Beijing considering a ban on infant milk formula advertising

BREASTFEEDING NEWS: Beijing announced earlier this week that it was considering a ban on infant milk formula advertising “in hopes of changing the country’s dire nursing statistics.”

Why? Their breastfeeding rates are abysmal. “Fewer than 16 percent of urban Chinese women exclusively breastfed their babies through the World Health Organization’s recommended period of six months. In rural China, the rates were higher — around 30 percent. But in both cases, they continue to decline.” [Read more on the Bloomberg View.]

Think we’re on top of it here in the US? Think again. The rate of exclusive breastfeeding at 6 months in the U.S. is a paltry 18.8%. (Read the CDC’s 2014 Breastfeeding report card to see where your state stands.)

According to the World Health Organization’s International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes, advertising of baby formula should already be banned. Beijing would just be following the code, doing their part to help reduce the negative effect of formula marketing Following a code that is already there doesn’t seem too hard.

When are we going to support moms instead of shaming them for nursing in public and not giving them the help the need when they ask for it? When are the formula companies going to really help struggling moms instead of sending them formula in the mail, telling them to wean at 9 months, and undermining their goals? When are we going to offer real maternity and paternity leave for parents so they can establish breastfeeding, support their partners, and get that irreplaceable bonding in during those first few months? We’re hurting our babies, our communities, the world, by not helping families.

Do you think Beijing should ban formula ads? Did you formula feed, breastfeed, or both? Do you think formula companies are sabotaging moms? 

Join the conversation on Twitter, Facebook, or comment below.

 

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Backlash against women for sharing breastfeeding photos on social media

Not a day goes by that I don’t see a comment from someone on Twitter or on an article complaining about or shaming women for sharing their breastfeeding photos on social media. Taking and sharing breastfeeding portraits is nothing new but social media is and shaming people on social media is the latest craze. Remember that mom who shared her breastfeeding portrait last year – nursing her baby at her graduation? You’d think she committed a crime by the sheer amount of hate she received. No one should be shaming and censoring women for using their bodies how they see fit, doing something that takes dedication, devotion to their children really, and is fully supported by law, religious leaders, and all major health organizations.

Why do women take and share breastfeeding photos online?

Women post these photos to share the beauty, share the hard and blissful moments of being a mom, making it through their personal breastfeeding journey. It helps the mom that shared the photo receive support from their virtual, local, and global community. She receives kind comments and likes, loves, and whatever else they’re calling a thumbs up these days. Sharing photos also gives others in their community support because seeing breastfeeding helps normalize breastfeeding. It’s a simple as that. It shows other nursing moms that there are others out there at the same time, going through the same thing. Many moms hardly, if ever, see other moms nursing in public. Feeling isolated and unsupported makes motherhood and breastfeeding, meeting our children’s needs harder than it already is.

It’s time to stop shaming women for being proud of themselves, using their bodies how they see fit, breastfeeding their children.

Why does anyone feel the need to be rude to mothers for sharing one of the most beautiful things about our species? I’m tired of the “it’s an intimate moment” excuse to harass women. Breastfeeding can be intimate but really, anyone who has ever breastfed knows it’s just a baby being fed and comforted, 20 times a day or more. It never ends. Women can’t hide themselves away for every “intimate moment” or they’d never leave the house.

Occasionally, I hear from a parent that doesn’t support breastfeeding photos or even women nursing in public because they don’t want to teach their children the purpose of breasts. Adults sexualizing mothers and their breasts as they’re feeding and loving a child, and passing those unfortunate feelings on their children is disconcerting. It’s unnecessary and harmful to our communities and state breastfeeding rates, national health. Addressing the biologically normal way our species eats with children is simple. They understand it just by going to a farm and then seeing a woman nurse. They’re smart.

Sesame Street and Mr Rodgers also covered breastfeeding of those people want to show their children clips from Mister Rodgers and Sesame Street instead of being overly concerned about it.

One day we won’t have to be worried about backlash when sharing a breastfeeding photo. Everyone will just support it, support women and children, families, humanity. Instead of complaining about and pretending to be hurt, saying they’re offended, they’ll just say yes to love and give that mom a thumbs up.

I was inspired to write this short post after seeing a beautiful breastfeeding portrait shared by a Chehalis, Washington photographer, Emilee Slinker of A Wrinkle In Time Photography on Facebook. She felt the need to explain in her post that Facebook does support breastfeeding photos, basically telling the haters to leave her and the mother alone, that their bullying would be in vain, that the photo would stay up.

[Posted by A Wrinkle In Time Photography on Monday, July 14, 2014. Shared with permission. Give Emilee and this mom some support for putting this beautiful image out there to help lift spirits, remind us of the pure goodness in the world.]

Take a stand

It’s up to everyone to help stop the mistreatment of women and children online and in person. If you see a breastfeeding photo online, give it a thumbs up. Everyone that follows you will see that photo and you will help normalize breastfeeding for them. If you see someone shaming a breastfeeding mom online or asking her to cover up, move, or stop in person, stand up for what’s right and talk to them. Be respectful but honest. It’s not okay to harass moms for taking care of their children, sharing these moments of our lives online or breastfeeding in public. It’s time to stand up for women, babies, our future.

How do you feel about breastfeeding portraits being shared and sometimes bashed on social media? Have you ever received a negative comment about a personal breastfeeding portrait? 

Join the conversation on Twitter, Facebook, or comment below.

 

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Breastfeeding after chemo and a mastectomy

I saw the most touching photo of a mom breastfeeding her newborn, having gone though chemo and a mastectomy for breast cancer during her pregnancy and had to share.

This is the definition of strength, love, and pure raw beauty. Mom was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer halfway…

Posted by Kate Murray Photography on Thursday, April 23, 2015

Photos by Kate Murray Photography in Florida. Gentle Birth Options, LLC shared these 2 new photos as well and the likes, shares, and positive comments for this mother are just overwhelming.

This strong momma planned a beautiful water birth in our birth center but early in pregnancy she noticed a suspicious…

Posted by Gentle Birth Options, LLC on Thursday, April 23, 2015

Did you have a similar experience? Share your story!

Join the conversation on Twitter, Facebook, or comment below.

 

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Mom surprised with “Thank you for breastfeeding in public” card

Imagine you’re sitting on a bench breastfeeding your child when a kind stranger approaches you and hands you a note that says thanks for feeding your baby in public.

That’s just what happened to Paid with Kisses, a full-time mom for four and part-time blogger when she was breastfeeding her newborn this week. She shared this photo of the “Thank for nursing in public” card she received from Undercover Mama on Twitter.

[Twitter. Looking for breastfeeding support cards? Buy these exact ones from Undercover Mama or check out the cards available on Best for Babes & Dr. Momma.]

These cards can be purchased online or handmade. Rebecca Mallett Richey shared this photo with me, her handmade thank you card to a breastfeeding mom she saw while she was in Starbucks.

[Facebook]

There are many women that are really concerned being harassed for feeding their babies. They get flustered when their child needs to nurse, they’re not confident meeting their needs, and they have a hard time meeting their breastfeeding goals. That is why I think woman-to-woman support like this is so wonderful. Being thanked for nursing in public really makes a mom’s day, that a kind stranger noticed and supported her. I do think men showing their support is also very much appreciated and needed much more. I have heard about fathers standing up to people bullying a breastfeeding mom in public. But even just giving a woman a thumbs up and a smile to say thanks for breastfeeding is appreciated. We need more support for breastfeeding moms out there!

How do you show your support when you see a mother breastfeeding in public?

Join the conversation on TwitterFacebook, or comment below.

 

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“Nationwide Nurse-In” to Bring Awareness to Public Breastfeeding Discrimination

A nationwide nurse-in is happening this Friday, April 24th at capitol buildings across the country to bring aware of breastfeeding harassment that mothers face every day, calling for cultural acceptance of nursing in public. 

From the press release:

Hundreds are expected to participate in the Nationwide Nurse-In on Friday, April 24 at Capitol buildings throughout the United States.

The event has drawn support from around the country.

Laura Delmonico of Broomfield, Colorado decided to organize the nurse-in to bring attention to a rash of discrimination incidents against breastfeeding in public. Delmonico states, “The shaming of the simple and beautiful act of breastfeeding a child is wrong and needs to end.”

Vanessa Simmons of San Diego, a mother of three and founder of the NormalizeBreastfeeding.org campaign, has endorsed the event. “Now more than ever, breastfeeding is socially unacceptable in the United States. Daily, mothers are being asked to cover up and leave business establishments regardless of the laws in place.”

Earlier this month, Univision 34 Los Angeles shared video of a man and woman berating a mother for nursing her baby while at a park. The video ended with the man spitting in the mother’s direction.

Jake Marcus of Philadelphia, the nation’s foremost expert on breastfeeding law and the founder of BreastfeedingLaw.com, states that breastfeeding families “have become second-class citizens.” Marcus believes the United States culture “serves to effectively remove large numbers of women from the mainstream of public culture and turn parenting into a negative and exclusionary experience” because of its inconsistent support for breastfeeding.

Most states have laws on the books protecting a mother’s right to breastfeed her child anywhere she is lawfully permitted to be. Delmonico’s desired outcome from the Nationwide Nurse-In is to bring awareness to these protections.”

The press release is quite lengthy so I didn’t want to paste the whole thing but check the rest out online.

If you’re a breastfeeding mother or support breastfeeding, please share and attend this nurse-in!

Main Facebook event page. Find your state event page link here.

[Breastfeeding at the California state capitol building]

Can you make it? Have you ever had a problem breastfeeding in public? Share your experience! And, as always, breastfeed with pride!

Join the conversation on Twitter, Facebook, or comment below.

 

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Breastfeeding mom says Delta made her miss her flight for bringing pumped milk

A breastfeeding incident was reported on Twitter yesterday. A pumping mom said Delta took 30 minutes to inspect her breast milk and caused her to miss her flight.

This was the tweet:

[Twitter]

LLaBennett explained, “They took 30 min to inspect my breastmilk. AFTER I called in advance to declare it. So I missed my flight. And now I’m stuck here.”

More screen shots of her tweets:

I asked LLaBennett if it was Delta or the TSA that held her up. She said, “It was BOTH TSA and Delta. Neither were trained, prepared, respectful or even understanding…but I’ll email you the full story!”

I am waiting on her email with clarification on this incident and will post more information when I receive it.

I am sharing this report because this is not the first time Delta and the TSA have been called out for messing with breastfeeding moms. Last year multiple moms were asked to cover up on Delta flights and Delta has been sued for kicking a mom off a flight for breastfeeding before. Moms being harassed for having breast milk at the airport isn’t new. Heathrow Airport confiscated Alyssa Milano’s breast milk earlier this month. TSA was also sued for holding up a mom with breast milk in Arizona. Clearly, Delta, airports, and other airlines around the world need to follow policy and keep their employees up to date on the training. Moms should be able to arrive with breast milk, breast pumps, whatever their lactation needs, and get through security, feed those babies on the plane or pump without issues. Period.

Thankfully, not all breastfeeding & pumping women experience issues while traveling. Yolande Bouka shared her experience with bringing pumped milk through the airport and how Delta agent really helped her out. “Amsterdam airport tried to have me dump 30 ounces of milk on my to the US. The milk had been pumped during my previous flight and during the layover. I refused and asked to speak to supervisor. SHE let me through but she broke airport rules. Once I landed in ATL, I had to go through security to catch my last flight. the Delta agent helped me go through security with my by the 45 ounces of milk and the TSA agent was a pure gem, even with my melting ice packs.”

How do you think Delta & the TSA should respond? Have you ever had a problem getting through security and on a flight with pumped milk? Share your experience!

Join the conversation on Twitter, Facebook, or comment below.

 

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Ohio YMCA employee reports harassment of breastfeeding mom, stating she “refused to stop or cover up”

Another YMCA admitted to harassing a breastfeeding mom and child at the pool. This is just one of dozens of reported incidents reported in recent years. In the latest incident, employees of the Marion, Ohio YMCA asked a breastfeeding mother to be “considerate” of teen lifeguards, suggested she cover or move, and an employee tweeted about how she “refused to stop or cover up.”

This was the tweet:

He further explained that she was asked to move for the consideration of teen lifeguards and was under the impression that the Y staff did not violate the mother’s right to breastfeed.

Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 3781.55 (2005) provides that a mother is entitled to breastfeed her baby in any location of a place of public accommodation wherein the mother is otherwise permitted. (SB 41)

After a few conversations with breastfeeding advocates, the employee seemed to turn around his stance and has since deleted all his tweets about the incident. I hope he informed his manager that breastfeeding harassment is serious and that mothers should be left alone when they are breastfeeding their children. The employee still continued to make fun of women on his Twitter account, but that’s another issue.

This is the 39th YMCA incident reported in the last decade. That means 38 locations that we know of have allowed their employees to break the law, bully and harass moms and children. What is the real number of women and children that have been asked to cover, move, or leave – the ones that didn’t speak up, like this mother, Madi?

[Twitter]

When are these YMCA incidents going to stop? Their company motto is “We’re for youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.” It’s time they start following it.

How can you help?

First, contact your state rep and ask for an enforcement provision. Then respectfully contact YMCA and ask what their breastfeeding policy is and how they plan to help keep this from happening again. Ask that they remind all of their gyms how to appropriately respond to breastfeeding families, never tweet disparaging comments about members on social media, and place a “Breastfeeding is Welcome Here” sticker or international breastfeeding symbol in all of their gyms.

Contact corporate headquarters:

Offending location: Marion Family YMCA – Write on their Facebook page or call (740) 725-9622.

Placing the international breastfeeding logo in all YMCA locations nationwide, just as Barnes & Noble did earlier this year, would only take a little bit of their time and money but think of what a positive message they could send to all of their customers and employees in communities around the nation! I am certain mothers would appreciate the support, in turn helping raise the breastfeeding rates, and others would be reminded to follow the law.

How does this flagrant repetitive mistreatment of mothers and children at the Y make you feel? How would you like to see YMCA respond? 

Join the conversation on Twitter, Facebook, or comment below!

If you experienced discrimination while breastfeeding at a pool or YMCA, please fill out this survey at Survey Monkey.

*Update 4.23.2015 6:00PM**

I called the offending location to speak to the director, Teresa, but she had apparently already gone home from the day. I left a message for the membership director, Carrie.

I posted this message on their Facebook page:

The Y:

What’s your public response to another breastfeeding harassment incident reported at one of your YMCA’s? 

Employees of the Marion Family YMCA in Ohio asked a breastfeeding mother to be “considerate” of teen lifeguards, suggested she cover or move, and an employee tweeted about how she “refused to stop or cover up.” See attached tweet.

Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 3781.55 (2005) provides that a mother is entitled to breastfeed her baby in any location of a place of public accommodation wherein the mother is otherwise permitted. (SB 41)

Please make a serious effort to stop these incidents from happening. This is the 39th breastfeeding harassment incident at your facilities that I’ve seen. I recommend you send a memo to all locations on proper breastfeeding handling, and make sure each and every new hire is trained on the law. It would also be a wonderful idea to put the international breastfeeding logo in all gym front windows to show each community how much you really support families and remind everyone to support breastfeeding instead of sexualizing it or feeling awkward.

Regards,
Paala Secor
Breastfeeding advocate”

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