All Articles Tagged "breast feeding"
Pin your pink ribbons proudly. October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and during the past few weeks women across the country have been racing for the cure, spreading awareness about the disease and even NFL players are showing their support sporting pink NFL gear for games.
Breast cancer doesn’t discriminate and affects women and even men of all races, classes and religions. Although there are many factors linked to breast cancer, the truth is that simply being an aging woman is enough to place you at risk. According to the American Cancer Society, about 1 in 8 breast cancers are found in women younger than the age of 45, while about 2 of 3 invasive breast cancers are found in women age 55 or older. And although Caucasian woman have a slightly higher risk of developing breast cancer, African-American women are more likely to die from it since they are less likely to perform self breast exams and have regular mammograms where the disease can be detected early. If breast cancer isn’t a major concern for young women, chances are they have a mother, aunt, sister or grandmother who has been affected by the disease.
The only way to make sure more black women are survivors is to include breast health in our usual health responsibility regimen. In addition to eating healthy, being sexually responsible and being incredibly fierce, we need to make sure we take care of the girls. The journey to better breast health starts with a single step:
TIME magazine has everybody talking about it’s latest cover—and I do mean everybody. Not only is the idea of prolonged breastfeeding and the umbrella topic of “attached parenting” that the cover story explores a very sensitive issue, the art that goes along with it is simply too striking of an image for many to digest.
What’s depicted is Jamie Lynne Grumet, a 26-year-old stay-at-home mom, breastfeeding her 4-year-old son who is huge for his age. Without even delving into the hot-button issue portrayed, responses to the cover can pretty much be summed up with one resounding question, was this necessary? From charges that the the cover exploits breastfeeding rather than celebrates it, to the claim that it’s launching a mommy war, to concerns about how this child will feel once he’s old enough to comprehend the cover (which is an issue his mother will have to answer to not TIME), most are in the park of believing the magazine is trying to come off as supportive of attached parenting while really poking fun at the mother’s on the newsstand.
The so-called mommy war concern is a legitimate one—not so much because of the picture but because of the headline, “are you mommy enough?” That question makes me think of the never-ending battle between stay-at-home and working mothers and how each side tends to think they’re the stronger parent for the lifestyle they’ve chosen as mothers. Suggesting mothers who breastfeed their kids well beyond the typical nursing years somehow goes above and beyond the call of duty is encouraging to women who do it and offensive to others who don’t feel the need to attach to their kids in this way.
Posing in this way also somewhat adds to the argument many have that nursing a child this old is just downright inappropriate. To see children sucking on their mother’s breast for no reason in the photo shoot conjures up ideas in observer’s heads about this practice being an indecent or lewd act, which some already feels it is, and this cover doesn’t do much to distract from that. Reading the women’s stories though, it’s easy to see why they don’t have a problem being open about their attachment style of parenting. Grumet was actually breastfed until the time she was six and when she was in the process of adopting Aman, the son seen with her in the photo, she became pregnant. By the time the adoption was final, she was also able to begin breastfeeding Aman.
“Being able to give him that [comfort] with the trauma that he faced was really, really important to me,” she told TIME. “But I didn’t realize how much it would help my attachment to him. When his English improved, because the connection was there, he didn’t do it as much. So now he’ll do it maybe once a month.”
As far as naysayers to the practice, many more of which will likely come out after seeing this cover article, Grumet says she’s secure in her parenting style.
“The[re] are people who tell me they’re going to call social services on me or that it’s child molestation. I really don’t think I can reason with those people. But as far as someone who says they’re uncomfortable with this, I don’t think it’s wrong to admit this. But people have to realize this is biologically normal. It’s not socially normal. The more people see it, the more it’ll become normal in our culture. That’s what I’m hoping. I want people to see it.
“There seems to be a war going on between conventional parenting and attachment parenting, and that’s what I want to avoid. I want everyone to be encouraging. We’re not on opposing teams. We all need to be encouraging to each other, and I don’t think we’re doing a very good job at that.”
This cover probably won’t help that effort.
What do you think about the TIME’s cover? Do you think it will further divide people on this issue or help them see it in a new light?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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While there is no argument that breast-feeding has some real health benefits for babies, a new study shows that it also has some harsh implications for mommy’s paycheck. MSNBC.com reports that while new moms thought they were saving money by choosing to breast feed, the choice can cost a woman a drastic dip in earnings for as long as five years after the baby is born.
The study was conducted by Phyllis L.F. Rippeyoung, an assistant sociology professor at Nova Scotia’s Acadia University. Rippeyoung was prompted by her own personal experience while breast-feeding.
“I was a grad student at the time driving back and forth between teaching and classes,” she said to MSNBC. “and my milk was drying up since I couldn’t drive and pump at the same time. It was a very difficult thing, but I had to stop breast-feeding. If I’d continued I couldn’t have worked at the same time.”
Rippeyoung’s study looked at over 1000 first-time moms in the US in their late 20s or 30s who chose to breast feed for six-months or longer. On average, it observed that these women were making around $5,000 less annually five years after the birth of the baby. But why? One explanation points to the lack of hours these women are able to take on at work and a lack of company offered on-site day care.
Although the evidence may certainly discourage new mothers and soon-to-be mothers, Rippeyoung also says she doesn’t want women who chose to breastfeed to get discouraged. “I don’t think it’s inevitable,” she said to MSNBC. “If there were more ways in which women could combine breast-feeding with working you’d see less of this earnings decline.”
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Did you know breast milk comes in flavors?
My oldest son suffered from infant eczema so, until recently, his diet didn’t include dairy products. For almost three years, he has been drinking vanilla soy milk. I would have started him off with plain soy milk, but, being a really smart novice parent, I completely overlooked the red container and picked up the blue vanilla (both are varieties of Silk Soymilk). He still doesn’t know the milk he drinks is different from Mommy and Daddy’s. In fact, he thinks it’s special and totally loves it—all because one day I made the mistake of adding Hershey’s chocolate syrup. Now, all milk is chocolate milk, even when it comes from a breast.
Last month, he welcomed a baby sister. To my surprise, it was with open arms. While I was prepping for a Mommy-still-loves-you intervention, he was busy making sense of how she was eating. Every time I put her on my breast to nurse, he would stand pondering with preschool curiousity written all over his face. It never failed that he always asked the same question, “Sydney, boobie?”
Then, judgement day arrived. Although I’d answered, “Yes, she’s drinking milk,” countless times, he had to see it for himself. And, he did.
Every morning the boys watch two episodes of Diego, usually with fruit snacks and a drink. During that time, I also feed the baby. The other day, while feeding, I began producing too much milk too fast. Needless to say, she got a little choked up and jerked away from my breast—only to catch a shot in the eye as my son pointed and shouted, “Chocolate milk!”
I heard it was sweet, but I am not sure it’s cocoa-sweet like chocolate milk. But, it doesn’t matter. Now that he thinks Mommy’s milk is chocolate too, he is sure to tell me when he thinks his sister needs the boob. His question has become this request: “Mommy, Sydney needs chocolate milk from your boobie.”
Yes, he says it in public.
My favorite is when he says it at church.