Friday, March 30, 2007

You can make enough milk for your baby! And other things I should have blogged about earlier...

First of all, let me ask your forgiveness for being MIA for so long. I have gotten busy with other things and neglected my blog. I will try to go back to at LEAST once a week. You can count on Mocha Milk for that!

So, what did I miss? Well, my birth state of Ohio is getting its very own Ohio Breastfeeding Coalition. What's a breastfeeding coalition you ask? It is a group for anyone interested in promoting, protecting and supporting breastfeeding. We have a state and several regional/city Breastfeeding Coalitions in Tennessee. It is a great way to network with other lactation professionals, work together on legislation, workshops, conferences and bring more resources to breastfeeding moms. If you are interested in joining the Ohio coalition, they have set up a Yahoo group here.

I wrote a rebuttal (her words, not mine)of sorts to Jennifer's continued "Breastfeeding in Public/Let's be Discreet" discussion at the Black Breastfeeding Blog. As a matter of fact, she's still talking about it. It's not so much that I disagree with her, I just have never really seen a woman lift her shirt up to her chin, announce to the room that she is now going to expose her breast, proceed to latch on her baby and dare anyone to say something. Do I have friends who show more skin at a LLL meeting or in the company of other women? Yes (which should not be a problem if you ask me.). Have I ever seen a mother just expose her breast without regard for those around, take twelve minutes to latch her baby and give the middle finger to anyone staring? Absolutely not. I am not quite sure what she and others arguing for "discreet" nursing want. Every mom to use a blanket or cover up? To turn your back to others while latching? What exactly are the rules of discreet nursing? I have a feeling I already "follow" them but from all the discussion I have read it is a subjective thing. One woman's discreet nursing is another's indecent act. And to assume that any mother asked to leave for breastfeeding her baby is being indecent or indiscreet is asinine. Several of the stories that have made the news involved mothers who were holding their shirts down or covered with a blanket. HOW could they have been more discreet? It was truly the act of breastfeeding that was objected to NOT how it was being done. I would LOVE to hear your opinions on the matter, so feel free to leave a comment - I will post them no matter what the opinion and we can discuss.

I also went to the Northwest Georgia Breastfeeding Coalition 2007 conference this past Wednesday in Dalton, GA, USA. I have one word: FABULOUS! First of all, the south needs all the good breastfeeding conferences it can get, and I must say, Georgia breastfeeding supporters, you are doing a great job. The LLL of Georgia also has a WONDERFUL conference each spring! It is a full conference with Health Care Provider seminar and children's activities! One of the best conferences I have ever attended!

Back to the NW Georgia Breastfeeding Coalition Conference. It was wonderful for several reasons: one, it is affordable; two I was surprised to see a lot of African-American peer counselors, nurses, IBCLCs etc, a few men and several people in
white coats. There were even a few moms with fat, healthy breastfed babies. Nice to see a wide variety of people getting information about breastfeeding. Of course the best part was hearing the brilliant James McKenna, PhD speak.

The title of the Conference was : Pertinent Issues in the SIDS/Bedsharing Debate
How Breastfeeding and Cosleeping Change Everything. His research in sleep of parents and babies, together and apart is quite amazing. He can be quite technical at times, using lots of charts and graphs but he is also warm and practical. Not to mention, he can (and did) tap dance! He has written a book called, Sleeping With Your Baby: A Parent's Guide. I will add it to my client reading list and will encourage all my friends and parents looking for sleep solutions to read it. The science is out there folks, and it is hands down on the side of the biological imperative of the mother-baby unit and of constant supervision of infants by adults which, you guessed it, includes close night time proximity (co-bedding or co-sleeping). Run, don't walk to your nearest bookstore and purchase this book. And if he is speaking near you, go. You will not be disappointed.

And finally, you may have missed this in the news, as I don't think it got a lot of press, but apparently in Brazil, there is a 55 lb, one year old! Now get this, he is as far as all accounts tell it, exclusively breastfed, or at least still breastfeeding. Now, I can no longer find the original video, just a picture and story here at but trust me, his little mama was just as normal to skinny as can be. So, not a genetic thing. The video even showed this little woman nursing this HUGE baby. Just goes to show, YOU can make enough milk for your baby, even a BIG FAT BABY! And I thought 20 lbs at 5 months was big!


Cairo Mama said...

I think that people who object to public breastfeeding often can't separate breastfeeding from sexuality. You really do see more cleavage in advertisements and women's outfits than you see when most women breastfeed. It is the Puritan past mixed with the oversexuaized present to create a hostile environment towards breastfeeding.

I breastfed my son at the Pyramids of Giza today. No big deal and this is Egypt!

Doulala said...

I left a comment on Jennifer's blog saying pretty much the same thing you are saying.
One thing that does confuse me about her site is she says that breastfeeding is a beautiful thing (she even goes as far to ask for pictures of moms nursing) but then she writes several posts about how we should cover it up. Which one is it? Celebrate or hide?

Renata said...

I'm Brazilian so I can comment on two points of your post. The first one is long, so I'll split it up:

It is no big deal to breastfeed in public in Brazil, even if the breast is exposed. Still,the breastfeeding rates apparently are drastically low. Well, last week, my mother had several women at her home (in the DC Area). One of the guests was a Brazilian woman who came to teach some seminars at her church. The lady has a small infant who was hungry, so she pretty much announced that in Brazil, breastfeeding is considered to be a decent and beautiful thing to do, so she does not cover herself up when she nurses her baby. She then exposed her breast and fed her child. She was among Brazilians, and women, so no big deal. Now, no one there would have asked that woman to leave anyway, or to nurse somewhere else. Still, my mother became uncomfortable when my stepfather (an American) came into the room, because he didn't hear the lady's "announcement" and probably would have avoided walking in there in the first place had he known. Now I have breastfed three children in his presence, but I didn't have to make a point about it to make him uncomfortable. Although I don't think he's haunted about that whole incident anyway. As a matter of fact my mom didn't say he mentioned anything about it at all. But, then again, he's not the kind to ruffle any feathers.

I don't think we can put a "blanket" statement on discretion (pun intended), rather, I have always analyzed my circumstances. There are times that I have chosen to go to another room (not a bathroom, mind you) than try to make a statement about breastfeeding.

By the way, my mom and I got on this topic because she was telling me about my cousin's newborn in Brazil was not gaining weight sufficiently, so her doctor prescribed my cousin something to INCREASE her breastmilk supply. I told my mom how pleasantly surprised I was that my cousin's doctor was trying to encourage breastfeeding and how the first step here would have been to supplement with formula, esptecially because I've been told the breastfeeding rates are apparently lower than in the US.

Renata said...

Ok, about the baby. I don't think the baby was breastfed. I read the news reports from Brazil and the mom says the baby was fed "powdered milk and cereal" and the baby's grandmother had alerted the mom about the risk of obesity (,,MUL11621-5598,00.html).

Now, before we jump on this as "proof" that formula and early introduction of cereal causes obesity, the same article states that the woman has an 11 year old child who is not overweight. A later article (,,MUL16257-5598,00.html) says that Mateus has Bardet-Biedl syndrome, with obesity being one of the main characteristics.

Although the mother reported the baby fainting and having difficulty breathing, the doctors have stated that Mateus does not suffer from chronic diseases usually associated with obesity, such as hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, diabetes, or kidney problems.

Micky said...

That is so strange, because the story I saw (I can no longer find the video ) actually SHOWED her nursing the baby. Breast in mouth, nursing! So, she is at least nursing somewhat. All the reports I read said the baby was breastfeeding. So, maybe a different baby?

Renata said...

I found the video at:

It's the same baby. There's no reason why the mother didn't do both. However, I find it interesting how the media in different countries will emphasize one thing over the other. I'll withold my speculations...