Sunday, May 13, 2012

Breastfeeding in the News

So, I'm a little late in writing about some of these stories, but I did want to post about them.

1. Beyonce breastfed! And she "endorses" it! This is a great thing for black breastfeeding moms everywhere - a great role model. She says
"I lost most of my weight from breastfeeding and I encourage women to do it; It's just so good for the baby and good for yourself."
 Unfortunately, she only breastfed for 10 weeks, but that's still GREAT. We won't know what contributed to her decision to stop, but every mom has the right to make that choice. Any breastfeeding is better than no breastfeeding!

It does seem odd that the message she (or her representatives) wanted to send was that it helped her lose a lot of weight. She could have been such a great breastfeeding cheerleader!

2. New York City Mayor Bloomberg is bringing the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative to NYC hospitals, and for some reason this has perpetrated a lot of misunderstanding and disapproval of the initiative. Many people think that it means that hospitals are going to force moms to breastfeed:


Unfortunately, Whoopi Goldberg led a heated attack on the initiative on The View. She told Mayor Bloomgberg "This is not your place. Back Off" and said that "Not all women can breastfeed."

I think it is really a shame that we have a good black breastfeeding role model situation followed by terrible black breastfeeding role model. Build it up, Break it down.

Here are 10 reminders about the 10 Steps to a Baby-Friendly Hospital, inspired by Whoopi Goldberg:

  1. Baby-Friendly represents a set of maternity practices that improves breastfeeding outcomes. 
  2. Baby-Friendly is NOT about coercing women to breastfeed. 
  3. Baby-Friendly is about assuring women have the information they need to make an informed feeding choice. 
  4. According to the Surgeon General, 75 percent of women start out breastfeeding. Baby-Friendly is about helping these women realize SUCCESS in their breastfeeding goals. 
  5. The benefits of Baby-Friendly practices extend to bottle feeding families too. For example, all babies benefit from skin-to-skin contact with their parents. 
  6. Baby-Friendly is also a call to action to improve the safety of formula feeding through enhanced education to families who choose to bottle feed. 
  7. Baby-Friendly hospitals provide formula for families who choose to use it while in the hospital. However, a physician order is required before supplementing a breastfeeding baby’s feedings with formula. 
  8. Successful breastfeeding is a public health issue. The benefits extend to both mothers and their babies, and breastfeeding is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics as a way to help prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). 
  9. With our growing understanding of brain health, neuroplasticity and how the brain is “wired” from an earlier age than we ever before realized, we may even conclude that parent-infant bonding is a public health issue as well as a significant social issue. Feeding choice aside, Baby-Friendly practices facilitate bonding. 
  10. Mayor Bloomberg is not alone in promoting the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative. He is joined by the Surgeon General, The Joint Commission, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the CEOs of approximately 500 U.S. hospitals and nearly 20,000 hospitals worldwide.

3. This divisive TIME magazine headline is just meant to fuel the Mommy Wars... Just in time for Mother's Day. I had a problem with the headline, which pits moms against each other, but apparently most people took issue with the "hot" mom breastfeeding her 3-year-old son. They are calling it "sick" and "perversive."
I posted a ton about this on my facebook page, but in case you weren't able to keep up with all that...

  • TIME wanted attention. They have gotten that. via the Huffington Post piece "No I am not Mom Enough": "Breastfeeding is not a macho test of motherhood, with the winner being the one who nurses the longest. In fact there ARE no macho tests of motherhood. Motherhood is -- should be -- a village, where we explore each other's choices, learn from them, respect them, and then go off and make our own."
  • Anthropologist Katherine Dettwyler weighs-in on extended breastfeeding and the TIME cover at USAToday "Breast-feeding a 3-year-old is normal, anthropologist says": "Dettwyler, who has published studies on breast-feeding, found that most children around the world are breast-fed for three to five years or longer."
  • The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine writes a great piece "TIME cover sells out moms to sell magazines":"The cover not only castigates mothers and children who practice extended nursing, but it also lends legitimacy to strangers who assail moms for nursing any infant in public as “nasty” and “indecent.” Recent stories of nursing mothers ejected from big box stores, courtrooms and churches demonstrate that it is not easy to be a breastfeeding mother in America. When you follow medical recommendations, you face public humiliation."
  • A dad/comedian writes a piece called "From Breasts to Boobs and Back Again":  "Let’s remember that the child is 3. Don’t forget how litte 3 year olds are. It’s why the photographer had him stand on a chair. Otherwise, he’d be sucking his mother’s knee"
  • Celebrities Who Breastfed Toddlers, but not on the Cover of Time:
  • "Because breastfeeding past one year is often hidden from view, it might appear that children such as the one on the Time cover just don’t exist . . . but they do. Best for Babes collects and shares celebrity stories to increase the cultural acceptance of breastfeeding. The celebrity stories below show that this “uncommon” act of nursing a toddler might be more common than you think."
  • On Breastfeeding past infancy by an evolutionary Anthropologist: "Extended breastfeeding is the norm in most human and primate societies. So why are we the weird ones?" 

Many, many moms who enjoy breastfeeding breastfeed their children past infancy, they just may not tell anyone about it. But they are following the American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization recommendations, which recommend breastfeeding up to a year and beyond, as desired.

This post at Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog explains some of the misconceptions about extended breastfeeding!

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