rock on, NYC & my office:)

Happy Boobie news for World Breastfeeding Week:

The Ban the Bags campaign had an awesome victory in NYC’s banning of free formula distribution. The buzz about the new regulations had lactivists, pissed off working moms, and my office* chattering. A coworker is annoyed- “What’s next, she wondered, not allowed to feed kids junk food?” I’m (of course) thrilled, because, as I told her, it’s a step toward normalizing breastfeeding. I think it’s a great step in taking information control about infant feeding away from the formula corporations and placing it in the hands of doctors, nurses, and lactation consultants. I’m not even lying when I tell you that I had a pamphlet on getting started breastfeeding that was produced by Enfamil. Do you think that was accurate supportive educational material? Um, doubt it very much.

Now, I realize that by far most women are intelligent and capable of making informed decisions, and aren’t just pod people following commands from Evil Nestle. But it definitely sends a message for a hospital or birth center to distribute these materials. It’s a tacit affirmation of the message of the formula companies. My take on that message is this: “Formula feeding is normal and healthy, just not quite as healthy as breastmilk, but totally OK. And you might have trouble! A lot of moms can’t nurse; so when you find you can’t we got your back, girl.” This doesn’t seem too insidious and the low rates of nursing after the first few months seem to suggest that problems are pretty common. The truth is that there is evidence supporting the fact that these free samples do correlate with lower rates of breastfeeding. And the real statistics are fairly low for women who truly can’t nurse; quick google search shows up with the number 5% but it’s not attributed to a good source. To me, the more important issue is that having the samples around helps create the normalcy of artificial feeding. It tells a mom that everyone assumes you’ll bottle feed, which means that it must be the norm.

And I’m not an idealistic crunchy cornflake who doesn’t know what troubles can exist. Remember Boue has formula for two weeks while we got my milk built up with pumping and  medication. I had no trouble getting formula (free) when I asked for it. (By the way, they aren’t banning formula in hospitals or telling you you can’t bottle feed your child. You just have to ask for it.)

So, w00t NYC.

*A local breastfeeding support group asked for nominations for supportive employers, so I wrote in and my clinic’s being honored. They’re incredible**. Pumping breaks? Cool. Uh-oh, Emsy zha Boue won’t drink EBM- long lunches to go nurse? Groovy. Papaw brings her for a visit & she wants to nurse while I answer phones? No problem.

 **My enthusiastic infatuation with work is in no way related to the gi-fucking-gantic raise the board just gave me. Not at all:) Plans to babysit a bunch of kids 5 days a week are officially filed under “desperate insanity.

Cutiepatootie nursey graphic from here.

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7 responses to “rock on, NYC & my office:)

  1. I don’t know, Roxie. I feel like breastfeeding has tremendous traction. My experience was that everywhere I turned, every book I read, told me that breast was best and that I was likely a bad mother who didn’t care if my kid had allergies, a low IQ, and ear infections if I didn’t nurse. But literally nowhere did I find advice on what to do if I DIDN’T choose to nurse. Sure, plenty on how to bottle feed my baby, but no one was willing to talk about how to handle the lactating boobs.

    I completely respect any woman who chooses to nurse her baby. Furthermore, I think that it’s incredibly sad that your workplace is the exception to the norm. I just wish that we could have a little more balance – not pro-formula, not pro-breast, just information that lets us make good choices.

  2. I know it’s a touchy subject. It’s an emotional issue tied up with more than nutrition choices… and it’s impossible to address it objectively. (Actually I think objectivity itself is a myth.) And there is a lot of judgemental divisive angst thrown at moms who use formula; I’ll step up and admit that.

    I hope my criticism of marketing methods used by the formula producers doesn’t come across as a personal judgement. It’s very important to me respect mamas’ differences.

    What I think is the bottom line is that the default method of baby feeding should be human milk, as it’s the biologically appropriate food. The formula companies’ unrestricted access to doctors and facilities has created a situation where skewed information or incomplete information is what most docs and nurse are taught. They are therefor less helpful with nursing than they should be. (This may not be the case in more progressive areas than Appalachia.)

    The challenge is to present the neutral information without the guilt factor. It’s an empirical fact that breastmilk is healthier. It’s a fact also that there are reasons beyond medical necessity that a mom needs to use formula. It’s fact, er an intuitiver truth? that moms who make choices best for their families are going to be happier, less stressed and healthier moms that a mom who doesn’t do what is in hers and the baby’s best interest. Does that make sense? So: formula is the better choice as a whole for some families if we add in other factors beyond nutrition.

    I just think that more nursing moms is a positive thing, and the freebie access limits are a reasonable means to that end.

    I’m shocked that no one knew what to do with your poor boobs. Ouch… I thought there was a shot they can give to help stop lactation? I’ve heard cold cabbage leaves help, and I’ve seen some info about it, but not a lot. I figured that’s because I was purposefully looking at how to get more milk.

    Thanks for the thoughtful comment. No one else wrote up anything, so I saw my peeps all going “Blah blah boobs rule… here she goes again.”

  3. You have never been disrespectful of anyone’s choices, so don’t worry about that!

    They used to do the shot to stop lactation, but it’s not done anymore. There were bad side effects involved. I never did the cabbage thing, though I’d heard it worked. My main strategy was to shove my boobs into the tightest sports bra I had, then shove ice packs into those. The incredible lack of sexiness was not an issue because no one was allowed to look at, touch, or think about them until the milk went away on its own!

  4. no one was allowed to look at, touch, or think about them until the milk went away on its own!

    That just made me laugh: Bu isn’t really allowed to look at, touch, or think about them until my milk goes away… I hear that many women are perfectly happy to nurse their babies and still enjoy sexy boob play too, but not me. They are 100% functional to me… poor Bu! I have no idea if that’ll change eventually or no. It’s a damn shame because the girls are big and fabulous;)

  5. You cannot imagine how weird it is to go from having small, manageable boobs to suddenly having gigantic stripper boobs trying to pop out of a compression-style sports bra.

  6. LOL. I’m sure that was quite an experience. I was *thrilled* that my DD’s stayed exactly the same size, only firmer. That may have been a mixed blessing with my milk coming in painfully slowly over 2 weeks instead of within a day or two of delivery. I never had that sudden engorgement issue.

  7. I literally woke up with them one day. Yowza!

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