Friday, April 20, 2007

Bf'ing article from 1914

This is really cool, although kindof discouraging that people *still* weren't taking it seriously even back then. :(

Monday, April 16, 2007

And the Ronald McDonald House outcome....

The outcome of the Ronald McDonald House breastfeeding meeting. Ok here is the outcome of the meeting. We got out about and hour ago and I have been trying to find time to post here after returning some phone calls. The meeting was about 2 hours long and included myself and my sister, a representative from the LLL, and a doctor from the area who is responsible for some big research on breastfeeding. I will not mention their names as I have not asked them for permission to do that but we thank them both for their support! We could not have handled the meeting without them. I contacted the suggested LLL person in Texas(again no names) and she sent them right out. She was great as well and worked tirelessly for us today.From the RMH Arlene, the Director of Operations, as well as Naomi, the Executive Director, attended as well as a couple of their board members. After a very lengthy conversion with many twists and turns the RMH is allowing us to stay. We are from now on allowed to breastfeeding in the communal areas if we follow some rules they have set forth and not too many people complain about it. They said if just one person complains they will tell them they support breastfeeding and discuss with them why they are concerned. If many people were to complain they will have to deal with that as it comes up, they could not say how as they have not encountered the situation.The rules we are to follow are that we are to be discreet, this is at our discretion, meaning we choose what discreet means but they said they will obviously know if we are not being discreet if people are complaining that they are uncomfortable with us nursing. We are also being asked to inform the people around us before we begin nursing if we think there is anybody that may be uncomfortable with it. We are to tell them nicely that we are going to breastfeed, in case they want to leave or look away.There was alot of discussion about what discreet meant, but after some pretty silly possibilities for discretion they decided it would be up to us as to what that meant. They said they would not bother us about nursing again unless many people complained, which nobody felt was likely to happen.The RMH wanted us to tell everybody that the RMH supports breastfeeding moms...they were VERY adamant about it. You can decide for yourself if that is true, I am only passing on what they said to us. Now, at this point, this only applies to us. When asked how other nursing moms would be treated they said they cannot make any changes right in the room but that they will be examining the practice, or oral guidelines, of asking breastfeeding moms to stop. They said they did not have the power to make policy change, it had to go to the board; which they said they would seriously discuss doing. Obviously alot more was said in 2 hours but this is the gist of the situation. If they really do examine their guideline this could be a really good thing but we will have to follow up to make sure that happened. Please if you decide to write anymore letters(and they received ALOT of letters) please do so to encourage them to reexamine thier guidelines and to thank them for considering it. Although they were not apologetic to us they have agreed to reexamine their stance and this could be really good for alot of nursing moms. If we handle this correctly this could mean national change for the RMH.We will be waiting to find out how this plays out in the following days and will will update as needed. Lots of media have contacted us from all kinds of large outlets and I am still not sure who, if anyone, I will talk to at this point. We are trying to decide how to best help ALL moms.We want this to benefit moms across the board so me and Jessica will be working to change their guidelines as we go. And the LLL says they will continue to offer us support. We are not giving up on a full scale policy protecting moms, but we will have to wait for a board decision on that. This will take time but I am confident that we can make this happen. THANK YOU ALL FOR OUR SUPPORT!!!!! Above all if you all had not done what you have done I suspect we would not have had the outcome we did or even had that meeting. Your advice and input is welcome here as to how we should proceed and we will be checking in. Thank you.

Ronald McDonald House updates

Here is an update...
**Update**..please read Update posts for a more info but as of Saturday Afternoon(4/14) we are still being asked not to nurse anywhere but our rooms and Arlene, who I spoke to today by phone, has informed me that she will be contacting the Executive Director and their attorneys on Monday about the situation before any other decisions will be made. I have been told by Arlene that she will do what she needs to do and that I am to "be very careful" about what I decide to do. We are being told that we are not being asked to leave right now and that they never meant that we should have to...despite the fact that Arlene told my sister in front of another RMH employee on speaker phone that families who could not acclimate to the environment at RMH should find somewhere else to stay. She admitted this to me on the phone today, that yes she did tell Jessica that...but that did not mean we actually had to leave. Also the day after she was asked to stop nursing(yesterday) Jessica's social worker was contacted by RMH and was apparently told that she may need to help us make other accommodations. The RMH actually contacted my sister's social worker who handles Tobin's case while he is in the hospital and got her involved...because Jessica was nursing and they are not ok with that? I guess nursing means not acclimating to their environment and she was just trying to intimidate Jessica into stopping the nursing of her sick son.I do want to say that aside from Arlene, and the original employee who asked my sister to stop nursing, we have been treated very well here and want to say that the RMH has great employees as well as the ones bullying us.

And here is another update...
I am still updating the original thread but someone suggested I also post a new one so that it will be easier to find the new information.I just spoke to Naomi Scott, the Executive Director of the RMH Houston, and we(Me, Jessica, Arlene and Naomi) have a meeting this afternoon (tentatively) at 4pm. She came back from her vacation early to handle the situation. Naomi needs to speak to some people before the meeting she said.Unlike Arlene, Naomi was very pleasant on the phone but she told me that although they are not kicking us out right now that it is a guideline(an oral one) to ask all breastfeeding mothers to go to their rooms to nurse. This is the first I have heard of any oral guideline from anyone. It was never mentioned before. She told me this was because they had multicultural residents here and that they need to protects all the residents from feeling uncomfortable. Because of this they are not changing their stance on us breastfeeding downstairs.She also said that she has received calls from corporate but that each RMH is run independently. They have also received calls from national donors and she said that was uncomfortable and that all of our emails crashed their server(although they have fixed it now) which was costing them money.This is all I know for now but I will be contacting the LLL about representaion of some sort at the meeting and I am going to try and get ahold of corporate myself right now. Thank you all for your continued support..and please keep the pressure coming, we will need it now MORE THAN EVER to make sure all moms have the right to breastfeed at the RMH.Please call or email Naomi Scott at 713.795.3560 or nscott @ rmhhouston.organd call or fax corporate if you feel you can as well.Corporate RMHPhone: 630-623-7048Fax: 630-623-7488Please let them know that their apparent "oral guideline" as Naomi put it, of directing employees and volunteers to ask mothers to nurse only in their rooms is not acceptable and that we should be able to nurse anywhere we are allowed to be at RMH. Especially since bottle-feeding is perfectly acceptable in these same communal areas(there was a woman in the common area feeding a bottle last night).and this...
I called Naomi and she said that they have 50 families from "all cultures" and that some cultures may view breastfeeding as offensive, and that's why they ask breastfeeding moms to go to their rooms. When asked if they would ask the same of bottlefeeding moms, she laughed and asked why would they do that? I said that there are some people out there that are offended when they see a bottle being used, and she gave the guideline of "all cultures" need to be accomodated.She said they wouldn't allow people to smoke in common areas, which I told her wasn't the same as nursing because that's a public health risk, and she said some people don't view it that way (could SHE be a smoker giving THAT stupid of a line?) They don't care about the law.She says that she's gotten soooooo many emails that it crashed the system, they had to pay an IT guy to come up and fix it, and it's taking "donation dollars away from the families." Yeah, not getting any sympathy from me, this is a self imposed "problem" as far as I'm concerned.


Sunday, April 15, 2007

Here's a letter worth sending

This story was passed to me by a friend...please take the time to read it and respond accordingly.

Ronald McDonald House asks our family to leave for breastfeeding! --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

My sister and I are staying in the Ronald McDonald House in Houston because one of her 17 month old twins had to have brain surgery to remove a tumor last week. The RMH has been great and we have felt so blessed to find such a safe and homey place to take care of her other two children and my daughter while we are here for Tobin's recovery. However yesterday my sister, who is nursing the twins, was asked to stop nursing in the communal area of the Ronald McDonald House and to take it up to her room. She was shocked! After his surgery her son will basically only drink breastmilk and it is the only thing that eases the constant pain and anxiety he feels. She told them that it was illegal, according the Texas state law, to ask a breastfeeding mother to stop nursing in any public or private place. She also tried to explain to them how inconvenient it would be for her to take all her children up 3 floors to their room every time her sick child needs to nurse. Unfortunately after 30 minutes of arguing, and being threatened with being kicked out, she was in tears and they weren't backing down. So I headed down there to talk to the administrator because I am also nursing my three year old daughter. I even pulled up the state law on my laptop and after a lengthy discussion the administrator acted as if she was going to examine the law so she understood it and move on. I thought that was the end of it. Today I find out they may be kicking us out of the RMH because we refused to comply with what they call their "interpretation of the law". Their interpretation is that if they provide somewhere else for us to nurse they don't have to let us nurse in public places. Since when do laws get to be personally tailored to an organizations needs?This is a ridiculous and terrible situation for all of us, I am not sure what else we will do if we can't stay here but we can't just not nurse our children. The Ronald McDonald is such a great resource, why do they have to discriminate against nursing moms? If you would like to send a letter we would appreciate it. Arlene Whatley is The Executive director of The Holcombe location of the RMH where we are staying and one of the people who Jessica spoke to about this. It is Arlene that seems to be making the decision here. Her email is awhatley @ and her phone is (713) 795-3570.This message may also be shared and reposted. Thank you all for your support.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Baby Blues Cartoon

click to enlarge
If you are interested in emailing feedback to the "Baby Blues" website and creators (as I did), here is the adress.