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.

Breastfeeding Promotion Act of 2009

Bookmark and Share

Time to get politically active folks… the Breastfeeding Promotion Act of 2009 was introduced in Congress on June 11 by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR). So what will the bill do? Here’s Maloney’s press release:
“This bill will bring breastfeeding mothers under the protection of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, require employers with over 50 employees to provide a private space and unpaid time off during the workday for mothers to express milk, and sets standards for breast pump manufacture. It also provides for tax incentives for employers that establish private lactation areas in the workplace and tax credits for nursing mothers,” said Maloney.
And here’s more information, including a link to the bill on Maloney’s website.
So how can you get involved? Here’s an email tool from the United States Breastfeeding Committee. Use it to automatically send emails to your representatives and senators asking them to co-sponsor the bill.
Angela of Breastfeeding 123 has started a Facebook group to help spread the word. And she has a letter you can mail or fax to ask your state representatives and senators to co-sponsor the bill.
This is the fifth time the bill has been up for consideration, so it’s time get it passed!

New Breastfeeding Awareness Campaign

Bookmark and Share

So what do you think of this?! It’s a new breastfeeding awareness ad, brought to you by Best For Babes. BfB is a non-profit focused on raising awareness of the benefits of breastfeeding.
I’ve gotten to know the founders Danielle and Bettina over the past couple of years, and I can tell you, these are two dedicated breastfeeding advocates.
You can get a look at this ad in print if you pick up the latest copy of Fit Pregnancy magazine.

A Report From the Denny’s Nurse In in Asheville, NC

Bookmark and Share

I found this blog post on Babyfingers, describing the nurse in at the Denny’s in Asheville, NC today. This was to protest the way a mom, Crystal Everitt, says she was treated while trying to nurse in the restaurant.
Here are some links:
Statement from Denny’s representative. Video from YouTube. I think he did a good job of clarifying Denny’s position that breastfeeding moms are welcome in the restaurants.
Some photos from the event.

Protest Planned Against Denny’s Restaurant After Mom in North Carolina Asked to Cover Up While Breastfeeding

Bookmark and Share

So, here we are once again. A mom goes to a restaurant. Takes her baby. The baby needs to eat. The mom proceeds to breastfeed. An employee asks the mom to cover up. And the brouhaha begins.
Crystal Everitt was at the Denny’s restaurant in Asheville, North Carolina when this very thing happened to her. In fact, when she refused to stop breastfeeding or leave, the police showed up at the restaurant and said she could be arrested for trespassing.
Here’s a video interview on the local news with Crystal.
Here’s a link to her story about what happened:

Everitt said she told the manager she had the right to breastfeed and thought the incident was over until she saw an Asheville police officer and the manager walking towards her table.
The manager told her she could not stay if she continued breastfeeding, Everitt said.
The officer told her she could be arrested, not for breastfeeding but for refusing to leave the restaurant, she said.
North Carolina law allows breastfeeding in any public or private place where the woman is otherwise authorized to be. But it does not forbid business owners from asking mothers to move or cover up, said Natalie Wilson, professional liaison for the Le Leche League of North Carolina.

So now, Everitt is planning a protest at the restaurant on February 22nd. A breastfeeding advocacy group called First Right is backing Everitt. And there is even a grassroots movement to organize protests at Denny’s outside North Carolina.
Here’s the link to a Yahoo Chat group about this nurse in.
Here’s the North Carolina law about breastfeeding in public.
And laws in every state about breastfeeding in public.
And here’s a link to Breastfeeding123 which has Denny’s corporate statement in response to this incident.
So here’s my take on this: Laws protecting women’s right to breastfeed in public are a good start. And a necessary one. But it’s just the beginning. And we see this over and over again when moms are harassed for breastfeeding in public. We are still a far cry from a society that truly accepts breastfeeding. We are so conditioned to think of breasts as sexual… boobs are used to sell everything from lingerie (think Victoria’s Secret) to restaurants (think Hooters!) to perfume (check out this Calvin Klein commercial with Eva Mendes). But breastfeeding isn’t sexual. Don’t forget… we’re mammals. And mammals breastfeed in order to nourish their young.
So… where does this leave us? In a place where moms like Crystal Everitt need to speak out, to make their voices heard, and ultimately, to protect babies’ rights to eat, wherever and whenever they need to.

CBS Early Show and The Facebook Breastfeeding Story

Bookmark and Share

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?”

Virtual Nurse In Planned on Facebook

Bookmark and Share

Poking around Facebook yesterday, I discovered a little bit of lactivism at work. Apparently, Facebook won’t let people post breastfeeding pictures. So some Facebooker’s are planning a virtual nurse-in, Saturday, December 27, 2008. They are going to all post breastfeeding pictures at the same time.
To sign up, go to Facebook, and type M.I.L.C. into the search bar. Mothers International Lactation Campaign should pop up. If you are having trouble finding it. Go to my Facebook page… look me up under Andi Silverman.
Here’s text of the petition:
Facebook continues to classify breastfeeding photos as obscene content. They continue to arbitrarily remove these photos from member albums and profiles, accompanied by warnings of account termination. This is highly discriminatory and an affront to nursing mothers everywhere. In protest of this, Mothers International Lactation Campaign (M.I.L.C.) has planned a virtual day of protest.
Not only is human lactation responsible for the very survival of our species, it is in no way a sexually explicit, lewd or despicable act. It is also protected by law in most countries, including specifically the state where Facebook is headquartered in the USA.
In protest to the discriminatory and unjust policy of Facebook administration classifying breastfeeding images as obscene content, on December 27th, 2008 M.I.L.C. is asking all of you to change your profile picture for one day, to one which includes an image of a nursing mom.
This could be a picture of you or someone you know nursing a child, it could be a painting or image of a sculpture of a breastfeeding woman, it could also be a photo or image of any nursing mammal….We ask that you include the status line of “Hey Facebook, breastfeeding is not obscene!”
In addition to this ‘virtual nurse-in’, there will be other events planned around the globe. Please check this page often for regular updates and added information. We will also be including images that you can use for your profile picture on December 27th.
Babies everywhere thank you for your support!!!!!

What’s Best for Babes?

Bookmark and Share

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.