Why I Want Breastfeeding Moms To Unite

I express myself much better in writing. I always have. Perhaps most people do, but it was glaringly obvious to me after being a guest speaker on The Feminist Breeder and Friend’s Blog Talk Radio Show. Even when I can prepare what I want to say, put me on the spot and it doesn’t come out like I want it to. I guess I did okay though. People said I did. Maybe I should just stop being hard on myself. I know. Welcome to the club, right?

Anyhow, one question Gina, aka, The Feminist Breeder, said she might ask me, which we didn’t get around to, was why I think breastfeeding moms should unite. I realized I’ve never addressed this before and since it didn’t get any air time, I thought I would answer it here.

Why I want breastfeeding moms to unite is why I started this blog.

I have seen attitudes that exist within the breastfeeding community that make some breastfeeding moms feel uncomfortable, in relation to other breastfeeding mothers, about their breastfeeding choices or life circumstances. Usually this is because someone significant in their lives doesn’t support what they are doing or the mom herself doesn’t think it’s the norm or socially acceptable. This could include early weaning, child-led weaning, breastfeeding a toddler, breastfeeding an older child, holding off solids (or introducing them early) and/or breastfeeding in public. Sometimes their feelings of discomfort come from something else completely unrelated to breastfeeding, like having a hospital vs. homebirth experience, or a doctor vs. a midwife-attended birth, and/or parenting beliefs and values that aren’t mainstream (or maybe they are but the values of the people around them aren’t).

A breastfeeding mom may or may not belong to a circle of breastfeeding mothers. Maybe she doesn’t have any breastfeeding friends or she’s the only woman in her family to breastfeed. The members of one’s local La Leche League is often the beginnning of creating a breastfeeding community. However, some La Leche League groups have been accused of not making some moms feel welcome. I have heard this from women of colour, single moms, working moms, lesbian moms and other moms who fit into any of the above categories who just don’t feel like they could be accepted into the perceived clique of their particular La Leche League group.

La Leche League is an organization that makes itself available as a breastfeeding resource and support group to all women. Leaders are trained to ensure that all moms regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, life circumstances, etc. feel welcome to attend meetings and/or call for telephone support. As a worldwide organization it has helped countless breastfeeding women (including me), but as it is with any group, if someone feels like they don’t belong, for whatever reason, she will not likely return. And she’s definitely going to complain! Enough of these kinds of complaints put people off and further widens the gap between all the different kinds of breastfeeding moms.

That’s where Breastfeeding Moms Unite! steps in. While some of you might not always be able to relate to all of my experiences, know that it is my objective to make you feel comfortable here.

Breastfeeding moms should unite because
we need each others support.
we give each other strength to nurse in public and nurse full term.
when we can’t breastfeed as long as we would like to we need to know that we’re not failures, and/or that we did the best we could do with the information that was available to us at the time.
the presence of a breastfeeding mother goes a long way to normalizing breastfeeding and helps to break down misconceptions that breastfeeding is gross or hurts. When people get used to seeing breastfeeding they can then be more open to learning about it.
positive breastfeeding images will help send positive messages to teenage girls, especially those who become teenage moms. This is especially important because breastfeeding rates are so low within this age group.
nursing in public is a right regardless if one chooses to do so. A public breastfeeding mom should know she will be supported by her breastfeeding sisters, even those who choose not to nurse in public themselves.
diversity needs to embraced and celebrated. We are all different. Some of us work and pump, some of us stay at home, some of us breastfeed exclusively, some of us want to but can’t.

But if all of us who breastfeed are passionate about doing what is best for our babies, then breastfeeding moms should unite.

Mindfully Loving My Children

Welcome to the January Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting resolutions!

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month we’re writing about how we want to parent differently — or the same — in the New Year. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

******

My parenting resolutions are simple: Spend more time mindfully loving my children. I have often second guessed my parenting skills, even though I practice attachment parenting and whole-heartedly believe I am raising my children in the most positive and peaceful way I can. But when you mother a child who has always had challenging behaviours, no matter what kind of parenting you do, or what kind of sacrifices you make, it’s hard not to sometimes doubt your tactics. The past few months also have been busier than usual. I spent three months applying for different Masters of Social Work programs, while trying to maintain my blog, be a good wife and provide quality child care for my daycare families. During this time I was acutely aware of not being able to meet everyone’s needs by the standards I wanted, and I hated it.

Enter The Five Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell, M.D. I found this book lying under a stack of papers the other day and it has been a godsend. It was originally written for couples in order to better understand how to give and receive love in relationships. It was such a success that a version was written for parents.

The authors suggest that all people receive and express love through one of five primary love languages or communication styles: words of affirmation, physical touch, quality time, gifts, and acts of service. It is our job as parents to provide all five types of love styles to our children but also to find out which one our children respond to the best and “speak” this language often in order to meet their emotional needs.

The best way to find out how your children give and receive love is to ask them “How do you know I love you?” Children over five years old should be able to answer this question. A child whose primary love language is words of affirmation might say “Because you always tell me you love me” or “Because you always encourage me to do my best and tell me you are proud of me.” A child whose primary love language is physical touch may say “Because you give me a hug and kiss every morning and night and before I go to school” or “Because you like to wrestle with me and play football or carry me on your shoulders.” A child who especially loves spending quality time with you might say “I know you love me because you always come to my practice and then take me out for a snack afterwards” or “Because you’re always there for me to talk to.” A child who speaks the language of gifts could say “Because you always buy me a pack of gum when you go shopping” or “Because you buy me my clothes.” The authors do warn against taking advantage of this love language and feeling like you can replace your love with gifts. They explain that for these children gifts are more than tangible objects, they are symbols of your love, and their love tanks need to be kept full to appreciate the gifts they receive. I appreciated the explanation to this particular love language as I have struggled with the knowledge that this is how I best receive love, but it isn’t something I always feel comfortable with given the issues surrounding gift giving: materialism, commercialism, greed and over-abundance. Finally, if your child’s love language is acts of service you might hear “I know you love me because you read books to me and teach me things and help me with my homework.”

The other day I asked my daughter ” How do you know mommy loves you?” She smiled up at me and easily replied, “Because you give me hugs.” Well, if I used to hug my daughter a lot I have upped the ante considerably!

I love to hug my kids but I have never done so as consciously as I do now. I never worried if I missed giving my daughter a bedtime hug and kiss, and I usually just blew a kiss to her when she went into her classroom. In the morning I find she is especially in need of a love tank “fill-up” so as soon as I see her I greet her with a big long hug and kiss. I now understand her past need to hold my hand as we walked down the stairs in the morning. It used to drive me up the wall because I’d already be down the stairs and she’d wail for me to come and hold her hand refusing to come downstairs until I did. It drove me nuts and I saw it as over-dependance rather than her need to be shown some morning love in the way she best received it. In the three days I have been doing this I have already seen a change in her behaviour and demeanour. Whereas before, our mornings were rife with screaming, crying and aggression, my daughter is now more agreeable and loving towards the entire family.

I have increased all of the other ways in which to show both of my daughters love and have found that the conscious act of loving is reaping rewards for everyone.

Now, when I’m busy I don’t feel so guilty. Because I have mindfully filled my children’s love tanks with words of affirmation, physical touch, quality time and acts of service beforehand, they are happy to play while I do my housework or my writing. Carrying these love languages through the New Year is the simplest and most rewarding way I can see to building upon and improving my parenting and relationship with my kids.

Have you read any of The Five Love Languages series? If so, did they change the way you love your significant others? I’d love to hear your stories.

******

Visit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(All the links should be active by noon on Jan. 12. Go to Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama for the most recently updated list.)

Foodie Fridays: Udon Noodle Miso Soup

My husband says he could live off Japanese food. I made this for him the other day after he said he wanted to do something with a few packages of Udon noodles he found at the grocery store. They were cheap – less than $1 per package,, making this a pretty frugal soup when all was said and done. Anyway, it made such a pretty soup, and udon noodles are so satisfying in their plumpness, I thought I would share it with you.

There is no right or wrong with this soup. If you don’t like one of the vegetables, don’t use it. Feel free to substitute any Asian vegetable for the spinach too. I just used what was on hand. This soup is as frugal as you want to make it. If you desire a richer broth use extra bouillon or miso, but make sure you only put miso in at the very end to preserve the biological nutrients.

Miso provides a source of vitamin B12 for vegans, vitamin K and essential minerals copper, zinc, and manganese, which boost immune function, and support energy levels and blood vessels and bones. When I have a cold, this soup is amazing – I can literally feel the healing goodness coursing through my blood and warming my bones. Chicken soup, move your butt over! (Not that I’ve eaten it since childhood anyway, but I digress).

Udon Noodle Miso Soup

6 cups water

2 cups water

2 vegetable bouillon cubes

2 packages of Udon Noodles

1 cup mushrooms, chopped

1 cup broccoli, chopped

1 cup spinach

1/2 cup tofu, chopped (optional)

1-2 handfuls of bean sprouts (optional)

cilantro, choped

green onion, chopped

2 Tbsp miso paste

Directions:

Chop vegetables. Boil two pots of water, one with 2 cups of water for blanching and the other with 6 cups of water for the soup. Add boullion and mushrooms to the large pot of water.

Blanche broccoli (put in water for 30 seconds). Also place spinach and tofu at this time, also for only 30 seconds. Strain vegetables and tofu and put aside.

Place udon noodles in large pot of water with the bouillon and mushrooms and cook as per the directions. Mine only needed 3 minutes. After three minutes add miso paste (I like brown rice miso) and whisk thoroughly. Ladle desired amount of noodle soup into bowls and add veggies and tofu to the bowls. I love doing soups this way so I can leave out the veggies that my kids won’t eat – like mushrooms.

Garnish with cilantro, bean spouts and green onion.

Serves 4-6

Monday Musings: Is It Okay To Advertise Baby Bottles To Pumping Moms?

Is it always bad to advertise for baby bottles? Does it always break the WHO International Code of Marketing Breast milk Substitutes? Would it be unethical of a blog to advertise for baby bottles if no imagery was used? What about if that site was a beastfeeding site and the ad was meant solely for pumping moms? What if it was just for a one-day-only baby bottle giveaway?

These are a few of the questions going through my mind as I write this post. Breastfeeding Moms Unite! is about supporting and being accessible to all breastfeeding moms. That includes pumping moms. And pumping moms need to put their breast milk in something don’t they? It’s not like if a mom who pumps her milk sees a baby bottle that she’s going to think “I should really switch to formula.” Don’t pumping moms deserve to see and learn about their baby bottle choices so they can make an informed decision? Let me back up here and tell you how this train of thought got started.

A representative from Pure Glass Baby Bottle contacted me about a giveaway. Today, January 18th, the first 2000 people to register at their site between 12-1 PM EST will receive one free 8 oz glass baby bottle, complete with nipple, cap and ring. Of course they wanted my help to get the word out. Of course the first thing that crossed my mind was “no way.” But then I thought about the pumping moms I know. So I looked at their site.

They have a nice site. They don’t show any photos of babies drinking from bottles and they emphasize the purity of glass and the environment. (If I had ever pumped my milk I would have used glass). They also emphasize that breast milk is best. Of course, this is what we hear from formula companies too so it’s not like I was convinced of a sole loyalty to the breastfeeding consumer. I also wondered if there was a catch to registering at their site to receive one of these free bottles so I asked the representative and this is what she said:

“After moms register on our site they are then sent the glass baby bottle to the address they choose to provide. No additional materials or information are sent unless they choose to “opt in” for additional promotions and information from O-I. To answer your second question, O-I is not currently affiliated with any formula companies, and I am not aware of any coupons for breast milk substitutes that will be provided.”

If you went on a breastfeeding site and saw an ad for bottles would you think, “Ah, those are for pumping moms” or would you just think “Oh, lookie, she sold out.” Would you look at them any different than if you saw that same ad on another non-breastfeeding site? What if there was a disclaimer attached: For pumping moms. It’s not like formula feeding moms read breastfeeding blogs anyway, do they? If they do, come out, come out wherever you are! So my thinking is that pumping moms need to be marketed to too right? And if we can agree that pumping moms are a rather determined bunch of women who want to ensure their babies get the absolute best (no formula shall touch the lips of my baby!) then wouldn’t it be safe to assume they’d want the very best kind of bottle to put their precious breast milk in?

But what about bottle imagery? What about the Blog Her ads that so many mom bloggers opted out of displaying on their sites because the very sight of a baby bottle conjures up the belief that the image will in turn cause moms to feel good about formula feeding?

Before Annie from PhDinParenting challenged BlogHer ads to allow bloggers to opt out of displaying ads for bottles on their sites she said:

I do understand that bottles are sometimes used to feed breast milk. As a former pumping mom myself, I did allow a bottle ad on my blog in the past that specifically mentioned using the bottle for breast milk and that didn’t point to any specific super powers of the bottle. I know that in theory it is a violation of the Code, but personally I didn’t feel that it crossed the line. Others may disagree, but given all the extremely unethical and deceptive marketing practices by manufacturers of breast milk substitutes, I felt this one was acceptable.

I feel like there has to be a grey area somewhere. I’ve told many of my readers that I support the Code and that I will never advertise breast milk substitutes or baby bottle gear. If a bottle company approached me and offered to pay me to advertise their merchandise on my site I wouldn’t do it. I don’t want to be affiliated with the sale of breast milk substitutes or gear. But is offering up some free glass baby bottles to the pumping moms that read my site that are only available for one hour on one day, without any bottle imagery, without marketing this post as a giveaway, and with all of this questioning of the practice to begin with still wrong?

I’m really interested in what you have to say. I hope you won’t throw me under the bus, but if you feel the need to, let me know.

For advice on pumping and feeding the breastfed baby from a bottle see this page on Kellymom.

By the way, I am not receiving compensation of any kind to write this post or display this giveaway. I decided to do it because it was good fodder for a Monday Musing post and I really wanted to generate a discussion on this since there hasn’t been one since the Blog Her ads situation and I’m trying to come at this from a different angle.

******

Update: I now believe that the above mentioned company does break the WHO Code. Their “nice site” is full of misleading statements about infant feeding. You can read more about this in the comment section below. Breastfeeding moms now have to make the choice between two causes: protecting the WHO Code or protecting the environment.

The Giveaway is now over. The bottles are all gone.

Review: Honeysuckle Breast Milk Storage Bags

The following post was written by Virginia who blogs at Rotormommy. If you don’t yet know her, go check her out. She blogs about attempting to balance being pregnant with her second baby, working full time, graduate school and family, while still staying somewhat sane. Since I am not a pumping mom but wanted to be able to provide some information to moms who pump, when I was contacted to do this review I realized I would need some help. She was kind enough to offer to do it for me. Thank you Virginia!

*******

When I saw Melodie of Breastfeeding Mom’s Unite post a tweet about needing a pumping mom to review a new milk storage bag that is biodegradable I jumped at the chance.

I’ve talked on my blog before about my pumping situation. Right now I pump 3 times a day and normally get around 20oz and Dot normally only eats at most 12oz while I’m gone to the office. So basically I end up freezing one bag 4 to 5 days a week of about 8oz each.

After using these bags for a week I really can’t find anything I didn’t like. They have a tamper evident tear off seal, a large opening at the mouth and a double zipper at the top to prevent leaks. The write on tab is quite large which is very nice. One other thing is the texture of the write on tab. I write the date with a permanent marker and the tab seemed to help the ink dry quickly to reduce smearing once in the deep freeze.

The other thing I noticed about the bag was the reinforced bottom. The bottom portion of the bag where it folds in has what looks to be an extra layer of plastic. This is where I have seen leaks in the past during the thawing process.

I did what I thought was a good test of the bag. On Sunday I put about 8oz of milk in the bag and dated it like normal then put it in the deep freezer. On Thursday night I brought it back out and did a quick thaw under cold running water.

The bag shows markers for the amount in it and I purposely filled it fuller than expected to really test it. I am happy to report that we had no leaks at all during the thawing process. The bag held up very well after being in the bottom of my deep freezer for the week.

Overall I was very happy with the bags and the opportunity to review them. The bags worked well and I really had no complaints at all. They can be purchased from Amazon.com and the company is working to get them on store shelves soon.

THE GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED

The New Bag Company has offered 3 boxes of Honeysuckle Milk Storage Bags to 3 lucky winners. Since these bags are currently offered on Amazon and are thus available internationally, one person from the US, one from Canada and one from an international country will win one box of 50 milk storage bags.

The giveaway ends January 27, 2010 at 5 PM PST.

To Buy:

Honeysuckle Milk Storage Bags are currently for sale on Amazon and through the New Bag Company website. You can also buy them direct from the company by emailing [email protected]

To enter:

Leave a comment telling me why you would like to try these. Make sure you leave the name of the country you live in! This is VERY important.

For additonal entries:
Follow me (@bfmom) on twitter and RT this giveaway. One entry allowed per day. Leave a comment each time you do this. RT @bfmom http://bit.ly/7j6RVF Worldwide Giveaway! Honeysuckle Breast Milk Storage Bags #bfing Ends 01/27
Follow @rotormommy on twitter.
Subscribe to Breastfeeding Moms Unite! by RSS or email.
Join Breastfeeding Moms Unite! fan page on Facebook.
Post this giveaway on Facebook.
Stumble this or another one of my posts (3 extra entries). Leave me a comment three times and tell me which post you stumbled.

Choosing the winner:

When the contest closes I will make three lists (one for the USA, one for Canada, and one for international countries) and randomly choose one winner from each group using random.org. The winners will be contacted by email and will have 48 hours to reply before I pick someone else. Good luck!

OLD JEWISH COMEDIANS

OLD JEWISH COMEDIANS: An illustrated gallery of Jewish comedians, comics, clowns and tummlers depicted in the sunset of their years. Foreword by Leonard Maltin.

Hardcover, 10″ X 10″, 36 pages.

A BLAB! Book . Available NOW!

“A festival of drawing virtuosity and fabulous craggy faces…Friedman might very well be the Vermeer of the Borscht Belt.”

-The New York Times

ILLUSTRATED BY DREW FRIEDMAN

Old Jewish Comedians
>JewishComedians
Private Lives of Public Figures
>PrivateLives001

ILLUSTRATED BY DREW FRIEDMAN
HOME
Nick Bakay’s Tale of the Tape
>TalesoftheTape001
Miss America by Howard Stern
>MissAmerica001
Howard Stern’s Private Parts
>PrivateParts001
Slightly Older Guy
>SlightlyOlderGuy001

WHAT’S NEW?
COVERS BY DREW FRIEDMAN
American Splendor Harvey Pekar
>AmericanSplendor001
Rays (CD) Michael Nesmith
>RAYS001
Ken Tucker Kissing…
>KenTucker001
Al Kooper & Mike Bloomfield
>AlKooperMikeBloomfield

GALLERY
BOOKS
FEATURING DREW FRIEDMAN
SPY: The Funny Years
>SPYTheFunnyYears
MAD About the Nineties
>MADAbouttheNineties001
MAD Art
>MADArt001