Tuesday, August 19, 2014

National Breastfeeding Month: Pumping Support And Stories

Getting good support is essential to successfully pumping breast milk for your baby while you are working outside the home.  La Leche League International (LLLI) runs the best support network for nursing mothers, but it is true that it attracts a lot of mothers who are not employed outside the home and employed mothers often find that some meetings have a culture that does not support their needs.  This is usually a "Morning Meeting" issue, though.  In communities of any size, there are usually "Evening Meetings" as well as "Morning Meetings" each month and those evening meetings are where employed mothers can usually find the mother-to-mother support they need from LLLI.  It is great to start going when you are pregnant, but it is never too late to start.

The following are some excellent books that offer great information and support for breastfeeding mothers who are employed outside the home:

  • Nursing Mother, Working Mother by Gale Pryor
  • Hirkani's Daughters: Women Who Scale Modern Mountains To Combine Breastfeeding And Working by Jennifer Hicks (Lone Star Ma has an essay in this one)
  • The Milk Memos by Cate Colburn-Smith and Andrea Serrette.
It is important to tell our stories.  The personal is political.  We support each other more than we ever know when we share our stories.  

Do you have any pumping stories to share?

Monday, August 18, 2014

Bridging To Adult Girl Scouting

My Ambassador Girl Scout Troop bridged to Adult Girl Scouting on Sunday.  The Lone Star Girl was in this troop for thirteen years.  I was its Leader for eight years, with a break in the middle starting when I had the Lone Star Baby.

Another First Day of School, Another Plaid Dress

The Environmental Impact of Beef

A rigorous study published in June in the Proceedings of The National Academy of Sciences suggests that beef production is much more damaging to the environment than the production of other sources of protein. 

Beef production uses 28 times more land and 11 times more irrigation water than production of protein sources lower on  the food chain like poultry, eggs and even dairy.  Beef production is also responsible for much larger emissions of greenhouse gases and consumes much larger amounts of nitrogen than other forms of protein production.

The study suggests that cutting down on red meat would have a bigger impact on carbon reduction than abandoning cars.

Serious stuff.

Gold Award Project Report

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Valley Girl

 Almost time for her to fly....

National Breastfeeding Month: Pumping At Work & Breast Pumps

 Lone Star Ma's theme for this week of National Breastfeeding Month is Pumping At Work.

Let's not mince words:  pumping breast milk for your baby while you work is really hard.  It takes discipline and a whole lot of effort and is largely going to be the main thing on your mind while you are doing it, after the baby herself and any other children you may have.   It takes dedication, good equipment, preparation, and the courage to advocate for yourself and your baby.  Pumping is not for wimps.

That said, it is completely and totally worth it. 

The health benefits your infant receives from breast milk cannot be overstated.  This is particularly true when your infant is hanging out in group childcare while you work.  You go nurse your little one on your lunch break or at drop-off and pick-up and you be sure to play with all the other babies in the room and get huggy with the childcare providers as much as possible.  That way, you get exposed to every germ they have, you make antibodies for those germs that get distributed in your milk and your baby stays healthy.  It's a gorgeous system.  Nursing also makes you healthier, makes your baby smarter and keeps the two of you quite necessarily close and bonded.

It's worth it, but it is hard.

Be sure to have a plan.  Discuss your needs (nursing breaks in a private space with an outlet:  not a bathroom) with your employer ahead of time and get a good pump.  

Let me be clear about good pumps.  If you are working anything approaching full-time, you need a Medela brand double electric pump.  There are several versions and I cannot keep up since my children are weaned with what is the latest as those gorgeous geniuses at Medela are always coming up with better and better models, so do your research, but it is something like the Medela Pump-In-Style Advanced that you need.  Medela does not pay me anything, I promise, and I am telling you the truth here:  do not get any other brand.  Other breast pumps can be good for date night, taking a class, occasional part-time work.  Only Medela will do for full-time work.  Don't play.  I'm serious.  It will be hard enough with the Medela.  Eat beans and rice or whatever you have to do, but get the Medela.  

Is that clear?


The Affordable Care Act now requires that insurance plans cover the cost of breast pumps but it does not say what kind of breast pumps and many plans may not cover Medela double electric pumps.  Most plans require that you get that pump from a covered DME provider. Some may be willing to let you pay the difference between what you want and what they cover.  Do your homework.  Bureaucracy is hard but this is good practice for dealing with the fun stuff like pediatric hospital billing departments and university financial aid offices which are certainly in your future.  

Good luck!!  Be strong!!  You can do it!!

Fingers Crossed!

The Lone Star Girl turned in her Gold Award Project Report on Friday!  It may be awhile before we hear from the Committee, but, whatever happens, we are so proud of her!!!!

Thursday, August 14, 2014


I know it is not the first time this has ever happened, but it is probably the first time it happened to Michael Brown's family and it is reprehensible.  That poor child and his poor, grieving family.

If you are a police officer in Ferguson, Walk Away.  Don't participate in the violence, don't participate in the cover-up and media blackout.  

Walk Away.

 Better yet - tell your colleagues to stop.  Help people.  Don't become this.

*****Update**** - It looks like Missouri State Troopers have taken control from the Ferguson police.  Hopefully, things may improve.

National Breastfeeding Month: Take The Formula Ad Challenge

The International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes explicitly states that there should be absolutely no promotion of breastmilk substitutes to the general public.  Unfortunately, the United States pays no attention to the WHO Code and formula companies are allowed to brazenly advertise as much as they wish in the United States.  Not only do we live in a country where "bottle" is a regular symbol for "baby" and where women are routinely chucked out of public places for nursing their children, but new mothers, who may have never really observed a breastfeeding dyad (due to the chucking) and who may be struggling to establish their milk supplies with little support from ignorant health care providers, are bombarded with images of bottle feeding in magazines and on television.  This wears down a woman's confidence in her ability to breastfeed and convinces her that bottle feeding is what is "normal" and that breastfeeding is just too challenging, resulting in missed opportunities for both baby and mother to be as healthy as they are meant to be.

This week, in honor of National Breastfeeding Month, take Lone Star Ma's  Formula Ad Challenge to learn about the extent of this violation of the WHO Code.  Go look at some parenting magazines whose target audience is parents of babies and toddlers.  Try to find one without any formula ads.  Were you able to find one?  Count the formula ads you find and count the images of breastfeeding mothers that you find in the magazines you peruse.  What was the count of each?  How do you think this impacts breastfeeding establishment?

Back To School Bump

The Lone Star Baby's school was supposed to start today, but they e-mailed us Tuesday afternoon (!) that they are not quite ready (they have moved) and that school will not start until Monday....hopefully.  This has not caused much scrambling for us this time around as the Lone Star Girl is still home to help, but I do wonder what changes to the school calendar it will mean and if they really will be back to school Monday! 

Bumper Thumper

One comforting thing about this not-very-comforting summer was that we got to stop in Austin on our ways to and from visiting family and visit all of the hippy bookstores we love, something we like to do as a family, and I got to get bumper stickers at Book Woman.  I have always loved bumper stickers, my personal billboards, but since I got a new-to-me car in the summer of 2013, I had not been to Austin where the good bumper stickers are.  Now I have been and it feels more like my car.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Summer Reading; The Alice Books

When my baby sister was a kid, I started getting her the Alice books by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor.   The books went on and on so I kept getting them for her and, when she was old enough, I started getting them for the Lone Star Girl, too.  I am about to start getting them for the Lone Star Baby and the Lone Star Niece, although I know I will have to hunt for them and order them now because the last book in the series has finally come out, Now I'll Tell You Everything, and bookstores are not really carrying the earlier books much anymore.

I love the Alice books because they are about an open-minded girl who learns and grows.  Alice is not a prude and she decides her own mind - she is not just a convenient moral fable for kids.  She is not a fantastic student, she is far from perfect.  She is caring, though, and she is curious and she has a great deal of integrity.  I highly recommend the Alice books for any growing-up girls in your life.  Not counting the prequels, they start when Alice is in 6th grade with  The Agony of Alice and continue until she is an older woman.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

National Breastfeeding Month

August is National Breastfeeding Month, so the breastfeeding posts continue.  Lone Star Ma has a theme each week for National Breastfeeding Month.  Last week's was World Breastfeeding Week and the MDGs.  This week, my theme is the World Health Organization (WHO) International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes.

The World Health Assembly adopted the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes in 1981.  The WHO Code, as it is often referred to, exists to protect and promote breastfeeding by providing good information on appropriate infant feeding and through the regulation of the marketing of breastmilk substitutes. 

The code states that there should be absolutely no promotion of breastmilk substitutes to the general public and that neither health facilities nor health professionals should promote breastmilk substitutes.  It states that free samples should not be provided to pregnant women, new mothers or families. Research has shown that the advertising and promotion of formula and the provision of free samples undermines breastfeeding at the point when many are struggling to establish their milk supplies.

Since 1981, 84 countries have enacted legislation implementing all or many of the provisions of the WHO Code.  The United States has done nothing. 

For those of you who have delivered babies in hospitals, were you given free samples of formula by the hospital or by your doctor or did free samples arrive by mail because your health care providers sold your information to formula company mailing lists? 

What can we do to promote more Baby-Friendly practices in our hospitals and from our health care providers?

Random Sunday

The Lone Star Baby is having a ruthless spate of room cleaning, emerging every once in awhile to ask "Is this special?" before she chunks something.  It is a bit scary but I am glad she possesses the impulse.  We have come to a compromise on the scope of continued math and reading practice once school starts and I do hope it holds. Also, I am making her wear her glasses.  And her school simply will not answer questions about morning and aftercare arrangements even though it starts Thursday.

The Lone Star Girl is working on her Gold Award Report.

I am treating a terrible headache (we spent much of yesterday shopping for and then visiting people because everyone seems to be in the hospital now and I think headaches are one of my ways of worrying about sick people besides books and bears) with coffee and cicada songs and fiction but I need to get up and do looking-through-important-college-things for Eldest and calling-all-the-people things and Girl Scout things and cooking things and bill paying and all such manner of things.

Sometimes I wish our house had a hallway (not as much as I wish the one bathroom was not falling apart or that the furnace was not on its last legs) for painting murals on, but bungalows don't.  Hallways are such a waste of space, really, except for painting murals on, so if you have one, do be sure to paint a mural on it.  Now.  Hurry.

I don't know what Lone Star Pa is doing but I think he is probably trying unsuccessfully to nap in between times when the Lone Star Baby comes in and says "Is this special?" He has been doing fabulous cleaning work of his own in our room recently, clearing out his piles although I do not think he will quite finish before school starts.  He even, just for me,  made room for the gorgeous little card catalog table/desk/hutch thing that I love that our beloved neighbors gave us last summer before they dreadfully moved.  It had been living in the garage and he got it all sanded and cleaned and placed in our room as an extremely early birthday present to me (but I shall still be 42 for quite a long time yet).

To work!