Friday, January 30, 2009

Lactivism (Breastfeeding Activism)

Recently one of my friends has been under attack and so I am now taking stand to defend her and her position. I stumbled across this blog post which states many things that I disagree with and attacks Lactivists, though not necessarily my friend, and I would like to address these statements.

A big issue I have with "lactivists" is the predominant attitude of "if you don't like it, don't look." This stinks of selfishness to me... I just think the brazen "to hell with all who disagree" attitude is not the way to show people that breastfeeding is natural. It seems that open dialogue, consideration, and compromise would be a better pathway.

In my opinion, people who promote breastfeeding by doing it publicly are anything but selfish. They are often ridiculed and treated cruelly by others who disagree. I am reminded of those who fought for Women's suffrage, especially Alice Paul, who refused to be silent. There were many others who sat aside waiting for the vote, but Paul would not wait; women had been waiting long enough. Paul was defamed, imprisoned and horribly mistreated, even by those she once campaigned with. I am sure many people called her selfish and immoral at the time, but I dare any woman today to say that she doesn't appreciate her right to vote.

Another beef I have with "lactivists": breastfeeding is the only right way, and anyone who gives their child cow's milk or formula is doing irreparable damage to him/her.

I have yet to hear a lactivist say that feeding a child formula instead of breastfeeding is doing irreparable damage to them. In fact lactivist Elizabeth Gene says this: "Women should not feel guilty if they are unable to breastfeed, but they should feel guilty if they are unwilling to do so, and they should be intellectually honest enough to know the difference." This is the point lactivists are trying to make. Not, "shame on you for not breastfeeding" but "shame on you for not being willing." Many, many women are not willing to even attempt breastfeeding because in many ways formula feeding is easier, but also because many women think it is gross. I wonder why?

Here is a quote from a response to this post: Bottle feeding doesn't make you any less of a mom...Nutritionally, they're pretty much the same...Formula, anymore, is actually rather good. And if your kid's gonna be a sick kid, there's not a whole lot you could do to change that. I think breastfeeding may have been necessary for many infants to survive because in the old days, there weren't simple antibiotics or good remedies for a lot of things, like pertussis, pox, polio . . .

The only thing this woman has right is that bottle feeding does not make a woman less of a mom, however breast milk and formula are NOT nutritionally the same, and formula is not even comparable to breast milk in most ways. Sure, it is made to simulate breast milk, but it is not, nor will ever be, breast milk! Need proof? The American Academy of Family Physicans has this to say based upon science, not opinion:

Despite the resurgence of breastfeeding in the late 20th century in the United States, breastfeeding and formula feeding continued to be considered virtually equivalent, representing merely a lifestyle choice parents may make without significant health sequelae...not breastfeeding is associated with increased risks of common conditions including acute otitis media, gastroenteritis, atopic dermatitis, and life-threatening conditions including severe lower respiratory infections, necrotizing enterocolitis, and sudden infant death syndrome. The health effects of breastfeeding persist beyond the period of breastfeeding. Children who were not breastfed are at increased risk of obesity, type 1 and 2 diabetes, asthma, and childhood leukemia.

Based on just the studies referenced in the above quoted article, breastfeeding helps in many ways that vaccines and antibiotics cannot. If this isn't enough info for you, just ask, I have LOTS more information to share! As far as guilt for the bottle feeding mother goes, I thought this quote from the AAFP was insightful:

Although physicians make health recommendations about many aspects of infant care, many physicians still worry that advocating breastfeeding will cause parental guilt. In fact, parents may feel less guilt if they have had an opportunity to learn all the pertinent information and make a fully informed decision.

That statement is based upon a survey done of parents and providers about encouraging breastfeeding. I know it is not possible for every woman to breastfeed and we are blessed to have the alternative of formula but I defy anyone to find scientific studies that prove that formula is nutritionally equivalent to breast milk.

In conclusion I want to leave you with my dear friend's words which describe exactly why she chooses to be so vocal in pushing this issue:

The real issue is that breastfeeding women are being discriminated against. We are asked to hide or leave while bottle feeding women (be it formula or breast milk in the bottle) aren't. I want to be with my friends and family when I'm out. I don't want me or my baby to be treated like we're dirty and wrong by people who feel that I should be "discreet." I feel that discreet should be left up to the comfort level of the mom.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A little joke

Q: What is a seven-course meal in Gillette, Wyoming?
A: A hamburger and a six-pack.

He, he he

Monday, January 26, 2009

Is biting your child O.K.?

Common sense tells me no, and yet while I was talking with some women last week both admitted to biting their children when their children bit others, even causing bruises. I was shocked and appalled. I had no idea what to say and was even more put off when they said that their children's day care teachers were the ones who recommended this measure. Biting your child is NOT o.k. and if you don't believe me, here are some articles that might change your mind despite any advice that you have received from other parents or "experts."

Police: Uncle Bit Boy to Teach a Lesson

Thursday, May 17, 2007
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. - A man was charged with assault for allegedly biting his 3-year-old nephew all over his body to teach the toddler that biting people is wrong, police said.
Hector Pulido, 40, was arrested Tuesday after day care workers discovered adult-size bite marks on the boy's chest, stomach, shoulder, back, thigh, leg and buttocks, police said.
The boy told officers his uncle had bitten him. When questioned, Pulido allegedly admitted that he did it "to teach him not to bite anyone," said Lt. James Viadero, a police spokesman.
Pulido was charged with assault and risk of injury to a minor. He was being held on $100,000 bond after a court appearance Wednesday. A message seeking comment was left with the public defender representing Pulido.
The toddler was evaluated at a hospital, and the state Department of Children and Families was notified.

Penelope Leach, child psychologist writing for babycenter. The italics are mine.

It's understandable to despair when your child sinks his teeth into your — or even worse, another person's — flesh, and the "bite him back" argument may seem like a logical way to stop his biting. Nevertheless, it's wrongheaded.

Teeth (and "claws") are natural weapons for all young mammals, so your child's first instinct is to use them when he feels threatened or needs something. He doesn't truly understand that biting (and pinching and pulling hair) is forbidden, let alone "wrong." So when he bites, even if he does it gently and playfully, immediately and clearly convey to him that biting isn't acceptable.

If his "kisses" turn into aggressive nibbles, for instance, remove him from your lap with a firm "no biting." He's still too young for lengthy explanations about why biting is bad; it's enough at this point to simply tell him that he must not bite under any circumstances.

Make sure, too, that you don't inadvertently reward your child for biting. Of course, teeth marks will get your attention, but don't pick him up — even if it's to reprimand him. If your child bites another child, focus your attention on the injured party rather than on the biter — who may take even negative attention as reinforcement for doing it again.

While you need to firmly tell your child that biting isn't okay, actually punishing him for the behavior isn't very effective at getting him to stop. In fact, punitive measures may put an angry or overstimulated child right over the top. And though parents are often counseled to bite their child back "to show him how it feels," this is as pointless as it is painful.

A child this age isn't capable of truly putting himself in another's shoes, so he can't yet see the connection between what he does and what's done to him. What's more, young children do most of their social learning by following their parents' example, so biting your child or otherwise inflicting pain on him sets an appallingly bad example. After all, how will he learn that biting is beyond the pale if you do it, too?

Biting must be stopped, of course, but you won't stop it by stooping to your child's level. Aggressive acts stop when adults stop them. So instantly remove your child's teeth from his victim's flesh, show concern for the child who's been hurt, acknowledge both parties' feelings, and, as your child's verbal skills grow, help him learn to negotiate with words rather than aggression: "We don't bite (or hit or grab). Can you use your words to tell me what you

Friday, January 23, 2009

Ravenna Photo of the Week

This is how Ravenna likes to sleep lately

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Historic Rock Ford by Candlelight

On one of our adventures, my good friend Mara drove down from New Jersey and we all went to Rock Ford, a beautiful Colonial home built in 1794 by one of George Washington's Revolutionary war generals. The house is almost entirely original, which is so rare, and anyone who knows me can tell how much I love historic accuracy.

What was really fun was that historical interpreters were recreating the Twelve days of Christmas celebrations as they would have been in the 18th century. The whole house was lit solely by candles which was great for the ambiance and there was music and dancing as there would have been during the period. Needless to say, being there definitely reawakened my desire to work at a home like this some day. And if just being there was not enough, a few of the interpreters invited me to apply.

As you can see from the pictures the fog came in that day and in the evening it became so thick we could hardly see 10 feet in front of us. It made for some really great pictures of the property after dark.

Ravenna can wave!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

And we are back in Wyoming!

Our trip to Pennsylvania was lovely. We arrived at the Washington Regan airport on Dec. 21st after a harrowing day on planes and in airports which I will not recount for your sake. I cannot express how lovely it was to step out of the airport into a balmy 36 degrees. Believe me, after leaving Wyoming at -5 degrees, anything above freezing is balmy.
I cannot say that we did a ton of stuff while on vacation, certainly not anything near what I said we were going to do, but we did have a wonderful, restful time with family and friends.

Ravenna developed a love of pickles while at Isaac's Deli where diners receive a plate of pickled delicacies upon ordering. Ravenna just reached out an grabbed one and started munching on it with relish (he he he, relish!). I really don't like pickles and neither does Andrew, but our little girl is special indeed.

Speaking of delicacies, at one of Lancaster county's famous market's I sampled pressed pigs tongue which was selling for $9/lb. It is basically a bunch of pigs tongues cooked, I imagine, and then pressed into a mold which is then filled with gelatin. After curing for an appropriate amount of time, it is then thinly sliced and put on bread. I was not thrilled by the texture of this "treat," but Nettie seemed to like it. Of course, I did have a famous whoopie pie as well.

Much of our time was spent shopping. Lancaster is famous for its many outlet malls and I was suckered in by the allure of Christmas sales. Being that Gillette is very short on shopping in general, unless you want to buy a gun or booze, I had not done any clothes shopping since I was in California in July and I was in dire need of a new coat, here modeled by Peter.

Nettie and I also went "house hunting" with her real estate agent neighbor. No, Andrew hasn't found a job there, but in case he does, I know what we can afford and what is out there.

My amazing brother-in-law, Peter, taught himself to play the cello, so he didn't see any reason why I shouldn't learn to play it as well. Here he is showing me the ropes. By the end of our trip I could play For the Beauty of the Earth decently. I am thinking of taking it up if I can find a teacher here in Gillette, which is unlikely, but a girl can dream.

I learned to sing the harmony on Pie Jesu which Peter and I performed together for his family. I don't sing much in front of others, but I do enjoy it.

Another large part of our trip was spent playing games and watching movies. Here is Jon on Christmas morning wearing the hat that Lauren got him, which suits his personality so well.

We obviously did more than just this, so I will blog some more with pictures from our outings and other neat activities.

Ravenna's first Christmas

Grandma Net let Ravenna wear her jingle bell necklace.
Ravenna soon discovered that she could fit the whole thing in her mouth!
She becomes more like her daddy every day...

Sweet little girl

Ravenna's Christmas dress from Grandma Cloud
(don't worry, I was right below her to catch her if she fell)

Christmas morning in her Santa cap.
You can even see her little tooth buds if you look closely

My sentiments exactly, Little Bean. Andrew made her do this.