Breastfeeding Weekly Wrap-Up: April 12-16, 2010

by Elita of  The Blacktating Blog;    April 16, 2010

Note from Bettina & Danielle, Co-Founders of Best for Babes:  We are pleased to introduce this weekly breastfeeding news summary as the first in a  regular new column by one of our favorite bloggers, Elita of Blacktating.   A well-known and respected voice in the breastfeeding and motherhood arena, and an expert on African-American breastfeeding issues, we are thilled to welcome Elita to the Best for Babes team! 

There were so many breastfeeding related stories in the news this week and thankfully much of it was positive.  

Let’s start with the biggest story, that our current lack of breastfeeding in the US costs us $13 billion and 900 lives per year. These were the findings of a recent study co-authored by Dr. Melissa Bartick and published in the journal Pediatrics.  According to the study, exclusive or near-exclusive breastfeeding for just  6 months  would make a major difference in the health outcomes of babies.  Imagine the numbers if women could meet the World Health Organization’s gold standard of two years?  Or reach the rates of breastfeeding in Sweden?  While most news outlets got the facts right, ABC News missed the boat.

Once that study hit the net, all hell broke loose in the blogosphere.  Unfortunately, but not unexpectedly, some moms felt the study was just another breastfeeding guilt trip. However, common sense says that new breastfeeding evidence or studies are not about making moms feel guilty,  but should be used to shift the spotlight on to the barriers and help us  beat the “booby traps”  so mothers who want to  breastfeed can meet their personal breastfeeding goals.   That is what breastfeeding advocates are in it for, to help women succeed!  Dr. Bartick came back with a brilliant piece about Motherhood and the $13 Billion Guilt for the Huffington Post, which shows just how bad the “booby traps” are.  We know women have been set up to fail, from the hospital to the workplace to society as a whole, and it’s time we stop feeling guilty and starting getting angry and using that anger to make some real changes in this country!  Game-changing blogs besides the one from phdinparenting:  The Feminist Breeder takes the high road, declining a tasteless “smackdown,” and Sorta Crunchy’s “Open Letter to My Fellow Breastfeeding Advocates,”  in which she wisely says: “When you choose the seat of judgment over the seat of compassion and grace, you debase the whole movement.”  We couldn’t have said it better ourselves and will be adding that powerful statement to the Best for Babes Credo.

On a funnier note, the ever controversial Erykah Badu has been on a real roll the last week. First there was the debut of her video for her new song “Window Seat,” in which she stripped naked in public. With her name on everyone’s lips, she took to Twitter to talk about her extended breastfeeding. Erykah is currently nursing her third child and tweeted about going until age 3 with her oldest.

If you’re like me, you may  have been jumping up and down with excitement when you realized that the new health care bill required employers to provide unpaid break time and a clean space (not a bathroom!) for moms to pump in. There are still lots of questions about what this means and how it will be enforced, and the United States Breastfeeding Committee has provided some answers to the most frequently asked questions about this bill.

Does breastfeeding beget breastfeeding? The Boston Globe published an essay in its magazine about how nursing in public helps other women feel comfortable doing the same. The thinking goes that if more moms nursed sans cover, it would inspire other moms to do the same.  Of course not all moms feel comfortable nursing without a cover (although I wish they did). For me, the bottom line is moms should do what makes THEM feel comfortable, not cover up for strangers.

USA Today told the compelling story of mothers who donate breastmilk to help other mothers’ babies; including actress Alysia Reiner.   The Best for Babes “Booby Traps” were mentioned and Co-Founder Bettina Forbes was quoted about our cultural squeamishness to breastmilk, she explained that donor milk from a milk bank is “just like donated blood.”  USA Today did a great job of raising awareness about the value of donated human milk and the Human Milk Bank of North America and we’re really glad they didn’t mention breastmilk cheese. 

Actress Alysia Reiner shared more about her breastfeeding story and her experience donating milk to a friend in an exclusive interview with Best for Babes, which was spotlighted by–a huge opportunity to reach millions of moms and educate about donor milk and breastfeeding, as can be seen from the comments!

Kourtney Kardashian continues to rock my world, talking to Parent Dish about how much she loves nursing her son Mason. When the ignorant interviewer tells her she’ll never have perky boobs again because of nursing, she says, “That’s fine. I love breastfeeding!”  And Kourtney, just for that, we love you too.

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