The San Diego Breastfeeding Center is so excited to announce that we are the newest local sponsor of the Normalize Breastfeeding Campaign, a project who's mission is to normalize breastfeeding and address the taboo of public breastfeeding in modern society, through photography.
A few weeks ago, I serendipitously stumbled upon the e-mail course called "Becoming a Badass Public Breastfeeder in 7 Days." For those of you who have been following our blog since January 2013, you are already well aware that I am in the process of creating a San Diego Nursing in Public Task Force to assist mothers who have dealt with nursing in public harassment. In this process, I have been combing the Internet to find websites to include in our resource list. Well, as always, Abby (The Badass Breastfeeder) has outdone herself by creating something that is fresh, pertinent, and totally relatable for breastfeeding mothers. I was dying to 'meet' her, as well as ask her a few questions about her email course, and she enthusiastically agreed to an interview. So, here's Abby telling a little about herself and sharing her fantastic resource, Becoming a Badass Public Breastfeeder in 7 Days!
Recently San Diego, California (aka America’s Finest City) has been hit with some pretty obnoxious breastfeeding-in-public harassment situations. While I assumed that most Californians knew that breastfeeding in public was legal in our wonderful state, apparently, most people don’t. Even my husband, who is an attorney and married to a lactation consultant, was unaware that there was actually a California law that protected a woman’s right to nurse in public.
HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE????
First and foremost, it is shocking to me that we actually need a law to protect a woman’s right to feed her baby in public, but yet, I must remind myself that most people think breasts are for fun rather than functionality.
Secondly, why don’t most people know that this law exists?
Third, how is it possible that EVEN WITH a law stating a woman can breastfeeding in public, mothers are STILL being harassed for doing so?
What does the California law actually say?
As many breastfeeding moms prepare for Hurricane Sandy and her aftermath, we wanted to share a fantastic article written by our friend, Katy Linda of Stylin’ Momma. Here’s all you need to know about what to do with your frozen breastmilk during a Hurricane, or any power outage for that matter.
Our thoughts are with all of you on the East Coast who are bracing for this monstrous storm and hope Sandy is much weaker than expected.
Weathering a Storm with a Freezer Stash of Breastmilk
As Hurricane Sandy approaches the east coast of the US, many moms are wondering, ‘What about my freezer stash?‘. And with good reason. There is concern about what this storm will do and how long people may be without power. Many moms have worked hard to have frozen milk on hand for their babies, and the thought of losing that liquid gold is just too much to bear.
Last week, Tracy Anderson made some pretty provocative comments about women using pregnancy as an ‘excuse’ to gain weight, to eat whatever they want, and keep on the weight after having a baby. Tracy, having given birth just 3 months ago, has already lost all of her pregnancy weight, yet remember ladies….. this is not a normal expectation for us regular moms out there. While most of us in the real world cannot spend hours a day, or thousands of dollars, working to lose weight and tone our bodies after our babies are born, her body and exercise program is what she is KNOWN for.
What I did appreciate was that Tracy mentioned that when you are losing weight while breastfeeding, you can’t forgo the nutritional aspect of the foods you eat and the calories you need to maintain your breastfeeding relationship. I’ve seen Tracy talk about her daily nutrition and this woman eats more than her fair share of nutrient dense foods, healthy fats, and protein, which are all going to keep up your milk supply while you exercise and gently shed those pounds after birth.
Now, here is the deal…. we ALL want to lose our pregnancy weight after we have our babies. Yet it is really important to make sure you are losing weight healthily so that your milk supply doesn’t end up slowly sinking away. Excessive dieting CAN reduce your milk supply. So here are a few tips to keep in mind.
When Ben was born almost 7 years ago, I had no idea how much I would rely on my husband to be my pillar of support. When I was gliding along my roller coaster of postpartum hormones, it was my husband who gave me space, as well as made sure I stayed somewhat sane. He brought me water while I was nursing, ordered in dinner when we were too tired to cook, and made me laugh when I thought all I could do was cry. He was also the person who got on the phone to call the lactation consultant when I had no idea why breastfeeding wasn’t going the way I have envisioned it.
Breastfeeding was important to US and we knew we could make it work.
In the Pediatrics research article, Baby-Friendly Hospital Practices and Meeting Exclusive Breastfeeding Intention, scheduled for publication in July 2012, the authors conclude that most moms will not meet their personal breastfeeding goals. According to the Pediatrics study, more than 85% of the new moms in the study said they intended to breastfeed for three months or longer, but just 32.4% met their mark.
The study found that moms who were most likely to meet their goals:
- Were married
- Had given birth to other children
- Started to breastfeed within an hour of birth
- Had babies who were less likely to be given formula or pacifiers during the hospital stay
Of these findings, breastfeeding exclusively while in the hospital, without giving supplemental formula, was the most significant factor in reaching breastfeeding goals.
So, what were the indicators that correlated with a mother to be less likely to meet her breastfeeding goals?
- Planning to breastfeed for longer durations
Still 32.4% of the moms in the study didn’t meet their goals of exclusively breastfeeding for 3 or more months. The American Academy of Pediatric recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months.
We are failing our moms!
Why is this happening?
Study after study has shown that new moms need breastfeeding support to be able to meet their personal breastfeeding goals. (Cochrane meta-analysis)
So what does this breastfeedingsupport look like?
- We need peer to peer support (like a support group) where we can learn from our friends and teach one another about the lost art of breastfeeding.
- We need access to affordable and effective prenatal breastfeeding classes that are routinely promoted by our OBGYNs and midwives, so that we can increase our breastfeeding initiation rates.
- We need capable, caring lactation support in the hospital that can assist us when we need help and guidance, and recommend local breastfeeding support for when we leave.
- We need hospital practices that support breastfeeding, like skin to skin in the first hour, even after a cesarean birth, and limited visiting hours.
- We need access to affordable, on-going lactation support, from a trained certified lactation consultant (IBCLC) starting from day one until we decide to wean our baby.
- We need our health insurance to cover the cost of qualified lactation services, just as they do with routine well-baby check-ups.
- We need pediatricians to value breastfeeding and recognize that breastfeeding will protect their patients from so many preventable chronic illnesses. So, when a concern arises about breastfeeding, we need them to immediately share with us breastfeeding resources in the community, both free and for payment.
- Ideally, we need lactation consultants (IBCLCs) in our pediatricians’ offices so that when issues are brought to our attention at our appointments we can receive immediate and ongoing breastfeeding support and assistance.
- Lastly, we need formula companies to stop sending free formula to every new mom. If a mom needs or wants to use formula, she can get it at any local grocery store… no judgment! Yet, let’s not make it so easy for new moms to succumb to self-doubt. Do you know that the WebMD article, Most Moms Don't Meet Own Breastfeeding Goals, that first shared these findings from the Pediatrics' study happens to be placed RIGHT NEXT to a HUGE Similac formula advertisement. Seriously???
Why do I think breastfeeding support for all moms is imperative?
As a married, breastfeeding in the first hour, and ‘no formula supplementation’ mama, it was the lack of community breastfeeding support that led to me not meeting my personal breastfeeding goals and that is something I will always regret. When my milk was dwindling as my son turned 4 months old, it was never recommended by a health professional to see a lactation consultant to increase my supply. Why was formula an acceptable substitute for my son in their eyes? It doesn’t make sense to me. Why didn't this doctor recommend that I see a lactation consultant?
My story is not unique. I meet women every day who feel guilty for not meeting their personal breastfeeding goals. This doesn't have to continue!
Support, support, support! It’s what we all deserve for ourselves and our babies! We need to make this happen NOW!