Feeding for the Future

February 9, 2014

Breastfeeding. It is a loaded word. It is powerful. Every piece of evidence says we should be doing it. Makes sense – we are mammals – what are breasts but mammary glands?

So why is it such a challenge? Why is it so loaded? My theory is that it is an integral part of mothering. Mothering is so complex, yet so simple.

In New York, in this newish millennium, life is complex – so many choices, so many options, so many acceptable variations on “the norm.” What is the norm? Who knows anymore?

For many years breastfeeding was considered special, exceptional. Well guess what? It isn’t – simply put, breastfeeding is normal. That’s all – normal. Of course, anyone who has breastfed will tell you that they feel special, exceptional. Well, being a mother is special, exceptional and normal. Procreation has kept the human race going. Well, breastfeeding has also kept the human race going. Mothering and breastfeeding go hand in hand.

So, what happened? Breastfeeding was replaced as was much of our nutrition and where has that gotten us? Going back to whole foods, sustainability.  We are shopping for organic foods, preparing fresh meals. What about those of us who don’t know how to cook, who don’t have time to cook, who choose not to cook? Do we go hungry? No, we go out! The trend in restaurants is to offer fare that is seasonal and locally grown.  It is green, good for the environment. The people have spoken and we want our health back.

Many mothers truly need to work to support their family. Many mothers are very fulfilled by their jobs outside of mothering and make a commitment to the balancing act of mothering, working, taking care of herself. The babies of these mothers want and deserve proper nutrition.

Babies can’t speak so obviously. Those of you with babies know better. They want their milk and they want what is theirs.  What about the moms who don’t have enough milk, don’t want to breastfeed, have to work and don’t have access to quality pumps, or pumping breaks? Shouldn’t these babies still get human milk? These babies deserve access to appropriate nutrition, their mothers deserve informed choice and these babies deserve access to banked human milk.  The people need to speak out on behalf of our future. There is nothing more sustainable or greener than breastfeeding.

How can we make this happen? Create a need – if you are pregnant tell your health care providers that you will be breastfeeding and you want to know how they will support you and your baby.  Talk to nursing moms, attend a La Leche League Meeting, take a breastfeeding class. If you are nursing, share your joys and challenges. Avoid nursing in the closet. If breastfeeding is not going well, surround yourself with support, seek help from an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, tell your health care providers and pediatrician.

Mothers need support. Let us support one another in our mothering.  Sometimes we make different choices from our peers.  Sometimes choices are made for us.  Mothering is about the future – our babies are the future. Let us celebrate the next generation and work toward a healthier future for our children.Image

Formula and Clinique

July 18, 2012

Why are people up in arms about Mayor Bloomberg banning formula “gift” bags in NYC hospitals?

People think he is taking away a woman’s right to choose how to feed her baby. No, this is not the case.

Let’s talk about marketing.  Basically the hospitals are marketing formula and they are not getting paid for this.  In fact, it takes money to manage the storage and distribution of this product. Yes, the product. Formula is a product. The formula industry is a for-profit enterprise.

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Let’s take Clinique. I love Clinique Bonus time.

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I even subscribe to an e-mail alert system that tells me when and where Clinique is having their next Bonus. I remember in high school going to the Cross creek Mall with Mama and Traci and we would go to Thalhimers or Belk to the make-up counter and inquire about the next Clinique Bonus. Eventually the finely made-up ladies behind the counter saw we were loyal consumers and would clue us in – the Spring Bonus starts next week. Or the Fall Bonus is begins October 3.  I became a customer. Not so much of Thalhimer’s or Belk but of Clinique. You had to spend a minimum amount of money to get the “gift.” This is how is started using Clinique lipstick and mascara. For many years I wore Crystal Violet. I was truly saddened when they discontinued that color – it was what I wore on my wedding day.

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I never thought I would like myself in a frosted lipstick until I got a sample of Heather Moon – my replacement for Crystal Violet. I use Bamboo Pink on those days I don’t wear make-up – like when I go to the beach or gym (yes, I wear lipstick to the gym but that is all – I have very pale lips and well, I am a southern woman.)

I even became a Freelance Fragrance/Make-up Model in the late 80’s when I moved to New York and was a struggling actor. I loved getting the Clinique gig! Twice a year at Lord & Taylor, Bloomingdales and Saks.  I learned a thing or two about make-up and I learned a thing or two about the cut-throat Store Modeling industry. But I always got the Bonus!

I don’t use every thing that comes with the Bonus. I used to trade items with Mama and Traci. Then I gave the unused products to varying roommates and friends. Now, I share with my daughters.

I would be sad if Clinique stopped their Bonus. But I don’t think they will. They got me hooked over twenty years ago and there are millions more to hook to keep them in business.

They spend lots of money promoting their product. The lines at the Clinique counters during Bonus time can be more competitive than getting the Select bus at 14th and First at 9:00am (lots of shoving and elbows.) The last Clinique Bonus I got just recently at Lord & Taylor took up a good percentage of the first floor. They will rotate it for the next Lancome or Estee Lauder Bonus.

This is what the hospitals do so freely.  They donate their space for the formula companies to store their product. The companies that make the formula make the hospitals sign a contract to only give their brand. This then makes the parents of new babies believe that the hospital endorses this specific brand. And guess what? By giving away this product the hospital is endorsing the Brand.

Formula companies want your business. The formula industry rakes in billions of dollars annually. And your hospital is helping to promote and pay for the promotion of their product.

And, it has been proven over and over that when formula is promoted breastfeeding is compromised.

If you want to feed your baby formula no one is stopping you.