Mama Knows Breast

Andi in the news

Watch Andi on the CBS Early Show: Click here.

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Watch Andi on THE TODAY SHOW: Click here.

Milk Shortage at Colorado Milk Bank

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I first saw this story over at the Motherwear Breastfeeding blog
The Mothers’ Milk Bank in Colorado desparately needs donations. Their supplies are running low. That poses a serious risk for babies like 6 month old Julia Lam, who is getting donated breast milk while she undergoes chemotherapy.
To see Julia’s story, you can watch this video from a Denver TV station.
To make a donation, go to the milk bank website or call (303)869-1888 or toll free (877)458-5503. You don’t have to live in Colorado to help out.

Breast Feeding Product Reviews

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Angela at Breastfeeding 123 gets my vote today for hardest working, most diligent blogger. My eyes practically jumped out of my head when I saw her latest post.
Angela has compiled a fantastic collection of breastfeeding product reviews. Basically, she found reviews from all the breastfeeding bloggers out there, and provides links to the sites. If you click here, you’ll find reviews of breastfeeding products, books and clothing. If you can think of it, she’s got it. Here’s a list of the reviews:
Breastfeeding bras
Breast pumps
Breastfeeding accessories
Breastfeeding art and calendars
Breastfeeding bloggers’ stores
Breastfeeding and parenting books
Children’s breastfeeding books
Children’s breastfeeding toys
Sewing your own breastfeeding products
Nursing bracelets
Nursing covers
Nursing necklaces
Nursing pads
Nursing pillows
Nursing shirts
Breastfeeding videos
Kids’ products
Bravo Angela. What an invaluable resource you’ve created!

Breast Milk For Sale– Milk Banks, Wet Nurses and Casual Sharing

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The Washington Post has an excellent story today on the growing trend of alternative ways to feed your baby breast milk, even if you aren’t breastfeeding. The piece, “Banking on Milk: Options Are Growing for Women Who Can’t Breast-Feed,” covers all its bases– non-profit and for-profit milk banks, wet nursing and cross nursing.
Breast milk, touted by the government and even formula-makers as the best food for babies, is becoming a hot commodity. Ten nonprofit milk banks that match donors to those searching for milk are accredited members of the Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA). For-profit milk banks and wet nurses for hire are also available. Countless other private transactions go on, many facilitated by the Internet, creating a sisterhood among strangers. Some moms “cross-nurse” with babies of friends and relatives.
But the milk-sharing movement, still largely an underground network, brings up many questions. First, there is worry about the safety of unscreened milk, which can pass diseases such as HIV and syphilis to babies. Others debate ethical concerns, such as whether people should make money selling human milk and how such businesses should be regulated.

Best of all, Jennifer of The Lactivist is quoted in the article!

Breast Pumping Video– Can Men Pump and Breast Feed?

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Did you ever find yourself thinking, “I wish, just for one minute, he knew what this felt like”? Maybe you were referring to trying to sleep when you’re 8 months pregnant, or perhaps pitocin-induced contractions.
If so, I’ve found the men for you. Some adventurous dads decided to test drive a breast pump. And that, my friends, is this week’s YouBoob video. It’s coming to you courtesy of the guys at Dad Labs. I found it through one of the bloggers, Dad Gone Mad, on the new site Babble.
Women often pump for ten or twenty minutes a pop. Personally, I’ve had my ups and downs with my pump. So how long do you think this guy lasted? Click here to find out.
So fellas…anyone else up to taking this one step further and trying to breast feed? So men claim they can actually do it!

Which Breast Pump Do You Use?

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When The Bortski was a baby, I pumped milk all the time. I pumped so I could go out to dinner with my husband. I pumped so I could do some freelance work. I pumped so I could go skiing for a couple of hours. The Medela Pump In Style was my best friend. Sort of.
When baby number two, The Bear, was born eight months ago, I pulled my breast pump out of the closet and pumped to relieve engorgement. But now, that pump is back in the closet next to my husband’s shoes. It is literally gathering dust. I have used a hand pump (the Medela Harmony) a few times. I even stuck it in my purse once and took it to a black tie wedding. But even that pump isn’t getting much use lately.
Why have I abondoned pumping? I’m not quite sure. Perhaps because The Bear sleeps solidly between 6 pm and 11pm, so there’s little risk he’ll wake up hungry and torture a babysitter if we went out. Perhaps I don’t pump because I’m working from home. Or maybe I’m just too lazy.
So why the ramblings about my pumps? Another blogger, The bOOb Lady’s Blog, has asked me for suggestions of the best pumps. So I turn to all of you. Which ones do you use? Which do you love? Which do you hate? What’s the best bang for the buck? And while you’re at it, anyone have any good pumping stories to share?
Meanwhile…I have to say, in a weird way it’s a blessing I haven’t been pumping and stockpiling frozen milk. Our refrigerator is not working well, and I would be absolutely beside myself if I had to throw out pumped milk. But the refrigerator…man, don’t get me started. That’s another story altogether.

Pumping and Flying Update

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Update: a new rule effective August 4, 2007 does away with the limits on the amount of breast milk a mom can carry on board a plane.
A little update from the TSA…
I got an email this morning from the Office of Public Affairs at the Transporation Security Administration. The PR person who wrote to me wanted to add that if you are traveling with your baby, you CAN bring ice through the security checkpoint to cool the formula or breast milk you might be bringing on board. The ice exemption also applies to medications that need to be cooled.

Flying and Pumping–What’s a Mom to Do

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Update: a new rule effective August 4, 2007 does away with the limits on the amount of breast milk a mom can carry on board a plane.
I love the Style section in the Sunday New York Times. Seriously, it’s the highlight of the paper for me. My husband brings it to me if I’m still in bed, breast feeding the Titty Bear (From here on out, the Titty Bear will simply be called “The Bear.” We decided he might be embarrassed to learn some day that we called him the Titty Bear. What would his friends say?)
I digress. Anyway, I was thrilled yesterday to see a piece in the Style section about a mom who goes on a business trip, breast pump in hand. She describes all the crazy places she had to pump (in the plane, on a bus, in a closet), and ultimately what happened when she had to pass through airport security with a cooler full of breast milk.
The new restrictions for carry-on luggage have made traveling even tougher for breast feeding moms who have left their babes at home and need to pump.
It’s all a little confusing, so I called the TSA to try to figure this out. Here’s the deal: If you have a baby with you, you can bring formula and pumped breast milk on board. You just have to show it to an agent at the security check point. If you don’t have a baby with you, you are more restricted. You can bring on board the plane one, quart-size ziploc bag, with three ounce containers of breast milk inside. (Each passenger is allowed one ziploc bag for any toiletries). If you have more milk than that, you will have to put it in a cooler, pack it up with ice, and send it on it’s way with your luggage.
For a little more information, here’s a link to the TSA’s rules about carry on luggage. Here is specific information about breast milk and formula.
So if you’re planning a trip any time soon, and need to leave the babe behind and instead, tote the pump, good luck to you. I know these flight restrictions are there to keep us safe, but boy oh boy, do you need a serious level of dedication if you intend to bring that liquid gold home with you. Happy trails to you.

Letters to The New York Times

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You may recall the recent New York Times story about how hard it is for working moms to breastfeed, especially moms who don’t have “white collar” jobs. As the article pointed out, white collar workers have an easier time pumping because they often have privates offices or even designated lactation rooms. “Blue collar” workers often find their jobs incompatible with breastfeeding, and their employers unsupportive. ( I wrote about this story on September 4).
These Letters to the Editor reaffirm the primary point of the article. They emphasize the need for employers, and even the government, to foster an environment that makes it easier to pump, or even breastfeed, at work.

Comments on the NYT Story About Breastfeeding at Work

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Here are the comments that people have written to the New York Times about the challenges of breastfeeding at work.

Breastfeeding Challenges for Working Moms

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To state the obvious…The New York Times is reporting that breastfeeding is easier for “professional” working moms, than it is for “working class” moms. In this front page story, the Times highlights the differences at Starbucks. At the corporate offices in Seattle, moms have a special lactation room and company-supplied pumps. Women who work in the Starbucks coffee shops, on the other hand, have to pump in the same bathroom that customers use.
Is this really news? Or is the Times finally telling a story that needs to be told? Health care professionals tell us that breast milk is the “gold standard” for infant nutrition, but our working culture makes breastfeeding a big challenge.
Moms who work in restaurants, department stores and factories have to jump through hoops to find a place and time to pump. Even under the best of circumstances, moms who have a private office, designated lactation room or conference room, find that they have to explain to their bosses, colleagues and clients that they are unavailable at certains times of the day because they need to pump. Let’s face it, breastfeeding is simply much easier for moms who are able to stay home with their babies. They don’t have to worry about pumping often enough during the day to maintain their milk supply.
According to the New York Times article, The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is about to launch a campaign called “The Business Case for Breastfeeding.” This will emphasize findings that breastfeeding reduces absenteeism and pediatrician bills. But is an ad campaign really going to change anything for women in this country? Maybe, maybe not. At a minimum, it can’t hurt. Even if one company finds a way to make it easier for breastfeeding moms, then it’s a start. For the forseeable future, be prepared to fight your own battles.
So what’s your experience? How supportive is your office?