Monday, June 27, 2011

Detroit Mother Ordered Off the Bus for Nursing Her Newborn

By Danelle Frisbie © 2011


On Friday, June 24th, Afrykayn Moon stood waiting in line for the 11:50am 275 SMART Bus from Meijer in Taylor, Michigan (outside Detroit) north to Pontiac. While she waited for the hour long bus ride, Moon quietly nursed her two week old son in a football hold, supported by her Moby Wrap. With her, she had two car seats for the ride, a stroller, and her three year old daughter.

As the SMART bus pulled up, the others waiting in line before her boarded. She approached the bus, and the driver, Darcell, looked at Moon with a puzzled. "What IS that?!" she asked. "What is that you're holding that way?! I know that's not a baby..." she said to Moon, leaning over for a better look.  "Ah... is that a titty?!" Darcell shrieked.

"Yes," Moon replied. "That is my son. I am feeding my son."

"You're going to have to cover that up!" Darcell ordered Moon, who continued to nurse as she helped her three year old onto the bus, and pulled her items aboard.

"You're going to have to cover THAT up!" Darcell repeated two additional times - the order becoming more forceful.

Moon said that she would not cover or stop nursing her baby and offered to give the driver the laws of Michigan which state (Mich. Comp. Laws § 41.181, § 67.1aa and § 117.4i et seq.):
Public nudity laws do not apply to a woman breastfeeding a child.
Federal law also protects Moon and her nursing newborn when they are on property otherwise funded with any federal dollars (Public Law No: 106-58 (Sec. 647) if she and her child are otherwise permitted to be there.

Darcell told Moon she would have to call her in to Dispatch. While Moon did not hear the call, or what was said, Dispatch told Darcell to remove Moon from the bus. Moon refused.

Until she got off the bus, Darcell announced she would not be moving the bus. Other passengers began to complain - many would be late for work.

Moon's newborn son finished nursing, and she put him up on her shoulder. Darcell started the bus and took off.

At the next stop, Darcell had uniformed officers come onto the bus to remove Moon and her babies. Her baby was no longer nursing, but an officer asked Moon anyway, "Ma'am, are you done?"

Moon replied, "For now. But if he gets hungry again, I will feed him again. This is an hour bus ride. If he gets hungry before the hour is up, I am going to feed him."

Darcell put the bus in park and ordered everyone off. Moon refused to move again. Everyone sat. Eventually, Darcell decided to pull the bus away, but noticed Moon's two car seats, stroller, and three year old sitting along side her. "You can't leave that stroller sitting against the seat that way," she told Moon. Another gentleman got up to help move the stroller to the back of the bus. Yet, when he got off at his stop, the harassment continued.

Moon's beautiful, blessed children: 
Her three year old daughter, and newborn son who she nurses on cue.

Moon says that with her YouTube video (below), she had planned to "put my baby in a football hold, and put my Moby Wrap on, and show everybody on this video that - look! - you can't really see anything, and [Darcell] didn't have any reason for saying that, because I really wasn't that exposed."

However, Moon, continued, "If I do that, then that really takes away from what my point is. And my point for doing this video is not to show you how much of my breast was showing, or how much was not showing. The point of the matter is, as a mother, I should have the right to feed my child, period. I have the right to feed my child if we're out. I should be able to feed him without being harassed by the bus driver; Without having the bus driver call the police on me; Without having the bus driver's dispatch try to put me off the bus."

Moon says that there were five other women on the bus at the same time as this ordeal took place. "Doing things like that would discourage another mother from every wanting to breastfeed! ...We don't need mothers to keep from nursing! We need to keep promoting mothers nursing! That is the healthiest way to take care of your child. And things like this are going to keep a new mother, or a mother who is already hesitating, from nursing."

Moon is correct when she asserts that, "Something needs to be done. What I experienced was completely rude - was completely disrespectful. Especially coming from another woman."

In response to the harassment Moon and her little ones endured, a nurse-in is planned for this coming Friday, July 1st, to take place at the Oakland County SMART Bus Terminal (details below and on the Facebook event page). Please support Moon, her newborn son, and nursing babies and mothers everywhere, by contacting SMART to let them know this is, without question, not the way to treat breastfeeding mothers and their babies. And thank you for nursing in public! 


SMART Bus Phone Number: 866-962-5515

Mr. John C. Hertel, General Manager
535 Griswold Street., Ste. 600
Detroit, MI 48226
Phone: 313-223-2100


Oakland County SMART Bus Terminal Nurse-In

Date: Friday July 1, 2011
Time: 9:00am -12:00pm
Location: Oakland County SMART Bus Terminal





UPDATE:

SMART released the following statement in response to this incident:
As the regional transit provider, SMART works hard to ensure our services are safe, convenient and reliable and that we comply with all appropriate federal and state laws. As such, SMART supports a mother's right to breastfeed her child. It is our policy to permit this activity on all SMART buses.


We have taken the recent complaint very seriously and are investigating the full incident. The driver involved in the situation has been taken out of service pending conclusion of our investigation.


SMART is southeast Michigan’s only regional transit system serving Macomb, Oakland and Wayne Counties. Recognized nationally as an innovator in community based service for its unique partnerships with 75 communities, SMART is posting record ridership with nearly 12 million passengers using the service annually.
NIP and Breastfeeding Advocacy Shirts Available at Made By Momma


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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Primal Parenting: Giving Babies the Best Start in Life

By Patricia Törngren, CCE © 2011
Provided for DrMomma.org by author.
Read more from Törngren at Parenting With Love

Mother and baby from Patricia Törngren's Primal Parenting Page

Few adults today would associate the way they were treated as babies with the problems they may be experiencing in their adult lives. Yet people undergoing Primal Therapy and the other Deep Feeling Regressive Therapies, often become only too aware of them. For a long time I have been battling in therapy with the pain of my overwhelming loneliness as a baby. I was not fed often enough and not picked up nearly enough to meet my needs. I was also made to sleep alone at night from birth on.

Recently, my therapist gave me a book to read because it confirmed so clearly what I was reliving in my sessions with him. I’d like to share it here. It is an archaeologically-based book called The Prehistory of Sex, written by Timothy Taylor. The relevant section is on pages 189 - 191.

Taylor states that in hunter-gatherer societies, children continue to breastfeed until the age of five or six. They get great comfort from the unconditional love that breastfeeding provides. From this they learn trust, reliance, and sharing. The author points out, that far from becoming dependent individuals, they display remarkable autonomy, because they have a strong, inner sense of their own value.


He makes the point that in warrior societies, the opposite is often the case. Colostrum is frequently withheld from the baby. Early weaning usually follows this. As a result, the baby is left with unresolved pain, anger, helplessness and rage, which it cannot understand, and cannot express.

Later in life, this is likely to emerge in the form of either depression, or aggressive and violent tendencies, which may be projected onto, and acted-out against, another person, or a group of people. Thus, such a society becomes a war-like one. (Swiss Psychoanalyst, Alice Miller, discusses a similar phenomenon in her book, For Your Own Good: Hidden Cruelty in Child-Rearing and the Roots of Violence).

There is a practice currently being taught by some doctors and childcare professionals, called "controlled crying." Parents are urged to use it to make their children more independent. Timothy Taylor has deeper insight into what it is actually doing to the baby. *

He says that for early weaning to be forced onto the child, the child must be made to sleep alone, and its crying ignored. In "controlled crying," the child is allowed to cry a little more each night before its needs for food and comfort are responded to. As a result, the child eventually stops crying at all. At this point the uninformed may be delighted - believing the child has been trained into better habits. In contrast, what Taylor suggests has happened, is that a basic animal instinct has come into play – one observed in the young of most mammals and birds. The baby instinctively feels, “If you signal your distress, and no one comes, you have been abandoned. You will die unless you conserve energy. Crying expends energy. Therefore in order to survive, you must stop crying, and shut down.” Before it stops crying, however, the baby must adopt the knowledge that it has been abandoned.

The outcome of this is very serious. Taylor links it to classical conditioning and Martin Seligman’s theory of learned helplessness. He argues that if a child cries, and its cries go unheeded, and its needs unmet, the child begins to detach from reality. Instinctively, the child feels, “No matter how hard I try, nothing changes, and no relief comes. So why try anymore? My efforts are in vain anyway.” Such knowledge is overwhelming to a baby, and in order to survive, the baby represses this into unconsciousness, and tries to numb itself to sleep.

Experiencing such futility to affect its environment, or summon a care-giver, becomes the basis of what is called learned helplessness. The child has learned from the beginning that trying to get its needs met, or asserting itself in any way, is futile. Tragically, learned helplessness is often the forerunner of clinical depression. We need to help parents become aware of the fact that their "good, well-trained" babies, may be in danger of becoming depressed and/or anxious, and may continue to be so in later life, unless they go through years of costly therapy. Because proactive prevention is better than cure, it has become essential that we get this information through to new parents as early as possible.

Mother sing Kangaroo Mother Care with her newborn

In a paper read at an international conference on Kangaroo Mother Care in 1998, a Cape Town doctor, Dr. Nils Bergman, cites the research of Lozoff et. al. (1977) who studied the way hunter-gatherer peoples raise their children. He says, “Common to all groups is the fact that newborns are carried constantly. They sleep with their mothers, there is immediate response to crying, feeding takes place every one to two hours, and breastfeeding continues for at least two years.” He goes on to urge parents to give this kind of nurturing to their children if the human race is to survive.

For most of us, tragically, this information has come too late. What makes me sad, is that although my mother was not a warm, cuddly person, she was very conscientious and wanted to do it right. If the childcare books of her time had told her to hold and comfort me after birth, to pick me up and carry me around close to her body, to let me sleep with her, to feed me when I was hungry, and not leave me to starve for 8 hours every night, she would have followed their instructions and the story of my life would probably have been very different.

Instead the doctor told her not to pick me up too often and not to feed me under any circumstance from 10:00pm until 6:00am, because my stomach "needed to rest." (Some of my most agonized baby primals have been about this terrible nightly ordeal of loneliness and starvation). Because she was a conscientious mother, my mother followed the doctor’s instructions to the letter.

My crying did concern her though, so she phoned the doctor and said, “I can’t leave my baby to cry like this. Shouldn’t I feed her?” His response was, “Whatever you do, don’t feed your baby before 6.00 am, because it’s bad for the baby’s stomach.” So from about 4:00am every morning, she walked the floor with me for two hours while I cried, but she never fed me. She told me later that it made her feel desperate.

It made me feel desperate too. I was telling her as plainly as I knew how, that I was starving and in pain. Yet it seemed that nothing I did could get her to understand what I so desperately needed. This has contributed to problems throughout my life; such as the fear that I will never be understood, no matter how clearly I try to express myself. It also left me with great insecurities about food, and fear of there never being enough. In addition, I was left feeling that I was "bad" and undeserving of receiving anything (even food when I was starving), because I could feel my mother’s irritability and resentment at being woken so early each morning.

So in my adult life I have had to battle my way through problems of low self- esteem, feelings of being undeserving, lack of assertiveness, learned helplessness and depression. All this has contributed to my having to spend many years in Primal Therapy, recovering from my childhood, which thankfully, I am doing now.

To help parents, there are several good sites on the internet today. Two that I suggest are The Natural Child Project and The Primal Parenting Page. I recommend them to anyone who is having a baby or who is planning to have one in the future. They give links to sites that promote "attachment parenting" - keeping the baby in close, loving contact with its mother's (or father's) body for the early months of life, feeding the baby on cue whenever s/he is hungry, and allowing baby to sleep close to the warm bodies of its parents at night - to meet the primal infant needs for touching and closeness. Hopefully, this nurturing and loving style of caring for children will become the parenting of the future, as it was in our distant past. If it doesn't, our future as humanity is bleak indeed.

Dr. Nils Bergman closed his article on Kangaroo Mother Care with these words, "...it is a Public Health Imperative. It is the design of the past, and our future depends on it."

________________________

* Update: Recent research confirms Taylor’s hypothesis. Brain scans and studies measuring the vital signs and stress hormone levels of babies show that they become measurably traumatised if their needs for love and physical closeness are not adequately met. Sue Gerhardt’s book, Why Love Matters: How Affection Shapes a Baby’s Brain lists some of the most recent studies.


RECOMMENDED READING:

The Continuum Concept by Jean Liedloff

Magical Child by Joseph Chilton Pearce

The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by La Leche League

Nighttime Parenting by William Sears

The Family Bed by Tine Thevenin

The Biology of Love by Arthur Janov

Why Love Matters by Sue Gerhardt

Our Babies, Ourselves by Meredith Small

The Science of Parenting by Margot Sunderland

The Baby Bond by Linda Palmer

The Vital Touch by Sharon Heller

The Natural Child: Parenting from the Heart by Jan Hunt

Kangaroo Babies by Nathalie Charpak

Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering by Sarah Buckley

Kangaroo Mother Care article by Patricia Törngren


Yahoo Group Kangaroo Mother Care



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Pennsylvania Mother Charged For Bloody Chicken Sacrifice; U.S. Baby Blood Sacrifice Continues


Moa Wild Chicken

It is my personal belief that the right to perform or act within my chosen religion extends only as far as your right to perform or act within your chosen religion (or non-religion). The boundaries in which I may express and celebrate and participate in my religion does not extend beyond the point at which I would be doing harm, or inflicting pain, on another non-consenting human being - to you, a friend, family member, or my own baby or child.

People across the nation are up in arms about a Pennsylvania woman who forced her 7 year old daughter to observe a bloody religious ritual in New Jersey. According to the Associated Press, she has been sentenced to 18 months probation for the May 2007 ordeal.

Passaic County prosecutors say Yenitza Colichon of Jamesburg, PA, was about to start Army basic training and wanted to protect her daughter in the Palo Mayombe religion before she left. It is a religion that originated in central Africa, and one that the Colichon family observed. As part of the religious practices, Colichon had her daughter watch an initiation rite in Paterson, NJ, that included a chicken sacrifice, and feeding the girl the chicken's heart.

The girl later told her school teacher that she was having nightmares and child welfare officials were contacted. Colichon recently plead guilty to child neglect and cruelty charges.

What is interesting here is the ubiquitousness with which onlookers are cheering the system for punishing Colichon - for simply following her own religious tradition of blood sacrifice that includes her minor child... And yet we continue to be ashamed to speak up about our own blood sacrifices performed on the bodies of U.S. born babies every day in this nation -- those which usually take place with no religious justification at all.

How can we continue on this plight of hypocrisy and ignorance? To shed the blood of a chicken, and force a child to take part, may be despicable and disrespectful of that child's wellbeing. But isn't it equally (or more-so) despicable and disrespectful to shed the blood of a child, and force that small, defenseless human being to take part in a blood letting cutting ritual? Where are those criminal charges?

Before we jump all over yet another African religion being practiced on U.S. soil, why not turn our attention to our own barbaric traditions and first do no harm to our own children. Stop cutting babies.

~~~~


Research U.S. forms of genital cutting, the prepuce organ (amputated in U.S. style MGM), and the benefits of keeping children intact through resources (books, sites, articles) at: Are You Fully Informed?

Looking into the origins of U.S. style blood sacrifice on children? Marked in Your Flesh: Circumcision from Ancient Judea to Modern America is an excellent and thorough scholarly account on the religious history of genital cutting as we know it today.

Additional reports on the Colichon case:

CBS/New York

New Jersey Real Time News

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Monday, June 20, 2011

No Circ Samurai: Original Masterpiece to Benefit Intact Organizations


No Circ Samurai: Panel One

The latest masterpiece by Austin, Texas artist, Nique Bilbo, was influenced in part by his wife, Laura, and her relentless desire for all babies to be left whole as they come into this world. Nique spent time in Japan and was struck by the vast differences between the U.S. and the Japanese culture he was immersed in. While there, Nique was honored to work with individuals who demonstrated what the preservation of the body really means. After returning to the U.S., Nique has shared in his wife's passion to provide all parents with accurate and complete information on intact issues before their children are born. It is a story that hits close to home for Nique and Laura -- their first two sons were circumcised at a time when Laura says she did not have access to research based information, and everyone around kept saying she "must do it."

Their third child, Samuel, is intact, and Laura frequently shares her story openly and honestly with others at Keeping Future Sons Intact and various parenting forums. "I am blessed to have a husband who trusts me when I say I'd like to research something more indepth before we make a parenting decision together," says Laura. As a result of Samuel's parents' drive to share what they wished they'd known long ago for his older brothers, many of his peers have been spared the tragedy of genital cutting as well.  When we know better, we can do better, and Nique and Laura are living examples of this.

No Circ Samurai: Panel Two

One of Samuel's nicknames, lovingly called such by his parents, is "Sam Samurai." With a background in Japanese culture, and Samuel lighting up their lives, it came naturally to Nique to speak of a samurai when discussing genital integrity and the protection of babies everywhere.

Laura, who has been a baby-saver in a variety of ways herself [see: Taking Down Babywise: A Hero] says, "I am so lucky Nique is supportive. He doesn't think I am crazy, and loves me for caring about all these babies so much! My baby obsession was more than he bargained for in the beginning, but my boys are very, very lucky to have him as a role model artistically, as well as for a father. I feel so fortunate they have this connection with him."

No Circ Samurai: Panel Three

No Circ Samurai is currently being auctioned off on eBay and can be found here. The piece measures a total of 90" long and 40" tall. Each individual panel measures 30 x 40 inches. No Circ Samurai is varnished with an environmentally safe UV-resistant clear coat to preserve and protect the painting. It is a new, original piece that has previously been hung for gallery display and photography purposes only. One Austin Museum of Art critique reported, "Vibrant reds, blues, and greens make this one of the most beautiful, original contemporary art pieces to come out of Austin, Texas in recent years." The piece will be shipped for free by the artist to the winning bidder. The painting's auction closes at 2:24pm PDT this coming Friday, June 24.

Nique intends to donate a portion of the profit from the sale of his painting to the National Organization of Circumcision Information Resource Centers (NOCIRC), DrMomma.org, and the Austin Museum of Art.




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Sunday, June 19, 2011

This Father's Day: I Forgive You

By E. E. Andrews © 2011


On this Father's Day, I forgive you.

It is my gift to you after having spent much time pouring over Father's Day card after Father's Day card - helping the kids pick one out for you - and realizing that none of them express anything remotely close to those events that have transpired between us.

We racked our brains to think of the perfect gift for you... but what do you need? What do you want? What would even be meaningful, or enough, to you? Is there anything that would ultimately change you, them, us, for the better? Is there anything that truly fits this Father's Day, for you, at this moment in time?

Forgiveness.

As I worked through the jaded feelings recollecting all the things that were never said, never done, never offered up on any Mother's Day, birthdays, or holidays in between, I realized that what we both need more than anything is for me to let it go. And forgive.

You are not the perfect Dad. Or husband. I cannot muster up the strength to lie to you, nor am I sure it would do anyone any good. So instead, I will be honest.

I forgive you for the tiny white lies you told when we were dating many years ago - things I never learned the truth about until much, much later - at a time when you told me that it no longer mattered what you said "back then."

I forgive you for never being home long enough to plan a wedding, for raising my hopes up high that maybe in two years... or three years... it would finally work out. That things would coincide with your job and schedules and trips around the globe to plan out one very special day just for us. I forgive you for feeding me the myth that "weddings don't mean anything" and "you're too strong of a woman to need something fairy-talish like that" because in the end, all these years later, for some reason I cannot explain, it does matter.

I forgive you for spending thousands of dollars more on your television than you did on my ring.

I forgive you for being away seven months of the year we were expecting our first baby.

I forgive you for taking a job in a new location, where we knew no one, and then leaving me alone with the children for four months upon our arrival.

I forgive you for all the diapers you didn't change. All the newborn baby nights you slept a good eight hours in another room down the hall. All the prenatal appointments, and lactation consulting, and doctors trips you did not write down, remember, attend, or pay for.

I forgive you for never brushing the kids teeth, or reading them a bedtime story, or getting them a drink of water late at night.

I forgive you for never doing the laundry. For never doing the dishes. For not knowing how to clean a bathroom or scrub a floor or shampoo the carpet or vacuum out the van.

I forgive you for the kids' heartbreak when on the weekend they looked for you in the wee hours of the morning only to breathe out in sighs, "Daddy must be working..."

I forgive you for never being home, or being available, or being awake, when you say I'll have the evening to work out. And then chastising me for never working out...

I forgive you for not knowing how to plan, prep or cook nutritious meals. For being unable to grasp what it means to "eat healthy." Potato chips are not vegetables. The tomatoes in spaghetti sauce do not count. And grabbing fast food on your way home for the kids as a treat is not "every once in a while" when it happens four times a week.

I forgive you for all the times you said you'd do something, and never did. For all the times you said you'd fix something, but never could. For all the times you wouldn't let me hire someone else to do it, or fix it, because it would cost money you said we didn't have...

I forgive you for never really listening. Even when I ask you to. Even when I repeat what is important.

I forgive you for the times your mother has screamed insults at me, and torn apart my spirit bit by bit, while you cower in the corner like a scared puppy dog.

I forgive you for blaming me, and me alone.

I forgive you for your change in admiration. The twinkle in your eye, that with each baby born, each physical sacrifice my own body made, moved to other women on a computer screen. I forgive you for not being able to see that pornography can hurt a marriage.

I forgive you for the loneliness that is so, so much more intense in an unhealthy marriage than it is otherwise being a single mom with the dream that maybe someday... I forgive you for the hope that doesn't often seem to show itself around here.

I forgive you for the days you've promised that today you would take the kids for the whole day... so that I could shower, or relax, or read a book, or talk with a friend, or clean the house, or go on a walk by myself... and then one hour later I'd hear the front door open again, kids piling back in, climbing on top of me, asking what we are going to do because something came up, or you did not plan all that was needed for a full day without Mom... And I forgive you for this happening over, and over, and over again.

I forgive you for the many "family" trips you did not attend. Vacations the kids and I took (and somehow managed to pay for) without your contribution. We missed you on those ventures.

I forgive you for the exhaustion: physically, mentally, emotionally.

I do not know what is to come, and there are those who I am certain say I am a fool for giving you yet another chance. But you are not a violent man. You do not mean to hurt us. In fact, you appear as a pretty typical dad and husband to most looking on. You are an average American father... and maybe for that, I must forgive you too. And let go of those fairy-tale expectations of an equal partner and best friend for life.

So on this Father's Day, as I pick up the toys, do the dishes, scrub that stain, water the plants, and vacuum amidst giddy happy children for what will surely not be the last time, I forgive you. And myself. Please do the best you can at being the greatest parent and partner you can be, and I promise to do the same. Hopefully, we will meet somewhere in the middle, and our kids will know that they are loved just as much every moment, of every day, as they are on this Father's Day with you.



Related Reading [Books]:












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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

International Breastfeeding Symbol with a Toddler Twist


During Breastfeeding Awareness Week 2010, Christy, mom of three, found that the official International Breastfeeding Symbol (created by graphic design artist, Matt Diagle, in 2006) did not quite reflect the realities of nursing her older baby at the time. With a "gold medal in gymnurstics" her now 26-month-old son did not fit the image of a baby nursing in arms. Desiring a fitting image for her Facebook profile picture during Breastfeeding Awareness Week, Christy propositioned her friend at Skribblings by Skratte to come up with a more telling depiction of toddler nursing. "When I first asked him, I wasn't sure how he would react to the request," Christy said. It was a bit different from Skratte's typical images, but in the end "he thought it was really cool."

The International Breastfeeding Symbol was chosen by Mothering Magazine in November, 2006, after more than 500 artists submitted their versions of a symbol. It came upon the heals of Mothering staff noticing an "image of a baby bottle on an airport sign announcing the location of a 'parents lounge' [that] infuriated us and got us thinking: Isn't there an international symbol for breastfeeding?" Too often modern icons used to symbolize baby-friendly locations depict artificial feeding or soothing means, such as bottles and pacifiers. The International Breastfeeding Symbol would fill the gap for a universally accepted and understood symbol for locations where nursing moms are welcome to meet the needs of their little ones.


Daigle, a stay-at-home-father, freelance graphic designer, and cartoonist, said that his breastfeeding wife and son were the inspiration behind his creation. He designed his original icon in the style of the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) signs frequently displayed in public settings. They are those that must be able to clearly relay ideas regardless of language or the ability to read or hear. A steadfast advocate for on-cue nursing (anytime, any place), Daigle told Mothering, "As a profoundly deaf individual, I know how important it is to communicate through visual means. This is why I wanted my design to communicate clearly and quickly that breastfeeding facilities are offered or nearby." Find more from Daigle at The Graphix GuyM.Diagle Toons and read more of his behind the scenes story on the symbol here.

Skratte's alteration of Diagle's design (signed over to public domain) was perfect for Christy, who is now expecting her fourth child. It is symbolic of her youngest son's favorite nursing position, and one that breastfeeding mothers the world over recognize. The feedback on this image came as a welcome surprise to Christy, who says she does not know many other breastfeeding moms in her area, and fewer still who nurse their babies past one year. "I thought I would just post it as my Facebook pic and that would be the end of it. We live in a very rural Midwest area, in a very small town. When I first posted the picture, most of my local friends just said, 'I don't get it...' so I got really (rather stupidly) excited when I saw it was getting so many positive comments, and that so many other parents understood what it meant."

Truly, this nursing position and the fun antics of toddler gymnurstics are ubiquitously recognized on a global scale. As so many will attest in the Joy of Nursing Toddlers, hardly is there a mother who naturally feeds her baby for a normal duration of time that doesn't also find herself as the underside of some milk-making jungle gym at one point or another. Christy is thrilled that despite cultural, language, and even parenting differences, mothers around the globe relate to this toddler icon, "I think that's awesome! I just wish that more of them lived closer to us!"

If you'd like to purchase a poster of this toddler breastfeeding image, or check out more of Skratte's work, visit Skribblings by Skratte on etsy. Christy says, "He is a really great guy, and a very talented artist."

World Breastfeeding Week is scheduled to take place globally August 1-7. 

Several peaceful parenting moms and dads had fun altering the toddler image a bit more to place on advocacy shirts for themselves and their little ones. You can find some of their creations available in the breastfeeding section at MadeByMomma



















Breastfeeding Advocacy Shirts & Onesies Available at Made By Momma


First ever BREASTFEEDING MAGNET SET by Mama's Felt Cafe!

More Breastfeeding Symbols with a Twist!

To add yours to this collection, send to DrMomma.org@gmail.com


By Monica:


Creator Unknown:


By Stephanie:




By Nyssa:


By Cynthia and Danelle:


From the Valentines Day Nurse-In:


Resources for nursing mothers (books, sites, articles) linked on the Breastfeeding Resources Page.

~~~~


Monday, June 13, 2011

Medical Report: Maternal Behavior of Habiba with Her Daughter, Alma

Full Text Shared by:  Adolfo Gomez Papi, Josefa Aguayo Maldonado, M. Carmen Alonso Pallás


We have now reviewed the documentation for the withdrawal of custody of Alma by focusing on the initial report on her mother, Habiba, and on the specific “with her daughter."

The document begins by stating that, "it is hard for Habiba to respond adequately to the needs of Alma and she is not aware of the inadequacy of certain behaviors which can involve risk and neglect". In the next paragraph it is said, "eating patterns and sleep hygiene (Alma’s ) are not adequate” and then the above statements are justified with the following arguments each of which I shall discuss:

"The hours and type of food are chaotic" and " she uses breastfeeding as a pacifier and a toy, offering her breast any time the girl cries and letting her take it anywhere, no matter the time and context in which this happens (offices, corridors). "

WHO, UNICEF, The American Academy of Pediatrics, experts from the European Union, and the Breastfeeding Committee of the Spanish Association of Pediatrics recommend breastfeeding on demand and exclusively for at least the first 6 months, supplemented with other foods, to 2 years or more.

Because breast milk is the most complete food and the one with more nutrients and probiotic bacteria that provides more defenses during those first two or more years. “On demand” means when the child wants to and for as long as she wants to. But also when a mother breastfeeds her daughter she does not do it just to feed, but also to soothe, to shelter, as pain relief, comfort, etc. Habiba's attitude regarding her daughter, possibly even without her being aware of it, do follow the current recommendations on infant feeding.

"She gives her the pureed food that is already prepared by the shelter, but also other solid foods that are inappropriate for her age (like the ones Habiba eats). Over the weekends when she needs to make the pureed fruit herself, more often she doesn’t and breastfeeds instead."

The recommendations of the WHO and UNICEF and the Committee of Experts of the European Union regarding complementary feeding make it clear, again, that the most complete food for a child of 18 months, such as Alma, is breastmilk. If a baby refuses the fruit and takes the breast instead, it will get a lot more calories, minerals and vitamin defences. The purpose of supplementary feeding is that the baby gets used to eating what their parents eat. This is why so many parents, from the first year, start seating their children at the table with them, offering in this way a great opportunity to become familiar with adult food. Once again, Habiba’s attitude is perfectly adequate and follows current recommendations.

"We attempted to regularize and limit breastfeeding times, but it did not seem possible, so the possibility of stopping breastfeeding was raised..." "...she continued to breastfeed. She was given pacifiers, but she didn’t use them either."

To this point the report is from a completely distorted perspective of breastfeeding and ignores all international recommendations. From here on you decide to intervene: Let’s stop the breastfeeding on demand and should Alma need to be consoled she can do it with a pacifier. It is the first big mistake and, unfortunately, not unique. Luckily, Habiba followed her instinct - she continued to breastfeed Alma and continued to do what was best for her daughter..

"She (Alma) does not have proper sleep patterns. From the first moment Habiba didn’t want the girl to sleep in her cot, and she lies with her in her own bed. She uses the cot to drop off things and toys and on very rare occasions to leave the girl..."

Currently, half of the world's children sleep each night with their parents. Not only has this practice been shown to be unharmful to babies, it has been proved that the sleep pattern of the the mother and child are synchronized when they sleep together allowing the mother to react quickly to any contingency or for any need of the child. The child feels much more safe and secure in contact with her mother’s body and the breast can be accessed easily with the mother barely awake. It is reported that co-sleeping (sleeping in the same bed as their parents) promotes breastfeeding on demand. Children who co-sleep every night with their parents do so until they are ready to sleep alone, which usually starts happening from when they are two years old.

"Habiba is very affectionate with Alma, uses physical contact and verbal expression as a means of communication. The child is constantly searching for visual reference from her mother and has been some anxious fear towards the separation."

Although this paragraph of the report praises Habiba’s caring attitude, it ends suggesting that this has negative consequences. Another big mistake caused by ignorance. It is long since J. Bowlby described the different types of attachment relationships between infants and their caregivers. Babies who have been lucky enough to be cared for by a caring mother, ready to satisfy their hunger, thirst, needs, concerns, fears, quickly learn to self regulate through their mother's responses and they develop what is called a secure attachment relationship with her. Adults who have enjoyed a secure attachment relationship with their mother have warmer personalities. Because their mothers have been warm with them they are more stable emotionally, and because their mother has given them emotional stability they tend to have more intimate relationships that are more satisfying. They are more positive, more integrated, have more coherent perspectives about themselves, and against popular belief they are more independent. Babies who have a secure attachment relationship with her mother organize their behavior around her and when their mother is missing, express fear (while in the stage of dependence to their mother). Later on, they will be more autonomous and ultimately more independent.

What Alma manifested in Habiba’s absence confirms that she is developing a secure attachment relationship with her mother and it is the result of her close and loving care, through carrying her constantly, sleeping with her and breatsfeeding her on demand.

WE CONCLUDE THAT:

The arguments in the report of which we have had access to, not only fail to justify that Habiba’s maternal relationship with her daughter could be harmful, but they actually demonstrate that Alma was perfectly fed, cared for and loved.

The decision to separate Alma from Habiba is harmful for both of them.

For Alma, because she was subjected to excessive stress, the stress of separation for which she is not yet ready, and is deprived of the best food and care she can receive, abruptly cutting off a secure attachment relationship with her mother.

Stress has physical (increased risk of infections, weight loss, etc) and psychological consequences.
The longer the separation, the greater the damage inflicted on Alma.

Such a decision should be reversed as soon as possible to minimize the damage.

To err is human; to rectify is wise.

Signed:

Tarragona, 13 June 2011
Adolfo Gomez Papi
Physician. Pediatric Service.
University Hospital of Tarragona "Joan XXIII"
Breastfeeding Committee of the Spanish Association of Pediatrics

Seville, June 13, 2011
Josefa Aguayo Maldonado
Chief of the Neonatology Section,
Hospital Virgen del Rocío. Sevilla
Breastfeeding Committee of the Spanish Association of Pediatrics

Madrid, June 13, 2011
M. Carmen Alonso Pallás
Head of Neonatology
Hospital 12 de Octubre. Madrid
Breastfeeding Committee of the Spanish Association of Pediatrics


Related Reading / What You Can Do:

Amor Maternal Post on Habiba and Alma

EL PAÍS (major Spanish newspaper) article "Más apoyos para Habiba"

Spanish Childcare Case Provokes International Campaign [Sheila Kitzinger speaks] 

Spanish Mother and Baby Reunited After Breastfeeding Row

**Sign the Petition in support of Habiba and Alma**

Support Fundación Raíces and if you are Spanish speaking, join the Que el IMMF permita que Habiba amamante a su niña YA group on Facebook. 

Contact the Spanish Embassy in your area. List of Spanish Embassies.

Send a message of support to Salvador Victoria Bolívar, currently commissioner for Family and Social Affairs in Madrid, Spain. Bolívar is newly appointed and supervises Paloma Martin (IMMF Manager)
.

Fax the IMMF and let them know why you support Habiba and Alma. Fax: 00 34 915803747

Ask your local newspaper or television station to cover this story.






Books: 

Why Love Matters

The Continuum Concept: In Search of Happiness Lost

The Baby Bond


Our Babies, Ourselves

The Science of Parenting


6/22/11 UPDATE



Dr. Ibone Olza uploaded this photo at 1:00pm EST of Habiba finally reunited with her daughter, Alma.



Fundación Raíces posted an official update on the Facebook group support page, "Que el IMMF permita que Habiba amamante a su niña YA":

They're TOGETHER; HUGGING AND FREE!!! Little Alma recuperates emotionally with her head on her mother's chest, without taking her head off for so much as an instant, as though this whole ordeal had been a bad dream. Habiba is glowing as we had never seen her before. We assure you that everything you've done has been worth it. Alma, Habiba, as well as all the people at Fundación Raíces will be forever greatful for all your support.


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Friday, June 10, 2011

Russell Crowe on Circumcision



New Zealand-born actor and musician from Australia, Russell Crowe, stirred things up this morning when he tweeted on the subject of genital integrity: "Circumcision is barbaric and stupid. Who are you to correct nature? Is it real that GOD requires a donation of foreskin? Babies are perfect."

It must have caused a stir, because he later added, "Wasn’t intending offense, certainly wasn’t intending to provide fodder for lazy journalists. I can’t apologize for my heartfelt belief," and his original post disappeared.

Maybe a call came in from his publicist... celebs who would be as outspoken in their advocacy for boys as they are for girls are often having to tame things to walk the line and 'make everyone happy.' We can shout from the mountain tops in our fight to protect minor girls, just so long as we don't stir the pot too much when it comes to our recognition that boys and men inherently have the same basic human rights as girls and women. Just as suddenly as his previous statement was made, came the apology he said he couldn't make:
This is a great forum for communication. I, like any human have my opinions and you all have yours, thank you for trusting me with them.
I have a deep and abiding love for all people of all nationalities. I’m very sorry that I have said things on here that have caused distress.
My personal beliefs aside, I realize that some will interpret this debate as me mocking the rituals and traditions of others. I am very sorry. 
To the critics who called his stance on genital autonomy something that it was not, Crowe clarified, "I have many Jewish friends. I love my Jewish friends... but stop cutting your babies. I will always stand for the perfection of babies. I will always believe in God, not man's interpretation of what God requires."

Thank you for standing up on behalf of your own sons, and for boys the world over, Russell.

~~~~

Drop a word of appreciation to Russell Crowe on his Twitter page here or Facebook Fan page here


Additional information on the prepuce organ ("foreskin"), intact care and circumcision at: Are You Fully Informed? 

TMZ clip on the media frenzy surrounding Crowe and his statements (and one of his close Jewish friends comes to his defense): 


Crowe's famous tweet showed up among intact posters at parades this summer.
Photo courtesy of the Barefoot Intactivist

Monday, June 06, 2011

Breastfeeding Advocacy and Formula Feeding Guilt

By Jack Newman, MD, FRCPC
Author of Dr. Jack Newman's Guide to Breastfeeding, The Ultimate Breastfeeding Book of Answers, and The Latch and other Keys to Breastfeeding Success, among others. Learn more from Dr. Newman and subscribe to his newsletter on his homepage, DrJackNewman.com

Mali of Belly and Bunting Birth Services & Beyond helps a mother perfect her newborn's latch.

One of the most powerful arguments many health professionals, government agencies and formula company manufacturers make for not promoting and supporting breastfeeding is that we should "not make the mother feel guilty for not breastfeeding." Even some strong breastfeeding advocates are disarmed by this "not making mothers feel guilty" ploy.

It is, in fact, nothing more than a ploy. It is an argument that deflects attention from the lack of knowledge and understanding of too many health professionals about breastfeeding. This allows them not to feel guilty for their ignorance of how to help women overcome difficulties with breastfeeding, which could have been overcome, and usually could have been prevented in the first place if mothers were not so undermined in their attempts to breastfeed. This argument also seems to allow formula companies and health professionals to pass out formula company literature and free samples of formula to pregnant women and new mothers without pangs of guilt, despite the fact that it has been well demonstrated that this literature and the free samples decrease the rate and duration of breastfeeding.

Let's look at real life. If a pregnant woman went to her physician and admitted she smoked a pack of cigarettes a day, is there not a strong chance that she would leave the office feeling guilty for endangering her developing baby? If she admitted to drinking a couple of beers every so often, is there not a strong chance that she would leave the office feeling guilty? If a mother admitted to sleeping in the same bed with her baby, would most physicians not make her feel guilty for this even though it is, in fact, the very best thing for her and her baby? If she went to the office with her one week old baby and told the physician that she was feeding her baby homogenized cow's milk, what would be the reaction of her physician? Most would practically collapse and have a fit. And they would have no problem at all making that mother feel guilty for feeding her baby cow's milk, and then pressuring her to feed the baby formula. (Not pressuring her to breastfeed, it should be noted, because "you wouldn't want to make a woman feel guilty for not breastfeeding.")

Why such indulgence for formula? The reason of course, is that the formula companies have succeeded so brilliantly with their advertising to convince most of the world that formula feeding is just about as good as breastfeeding, and therefore there is no need to make such a big deal about women not breastfeeding. As a vice-president of Nestle here in Toronto was quoted as saying: "Obviously, advertising works." It is also a balm for the consciences of many health professionals who, themselves, did not breastfeed, or their wives who did not breastfeed. "I will not make women feel guilty for not breastfeeding, because I don't want to feel guilty for my child not being breastfed."

Let's look at this a little more closely. Formula is certainly theoretically more appropriate for babies than cow's milk. But, in fact, there are no clinical studies that show that there is any difference between babies fed cow's milk and those fed formula. Not one. Breastmilk, and breastfeeding, which is not the same as breastmilk feeding, has many, many more theoretical advantages over formula than formula has over cow's milk (or other animal's milk). And we are just learning about many of these advantages. Almost every day there are more studies telling us about these theoretical advantages. But there is also a wealth of clinical data showing that, even in affluent societies, breastfed babies, and their mothers, incidentally, are much better off than formula fed babies. They have fewer ear infections, fewer gut infections, a lesser chance of developing juvenile diabetes, cancers and many other illnesses. The mother has a lesser chance of developing breast and ovarian cancer, and is better protected against osteoporosis. And these are just a few examples.

So how should we approach support for breastfeeding? All pregnant women and their families need to know the risks of artificial feeding. All should be encouraged to breastfeed, and all should get the best support available for starting breastfeeding once baby is born. All the good intentions in the world will not help a mother who has developed terribly sore nipples due to her baby's poor latch at the breast. Or a mother who has been told, almost always inappropriately, that she must stop breastfeeding because of some medication or illness in her or her baby. Or a mother whose supply has not built up properly because she was given wrong information. Make no mistake about it - health professionals' advice is often the single most significant reason for mothers failing at breastfeeding! Not the only one, and other factors are important, but health professionals often have influence and authority far beyond their knowledge and experience.

If mothers get the information about the risks of formula feeding and decide to formula feed, they will have made an informed decision. This information must not come from the formula companies themselves, as it often does. Their pamphlets give some advantages of breastfeeding and then go on to imply that their formula is almost...well - between us - actually, just as good. If mothers get the best help possible with breastfeeding, and find breastfeeding is not for them, they will get no grief from me. It is important to know that a woman can easily switch from breastfeeding to formula feeding. In the first days or weeks it is no big problem. But the same is not true for switching from formula feeding to breastfeeding. It is often very difficult or impossible, though not always.

Finally, who does feel guilty about breastfeeding? Not the woman who makes a deliberate choice to formula feed. It is the woman who wanted to breastfeed, who really tried, but was unable to breastfeed, who feels guilty. In order to prevent women from feeling guilty about not breastfeeding what is required is not avoiding the promotion of breastfeeding, but the promotion of breastfeeding coupled with good, knowledgeable information and skillful support at every step of the way. This is not happening in most North American or European societies today.



Helpful articles, books and sites linked on the Breastfeeding Resources Page.
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