Thursday, March 1, 2012

Leap Day: Birth Celeb and Breastfeeding

Anybody watch last week's 30 Rock?  Basically, they created a fictional Leap Day holiday complete with the colors of blue and yellow, a cheesy tv movie and the belief that on Leap Day you are supposed to do all the things you would normally wouldn't do.

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:

Breastfeeding has been shown to significantly decrease an infant's chances of developing a number of harmful conditions, including obesity, ear infections, respiratory infections, gastrointestinal infections, leukemia, diabetes and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Breastfeeding is also beneficial for mothers, reducing the likelihood of premenopausal breast cancer, ovarian cancer and Type 2 Diabetes. Additional maternal benefits of breastfeeding include improving the mother and child bond and lessening the likelihood of infant abuse and neglect.

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.



Guest said...

I hope this doesn't come across as rude, because that is not my intent.. but can I just say that there is a difference between promoting your ideas/opinions and being judgmental towards others who may feel differently.  I LOVE reading your blog because it's so far from my reality, but I love reading about what you do in regards to child-rearing.  :)  With that being said, I think we can promote our ideas and educate others on pregnancy/child health without coming across so "my way or no way."  I think it's WONDERFUL that you are so passionate about natural birth and breastfeeding and would NEVER tell you or make assumptions that you are crazy for feeling that way.  You are the Mama to your babies and YOU know what is best for them.  I am also the Mama to my baby and I think I am pretty good at it, so far.  I formula feed my baby (have from the moment she came out of the womb, from an induced delivery with epidural provided) and I also used BabyWise and yes, my child did in fact start sleeping 11 hours at night by 8-9 weeks.   I followed your link to a previous post about sleeping and it literally makes my blood boil to read comments about how "inhumane" I apparently am, for allowing my child to cry; seriously judgmental.  My child and I have a strong bond, she is happy and extremely healthy, and I have hopes of her being a well adjusted child as she continues to grow.  I would like to know how that makes me inhumane.  I myself, was a formula fed baby, was allowed to cry it out at night and was also spanked when I misbehaved and I can almost assure you that I love my parents more than a lot of people my age.  I have the greatest respect for them and thank them daily for raising me to be the person I am today. 

Sorry for the novel, but back to my original point.. please, please, please STAND UP FOR WHAT YOU BELIEVE, but please, please, please dont do it in a self-righteous way.  Unless you (generally speaking) are going to look me directly in the face and tell me that I am a horrible mother for raising my child in a way different from what you think is best, than please don't do it hiding behind a computer screen.  If I met you, I promise you I would say, "Wow, you are a great, caring mother who is the best mother you can be!  We do things differently, but your kids are so loved and that is what is most important.. keep on, keeping on!"

I am so ready for the day when all Mama's decide to support one another and quit trying to make one another feel so guilty for the way she is mothering.  We all feel guilty enough every day just from being a parent in general.. lets try to support one another past that!  We do things differently, but bottom line, we all LOVE our babies and in a world where lots of babies aren't loved, that's sort of a big deal! :)

(and I totally support you rallying at the capital for your beliefs.. even though I deliver at the hospital, I love when people stand up for their beliefs.. even if they differ from mine.. it's what makes our country so amazing!)

LauraOMML said...

Thank you for your comment.  I'm pretty sure you are the same reader who left the exact same comment about a post regarding managing the after birth experience for the motherbaby.

I am not judgemental.  I do not care what you do.  I believe what I believe and you believe what you believe.  I honestly DO NOT judge you or really even care what you think.  Call that rude but I don't care.   It is the god honest truth.

Concerning the letter I wrote to Dr. Rick at his radio show, I cited statistic after statistic.  Breastfeeding is a public health issue and I live in the most unhealthy state in the county.  I firmly believe public figures should promote the biologically appropriate food for our children to combat a litany of diseases and promote the motherbaby bond.

Guest said...

 I agree with you, and have NO problem with breastfeeding babies.. I am probably one of the only people in my "circle of friends" who didn't do it, for my own personal reasons.  I don't care that its done in public and I agree with the health benefits of doing it.  I support it.. that was not the point I was making.  I have never looked at my friends and tried to make them think my way was better or the only humane way.

I was speaking about mothering in general.  I guess I do care what you think, because I would hate to know that someone calls you inhumane or a bad mother for what you do for your babies.  As long as your babies are safe and loved, I support you.. that is the point I am trying to make.  Mothering is hard and overwhelming when you think of how this little one's life is in your hands.  We do things different, but regardless I support you, and would wish to get the same from others. 

Angie said...

I happened to have heard you on Southern Remedy, and came here to tell you, when I saw this post.  I agree that he dismissed the importance of breastfeeding.  The caller after you was making the point about pumping at work, and he agreed but didn't really reinforce what she was saying about the law protecting her.  

I was only able to breastfeed one of my babies (and only for 4 months) due to medication.  I understand the guilt with not being able to  breastfeed, and I understand the need for formula in some circumstances.  But just b/c I can't breastfeed anymore doesn't change the fact that momma's milk is the BEST choice for our children.  


Kaitlin @ More Like Mary said...

Great job Laura! You made your point very clearly-hopefully it helped any moms listening.  Good letter too, I'm impressed!

LauraOMML said...

Not sure what to say.....personally, I feel that I am supportive to all mothers but this is a blog dedicated to the way we choose to raise our children......I'm not a one-woman support group over here.

LauraOMML said...

I know!  He infuriated me with his comment about how you basically can't nurse if you work and barely acknowledged the lady who is a pumping working mother.

When we have talked about breastfeeding in the past it seemed like you were at peace with the way things worked out for you.  Hope yall are doing well!

LauraOMML said...

Thanks, Kaitlin!  I worked on that letter for way too long last night :)

Jill said...

Laura, it was so great to meet you! I was lurking around looking for you outside because I heard you would be there. Hopefully I will see you again one of these days. :)