Musings of a crunchy, domestic goddess

Just another mama musing about her kids, Attachment Parenting, activism, photography, and life in general

The great Nestle boycott May 19, 2007

Filed under: Activism,Breastfeeding,Health,Valuable Resources — amygeekgrl @ 1:52 pm

Perhaps you’ve heard about the Nestle boycott before, but never really understood why it is going on. Here’s an article – Eye witness evidence of Nestlé malpractice on eve of demonstration – with links to several other sites/articles on the topic.

Nestlé is the target of an international boycott because of its aggressive marketing of baby foods. A newspaper article and new film reveal how Nestlé continues to undermine breastfeeding, breaking international marketing standards, where laws have yet to be introduced and enforced.

See also, Formula for Disaster – a five part UNICEF documentary series available on YouTube.

This eye-opening documentary reveals how the marketing of powdered milk has caused fewer mothers to breastfeed in the Philippines – including those who can ill afford artificial milk and suffer its harmful consequences. The milk companies’ formula for profits is a formula for disaster.
Part 1 of 5
Part 2 of 5
Part 3 of 5
Part 4 of 5
Part 5 of 5

From UNICEF – Rally for breastfeeding – Mothers demand truth about infant formula

Over 100 formula feeding mothers and their babies protested in front of infant formula manufacturers’ offices, claiming milk advertisements have deceived them into giving their babies infant formula instead of breastmilk.

“My message to the milk companies is to stop deceiving those who buy infant formula,” says Nadine Sylvano, mother of five children. “They say that their milk is good for children’s brains, will make children healthy, stout and give strong bones. But it’s not true.”

Also check out Baby Milk Action

Baby Milk Action is a non-profit organization which aims to save lives and to end the avoidable suffering caused by inappropriate infant feeding. Baby Milk Action works within a global network to strengthen independent, transparent and effective controls on the marketing of the baby feeding industry.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 1.5 million infants die around the world every year because they are not breastfed. Where water is unsafe a bottle-fed child is up to 25 times more likely to die as a result of diarrhea than a breastfed child.

That is why a marketing code was introduced in 1981 to regulate the marketing of breastmilk substitutes. Companies continue to violate its provisions. Find out how Baby Milk Action works to stop them and how you can help.

Baby Milk Action is not anti-baby milk. Our work protects all mothers and infants from irresponsible marketing.

There is even more information available on Wikipedia.

…Knowledge is power….

 

Updated to add: Thank you to Julie for reminding me to get a list of Nestle’s products, which are included in the boycott. According to NestleUSA.com, here is a (very LONG) list of their USA brands. (The Nestle UK brand list can be found here.)
* 100 GRAND®
* ADDITIONS™
* AFTER EIGHT® Biscuits & Mints
* ALBERS® Corn Meal and Grits
* ALPO®
* ALPO® COME ‘N GET IT®
* AQUARI-YUMS™ cat treats
* BABY RUTH®
* BACI®
* BEGGIN’ STRIPS® dog treats
* BENEFUL® dog food
* BIT-O-HONEY®
* BOTTLE CAPS®
* BUITONI®
* BUITONI® Risotto & Foccacia Bread Mix
* BUSY BONE™ dog treats
* BUTTERFINGER®
* CARLOS V®
* CAT CHOW® cat food
* CHEF-MATE®
* CHEW-RIFIC™ dog treats
* CHUNKY®
* COFFEE-MATE®
* COFFEE-MATE™ LATTE CREATIONS™
* CROISSANT POCKETS® brand sandwiches
* CRUCIAL®
* DELI-CAT® cat food
* DOG CHOW® dog food
* FAA™
* FANCY FEAST® cat food
* FRISKIES® canned & dry cat food
* GOBSTOPPERS®
* GOOBERS®
* GOOD START® Infant Formulas
* HI PRO® dog food
* HOT POCKETS® brand sandwiches
* KIBBLES AND CHUNKS® dog food
* KIT ‘N KABOODLE® cat food
* KITTEN CHOW® cat food
* KLIM®
* LA LECHERA® Sweetened Condensed Milk
* LAFFY TAFFY®
* LEAN CUISINE®
* LEAN POCKETS® brand sandwiches
* LIBBY’S® Pumpkin
* LIK-M-AID® Fun Dip
* MAGGI® Seasonings
* MIGHTY DOG® dog food
* MILO® powdered beverage & ready-to-drink
* MINOR’S®
* MODULEN® IBD
* MOIST & MEATY®
* NAN® Infant Formula
* NERDS®
* NESCAFÉ®
* NESCAFÉ® Café con Leche
* NESCAFÉ® CLASICO™ (soluble coffees from Mexico)
* NESQUIK®
* NESTEA®
* Nestlé Healthcare Nutrition
* NESTLÉ ® JUICY JUICE® 100% fruit juices
* Nestlé FoodServices
* NESTLÉ® ABUELITA®
* NESTLÉ® CARNATION® INSTANT BREAKFAST®
* NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Malted Milk
* NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Milks
* NESTLÉ® CRUNCH®
* NESTLÉ® dessert toppings
* NESTLÉ® European Style™ Desserts
* NESTLÉ® Hot Cocoa Mix
* NESTLÉ® Infant Formulas
* NESTLÉ® MIlk Chocolate
* NESTLÉ® NIDO®
* NESTLÉ® SIGNATURES TREASURES®
* NESTLÉ® SIGNATURES™ TURTLES®
* NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Candy Bars
* NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Morsels & baking ingredients
* NIPS®
* NUTREN®
* NUTREN® GLYTROL®
* NUTREN® PULMONARY (formerly NUTRIVENT®)
* NUTREN® RENAL (formerly NUTRIRENAL™)
* NUTREN® REPLETE®
* NUTRIHEAL™
* NUTRIHEP®
* OH HENRY!®
* OOMPAS®
* ORTEGA®
* PEPTAMEN®
* PERUGINA® Confections
* PIXY STIX®
* POWERBAR®
* PRIA®
* PRO PLAN® dog and cat foods
* PURINA ONE®
* PURINA®
* PURINA® ESSENTIALS™ cat treats and dog treats
* QUALITY STREET®
* RAISINETS®
* RENALCAL®
* RUNTS®
* secondnature®
* SNO-CAPS®
* SPREE®
* STOUFFER’S®
* SWEETARTS®
* T BONZ®
* TART ‘N TINYS®
* TASTER’S CHOICE® instant coffee
* TENDER VITTLES®
* TIDY CATS®
* TRIO®
* VETERINARY DIETS™
* WHISKER LICKIN’S®
* WONKA® products
* YESTERDAY’S NEWS®

 

 

New home birth resource May 16, 2007

I just wanted to let you all know that I have started a new page on my blog devoted to information about home birth. You can get to it by using the link at the top of the page in the right-hand corner called “home birth resource.”

On it, I will post news articles, statistics, birth stories and more all related to home birth. I hope to add to it on a regular basis, so that it can be a great resource for anyone contemplating a home birth or just looking to learn more.

I was thinking about doing a similar page on breastfeeding information, but I just don’t have the time to commit to that right now. I’m amazed by how many articles are written about breastfeeding. I might tackle that project later.

I’m hoping to redo my blog in the semi-near future and have a lot of ideas floating around in my head on things I’d like to do with it. Stay tuned. :)

 

Free the placenta! May 14, 2007

Ann Swanson, a Hynobirthing Childbirth Educator, recently gave birth to her second child, a daughter, at Sunrise Hospital in Nevada. Knowing that she developed postpartum depression after the birth of her first child, she wanted to combat it this time around by having her placenta dried, ground into a powder and encapsulated for ingestion – a practice known as placentophagy. However, the hospital would not release her placenta – the life-giving organ that provided nutrients to her baby in utero – citing health reasons, though Ann has neither HIV nor Hepatitis. The hospital stated that the only way she may be granted access to the placenta was to obtain a court order. She said, “it was never my intent to file a lawsuit, but I have definitely been pushed into doing just that.”

Unable to find an attorney to take on her case pro bono, Ann is representing herself, which means she is responsible for all legal filings and costs. She had an injunction today and is starting a campaign to pass legislation that makes it illegal for hospitals to refuse women the rights to their placenta (provided it is determined to be non-infectious).

Because all of these things will take money, donations are needed. A PayPal fund has been established to take the donations : LegalizePlacenta@PlacentaBenefits.info – Go to PayPal.com, select the “Send Money” tab and then fill out the “Send Money” form on the right hand side of the screen. Any amount, even if it’s only $1 or $5, will help offset her fees. If more money is received than needed to cover the injunction, the excess will be used for other legal placenta issues and passing legislation.

Ann said, “If the issue was just *my* daughter’s placenta, I would drop the issue. However, the issue is much larger and it affects all women.”

Read more about Ann’s story in an article in the Las Vegas Review-Journal – Making pills from placentas, and a follow-up story – SUNRISE HOSPITAL: Placenta befouled, mom told. Because the hospital has now said the placenta is contaminated, Ann no longer has plans to ingest it, but does still want the organ “for the principle of the thing” so that she can plant it. You can also follow Ann’s story and another woman who also was denied her placenta at a different hospital in NV, by reading Diva/Mama‘s blog.

ONLINE PETITIONS:
Sign the petition to the medical establishment to Release Placentas to Mothers. (For anyone to sign):
Petition to release placentas to mothers

Sign the petition for the Nevada legislature, and should only be signed by residents of Nevada. This one will be used to create a state law giving mothers the right to take their placenta from the hospital.
Create NV state law

Are you wondering why is this so important?

Eating the placenta is known as placentophagy. It is practiced by most mammals in the animal world, including many primates. This excludes the majority of humans.

However, there are some that proport that eating the human placenta can help with ailments from postpartum depression to postpartum hemorrhage. There are some midwives and doctors who use the placenta medicinally in the early stages of postpartum because it is high in progesterone and has small amount of oxytocin. This supposedly helps stem bleeding after birth and causes the uterus to clean itself out. Some forms of Chinese medicines also contain parts of human placenta. — From About.com

For the record, I haven’t mentioned it here before, but yes, after my home birth I had my midwife dry, power and encapsulate my placenta (she calls it “placental medicine”), which I took for a few weeks following Julian’s birth. (I would never have eaten it raw or cooked – I’m too squeamish, but when it was in the capsules, it wasn’t a big deal to me.) I do feel that it had a very positive effect on my emotional well-being and my healing from the birth. I am saving the remaining pills for either Julian when he gets older and goes through a major life transition or for myself for menopause. The placenta is such an amazing organ, why throw it away when it has so many health benefits?

 

Home Birth: The Spirit, The Science and The Mother May 11, 2007

This movie looks hella cool. I’m sure it’d be a great investment for midwives or childbirth educators. I wish I could justify spending $39.99 to watch it online myself. ;)

Home Birth: The Spirit, The Science and The Mother

© 2006 Sage Femme. Running time: 46 min. includes interviews with Dr. Marsden Wagner, Dr. Jeanine Tgettis and Dr. Fred R. Duhart as well as joyful footage from two Home Births.

Dr. Tgettis rocks her three day old baby (Bella was born footling breech at home) as she explains her desire in having a home birth was to keep everything simple and normal. Dr. Marsden Wagner (scientist, neonatalogist, officer in the World Health Organization) talks about his passion of many years for honoring mothers and keeping birth safe. Dr. Wagner is joined by the Wright Family of Rockport, MA as they celebrate the arrival of baby Griffin. Dr. Fred R. Duhart (family physician in St. Louis, MO) has attended hundreds of home births. He is joined by the Jurczyk family at the birth of baby Benjamin.

Home Birth Series

Sage Femme is committed to finding, producing and distributing the broadest selection of natural birth videos available. Why? Because many of us have nearly forgotten or have never seen what a natural birth looks like. In 2005, the cesarean section rate in the US was the highest in recorded history – 29.1%. This along with the damaging and pervasive use of drugs and the negative images the media presents has evolved a state of cultural amnesia about the normal process of childbirth. Sage Femme’s Natural Birth Series was created to show us what safe birth really looks like. The aim is to restore our faith in birth, rekindle our love of nature’s design, and show the benefits of babies arriving in peace.

 

Firsthand review of “The Business of Being Born”

Below is a review of the movie “The Business of Being Born” by Rachel, from Queens, New York City, NY, a woman I met on Mothering.com. She saw the movie during the premier at the Tribeca Film Festival and gave me permission to print her review here.:

I was able to see this movie last night (May 3, 2007) at the Tribeca Film Festival. It was fantastic. You can read the synopsis on the website, but basically the film features women who choose home birth with a midwife, contrasting this with what happens in a hospital birth, the stats of US births v. other developed countries, some history about birth in the US like “twilight sleep” and Cytotec and cesarean rates, lots of interviews with mainstream OB/GYNs, labor and delivery staff, midwives, birth activists and educators, and women about birth. Michel Odent is featured, and a few short snips of an interview with Ina May Gaskin. We follow NYC home birth midwife Cara Muhlhahn as she tends to her patients in prenatal care and at the birth itself. One humorous segment has Cara talking about her own home birth spliced in with footage of her home birth. She admits she wasn’t an ideal patient and could write the book on “home birth midwife begs for c-section!” Less than 90 minutes long, the film was tightly edited and kept me enthralled the whole time.

The facts and expert opinions are mixed in with the experiences and birth footage of women featured in the film. I think 4 or 5 home births or birth center births were shown, all so beautiful and natural and moving in their simplicity. I cried through each one, and the audience literally gasped with joy as each baby was safely and gently delivered and given right to mom. It was a stark contrast to the footage of hospital births.

As one moviegoer said in the Q&A after, “thank you for making a film that celebrates life.”

Parts that stood out for me:
-The filmmaker interviews 3 OB/GYN med student residents and asks them how often they get to see a natural birth. They stare at her blankly before admitting “not very often.”
- All of the births: home, birth center, and hospital.
- A range of opinions from the OBs, those who don’t know anything about home birth and think it is crazy, to those who fully support it
- How women were treated in the hospital vs. at home

The message is very straightforward. It wasn’t preachy and condescending. They use a lot of humor, intelligence, facts, and humanness to illustrate their message that “hey! Women deserve options in birth and to learn what those options are.” Most of the audience seemed already open to or educated on the topic. Even the family physician and OB who spoke up at the Q&A were not newbies to the concept of home birth. The former said that he found the film very balanced and was now interested in learning how to offer home birth as an option to his patients, and the latter is an OB who had her babies at home and said this movie captured the message that she was always trying to give her colleagues. I’d be interested to hear what a skeptic would think of the movie.

Ricki Lake was the executive producer and is featured in the film, too, talking about her own journey to home birth and showing the experience itself. My opinion of her as a Jerry Springer-ish talk show host has definitely changed! She comes across as smart and strong and I’m so happy that she is using her wealth and celebrity to get this important message out. She mentioned that one journalist had written an article slamming her as an opportunist for making this tasteless film, and he wrote a long retraction after seeing it and finding it very worthwhile. I’d love to read both if anyone finds them.

On a more personal note, I was deeply moved by this film. Having been grouchy and depressed for days, my mood turned to elation watching this film and I still am high from it. I wish every woman thinking about having a baby could see it. But I know it would not impact many of them, since so many of us in the US are conditioned to see birth as a nightmare to just get over and do whatever the OB says and nothing really matters but getting a healthy baby in your arms at the end of the day. To me, my birth experience DOES matter. I want it to be the transformative, powerful, life-altering experience I know it can be. Seeing this made me so excited and proud that we are planning a home birth, and grateful that I live in a state and have an insurance company that makes it possible. And that my husband supports my choice despite his misgivings. I hope it gets distributed before our baby comes so he can see it.

Another funny story—the NY Daily News said this movie “wasn’t for the squeamish.” And when I picked up my tickets at will call, the woman who gave them to me said, “are you sure you want to see this? It is very graphic.” I said, “I can’t wait to see it! I’ve heard such great things about it!” She said, “well, won’t it scare you, you know, with all you’re about to go through?” [indicating my pregnant belly] I was a little tongue tied for a moment, and said, “It won’t scare me, it will prepare me.” And she seemed happy with that. I just think it would be so weird to be thinking, “Ok, my body is about to go through this tremendous experience, so I’ll just be sure to remain as ignorant about it as possible.” But I guess that is true for a lot of people. I didn’t get the “squeamish” or “graphic” comments at all. Considering what you see in movies and TV these days, these births were so simple and beautiful. Maybe I’ve just seen enough birth footage already that this wasn’t shocking to me. We are so cut off in our culture from birth and death. How it all starts and ends. Interesting.

Everyone should see this movie! Enjoy! You can sign up for the email list on the website, and I assume they will send an update when they get a distributor.

Thank you, Rachel, for letting me share this with my readers. :)

 

An evening with Ina May May 8, 2007

Ina MayAs I set out driving Friday night to hear Ina May Gaskin – called “the mother of authentic midwifery” by Midwifery Today – speak, I was filled with nervous excitement. When I was about 10 minutes out from the church in Lafayette where the event was taking place, a friend of mine called me to say she was saving some seats for me and other friends of ours and she was able to get pretty close to the front. I felt like a teenager going to a rock concert. Third row seats! We got third row seats to see Ina May! :)

As I pulled into the parking lot, I saw moms with their children in baby slings or carriers, groups of women without children, as well as some couples all making their way towards the entrance. I pulled in a spot, got Julian from the backseat and into the Ergo carrier when I overheard a woman a few cars down from me say, “I’m so glad I remembered to bring my book for her to sign.” D’oh! I never even thought to bring my copy of “Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth.” Some groupie I am, eh?

With only five minutes to spare before the talk was supposed to begin, Julian and I hightailed it into the building, quickly saying hello as we passed a couple of women I know from our AP group on the way. I couldn’t wait to get inside.

We made our way to the front of the registration line and we were greeted by my midwife K with a big hug. I wanted to stay and chat with her, but there wasn’t time and she had a lot more participants to check in, so we agreed to try to meet up after Ina May’s talk to chat. My excitement and anticipation grew.

Once inside the church, I spotted my friends waving me down in, yes, the third(!) row, right in front of the podium. I may have skipped a little as I made my way towards them and settled down in my seat with Julian.

We chatted for a good 10 to 15 minutes before Karen Robinson, the president of the Colorado Midwives Association (CMA), came out to welcome everyone to the event, speak a bit about the CMA, and then, the moment we were all waiting for, introduce Ina May Gaskin.

The applause began immediately and Ina May walked in to a standing ovation.

She began her talk with a bit of history both about herself and about the history of birth and obstetrics in the United States. While I have read and heard before about how women used to be treated in hospitals (drugged to the point of being unconscious while their babies were extracted from their bodies using forceps, etc.), it gives me the heebie-jeebies every time. She told us how her first birth was in a hospital, where, despite her belief that she could’ve given birth naturally and without pain medication, she was drugged and her baby was taken out using forceps.

She spoke about the path that lead her to become a midwife, as she began attending births while traveling across the country (on hippie buses) with hundreds of others who were following Stephen Gaskin on a five-month-long speaking tour across the United States. 11 babies were born on the buses during the Caravan. She has attended more than 1200 births to date.

She talked about Sphincter Law which is described in detail in her book “Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth.”

“The Sphincter Law recognizes the cervix as a sphincter along with the other excretory sphincters. These sphincters function best, Gaskin points out, in an atmosphere of privacy and familiarity.” –Midwifery: the Revival an Old Profession

So it is difficult for a woman to give birth in a hospital with nurses and doctors shouting “PUSH!” or making threats of “you’d better get that baby out soon or you’ll have a c-section” etc. Just as it would not be easy for any of us to shit (yes, she said shit! and ass too for that matter) on command. If you are sitting on the toilet, trying to take a crap and someone walks in on you – what happens? You stop crapping until you feel safe and no longer vulnerable. Same thing can also happen with birthing a baby.

She also talked about the mind/body connection, though I don’t know if she used that term. She described how she has witnessed a woman get stuck at 7 cm (or whatever) for hours on end with no apparent physical reason, only to later discover that this women’s mother died in childbirth, so this woman was afraid she would die too. Once the “secret” was out, however, the woman was able to dilate to completion and have her baby. She ran into something similar in another situation as well. But (and this is my own rambling here) had something like that happened in a hospital, how many doctors would stop to wonder what could be causing this woman’s labor to stall or would they threaten the woman that if she didn’t dilate by such and such time, she would need a c-section? Yes, I believe things need to change in the obstetrical world.

She talked a little bit about Ricki Lake’s new movie, “The Business of Being Born,” as she is interviewed in it. She mentioned that it received a standing ovation at the Tribeca Film Festival and that Ricki had recently been interviewed about it on “The View.” Someone asked how can we see the film and she recommended we start calling our local movie theaters to ask them when they will be getting it. Let them know there’s a demand for it.

At the end of her talk, she took questions from the audience. Questions were asked about VBACs (vaginal birth after cesarean), breastfeeding, circumcision, vaccinations and breech births. I don’t recall all that was said since we were going on two hours of Julian being a happy camper in my lap and he was starting to get squirmy.

I know she said that she believes breastfeeding should continue as long as it’s mutually satisfying to both the child AND the mother. If mom isn’t enjoying the breastfeeding relationship anymore, she doesn’t believe in continuing to nurse out of guilt. She is currently in the process of writing a book about breastfeeding.

She doesn’t believe in routine circumcision, but has seen many circumcised boys in her years as a midwife, and even acted as a mohel for a while.

I didn’t get to hear a lot of what she said about vaccinations, since it was about that time that I decided Julian and I needed to move from our third(!) row seat and stand in the back, where I could sway with him and keep him contented. I recall her saying that she felt some vaccinations were OK, but she believes in starting them later than the recommended age. And that there were others (like chicken pox) that she wouldn’t recommend.

After I had Julian tucked back into the Ergo and we were swaying at the back of the room, someone asked a question about her thoughts on breech births (i.e. should they be automatic c-sections?). This, as some of you who have read Julian’s birth story* know, is a topic very dear and close to my heart. If you have a breech baby in a hospital with an OB, you are pretty much guaranteed a c-section. Of course midwives still perform vaginal breech births and believe that a woman should be able to choose to have a vaginal birth. Ina May helps educate midwives in her conferences (and through her videos) on the knowledge and skills required to successfully assist women having breech babies. In fact, one of the sessions from the following day’s midwifery conference was focusing on breech and twin births. “Vaginal birth of breech and twins has become a rarity for more and more OBs. Therefore the skills needed to assist in these types of vaginal births have begun to disappear and women are losing their right to choose a vaginal birth with twins or a breech.”

After that question was answered, Ina May wrapped up her talk and gracefully exited the room as everyone applauded with much gratitude.

Many people milled about for a while chatting with each other, meeting with Ina May or Debby Takikawa (the director of the movie “What Babies Want” narrated by Noah Wyle who was presenting at the midwifery conference held that day – by the way, it’s a great movie and you should definitely see it if you ever get the chance), etc. after the talk concluded. Yours truly was among them. I chatted with some friends for a while before realizing that Ina May was still around and signing autographs. I wished that I had my book with me, but since I didn’t, I asked her to sign a brochure from my midwife’s practice. She did.
“For Amy
Ina May Gaskin”
I talked to her briefly and told her a little bit about Julian’s birth, as he slept away in the Ergo. It was pretty darn cool to talk to her face to face. I knew she had had a busy day and another one ahead of her the next day (and still more autographs to sign), so I didn’t want to keep her for long. I thanked her and headed back over to my friends. We reminisced about how we used to get all excited about going to concerts or getting autographs from celebrities, etc., and there we were elated to hear a midwife talk and get her autograph. ;) Times have certainly changed.

I must add that I also wished I had taken my camera with me, when I later saw Ina May pose for pictures with a few women. I guess I now know what to bring along with me to my next midwifery rock concert event. ;)

It was a wonderful evening and a great privilege to meet Ina May, a woman who has done so much to further the midwifery cause and offer women a choice, a very safe choice, when it comes to birth.

———————————————————————
I’m sure I forgot something from the evening and if anyone who was there wants to chime in in the comments with anything I overlooked, please do so. It really would’ve been nice to take notes, but there’s no way I could’ve kept the pen and paper out of Julian’s mouth. ;)

Salon.com has a great article about Ina May called, The Midwife of Modern Midwifery from a series called “Brilliant Careers” in the June 1, 1999 edition for those of you who’d like to learn more about this amazing woman.

*If you haven’t read Julian’s birth story and would like to, please e-mail me. It’s not currently on my blog.

 

My first few ounces May 6, 2007

Filed under: Activism,Ava,Breastfeeding,Health,milk banking,Valuable Resources — amygeekgrl @ 10:01 am

breastfeeding baby

Yesterday morning I sat down with my Lactina breastpump (on loan from the Mothers’ Milk Bank) and pumped my first few ounces of breast milk to donate to the bank.

Ava has been very interested in learning about the whole process of mommy pumping for other babies who’s mommies don’t make milk, and wanted to watch me pump. I thought it would be distracting to me to have her watch, but it turns out she had quite the opposite effect. Jody kept her downstairs for a while as I was getting set up and I could hear her asking if I was pumping yet. Once I’d been pumping for about 5 to 7 minutes and was feeling a tad frustrated because my milk wasn’t letting down (even though I was looking at baby pics of both Ava and Julian on the wall for inspiration), I told him to let her come upstairs. It certainly couldn’t hurt at that point. A minute or so after she walked into the room and started talking to me, my milk let down. Yay! I should have known that having her or Julian (who was napping at the time) in the room with me could only help.

I was only able to pump 2 oz. on my first try, but I am hoping that as I get into the routine of doing it daily (and up my water and oatmeal intake), I’ll be able to produce more. That’s the beauty of supply and demand. :)

Thanks again to Jennifer at The Lactivist for mentioning a couple months ago that Denver’s Mothers’ Milk Bank was having a severe shortage. Without that knowledge, I don’t know that I would’ve been motivated to look into it and start donating.

If you are interested in donating your breast milk, please read this article and contact a milk bank in your area. Many sick or premature babies and their mommies thank you.

————————————————–

I have to add that seeing Ina May talk Friday night was amazing. I hope to find some time in the next few days to write all about it. I wish I was able to take notes while I was there so I don’t forget anything, but with my bouncing baby boy on my lap, that wasn’t exactly a possibility. ;)

 

International Day of the Midwife May 2, 2007

The International Day of the Midwife is this Saturday, May 5. Don’t forget to honor and celebrate the special midwife/midwives in your life. :)

And if you don’t know any midwives, perhaps take this opportunity to learn more about the profession of midwifery.

Did you know?
“In the Netherlands, midwives attend over 70% of all births, and one in three children is born at home. The Netherlands has one of the highest percentages of normal childbirths and the lowest percentages of infant and maternal deaths in the world.” – Global Midwives

From Midwifery Today:

This year’s International Day of the Midwife emphasizes the midwife’s role in primary care. You are the first source of help, advice and protection. Evidence shows that preventive care provided by midwives results in fewer maternal and neonatal deaths. You are the first line of defense, the safety net, the pair of loving hands that safely eases a woman and baby through the life-altering passage of pregnancy and birth. Go ahead and give yourself all the commendation you deserve. Put your feet up on May 5 and say to yourself, “I have made a difference in the world and I’m proud of myself.” And for those of you who will be catching babies that day–well, your actions speak even louder than words. Happy midwifing. Happy International Day of the Midwife. -Cher Mikkola, E-News editor

Thank you to my dear midwife, K, for helping me have an amazing, unforgettable, empowering beyond belief, healthy and safe birth. And to all of the midwives around the world, especially those here in the United States who are making changes in the medical world and helping empower women to take back birth, thank you for your wisdom, compassion, knowledge, patience, passion, flexibility and respect.

Well-behaved women rarely make history. — Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

 

Ricki Lake produces “The Business of Being Born” May 1, 2007

Photo from The Business of Being Born

It’s hard for me to express just how excited I am about the new documentary, “The Business of Being Born,” with Ricki Lake as the executive producer. From what I have read and seen, it looks like it was very well done. It is my supreme hope that it will continue to build momentum towards a shift in how birth happens in this country.

There was just a brief discussion about it on The View this morning. I don’t normally watch The View, but a friend told me Ricki was going to be on, so I tuned in to catch what I could while Ava chattered in the background. ;) Ricki said she isn’t trying to say that everyone should have a home birth or that she’s anti-hospitals, but she wants all women to know that they have a choice. Rosie O’Donnell sounded very supportive of it and Elisabeth Hasselbeck, who’s pregnant with her second child, seemed very interested as well. Joy Behar said she was skeptical. I guess ya can’t win ‘em all. And Barbara Walters wasn’t there. (aww, bummer. ha!)

Here are a few clips from the segment. It sucks that I can’t find the whole thing online yet. Maybe later.

Added on 5/5/07: Someone on Mothering.com posted a link to the whole Ricki Lake segment on “The View” from the other day.

About the documentary from The Business of Being Born:

THE BUSINESS OF BEING BORN

Birth is a miracle, a rite of passage, a natural part of life. But birth is also big
business.

Compelled to explore the subject after the delivery of her first child, actress Ricki
Lake recruits filmmaker Abby Epstein to question the way American women have
babies.

Epstein gains access to several pregnant New York City women as they weigh
their options. Some of these women are or will become clients of Cara
Muhlhahn, a charismatic midwife who, between birth events, shares both
memories and footage of her own birth experience.

Footage of women having babies punctuates THE BUSINESS OF BEING
BORN. Each experience is unique; all are equally beautiful and equally
surprising. Giving birth is clearly the most physically challenging event these
women have ever gone through, but it is also the most emotionally rewarding.
Along the way, Epstein conducts interviews with a number of obstetricians,
experts and advocates about the history, culture and economics of childbirth.
The film’s fundamental question: should most births be viewed as a natural life
process, or should every delivery be treated as a potential medical emergency?
As Epstein uncovers some surprising answers, her own pregnancy adds a very
personal dimension to THE BUSINESS OF BEING BORN, a must-see movie for
anyone even thinking about having a baby.

Want to read more? Here’s an interview with Ricki Lake and the Huffington Post discussing the movie. Here’s a bit of it:

Why did you want to produce this film?
I wanted to make this movie after my two very different birth experiences with my children. I felt like I had an opportunity to explore and question birthing practices in this country and perhaps be an advocate for mothers’ rights and better maternity care.

How did your personal birth experiences influence you?
After the birth of my sons, particularly my home birth with my second son, I thought I wanted to become a midwife. Then I looked at all the years of schooling and training that I would have to do and felt that the time could be better spent doing a documentary on the subject of birth.

How intimate does the film get?
I am naked at 195 pounds giving birth in my own bathtub. It can’t get any more intimate than that!

What do you hope people take away from the film?
A lot! I hope this film educates people and empowers them to really know their choices in childbirth. We do not want to make any woman feel bad about the outcome of her birth, or the choices she made (or will make).

The film is currently premiering at the Tribeca Film Festival and, according to Rosie O’Donnell on The View, it was the only film that received a standing ovation. :)

I leave you with some quotes about birth:

“If we are to heal the planet, we must begin by healing birthing.” — Agnes Sallet Von Tannenberg

“$13 to $20 billion a year could be saved in health care costs by demedicalizing childbirth, developing midwifery, and encouraging breastfeeding.” — Frank Oski, MD, Professor and Director, Department of Pediatrics, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD

“Unfortunately, the role of obstetrics has never been to help women give birth. There is a big difference between the medical discipline we call “obstetrics’ and something completely different, the art of midwifery. If we want to find safe alternatives to obstetrics, we must rediscover midwifery. To rediscover midwifery is the same as giving back childbirth to women. And imagine the future if surgical teams were at the service of the midwives and the women instead of controlling them.” — Michel Odent, MD

“The experience profoundly changed my perspective. In the hospital, I hadn’t perceived the anxiety and foreboding that permeated birth until I experienced the impact of its absence among the midwives. The peace, wonder, and intimacy were infinitely greater. What a compelling difference!” — Heidi Rinehart, MD (as quoted in Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin)

 

Penn & Teller on Circumcision April 30, 2007

Filed under: Activism,Health,Kids,Natural living,Parenting,Valuable Resources — amygeekgrl @ 9:03 pm

Everything you ever wanted to know (and then some) about circumcision:

From Penn & Teller’s Showtime Bullshit! series, here’s The Bullshit of Circumcision

I think this video speaks for itself. I will add that “brief nudity” is an understatement in this episode’s case, and (as this shows actual circumcisions being performed on babies) this is not for the faint of heart. That’s all I’m gonna say about that.

 

 
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