Breast Feeding

Menstuff® has compiled the following information on breast feeding, especially in public. It wasn't that long ago that men had to wear one-piece bathing suits to cover their breasts. Many countries around the world aren't afraid that their children will turn into perverts if they see a woman's breast. Yet, in the United States, there are very few nude beaches, and, in some states, a mother can be jailed for breast feeding in public, or removed from an airline before takeoff. It's often called public indecency. There are only 15 states that have laws exempting breast-feeding from public indeceny laws. 31 to pass a law that allows mothers to breast-feed in any public or private location, and 38 that have enacted some type of breast-feeding legislation. Looking at this from the other angle, 35 states have laws making public breast-feeding illegal under indeceny laws, 19 that don't allow a women to breast-feed in a public or private location, and 12 that have enacted no breast-feeding legislation.

Except in some states and with some airlines. - Editor

I don't know what you think about the sanitary conditions of public rest rooms, but that's about the only safe place in some states to hide the breast feeding activity from the prudes. Is that where you would want your child to be nurished? I wonder how many American children will become perverts because they saw Janet Jackson's nipple on television? I would say none. However, the fear of a child seeing a nipple will, I'm sure, produce a number of perverts. The Morality Police (otherwise known as the Prude Police) are dictating way too much public policy. It's time for that to change.Related article: Porn is a Conservatives' Thing

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New laws seek to protect breast-feeding in public
Breast-Feeding Tied to Healthier Arteries
Breast-Feeding May Have Dental Benefits for Kids
Breast-feeding May Lower Risk of Child Leukemia
Sharing Breast Milk May Pose Risks
9 Breast-Milk Pumping Tips for New Moms
Breast-Fed Babies May Be Smarter, Richer Adults
Changing From Breast to Bottle Feeding
New breastfeeding study shows most moms quit early
HHS Blueprint to Boost Breast-Feeding
Breast-Feeding Past Infancy: 'I'm Comforting Him'
Breastfeeding - How Long is Too Long? Editor: When the child stops or the breast dries up.
Facebook Policy Angers Nursing Moms
Facebook Won’t Budge on Breastfeeding Photos
The FDA and Breast-Feeding
Amercian Academy of Pediatrics
Alyssa Milano questions why her photo is more offensive than Kim Kardashian's
Breastfeeding Mom Graduation Photo Goes Viral
Bills aim to ease breast-feeding in public
Citizens Against Breast-Feeding
Breastfed Kids Become Social Climbers
Kate Hudson Breast Feeding in Public
Suggestions for Breast Feeding in Public
Nursing Mom Takes on Starbucks
Driving and Breast-Feeding Nets Charges
Rates in Other States
Extreme Breastfeeding: When to stop?
The Benefits of Breast-Feeding 4:00
Breast Milk Flavor may Affect How a Child Eats
Taste of Breast Milk May Affect a Child's Feeding
Natural Moms Talk Radio:
What Photos of Breastfeeding Are Supposed to Look Like
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Indecent Exposure?

New laws seek to protect breast-feeding in public.

A few weeks ago, the actress Maggie Gyllenhaal visited a public park in New York—and breast-fed her 8-month-old daughter, Ramona. Kudos, right? After all, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that moms nurse for at least a year. Nope. posted a picture of a partially exposed breast and called it a "momtroversy." The photo is now on a "nude" Web site.

What gives? Even formula makers say "breast is best." Nursing reduces a baby's risk of diarrhea, ear infections, urinary-tract infections and bacterial infections (and perhaps food allergies, obesity and diabetes). It also lowers a mom's risk of breast and ovarian cancer—and, since it burns 500 calories a day, helps her lose weight. And it's free, while formula costs about $1,500 a year. Yet new evidence shows that there has been a decline in the number of women breast-feeding, reversing a steady increase over the past three decades. "The culture does very little to support mothers in what they need—information, maternity leave, places to nurse," says Bernice Hausman, author of "Mother's Milk."

A quarter century ago, one in four new moms tried breast-feeding, and only one in 20 stuck with it for a year. By 2002, almost three in four started breast-feeding in the hospital. But last year, the number had dropped to 64 percent, according to a long-running Mothers Survey by formula maker Abbott. At six months, the percentage of women who were still nursing was only 30 percent; at one year, it was only 19 percent. "Our real problem is duration," says pediatrician Ruth Lawrence, chair of the AAP's breast-feeding committee. The longer a woman nurses, the greater the benefits to her and her baby.

Much of the problem seems to be that Americans associate breasts with sex, not milk, and as a result, feel squeamish about public nursing. (While two out of three Americans think breast-feeding is the best way to feed a baby, a quarter say they feel uncomfortable seeing women do it.) In a study for the U.S. government, 48 percent of women said they would feel uncomfortable nursing their own babies in a park, store or mall. "We define breast-feeding as good, and we define breast-feeding as disgusting. We have this split personality about it," says Jacqueline Wolf, associate professor of the history of medicine at Ohio University. Even MySpace has recently removed photographs of mothers nursing their babies.

Out of concern that not enough women are breast-feeding, a growing number of states are passing protective laws and policies. Today 38 states give women the explicit right to nurse in public, and 23 states exempt it from public-indecency laws. Twelve states have laws addressing women's right to use a pump to express milk at work. And the governors of New Mexico and Oregon recently signed similar legislation, which gives moms (unpaid) lactation breaks and a clean and private area to pump (not just a bathroom stall). Federal legislation may be on the way. In May, U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney re-introduced her Breastfeeding Promotion Act, which would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to protect breast-feeding and to provide a tax incentive to businesses that establish lactation areas.

In a recent survey, the International Formula Council asked moms with kids under 12 months why they would not breast-feed. Most cited medical reasons, followed by going back to work, problems with the baby's latching on and concerns about the baby's not getting enough food. The AAP's Lawrence believes breast-feeding is all about confidence.

Part of the confidence comes from feeling comfortable to nurse. A woman's right to breast-feed—and a baby's right to the best nutrients—"shouldn't be abridged because some people are squeamish about what they're seeing," says Chris Musser, who started a blog called The Reluctant Lactivist after a grocery-store manager told her to cover up while she was feeding her then 2-month-old son, Luc. After all, "into the 18th century, women who breast-fed were painted," says pediatrician Naomi Baumslag, author of "Milk, Money and Madness." "They were considered beautiful." Maybe Maggie Gyllenhaal should head back to that park.

Breast-Feeding Tied to Healthier Arteries

July 8, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Young women who breast-feed may have healthier-looking arteries years later, compared with those who bottle-feed their babies, a new study finds. It has long been reported that breast-feeding is the healthiest option for...

Breast-Feeding May Have Dental Benefits for Kids

June 15, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- The more babies breast-feed, the less likely it is that they will develop any kind of misalignment in their teeth later on, a new study shows. But pacifiers can negate some of that potential benefit, even if the children are...

Breast-feeding May Lower Risk of Child Leukemia

June 1, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Breast-feeding -- even for a short time -- may lower a baby's later risk of childhood leukemia, a new study suggests. The researchers found that babies breast-fed for at least six months appear to have a 19 percent lower ...

Sharing Breast Milk May Pose Risks

April 30, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Women may be using shared breast milk from friends and family, but they don't always consider the risks involved with providing donor milk to their babies, a new survey shows. As many as one-third of women don't...

9 Breast-Milk Pumping Tips for New Moms

When you’re a mom who breastfeeds, there may be times you need to be away from your baby. That’s when a breast pump comes in handy! It lets you store milk your little one can drink later, and it signals your body to keep making milk. Never pumped before? These tips will make it easier. If you’re...

Breast-Fed Babies May Be Smarter, Richer Adults

March 17, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Breast-fed babies may be smarter, better educated and richer as adults, a new study by Brazilian researchers suggests. "Breast-feeding is associated with improved performance in intelligence tests at age 30 and also...

Changing From Breast to Bottle Feeding

Maybe your baby finally learned how to fall asleep on her own, so she doesn't need to nurse at bedtime anymore. Maybe she's less excited about breast milk since you've offered finger foods. Or maybe your plan to pump milk at work every day is tougher than you thought. There are many reasons why you...

Kate Hudson Breast Feeding in Public

While filming for “The Skeleton Key”, Kate Hudson offered people from the set a picturesque view of herself.

When not busy working, she was breastfeeding her firstborn, Ryder Russell Robinson, and chatting with the director. The actress confessed she found the experience quite funny.

She declared for Britain's OK! Magazine:

"It was funny when I was breastfeeding because every three hours I'd go to the trailer to breastfeed or pump.

It became a joke in the end; it was hard but it got to the point where I didn't want to go back to the trailer so I'd just bring the baby out and I'd sit and I'd talk to the director and just breastfeed him while chatting."

Breastfeeding Rates at Birth Up Sharply, CDC Reports

The percentage of women who breastfed their newborns increased by about two percentage points from 2008 to 2009, making it the largest one-year rise in a decade, according to a CDC report released on Wednesday, the Los Angeles Times' "Booster Shots" reports.

Citizens Against Breast-Feeding

There are places in the world where breast-feeding a child in public is as unremarkable as a stroll in the park or chatting with a friend; where people aren't discomfited by the sight of a bared breast being employed for its natural purpose.

America is not one of those places.

Though opinion is virtually unanimous among health professionals that breast milk is healthier for children than bottled milk or formulas, studies show that the majority of American women do not breast-feed their babies after leaving the hospital, even in the privacy of their homes. Public breast-feeding is rarer still. Many Americans admit that the very idea of it makes them nervous.

Advocacy groups are trying to change all this by educating the public and pushing for clarification of state laws to protect women's right to breast-feed when and where they choose. Though no states prohibit breast-feeding per se, some have laws that could be construed as limiting that right. The La Leche League notes that oftentimes women are told to leave public places like malls and libraries on the grounds that breast-feeding is "indecent." This is not only a violation of their rights, says the League, it's an absurdity.

Enter a group called Citizens Against Breast-Feeding.

Self-proclaimed members of the organization were first sighted outside the Republican National Convention, handing out leaflets advocating a total ban on breast-feeding, public and private. Simultaneously, an email tract began circulating that laid out the "philosophy" behind it:

Republican Convention Must Ban Breastfeeding Now:
Over 200,000 American citizens have signed a petition urging Congress to declare breastfeeding unlawful. This primitive ritual has and continues to be a violation of babies' civil rights. It's an incestuous relationship with mothers leading to moral decay. Women enjoy an erotic experience that imposes oral gratification on innocent infants after birth. Their reprehensible behavior teaches children illicit sex, subsequently manifesting addiction to promiscuity. Repbulicans: choose a candidate who supports our cause!

Tess Hennessy, Founder-Director
Citizens Against Breast-Feeding
P.O. Box 55741
Phoenix, AZ 85078
New York Office: 212.330.7675

Some who encountered this message dismissed it instantly as unreal, while others dialed the number to find out more and, to their dismay, heard a recorded message not only affirming the existence of the group but soliciting workers. For all we know, a few people may have even applied.

"Thank you for calling Citizens Against Breast-Feeding, a grassroots organization that persuades women to abolish this incestuous act of immoral perversion. We are privately financed and therefore not seeking donations. However, you may wish to apply for a position with one of our field offices in New York, Chicago, or Los Angeles, now hiring. If so please leave your name, address and phone number after the beep." – Actual recorded phone message

But it was, in fact, a prank.

David Mikkelson, half of the husband-and-wife team that runs the ever-popular Urban Legends Reference Pages, smelled a hoax right off the bat and confirmed it quite easily by establishing that the phone number in the message is associated with Alan Abel, a notorious hoaxer who once headed up a campaign demanding that "all animals should wear clothing for the sake of decency."

Lampooning prudishness is one way of drawing attention to the issue (in a reverse-psychology sort of way), but certainly not the best way to effect real change. To anyone seriously interested in campaigning for breast-feeding rights and related issues or just learning more about them, I commend About's expert Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth, Robin Weiss . She's the real thing.

Take the poll : "Is there anything wrong with breast-feeding in public?" On 3/14/06, of 11,882 respondents, 32% said it shouldn't be allowed in public, 66% it should, and 1% couldn't decide.
Source: By David Emery,

Breast Feeding in Public: A Nursing Mom takes on Starbucks

It was late on a summer afternoon in a nearly-empty Starbucks in Silver Spring, MD. Lorig Charkoudian was quietly nursing her 15-month-old daughter, Aline, when the coffee shop's manager approached her and requested that she take her baby into the bathroom to breast feed.

The 31-year-old mom couldn't believe what she was hearing. "I thought it was disgusting to suggest I breast feed in the bathroom and my daughter is uncomfortable with a blanket over her head," she says. A month earlier, a customer had complained about another mom who was breast-feeding in the store, so the manager decided to pre-empt any complaints, says Charkoudian.

As it turned out, Charkoudian was exactly the wrong person to confront about nursing in public. She has a PhD in economics and works as a conflict resolution researcher and trainer. In her eyes, breast feeding - besides being the healthiest choice for her baby - is good for society. Among other things, breast-fed babies have a lower incidence of illness and disease, which, in the long run, saves society on health care costs.

The manager also didn't bargain for Charkoudian's response. When she discovered that Starbucks was in violation of Maryland state law - which allows women to breast-feed in public or private locations without restriction - Charkoudian immediately took the matter to the top.

"I am writing to make you aware that Starbucks' policy on breast-feeding in its coffee houses is against the law in Maryland," her two-page letter to Starbucks Regional Vice President Dean Torrenga began. In a dig at the national coffee chain - known for its public support of progressive causes and a corporate pioneer for offering health benefits to part-time employees - Charkoudian asked Starbucks to retrain employees and establish a "clear policy that women can breast-feed in its coffee houses without being limited, restricted or asked to hide."

Big brothers and sisters joined the "nurse-in" with signs and dolls to help drive the point home.

When she didn't receive a response within two-weeks, Charkoudian got mad. "To go into the bathroom implies this is shameful or should be hidden," she says. Then Charkoudian got organized.

She spoke with other moms, went online to complain to parent listservs and within a few days organized a "nurse-in" back at the coffee house. About 30 women who had never met Charkoudian but were fed up with negative attitudes about breast feeding gathered at the store last August. Outside, about twice as many supporters - husbands, mothers-in-law, uncles, older children - held signs saying "could you drink your latte in the bathroom?"

"The more difficult it is to breast-feed, the fewer the women who'll do it," says Charkoudian, and a 2002 study by the Centers for Disease Control backs her up. The study, published in the Journal of Human Lactation, found that 30 percent of adults thought babies should be fed solids by three months and women should not still be breast-feeding their babies at their first birthday - contradicting advice from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

In 1998, 45 percent of African American mothers breastfed in the early postpartum period, compared to 66 percent of Hispanic mothers and 68 percent of white mothers, according to a 2000 study by the office of the U.S. Surgeon General.

"Even with new developments in formula, it cannot match breast-milk. It's the ideal food for babies," says Ruowei Li, an epidemiologist with the CDC who says Charkoudian's negative experience at Starbucks isn't uncommon. "The public really needs to be educated. Breast feeding is beneficial not only for babies, but mothers and the entire population. Breast-fed babies have lower incidence of ear infections, less diarrhea, less respiratory infections. It saves society money - not having sick babies."

Starbucks did respond eventually. In a letter to Charkoudian, the regional vice president says the company will comply with Maryland law and instruct its employees accordingly. Starbucks Media director Audrey Lincoff says "breast-feeding mothers are welcome in our stores."

But that hasn't satisfied Charkoudian. She has created a website to encourage Starbucks to enact a national policy encouraging breast-feeding moms to nurse babies in its stores. On the site - -- parents can download a letter to Orin C. Smith, Starbucks' chief, and even send it from their babies.

Charkoudian challenges Starbucks to be a corporate leader in its public breast-feeding policies.

"Dear Mr. Smith," the letter states. "I like to drink my mama's breast milk. It tastes good and it is so good for me. I like the fact that when my mama takes me places, she feeds me when I am hungry, which is a lot, since my tummy is so small. Sometimes she goes to Starbucks. When she does, I don't want to be hungry. I want to be able to nurse there, too. I don't like nursing under a blanket because I can't see my mama and my mama can't see me and it gets hot and uncomfortable under there. I really don't like nursing in the bathroom. That's gross."

Charkoudian's website explains that in an effort to avoid harassment while nursing, "women find themselves squatting in bathrooms, fumbling under blankets, trying to cover a baby's head with the baby struggling." The reality - she notes "is that when most women breastfeed, those around cannot see much of her breast at all because the baby's head is covering it."

Check out the "3-Minute Activist" on the Promotion of Mother's Milk website - . The site provides simple steps to get the word out about negative portrayals of breastfeeding in the media and society in general.

Go to and email a letter from the site encouraging Starbucks to adopt nursing-friendly policies in all of its stores.

Charkoudian has received more than 400 emails at the site. Some are genuinely gung-ho, and many supporters have used her website to write to the company. One woman wrote of her humiliating experience on an airline: "I asked for a seat change (I was sandwiched between two men) so I could nurse comfortably. I suggested putting me near a female passenger. The male attendant's attitude was rude and nasty. He told me that was not their problem."

But not all of the e-mails are encouraging, and dozens are vitriolic in their anger about her campaign. "Go take your shirt off in one of thousands of others places you can (and I'm all for women taking their shirt off)," wrote one man. "And spend your time on a real worthwhile cause."

The hostile e-mails show Charkoudian that more needs to be done - by government, companies and the public to support nursing women. "I never expected it to be this big," she says. "There was an intense emotional response to this. We're not boycotting Starbucks. We're challenging them to be a corporate leader."
Source: By Lisa Newman,

Bills aim to ease breast-feeding in public

'If my child is hungry, I should have that right.'

Evelyn Garner Araujo, a Jackson mother of three, has had to pump breast milk in a public restroom to feed her child.

A waitress has refused to serve Nancy White because she breast-fed her child under a blanket. White said she was surprised by people's reactions the first time she fed the oldest of her three children in public. "I didn't know that it was an offense to breast-feed in public," White said. "If my child is hungry, I should have that right. I'm sensitive to other people. I'm very discreet."

A series of bills proposed in the Legislature may give mothers more rights to nurse in public.

What's Next?

A subcommittee of the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee will meet at 2:30 p.m. today (January 23, 2006) in Room 409 at the Capitol.

Senate Bills 2419 and 2352 and House Bill 527 would exempt breast-feeding mothers (but not lactating fathers) from Mississippi's public indecency law, protect breast-feeding mothers from discrimination in the workplace and ensure that licensed child-care facilities accommodate breast-feeding mothers and their children.

Breast-feeding in public is a misdemeanor under the current law, punishable by up to six months in jail or a $500 fine.

Sen. Hillman Frazier, D-Jackson, a proponent of the bill, said public indecency laws should not apply to breast-feeding women. He said forcing women to use public restrooms is unsanitary and unfair."I wouldn't want to drink a milkshake in a public bathroom, let alone feed my child," Frazier said.

The bills seem to face little opposition in either chamber. The measures have bipartisan support, including chairmen of the public health committees in both chambers.

Senate Public Health Committee Chairman Alan Nunnelee, R-Tupelo, said his committee will give the bill serious consideration.

"Breast-feeding has been shown to have tremendous health benefits," Nunnelee said. "There should not be legal obstacles to a mother wanting to breast-feed her children."

Dr. Becky Saenz, director of the Mississippi Breastfeeding Medicine Clinic in Madison, said breast-feeding laws in other states have increased the rate of breast-feeding, which is good for mother and baby.

For children, Saenz said, breast-feeding reduces the risk for dozens of diseases, including asthma, lymphoma, leukemia and diabetes. For mothers, she said, it reduces the risk of several types of cancer including breast cancer.

She said pressures not to breast-feed in public force many of her patients to abandon breast-feeding before the six months recommended by the American Medical Association.

"Mothers and children should be able to feed whenever and wherever the child gets hungry," Saenz said. "They should be allowed to breast-feed wherever a bottle-feeding mother can feed."

Araujo, White and other mothers who support the bill say they are discreet when they feed in public and people around them typically cannot tell they are feeding.

Araujo said she does not think anyone would have her arrested for feeding in public, but she's been asked to leave a public school classroom where she was volunteering.

Araujo and others say the legislation, if passed, would make breast-feeding in public more acceptable and make it easier to choose a healthier option for their babies.

"Breast-feeding your child is very empowering," Araujo said. "The more people become accustomed to it, the less discomfort they will have with it."
Source: By Joshua Cogswell, E-Mail,

Suggestions for Breast Feeding in Public

Breast-Feeding is a gift that the mother gives her baby. Breast-feeding in public places can be embarrassing for a mother.

When in public, wear clothing that allows easy access to breasts with as little exposure as possible.

Don't wait until the baby is frantic and start crying to breast-feed. Crying babies attract attention to both the mother and baby.

Turn away from the public as much as possible. Use a duppatta/scarf, magazine, or another person to avoid public exposure.

Turn the chair to the wall, if necessary to breast-feed the baby. Source:

Facebook Policy Angers Nursing Moms

Web-savvy moms who breast-feed are irate that social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace restrict photos of nursing babies. The disputes reveal how the sites' community policing techniques sometimes struggle to keep up with the booming number and diversity of their members.

Facebook began as a site just for college kids, but now it is an online home for 140 million people from all over the world. Among the new faces of Facebook are women like Kelli Roman, 23, who last year posted a photo of herself nursing one of her two children.

One day, she logged on to find the photo missing. When she pressed Facebook for an explanation, she got form e-mails in return.

Comments: Is Facebook against breastfeeding and/or breasts? What are they afraid of - that millions of viewers will go blind? We get to watch someone commit suicide, we see mutliatoins, hangings, brutal fights, war, you name it but they are afraid of the world seeing one of the most loving, nurturing situations human beings can be exposed to - a woman breastfeeding a child. I realize that the American culture still isn't comfortable with seeing a nipple and in some states and airports, the woman is required to go to the filthy airport bathroom to nurse. The Dr. Spock start this whole fear but saying, I believe in the 70's, that you only needed to breast feed for a month before you put your child on Simulac. Breastfeeding has gotten a bit more popular but women who do it in public are often ridiculed, scorned and maligned. Is it any wonder that American children are deprived of this healthy aspect of growing up that children in many other cultures enjoy. An American child gets an average of one year to breast feed and then it's over while the average world wide in 4.6 years. The AVERAGE. Get a grip, Facebook. And, Get a Grip America to demand the return of these nurturing photos to the Internet. - Gordon Clay

Alyssa Milano questions why her photo is more offensive than Kim Kardashian's

Is Alyssa Milano breastfeeding more or less offensive than Kim Kardashian posing nude?

That's the question the 41-year-old actress is raising. On Nov. 12 after Kim Kardashian's Paper Magazine nude photos attempted to "break the internet," Milano tweeted it and compared it to her own controversy.

The 'Mistresses' star posted a breastfeeding selfie and got some heat over it showing part of her boob and quoting writer Milan Kundera, "Ah, the joy of suckling! She lovingly watched the fishlike motions of the toothless mouth and she imagined that with her milk there flowed into her little son her deepest thoughts, concepts, and dreams."

PHOTOS: Olivia Wilde and More Breastfeeding Moms

Even though she did not understand why her photo was more offensive, she did give Kim, 34, some credit for her latest pics.

Since Milano raised the question, she has inspired a social breastfeeding selfie movement. Many moms have tweeted at her with their own photos of breastfeeding, and she retweeted a few.

Milano and her agent husband David Bugliari welcomed their daughter Elizabella on Sept. 4. The couple also has a son, Milo Thomas, 3.

Watch Halle Berry share her breastfeeding story in the video.

Because Kim's butt wwon't make a man turn to stone, according to the Bibler, but a breast might. - Gordon Clay

Just imagine. You're at a dinner party. A lot of conversation going on. It's time to eat, Which scenario would you pick: (1) You at cofvered with a sheet and have to eat in the dark, hidden away from the others. (2) You have to go to the bathroom and eat in an individual stall. 02 (3) Your mother takes her breast out at the tablle, everyone asks as if this were totally nastural (which it is in many culturs), and you drink your fill. - Gordon Clay

Rates in Other States

The rates of breast-feeding in a sampling of states that have laws exempting mothers from public indecency laws. The average rate of breast feeding in the world is 4.6 years. Some are still breast feeding at 6 years.

  • Florida: Breast-feeding initiated — 71.6 percent; Breast-feeding at 6 months — 33 percent
  • Alaska: Breast-feeding initiated — 88 percent; Breast-feeding at 6 months — 48.1 percent
  • Illinois: Breast-feeding initiated — 63.8 percent; Breast-feeding at 6 months — 33.7 percent

Source: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Breast-Feeding Past Infancy: 'I'm Comforting Him'

A Mom Talks About Her Decision to Continue Breast-Feeding Her Older Children. Includes 8:09 video Average age to ween a child around world is 4. Then a bunch of psychologists whine about it. 6 is not unusual. 1 to 6 months is.

Driving and Breast-Feeding Nets Charges

Police in Ohio say a woman has been charged with child endangering after another motorist reported she was both breast-feeding a youngster and talking on a phone while driving.

Police in the Dayton suburb of Kettering say the caller told them he saw the woman Thursday.

Officer Michael Burke says authorities used a license plate number to track down 39-year-old Genine Compton.

He said the woman told officers she was breast-feeding and wouldn't let her child go hungry.

Burke said the legal concern is that Compton had a child in her lap while driving, not that she was breast-feeding in public.

He said the child was under 2 years old.

Police say the woman faces up to 180 days in jail and a $1,800 fine if convicted of the misdemeanor.

Viva La Boobies! 7 Things To Know About Breasts

Breasts are amazing – they are beautiful, they nourish babies, and they have an intelligence of their own.

Breasts have so many incredible benefits for the health of humanity, the power of women, and the nurturing of the future generations.

Your breasts deserve a medal of honor – plus nurturing, pampering, and respect.

Yet, our breasts are suffering from the dangerous effects of rising environmental toxins in our food, water, air, and toiletries, degrading media, restrictive fashion, and lack of empowering health education for women.

I had a dream a few weeks ago that I was at a conference and the organizers asked me to get up on stage and speak about breast health. They said it was vital that we get more people to understand and value the importance of caring for our healthy breasts and that in order to get people’s attention I needed to be topless to speak. While I was still pondering whether or not I felt comfortable with being topless on stage, I woke up.

A few days later Angelina Jolie announced her decision to have her healthy breasts surgically removed because of her potential cancer risk. This action has inspired me even more to realize how vital it is that we join in this conversation and speak about how to naturally care for our breasts, how our environment, diet, and lifestyle impact our health, and why breast health is more important than every before.

Thus, my intention is to share positive inspiring information to support women to love their breasts and learn about ways to naturally care for our amazing breasts.

Let’s uplift breasts to the status level they deserve!

7 Amazing Things to Know About Breasts

#1 Breasts want freedom.

Bras restrict the movement of lymphatic fluid through the breasts, underarm, and shoulders, thus causing toxins to build up in the breast tissue. Underwire bras are the worst culprit, as the metal also can disrupt the energy flow through the breast area.

A recent French study has shown that women who don’t wear bras actually have perkier breasts even as they age.

Exercising, dance, and rebounding without a bra also allows the body’s movements to support lymphatic flow and proper drainage of the breasts. The natural movement of the breasts as the body exercises and moves is another essential component to lymphatic health in the breasts.

#2 Breasts need massage.

There is no muscle tissue in a women’s breasts, so breasts need assistance to enhance circulation through the breast. A woman’s breasts are mostly fat tissue along with milk ducts, connective tissue, nerves, and lymph glands.

Self breast massage is an important regular practice for women to support their blood and lymph circulation and reduce build-up of toxins and hormones in the fatty tissue of the breasts.

Massage your breasts daily with a natural cold-pressed vegetable oil, such as coconut, almond, or jojoba oil. You can also add pure essential oils such as rose, jasmine, or clary sage to your massage oil base.

I’m not talking about “man-handling” here, I’m talking about gentle self massage in which you get to know what your breasts feel like, notice any changes, and use gentle lymphatic and circulatory movements to enhance health.

#3 Breasts are hot.

It has been well-documented that a woman’s breasts will synchronize with her newborn baby to become the perfect temperature. When a mother and baby are skin-to-skin postpartum, her breasts will naturally adjust their temperature to regulate the baby’s body temperature optimally.

A mother of twins will have each of her breasts match the ideal temperature for each one of her twins. A women’s breasts are more reliable and efficient than any baby warmer. So breasts are totally hot – just not in the way people usually talk about.

#4 Breastmilk has a gazillion medicinal uses.

Breastmilk is pretty much the most amazing food substance available to mankind.

Mother’s milk is completely unique and not possible to replicate (despite what you may have heard from the formula companies). It actually changes minute by minute, day to day, to provide exactly the right nourishment and immunities that a baby needs as determined by the breast through receiving information from the baby’s saliva on the areola.

There are over 400+ identified nutrients in human breast milk, including probiotics and an abundant source of stem cells. The first milk that comes out is colostrum, which is rich with immune factors and is considered to be “liquid gold”, and extremely important for the life-long health of the baby.

Breastmilk is also used by wise mamas for many purposes including putting on diaper rash, earaches, pink eye, sore throats, and many other healing needs. When a women breastfeeds the breastmilk bathes her milk ducts as it passes through to her baby, thus providing increased breast health and preventing breast cancer in direct relation to how long she nurses.

#5 Breasts are energy centers.

Traditional Chinese Medicine is a complete system of health that has been practiced for thousands of years, based upon the movement of energy through the body on the meridians (energy lines) and acupoints (nodes of energy on the meridians). There are six meridians that run through the breast area, and three of them are the Kidney, Liver, and Stomach meridians where most breast lumps and cancer develop.

TCM treats breast cancer by addressing the energy stagnation and movement of qi. Acupuncture and TCM are holistic ways to promote breast health and can be used in combination with other health care treatments as well. Massaging the acupressure points along the meridians, or holding these energy points around the breasts, can help with promoting breast and whole body health and vitality.

Underwire bras can also interfere with the energy moving through the meridians in the breasts, another reason to let your boobs go free, or invest in a soft supportive natural fiber bra.

#6 Breasts are a lot like canaries.

You’ve heard about the canary in the coal mine? Miners would take canaries down in the mines with them, because the birds were so sensitive that if the environment was toxic the canaries would die, and then the miners would know to get out of there immediately! Breasts are extremely sensitive, they receive information from the environment and their tissues collect toxins and hormones, like jet fuel and flame retardants.

When breastfeeding, the saliva from the baby is absorbed into the areola and the breasts then immediately respond by providing the nutrients and immune factors that the baby needs based upon the breast’s incredibly sensitive receptors.

Breast cancer is now the most common form of cancer for women in the US, and it’s not because breasts or our genes are the problem. Our breasts are the canaries letting us know that our environment is toxic and we must make changes in our health, diets, exposure, and detox. Due to the over 70,000 chemicals now used in the US over the last 100 years, we are living in a toxic soup and exposed to chemicals in our air, food, water, homes, cars, clothes, and more. Our breasts are letting us know that we need to create a healthy change for our longevity and the future generations.

#7 Breasts are beautiful.

Your breasts are perfect for you. All kinds of breasts are beautiful. Breasts change in shape and size over life, and that’s okay. Some men like large breasts, others prefer small breasts, and some like medium sized. Whatever shape or size of your boobs is just right. Love your breasts! They have superpowers, they are intelligent, and they are amazing!

In Mongolia, when a baby fusses, everyone lifts up their shirt and shakes their breasts for the baby, and the baby calms down and looks around amazed. Everyone laughs and smiles shaking their boobs, including mom, grandma, and grandpa too! So smile and love your boobs, they are awesome.

Viva La Boobies!

Breastfeeding Mom Graduation Photo Goes Viral

Jacci Sharkey juggled motherhood and schoolwork for most of her three and a half years at the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) in Queensland, Australia. So the 24-year-old mother of two thought it only fitting to thank the university for supporting her and her family (who sometimes even went to lectures with her) by sharing a photo in which she was breastfeeding her then-6-week-old son Alek in her cap and gown, just before the graduation ceremony.

"I’m extremely proud that with the support of the uni, during my degree I was able to have 2 babies and still finish my degree," Sharkey explained in a note with the Oct. 2 photo. “Thanks USC!”

Now the school can thank her for shining the spotlight on them. Since the university posted her photo on Facebook on Nov. 2, it’s gone viral, with 184,000 likes and more than 5,400 shares.

"I thought I’d be really happy if it got 100 likes, and then it’s just gone out of control," the human resources management major, whose other son, Ari, is 20 months old, told Australia’s ABC News. “I never expected it to go crazy!”

Also unexpected was the idea that she had sent it to promote breastfeeding. “It wasn’t a statement [on breastfeeding] or anything like that,” Sharkey insisted. “I would have sent the same picture to the uni had [Alek] had a bottle or a sandwich.”

The thought she wanted to share was “just the fact that I’m a mum, it’s not I’m a breastfeeding mum, just I’m a mum,” she explained. “It was really a message of thanks and that other mums can do it as well.”

Elaborating to the Daily Mail Australia, Sharkey — who currently works as a wedding and events planner — declared, “You don’t have to give up the career to have kids, and you don’t have to give up kids to have the career … you can have it all.”

Nevertheless, the photo has been a boon to breastfeeding proponents. “Breastfeeding moms feel excited about seeing that,” La Leche League’s Diana West tells Yahoo Parenting. “In our world, breastfeeding is not considered acceptable everywhere. It’s changing a lot, but it’s still an adjustment for a lot of people to accept. A picture like this shows that this is normal. And it’s a cool way to show her bringing together her two worlds.”

With all the recent celebrity breastfeeding photo shares on social media, including ones from Alyssa Milano, Jaime King, and Gisele Bündchen, West says she’s not surprised that Sharkey’s went viral. “It’s breasts,” she admits. “They’re always going to be sexualized and get notice, but this image still serves the breastfeeding cause well because the more we talk about it, the more we discuss the issues around it.”

Sharkey says she has gotten some negative feedback about breastfeeding in public — much like Karlesha Thurman, 25, who received a slew of Twitter slams in June after a photo of her breastfeeding her 4-month-old daughter during her graduation from California State University, Long Beach, was posted on social media. But the overwhelming response has been positive.

"Studying is HARD," Kristie Morris commented in one rave post on USC’s Facebook page. "Studying with kids is HARDER, studying whilst growing a baby, giving birth and breast feeding is EXTREMELY HARD!!! Doing all of this while staying healthy for 2 physically, mentally and getting to the finish line is a massive achievement. BE SO PROUD MUMMA!!!!"

Echoed Larissa Misa Johnson: “I congratulate her for having the courage to stand up and get a picture for her work. I’m not a mother so I don’t understand how hard it must be to both study and have a child hanging off your boob, it must be really hard. All this picture is doing is showing support and encouraging mothers that they can still get both support and study at the same time. How many mothers out there have sacrificed their career to bring up their child?”

The reason this image resonates with so many is that it’s a symbol, explains Vicki Shabo of the National Partnership & Women and Families. “This photo encapsulates the dual demands placed on women increasingly taking on the role of breadwinners in families and also committed to giving their kids the right start,” she tells Yahoo Parenting. “It shows a lot of the dualities women face every day.”

What Photos of Breastfeeding Are Supposed to Look Like

The most recent picture to raise eyebrows (and get fingers typing) was Natalia Vodianova’s Instagram picture of her nursing her baby in the nude. In the midst of the praise for the beauty of the picture, some have gone so far as to say they are appalled by the image -- just as people were appalled when Gisele shared a shot of her breastfeeding while getting her hair and makeup done for a photo shoot, or trashed Ms. Kerr or Ms. King for sharing their photos because either they “weren’t appropriate” or shouldn’t have been shared.

As Alyssa Ashton wrote for Canadian Living about Natalia Vodianova’s recent photo, “No mum looks like this when she breastfeeds. Her hair and make-up isn’t usually done. She isn’t posing seductively. And she certainly isn’t breastfeeding in the nude. I hate this image because it presents breastfeeding in an inaccurate fashion.”

Ms. Ashton’s comments highlight what has become a minefield for women sharing breastfeeding photos in public in hopes of either normalizing breastfeeding or simply sharing a moment: No matter what the picture is, or who shares it, it’s wrong. These pictures are too sexy. Too formal. Too stiff. Shouldn’t be shared in public. Unfair to mothers who don’t have access to the same resources as these models. Glamorize breastfeeding. Sexualize breastfeeding ... In short, they don’t “look” like breastfeeding is “supposed to look like.” It’s not just celebrities either. Jamie Lynne Grumet from I Am Not the Babysitter was catapulted into the public eye with the infamous Time cover of her nursing her then-3-year-old standing up. People repeatedly stated the image wasn’t a “good representation” of breastfeeding.

What I’d like to know is, what is breastfeeding supposed to look like?

Is it just this lovey-dovey moment between mother and child as they’re curled up on the sofa gazing at each other? That’s a wonderful moment (one I’ve experienced many times), but it’s certainly not the be all and end all of breastfeeding. I can return to what Ms. Ashton wrote and tell you that I have nursed in all the ways she mentions, including the come hither look (you know, the “Hey baby, let me put this baby to sleep so we can have some fun!” look). I also smiled when I saw Ms. Grumet’s cover because, at the time, my daughter regularly stood on things to have a quick drink, and it was nice to know it wasn’t just me. I also have a picture of me nursing while getting my makeup done a la Gisele.

I have nursed in so many different places while doing so many different things and looking so many different ways and I am happy to share any of them because they are all what breastfeeding looks like. Breastfeeding doesn’t look one way because we as nursing mothers aren’t just one thing. We are mothers, but we are also sexual beings and the two are not incompatible. In fact, we do a disservice to women when we are, in essence, telling them that they can’t be sexual whilst breastfeeding, that they have to remain asexual because it’s not true. It’s not just about sexuality though, because we also work, we might enjoy doing our makeup every day (or not), we might prefer to read a book or watch TV while nursing sometimes, or we may not want to stop what we are doing resulting in nursing on the go or while doing something else. We may nurse nude, we may nurse in bed, after a shower, or at the dinner table. Just as no two women are the same, no two nursing experiences are the same between or even within women.

We have to stop this ridiculous and wrong idea that breastfeeding has to look a certain way. People trying to normalize breastfeeding have a hard enough time on their hands with people who feel it’s something that should be kept quiet and out of sight without adding that only certain pictures of breastfeeding are “acceptable.” Just because one person’s nursing experience doesn’t match your own, it doesn’t invalidate their breastfeeding experience, it just highlights how unique and special breastfeeding can be. Isn’t that something worth celebrating instead of shunning?

Public Breastfeeding

So I'm watching the news and this article got brought up. North Carolina mom, breastfeeding her 1 year old in the middle of a Denny's restaurant. Not covered up or anything, just out there for all to see. The female manager walked up and asked the mom to "cover up", never told her that she needed to stop, but merely informed her that costumers had complained and they had a "discretion policy" in place and would need to cover up. Denny's "discretion policy" is as follows:

“We at Denny’s work very hard to insure all guests have a pleasant dining experience. Breastfeeding is absolutely allowed in our restaurants; we do request that it be done with respect and discretion, as we are a family restaurant. We defer to our managers to carry out the company’s position.”

I'm sorry but I'm very, very, very PRO-breastfeeding... But in your booth, in a restaurant with no cover? Seriously, it's called consideration. I've been there, and I would have loved to just ignore everyone else around me and just pulled up my shirt to feel my baby while still finishing my meal... But like Denny's said, it's a family restaurant. And yeah, I know breast feeding's natural, and like the mom said to the reporter "it's not like I was dancing on the table" but still. Some 10 year old boy isn't going to see it that way.

And I really don't want or need to get any angry emails from any of the 30 moms who showed up for the Denny's protest... I mean feel free to attacks Denny's policy, but there's no need to personally attack and belittle me for not liking seeing strangers nursing uncovered in public. Like I said before, I'm incredibly pro-breastfeeding. Exclusively nursed my daughter for her 1st year, head the "Breastfeeding Support Group" on our last duty station HUGE breastfeeding advocate... And I mean I've defiantly breastfed in my fair share of weird places... The beach, The backseat of my car, Restrooms, A moving San Francisco trolley car, Atlanta Airport, Cleveland Airport, Dallas/Fort Worth Airport, LAX, San Diego International, in the middle of Yosemite National Park, airplanes... I could go on and on... But one place I've NEVER nursed was a restaurant... Now I've gone into the restroom of restaurants before... And drug chairs in there is they didn't have a couch... But I just didn't find it appropriate to nurse just feet away from total strangers eating... ESPECIALLY un-shielded. (Editor's note: If you feel the need to "shield" your child while he or she is having it's meal, are you comfortable putting a table clothe over your head while eating in a restaurant. Particularly when not breast-feeding. See how it feels. See how it feels to eat a meal in a public restroom .Quite a sensory experience that you're providing your young child. And, that 10 year old boy. I'm sure he's seen better and if we were so ashamed of being sexual beings, he might not even notice. 10 year old boys in Brazil don't pay much attention because breasts are natural there. In the U.S. they are sexualized by covering them up, hiding them, yet being sure there is a lot of cleavage showing. Women objectifying their own bodies, and for what?)

HHS Blueprint to Boost Breast-Feeding

Two decades of scientific research, and years of proactive measures by health experts and others, are beginning to pay off. Attitudes and behaviors toward breast-feeding in the United States are changing.

During the last 15 years, the importance of breast-feeding has been recognized as one of the most valuable medical contributors to infant health. In 1990, the United States signed a formal declaration on the protection, promotion, and support of breast-feeding adopted by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). At the same time, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through a national health promotion and disease prevention initiative called Healthy People 2000, and subsequently Healthy People 2010, established breast-feeding objectives for the first year of an infant's life.

Recognition of the benefits of breast-feeding has already spread to many health and professional organizations, such as the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Dietetic Association, and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Moreover, the American Academy of Pediatrics considers breast-feeding to be "the ideal method of feeding and nurturing infants."

A Blueprint for Breast-Feeding

To further these efforts, the HHS Office on Women's Health (OWH), in cooperation with other federal agencies and health care professional organizations, developed a comprehensive national breast-feeding policy, called the HHS Blueprint for Action on Breastfeeding.

The OWH has been given funds to translate the recommendations of the Blueprint into the National Breastfeeding Awareness Campaign to promote breast-feeding among first-time parents. The overall goal of both the Blueprint and the campaign is to increase the number of mothers who breast-feed their babies in the early period following their birth (postpartum) to 75 percent and to raise to 50 percent those who are breast-feeding at 6 months postpartum by the year 2010.

The Blueprint introduces an action plan for breast-feeding that reaffirms its superiority for most newborns. The plan is based on education, training, awareness, support, and science, and includes key recommendations of the HHS Subcommittee on Breastfeeding.

"The Blueprint has been widely circulated and the number of requests for the document has been unprecedented," says Suzanne G. Haynes, Ph.D., chairwoman of the HHS Subcommittee on Breastfeeding and senior science advisor at the OWH. "It is being used in teaching settings, in hospitals, and in communities," she adds, noting that the U.S. Department of Agriculture is using the document to promote breast-feeding in nine state projects.

As part of the National Breastfeeding Campaign, a comprehensive three-year media campaign will be launched in the summer of 2003. The campaign will be marketed in partnership with selected organizations and will get the message out through public service announcements, bus-stop posters, billboards, articles in community newspapers, parenting and women's magazines, Web sites, and educational pamphlets.

In addition, 18 community-based demonstration projects throughout the United States will work with the OWH and the Advertising Council to implement the National Breastfeeding Awareness Campaign on a local level. The projects will attempt to educate women about the benefits of breast-feeding, encourage them to choose to breast-feed, and create awareness that breast-feeding is normal, desirable, and achievable.

Legislative support of breast-feeding is growing. As of 1999, 33 states had enacted laws relating to a wide range of issues involving various aspects of breast-feeding, such as redefining indecent exposure rules, allowing breast-feeding in public places, jury duty postponement due to breast-feeding, and promotion of breast-feeding programs. Hawaii, for example, prohibits employers from discriminating against a mother who breast-feeds or expresses milk with a pump at the workplace.

In addition, several health plans are working to make women aware of the many health benefits breast-feeding holds for their newborns and for themselves. "We have the support of the leading policy groups for health plans," says Haynes. According to the American Association of Health Plans (AAHP), health plans have a vital role to play in increasing the number of women who successfully breast-feed their babies.

Health plans can influence both families and health care providers through targeted educational interventions promoting breast-feeding, and breast-feeding support services, provided before, during, and after birth. Additionally, health plans can support breast-feeding mothers during the critical first days and weeks postpartum by offering all mothers access to special services provided by trained physicians, nurses, lactation specialists (breast-feeding coaches), and peer counselors or other trained health care providers.

Benefits of Breast-Feeding

Science has proved that breast-fed babies have a healthier start in life. Human milk contains a balance of nutrients that closely matches infant requirements for brain development, growth and a healthy immune system. Human milk also contains immunologic agents and other compounds that act against viruses, bacteria, and parasites. Since an infant's immune system is not fully developed until age 2, human milk provides a distinct advantage over formula.

Because breast milk provides protection against germs that a baby or mother may carry, studies in infant feeding have found lower rates of several chronic childhood diseases, including respiratory infections and ear infections, as well as symptoms such as diarrhea, among children who were breast-fed.

Research also suggests that breast-fed infants gain less weight and tend to be leaner at 1 year of age than formula-fed infants. This early indicator may influence later growth patterns, resulting in fewer overweight and obese children.

But infants aren't the only ones who benefit from breast-feeding. Mothers, too, are the recipients of many positive hormonal and physical effects. Breast-feeding releases a hormone in a woman's body that causes her uterus to return to its normal size and shape more quickly and reduces blood loss after delivery. In addition, according to the Blueprint, studies have shown that breast-feeding for longer periods of time (up to 2 years) and among younger mothers may reduce the risk of premenopausal and possibly postmenopausal breast cancer. Also, the risk of ovarian cancer may be lower among women who have breast-fed their children.

Haynes says intriguing new developments indicate that breast milk may even have another role in the battle against cancer. In particular, breast-feeding may reduce the risk of childhood cancer.

Researchers have identified a protein in human milk--human alpha-lactalbumin made lethal to tumors (HAMLET)--that induces apoptosis, or programmed cell death, in which cells, responding to environmental signals, self-destruct. Apoptosis, a relatively new study in biology, is the natural mechanism the body uses to recycle material that is not needed for functioning. When apoptosis is initiated, the cell's genetic material becomes shredded so that the cell cannot replicate itself. With cancer cells, apoptosis is inhibited, allowing rapid growth of dysfunctional cells. Haynes says that the isolation of HAMLET as a trigger for apoptosis in cancer cells could give further weight to evidence linking breast milk to reduced incidences of some cancers.

From a budget standpoint, breast-feeding can save a family hundreds of dollars a year, even with the added cost of breast pumps, devices regulated by the Food and Drug Administration that allow mothers to express milk when they are away from their babies or when they want to save extra milk to be given to the baby at other times. According to the Blueprint, breast-feeding also saves money for insurers and employers by cutting down on doctor visits and sick days.

Overcoming Obstacles

Why, then, with all these benefits, don't more mothers breast-feed?

Breast-feeding requires a substantial commitment from a mother. Some mothers feel tied down by the constant demands of a nursing newborn. Others feel embarrassed or concerned about breast-feeding, especially in public places.

"That's just the type of image we're trying to change," says Haynes. "We're trying to normalize breast-feeding so that people won't blink an eye when they see it." Haynes says removing these kinds of barriers is a major challenge of the campaign.

But she also emphasizes that breast-feeding is not the end of a woman's independence. Women can use pumps to express milk when they are going to be away from their babies so that others can bottle feed them, allowing mothers to keep up their milk supply. She adds that women can return to full-time work with careful planning and a discussion with employers about a private and sanitary area to express milk.

Carol Huotari manages the Center for Breastfeeding Information at the Schaumburg, Ill., headquarters of La Leche League, an international breast-feeding support and educational organization. She says, "It's not uncommon for mothers to face difficulties." While the ability to breast-feed is not necessarily inherent in a mother, Huotari says with the proper information and support, the experience of breast-feeding is more often than not successful, and when it is successful it can be profoundly fulfilling. "It's more than just the benefits to the baby--it's about the benefits to the mother, too." While obstacles can sometimes hinder success, Huotari says that most can be overcome.

Because diabetes and allergies run prevalent on both sides of Amy Finnerty's family, the 29-year-old Huntley, Ill., resident especially wanted to breast-feed her baby. But obstacles, like her baby's inability to latch on to her breast properly as the result of a stressful birth experience and the temporary pain she experienced early on, nearly convinced Finnerty that, for her, breast-feeding just wasn't meant to be.

"I remember thinking, 'I'm not going to be a good mom,'" she says. "I didn't think I could take the pain anymore." But the support she received both from the local La Leche League group and her husband clinched it for Finnerty. "Meeting with women who shared my common interest of breast-feeding certainly helped bolster my commitment to nursing," she says. "And Bill would encourage me each time to get through one more feeding, even though I was feeding several times a day. Eventually he was right. I stayed with it and it just clicked." Finnerty is today happily and successfully nursing her daughter, Veronica.

Huotari says that professional and family support can influence a mother's breast-feeding choice and practices. "It's important to begin sharing positive information on breast-feeding to both boys and girls in school," she says. And health care providers can promote breast-feeding during pregnancy check-ups. "We know that decisions made to breast-feed are often made well before the baby arrives, yet some others do decide that they will breast-feed when their newborn is in their arms for the first time."

Even the childbirth experience can make a great impact on the way breast-feeding begins and continues, says Huotari. "Amy did a lot of preparation for birth beforehand," she says, "and despite the fact that Veronica's birth didn't go the way she planned, Amy is now a well-established breast-feeding mom."

The La Leche League has chapter meetings throughout the country where expectant and new mothers can learn about breast-feeding, nutrition, and other aspects of child care. (See "For More Information" for the number to call for local chapters.)

Cautions About Breast-Feeding

Despite the benefits, not every mother is able to breast-feed or chooses to do so. In rare cases, a mother's health may prevent her from breast-feeding. Women who test positive for HIV and AIDS or who have human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) should not breast-feed or provide their breast milk for the nutrition of their own or other infants because of the risk of transmission to the child.

Under certain conditions, a case-by-case assessment should be made about whether or not breast-feeding is advisable or should be temporarily stopped. According to the Blueprint, some of these conditions include:

  • Exposures to environmental chemicals, such as DDT, dioxin, and methyl mercury
  • Hepatitis C
  • Illicit drug use, such as amphetamines, cocaine, heroin, and marijuana
  • Implants and breast surgery
  • Metabolic disorders such as galactosemia, a condition in which the infant cannot metabolize lactose, a sugar found in all mammalian milk
  • Tobacco and alcohol use, since alcohol and nicotine are present in breast milk. However, for women who cannot or will not stop smoking, breast-feeding is still advised, since the benefits of breast milk outweigh the risks from nicotine exposure
  • Use of drugs such as cyclosporin, doxorubicin, ergotamine, methotrexate, and radioactive isotopes, as well as anti-anxiety, anti-depressant, and anti-psychotic agents. For most prescribed and over-the-counter medications taken by women, the risk to the nursing infant is unknown.
  • Mothers should always ask their physicians before continuing or taking new medications while nursing.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) first issued a statement on the transfer of drugs and chemicals into human milk in 1983, revising its lists in 1989 and 1994. Information continues to become available. The current statement, which can be found on the AAP's Web site (, is intended to assist physicians in counseling a nursing mother regarding breast-feeding when the mother has a condition for which a drug is medically indicated.

Susan F. Wood, Ph.D., director of the FDA's Office of Women's Health (OWH) says, "The FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research and the OWH are working to improve the current label on products so that it is more helpful to both mothers and prescribing physicians. However, more research is needed in order for good information to show up in the label, and FDA is also working to encourage such research."

Infant Formulas

For women who are unable to breast-feed, the FDA recommends using only commercially prepared formulas as an alternative to breast milk. These formulas contain the complex combination of proteins, sugars, fats, minerals, and vitamins needed to support growth in infants. The composition of commercial formulas is carefully controlled, and the FDA requires that these products meet very strict standards.

The safety of commercially prepared formula is ensured by the agency's nutrient requirements and by strict manufacturing quality control procedures. These procedures require manufacturers to analyze each batch of formula for required nutrients, test samples for stability during the shelf life of the product, code containers to identify the batch, and make all records available to FDA investigators.

But, while formulas try to imitate the ingredients in human milk, the exact composition of breast milk cannot be duplicated. Human milk contains living cells, hormones, active enzymes, and immunoglobulins that cannot be replicated in infant formula. It also has carbohydrates, easily digestible proteins, and fat, plus antibodies that can protect the baby from infection. Therefore, performance of infant formulas is measured by the infant's growth, absorption of nutrients, and gastrointestinal tolerance.

Increasing the Rates

As of 200l, the year for which the most recent statistics are available, almost 70 percent of all mothers breast-fed in the early postpartum period, and about 32 percent of all mothers breast-fed at 6 months postpartum. Comparing rates in 2001 to 1996, increases in initiating breast-feeding and continued breast-feeding to 6 months were greater among groups that have been historically less likely to breast-feed: black women, women younger than 20 years old, no more than high school educated, working women, and others.

However, racial and ethnic disparities in breast-feeding rates remain significant and, according to HHS, black women breast-feed at alarmingly low rates.

HHS believes that the nation needs to address these low rates as a public health challenge and put in place national, culturally appropriate strategies to promote breast-feeding.

There are many reasons for the low breast-feeding rates in the black community, but they are reversible. For one thing, breast-feeding is thought to be painful. Most people do not realize that, although there can be some initial discomfort, if done properly, breast-feeding should not cause pain.

Another reason is that the attitude toward breast-feeding in the black community has not been positive. Experts say the message that breast-feeding is superior to formula-feeding has not been heard. Black women also say it is difficult for them to receive information and education about breast-feeding, to have breast-feeding initiated in the hospital, to continue breast-feeding in the early days in the home setting, and to continue breast-feeding for an extended period.

The Baltimore-based African-American Breastfeeding Alliance, Inc. (AABA) seeks to make breast-feeding a family affair, since black communities often are based on kinship. The decision to breast-feed is frequently directly related to influence from peers, husbands, boyfriends, and other family members. In other words, a woman is more likely to breast-feed if members of her family--primarily spouses--support it.

"It is often taken for granted that African-American women will not breast-feed so they generally don't receive good breast-feeding education and support," says Katherine Barber, founder and Executive Director of AABA. According to AABA, breast-feeding education should be an essential component during prenatal care.

Increasing the rates of breast-feeding is a compelling public health goal, particularly among the racial and ethnic groups who are less likely to initiate and sustain breast-feeding throughout the infant's first year. According to the Blueprint, this goal can only be met when breast-feeding is supported in the family, community, workplace, health care sector, and society.

Overall, the Blueprint speaks to federal, state, and local governments, families, and the medical community--especially hospitals, where staff can be re-educated, consultants hired, and peer counselors made available to promote breast-feeding. Recognizing that breast-feeding rates are influenced by various factors, the document suggests an approach in which all interested people and organizations come together to forge a partnership to promote and encourage breast-feeding in the United States.

For More Information

Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (HFS-555)
Food and Drug Administration
5100 Paint Branch Parkway, College Park, MD 20740-3835

Office of Women's Health
Food and Drug Administration
5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD 20857

Office on Women's Health
Department of Health and Human Services
8550 Arlington Blvd., Suite 300 Fairfax, VA 22031
1-800-994-WOMAN (1-800-994-9662); TDD: 1-800-220-5446

La Leche League International
1400 N. Meacham Road, Schaumburg, IL 60173-4808
1-800-525-3243 (for information and local chapter numbers)

The FDA and Breast-Feeding

Two of the FDA's regulatory centers have a responsible role with regard to breast-feeding.

I don't know what you think about the sanitary conditions of public rest rooms, but that's about the only safe place in some states to hide the breast feeding activity from the prudes. Is that where you would want your child to be nurished? I wonder how many American children will become perverts because they saw Janet Jackson's nipple on television? The Morality Police (otherwise known as the Prude Police) are dictating way too much public policy. It's time for that to change.

The FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH) is responsible for ensuring that devices such as breast pumps are safe and effective for nursing moms. Breast pumps are classified as either powered or non-powered devices. All powered breast pumps are subject to premarket review and clearance prior to marketing in the United States. Non-powered breast pumps do not require any premarket review unless the manufacturer makes a fundamental change in the technology of the device. Both types of breast pumps are, however, subject to other regulatory controls, such as good manufacturing practices and record keeping.

To report an adverse experience by telephone, or to register a complaint about breast pumps, contact the FDA's Office of Emergency Operations at 1-888-463-6332.

The FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) is responsible for the safety and nutritional adequacy of commercially prepared infant formulas.

In the rare circumstances when breast-feeding is not possible or recommended, or for various reasons a mother may choose not to breast-feed, commercially prepared infant formula can be used as an alternative form of feeding. Infant formulas are liquids or reconstituted powders fed to infants and young children. They have a special role to play, because often they are the only source of nutrients for infants during a very vulnerable period of rapid growth and development.

Current laws require that infant formula manufacturers must provide the FDA assurance of the nutritional quality of each formulation before marketing. The FDA has provisions that include requirements for certain labeling, nutrient content and manufacturers' quality control procedures (to assure the nutrient content), as well as for company records and reports.
Source: By Carol Lewis,

Amercian Academy of Pediatrics 12/1/97

Breastfeeding and the Use of Human Milk (Section on Breastfeeding)

Considerable advances have occurred in recent years in the scientific knowledge of the benefits of breastfeeding, the mechanisms underlying these benefits, and in the clinical management of breastfeeding. This policy statement on breastfeeding replaces the 1997 policy statement of the American Academy of Pediatrics and reflects this newer knowledge and the supporting publications. The benefits of breastfeeding for the infant, the mother, and the community are summarized, and recommendations to guide the pediatrician and other health care professionals in assisting mothers in the initiation and maintenance of breastfeeding for healthy term infants and high-risk infants are presented. The policy statement delineates various ways in which pediatricians can promote, protect, and support breastfeeding not only in their individual practices but also in the hospital, medical school, community, and nation.

New breastfeeding study shows most moms quit early

While the CDC recently reported that more moms than ever give breastfeeding a try, a new national study shows most moms do not stick with it as long as they should. Although 77 percent of moms nationally start to breastfeed, the new Brigham Young University study found that only 36 percent of babies are breastfed through six months, well short of the federal government's goal to hit 50 percent by 2010. The American Association of Pediatricians recommends continued breastfeeding through the first year.

"Breastfeeding promotion programs encourage women to start but don't provide the support to continue," said Renata Forste, an author of the article Are US Mothers Meeting the Healthy People 2010 Breastfeeding Targets for Initiation, Duration, and Exclusivity? The 2003 and 2004 National Immunization Surveys published in the August issue of the Journal of Human Lactation (published by SAGE). The article is available for free for a limited time at .

Breast milk is considered healthiest for babies because it is easily digested and provides antibodies that prevent ear infections and other illnesses. Earlier work by Forste supports research highlighting the link between breastfeeding and infant survival.

Many personal characteristics, such as a mother's age and education level, influence whether a baby is breastfed. Surprisingly, the new study found that where babies live also plays a role.

"We are finding that breastfeeding rates aren't just explained by the individuals who live in these areas, there's something about the areas themselves and breastfeeding," said BYU co-author John Hoffmann.

The researchers arrived at this finding by matching moms' survey responses to state and metropolitan data on infant health. Unfortunately, breastfeeding rates are lowest in areas where babies' health is considered most at risk. In the Baltimore and Philadelphia metropolitan areas, which rank low on infant health scores, only 30 percent of babies are breastfed six months or more.

"Where the need is greatest, breastfeeding happens the least," Forste said. "It's a sad irony both in terms of health needs and the expense these families incur buying formula."

Hoffmann said the research suggests future efforts to increase breastfeeding rates could target specific communities and not just individual mothers.

Breastfeeding - How Long is Too Long?

Breastfeeding is all over the news. There's Salma Hayek nursing the starving baby of another woman on a UNICEF fact-finding trip to Sierra Leone. Here's new mom Naomi Watts crediting her trim post-baby figure to breastfeeding: "He's sucking it all out of me." Don't overlook the Facebook dust-up, where members are posting nurse-ins in response to site's decision to ban breastfeeding photos.

Perhaps the most jarring of all reports, though, are the so-called extreme breastfeeders.

Celebrities Who Breastfed

Salma Hayek on breastfeeding: I'm like an alcoholic. It's like, I don't care if I cry, I don't care if I'm fat, I'm just gonna do it for one more week, one more month, and then, when I see how much good it is doing her, I can't stop. It's a very powerful thing you know."

"I don't feel stunning yet. But I'm breast feeding. And he's sucking it all out of me, it seems. And when the baby comes out, it's a lot of weight right there." Naomi Watts

Tipper Gore, Tory Amos, Helena Bonham Carter, Christina Aguilera, Courteney Cox, Jodi Foster, Samantha Harris, Eva Herzigova, Kelly Rutherford, Kate Beckinsale, Salma Hayek, Naomi Watts, Tori Spelling, Gwen Stefani, Nicole Richie, Angelina Jolie, Erykah Badu, Jada Pinkett Smith, Cindy Crawfod, Demi Moore, Celine Dion, Hillary Clinton, Madonna, Catherine Zeta Jones, Julianne Moore to start.

Knowing the cost, health and bonding benefits, most new moms plan to nurse for a few months, even a year. What about when that year turns to four or five, or more? It happens more than you'd think.

Mary Pennington of Durham, ME, remembered thinking that her older sister, who nursed one of her children until the age of three, was a little odd. "I didn't get it," she told ParentDish. "If you'd told me that I'd be nursing a four-and-a-half year old, I'd say 'You're crazy.' But I don't think you're prepared for the changes in what you might feel once you have a baby."

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding through the first year of life and beyond for as long as mutually desired by mother and child. "There is no upper limit to the duration of breastfeeding and no evidence of psychologic or developmental harm from breastfeeding into the third year of life or longer."

But just 36 percent of babies in the U.S. are breastfed through six months, according to a 2008 report from Brigham Young University. For those who do practice extended nursing, the average is closer to three years. But even the most committed strain under the judging glares of family and strangers.

"Their reaction is uggh," said Robyn Paul, a lactation consultant and mom of three who was interviewed for a 20/20 story, "Breast-feeding Past Infancy." "But it's perfectly normal." When Tiernan, 6, needs comforting, he asks for "nummies." "We've had conversations about what it tastes like and he says it's very sweet," Paul said.

"Very few new moms go into pregnancy or childbirth thinking they want to breastfeed a 5-year-old," said Carrie Lauch, host of Natural Moms Talk Radio and mother of four. She just weaned her 6-year-old daughter six months ago. "But the weeks and months move on, and the benefits for the child and the mother never go away."

Many people, not surprising, believe that's both harmful and shameful. "If a mother is breastfeeding a child of 5 or 6 years old she should be arrested and prosecuted for abuse/sexual molestation/pedophilia/mental illness etc," Mike posted on FaceBook after viewing the program. "Sick. wrong."

"Everyone has their upper limits that they might think was okay, and what's unacceptable," said Pennington, who nursed her daughter Maysa until after her fifth birthday. "And each comes to that on her own. When you're outside of that situation, it might seem inconceivable. But they're still always your baby. And you're just continuing a relationship that has worked since day one. It seems very natural."

The natural length of breastfeeding for humans, according to Katherine A. Dettwyler, Ph.D., an anthropologist and leading expert on breastfeeding, lies between two-and-a-half and seven years. By that math, YouTube phenom Veronika Robinson is an outlier. Nearly 14 million of us have watched her nurse her daughter Eliza, 8.

Heated debate surrounds Pennington, Paul, Robinson and other mothers who continue to nurse outside the norm. Most rarely, if ever, do it in public and consider it a private mother-child experience. "I really feel that there is an extra bonding or attachment there that I would like to think that because he nursed until he was 6, that there was some more closeness there ... that you get when you're able to have him in your arms for a longer period of time," said Paul to 20/20. "My daughter's the same way. Very much so."

Facebook Won’t Budge on Breastfeeding Photos

Facebook is standing firm on a policy that has led to the removal of some photos posted by women that show breastfeeding.

The deletions have spurred Facebook members to stage protests both online and offline. Dozens of supporters gathered last Saturday at Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto, Calif., while online, and more than 11,000 members participated in a virtual “nurse-in,” or changed their profile photos to images depicting women breastfeeding.

The controversy began after several women began noticing that photographs of themselves nursing their children had been flagged for removal. They formed a group called “Hey Facebook, Breastfeeding Is Not Obscene!” to protest a policy that prohibits members from uploading any content deemed to be “obscene, pornographic or sexually explicit,” which can include images showing exposed breasts.

Stephanie Knapp Muir, 40, one of the organizers of the Facebook group, said the company’s policy was unfair and discriminatory towards women. “If they were removing all photos of any exposed chest — male or female — in any context, at least that would be fair,” Ms. Muir said. “But they’re targeting women with these rules. They’ve deemed women’s breasts obscene and dangerous for children and it’s preposterous.”

Facebook has said that it has no problem with breastfeeding, but that photos showing nipples are deemed to be a violation and can be removed. It has said that the photos flagged for removal were brought to the company’s attention almost exclusively by user complaints.

As Facebook swells beyond 140 million members, regulating content on the site becomes more difficult. Barry Schnitt, a spokesman for the company, said banning nudity was a clear line to draw.

“We think it’s a consistent policy,” said Mr. Schnitt. “Certainly we can agree that there is context where nudity is not obscene, but we are reviewing thousands of complaints a day. Whether it’s obscene, art or a natural act — we’d rather just leave it at nudity and draw the line there.”

The pro-breastfeeding group has attracted more than 116,000 members. Mr. Schnitt noted that other protests around Facebook policies, such as when the company rolled out its News Feed feature, drew more support.

Ms. Muir estimated that hundreds of photos showing women breastfeeding their children had been removed from the site. “The vast majority of the removed images were in people’s private profiles — you’d have to look for them to find them,” she said. “You can opt not to do that –- just as I choose to not check out the ‘Girls Gone Wild’ group. It’s not anyone’s responsibility but my own to make that decision.”

Ms. Muir said she understood how hard it is for Facebook to deal with millions of photos and other user contributions. “But they need to be more discerning as to what they’re classifying as obscene,” she said. “It’s highly offensive to mothers and babies to be lumped in as true obscenity.”

Mr. Schnitt said the company had no plans to change the policy.

Breastfeeding and Infant Growth

Some research has indicated that exclusively breastfed 6- to 12-month-old babies are shorter and lighter than formula-fed babies. Canadian researchers studied infants whose mothers participated in a breastfeeding promotion program to investigate possible growth discrepancies between formula-fed and breastfed infants.

Breast Milk Feeding Boosts Preemies' IQ

Low birthweight infants who are breast-fed or given breast milk in a bottle appear to have slightly higher IQs at ages 7 and 8 compared with similar children who are not given breast milk!, a new study suggests.

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