Minus the blue and yellow decor and the cheesy movie, that was pretty much how my Leap Day 2012 went. Not only did I attend a rally at the state capitol to promote our bill regulating midwifery in Mississippi but I met my first birth celebrity, Jill Arnold, of The Unnecesarean. I had the opportunity to really talk to her and tell her how I see women's lives directly impacted by her exposure of our country's cesarean rate hospital by hospital.
And, yeah, I totally teared up as I was telling her she is one of my heroes.
You can listen to Jill and Bianca, president of Mississippi Friends of Midwives, participate in an interview on a local radio program here. Let's just say that every time I listen to Jill tell the state of Mississippi that Woman's Hospital in Jackson, Mississippi has a 58% c-section rate, I can't help but clap my hands. This woman really is drawing back the curtain on the unnecessary cesarean epidemic.
But before that exciting event occurred, I finally called into "Southern Remedy", a local radio show concerning various health topics hosted by two doctors. Let's just say I've been irked multiple times in the past but the line was drawn on Leap Day. The topic was pediatrics and Dr. Rick started the hour off by recommending a book about how to train your baby to sleep 12 hours by 12 weeks old.
At least he didn't recommend BabyWise. I'm pretty sure they would have had to forcibly cut me off of that topic.
My comment begins at exactly 14 minutes. Please excuse my frazzled start because my children apparently thought that being asked to be quiet while mama talked on the radio was an open invitation to scream and holler.
You can listen here.
If you want to get upset, please continue to listen after my comment ends. Let's just say it was a good thing I had important things to do (i.e. get to Jackson to meet Jill Arnold) or I would have called back in to comment on just about every topic discussed.
The following is my emailed response to Leap Day's episode on pediatrics. I'll let you know if I get a response.
------------------------------------------Dear Dr. Rick,
As a Mississippian deeply concerned about our state's public health crisis, I have followed Southern Remedy: Mississippi's Big Problem with great interest. I truly believe you are positively impacting the future of Mississippi by bringing light to the issue of obesity and the ever-expanding web of it's effects.
So, you can imagine my disappointment when you failed to promote breastfeeding as a public health issue, especially since according to the CDC's Breastfeeding Report Card, Mississippi was 49th in breastfeeding rates in 2011. Any discussion of pediatric care should begin with the benefits of breastfeeding for our youngest Mississippians. Mississippi Department of Health states:
Considering the AAP's most recent release on breastfeeding was just published online on February 27, 2012 and states that "given the documented short- and long-term medical and neurodevelopmental advantages of breastfeeding, infant nutrition should be considered a public health issue and not only a lifestyle choice", I am thoroughly ashamed you did not use your show on pediatrics as a time to highlight the importance of breastfeeding to battle obesity, amongst it's other well-documented benefits.
I would also like to state that many Mississippi women make the choice to provide the biologically correct form of nutrition for their babies even if they work outside the home. Mississippi law states it is unlawful to prohibit discrimination against a breastfeeding mother who uses her break time to express milk and President Obama signed a law in 2010 dictating employers allow reasonable breaks for pumping mothers. With a good pump and emotional support, Mississippi women have no reason to view a job as an end to her breastfeeding relationship with her child.
Please do not allow your personal feelings in regards to reassuring women in your life about their choice to use formula to cloud your judgement while discussing breastfeeding on air. Mississippi babies deserve the best and not only is a mother's milk the best food for her baby, it also has well-documented benefits for the mother too.
So. What can you do to repair the broken lines of communication regarding the promotion of breastfeeding in our very unhealthy state? I would like to see a future Southern Remedy dedicated to breastfeeding. Mississippi is very fortunate to have Dr. Rebecca Saenz and her Mississippi Breastfeeding Medicine Clinic located in Madison. I would love for listeners to hear Dr. Saenz answer breastfeeding questions and give the all-important 'woman to woman' support to callers.
Your listeners deserve to hear the truth about breastfeeding.