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http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20094171/

“More mothers nurse babies but stop too soon”

Well golly, is there anything else we can do wrong for you? Hmmm?

HOLY JEEBUS people, lay the eff off. News flash: parents aren’t perfect. We aren’t. Mine weren’t, but they did what they could. I’m not, but I do what I can.

“This year, the government announced goals for 2010: getting 60 percent of women to breast-feed exclusively for the first three months and 25 percent through six months. “

Oh.My.Gawd. First of all: damn, it’s none of the government’s business.

Second: I think addressing the underlying REASONS would be a good place to start, weetodds. Like, perhaps, it’s effin’ ridiculously UNFUN to come home from a day at the office and feed the crying, wallering infant THEN pump like a Holstein for the next day, too. Oh, and try not to leak on your blouse while you are at the office. It’s a tad uncomfortable for everyone else to notice your boobs are leaking. ALSO some women (like Little Sis) work actual manual labor jobs that has prescribed breaks. Now, I don’t know about other women, but her 15 minute breaks are barely enough time for her to potty and eat a snack, much less CUFFING PUMP IN THE BREAKROOM so that some righteous arse in DC can say breast feeding numbers are up.

Me? I don’t have the energy for such things. Call me weak, if you will, but I do not have the fortitude to come home, make dinner, clean the house, feed the kid then pump for the next day whilst, somehow, getting enough rest that I don’t go psychotic and knife the entirety of the household in their sleep.

It’s not like women are thinking “Tra-la-la, pumping would put SUCH a cramp in my manicure time!”. They have umpteen number of things to do, and not enough time or ENERGY to do them. So back the eff off, or pitch in and help, douches, but quit yer bitchin’ about something that’s NONE OF YOUR DAMN BUSINESS.

impolite
testy

P.S. and why wasn't this "Partners Not Helping Enough to Make BreastFeeding A Success", instead of "Bad Moms, At It Again"? HUH?!
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Hm, another weird thing about this article:

"government survey found that only about 30 percent of new moms are feeding their babies breast milk alone three months after birth. At six months, only 11 percent are breast-feeding exclusively. "

While I was lucky enough to make it to 11 months with no formula, we started solids at about 6 months, maybe slightly earlier. I wonder if that 11% number is skewed by people who are not technically "exclusively" breastfeeding?

And what about people who primarily BF but supplement occasionally on those numbers? It's not like a little formula here and there is a bad thing.

BF was very rewarding and I'm glad I did it with DD, and plan to with #2 due in a few weeks, but I don't think anyone who hasn't done it realized how d*mn hard it can be. Worth it, yes, and it gets easier, but it puts a lot of solo pressure on the mom.

Marianne
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and why wasn't this "Partners Not Helping Enough to Make BreastFeeding A Success", instead of "Bad Moms, At It Again"? HUH?!

Or, "Employers Required to Make Accommodations for Nursing Moms"?

I breastfed DD while working full-time, and let me tell you, the 'accommodations' I was given were pretty pathetic. I was lucky enough to work in academia at the time, so I had a flexible enough schedule to get some accommodations, which consisted of using the receptionist's office (the only one that LOCKED and didn't have a HUGE window next to the door) to pump once a day during my lunch break.

I had to tape printer paper over the existing window, which the receptionist used to remove when she came back. Finally she just gave up and left it in place one day so I could skip that part of my little routine. And even though the office technically did lock, she never locked the doorknob, and thus I ran the risk of someone walking in to check their mail cubby (also in her office) whenever I was in there. So I taped a sign to the doorknob, "Privacy Please" to try to prevent this. Despite that, I still had one doofus male colleague walk in on me one day while I was pumping. I don't know who was more embarrassed, him or me! And I never received a key to her office, because "sensitive personnel files" were kept in there and heaven forbid I would have ACCESS to them...as if I would look at them, and they were in a separate locked drawer anyway!

The worst part of all of this is that this was in a BRAND NEW SCIENCE BUILDING...supposedly a top of the line research facility for scientists, at a university claiming to encourage young female scientists in academic pursuits. I was only the first young woman to encounter this problem, and there were no plugs in the bathrooms (as if you really want to be pumping in a bathroom sitting on a toilet, anyway!!), nor had they thought to create some type of multipurpose sitting/rest area in the women's bathrooms which could possibly be used for this purpose. My center director brought it to the attention of the institute's research VP, and basically the response was, "So?" Gee, I feel encouraged...what about young female assistant professors who might, you know, give birth during their five year race to tenure? @$$^013s. And they wonder why young women leave science in droves, even after graduate school.

StB. (still p!ssed)
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as if you really want to be pumping in a bathroom sitting on a toilet, anyway!!),

That's how I had to do it. In two ten-minute breaks and one half-hour lunch.

It's a wonder the babies get any nourishment at all with the conditions under which their mothers give milk.

Farmers know enough not to upset the cows when they're giving milk.

Sheesh.

MOI
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Farmers know enough not to upset the cows when they're giving milk.

But you are super woman! You must do everything! Cook, bathe, clean, drive, work, and give everything - yes, even the nutrients from your own body - or you are a failure! A statistically-proven government failure!

Oh, but do try not to let those boobs sag afterwards. Upsets the Native Males.

I know we all think that we are on a more equal footing with men, but I just think The Powers That Be have become more underhanded about it, is all. We wanted equality, instead we just got more blame.

impolite
GAWD I'm cranky today
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I know we all think that we are on a more equal footing with men, but I just think The Powers That Be have become more underhanded about it, is all. We wanted equality, instead we just got more blame.

impolite
GAWD I'm cranky today


Shoulda chosen the other pill.

MOI
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Shoulda chosen the other pill.

MOI


Oh thank dog I am not also PMSing. There would be carnage in the streets, riots, gunshots ringing through the air....

I'm just being a good, old-fashioned beyotch today. No hormones to blame. I think it's the combination of a friend and his wife suffering a miscarrige and the fact that I am broke, but not because of my own doing (meaning, I'm *still* dealing with DN's inability to handle his money, even though was are divorced) that has ripedened this mood into something horrific, indeed.

impolite
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Thanks for the rant, Imp. It saved me having to write a similar one. :o)

The major thing is that men don't realise how time consuming breast feeding a baby can be. It's far more time consuming than bottle feeding and, unless you pump, you can't give the baby to your partner/parent/a baby-sitter so that you can do something else. Two of my friends gave birth in May. They both feel like breast feeding has taken over their lives.

Don't get me started on America's miniscule maternity leave provision.

- Pam (sometimes it's good to live in socialist Europe)
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{{I know we all think that we are on a more equal footing with men, but I just think The Powers That Be have become more underhanded about it, is all. We wanted equality, instead we just got more blame.}}



I thank you might enjoy some blogs like this then.


http://blog.iblamethepatriarchy.com/


c
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{{But you are super woman! You must do everything! Cook, bathe, clean, drive, work, and give everything - yes, even the nutrients from your own body - or you are a failure! A statistically-proven government failure!}}


Or a more serious note, at least compared to my last post, what do you think the government policy should be with regards to breast feeding? The science is pretty clear that breast feeding is better. Should government ignore science when making recommendations for human health?



c
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Should government ignore science when making recommendations for human health?

<Deleted snotty remark about the current administration ignoring science when it suits them.>

The question is whether society (as represented by the government) is invested in this enough to put its money where its mouth is.

Just like telling unemployed people to get jobs doesn't help unless there are jobs available, recommending breastfeeding doesn't solve the issues that stymie many women who otherwise want to and can breastfeed.

If society has an interest in supporting women who want to breastfeed, then it needs to do more to make the accomodations needed to either pump at work or to take more time off of work.

Promoting public awareness is a start, but without the logistical support, the message just becomes one more guilt trip for moms.

- Parkway
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Should government ignore science when making recommendations for human health?

No, but if they want change they should actually take into consideration what might facilitate that change, not just whine that the women's aren't following orders as they should.

So instead of saying: "Tsk, now really dear, we *told* you what was best, why in heaven's name aren't you doing as you were told?", ask "What is stopping you from breast-feeding exclusively for an extended period of time, and what can we do to make it easier to do?"

As previously mentioned:

1) Physical Accomodations. Locking doors, plugs in bathrooms, etc.

2) Employer Accomodations. Realizing that breaks need to occur, allowing ample time for pumping, creating an enviroment that isn't hostile to the idea, etc.

3) Support. Less "you are a horrible mother if you don't", and more "here is how you do it, here is some financial help with pumps if you want to and can't afford the equipment, here are some ways to make your life easier for the duration of the breast feeding, etc."

4) Acknowledging that it's hard. It's actually effin' hard to do, takes a lot of effort and energy, not to mention that it actually changes your body, forever, and can make you feel completely and totally emptied of energy and fuel at times.

5) Public accomodation. Make it less a Social Circus should a woman use what her breasts are for, instead of as fun bags to hold a wet t-shirt with. Make it to where you can't get kicked off a plane for doing it, and where public restrooms in larger buildings/resturaunts have a chair or loveseat in the room so that moms can park it there, etc.

Finally, if the government doesn't want to mandate any of the above, fine. GREAT even, since I am sure they would figure out a way to raise taxes to do so. However, if they don't want to fix the underlying issues so they can actually address the problem, they can shut the hell up about it already.

Can't have it both ways: you can't say "that's dirty and private and something you should navigate on your own" and then out of the other side of your mouth say "we are going to issue government edicts about what you should be doing".

Eff. That.

impolite
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Wow. You're kind of overreacting. This was the main point of the article that stood out for me:

"Formula isn’t as good at protecting babies against diseases, eczema and childhood obesity."

"“This year, the government announced goals for 2010: getting 60 percent of women to breast-feed exclusively for the first three months and 25 percent through six months."

Is that such a horrible goal? Most women receive the first 12 weeks off from work for maternity leave. Granted, not all, but a lot do.

Also, they seemed to make a point that the majority of women who do not breastfeed are poor, young, single and uneducated. So, I don't think that they are singling out working moms for being "too busy".

I just didn't hear an accusatory tone in that article that would justify your vitriol.
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I BF Athlete (23 years ago) and Redhead (21 years ago), but I was working full time and BF only lasted for about 3-4 months. After that, I just didn't have the energy, time, or support from my workplace. I could write stories about the looks I got from older women when I was pumping in the bathroom at work, but I won't.

However, if they don't want to fix the underlying issues so they can actually address the problem, they can shut the hell up about it already.


And didja notice...the Powers That Be (lawmakers, anyway) are primarily male. Is it any surprise that there is a lack of public/legal support for moms who BF (as you noted, imp, physical/employer/public accomodations are included). Even though there is more female representation in lawmaking bodies than there used to be, females at the highest policy-making levels are still pretty rare.

It's like a bunch of females passing legislation on treatment of, say, prostate surgery. It's all theoretical to them, since females don't have prostates. Same way with males passing (or ignoring) legislation that would support BF moms. It doesn't happen to them, so they are one step removed from the reality of the difficulties involved. I know that is overly-simplifying a complex issue, but it's also one of the realities.


isewquilts
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"“This year, the government announced goals for 2010: getting 60 percent of women to breast-feed exclusively for the first three months and 25 percent through six months."

Is that such a horrible goal? Most women receive the first 12 weeks off from work for maternity leave. Granted, not all, but a lot do.


In what universe? I had a white collar, highly educated job, and I got six weeks per my short term disability coverage. I was welcome to take FMLA, but on my own dime--I had to save up vacation days to pay for it so that we could still pay our bills. And don't think I didn't get smack from my colleagues for taking off THREE WHOLE MONTHS, either--my pseudo-boss kept asking me, "So you're coming back next week, right?" after about the six week mark. I ignored his emails.

My sister just had her first child, and she got 6 weeks too. She's using some of her vacation time to bump it out to two months, but feels she has to go back to work because it's been subtly 'unsaid' that three months would be a bit too long for her to be absent. She's working back in part-time for the first week and a half, but that's as much accommodation as they were willing to make.

FMLA, goal setting for breastfeeding--they are all good things. But until and unless the government is prepared to actually EQUIP moms, working or not, to be able to take off the time without hurting their family's income (i.e. PAID FMLA leave) or having REQUIRED accommodations in place at work to facilitate needed breaks and areas for pumping, it's like waving the G-U-I-L-T wand over moms who KNOW that yes it would be BETTER for them to be able to stay home longer to recover & bond and to breastfeed exclusively. The realities are stark and beyond governmental urgings unless they are prepared to really put their money where their mouths are.

StB.
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Is that such a horrible goal?

Who the eff are they to make it?

Let's say, for example, that I want every one at my job to be dancing and singing in the hallways at 4pm, sharp. That's certainly a goal about behavior. It should be a stress-reliever, something they just emailed us we should do more often, work-life balance and all that. Doesn't mean I am one to tell the employees to dance and sing, at a specific time, without giving them a reason and the ability to dance and sing without repercussions.

Most women receive the first 12 weeks off from work for maternity leave. Granted, not all, but a lot do.

Most employees are given 12 weeks FMLA. Most women who have given birth get 6 weeks paid disability for vaginal birth, 8 weeks for c-section birth. They are allowed by law to take the rest of the 12 weeks unpaid, if their employer is of a large-enough size, but they are not required to be paid for it. Some employers pay for it, but I would hazard a guess that the same employers that pay a full 12 weeks also probably have a room that locks so that mother's can pump on-site.

But all that aside, it's true that it's easiest to breastfeed while on maternity leave, because you have more time dedicated to do it. So, let’s go with your theory that most women have (and can afford) 12 weeks off work – what do they do when those 12 weeks are up? They must navigate employer issues to pump while at work.

That’s the crux of the problem. It’s a large enough one that I had formula for the kids while they were at daycare, and I just nursed them in the morning/at night when I was home with them.

Also, they seemed to make a point that the majority of women who do not breastfeed are poor, young, single and uneducated. So, I don't think that they are singling out working moms for being "too busy".

This article, the majority of it, was about women who breastfeed, but for not as long as they "should". As for this little nugget they threw in at the end: How does a single, young uneducated mother feed her child? By working. A lot. Little Sis held two jobs so that she could afford health insurance for hers - do you think she had time, energy and resources to breastfeed? No.

I just didn't hear an accusatory tone in that article that would justify your vitriol.

"Mother's are breastfeeding, just not long enough"

Good try, moms. But not good enough.

It's an accumulation of articles. I think by now it's safe to say the majority of people have heard, nay, even *believe and hold it as fact* that breast feeding is best.

So, they got more mother's breastfeeding by repeating the message over and over. Good for them! Now, however, they are perplexed that they aren't doing it for longer. Instead of commissioning a study to see why women aren't doing it longer, they randomly dream up a timeline and percentage goals for something they have no intention of helping along, other than to kvetch about what a horrible job everyone is doing.

It's absurdity, and it's yet *another* message to women that they aren't good enough at what they are doing. No mention of studying WHY these women aren't breast feeding, but instead just a throw away sentence about most non-breastfeeders being "poor, uneducated single mothers".

Completely ignoring the educated, well-off elephant in the room.

impolite
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In what universe? I had a white collar, highly educated job, and I got six weeks per my short term disability coverage. I was welcome to take FMLA, but on my own dime--I had to save up vacation days to pay for it so that we could still pay our bills.

That's true. I forgot that FMLA is unpaid leave, and that would explain why the majority of non-breastfeeders are poor, young, single and uneducated. They can't afford to just not work or take unpaid leave.
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Doesn't mean I am one to tell the employees to dance and sing, at a specific time, without giving them a reason and the ability to dance and sing without repercussions.


This is not government legislation. It's a goal that they hope to achieve through education. It sounds like they want to make it clear to new mothers that breastfeeding is more beneficial for infants than formula-feeding. It might not be common knowledge for all new mothers.

That's how I am taking it, not as a federally funded attack against all women who choose not to breastfeed.
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It sounds like they want to make it clear to new mothers that breastfeeding is more beneficial for infants than formula-feeding. It might not be common knowledge for all new mothers.

Oh gawd, if you go within ten feet of an OBGYN or hospital for prenatal care or to give birth, the information is shoved down your throat. It's not possible to not know it, unless you are giving birth in a bathroom stall at prom, and let's be honest, if you are doing that, feeding the kids is the least of your concerns.

The nurses, the doctors, the lactation consultants, the pediatricians, the girl working the front desk, the busy body at Walmart - ALL will tell you that breastfeeding is best.

Their goals did not state: by 2010 have 75% of all mothers to be aware that breastfeeding is best. No, it stated a certain percentage breastfeeding, and certain percentage beyong that breastfeeding for an extended period of time.

How do you get someone to do a certain behavior? You make it favorable for them to do that behavior. Instead, currently, it is most unpleasant to breastfeed as a working mother. Sure, there are places that make it easier than others, but the truth, the gritty day-to-day casserole for dinner making truth of it is: it's hard as hell to keep nursing once you return to work. The logistics are a nightmare.

So, let's say you want to make breastfeeding happen for longer, what can you do to influence that? Throwing "bad mommy!"s around doesn't seem to be working, so how about, I dunno, changing the logistics in a way that make it more possible?

If I issue an edict, and then make it nearly impossible for someone to follow that edict, what do I have? Predictable failure.

impolite
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Let the women who nurture God's children talk about their leaky boobs.

I'll have you know that I am raising Satan's children, thankyouverymuch.

Besides, if we were nuturing God's children, wouldn't be heathens working outside the home. That's a Man's Job.

impolite


P.S. When I said "sagging boobs" earlier, I was totally wondering if Michelle Duggar has to roll hers up like a Roll-ups to put them in her bra. <shiver>
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{{If I issue an edict, and then make it nearly impossible for someone to follow that edict, what do I have? Predictable failure. }}


No one issued an edict. A voluntary goal was set that would be beneficial if it was reached. It reminds me a lot of goals set for reducing obesity. Most people recognize that it would be better if fewer people were obese, but the amount of government force that would have to be brought to bear to change the level of obesity is too great to even contemplate doing.



c
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It reminds me a lot of goals set for reducing obesity

Somewhat.

Except, companies have contests to help the girthier of us to lose weight. People have work-out buddies, and diet meetings, people saying "hey, have you lost weight? You look great!", etc.

My current company offers free passes to the gym, organizes bike rides and hikes and such, etc. Schools have President's Fitness days, and measure kids' fat level.

There hasn't been the same surge behind breastfeeding. I'm not really sure why, I think it would actually save a huge amount of money for companies in health care costs for infants and kids, since breastfed babies are healthier (and therefore, see the doctor less and their parents miss less time at work....).

That's the difference - is the support behind to two goals.

impolite
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but the amount of government force that would have to be brought to bear [on "food" manufacturers and fast "food" restaurants (with oodles of money for lobbyists) who don't give a rat's behind about health unless it relates tot heir bottom line] to change the level of obesity is too great to even contemplate doing.
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{{but the amount of government force that would have to be brought to bear [on "food" manufacturers and fast "food" restaurants (with oodles of money for lobbyists) who don't give a rat's behind about health unless it relates tot heir bottom line] to change the level of obesity is too great to even contemplate doing.}}



I am curious why you think that would be enough? I think that the only way to ensure that individual people lose weight would be to punish those individual who do not lose weight.

It is wrong to force restaurants to change. I only eat out a few times a year. When I do, I enjoy splurging on high fat, high calorie meals. Why should the federal government enact regulations that would deny me that if I am not obese?


c
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How do you get someone to do a certain behavior? You make it favorable for them to do that behavior. Instead, currently, it is most unpleasant to breastfeed as a working mother. Sure, there are places that make it easier than others, but the truth, the gritty day-to-day casserole for dinner making truth of it is: it's hard as hell to keep nursing once you return to work. The logistics are a nightmare.


At what point is it your job or your government's responsibility to make it easy and convenient for you to procreate? It's entirely your responsibility to make sure that the life you are bringing into this world is brought up in the best way possible. It's not up to your employer to make it easy on you.

Honestly, and I'm going to get a lot of crap for this, but I don't care. If you can't afford to take a few weeks of unpaid leave to PUSH A HUMAN BEING OUT OF YOUR VAGINA, then you shouldn't have gotten pregnant.

I have no problems with mothers in the workplace, but why should they have license to disrupt the working environment for everyone else?
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It is wrong to force restaurants to change. I only eat out a few times a year. When I do, I enjoy splurging on high fat, high calorie meals. Why should the federal government enact regulations that would deny me that if I am not obese?

I am not at all suggesting any such thing.

I'm suggesting that not all that is called "food" is "food" and that eliminating the evil in the so-called food "industry" would take more than an act of Congress.

Europeans do not have the obesity records we have here largely because they have regulations against denaturing their foods.

MOI
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I have no problems with mothers in the workplace, but why should they have license to disrupt the working environment for everyone else?

I want to marry a teacher so we can have our babies over summer vacation.
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At what point is it your job or your government's responsibility to make it easy and convenient for you to procreate? It's entirely your responsibility to make sure that the life you are bringing into this world is brought up in the best way possible. It's not up to your employer to make it easy on you.

Honestly, and I'm going to get a lot of crap for this, but I don't care. If you can't afford to take a few weeks of unpaid leave to PUSH A HUMAN BEING OUT OF YOUR VAGINA, then you shouldn't have gotten pregnant.

I have no problems with mothers in the workplace, but why should they have license to disrupt the working environment for everyone else?


Speaking of missing the point....

And furthermore, what if someone had said this to your mother?

MOI
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It's entirely your responsibility to make sure that the life you are bringing into this world is brought up in the best way possible.

Exactly! And the kid is fed with formula and breast milk alike. So if the government (and by extension, the people it governs) cares enough about this, it can institute policies that make employers make it easier. There is a strong precedent for the gubment creating regulations for employers, requiring them to institute policies that benefit only certain subsets of employees.

If it doesn’t care enough to do that, it should just shut the hell up about it, rather than badgering people with it. Same for fat folks: if you are fat, chances are you know it. You don’t need Uncle Sam pointing it out at every dinner.

To spend money on studies that say being fat is bad and using formula is not as good as breastmilk is absurd.

impolite
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To spend money on studies that say being fat is bad and using formula is not as good as breastmilk is absurd.


Didn't it work pretty well with smoking?
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Didn't it work pretty well with smoking?

Yes, I see plenty of people smoking. Seems to have done the job nicely!

Incidentally, on cans of formula it says "Breast is best!". Just like on the cancer sticks it says smoking be bad.

impolite
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And furthermore, what if someone had said this to your mother?

My mother was able to have me and my 2 younger siblings and stay home with all of us, she only returned to the workplace when my youngest sister went to Kindergarten. She was able to do this because she and my father were financially responsible and didn't have kids until they knew they could afford it.

She breastfed all of us too!

I know not everyone can do that, but a LOT of people can and do. Just because YOU couldn't, doesn't mean you are entitled to special treatment.
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{{{{YAWN}}}}
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I know not everyone can do that, but a LOT of people can and do. Just because YOU couldn't, doesn't mean you are entitled to special treatment.

I am if the government says I'm a bad mom if I don't.

MOI
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I am if the government says I'm a bad mom if I don't.

MOI


Oh I think it's fair to say we aren't talking about the original article at this point. The thread jumped the shark at Doppel #1.

impolite
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Oh I think it's fair to say we aren't talking about the original article at this point. The thread jumped the shark at Doppel #1.

Welcome to the New Fool.

Same as the Old Fool.

Only more so.

MOI
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the amount of government force that would have to be brought to bear to change the level of obesity is too great to even contemplate doing.

*****

I think that the only way to ensure that individual people lose weight would be to punish those individual who do not lose weight.


"Force" is clearly the wrong word and mindset. Public policy can clearly do lots of things to create opportunities and incentives for desired behaviors.

Didn't the gov't make fees for weight-loss programs a legitmate medical expense for tax purposes not too long ago? Many school districts are removing sodas from the schools and retooling school lunch offerings. Cities can ensure bike lanes and pedestrian-friendly development. None of this forces anyone to stay fit, but it all creates an environment that supports a healthy lifestyle. (On the flip side, the farm bill plays a huge role in American's diets and is considered by many to be responsible for the ubiquity of unhealthy high-fructose corn syrup in the grocery store.)

- Parkway
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She was able to do this because she and my father were financially responsible and didn't have kids until they knew they could afford it.

So by this theory, a couple that has the female as the primary breadwinner can't afford to have kids? Even if the male part of the couple stops working to take care of the kids, he's still not equipped to breastfeed, which brings us back to the original issue - that the mother would have to find a place to provide that milk.

My husband and I can afford to live on one income - but right now, that happens to be MY income. If the government sees fit to demand compliance as to what a person feeds his/her child, then they ought to be putting a lot more money into figuring out how to physically equip men to breastfeed.
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{{{{YAWN}}}}

Heh. I'm a SAHM (for now) who couldn't make breastfeeding work so I pumped exclusively for 7 months, during which time DD also got formula. Now she gets nothing but formula along with her solid food. AND I have a Ph.D.! I guess I suck extra bad.

Regarding the workplace accommodations issue: my last employer was a very women-friendly, progressive environment, and had I stayed in that job I *still* would have had to go to ungodly lengths to pump.
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Heh. I'm a SAHM (for now) who couldn't make breastfeeding work so I pumped exclusively for 7 months, during which time DD also got formula. Now she gets nothing but formula along with her solid food. AND I have a Ph.D.! I guess I suck extra bad.


Welcome to the club! I guess I am also a totally non-productive member of society for getting my Ph.D. and now being a SAHM for however long I choose to stay home. Boo, hiss, we are horrible!

StB. (apparently a burden to society because I'm educated and NOT working...is there any way to win??)
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Or a more serious note, at least compared to my last post, what do you think the government policy should be with regards to breast feeding? The science is pretty clear that breast feeding is better. Should government ignore science when making recommendations for human health?



Ok, I think I've entered some surreal universe, where I, lifelong liberal, has to say:

Why does the gov't NEED a policy on breastfeeding at all?

Ishtar
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Is that such a horrible goal? Most women receive the first 12 weeks off from work for maternity leave. Granted, not all, but a lot do.



Really?

In my corner of the world, most women get 6 weeks, maybe 8.

Ishtar
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This is not government legislation. It's a goal that they hope to achieve through education. It sounds like they want to make it clear to new mothers that breastfeeding is more beneficial for infants than formula-feeding. It might not be common knowledge for all new mothers.


1. I'm not totally convinced it is "better." (I did bf exclusively for about 4 months, then just in the morning and evening like imp until I began taking meds at 6 months. I would have liked to longer, but just couldn't b/c of meds.) But the kids in the GATE program with my kid are about 1/2 formula babies, 1/2 bf. The only one with severe allergies was bf. Not sure if I buy that part of the party line.

2. I don't see how it can NOT be common knowledge at this point, unless one never sees a doc, midwife or nurse practitioner all during pregnancy, birth and after, AND doesn't watch news, and doesn't watch shows with public service announcements, etc.

Ishtar
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My mother was able to have me and my 2 younger siblings and stay home with all of us, she only returned to the workplace when my youngest sister went to Kindergarten. She was able to do this because she and my father were financially responsible and didn't have kids until they knew they could afford it.


How lucky for you that niether of your parents suffered:

1. a major illness or injury
2. a prolonged unemployment
3. death

after you and siblings were born.

Not all things can be planned for.

When I was pregnant, I had a military career. I could not take more than 6 weeks off unless I left the military. But that career provided steady pay, and at the time I thought I'd stay there another 11 years at least. I supported the dead beat exhubby and later a deadbeat roomie as well as my child.

Then health issues forced me to leave the military.

I still worked, I still supported my kid (alone)

Until I was laid off. Trying to change careers after being laid off triggered the medical issues, which effected my ability to work and even to actually get a job.

So, for 8 years, I supported myself and my child perfectly well, but after three years of unemployment and health issues, the last four years have been more than rough.

Are you going to say that because I shouldn't have had my child because I should have forseen all THAT happening?

Wow.

I certainly don't feel that way. Because if I hadn't had her, I wouldn't keep fighting to improve things, I would have killed myself years ago. But for her, I go on and fight.

Ishtar
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I certainly don't feel that way. Because if I hadn't had her, I wouldn't keep fighting to improve things, I would have killed myself years ago. But for her, I go on and fight.

First, Ishtar, good for you. There are a lot of virtual folks who wish you ever-increasing success in your fight.

Second - given WP's posting history, I think the odds that she actually believes what she's saying here are about even.

Some people think there's a fine line between being funny and stirring up s**t. I don't think the line is all that fine; but WDIK?

-lizmonster
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Amazing that no one Questions 12 weeks maternity Leave as OK......abominable........Milk_man.....
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She breastfed all of us too!

What is ironic about this statement is that she probably did this more as a cost saving measure than for your health and well being. In the sixties and seventies, it was common knowledge that formula was better for babies than breast milk. My mom also breastfed us all, but she says it was because she was poor and couldn't afford the expensive formulas. The doctors always commented that her babies looked healthy "for breastfed babies".

-4
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Can't have it both ways: you can't say "that's dirty and private and something you should navigate on your own" and then out of the other side of your mouth say "we are going to issue government edicts about what you should be doing".

Eff. That.


Whilst I agree with the general direction of your rant - that is that if breastfeeding is to become virtually mandatory, then there should be more public acceptance of it being done in public - especially in this country, you hvae to understand something: you are almost certainly in the top percentile of this country in terms of intelligence and education and you know the benefits of breastfeeding as opposed to artificial nourishment methods and are able therefor to make an educated choice.

I actually had a chap work for me on a job site who's wife gave birth to twins. He proudly told me how he would buy Formula so that his kids "would eat right and not just drink milk all day from their momma." His erroneous notion that the mother's milk was just milk and that Formula had all these added vitamins left him thinking he was doing his kids a favour.

when his wife, who does not work, went home form the hospital they gave her a bag with free Formula in it and it went from there after he was told how good it was. I don't even know what Formula costs but apart from the health benefits, this guy would certainly have enjoyed financial benefits from having his twins breastfed.

So given the sort of unadressed implications above, I think it is very worthwhile that the government stick its oar in to a certain degree and educate people about the vast benefits of breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding is a lot more common in European countries where breastfeeding in public is totally acceptable and the advantages are clear. In Middle Eastern countries however, most mothers, especially the poorer ones, tend to use Formula-like products which are sold to them by Western companies iwith dubious litterature about their vast superiority over natural mother's milk.
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In Middle Eastern countries however, most mothers, especially the poorer ones, tend to use Formula-like products which are sold to them by Western companies iwith dubious litterature about their vast superiority over natural mother's milk.


I saw "Bottlefed Babies" (i think that's what it was called - it's a documentary on this topic) in a college sociology class and haven't bought a Nestle product on purpose since.

http://www.newint.org/issue110/action.htm
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It sounds like they want to make it clear to new mothers that breastfeeding is more beneficial for infants than formula-feeding. It might not be common knowledge for all new mothers.



You're kidding, and I somehow doubt that you've had a baby in the last 20 years or so.

Trust me when I say that the hospitals practically browbeat mothers into breastfeeding. There is no corner untouched that isn't delivering that message, and there is no way that this is not common knowledge among new mothers.

And there is even less tolerance for those mothers who cannot breastfeed such as those who take medication for their own chronic illnesses such as asthma and those who have babies who cannot breastfeed.
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Is that such a horrible goal? Most women receive the first 12 weeks off from work for maternity leave. Granted, not all, but a lot do.

The problem is that it's unpaid for about half that time. There's 6-8 weeks of disability (does not usually fully replace usual pay) then the next 4-6 weeks is FMLA which is unpaid unless one uses vacation or sick leave. That assumes one gets paid vacation and sick leave - not everyone does. Some people save some of that FMLA time for doctor appointments later on. FMLA benefits also depend on how many employees your employer has, among other things.

Here's a link to maternity leave lengths and percent of pay around the world: http://www.apesma.asn.au/women/maternity_leave_around_the_world.asp

I was amazed at how many countries have long, paid leave.

I lucked out when I had my daughter. I had disability for 4 months before she was born because I was a truck driver. My doctor took me off work because I didn't fit behind the wheel anymore. Then I got 6 more weeks of disability after she was born. While I was off, the company sold all its trucks and went exclusively to contractors, so I was laid off and collected unemployment until that ran out.

I breastfed until she was about 6 months old and she graduated to a sippy cup because she wasn't interested in breast feeding anymore. I was also able to stay home with her for about 14 months due to the lay-off. By then, I went back to work because I was getting divorced and needed to move out and support us.

If the government is serious about women breast feeding for extended periods of time, then there should be some better mechanism for wage replacement for longer than 6-8 weeks.

Judi
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If the government is serious about women breast feeding for extended periods of time, then there should be some better mechanism for wage replacement for longer than 6-8 weeks.


And at more than just the standard 60% disability pay.

For those who don't know, a vaginal birth used to receive 6 weeks of disability and a C-section 8 weeks. I had a C-section in '06 and my insurance company no longer covers 8 weeks for a C-section. The insurance companies are trying to get away with as short a time as possible so at 6 weeks, I was on my own time. I took two extra weeks so I could stay at home with my son as long as possible.

I didn't dare take any more time than that as I knew he would be ill at some point during the year and I would need the time for that. Yes, I managed to BF during the whole first year but it wasn't easy and EVERYTHING took a back seat to it. I am one of the fortunate few with an understanding boss but even then it was physically and emotionally draining in addition to the financial toll the whole process took on my savings.

I agree that if the government is not willing to put its money where its mouth is, it ought STFU. It's hard enough being a mom, let alone a working mom or a working BF-ing mom, that you really don't need the whole extra guilt trip.

Minxie
Minxie
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I actually had a chap work for me on a job site who's wife gave birth to twins. He proudly told me how he would buy Formula so that his kids "would eat right and not just drink milk all day from their momma." His erroneous notion that the mother's milk was just milk and that Formula had all these added vitamins left him thinking he was doing his kids a favour.

when his wife, who does not work, went home form the hospital they gave her a bag with free Formula in it and it went from there after he was told how good it was. I don't even know what Formula costs but apart from the health benefits, this guy would certainly have enjoyed financial benefits from having his twins breastfed.


I don't know. The last couple of months of my pregnancy and a few months into C's life, I used WIC (this was while having a full time income as an E5 in the military and I was still eligible - also supporting a deadbeat at the time.) WIC stressed the bf issue as well, offered literature, counseling, etc. BUT, if you decided to go the formula route instead, they provided formula free.

Ishtar
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There are a lot of virtual folks who wish you ever-increasing success in your fight.


Thank you, it really means a lot to hear this.

Now that things are starting to get a little better (with a JOB! Only 30 hrs/wk, but after 2 years 11.5 months of NOTHING, it's great!) there are still hurdles, but it's starting to get a little easier.

First paycheck Monday!

Ishtar
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Hiya A ---

Funny to find you in a conversation such as this... ;)

In Middle Eastern countries however, most mothers, especially the poorer ones, tend to use Formula-like products which are sold to them by Western companies iwith dubious litterature about their vast superiority over natural mother's milk.

I almost hesitate to even stick my oar into such a discussion, but I must point out darlin' that absolutely without a doubt, EVERY formula product that I have picked up in the grocery store (and as you know, I've picked up plenty of late), every single one has a statement boldly printed on it about the fact that breast milk is best for babies. I've never seen a single one include literature about formula's vast superiority over breast milk. Having only bought my formula within the US though, one might assume that the literature you're refering to might be added elsewhere.

Ironically, I agree with you with regard to educating people about the benefits of breastfeeding (I say ironically since I made the choice NOT to breastfeed the little bugger despite having breastfed KL.) Where I disagree is with the notion that the government should "stick its oar in." I don't think it is the place of the government to do this; and given our current administration, I wouldn't trust them any further than I could throw them if they did (as I suspect you wouldn't, either...)

I think it is the duty of the health care professionals --- doctors, hospitals, etc. to educate their patients. And given my recent experience, these professionals (at least the ones I was in contact with) are doing an adequite job accomplishing this. The hospitals and doctors offices I dealt with offered a number of excellent educational programs for expecting parents as well as new parents. The OB I went to had several conversations with me regarding whether I planned to breastfeed, as well as discussing other important decisions both prior to and after the little bugger was born. The hospital provided a lactation consultant who stopped by several times while I was in the hospital to discuss breastfeeding and assist in attempts made at breastfeeding.

I also must point out another often overlooked element in the whole breastfeeding argument, and that is the health of the mother. The mother's ability to successfully breastfeed and provide the nutrients necessary for her baby also has to be considered, and this is something that I did not feel that the hospital or doctors adequitely addressed. It is always said that breastfeeding is best for the baby, however, that would depend on the quality of the milk being produced, which depends on the health status and eating habits of the mother involved. A crack addict, for example, will pass the drugs on to her child through her breast milk, just as a mother with AIDS might pass the disease on to her child, etc. A mother who does not have a proper diet will not be able to provide the proper nutrients to her child. These are merely a few examples. In my own case, one of the considerations that led me to choose to bottle feed the little bugger included the fact that I have an under active thyroid, which I take medication for, and which despite medical treatment has never been controlable. This could have affected the little bugger had I been able to breastfeed him.

This is the only area in which I felt the medical professionals were lacking, in that they spend so much time telling expecting and new mothers that "breastfeeding is best", but don't bother to explain that there are still instances where it might not be best, or even that it could potentially harm the child. Perhaps because those cases are relatively few and far between, they don't place the same importance on it. I find this personally to be a bit foolish, because there are cases where breastfeeding can actually be detrimental to the health and wellbeing of the child. I'm not aware of any situations where feeding formula can be detrimental to the child, save one, which is allergies, and which generally present themselves fairly quickly, are caught long before they become harmful, and can be easily rectified by changing to a different variety of formula.

This doesn't even begin to address some of the other considerations and/or added benefits of NOT breastfeeding --- of which I have found plenty... such as the ability of the father to assist with feedings, bond with the baby, take some of the tremendous strain off the mother... you have no idea what sort of mental, physical and emotional anguish is involved in feeding a baby every two to three hours round the clock --- trust me, it takes its toll... we can discuss those at another time, if you like... as for me, I'm off to bed to get what little sleep I can before the little bugger wakes up for his next feeding...

~lydia <~~~~~still on night duty... <sigh>
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I must point out darlin' that absolutely without a doubt, EVERY formula product that I have picked up in the grocery store (and as you know, I've picked up plenty of late), every single one has a statement boldly printed on it about the fact that breast milk is best for babies.


That's great for folks who can read. The poorer ones referenced generally cannot. Hence, the ire at the formula company's manipulations.
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That's great for folks who can read. The poorer ones referenced generally cannot. Hence, the ire at the formula company's manipulations.


OK, then I have a really dumb question. If these people cannot read and therefore cannot read the labels that clearly state that breast is best, then how exactly are they reading all that marketing literature that supposedly exists and makes all those claims about formula being superior to breastmilk?
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As I understood the problem of formula in third world countries was not just that the companies were saying it was better than breast (which 30-40 years ago "common wisdom" said in developed countries, too) but that to save money, the formula was mixed incorrectly, watered down too much, so that the poor children were barely getting any nutrition.

Ishtar
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Oh, and that was not done or suggested by the companies, but by the families who just didn't realize what watering it down more meant.

Ishtar
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That's great for folks who can read. The poorer ones referenced generally cannot. Hence, the ire at the formula company's manipulations.

How exactly is it the formula's company's fault if they can't read? And how exactly is the formula company manipulating them if they can't read? Perhaps I'm a bit illiterate here today -- I'm not sure I'm following the logic presented... :)

However, this again is why I stated that it is the responsibility of the health care professionals to educate their patients --- not the government's responsibility, and certainly not the formula company.

~lydia
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How exactly is it the formula's company's fault if they can't read? And how exactly is the formula company manipulating them if they can't read?

The formula companies knew who they were marketing to: illiterate women who wanted their babies to be healthy. Even after the worldwide turnaround on breastfeeding, they continued to market formula as better than breastmilk in third world countries.

As ish pointed out upthread, many women then were unable to properly mix the formula (or did so with tainted water) or found they couldn't keep up with the financial outlay formula required - and too late to continue nursing. Illiteracy certainly played a part in that outcome.

When women/families are given all the information and make whatever decision works for them, i'm fine with that. These sort of disgusting corporate practices turn my stomach.


it is the responsibility of the health care professionals to educate their patients

These third-worlders to whom i'm referring probably don't have much in the way of HCPs. Although i could probably find data supporting the fact that many of the poor people in this country don't either, especially in rural areas.
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smippee, I'm with you on the third world country things, but the origin of the rant that started this whole thing was about US policy about breast feeding, not international marketing.

Ishtar
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"I supported the dead beat exhubby and later a deadbeat roomie"

Why?
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it is the responsibility of the health care professionals to educate their patients

These third-worlders to whom i'm referring probably don't have much in the way of HCPs. Although i could probably find data supporting the fact that many of the poor people in this country don't either, especially in rural areas.

When you think of health care providers, you think of our western system of health care. It's different other places. I was in Ireland a few weeks ago, and one of the UK newspapers did an expose on how third world country mothers are duped into using formula by their "health care providers".

This has been an ongoing problem:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nestl%C3%A9_boycott

In 1981, the 34th World Health Assembly (WHA) adopted Resolution WHA34.22 which includes the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes. The Code covers infant formula and other milk products, foods and beverages, when marketed or otherwise represented to be suitable as a partial or total replacement of breast-milk. It bans the promotion of breast-milk substitutes and gives health workers the responsibility of advising parents. It limits manufacturing companies to the provision of scientific and factual information to health workers and sets out labeling requirements...However...in 1988 IFBAN alleged that baby-milk companies were flooding health facilities in the developing world with free and low-cost supplies,

I wish I could find the link, because it was a really interesting article.

MCT
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{{Where I disagree is with the notion that the government should "stick its oar in." I don't think it is the place of the government to do this; and given our current administration, I wouldn't trust them any further than I could throw them if they did (as I suspect you wouldn't, either...)}}


I agree with you that government should not be involved in this. Government should regulate and or encourage breast feeding behavior to the exact same extent that it regulates and discourages smoking, which is not at all.



c
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I agree with you that government should not be involved in this. Government should regulate and or encourage breast feeding behavior to the exact same extent that it regulates and discourages smoking, which is not at all.

I can't in good conscience let a statement like this go, even if you say you are agreeing with me. Any comparison between breastfeeding regulation and smoking regulation is just absurd.

~lydia
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{{Any comparison between breastfeeding regulation and smoking regulation is just absurd.}}


Why it is absurd? Both practices have consequences for future health of an individual.



c
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Both practices have consequences for future health of an individual.

Sometimes your inability to see that things aren't always black and white makes me laugh.

Other times, it frightens me.

impolite
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the origin of the rant that started this whole thing was about US policy about breast feeding


Yeah. About that: sorry. I have a tendency to derail threads. :)

FTR and to get it back on track: I'm split down the middle. It's somewhat nice to see a policy (or whatever it's called) that i view as going in the right direction but agree that it will take more than just a firmly worded statement (i.e. major mental shift for some of the country; big-time workplace changes, etc.) to make it work.
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... the exact same extent that it regulates and discourages smoking, which is not at all.

Where have you been? There are tons of government regulations around smoking. Illegal to sell to minors. Illegal to advertise cigarettes on TV. Illegal to smoke on domestic flights. Health warnings required on cigarette packaging. Where I live, smoking is not allowed in most public places, including (believe it or not) bars. Governments also fund anti-smoking billboards and other public awareness initiatives

Sheesh.

- Parkway
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{{Where have you been? There are tons of government regulations around smoking. Illegal to sell to minors. Illegal to advertise cigarettes on TV. Illegal to smoke on domestic flights. Health warnings required on cigarette packaging. Where I live, smoking is not allowed in most public places, including (believe it or not) bars. Governments also fund anti-smoking billboards and other public awareness initiatives}}



I don't think you read my post. I said that government should regulate breast feeding to the same extent as smoking, which I believe should be not at all. To be clear, I do not think government should regulate the health issue of breast feeding and I do not think government should regulate the health issue of smoking.



c
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I don't think you read my post. I said that government should regulate breast feeding to the same extent as smoking, which I believe should be not at all. To be clear, I do not think government should regulate the health issue of breast feeding and I do not think government should regulate the health issue of smoking.



I did not get your meaning in your original post at all, and am glad that you have posted this clarification.

That said, I disagree. I think it's OK for the government to regulate smoking because it can cause health issues that raise the medical costs for all of us. It is also not only the smoker who can be harmed as many people [my mother included] have died from lung cancer as a result of 2nd hand smoke. In this case, I think it's a matter of your right to swing your fist stops at the end of my nose, or your right to smoke a cigarette stops at the start of my breathing air, but it's a bit difficult to stop something in the air.

On the flip side is breastfeeding. While a lot better for babies, it certainly doesn't harm a baby to be fed formula instead of breastmilk. This is a huge difference from smoking which can only cause harm where there is no harm caused by using formula.

I think that's a significant difference in the two.
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I don't think you read my post.

How can you say that I did not read your post? I clearly quoted it.

:-)

Seriously, I did misunderstand what you were saying. I still disagree, but that's another post.

- Parkway
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In Middle Eastern countries however, most mothers, especially the poorer ones, tend to use Formula-like products which are sold to them by Western companies iwith dubious litterature about their vast superiority over natural mother's milk.

I almost hesitate to even stick my oar into such a discussion, but I must point out darlin' that absolutely without a doubt, EVERY formula product that I have picked up in the grocery store (and as you know, I've picked up plenty of late), every single one has a statement boldly printed on it about the fact that breast milk is best for babies. I've never seen a single one include literature about formula's vast superiority over breast milk. Having only bought my formula within the US though, one might assume that the literature you're refering to might be added elsewhere.


The way I hear'd it from my midwife back in the day (28 years ago) what the formula companies were doing was sending cases of free formula to third world countries, especially South America, where the water supply was contaminated and unsafe for babies to drink.

They'd give the mothers just enough formula to keep her kid on formula until her milk dried up, then charge for it.

Mothers were trying to stretch the formula to last by diluting it with the contaminated water and babies were dying because of it.

That was the beginning of the Nestle boycott back when I was a young mother in the mid-seventies.

MOI
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It's somewhat nice to see a policy (or whatever it's called) that i view as going in the right direction but agree that it will take more than just a firmly worded statement (i.e. major mental shift for some of the country; big-time workplace changes, etc.) to make it work.

I went to http://www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/ to get a fuller picture of the situation being reported in the original article:

CDC is committed to increasing breastfeeding rates throughout the United States and to promoting optimal breastfeeding practices as a means of improving the public’s health. In order to achieve this goal, CDC is carrying out epidemiologic research and monitoring, as well as providing program funding and ongoing technical assistance in support of breastfeeding mothers, their families, communities, employers, and health care providers.

The site links to The CDC Guide to Breastfeeding Interventions and the Health and Human Services Blueprint for Action on Breastfeeding -- documents that outline actions to help increase breastfeeding rates and durations.

These documents address with both of the issues you bring up -- supporting breastfeeding in the workplace and public acceptance. I won't bore you with extensive quotes, but it's clear that the government is not relying on an announced goal to miraculously change the culture of infant feeding. That said, they're not trying to promote year-long paid bonding and breastfeeding leaves either.

I also did not feel like women were being blamed / guilt tripped about not breastfeeding enough, but someone who is more sensitive to those issues might disagree. (I actually didn't get a sense of blame from the original article either -- I saw that they were reporting the rates and the goal, and rightly or wrongly, I filled in the why and how from my own experience.)

Oh, and lydia, the CDC breastfeeding page also has a top-level link with information on when breastfeeding is contraindicated. The HHS document addresses this too.

- Parkway
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Why?


At first because I didn't know they were deadbeats. About a year each.

The roomie was supposed to be helping me with the baby. Would have been worth it if I hadn't had to still pay for daycare anyway because he couldn't handle being alone with her all day every day.

Ishtar
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"At first because I didn't know they were deadbeats. About a year each."

It's a good thing that you are free of that "dead wood."
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Oh awesome ishtar, that is marvelous! Congratulations!
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