What is the law in your state?

The states in the US vary widely in the implementation of laws that protect a breastfeeding mother and baby...

Breastfeeding gift ideas for an expecting mom

A reader asks: I am attending a baby shower for a friend. I'd like to get her something that will help make her breastfeeding experience more comfortable. What should I buy?

The sole requirement for NIP

During my pregnancy with my youngest son, one of the parts of motherhood that I looked most forward to was nursing. ...

International and Religious views of NIP

Think nursing in public is only a concern in the United States? If so, is it our religious roots that has instilled our country's prudish (and misguided) desire for "discretion"?

Where are our breastfeeding role models?

I saw a woman breastfeeding her three month old son while walking around the busy farmer's market yesterday morning...

Friday, December 10, 2010

Pumping in the Bathroom Is Like Putting a Blanket Over Your Head

My first attempt at breastfeeding I consider unsuccessful. I nursed my daughter for the first 4 months of her life and then returned to work. I bought a pump and was determined to use it but found lack of support for the ability to continue to feed my daughter breastmilk.
When I approached the subject of a place to pump in my workplace, my (female, childless) boss was kind and supportive and offered to let me use her office space. As the weeks went on and I visited her office at the same time every day (there was only ONE short break in my schedule that allowed time) it became more and more inconvenient for her. Some days she had a meeting, other days she had too much work to get done and could not spare her office for that time, and some days she was just gone at the scheduled time and the door was locked.
The toilet is no place for a breastpump.
The only other option was the public bathroom. The pump was LOUD. It sounded weird coming from one of the stalls, and I was the only woman on that campus that recently had given birth. Somehow, pumping in the bathroom made me feel ashamed. I was so stressed-out by the situation that I was not able to relax, not able to release as much milk, and I wanted the bathroom horror to be over as quickly as possible, so I would sometimes give up pumping after only going at it for a few minutes. You can imagine what happened.
The office availability became less and less, which led me to the bathroom more and more. The stress of being forced to pump in there, combined with my lack of authority, led to days where I had less and less milk to bring home to my baby. I then resorted to pumping while driving home at night in my car for my hour-long commute. This did not work either but was a last-ditch effort that my hormones told me was a good idea.
I was an emotional wreck to say the least. You can ask my husband; I was not a fun person to live with. I would come home every day and just cry almost uncontrollably for hours over the guilty feelings I was having. Not only was I leaving my first born to the care of someone else to go back to work, but also now I was faced with a situation I was unprepared for. I am a breastfeeding advocate, just like I am a natural birthing advocate and here I was, giving up nourishing my daughter with the best food I knew was available, her momma’s milk.
I did not choose to stop breastfeeding my daughter. I was forced to by a society that does not place value in breastfeeding. I believe it is the same issue as nursing in public. Why is feeding a baby breastmilk so unsupported by our society? Why are new mothers made to feel bad about this? What I am hearing is “cover your head with a blanket,” “pump in the bathroom.” Why are we doing this to our mothers? It’s an outrage that our society is treating ANYONE this way. Why are we made to feel shameful for something that is natural and that we know is right in our hearts, bodies, and minds?
If anything, this negative experience has made me a stronger breastfeeding advocate. This is a human rights issue. The next time around I choose not to be quiet. I choose not to be ashamed. I choose not to feel guilty, though I will always suffer from the guilt of quitting the first time around. I am nursing my next daughter come hell or high water. And watch me do it - whenever and wherever she needs it.

We are honored to host a guest post today from Amy. Amy is trained as an Art Therapist and Marriage and Family Therapist. She currently resides in Sonoma County California with her two young girls (16 months and 2 months), her husband, and dog. Both of her girls were born naturally, the first one at a birth center and the second at home. Her interests which fuel her writing and artwork include women's rights, natural parenting, natural childbirth, breastfeeding, attachment parenting, green living choices including cloth diapering, and vaccination choice.
Amy's creative ventures include oil painting and honing her writing skills at birthactivist.com. She has also recently started doing graphic design for a photographer and produces photo cards, announcements, etc. You can see some of her work on Modern Heritage Photography and Design's Facebook page.

This article is edited from a previous version published at birthactivist.com

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Pump and Go, Part 2

Bottles create problems for babies and mothers.
“There is no reason to offer bottles on a daily basis if you are not routinely separated from baby just so that he will continue to accept one. Doing so may also compromise your milk supply and make it more likely that your baby may begin to prefer the ease of the bottle.” (1)

A common issue with bottles and the breastfed baby is that a lot of breastfed babies will refuse a bottle when mom is present or simply won’t take one at all. Moms know that a hungry baby can mean an angry baby. Fighting to give a baby a bottle he/she doesn’t want isn’t something anyone wants to do, and as someone who may be in a restaurant with a mom in this situation I can say I’d MUCH rather see a mom nurse her baby than hear a hungry baby refuse a bottle.

A video from my friend, her son was born prematurely and had to have bottles in the NICU, she successfully got him to the breast and he has no problem telling you he’d rather have that:

On the opposite side of bottle refusal is nipple confusion. This can be a huge issue, particularly early in a breastfeeding relationship and it’s a problem that sabotages a lot of mom and baby pairs.

This problem can occur with just one bottle or many and although it is of utmost concern when baby is just learning to nurse, the risk remains as they grow as well. The differences in the nipple and the flow can create confusion or preference in the child that can lead to him/her refusing the breast.

“During breastfeeding a baby's tongue, jaw, and mouth work together in a coordinated rhythm. This unique sucking action is one reason why breastfed babies overall have better oral development than bottle-fed babies. Once the baby latches on, the tongue comes down and out as it cups the breast. The lips must be flanged out resembling a rose petal or a fish's lips. Letdown can sometimes takes several seconds to perhaps more than a minute to occur. The baby learns that he does not get an instant reward; he must "work" for mother's milk.

With bottle-feeding, the baby is instantly met with a flood of milk as a bottle will allow milk flow without active sucking. This sudden gush forces the baby to flip his tongue upward to help regulate the flow and prevent him from choking. His lips are pursed tightly around the firmer artificial nipple and no work is required of his jaws.

One study found that 95% of babies will become confused if given a bottle during the first 3-4 weeks of life. For some babies it may take many bottles before they show any nipple confusion; for others it can take only one or two. For this reason it is best to avoid offering your baby a bottle before he is 4 weeks of age.” (2)

A bottle can become contaminated in a number of ways and once milk is expressed it is no longer guaranteed to remain sterile. Milk from the breast is naturally sterile as is the nipple which delivers it. "Within the areola there are sebaceous glands (which secrete oil to soften and protect the skin), sweat glands, and Montgomery's glands, which are believed to produce a substance that lubricates the nipple and protects it from germs.” The breast has its own system of cleaning, meaning the nipple remains clean for baby to nurse from (to a certain extent of course, hygiene also plays its role). Nursing a baby therefore is a guaranteed way of delivering uncontaminated milk whereas the risk is always there that a pumped bottle can contain bacteria either to poor sterilization, improper milk storage or exposure to contaminants.

Bottle feeding increases a mother’s risk of contracting thrush. Thrush is a yeast infection found either in a baby’s mouth or on a mother’s nipple, often times both. Like any yeast infection, moist, sugary environments are possible breeding grounds and a bottle is no exception. Breast milk is high in lactose, a sugar, and a baby’s mouth or a bottle and pump are both places thrush likes to grow, as well as on mom’s nipple. A baby can pass thrush to mom, having picked it up off their bottle. Now thrush is not exclusive to bottles or pumps and a breastfeeding mom is not exempt from catching it if she avoids pumping and bottle feeding (pacifiers also can pass thrush). I’m merely saying that a mom is giving thrush another place to grow if she pumps and bottle-feeds and for moms (or babies) that are on antibiotics this further increases their chances of getting thrush.

Also, as with formula feeding, bottle-feeding (when done incorrectly) breast milk can lead to increased ear infections, dental caries and all of the other bottle-related issues. (3)

In conclusion, nursing really is what is best for a mother and baby and moms shouldn’t have to feel like they need to hide that. While the average person may not see the issue in a mother pumping and bottle-feeding, there is plenty of information that proves that breastfeeding is far easier and preferable to pumping and bottle-feeding. Moms shouldn’t feel pressured into doing something they don’t want to do, and if a mother decides she would rather pump that’s fine too. Moms deserve to go into it knowing the facts on both sides. If a mother prefers to pump because she really doesn’t want to nurse in public, for whatever reason, I’ll support her as well. But no mother should be bullied into hiding or pumping beforehand just because someone else takes offense to her nursing in public and thinks that is the “solution.”

1) http://www.motherandchildhealth.com/Breastfeeding/Becky/breastfed_bottle.html
2) http://www.breastfeed-essentials.com/avoidingnipple.html
3) http://www.bottle-feeding-baby.com/bottle-feeding-problems.php
*Note: Please note this is NOT anti-exclusive pumping (EPing), EPing is very hard and takes a great deal of dedication from a mother, I applaud and commend any mother who has EPed for her child and want to state that breast milk in a bottle is far superior to formula. This conversation is solely for the purpose of stating what trouble pumping can entail, and if anything maybe give some insight as to what mothers who EP have had to face in their dedication to giving their child the best they can.

This article is edited from a previous version published at Life's a Salad Bar.  
Anna is an army wife, mother to a "spirited" toddler, fitness coach, future lactation consultant and advocate of natural, gentle parenting. She stays busy and occasionally blogs (or rants) about her ideas and interests at Life's A Salad Bar.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Pump and Go, Part 1

One of the things I hear from people who don’t support nursing in public (NIP) is the argument that moms can or should pump their milk to feed to their babies while out. Violating our children’s and our own rights aside, following this suggestion can lead to a plethora of problems such as differences in the milk, excess lipase, plugged ducts, mastitis, thrush, bottle preference or nipple confusion, contamination, increased risk of ear infections and dental carries and unnecessary frustration for both baby and mom. While many women successfully pump or have reasons that make pumping necessary, women who do not need to pump should be able to nurse on demand. Opponents of nursing in public who use the argument that women should pump, often do so out of ignorance. Breastfeeding moms deserve to know that pumping and breastfeeding are not the same, nor is pumping a solution to the problem regarding nursing in public. Education, tolerance and support are the only solution.

Pumped milk and the milk a baby receives via nursing are not the same.
In order to best explain the difference between expressed milk and milk that a baby gets via nursing, I have to explain some of the mechanics of breast milk production and delivery.

A mother’s milk is constantly changing in composition to meet her child’s needs. A lot of people don’t realize that each time a baby nurses they get a different meal, and when a mom pumps, her baby is unable to signal to the breast what changes need to be made in the milk to suit his/her needs:

"A surprising fact is that the composition of breast milk changes with each feeding, so no matter what time of day it is, or what season, mother's milk will adjust to the specific needs of her baby. This is true for the nursing newborn or the nursing toddler- a mother's body will adjust to provide exactly what is needed nutritionally. So, as a child's vitamin and mineral requirements change, so will the concentration of these important nutrients in breast milk. One theory for this is that the baby's saliva signals specific nutritional requirements to the mother." (1)

While just one pumping session, or infrequent ones, aren’t likely to affect milk composition in the grand scheme of things, one can see how pumped breast milk vs. nursing at the breast can mean a slight deviation from the baby’s needs. Suppose a mother wants to go out and bring along some milk she pumped the other day. Maybe baby needed more of a certain vitamin and her body has that “in stock” now, but didn’t when she pumped. Maybe she’s been exposed to a new antibody or germ and her milk is producing some protection for her baby, and baby is missing out on it with what she pumped before. This may not be a problem if she is just going to nurse later, but that’s still one less meal custom made for baby.
Also, something a mom wouldn’t run into when nursing that can become an issue with pumped milk is excess lipase. “Lipase is an enzyme that is normally present in human milk and has several known beneficial functions:  Lipases help keep milk fat well-mixed (emulsified) with the "whey" portion of the milk, and also keep the fat globules small so that they are easily digestible (Lawrence & Lawrence, p. 156).
Lipases also help to break down fats in the milk, so that fat soluble nutrients (vitamins A & D, for example) and free fatty acids (which help to protect baby from illness) are easily available to baby (Lawrence & Lawrence, p. 156).
The primary lipase in human milk, bile salt-stimulated lipase (BSSL), "has been found to be the major factor inactivating protozoans" (Lawrence & Lawrence, p. 203).”

When milk is pumped some mothers find that they have excess lipase. Excess lipase causes milk to smell sour or rancid, and if a mom didn’t scald the milk, it’s not fit to give the baby if it has soured.

“Scalding the milk will destroy some of the anti-infective properties of the milk and may lower some nutrient levels, but this is not likely to be an issue unless all of the milk that baby is receiving has been heat-treated.” (2)

A mom that has excess lipase that scalds her milk to give to baby also alters the composition and milk is less nutritious than if baby had simply nursed.

Pumping can cause health issues for mothers.
A baby (when nursing correctly) removes milk better than even a hospital grade pump. Say a mom pumps before she goes out and intends to feed the baby pumped milk to avoid nursing in public. When milk is not removed from the breast well enough, a mother runs the risk of getting plugged ducts, or even worse, mastitis. While pumping just once doesn’t guarantee a mother will get a plugged duct, it’s a risk she takes each time she pumps. (3)
Pumping can negatively impact a mother’s milk supply if the breasts are not emptied effectively. Milk production is supply and demand. The more milk removed, the more replaced. Since we know a baby removes milk best, pumping leaves behind milk and therefore signals to the breast that it doesn’t need to make more. Over time this can impact a mother’s milk supply. (4)
Another issue with pumping is that some moms just really don’t respond well to the pump
Pumping is hard work, time consuming, there are a lot of issues a mom could run into and really, it’s just not as enjoyable as nursing, which releases hormones that soothe both a mother and child. Milk storage is also time consuming and mothers have to be careful with milk so it doesn’t become contaminated. This can cause a great deal of stress on mom, which is unhealthy and ultimately unnecessary.

Please stop by NursingFreedom.org this Wednesday, December 22 for Part 2 of Pump and Go.

(1) http://www.midwifeanddoula.com/breastfeeding.htm
(2) http://www.kellymom.com/bf/pumping/lipase-expressedmilk.html
(3) http://www.kellymom.com/bf/concerns/mom/mastitis.html#usualcause
(4) http://www.kellymom.com/bf/supply/milkproduction.html#supply
*Note: Please note this is NOT anti-exclusive pumping (EPing), EPing is very hard and takes a great deal of dedication from a mother, I applaud and commend any mother who has EPed for her child and want to state that breast milk in a bottle is far superior to formula. This conversation is solely for the purpose of stating what trouble pumping can entail, and if anything maybe give some insight as to what mothers who EP have had to face in their dedication to giving their child the best they can.
This article is edited from a previous version published at Life's a Salad Bar. 
Anna is an army wife, mother to a "spirited" toddler, fitness coach, future lactation consultant and advocate of natural, gentle parenting. She stays busy and occasionally blogs (or rants) about her ideas and interests at Life's A Salad Bar.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Giveaway: 2011 Beauty of Mothering Calendar $15 ARV {12.31; US/Can.}

This is a joint giveaway with NursingFreedom.org and Code Name: Mama. You may enter at one site only. Please find the section marked "Win it!" for the mandatory main entry and optional bonus entries.
June 2011

Beauty of Mothering is offering our readers a giveaway of a 2011 Beauty of Mothering Calendar!

This week, I had the opportunity to interview Nicky, one of the creators of a new calendar called Beauty of Mothering. I'd like to share with you some of her breastfeeding journey, as well as tell you about the calendar.

Nicky's Story
Nicky had a number of obstacles to overcome with breastfeeding, but she had luck (and good support!) on her side. In her words:
There were some struggles at first, especially because CJ, my son, was born with spina bifida myelomeningocele. Because we didn’t know he had spina bifida while I was pregnant with him, I was able to give birth naturally with a midwife at a birthing suite. This really ended up being the best thing for breastfeeding, because the midwives put him to the breast and got him nursing right away. After we got to the emergency room at the nearest hospital, the midwives had me nurse him again while we were waiting for the doctor. We were very lucky to get nursing started in those first few hours, otherwise it might have been a week before I was able to nurse him and he would have only have been tube and bottle fed, with no experience at the breast. We were also lucky because there were a couple of nurses who were breastfeeding moms on staff in the ER that night and they helped me get started with pumping. The doctor who was on duty didn’t know anything about breastfeeding and under his advice we almost threw out the little bit of colostrum I pumped that night! It was a nurse who came in and told us to save it. She called it “liquid gold”.
They spent at least two weeks in the hospital getting proper treatment for CJ. Nicky used the hospital electric pumps in the pump rooms, but felt sad for missing out on 30 minutes of time with CJ each time she needed to pump. Finally, after 9 days in the hospital, she was able to put him to the breast again, but even then there were complications associated with all the wiring to which CJ was connected. She had to think outside the box to find a position that was comfortable:
What ended up helping was inventing a new nursing position. I had to kind of sit CJ on my knee while supporting his head and neck. I’d get him latched on and then he would start sucking. He stopped waking up hungry, put on more weight, and eventually the tube feedings were phased out altogether. He took right to nursing and preferred it over the bottle.
Nicky was also blessed with a husband, JC, who is extremely supportive of breastfeeding. In fact he came up with the idea for the calendar and did all the photography! After seeing very little breastfeeding photography, and mostly of a low quality, they decided to do their part to normalize nursing by creating this calendar.

May 2011
Beauty of Mothering Calendar
When reviewing any product, the first thing I check is whether the item is functional or not. So, for your benefit, I flipped through this calendar and found it fully functional. It contains all 12 months (in fact, it actually features a baker's dozen! There's Dec 2010 in there so you can get started right away!) and all 365 days. Besides months and days, it also provides you with the lunar cycles and notifications of important Awareness months, such as Breastfeeding Awareness Month and Prematurity Awareness Month. And it includes a hole at the top for hanging (I just read a review online of a calendar that was missing this important feature!)

So, with functionality out of the way, we can move on to the cover. It's a beautiful photo that conveys perfectly the theme: Beauty of Mothering. Each month features a mother and baby breastfeeding along with a quote. As the December 2010 page states: “This calendar is an effort to . . . show breastfeeding as natural, good, beautiful, and essentially feminine.” The photographs look professional and artistic, and the calendar is high-quality and arrived in perfect condition.

I would say that my favorite month's image is June. The photo angle and the colors (yellow shirts on mom and baby, and yellow sunflowers on green grass) are eye-pleasing, and there's a sweet quote from Homer, Hymn to Hermes:
“A little child born yesterday
A thing on mother's milk and kisses fed.”
You can admire all of the images and quotes on the Beauty of Mothering website.

My main complaint (and I think Nicky agrees with me) is that there wasn't more diversity in the women featured. She told me that she had originally planned for a variety in age and ethnicity, as well as photographs of tandem nursing mothers. However, she found that she was unable to get enough willing participants close enough for them to do a photography session. They do have plans for more calendars in the future with a variety of mothering themes, including another similar breastfeeding calendar next year.

Besides getting this calendar for your own home, I recommend buying copies as donations for local establishments that may have an impact on new mothers, like doctor's offices and WIC offices.

I asked Nicky if she had any advice/thoughts to share with our readers, and she recommended seeing a pediatric chiropractor:
[Our Chiropractor] explained that birth is hard work for moms and babies and that even the most gentle, natural birth can still lead to a baby’s jaw being pushed out of alignment. When this happens, the baby often can’t open up her mouth all the way in order to establish a proper latch. Some babies will use a little ingenuity and move their mouths in a side-to-side “sawing” motion to trigger the milk ejection, and this has the unfortunate effect of making the mother feel as though she is nursing a piranha! A pediatric chiropractor can adjust the baby’s jaw and put it back into alignment so she can open up properly and get a good latch. Adjustments on babies are very, very gentle. It looks like a very gentle massage with fingertips or like the chiropractor is just feeling around the head and spine with her fingertips. I’ve heard so many mothers talk about how their babies just weren’t able to get the milk they needed from breastfeeding or how breastfeeding was just so painful they couldn’t do it, and I’ve wondered how many of these mothers and babies could have been helped by seeing a pediatric chiropractor. (I’ve also heard that osteopaths can adjust jaws too.) The International Chiropractic Pediatric Association is a good place to look for a pediatric chiropractor or other information. Their website is www.icpa4kids.org .
I have to agree with Nicky and recommend chiropractic during pregnancy to prepare for birth in addition to chiropractic for all members of the family after the birth!

One thing Nicky said really summed up the calendar for me:
Breastfeeding isn’t all sunshine and roses, but there are moments when you have this sweet little baby latched on to the breast and he’s just so content and feeling so loved, that you just have to smile because it’s one of the most tender things in the world. We don’t see many images of breastfeeding, especially positive ones. We’re hoping to change that.


August 2011
You can buy one of these beautiful calendars online from Beauty of Mothering.

2011 Beauty of Mothering Breastfeeding Wall Calendars are 13 month (December 2010 through December 2011), 12x12", and include lunar cycles and breastfeeding quotes. Each calendar is $14.99 + $4.99 shipping and handling.

The calendars are available now exclusively through Beauty of Mothering using your choice of Paypal, Amazon Checkout or Google Checkout.

For a limited time, NursingFreedom.org and Code Name: Mama readers can get a 10% discount on the calendars! Click the "Buy Now" button below to get your 10% discount - you can only get it here!

Get one in time for the holidays! Most orders placed before 2:00PM Mountain Time (Monday - Friday) ship the same day. All other orders will ship the next business day. Standard shipping is via First Class mail with estimated delivery in 2 - 4 days.


For your own chance to win a 2011 Beauty of Mothering Breastfeeding Wall Calendar, enter in the comments below! Contest is open to the U.S. and Canada only. (Our apologies international readers!)

MAIN ENTRY: Visit Beauty of Mothering and tell us which of the calendar pictures is your favorite!

Leave a valid email address in your comments (the line where it says "email address") so we can contact you if you win. Email addresses are not made publicly visible.

This is a joint giveaway with NursingFreedom.org and Code Name: Mama. You may enter at one site only, and we'll be recording IP addresses to ensure that there are no duplicate entries. That said, please do check out and enjoy both sites!

BONUS ENTRIES, to increase your chance of winning (leave a separate comment for each so we can count them all):
  • Let us know whether you will keep this calendar or give it as a gift if you win.
  • Like Beauty of Mothering on Facebook.
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  • Share this giveaway with your friends on Facebook. You can use this text as a status update: Enter to win a Beauty of Mothering 2011 Breastfeeding Calendar via @NursingFreedom & @CodeNameMama! {12.31, US/Can.} (Be sure to attach the post's link to your update: http://www.nursingfreedom.org/2010/12/giveaway-2011-beauty-of-mothering.html.)
  • Tweet about this giveaway (up to 3 times total, at least 24 hours apart). Tweet this text: Enter to #win a Beauty of Mothering 2011 #Breastfeeding Calendar via @NursingFreedom & @CodeNameMama! http://bit.ly/exkZgC {12.31, US/Can}
  • Contest open to United States and Canada street mailing addresses only.
  • Contestants may enter at either NursingFreedom.org or CodeNameMama.com but not both. Entries will be combined for the drawing of a single winner.
  • Leave each entry as a separate comment so we can count them all.
  • For actions like following and subscribing, if you already follow or subscribe, just let us know in your comment.
  • For tasks that garner you multiple entries, you can copy and paste the comment with a #1, #2, etc.
  • You don't have to do any of the bonus entries, but you do have to complete the first mandatory one.
  • We will pick the winner through Random.org after the contest closes and send an email notification. Leave a valid email address as you comment so we can contact you if you win. If we can't reach a winner or don't hear back within a couple days, we'll draw a new name.
  • Any questions, let me know: CodeNameMama {at} gmail {dot} com

Contest closes December 31 at 11:59 p.m. CST.

Disclosure: Our reviewer received a free Beauty of Mothering 2011 Calendar 
as a giveaway prize. We try to seek out only products we think you would find
relevant and useful to your life as a breastfeeding mother. If we don't like a 

product, we won't be recommending it to you. 


Nikki, the reviewer of the Beauty of Mothering Breastfeeding Calendar, is NursingFreedom.org's Social Media Manager. You can read more about Nikki on our About page, or interact with her daily on NursingFreedom.org's Facebook and Twitter accounts. We think she rocks!
Dionna, NursingFreedom.org's cofounder, blogs about natural parenting at Code Name: Mama and is also the cofounder of Natural Parents Network.
Special thanks to Lauren of Hobo Mama (and cofounder of Natural Parents Network) for allowing us to duplicate her fabulous giveaway formatting/design.