Monday, May 31, 2010

Review: Hygeia Enjoye Breastpump

I have a review up for the Hygeia Enjoye Breastpump on my review blog. If you're in the market for a new pump, you can check out the review here.

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Monday, May 24, 2010

New La Leche League Magazine Launches Today

La Leche League International, the original breastfeeding support organization, has launched a new online breastfeeding magazine called Breastfeeding Today. The first issue is available online and it's completely free, although you can order a printed copy for $7. The first issue's headlines are:

Mother and Child Guatemalan-style

Tinker to Evers to Chance
The Breastfeeding Mother’s Nutrition
Breastfeeding Older Children
What’s Cooking: Stealthy, Healthy Nutrition
The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding: A Book that Changed My Life  
Keep an eye out on the website. The magazine will be published every 4-6 weeks online.

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Friday, May 21, 2010

Breast Milk Popsicles

It is a cool 90 degrees here in Florida today, and with summer right around the corner, I was thinking about my baby's first summer, when he was about 7 months old. My son was highly distractible at that age and I would sometimes have trouble getting him to settle down and nurse. It was also ridiculously hot outside and he was teething for the first time. In my search for the perfect safe teether, I came across the idea of making your baby a breast milk popsicle!

Also known as "Momsicles," breast milk popsicles are a great soothing treat for teething babies. They make wonderful snacks on hot days and when your baby is sick or too into the world around him to nurse, they are a way to sneak in some extra calories. Everyone in your life pushing you to start your baby on solids? Breast milk popsicles are a great way to gauge your baby's interest in "real" food.

The best thing about them is they are easy to make. I got directions on how to make Momsicles online. All you need is a popsicle mold, which I was able to find at my local Dollar Tree and some expressed milk (and no, you don't have to make them as huge as they are in this photograph....that mama must have a lot of milk!)
If you don't have a lot of breast milk to spare, you can wash and sterilize a regular ice cube tray, fill some of the cubes up with milk and store it in the freezer in one of those thick, heavy duty freezer bags.

They are definitely a messy treat and yes, some of your breast milk will be "wasted" if you use it in this manner, but I did find that my son absolutely loved his breast milk popsicles. Have you ever made breast milk popsicles for your baby? Did he like them?

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Breastfeeding A Black Child Is Offensive

Who could forget all of the attention that Salma Hayek attracted last year when she breastfed a baby during a goodwill trip to Sierra Leone. In my corner of the blogosphere she was lauded. The mainstream media covered the story extensively, complete with polls on whether or not readers would breastfeed another woman's child. The coverage actually made me a bit giddy. Not only was breastfeeding being covered in a positive way, but cross-nursing was being discussed and for the most part, no one was saying it was gross! Almost every woman polled said they would indeed nurse another woman's baby if it was hungry and Salma was looked at as doing a good deed. A famous actress selfless enough to give to a baby what his own mother could not? The blissed out look on that hungry baby's face as he nursed? It was an amazing moment for me, as a mom, a blogger and a breastfeeding advocate.

But now Salma is speaking out publicly about the backlash she faced privately. She's on the cover of this month's In Style magazine and during the interview she says she was surprised by how much attention the breastfeeding got. She is quoted as saying:
“This baby was hungry and I was still nursing [my daughter] Valentina, so I fed the child. What was shocking were the hate letters I received. What offended some in particular was that I breastfed a black child. It was not even in my universe, such a thought. For me, it was a baby who was just born and was hungry. He was healthy but malnourished at this hospital – it was really just a clinic in the countryside – and I was able to help."

So some folks could look past the cross-nursing, but just couldn't wrap their minds around breastfeeding a black child. The act of breastfeeding a black baby was so offensive that they had to put pen to paper and let Ms. Hayak know just how much this bothered them. I mean, how dare she let a black baby suckle her breast!

And yet some will still insist that we live in a post-racial world where we no longer see color and racism no longer exists.

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Friday, May 14, 2010

New Nestle WHO Code Violation:

After the EPIC FAIL that was the Nestle Family blogger event back in September of 2009, Nestle smartly retreated from the world of social media since they realized they were in over their heads and were doing it wrong. But Nestle won't be kept down for long! They've now transitioned their formula from being called Nestle Good Start to Gerber Good Start (Nestle bought Gerber for $5 billion in 2007). The Gerber Brand is getting a makeover and they are targeting us and our babies, the new "Gerber Generation" with a campaign called Start Healthy, Stay Healthy.

Starting out healthy in life, according to Nestle & Gerber, means infant formula, followed by packaged cereal, pureed jarred foods and packaged meals for toddlers full of sodium and preservatives.

Since they know better now than to try and use mom bloggers for their campaigns, they've turned to the internet and partnered with House If you're not familiar with how House Party works, essentially you sign up on the website and seek out brands you already like or would like to evaluate. If you're selected to host a party for the brand in your home, they send you a box of goodies for yourself and your guests and ask that you share your experience, including any photos or videos, on their site. According to House Party's sponsorship page:

"House Party puts brands in the center of specially designed parties that take place across the country in the homes of carefully selected consumer Hosts. These specially qualified Party Hosts invite their friends, family, neighbors, classmates and co-workers into their homes to experience these uniquely fun parties and the products they feature, delivering an authentic and valuable party experience to consumers and a powerful branding and sales-driving event for marketers."

Tomorrow night, moms and moms-to-be across the country will be hosting "baby showers" sponsored by Gerber and House They will be expected to share Nestle & Gerber's propaganda with their guests, including these gems from the party favors kit.

Notice they haven't said at what age you can start adding in solids, but most babies can sit up with support well before they are 6 months old, the recommended age for adding in complementary foods.

After that, you can play the "Match the Milestones!" game, where guests are asked to match a Gerber product to an age range. The answer sheet tells you that Good Start formula is for infants and the rice cereal is for supported sitters, and 2nd food purees are for sitters. Helpful!

So what else came in this party favor kit?

Party hosts across the country are eagerly awaiting their Gerber Generation Celebration Party Packs!

The FREE party pack includes:
For hosts:
  • 1 color welcome banner
  • 6 rolls of color streamers
  • 15 color balloons
  • 50 napkins, 20 plastic cups, 20 plastic plates
  • 24 spoons, 24 forks
  • GERBER products from each Start Healthy, Stay Healthy™ stage for display
  • 1 can of GERBER® GOOD START® PROTECT PLUS® formula
  • 1 GERBER® Probiotic & DHA Rice Cereal
  • 1 two-pack GERBER® SmartNourish™ Premium 2nd FOODS® Purees
  • 1 four-pack GERBER® Simply Pear Flavor Yogurt* Blends
  • 1 can of GRADUATES® LIL’ CRUNCHIES® Snacks
  • 1 four-pack GERBER® GRADUATES® Strawberry Banana Flavor Yogurt* Blends Snacks
  • 1 three-pack GRADUATES® SMART SIPS® dairy beverage
For hosts and guests:
16 GERBER insulated back packs packed with:
  • Variety of product coupons
  • GERBER bib
  • Start Healthy, Stay Healthy™ Baby’s Health Record
  • Start Healthy, Stay Healthy™ Nutrition Guide
  • Start Healthy, Stay Healthy™ Breastfeeding booklet
  • A Baby’s First Days CD
  • Breastmilk storage bags
  • A NUK® orthodontic nipple
  • 1 3-pack GRADUATES® SMART SIPS® dairy beverages

Quick, how many WHO Code violations do you spot on that list? Well, of course there's the can of formula for the host and the NUK nipple for the guests. Erin already broke down what kind of breastfeeding information you will get from a formula company, but I was curious what variety of "product coupons" guests would receive, but the ladies who signed up for the House Party confirmed my suspicions.

So Nestle has found  new and interesting ways to violate the WHO Code and use word of mouth and social media marketing to their advantage. The way these moms are fawning over the products and the fact that thousands of pregnant women will go home with a coupon for free formula after these parties really sickens me. Particularly in light of the new study that found that people will listen more to anecdotes from family and friends and put more stock in their advice, even if it runs counter to research and evidence-based best practices. 

The best thing we can do at this point is to continue to educate family and friends and boycott Nestle products whenever possible. For an updated list on the stuff you'll need to avoid, check out Amy's post at Crunchy Domestic Goddess. 

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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Should infant formula be banned?

According to the Minister of Health of South Africa, Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi, infant formula should be banned from the country. Dr. Motsoaledi recently addressed researchers, academics and health care workers at the launch of the Health of Our Children Report in Cape Town. He said infant formula is no different than skin bleaching creams, in terms of the damage they cause to health and well-being, and should therefore be banned (bleaching creams are currently banned in South Africa).

Dr. Motsoaledi even went a step further and said infant formula should be "banned altogether--throughout the whole world." In fact, he says he will bring the issue up at the World Health Assembly next week, where one of the main goals is working towards decreasing infant mortality rates.

To put this in perspective, Dr. Motsoaledi works in a country where the infant mortality rate has actually gotten worse. In South Africa, 7% of children die before their fifth birthday. It was just 5% twenty years ago. There are of course several things that come into play with this statistic, including war, famine, lack of access to life-saving vaccines, HIV and of course lower breastfeeding rates. Dr. Motsoaledi used to work with poor women and said they would look for "any excuse" not to breastfeed, but that breastfeeding was also difficult because they needed to return to work quickly in order to earn money to take care of their families. In addition to calling for the ban on formula, he also said women should be receiving 4 months' paid maternity leave.

So what do you think, should infant formula be banned? Can you see an exception for a country like South Africa, where lack of breastfeeding is a dire, life and death issue? Or should be infant formula be banned world-wide?

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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Choosing the new cover for the Easy Guide to Breastfeeding

Did you know that the US Department of Health & Human Services' Office on Women's Health  produces a breastfeeding guide for new mothers? It is called the Easy Guide to Breastfeeding and it explains the benefits of breastfeeding and provides answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about nursing a baby. The publication will be updated soon and they are asking us to help them choose some new cover art. Here are the three choices.

It's hard to tell if this is one mom and one baby posed three different ways, but I don't think it is. I think it's at least two separate women. Either way, the options are limited to three separate images of a white mother and her white baby. Not even a little bit of diversity, Office on Women's Health? This is the edition of the guide that is labeled as for "all women." But all women are not white and there are plenty of women of other races and ethnicities who breastfeed. Why couldn't any of us be represented here?

OK, I know that the Office of Women's Health produces special editions of the guide aimed at African-American, Native American and Hispanic moms. Goodness knows I understand that there are issues specific to various communities that keep moms from breastfeeding and that it's important for those to be addressed. The editions for minority moms are getting a make-over, too. But why is that the edition that is supposed to be for all women can only feature a white woman on the cover?Is the thinking that white women won't understand this guide is for them too if there is a woman of color on the cover? If so, then why are women of color expected to be fine with only choosing from 3 white women? I guess we're supposed to be used to the fact that the default or the norm is white and if we want anything culturally sensitive or balanced, we must find the separate book with the woman of color on the cover?

 I have no idea if they are planning on having this same voting for the special editions, but even so I think this was a huge misstep, and one that hopefully will not be repeated when they update again. So what do you think, ladies? Do you find this to be as much of an EPIC FAIL on their part as I do? What would have been a smarter move?  A contest, but with at least one woman of color as an option? A cover with multiple ethnicities represented?

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Monday, May 10, 2010

New Advocacy Group Forms to Protect Nursing in Public

Here is a clip from a breastfeeding advocate, featured on a local morning show, talking about a mother's right to nurse in public. (if you're reading this in a feed reader, you may have to click to the post to see the embedded video).

Advocacy Group: Mothers Have Right To Expose Milk-Engorged Breasts In Public

OK, fine, this clip is from the funny folks at The Onion. But it appears they used a real breastfeeding mom, I swear I saw actual milk being expressed at the end there! So what do you think, funny or did they take it too far?

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Friday, May 7, 2010

Sweet Songs: Benefit Album for Mother's Milk Bank at Austin

Monica Cravotta was inspired to record an album of children's songs  with some of her singer-songwriter friends in Austin when she was pregnant with her first baby in 2006. The album is finally due! Entitled Sweet Songs, the album is made up of 13 tracks, eight originals and five covers of some favorites, including "This Little Piggy" and "The Fox."

The album will be released on Mother's Day, Sunday May 9th. You can purchase it on the Sweet Songs website for $15. All proceeds from the CD sale will benefit the Mother's Milk Bank at Austin. If you live in Austin, there will be a celebration for the release of the CD on Sunday from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm at Big Red Sun. This will be a family friendly brunch and you can reserve your tickets here.

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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

What's Wrong With This Picture?

A reader sent me this picture, taken at her local Babies R Us in Australia. What's wrong with this picture?

Looks like Babies R Us in Australia has taken some marketing tips from Target.

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