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!