Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The photo that was banned from facebook in July, 2007

Breaking it down for Facebook

Let’s start with a bit of history. Back in June 2007, a facebook group was created called “Hey facebook, breastfeeding is not obscene (Official petition to facebook)” after Kelli Roman (see Time interview with Kelli) had breastfeeding pictures removed from the site. The membership of the group grew exponentially, reaching 6,000 members by August 2007, 26,000 members one month later, and then all the way up to 89,971 members at the time I wrote this post. I honestly thought through the strength of that group that facebook had backed down back in 2007 or at least become complacent on the issue.
Then, on November 6th, 2008 I got a tweet from Heather Farley (@TopHat8855) saying “facebook took my profile pic down because it was of me breastfeeding. Calling in the troops (or whatever I can find)“ and later said “going to write an email. Someone is messing with the wrong lactivist “. This kicked off round two against facebook on this issue. Heather has been blogging and tweeting about it ever since her original post called Obscenities and has been involved in arranging protests and nurse-ins, as have many others.
Other than encouraging people to take part in the December 27 virtual protest against facebook, I hadn’t blogged about this issue yet because I thought others were doing a great job. But over the past 24 hours I’ve started hearing way too many things that are getting me riled up. So let me break the issues and arguments down for you.

Three reasons people may wish to post breastfeeding pictures

I keep hearing people say “I know that breastfeeding is normal and natural, but why do these women want to post their breastfeeding pictures anyway?” Ultimately, I don’t think it matters why. Each person will have their own reasons, but here are a few possibilities:

1) It is beautiful and cute: A lot of breastfeeding pictures are beautiful. They are an artistic expression of a relationship between a mother and her child. Like other art, it deserves an audience. Some of this art is photographic (like my portrait taken by photographer Annie Lance). Some are paintings, including historical and contemporary pieces. One of my new favourites is this watercolour by Vancouver artist Erika Hastings . In addition to being artistic, many of these photos are cute and parents love showing off their adorable babies to their friends on facebook.
2) They are proud of their accomplishment: Breastfeeding isn’t easy for everyone. A lot of women struggle through bad latches, poor milk supply, sore nipples, and other breastfeeding challenges and if they persevere, they want to share their success with others. Other people like to post pictures of themselves getting their university degree. Well, honestly, that was a walk in the park compared to the effort I put into breastfeeding my son.
3) Marking a milestone in their child’s life: Parents like to show friends and relatives pictures and videos of their kids meeting milestones. Especially if aunts, uncles, and grandparents are not close-by, facebook can be an ideal platform for being able to share those special moments. Whether it is breastfeeding, first solids foods, standing up, smiling, or going down the slide, these are the moments people want to share with those that are important to them.

Three stupid reasons for wanting to ban breastfeeding pictures from facebook

Okay, now let’s break down the dumbass reasons people keep using to justify facebook’s ban.

1) Breasts are sexual and breastfeeding is private: I put these together because they are linked. The only reason that people think breastfeeding needs to be private is because we sexualize breasts. People will mask this by saying something like “it is a natural and beautiful private moment between a baby and mother“. Hmm…why isn’t it private then when a mother bottle feeds her baby while lovingly holding him and gazing into his eyes. Really, breasts are for feeding babies. Perhaps they have other purposes too, but their primary function is to feed babies. Our society has turned this completely on its head. Daniel does a great job explaining this on culturefeast:
Men and women alike have abysmally poor role models in their parents, extended family, and teachers. Men are taught by example to view breasts as a intensely sexual parts of the female body. They are one of the hottest visual hotspots on a woman. Many men face a sort of sexual confusion when their wives or girlfriends first breastfeed a baby.

2) I don’t want to look at your breastfeeding pictures: People keep saying this over and over again. I don’t want to see pictures of women breastfeeding. Well good for you. I also don’t want to look at pictures of your dog with reindeer antlers, you and your drunk buddies at a bar, you and some celebrity you ran into, or your parents at their 50th wedding anniversary. It simply doesn’t interest me. So I don’t click on those pictures. Or if I’m really repulsed by them, then I can always de-friend you. It is ridiculous to censor something just because some people don’t like it and if we were going to be there, I’d have a list a mile long of things that I consider more offensive and less attractive than breastfeeding.

3) You signed up to facebook, so play by their rules: I like facebook. I like it a lot. It is a great medium for interacting with people and sharing things about my life. But most of all it is great because everyone else uses it too. If I decide not to be part of facebook and instead go to some mommy site that will allow and support my breastfeeding pictures, that won’t be much good to me because the people I want to interact with aren’t there.
The whole “if you don’t like it, go elsewhere” attitude is very typical of current American culture. If you are having problems with your spouse, get a divorce. If you don’t like your boss, quit your job. If you don’t like an employee’s clothes, fire him. If you get bad service somewhere, boycott that place.
Well I’m sorry, but I don’t go away that easily. If I am in a good relationship, but there are a few problems then I’d rather work on those problems than just jump ship. If I am getting crappy service somewhere, then I’d rather bring it up with the manager and see if they can improve. If I don’t like a company’s policies, then I’ll also raise it with them and try to get them to change it.
Discriminatory policies get changed when people fight them. Not when they go elsewhere.

Three reasons why facebook should allow breastfeeding pictures

Now finally, here are three reasons why facebook should allow breastfeeding pictures. I’m not the only one blogging about these issues. Heather Farley mentioned many of them in her letter to facebook and other bloggers have raised these too.

1) The facebook double standard - revenue generating boobies are allowed: As Chris Brogan pointed out in his post “facebook shows me boobies“, breasts (bare breasts, completely topless woman, in sexual context) are allowed on facebook and they’re served up as paid advertising to those that are in the right demographic for boobies. Beyond the advertising issue, there are plenty of photos on facebook of women in bikinis or other low cut outfits that show an awful lot more breast than I do when I’m breastfeeding. Seriously, just search on “breasts” on facebook and you’ll get plenty of examples. So what is it facebook? Breasts or no breasts?

2) Normalizing breastfeeding and protecting human rights: Breast is best. It is by far the best nutrition for a baby. Yet only 31.5% of American babies were still exclusively breastfed at 3 months (exclusive breastfeeding is recommended for at least 6 months by all major health authorities). This is not good enough. We need society to see breastfeeding as normal. Not something to be hidden or ashamed of. It is also a human rights issue, as Heather explains:
When pictures are removed of breastfeeding and not of artificial feeding, breastfeeding mothers are being discriminated against and a wrongful double standard is set. After all, a bottle is simply a plastic, prosthetic disembodied breast in size, form, and function. Additionally, many groups such as the Ontario Human Rights Commission have stated that breastfeeding right issues are human rights issues and that discrimination against a breastfeeding mother is discrimination of her rights.

3) Women and mothers are a big part of facebook’s members: People are mad. Almost ninety-thousand (yes - 90,000) people are members of the Hey facebook, breastfeeding is not obscene (Official petition to facebook) group. Right now, these are mad people that would like to continue using facebook, but that want it to change its policies. But the whole issue is causing some people like Maria Lavis to look at facebook’s policies regarding photos more closely and she is finding plenty of other things she doesn’t like about them and thinking of getting off of facebook (and taking friends and family with her) as a result. This could become much bigger than a few breastfeeding mothers and I don’t think facebook wants it to go there.

It all boils down to this

Not everyone wants to post breastfeeding pictures and not everyone wants to look at breastfeeding pictures, but the same could be said of any picture on facebook. If facebook is going to allow pictures it should allow breastfeeding pictures. HEY FACEBOOK, BREASTFEEDING IS NOT OBSCENE!

P.S. - I syndicate my blog onto my facebook profile, so this post is up there. I would encourage you to share it on your facebook profile too!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Saturday, December 27, 2008 virtual event


Facebook is accustomed to parents complain­ing about racy photographs posted on its site, but now some mothers are seething over revealing pictures it refuses to allow on its pages.

A group called the Mothers International Lactation Campaign, or MILC, is planning a “nurse-in” outside the social network’s Palo Alto offices to protest its removal of user-posted images that show women breastfeeding their babies. The demonstration, planned for Dec. 27, will also have a virtual component, as thousands of people across the Web make nursing photos their main profile picture.

The protesters say breastfeeding is not ob­scene, and Facebook’s removal of their pictures sends the wrong message to mothers everywhere.
A Facebook spokesman on Tuesday clarified that the site does allow breastfeeding photos as long as they don’t show a fully exposed breast.
MILC organizer Heather Farley of Provo, Utah, said she was surprised last month when Face-book took down two photos of her nursing her 6­month-old daughter, one of which was her profile picture.“Where I live, I can breast-feed in public or pri­vate, and there are laws that say it’s not obscene or lewd or indecent,” said Farley, 23. “If I can do it in public, why can’t I do it on Facebook?”
Censoring such images, she said, reinforces stig­mas that discourage mothers from a healthy, natural practice. Angry at the site, but not wanting to lose her online friend network by unsubscribing, she took ac­tion by joining like-minded mothers in a Facebook ­based petition called “Hey, Facebook, breast-feeding is not obscene!”As of Tuesday, the group had more than 53,000 members.
Farley isn’t sure how many will turn out for the nurse-in, planned for 11 a.m. on Dec. 27 at 156 Uni­versityAve., but she’s hoping for at least 20. She said more than 2,000 have already signed up for the vir­tual protest.
Facebook had no comment on the planned demonstration.

Monday, October 27, 2008

How Breastfeeding Transfers Immunity to Babies

How Breastfeeding Transfers Immunity To Babies


(Oct. 27, 2008) — A BYU-Harvard- Stanford research team hasidentified a molecule that is key to mothers’ ability to pass along immunityto intestinal infections to their babies through breast milk. The study highlights an amazing change that takes place in a mother’s bodywhen she begins producing breast milk.

For years before her pregnancy, cells that produce antibodies against intestinal infections travel around hercirculatory system as if it were a highway and regularly take an “off-ramp”to her intestine. There they stand ready to defend against infections such as cholera or rotavirus. But once she begins lactating, some of these same antibody-producing cells suddenly begin taking a different “off-ramp,” so to speak, that leads to the mammary glands.

That way, when her baby nurses, the antibodies go straight to his intestine and offer protection while he builds up his own immunity. This is why previous studies have shown that formula-fed infants have twice the incidence of diarrheal illness as breast-fed infants. Until now, scientists did not know how the mother’s body signaled the antibody-producing cells to take the different off-ramp. The new study identifies the molecule that gives them the green light.

“Everybody hears that breastfeeding is good for the baby,” said Eric Wilson, the Brigham Young University microbiologist who is the lead author on thestudy. “But why is it good? One of the reasons is that mothers’ milk carries protective antibodies which shield the newborn from infection, and this study demonstrates the molecular mechanisms used by the mother’s body to get these antibody-producing cells where they need to be.”

Understanding the role of the molecule, called CCR10, also has implications for potential future efforts to help mothers better protect their infants. “This tells us that this molecule is extremely important, so if we want to design a vaccine for the mother so she could effectively pass protective antibodies to the child, it would be absolutely essential to induce high levels of CCR10,” said Wilson.

Speaking broadly about the long-term applications of this research, BYU undergraduate Elizabeth Nielsen Low, a co-author on the paper, said, “If we know how these cells migrate, we’ll be able to hit the right targets to ge tthem to go where we want them.” Daniel Campbell is a researcher at the Benroya Research Institute in Seattlea nonprofit organization that specializes in the immune system, and was not affiliated with this study. “The molecular basis for this redistribution [of the mother’s cells] has not been well characterized, but Dr. Wilson’s work has begun to crack that code and define the molecules responsible for this cellular redistribution and passive immunity,” Campbell said. “It is important work that fundamentallyenhances our understanding of how immunity is provided to the [baby] via themilk.

Dr. Wilson’s study will certainly form the basis for many other studies aimed at uncovering how the immune system is organized, particularlyat mucosal surfaces.” To conduct their research, the team used so-called “knock-out mice” that had been genetically engineered to lack the CCR10 molecule. Whereas normal lactating mice had hundreds of thousands of antibody-producing cells intheir mammary glands, the BYU team found that the knock-out mice had more than 70 times fewer such cells. Tests verified that the absence of CCR10 wasresponsible for the deficiency. Surprisingly, the research also showed that CCR10 does not play the same crucial role in signaling antibody-producing cells to migrate to the intestine. Another molecule is their “traffic light.”

The findings will be published in the Nov. 1 issue of the Journal of Immunology. The study was supported by Wilson’s grant from the National Institutes of Health, funding which continues for another 18 months and supports his and his students’ further investigation into the cells behind transfer of immunity in breast milk.

Wilson’s other students who are also co-authors on the paper are Yuetching Law, Kathryn Distelhorst and Erica D. Hill.
The Harvard Medical School co-authors are Olivier Morteau, Craig Gerard, Bao Lu, Sorina Ghiran and Miriam Rits.
The Stanford University School of Medicine co-authors are Raymond Kwan, Nicole H. Lazarus and Eugene C. Butcher.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

2008 Breastfeeding Challenge, Edmonton Journal article

Breastfeeding mothers converge on WEM
Jennifer Yang, Journal Staff WriterPublished: 1:21 pm
EDMONTON - This Saturday at exactly 11 a.m., 27 mothers gathered at West Edmonton Mall and slipped out their breasts to feed their babies.
The women and their 30 babies and toddlers (some mothers fed two at a time) for the Quintessence Breastfeeding Challenge 2008, a global event designed to raise public awareness of breastfeeding.
The competition has mothers feeding their babies simultaneously, either in public places or at private events. In the end, participants tally their totals to determine which city had the most babies "latched on" at 11 a.m. local time.

In Edmonton, this year's challenge was sponsored by a local group called the Breastfeeding and Lactation Information and Support Source, or BLISS.
"It's kind of hard to even make breastfeeding 'normal' in a society that sees breasts as sexual," said Karen Speed, the founder of BLISS. "Breasts are made for breastfeeding ... it's the perfect food for babies and no formula will be ever, ever made that's as good for babies."
Participating mom Lee-Ann Grenier arrived for the challenge with her two children, 22-month-old Danica and her five-year-old son Zale.
She said a woman once kicked her out of a swimming pool for breastfeeding, calling it "indecent."
"I felt really stigmatized," she said. "I didn't feel like I was feeding my baby, I felt like I was doing something slutty."
For Grenier, this is exactly the attitude she wants to dismantle by participating in the challenge. She thinks people have become overly focused on breasts as sexual objects as opposed to a healthy and natural source of food for babies.
"I feel it's really important to support breastfeeding and its visibility in our community," she said. "It's the one way that I know I'm meeting my children's needs for security as well as for food."
© Edmonton Journal 2008

Angelina Jolie breastfeeds on W magazine cover

NEW YORK (AP) -- We've already seen the baby pictures -- now see the photo of Angelina Jolie apparently breastfeeding on the cover of W magazine.

On the cover of the new W, Angelina Jolie is apparently shown breastfeeding one of the couple's newborn twins.

Jolie appears on the cover of the W's November issue in a sleeveless top, which has been opened to reveal part of her left breast and a tiny hand ostensibly belonging to one of her twins, Knox Leon and Vivienne Marcheline, who were born in July.
The black-and-white photo shows Jolie smiling, her long brown hair cascading over her shoulder. The cover headline promises exclusive "private photos" of the 33-year-old actress by her partner Brad Pitt.
Jolie last caused a stir when she wore a white nursing bra underneath her tank top on the cover of People magazine after she and Pitt welcomed daughter Shiloh, now 2 years old.
Another breast-feeding cover that got people talking was in the summer of 2006, when Babytalk magazine published a photo of a baby and part of a woman's breast in profile. The magazine conducted a poll of more than 4,000 readers; a quarter of responses were negative, finding the photo inappropriate.
La Leche League International, the world's oldest breast-feeding support organization, applauds Jolie's apparent decision to be photographed nursing.

"Breast-feeding in public reveals a whole lot less than what has been revealed on the red carpet. ... I think we do need more role models like Angelina Jolie willing to be photographed and say, 'Hey look, it can be done, it oughta be done,' " said La Leche spokeswoman Jane Crouse.
Besides Shiloh and the twins, Pitt and Jolie also are parents to three adopted children: Maddox, 7, from Cambodia; Pax, 4, from Vietnam; Zahara, 3, from Ethiopia.
Exclusive photos of the Jolie-Pitt clan have fetched millions of dollars. Last summer, People magazine and the British tabloid Hello! paid $14 million in a joint deal to publish the first shots of the family with newborn Knox and Vivienne. Jolie and Pitt allowed such access in exchange for a donation to charity.
Jolie, who won a supporting actress Academy Award for 1999's "Girl, Interrupted," has drawn Oscar buzz for Clint Eastwood's missing-child drama "Changeling," slated for release October 24.
Pitt portrays a fitness club dimwit in Joel and Ethan Coen's recent comedy "Burn After Reading," co-starring George Clooney, John Malkovich and Frances McDormand.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Breastfeeding Myths

1. A breastfeeding mother has to be obsessive about what she eats. Not true!
2. A breastfeeding mother has to eat more in order to make enough milk. Not true!
3. A breastfeeding mother has to drink lots of fluids. Not true!
4. A mother who smokes is better not to breastfeed. Not true!
5. A mother should not drink alcohol while breastfeeding. Not true! Reasonable alcohol intake should not be discouraged at all. (How ever I do not agree with anyone drinking while pregnant or breastfeeding.)
6. A mother who bleeds from her nipples should not breastfeed. Not true!
7. A woman who has had breast augmentation surgery cannot breastfeed. Not true!
8. A woman who has had breast reduction surgery cannot breastfeed. Not true!
9. Premature babies need to learn to take bottles before they can start breastfeeding. Not true!
10. Babies with cleft lip and/or palate cannot breastfeed. Not true!
11. Women with small breasts produce less milk than those with large breasts. Nonsense!
12. Breastfeeding does not provide any protection against becoming pregnant. Not true!
13. Breastfeeding women cannot take the birth control pill. Not true!
14. Breastfeeding babies need other types of milk after six months. Not true!


1. Many women do not produce enough milk. Not true!
2. It is normal for breastfeeding to hurt. Not true!
3. There is no (not enough) milk during the first three or four days after birth. Not true!
4. A baby should be on the breast 20 (10, 15, 7.6) minutes on each side. Not true!
5. A breastfeeding baby needs extra water in hot weather. Not true!
6. Breastfeeding babies need extra vitamin D. Not true!
7. A mother should wash her nipples each time before feeding the baby. Not true!
8. Pumping is a good way of knowing how much milk the mother has. Not true!
9. Breastmilk does not contain enough iron for the baby's needs. Not true!
10. It is easier to bottle feed than to breastfeed. Not true!
11. Breastfeeding ties the mother down. Not true!
12. There is no way to know how much breastmilk the baby is getting. Not true!
13. Modern formulas are almost the same as breastmilk. Not true!
14. If the mother has an infection she should stop breastfeeding. Not true!
15. If the baby has diarrhea or vomiting, the mother should stop breastfeeding. Not true!
16. If the mother is taking medicine she should not breastfeed. Not true!


1. Women with flat or inverted nipples cannot breastfeed. Not true!
2. A woman who becomes pregnant must stop breastfeeding. Not true!
3. A baby with diarrhea should not breastfeed. Not true!
4. Babies will stay on the breast for two hours because they like to suck. Not true!
5. Babies need to know how to take a bottle. Therefore a bottle should always be introduced before the baby refuses to take one. Not true!
6. If a mother has surgery, she has to wait a day before restarting nursing. Not true!
7. Breastfeeding twins is too difficult to manage. Not true!
8. Women whose breasts do not enlarge or enlarge only a little during pregnancy, will not produce enough milk. Not true!
9. A mother whose breasts do not seem full has little milk in the breast. Not true!
10. Breastfeeding in public is not decent. Not true!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
11. Breastfeeding a child until 3 or 4 years of age is abnormal and bad for the child, causing an overdependent relationship between mother and child. Not true! Breastfeeding for 2-4 years was the rule in most cultures since the beginning of human time on this planet. Only in the last 100 years or so has breastfeeding been seen as something to be limited. Children nursed into the third year are not overly dependent. On the contrary, they tend to be very secure and thus more independent. They themselves will make the step to stop breastfeeding (with gentle encouragement from the mother), and thus will be secure in their accomplishment.
12. If the baby is off the breast for a few days (weeks), the mother should not restart breastfeeding because the milk sours. Not true!
13. After exercise a mother should not breastfeed. Not true!
14. A breastfeeding mother cannot get a permanent or dye her hair. Not true!
15. Breastfeeding is blamed for everything. True! Family, health professionals, neighbours, friends and taxi drivers will blame breastfeeding if the mother is tired, nervous, weepy, sick, has pain in her knees, has difficulty sleeping, is always sleepy, feels dizzy, is anemic, has a relapse of her arthritis (migraines, or any chronic problem) complains of hair loss, change of vision, ringing in the ears or itchy skin. Breastfeeding will be blamed as the cause of marriage problems and the other children acting up. Breastfeeding is to blame when the mortgage rates go up and the economy is faltering. And whenever there is something that does not fit the "picture book" life, the mother will be advised by everyone that it will be better if she stops breastfeeding.

YET MORE AND MORE MYTHS!( Still think you can't breastfeed?)

1. Nursing mothers cannot breastfeed if they have had X-rays. Not true!
2. Breastfeeding mothers' milk can "dry up" just like that. Not true!
4. Pediatricians, at least, know a lot about breastfeeding. Not true!
5. Formula company literature and formula samples do not influence how long a mother breastfeeds. Really? So why do the formula companies work so hard to make sure that new mothers are given these samples, their company's samples? Are these samples and the literature given out to encourage breastfeeding? Do formula companies take on the cost of the samples and booklets so that mothers will be encouraged to breastfeed longer? The companies often argue that, if the mother does give formula, they want the mother to use their brand. But in competing with each other, the formula companies also compete with breastfeeding. Did you believe that argument when the cigarette companies used it?
6. Breastmilk given with formula may cause problems for the baby. Not true!
7. Babies who are breastfed on demand are likely to be "colicky". Not true!
8. Mothers who receive immunizations (tetanus, rubella, hepatitis B, hepatitis A, etc.) should stop breastfeeding for 24 hours (3 days, 2 weeks). Not true!
9. There is no such thing as nipple confusion. Not true!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Mother Nature Loves Breastmilk

This article has run in a number of publications, including: Long Island Parenting News, Tidewater Parent, Parents Express, Potomac Children, L.A. Parent, San Diego Parent, City Parent [Ontario, Canada], All About Kids, and Bay Area Parent, Valley Parent, Sydney's Child [Australia], and Melbourne's Child [Australia]

Mother Nature Loves Breastmilk
© Dia L. Michels

Breast is best is a common adage, and most people can tell you that breastfeeding is good for babies. Some people are even aware that breastfeeding is good for mothers, but few folks are aware that breastfeeding is good for the environment. Saving our world's forests, minimizing destruction of the ozone layer, and curtailing contaminants of our soils and seas are common environmental themes, yet when it comes to taking care of Mother Nature, breastfeeding can't be beat.
Breastmilk may look white, but actually, it is as "green" as can be. The ecological consequences of cloth vs. disposable diapers are debated routinely, yet they are small potatoes compared to the consequences of the breast vs. formula decision. Breastmilk is one of the few foodstuffs produced and delivered to the consumer without any pollution, unnecessary packaging or waste, whereas the production, shipping, and preparation of formula and bottles requires large amounts of water, fuel, glass, plastic and rubber -- and produces significant amounts of garbage.
Many people know that breastfeeding is best for babies. Some people know that breastfeeding offers health benefits to the mother. But very few people realize the importance of breastfeeding for the environment.

Dairy production destroys land and pollutes air and water

Substituting cow's milk (the primary ingredient in infant formula) for breastmilk destroys the water, land and air. Cow manure and urine pollute rivers and ground water, while nitrate fertilizers used to grow feed for dairy cows leach into rivers and water. Cow flatulence releases methane into the atmosphere and is a major contributing factor to the destruction of the ozone layer. It would take 135 million lactating cows just to substitute the breastmilk of the women of India; that many cows would require 43% of the surface of India be devoted to pasture. Land used for pastures often comes from clearing forests, a practice that erodes and depletes the soil.

Artificial feeding causes waste and uses valuable resources

If every child in America were bottle-fed, almost 86,000 tons of tin would be needed to produce 550 million cans for one year's worth of formula. If every mother in the Great Britain breastfed, 3000 tons of paper (used for formula labels) would be saved in a year. But the formula is not the only problem. Bottles and nipples require plastic, glass, rubber, and silicon; production of these materials can be resource-intensive and often leads to end-products that are not-recyclable. All these products use natural resources, cause pollution in their manufacture and distribution, and create trash in their packaging, promotion, and disposal.

Artificial feeding means more tampons, more diapers

Women who practice total, unrestricted breastfeeding average over 14 months without menstruating. Multiply this by the four million US births each year to see that over one billion sanitary products annually could be kept out of our nation's landfills and sewers. To compound the scenario, because breastmilk is absorbed by babies more efficiently; breastfed babies excrete less and thus require fewer diaper changes than formula-fed babies. Manufacturing the additional diapers, menstrual pads, and tampons involves the need for fibers, bleaching and other chemical processes, packaging materials, and fuels.

Breastfeeding lessens infant mortality

Breastfeeding is a more effective method of birth control, world-wide, than all other methods combined -- without taxing the household's financial resources or endangering a woman's health. Mothers who breastfeed exclusively (that is, frequently, on demand, including during the night, and with no supplementation) generally enjoy a significant period of natural birth control. Lactation-induced infertility serves to increase the spacing between births. This is important since children born less than two years apart are almost twice as likely to die as those born more than two years apart.

Breastfeeding reduces over-population

Breastfeeding not only decreases deaths by limiting fertility, the immunizing agents in breastmilk produce healthier babies. Formula-fed babies get sick more often, get sicker, and have higher death rates than breastfed babies. And the health benefits of breastfeeding can be seen throughout life, not just in infancy. Women have more babies when the chances of their children living long enough to care for them in old age is small -- more babies are an insurance strategy. When parents can reasonably expect their children to live into adulthood, they choose to have fewer children.

Breastfeeding - a valuable natural resource

Two years ago, President Clinton, joining an unprecedented worldwide consensus, voted to impose restrictions on the advertising and promotion of infant formula. His vote demonstrates a new American commitment to breastfeeding.
Infant formula represents the case where a superior product is being discarded at significant expense -- to the baby, the mother, and the environment. We need to promote and protect our natural resources, whether they grow in a forest, swim in the sea, or come from our bodies. Let's add breastfeeding to the ways we can honor and cherish the most incredible mother of all -- Mother Nature.
Dia L. Michels P.O. Box 15348 Washington, DC
Original file at:

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Ty Pennington: Endorsing Formula

I am just very very disappointed to learn that one of my very favorite television stars, Ty Pennington is teaming up with Similac, and has created a "Design Your Nursery Guide".


This is just wrong on so many levels.

Number one, why is Similac seeking out celebrities to endorse their product? Advertising formula has been looked down on over and over and OVER again, why are they spending MORE money for MORE advertising?

Number two, why Ty Pennington? He's obviously 100% uninformed about formula, and has NO business advertising it!!!! I am very happy he's decided to have a contest for moms are in need of a nursery, but teaming up with a formula company???? I just don't see the point at all.

Similac has a brand new product, which they are anxious to sell. The site is littered with lies. The false advertising is still there, as always. Some examples:

Similac Advance Early Shield: Closer than ever to breast milk.
Early Shield: Designed to be more like breast milk and to support a strong immune system.
Similac Advance: Has DHA and ARA, ingredients shown to help baby's brain and eyes develop.

The new product comes in a fancy new flip-top container, and there in the middle, is Ty Pennington, grinning and happily trying to sell this product without even knowing anything about it.

I think I will have to withdraw my support. I have lost all respect for him.

Ty Pennington Endorses Artificial Milk. :(

There's even a video!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Breastfeeding Question on Exam

Students in an advanced Biology class were taking their mid-term exam.

The last question was, 'Name seven advantages of Mother's Milk, worth 70 points or none at all.

One student , in particular, was hard put to think of seven advantages.

He wrote:

1. ) It is perfect for the child.

2.) It provides immunity against several diseases.

3.) It is always the right temperature.

4.) It is inexpensive.

5.) It bonds the child to mother, and vice versa.

6.) It is always available as needed.

And then, the student was stuck. Finally, in desperation, just before the bell indicating the end of the test rang, he wrote...

7.) It comes in cute containers.

He got an A

Monday, September 1, 2008

Breastfeeding Onesies, T-Shirts and Rompers For Sale

Breastfeeding onesies, rompers, tank tops and t-shirts for sale. They are 15 dollars apiece, and all proceeds go to BLISS.
There are tonnes of colors available, and come in sizes from newborn up to 3x.
Any slogans can be put on any shirt.
We take orders, as well.

To see more, please view my album:

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Formula Advertising Survey

I was forwarded this link today:

Subject:: URGENT ACTION needed: RCM survey monkey questions on formula marketing

Dear Colleagues

The survey monkey is up and running and closes on 31 August It only takes5 minutes; here is how you access it:

It would be very helpful if you could cascade this to anyone you think might be interested.

This message was found at

By coincidence, my son's Chickadee magazine arrived in the mail yesterday, packaged together with a copy of the Fall 2008 Parents Canada. In the PC magazine, were at least SIX pages of formula and/or formula company advertising, including Nestle, Enfamil (3 pages of some of the most ridiculously false claims I have EVER read), Avent and Similac.

Also, though slightly off-topic, a sleep article written by Lisa Tobachnick-Hotta on page 54, claims that nursing and rocking your baby to sleep is one of the most "worst and disastrous sleep mistakes" an unknowing parent can make.

I strongly believe that this warrants a letter to the editor of the magazine, as well as the author of this article.

Here is a link to the magazine website:

Sunday, August 17, 2008



The site has been registered for Saturday, October 11, 2008.

In the city of Edmonton, the location will be West Edmonton Mall, from 10:00 to 12:00.For those of you who are not familiar with this event, please check this link:

It is an event for all breastfeeding mothers and babies, gathered in one spot. At exactly 11:00 a.m., we will do a countdown, and all the babies latch on and breastfeed, and the numbers of nursing babies are tallied. This is a world wide event to raise awareness of breastfeeding.

There will be vendors, information booths, door prizes and more! Please mark this on your calendar and come out to support and participate in this wonderful event!

Invitation to Join the Breastfeeding Challenge 2008

Join us to celebrate breastfeeding in a fun “competition” where every child “wins” because they are breastfed!!

What: Quintessence Breastfeeding Challenge 2008
This fun event is a challenge for which geographic area ( province, state or territory) has the most breastfeeding babies, as a percentage of the birthrate, “latched on.” at 11am local time.

When: Saturday, October 11, 2008

Why: to celebrate breastfeeding and demonstrate promotion, protection and support for breastfeeding women and their families. It’s a chance for education and peer support done in a fun social way.

Location: a health unit or hospital, local coffee shop, mall or any other venue.

Numbers: 2-??

“Latch on”: 11am local time. Some sites are a few breastfeeding women who get together to “be counted” and others are much larger events with lunch, raffles, education, speakers, door prizes etc

Registration: online at no cost and submit some simple paperwork to be counted on the big day.

Dial up

Background: In 2001 when this event started, there were 856 babies at 26 sites in British Columbia, Canada. Last year there were 5,383 babies at 230 sites across Canada and the US. This year we would love to see that number increase dramatically. Do your part, join us - organize a site - big or small! Every breastfeeding baby counts in the final count.

If you are not in Edmonton, check out this link to find a location near you

If there is no location registered near you, please consider registering your is sooooo easy!

Photos from the 2007 Breastfeeding Challenge

Friday, August 15, 2008

From Erin Tarbuck


WestJet has started sending a standard reply to people who write to them (see post below). I STRONGLY suggest that you send a second letter in reply to the response you get. If you haven't sent a letter, read the sample that's been posted and consider sending this letter to them. Again, send your letters to WestJet's CEO, Sean Durfy (make sure you mark it private and confidential on the envelope so that it gets to him). Letters sent via e-mail don't get to the corporate higher ups - so I encourage you to actually mail a letter to the CEO.


5055 11th Street N.E.
Calgary, AB
CanadaT2E 8N4

Attn: Sean Durfy
President & CEO

Dear Mr. Durfy,
Re: Breastfeeding on WestJet Flights

I have been disturbed by recent media reports that your company has allowed staff to discriminate against nursing women by asking them to cover up while breastfeeding. Letters from WestJet representatives suggest nursing women are viewed by flight attendants as potential threats to other passengers' comfort. These letters have also made it very clear your company's respect for breastfeeding as a human right is merely lip service, and has no substance in policy or action.

While I appreciate your company's policy to empower its employees "to make decisions based on common sense and good judgment" I am quite sure their are self and company imposed limits to this judgement when it comes to passengers' rights and freedoms. For example, I expect your staff would not ask a person to stop praying aloud because their religion was offending another passenger, or to wear a blanket over their riskee tattoos, or to disguise the nature of a book or magazine a passenger was reading for fear it might offend another. I would implore you to use your own common sense and consider that a nursing woman is simply a woman feeding her child. It is not offensive. If someone thinks it is, move them, give them blinkers, offer them a blanket to cover up with. Do not privilege their prejudices over a child's right to eat, and a woman's right to feed them unmolested.

WestJet markets itself as a family friendly airline. I can only hope that you effect changes to truly to make it so, and ensure that WestJet's policies respect the human rights of all their passengers, male, female, adult and infant alike.


Response From West Jet

Thank you for taking the time to write to us with your concerns.WestJet has a responsibility to act in the best interests of all guests on a flight. If a guest is engaged in an activity that makes others uncomfortable, or has the potential to make others uncomfortable, flight attendants have a responsibility to engage the guest in an effort to find a solution. Under the circumstances, we believe the solution proposed by our flight attendant was reasonable.

WestJet supports a woman’s right to breastfeed. We also support the rights of all guests on our flights to have a safe and comfortable experience while in our care. If at any time we decide that a situation exists which has the potential to interfere with the comfort of our guests, we have a responsibility to address it.

WestJet does not have a policy on breastfeeding. We do not feel one is required because we fully support it. At no time was Ms. Tarbuck asked to stop breastfeeding. We do not believe it is possible, or even desirable, to have a policy for every possible occurrence or situation that may arise. We believe and trust in our WestJetters, and empower them to make decisions based on common sense and good judgment. WestJet has responded to Ms. Tarbuck’s complaint by apologizing if Ms. Tarbuck felt the request to cover up was unwarranted. However, we believe the decision by our flight attendant was reasonable, and in the best interests of the other guests on the aircraft. Ms. Tarbuck was never asked to stop breastfeeding her child. WestJet supports the right of every woman to feed her child, whether by bottle or breast.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact us. I hope we can look forward to welcoming you aboard a WestJet flight in the near future.


pecialist-Guest Relations

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Breastfeeding mother alleges WestJet harassment

Another Vancouver woman has come forward to say she was harassed while breastfeeding in public.

Vancouver teacher Erin Tarbuck told CBC News she was nursing her 11-month-old son on a recent WestJet flight as the plane was preparing for takeoff, when a flight attendant asked her to cover up.

Takeoff and descent can cause painful pressure in the tiny Eustachian tubes of children's ears, so it's common for mothers to nurse their babies, Tarbuck said, as swallowing helps ease the pain.

"[She] came up and said quietly, 'You know, some men find the sight of a bare breast quite offensive. Can I offer you a blanket to cover up with?" Tarbuck said on Wednesday.

Tarbuck declined the offer of a blanket, but one was brought to her anyway.
"I was pretty shocked," said Tarbuck.

She later complained to WestJet's head office and received a written response.

"The rep defended what the flight attendant had done. She said we have to make our customers feel comfortable," said Tarbuck.

WestJet couldn't be reached for comment on Wednesday.

Breastfeeding a human right

Nursing mothers on Tuesday were planning a protest at a Vancouver H&M store, after Manuela Valle said staff told her she had to nurse her baby in a change room because she could offend customers.

Tarbuck said on the WestJet flight, she was nursing discreetly, and the only other people in her row were her husband and daughter.

While the WestJet response was polite, she said, it was ultimately unapologetic, and the representative could not guarantee attendants would not ask Tarbuck to cover up if she breastfeeds on a flight again.

The high school teacher wants WestJet to develop a policy on breastfeeding, and said she plans to file a complaint with the federal Human Rights Tribunal if she doesn't hear back from the airline soon.

Eleven years ago, the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal ruled women should not be restricted from nursing children in public.

"I would like them to recognize it is a human right, and to have a policy that protects, respects and honours the human rights of all their passengers, adults and children alike. Adults eat on planes. Babies should be able to as well," said Tarbuck.

Breastfeeding advocates say making women cover up while breastfeeding wrongly promotes the notion that it is illegal, immoral or in some way shameful. Some mothers also find it difficult to breastfeed while keeping their children covered or say their children won't nurse under a blanket.

Breastfeeding conflicts draw ire of 'lactivists'

Vancouver woman considering filing complaint against WestJet after being asked by flight attendant to cover up while nursing baby


August 8, 2008

VANCOUVER -- A Vancouver woman says she's poised to file a human-rights complaint against WestJet after being asked to cover up while nursing her baby on a recent flight, another sign of the clash between the rights of breastfeeding mothers and social unease over seeing bare breasts in public.

Those tensions spilled into a busy shopping mall in downtown Vancouver yesterday as dozens of women lifted their shirts, unsnapped their maternity bras, and latched their babies onto their breasts for a public "nurse-in."
The women were protesting after a Vancouver mother was asked to retreat to a dressing room to nurse her baby at the H&M clothing shop last Saturday.
The turnout of "lactivists" drew attention to recurring flare-ups between mothers who breastfeed in the open, and public squeamishness about the sight.

Another Vancouver mother, teacher Erin Tarbuck, said a flight attendant offered her a blanket after she had "discreetly" lifted her shirt to breastfeed her son just before takeoff on a July 2 flight between Montreal and Vancouver.
Ms. Tarbuck twice declined, but the flight attendant gave her the blanket anyway.

"She said that some men find the sight of a bare breast quite offensive," Ms. Tarbuck, a high-school teacher, said yesterday. The only other people in the row were her husband and two children.

WestJet said it was sorry if the incident made Ms. Tarbuck uncomfortable, but insisted the flight attendant did not act improperly.

"Some guests may be uncomfortable with a woman's bare breast even when it is her right to feed her child," the company wrote to Ms. Tarbuck on July 29 after she sent a formal complaint.

A WestJet spokesman said yesterday from Calgary that the company believes the move by the flight attendant was "reasonable."

"This was just an opportunity to suggest to [Ms. Tarbuck] that she could cover up," Richard Bartrem said.

Ms. Tarbuck said she is considering filing a human-rights complaint against WestJet, arguing that "if I had been wearing scanty, revealing clothes, no one would have asked me to cover up," she said. "But they want my son to eat under a blanket."

Meanwhile, at the "nurse-in" at H&M, women sat on store displays next to purses and shirts, and kneeled on the floor beneath racks of pants, their babies nursing quietly at their breasts. Customers nearby rifled through racks of clothes or looked on with bemusement.

Not everyone was certain what to make of the protest.

"I guess I'm old-fashioned," 55-year-old Audrey Johnston, a grandmother from Cranbrook, B.C., said as she paused from her shopping to glance over at cluster of babies, strollers and mothers (and a few dads).
"I know it's natural. There are a lot of natural things in life but it doesn't mean we have to air them publicly. If it's discreet I don't care. But some people find it embarrassing to find somebody's breast exposed.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Nurse-In Results

Breastfeeding mums fill Vancouver H&M store

Module body
Thu Aug 7, 9:17 PM

VANCOUVER (CBC) - Dozens of nursing mothers crowded into a downtown Vancouver H&M clothing store over the lunch hour on Thursday to protest the way the chain treated a breastfeeding mother last weekend.

Manuela Valle said three store employees told her last week that H&M policy did not allow her to nurse her eight-week-old baby in the store because it might offend other customers, and ushered her to a backroom.

Breastfeeding advocates reacted by organizing a protest - dubbed a "nurse-in" - at the store on Thursday.

Just after noon the trendy clothing store in a downtown mall was filled with a sea of nursing moms, strollers, toddlers, dads and others who turned out to make a political point.

"It is normal. It is not obscene. It is every baby's need to have food and be nourished and nurtured," said Veronika Polanska as she rallied the moms to publicly feed their babies.

Most of the women didn't know each other or Manuela Valle, but said they heard about the protest through the internet or media and wanted to make a statement.

"I don't want to live a world or city where that's acceptable to shun women for breastfeeding," said nursing mum Sonia Tilly-Strobel.

As for H&M, their corporate spokeswoman Laura Shankland flew in from Toronto for what could have been a public relations disaster to openly welcome the nursing moms.

"We apologize. And it seems to be a miscommunication and a misunderstanding. Our policy is to allow breastfeeding nursing mothers to breastfeed or express milk freely in our stores," said Shankland.

H&M says it has clarified its breastfeeding policy with all staff in all stores.
But the woman and child at the centre of the controversy were not at Thursday's nurse-in. Manuela Valle's two-month-old daughter came down with a fever after her first vaccination and was home being cared for by her mom.

The right of B.C. women to legally breastfeed anywhere was upheld by a B.C. Human Rights Tribunal decision 11 years ago.

But protesters said the message isn't getting through, and the H&M controversy was not the only recent breastfeeding incident getting attention.

Erin Tarbuck told CBC News on Wednesday that a WestJet flight attendant recently told her to use a blanket while nursing during the takeoff portion of a flight.

WestJet's vice-president of culture and communication, Richard Bartrem, said Thursday the airline stands behind its employee.

"This flight attendant in particular in this particular case was acting in advance of any complaint that might have come from a guest, so this was simply her decision at the time to ask our guest if she would mind covering up," Bartrem said. "She was never actually asked to stop breastfeeding." .

If you participated in the nurse-in today, I'd love to hear about it!!!!

Nurse-In at H&M

H&M breastfeeding incident sparks human rights protest

Manuela Valle and her husband, Francisco, say Manuela was hustled out of sight when she tried to breastfeed their child, Ramona, at H&M.

A Vancouver mother plans to complain to the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal after she was hustled off to a back room when she tried to nurse her baby at a major clothing retailer, she says.

Manuela Valle decided to nurse her two-month-old daughter while her husband tried on clothes at the H&M store in downtown Vancouver, she said on Tuesday.
When she attempted to start feeding her daughter, two sales clerks and a manager told her she had to go into one of the dressing rooms that they had assigned for breastfeeding, Valle told CBC News.

"They consistently said that it was the store's policy and that other customers felt offended by it," said Valle.

Valle said she was politely hustled off to a change room by staff, as they chatted with other staff on radios, making her feel like a shoplifter paraded in front of the other customers.

"It seemed as if I had been stealing or something, so I was very humiliated. Everybody in the store was looking at me as if I'm getting arrested, and I said out loud, 'I am getting arrested for breastfeeding my baby,'" Valle said.
"They were actually pushing her into it. I became upset at that point," said Francisco Valle, her husband.

Shaming of mothers unacceptable, expert says

Dr. Verity Livingstone, founding medical director of the University of B.C.'s Vancouver Breastfeeding Centre, called the treatment of Valle unacceptable.
"My heart goes out to her.

It's the most humiliating thing she could have possibly been subjected to. Whenever a woman is told breastfeeding is offensive or indiscreet, it's shaming new mothers for doing what's right," said Livingstone.

"She's responding, as a mother should do, to her baby's every wish. To be walked or told to go into a cupboard or a room out of sight would make her feel as though she's done something criminally wrong," said Livingstone.

A B.C. Human Rights Commission policy expressly sets out a woman's right to breastfeed anywhere in public.

No breastfeeding ban: H&M spokeswoman

When contacted by the CBC, nobody from the Vancouver H&M store would comment on the incident.

But H&M Canada spokeswoman Laura Shankland in Toronto said they do not have a policy banning women from breastfeeding in their stores, and staff just wanted to offer Valle a more comfortable option behind closed doors.

The incident has sparked calls from breastfeeding advocates for a "nurse-in" at H&M this Thursday. Organizers hope hundreds of nursing mothers will descend on the store to publicly breastfeed.

The spokesperson for H&M said they're more than welcome.

Canadian health guidelines say infants should be fed breast milk exclusively for the first six months of life, and then partially breastfed well into the second or third year of life.

Did you attend a nurse-in today? I'd love to hear your experiences!

Monday, June 16, 2008

New baby in the family

Briar Adriana
7 pounds, 19 3/4 inches long
1:58 p.m., Monday, June 9, 2008

Friday, May 30, 2008

WHO Code Violation Protest----Please Help!


Hi It only takes a minute to copy and send this message to the appropriate people and to forward to others.

I sent this message to these 3 people:

Dear Owennie,

I demand that 'The Infant Feeding Maze' talk scheduled for June 12, 2008 in Burnaby, BC Canada be cancelled as it violates Article 7.3 of the WHO Code.


(insert full name, city, and postal code here)

Thanks, girls !-Emma(KM)


Dear Friends,

We need your help to stop Nestle's plans to give a wine and dine infant feeding talk (June 12, 2008) to health professionals in B.C. As you know, we stopped the formula companies from doing this more than 10 years ago but Nestle is now in B.C. and is trying to do it again. We have a 95% breastfeeding rate in B.C. because we work hard to protect breastfeeding from the commercial pressures to artificially feed.Attached is Nestle's invitation. We are asking that concerned people throughout B.C., Canada and internationally email Nestle to let them know we will not put up with marketing that violates the WHO Code.

Please email Oweenie Lee (email address on the invitation) requesting (?demanding) that this talk be cancelled as it violates Article 7.3 of the Code. Emails can be short as Nestle already know they are not allowed to do this. If you have a problem getting through to Oweenie, you can send your email to Catherine.OBrien@ca.Nestle .

Catherine works for Corporate Affairs, Nestle. Please send me a copy of your letter so I can measure the momentum. (Renee Hefti )

Your emails will be forwarded to the B.C. Minister of Health as the B.C. Government has endorsed the Code, and so has the Health Authority where the talk is scheduled.

If the talk is not cancelled, we will notify the public and demonstrate on site on June 12, 2008.

Your email can help to make a difference - email me if you have more questions.

Renee Hefti

Sincerely,Renee Hefti - GrahamRN / Lactation Consultant



Please RSVP to Owennie Lee by Monday, June 2, 2008 at 1-(800) 563-7853 ext.7066 or

Please indicate menu choice (chicken, fish or vegetarian) and kindly note any food allergies.

Reception & Cocktails……………6:00 pm
Dinner & Presentation……………7:00 – 8:30 pm
Question & Answer to Follow

Thursday, June 12, 2008
The Hilton Metrotown (Waterford Room)
6083 McKay Avenue,

Presented by Owennie Lee, Registered Dietitian

Breastfeeding Bingo

Which ones of these comments have you heard in your nursing experiences?

Friday, May 23, 2008

Officer Breastfeeds Quake Orphans

First of all, I would like to send my thoughts and prayers to all the families that were affected by this terrible disaster. No-one should ever have to go through anything of that degree. Very sad and heartbreaking.

JIANGYOU, China (CNN) -- A Chinese police officer is being hailed as a hero after taking it upon herself to breast-feed several infants who were separated from their mothers or orphaned by China's devastating earthquake.

Police officer Jiang Xiaojuan, 29, was feeding nine babies at one point.

Officer Jiang Xiaojuan, 29, the mother of a 6-month-old boy, responded to the call of duty and the instincts of motherhood when the magnitude-7.9 quake struck on May 12.

"I am breast-feeding, so I can feed babies. I didn't think of it much," she said. "It is a mother's reaction and a basic duty as a police officer to help."

The death toll in the earthquake jumped Thursday to more than 51,000, and more than 29,000 are missing, according to government figures. Thousands of children have been orphaned; many others have mothers who simply can't feed them.
At one point, Jiang was feeding nine babies.

"Some of the moms were injured; their fathers were dead ... five of them were orphans. They've gone away to an orphanage now," she said.

She still feeds two babies, including Zhao Lyuyang, son of a woman who survived the quake but whose breast milk stopped flowing because of the traumatic conditions.

"We walked out of the mountains for a long time. I hadn't eaten in days when I got here, and my milk was not enough," said that mother, Zhao Zong Jun. "She saved my baby. I thank her so much. I can't express how I feel."

Liu Rong, another mother whose breast milk stopped in the trauma, was awed by Jiang's kindness.

"I am so touched because she has her own baby, but she fed the disaster babies first," Liu said. "If she hadn't fed my son, he wouldn't have had enough to eat."
Jiang has became a celebrity, followed by local media and proclaimed on a newspaper front page as "China's Mother No. 1

She's embarrassed by the fuss.

"I think what I did was normal," she said. "In a quake zone, many people do things for others. This was a small thing, not worth mentioning."

There has been a huge outpouring of support from families who want to adopt babies orphaned by the quake. But that process takes time, and there are mouths to feed.

Jiang misses her own son, who's being cared for through the emergency by in-laws in another town, but she is aware of the new connections she's made.
"I feel about these kids I fed just like my own. I have a special feeling for them. They are babies in a disaster."

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Wear Your Seatbelt

wear your seatbelt

risks are everywhere... and it's not uncommon to take precautions to reduce those risks, even if those precautions only reduce part and not all of the risk...

women take birth control to reduce, though not eliminate, the risk of pregnancy.

men and women use condoms to reduce, though not eliminate, the risk of disease and pregnancy.

people lock their car doors to reduce, though not eliminate, the risk of having their car stolen.

children and adults wash their hands frequently to reduce, though not eliminate, the risk of spreading illness and disease.

parents vaccinate their children to reduce, though not eliminate, the risk of childhood and other serious diseases.

these examples are precautions that most people take rather seriously...

there's another precaution mothers can take that reduces (though does not eliminate) many risks, and continues to do so into adulthood, that many mothers ignore....


breastfeeding has been shown to reduce the risk of a multitude of health problems for infants, toddlers, and children, including diabetes, allergies, mental illness, respitory infections, ear infections, certain cancers (including breast and reproductive cancers), childhood obesity, dental cavities, and urinary tract infections, among many others... even death (infant mortality rate is much lower among breastfed babies including the reduced risk of SIDS) ... and as pointed out earlier, these reduced risks last well into adulthood...

breastfeeding has also been shown to reduce the risk of serious health problems for the mothers, including post-partum hemorrhaging, post-partum depression, breast and reproductive cancers, and osteoporosis, among others.

unlike the majority of other precautions we take, breastfeeding reduces multiple risks.

so it's a little funny that many mothers who choose not to breastfeed often use rationalized reasoning based on only one or two instances from their own limited experiences: "my mother was breastfed and she still got breast cancer" or "my friend breastfed her son and he had alot of ear infections"... nevermind that there's never complete information in these rationalizations (for example, that friend may have only breastfed for a few months, or the mother may have been on estrogen therapy after a hysterectomy), but that quite often these women are the same women who faithfully relied on birth control despite knowing one or more women who became pregnant while on it or still lock their car doors religiously despite knowing someone who (or themselves) has had their car broken into or stolen despite the locks.

why is so much faith put into precautions that have single purposes but so little (to none) put into one that offers so much? how does one or two instances of only one or two of the risks not prevented by breastfeeding override the rest of the extensive list of risk reductions?

though we know not every adult and child using their seatbelt or carseat will walk away from or even survive a car crash, we are still conscientious in using them each and every time we get into a car...

as parents, we want to do everything in our power to keep our children safe and healthy...

make sure you and your children wear your seatbelts.... and make your best effort to breastfeed.

by Leona Kreiner

Monday, March 10, 2008

Bacteria Mix in Guts of Babies Predicts Obesity

Another reason why breast is best!;_ylt=AsJoZudMQJvA6KqKgnCGMb3VJRIF

By Kathleen Doheny
HealthDay Reporter
Fri Mar 7, 11:47 PM ET

FRIDAY, March 7 (HealthDay News) -- The mix of bacteria in a baby's gut may predict whether that infant will become overweight or obese later in life, a new study suggests.
Babies with high numbers of bifidobacteria and low numbers of Staphylococcus aureus may be protected from excess weight gain, according to a team of researchers from the University of Turku in Finland.
Their study was published in the March issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
The researchers suggested their findings may help explain why breast-fed babies are at lower risk for later obesity, since bifidobacteria are prevalent in the guts of breast-fed babies.
Other studies repeatedly have found that being breast-fed is associated with a reduced risk of excess weight or obesity in childhood, with the risk lowered from 13 percent to 22 percent.
In the new study, researchers evaluated children who had been part of a long-term study to evaluate the effect of probiotics on allergic disease. Probiotics are potentially beneficial bacteria found in foods such as yogurt and in dietary supplements.
The children had been evaluated at birth, five more times before age 2, and then again at ages 4 and 7. The researchers in the original study had also tested for intestinal microbes in fecal samples collected at 6 months and 12 months.
For this latest study, the Finnish researchers selected 49 participants from the larger study -- 25 of them were overweight or obese at age 7 years, and 24 were normal weight at the same age.
When they looked at the fecal samples, the average bacterial counts of bifidobacteria when taken at 6 months and 12 months were twice as high in those who were a healthy weight as in those who got heavy.
Those who stayed at a healthy weight also had lower fecal S. aureus levels at 6 months and 12 months than did those who got heavy.
The S. aureus may trigger low-grade inflammation, the authors speculated, and that may also contribute to developing obesity.
In other research, gut bacteria in adults have been found to be altered in obese adults who lost weight. Someday, the Finnish researchers speculated, tinkering with gut flora may help prevent or treat obesity.
The latest study doesn't pinpoint exactly why intestinal bacteria are linked with the development of obesity, said Connie Diekman, director of university nutrition at Washington University in St. Louis and president of the American Dietetic Association.
"The exact role that bacteria in the intestine play in development of obesity is still the subject of much research," she said, "but the benefits of breast-feeding are clear. Breast-feeding provides not only the proper nutrition for your infant, but it provides benefits that may impact long-term health and weight issues as well."
However, she added that, "while breast-feeding may play a role in the weight of children, so many other factors influence weight that parents shouldn't ignore good role modeling of healthy food choices, proper portions and regular physical activity. Healthy weight is a combination of factors, and no single issue will be the cause of weight gain or the magic answer to weight loss."
Another expert who has studied how obesity changes microbes in the gut calls the new study unique, because it collected information over several years and could look for differences in gut microflora. "The finding, that the lean children harbored higher levels of bifidobacteria at younger ages, is very intriguing," says Ruth Ley, a research assistant professor at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.
Still, she says, research on the role of gut bacteria in regulating body weight is in the very early stages.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Breastmilk Contains Stem Cells

This is nothing short of amazing!!!!!

By Catherine Madden

Mammary stem cells (red/blue) and differentiatedadult mammary cells (green) isolated from humanbreast milk.
The Perth scientist who made the world-first discovery that human breast milk contains stem cells is confident that within five years scientists will be harvesting them to research treatment for conditions as far-reaching as spinal injuries, diabetes and Parkinson’s disease.
But what Dr Mark Cregan is excited about right now is the promise that his discovery could be the start of many more exciting revelations about the potency of breast milk.
He believes that it not only meets all the nutritional needs of a growing infant but contains key markers that guide his or her development into adulthood.
“We already know how breast milk provides for the baby’s nutritional needs, but we are only just beginning to understand that it probably performs many other functions,” says Dr Cregan, a molecular biologist at The University of Western Australia.
He says that, in essence, a new mother’s mammary glands take over from the placenta to provide the development guidance to ensure a baby’s genetic destiny is fulfilled.
“It is setting the baby up for the perfect development,” he says. “We already know that babies who are breast fed have an IQ advantage and that there’s a raft of other health benefits. Researchers also believe that the protective effects of being breast fed continue well into adult life.
“The point is that many mothers see milks as identical – formula milk and breast milk look the same so they must be the same. But we know now that they are quite different and a lot of the effects of breast milk versus formula don’t become apparent for decades. Formula companies have focussed on matching breast milk’s nutritional qualities but formula can never provide the developmental guidance.”
It was Dr Cregan’s interest in infant health that led him to investigate the complex cellular components of human milk. “I was looking at this vast complexity of cells and I thought, ‘No one knows anything about them’.”
His hunch was that if breast milk contains all these cells, surely it has their precursors, too?
His team cultured cells from human breast milk and found a population that tested positive for the stem cell marker, nestin. Further analysis showed that a side population of the stem cells were of multiple lineages with the potential to differentiate into multiple cell types. This means the cells could potentially be “reprogrammed” to form many types of human tissue.
He presented his research at the end of January to 200 of the world’s leading experts in the field at the International Conference of the Society for Research on Human Milk and Lactation in Perth.
“We have shown these cells have all the physical characteristics of stem cells. What we will do next is to see if they behave like stem cells,” he says.
If so, they promise to provide researchers with an entirely ethical means of harvesting stem cells for research without the debate that has dogged the harvesting of cells from embryos.
Further research on immune cells, which have also been found in breast milk and have already been shown to survive the baby’s digestive process, could provide a pathway to developing targets to beat certain viruses or bacteria.
A story provided by ScienceNetwork WA - Activate your connections to science. For permission to reproduce this article please contact ScienceNetwork. Related Stories: Clues to causes of cancer spreadLow-fat milk 'for chicks'Estrogen linked to breast cancerTumour cells are the true targetWallaby milk to improve dairy products

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

thoughts on breastfeeding....

I'm gonna try my post from yesterday one more time. IMHO, if you really did your "research" NOW, not at the time your child was born, you would know the studies are not biased - esp when studies from BOTH sides of the fence show the same thing. No one is saying "MUST" or "DIE".

Disco gave a great example with McDonald's earlier. I enjoy eating at McDonald's once in a while but I do so with the knowledge that it is not as good for me as making my own lunch and eating something healthy. I also know that by eating there it raises my RISKS for certain health problems later. Am I guarenteed to experience those health problems? No, but I am increasing my RISKS of developing them.

I don't know that people are STUPID for not believing but it does make them unaware and uninformed. You don't have to believe the facts but it doesn't make them untrue either.

I still think the point is that the risk comes moreso from NOT breastfeeding than from giving formula b/c you do not gain the benefits of bf. That's just sorta common sense to me. Formula IS a man-made material. Nothing man-made can truly compare to what is natural and carries some risks.

Maybe look at it this way (not sure if this is a good example or not) we know what health benefits come from eating fruits and veggies. Sure supplements are good but they are just that supplements, they are not as good as the real thing. According to the CDC when compared to people who eat only small amounts of fruits and vegetables, those who eat more generous amounts, as part of a healthy diet, tend to have reduced risk of chronic diseases. These diseases include stroke, type 2 diabetes, some types of cancer, and perhaps cardiovascular disease and hypertension.

It's the same with bfing, imo. Those who do bf and their children who are bf tend to have a reduced risk of various diseases, illnesses and health problems than those who don't and aren't. Although I think formula could be tested better, like the ingredients, I think it is more the NOT bfing, not getting what is natural, not doing what is natural (b/c bf benefits both mother and child) that puts one at a higher risk. When a baby is not breastfed (regardless of what they are given as a substitute) they miss out on:

Human milk protein (and get Cow's milk protein)
Human fats (and get Vegetable fats)
Human nucleotides (and get Nucleotides made from vegetable extract )
Living cells
Germ fighting proteins and carbohydrates

The protein, fat and nucleotides in breast milk come right from mom. They are designed by nature for your baby's brain growth. The protein, fat and nucleotides in formula come from animals and vegetables instead of mom. They are not designed by nature for your baby's brain growth.

Breast milk also contains living cells, antibodies and germ-fighting proteins and carbohydrates. They help prevent your baby from getting sick. Breast milk is baby's first immunization! Formula does not contain any germ-fighting nutrients. Only moms can make them! Science cannot duplicate them!

It's simple logic to believe that by NOT getting those living cells, antibodies and germ-fighting proteins and carbohydrates that it will effect someone's health in some way. I don't need a scientifical study to prove it, it's just common sense to me.

This is from the Nestle website: [italics mine]

Should all mothers be encouraged to breastfeed exclusively for the first 6 months?

Yes, breast milk is the ideal food for healthy growth and development of babies. In 2001 the World Health Organization (WHO) changed its recommended duration of exclusive breastfeeding from 4 to 6 months to 6 months, therefore breastfeeding should be encouraged and promoted accordingly.
Infant formula is the best nutritional alternative for those babies who are not breastfed.
Every mother has the right to choose what she feels is best for herself and her baby on the basis of objective information and advice from a qualified health professional.

Mothers should first and foremost be encouraged and supported to breast feed their baby.

Nestlé has always emphasised the superiority of breastfeeding.

Infant formula is the only product recommended by the UN's food standards body as an appropriate substitute for breast-milk.

Even one of the largest formula companies in the world recognizes the inadequacy of formula when compared to breastmilk.
by SarahC

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Weaning a Preschooler

One of the very last pictures I have of my son nursing. He weaned when he was 4 1/2 years old, while I was pregnant, with some gentle encouragement from me. There was just no milk left for him, and he kept checking to see that it was empty. He nursed for the last time on December 21st, 2007.

Friday, January 25, 2008

101 Reasons to Breastfeed Your Baby

101 Reasons To Breastfeed Your Baby
Written by Leslie Burby© All rights reserved.

1. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends it

2. Breastfeeding promotes bonding between mother and baby

3. Breastfeeding satisfies baby's emotional needs

4. Breast milk provides perfect infant nutrition

5. Not breastfeeding increases mother's risk of breast cancer

6. Formula feeding increases baby girls' risk of developing breast cancer in later life

7. Formula Feeding is associated with lower I.Q.

8. Breast milk is always ready and comes in a nicer package than formula does

9. Breast milk helps pass meconium

10. Breast milk contains immunities to diseases and aids in the development of baby's immune system.

11. Breast milk is more digestible than formula

12. Suckling helps shrink mother's uterus after childbirth

13. Suckling helps prevent post-partum hemorrhage

14. Nursing helps mom lose weight after baby is born

15. Pre-term milk is specially designed for premature infants

16. The World Health Organization and UNICEF recommend it

17. Breastfeeding protects against Crohn's disease (intestinal disorder)

18. Formula feeding increases risk of baby developing type I (juvenile, insulin-dependent) diabetes.

19. Breastfeeding decreases insulin requirements for breastfeeding mothers

20. Breastfeeding stabilizes progress of maternal endometriosis

21. Not breastfeeding increases mother's risk of developing ovarian cancer

22. Not breastfeeding increases mother's risk of developing endometrial cancer

23. Formula feeding increases chances of baby developing allergies

24. Breast milk lowers risk of baby developing asthma

25. Formula feeding increases baby's risk of otitis media (ear infections)

26. Formula feeding may increase risk of sudden infant death syndrome (S.I.D.S.)

27. Breastfeeding protects baby against diarrheal infections

28. Breastfeeding protects baby against bacterial meningitis

29. Breastfeeding protects baby against respiratory infections

30. Formula fed babies have a higher risk of developing certain childhood lymphomas

31. Breastfeeding decreases chances of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis

32. Breastfeeding decreases child's chances of contracting Hodgkins disease

33. Breastfeeding protects baby against vision defects

34. Breastfeeding decreases chances of maternal osteoporosis in later life

35. Breast milk is an intestinal soother

36. Cows milk is an intestinal irritant

37. Formula-fed babies are more at risk for obesity in later life

38. Breastfed babies have less chance of cardiopulmonary distress while feeding

39. Breastfed babies have less chance of developing ulcerative colitis

40. Breast milk protects against hemophilus b. virus

41. Breastfed babies require shorter pre and post-surgical fasting

42. Breastfeeding results in less sick days for parents

43. Breastfeeding enhances vaccine effectiveness

44. Breastfed babies have less chance of developing necrotizing enterocolitis

45. Breastfeeding is a natural contraceptive

46. Breastfeeding is easier than using formula

47. Breast milk is free

48. Formula is expensive

49. Formula costs the government (and taxpayers) millions of dollars

50. Breast milk is always the right temperature

51. Breast milk always has the right proportions of fat, carbohydrates and protein

52. Breast milk acts like a natural tranquilizer for baby

53. Breastfeeding acts like a natural tranquilizer for mom

54. Breast milk tastes better than formula

55. Breastfed babies are healthier over-all

56. Breastfed babies are less likely to die before their third birthday

57. Breastfed babies require fewer doctor visits

58. Breastfeeding mothers spend less time and money on doctor visits

59. Fewer waste packaging products

60. No bottles to tote

61. Less cow induced global greenhouse gasses

62. No need to refrigerate

63. Cows milk is designed for baby cows

64. Human milk is designed for baby humans

65. Natural pain relief for baby

66. Perfect food for sick baby

67. More sleep for mom

68. More sleep for baby

69. More sleep for dad

70. Less equipment to maintain and store

71. Less equipment to buy

72. Breast milk has never been recalled

73. Fresh breast milk is never contaminated with bacteria

74. No need to worry about which brand is better

75. No need to worry about adding contaminated water

76. Breastfeeding helps reduce cruelty to farm animals

77. Facilitates proper dental and jaw development

78. Breastfed babies get fewer cavities

79. Less money spent on corrective orthodontia

80. Better speech development

81. Less chance of baby getting eczema

82. Breastfed babies have great skin

83. Less gastrointestinal reflux (Spit-up)

84. Easier to clean spit-up stains

85. Breast milk contains no genetically engineered materials

86. Contains no synthetic growth hormones

87. Lack of breastfeeding associated with multiple sclerosis

88. Less chance of inguinal hernia

89. Better cognitive development

90. Better social development

91. Decreased risk of baby developing urinary tract infections

92. Suckling optimizes hand-to-eye coordination

93. Protects mothers against anemia (iron deficiency)

94. Less money spent on menstrual supplies

95. Self confidence booster for mom

96. Breast milk is good for combatting eye infections

97. Breast milk is a good natural antibiotic for wounds

98. No worry about latest ingredient discovered to be missing from formula

99. Much nicer diaper changes

100. Breastfed babies smell fantastic

101. It's what breasts were designed for!

For the medical resources supporting these reasons to breastfeed your baby... please go to