Breastfeeding and Society

Got Milk? Donating Your Milk to Babies in Need

milk bank donation_ybreastAll moms are well-known to be everyday superheroes, but it’s the select few who can use their superpowers to actually save lives. It’s those rare and envied moms of urban folklore, who boast a freezer stash of spare milk that can put their breasts to work for the good of humanity. Donor breastmilk is one of the most valuable resources in the NICU and unfortunately, it comes in limited supply. In the NICU, there are many risks that keep the staff and new parents awake at night with worry, but necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is one of the biggest dangers.

NEC, an affliction commonly characterized by an underdeveloped and immature intestinal lining, is the second most common cause of mortality in premature infants and formula feeding is one of its greatest risk factors. Only breast milk contains the unique NRG4 protein, well-known for its ability to repair the young, immature and sometimes diseased gut. In cases where mom’s milk is unavailable, donor breast milk can truly make the difference between life and death.

By |September 12th, 2014|

The Truth About Toddler Formula

Todder Formula_YbreastCountless doctors have commented on the probiotic and immune-boosting nature of breastmilk, a live and unique food. Formula companies try to make baby formula just like breastmilk, but if you’ve ever read the list of ingredients on the back of most packages, you’ll see a base of cow’s milk with lots of added vitamins and minerals… and you’ll also see stabilizers, emulsifiers, and a host of other additives for shelf life, palatability, marketability, and caloric value. Unfortunately, infant formula could be considered the ultimate processed food.

Breaking Legal News: Lactation IS Related to Pregnancy

EEOC pregnancy and lactation_ybreastAstonishing but true, taxpayer dollars have been wasted debating whether or not lactation is a medical condition related to pregnancy. The courts actually debated the matter, and not for the first time, in EEOC v. Houston Funding II, Ltd. Thankfully, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently chimed in, providing a review of biology 101 and clarifying that lactation is indeed a condition that is related to pregnancy. The clarification was part of the EEOC’s long-awaited Enforcement Guidance on Pregnancy Discrimination and Related Issues.  After 30 years of silence, the EEOC issued their latest guidance on July 14, 2014, noting that the problem of pregnancy discrimination continues to harm U.S. employees and suggesting that employers take a closer look at their practices. The EEOC guidance makes it clear that lactating employees may be entitled to accommodation under both the Pregnancy Discrimination Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, which also provides certain protections to pregnant employees.

By |August 1st, 2014|

The “C” Word: Breastfeeding for Selfish Reasons

breastfeeding and breast cancer linkAs I sit waiting for the results, I pray for just one more year of good news. Given my family history—my mother and grandmother both had breast cancer—my annual mammogram is the one appointment that I never postpone. While it’s true that many factors play a role in breast cancer’s development, when it comes to prevention, breastfeeding is one of the best things a woman can do.

The empirical evidence is absolutely staggering. In the UK, cancer researchers found that the relative risk of breast cancer decreased by 4.3% for every 12 months of breastfeeding and an additional 7% for each child born. Another study found that among women who had an immediate family member with breast cancer (such as a

By |March 27th, 2014|

Response to NYTimes.com and the Sibling Study: Flawed Research Leads to Misleading Conclusions

NYTimes Breastfeeding article responseI am absolutely appalled, though not surprised, that TIME, the New York Times, and other large name media outlets have linked onto a study published online in Social Science & Medicine that concludes there is no significant difference between siblings where one was breastfed and the other bottle-fed.  The study is flawed, biased, and lacks the peer review necessary to give the data any worth, which is both misleading and outraging the medical community.

The criteria used to distinguish between the two groups—breastfed siblings from bottle-fed siblings—was to ask mom the yes-or-no question, “Did you breastfeed?” While breastmilk is pretty powerful stuff, it isn’t magic and study after study (the good ones) have proven that the beneficial effects of breastmilk are cumulative, meaning that the longer mom breastfeeds, the greater the benefits to baby.

By |March 5th, 2014|

State Interest or State Interference: Policing Breastfeeding

Running State Interference_Child Rights Law impact on mothers choice Ybreast

While we are quick to declare “breast is best” and what all babies deserve, in the United States we still debate whether a breastfeeding mother has superior rights in a custody battle and whether female prisoners deserve the right to breastfeed their newborn infants. Our legal system does not recognize the rights of the breastfed child and we offer no “first food” protections.

Under the United Arab Emirates’ new Child Rights Law, however, the Federal National Council has declared that every infant is entitled to be nursed and that all babies deserve the right to receive breastmilk. The new law affords babies federal protections that entitle them to receive breastmilk for two years. But hold your applause.

By |February 3rd, 2014|

Could Breastfeeding Save Our Nation?

could breastfeeding save our nation? ybreastAmericans today are smarter than ever, and yet, when it comes to breastfeeding and its many benefits, we’re falling behind. We’re the only developed country that doesn’t offer paid maternity and breastfeeding in public spaces continues to be a hotly contested issue thanks to the over-sexualization of breasts. If we pushed for wider acceptance, breastfeeding could lead to a healthier, wealthier, and smarter nation.

Mainstream media are finally touting the many health benefits of breastmilk, including its prevention of eczema, pneumonia, asthma, and type 1 diabetes, just to name a few. And for nursing mothers, breastfeeding has been found to reduce the risk of breast cancer and other ailments even years later. Not

By |February 3rd, 2014|

Baby Formula: The Knockoff

Knockoff_BorderAny fashion savvy gal knows the difference between a Chanel bag and a 42nd Street knockoff. While it doesn’t take much to identify the crooked and glued-on Chanel insignia, other knockoffs can be harder to spot, because the differences are masked well; this is exactly what the billion-dollar formula industry banks on.

Despite their small-print disclaimers that breastmilk reigns supreme, formula companies want you to believe that feeding your baby packaged nutrition is pretty close to the real thing. But the bottom line is that despite years of research and gazillions of dollars spent, formula still only contains a

By |January 29th, 2014|

Mona Lisa’s Breasts: The Art of Breastfeeding

Mona Lisa's Breasts_EditedOn a recent trip to Paris, as I wandered from museum to museum, taking in the art and culture, I couldn’t help but notice the abundance of breasts. And I’m not talking about the multitude of languishing full-figured beauties we’ve come to associate with classical art, but rather it was the depictions of those classical women breastfeeding that really struck me.

The breastfeeding I encountered in the classical art of the Parisian museums was often a part of the scenery. Not a central focal point, just a natural part of the background. Women gathered in Grecian robes breastfeeding their little ones, as men conversed nearby. What’s more, the men in the scenes with them seemed completely at ease with the exposed women; in fact, it looked like they barely even noticed.

In today’s society, could you ever imagine a group of young women breastfeeding in a public place, boobs hanging out, and no man noticing? Of course not; in our overtly sexual culture, bare breasts have become a crude symbol of sexuality, leaving breastfeeding women to hide out in corners and bathrooms to nourish their babies in the most natural way possible.

By |December 24th, 2013|