what you need at the Baby Care Centers, and move on to the next adventure.

As for the kids, they only have one question of course… when can we go back?!



Disclosure:  Disney gave me some tickets for park entrance.

Breastfeeding and Solid Foods

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Gearing up to feed your baby her first solid foods can sometimes feel daunting. When do you start? What do you give? Well my latest blog post for the giggle gab blog looks at these questions. Here’s the link, and an excerpt:

Put a bib on. It’s time to take the plunge and give your baby solid foods. By the way… that bib should be for you! You’ve never quite seen a mess like a baby and solid foods.

Around six months, most pediatricians will recommend that you start giving your baby solid foods in addition to breast milk. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months, and then continuing to breastfeed until your baby is at least one year old, and longer if you wish.

So how do you do it? Go slow. Introduce new foods one at a time. Try that new food for a few days or more before adding another one. This can help you watch out for any allergic reactions. Click here for the rest of the story.

What To Buy For Breastfeeding

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Here’s my latest post on the giggle Gab blog.  And a brief excerpt:

Babies can be expensive. At least their gear is. And it starts the moment you realize you’re pregnant. You’ll have visions of pink and blue nurseries dancing in your head. A crib, mattress and sheets? Check. Clothing? Check. Diapers and wipes. You bet. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with all the expenses, here’s something that may be re-assuring– breastfeeding is free! That’s right. Formula costs money. Boobs, well you have those already.Of course, there are some items you may want to buy even if you’re planning to breastfeed. As always, some are important and some optional. And this may be one area where you should consider hand-me-downs from friends and family (with the exception of a breast pump).

For my full list, keep reading here.

New Study Says Lack of Breastfeeding Costs Lives and Billions of Dollars

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Here are the amazing results of a new study:
If 90% of US families could comply with medical recommendations to breastfeed exclusively for 6 months, the United States would save $13 billion per year and prevent an excess 911 deaths, nearly all of which would be in infants ($10.5 billion and 741 deaths at 80% compliance).
The study was published today in Pediatrics, the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
One of the study’s authors was quoted in a CNN story:
Dr. Melissa Bartick, one of the new study’s co-authors, says the vast majority of extra costs incurred each year could be saved “if 80 to 90 percent of women exclusively breastfed for as little as four months and if 90 percent of women would breastfeed some times until six months.” Bartick is a hospitalist — a doctor who specializes in the care of hospitalized patients — at Cambridge Health Alliance, an instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School and a mother of two.
Bartick and her co-author Arnold Reinhold found that most of the excess costs are due to premature deaths. Nearly all, 95 percent of these deaths, are attributed to three causes: sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS); necrotizing enterocolitis, seen primarily in preterm babies and in which the lining of the intestinal wall dies; and lower respiratory infections such as pneumonia.
Breastfeeding has been shown to reduce the risk of all of these and seven other illnesses studied by the study authors.
Bartick calculates $10.56 million for each of the estimated 911 children’s deaths. Researchers also included the direct costs of health care and parent’s time missed from work. They did not include the cost of formula, which is another added cost for moms who don’t breastfeed.
Click here to watch a video interview with the author of the study.

California Company Fined For Firing Mom Who Breastfed

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A California taqueria has to pay $46k to a worker it fired for breastfeeding. Here’s the piece in Forbes. And here’s the story in the San Francisco Chronicle:
Marina Chavez gave birth to her fourth child a month prematurely in April 2007 and returned to work at a Los Angeles-area taqueria 30 days later, needing the $7.55-an-hour cashier job to feed her family.
On her third night back, her boyfriend brought their newborn son to work and Chavez breastfed the child in their car during her lunch break.
The next night, she got a call from the company’s general manager, Jaime Acosta, who, according to a state civil rights commission, told her he didn’t want her back at work until she was done breastfeeding. When Chavez said she couldn’t wait that long, Acosta replied that he didn’t like her attitude and she was fired, the commission said.
Her dismissal has led to a precedent-setting ruling by the state Fair Employment and Housing Commission in San Francisco. The decision, made public last week, said punishing a female employee for breastfeeding during a work break amounts to sex discrimination…
That isn’t what happened, Acosta said Friday. He said he fired Chavez for incompetence and insubordination, an assertion he also made to the commission, which didn’t believe him.
“I did not fire her because she was breastfeeding,” he said in an interview. “I just made a comment to her – ‘Is it safe to be out here in the parking lot?’ ” If the law requires employers to allow breastfeeding, he said, “I have no problem with that.”
Acosta said the small company, which owns three taquerias in Inglewood and Hawthorne, would appeal the ruling, but might have to file for bankruptcy because of the damage award.
A 2002 California law requires employers to provide a reasonable amount of break time for an employee who wants to breastfeed an infant child, unless a break would seriously disrupt the employer’s operations. California also allows a mother to breastfeed her child “in any location, public or private.”
No state court or agency had previously considered, however, whether denying the right to breastfeed amounts to sex discrimination. Awarding damages to an employee in such a case is rare if not unprecedented in the United States, said Loretta McCallister, spokeswoman for La Leche League, a support organization for breastfeeding women.
“That’s teaching employers that there’s nothing wrong with it,” she said.

Hooray For An Enlightened NYC Radio Station… 1010 WINS

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Gotta love the radio station 1010 Wins in New York City for doing a piece on some of the stumbling blocks women face when breastfeeding. Bettina Forbes, of the group Best For Babes, was interviewed for the story. She calls these problems “booby traps.”
Click here: Download file
Also, here’s Best For Babes latest ad, appearing just in time for August, which is Breastfeeding Awareness Month.
ZWIN PUB 08-06953 Mom and Baby-BfB_Life Saving(2).jpg

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?”

New Study Says Breastfeeding Helps You Lose Weight

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A new study found further evidence that breastfeeding can in fact help you lose weight. Here’s the link to the study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
And a summary from WebMD:
Researchers concluded that women who gain a reasonable amount during pregnancy and breastfeed exclusively are likely to lose all pregnancy weight six months after giving birth. They also estimate that women who breastfeed retain 2 kilograms (4.4 pounds) less than women who don’t breastfeed at six months after giving birth.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

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My brother (the doctor) sent me an email yesterday suggesting I do a blog post about National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I thanked him, and then realized that it was sort of troubling that I needed that reminder. It was troubling that, in essence, I needed a reminder to do a monthly breast self-exam.
For some reason I’ve always been a bit negligent in this department. Maybe it’s squeamishness. Maybe it’s that I can’t tell what’s normal and what’s not. Maybe I’m afraid I’ll find something wrong. So now, in recognition of this month, I’m resolving to be more diligent.
A while back, when I was still breastfeeding, I actually had a huge bump on the side of my breast. It really freaked me out. Fortunately, it went away as soon as I fed the baby and was no longer engorged. But I did go to the doctor anyway. She did a thorough check and determined that I was fine.

Breastfeeding can actually decrease your chances of getting breast cancer
, but you are still at risk. Heike Malakoff is someone who knows this all too well. She was diagnosed with breast cancer shortly after weaning her twin sons. She has now started an organization called Check Your Boobies. Her website can teach you how to do a breast exam on your self. It will even send you a monthly reminder to do so.
So take the time to think about this aspect of your health. Have your doctor do a breast exam at your next check up. Ask her if it’s time for you to get a mammogram. And sign up for the Check Your Boobies email reminder.
For more information on breast cancer, or to make a donation to a breast cancer organization, check out these sites:
The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation
American Cancer Society
National Cancer Institute