Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Hey Pediatrics...Suck on This!

A new study published yesterday in Pediatrics, the official journal of the AAP, regarding the safety of informal breast milk sharing has this lactivist nurse pissed off!

I first learned of this study by reading mainstream news article that a facebook friend has posted entitled "Much breastmilk bought online is contaminated, analysis shows". My immediate reaction was, "BOUGHT ONLINE?! WTF?!" I mean, seriously, who BUYS breastmilk online? Reputable milk sharing organizations such as Eats on Feets and Human Milk 4 Human Babies do not support or approve of the selling of breastmilk because of the ethical and safety issues involved. While a mom may be reimbursed for shipping, she shouldn't be selling milk. If there's money to be made, there's temptation to water down milk or whatever. I figured this was just shoddy reporting or the reporter had made a mistake, so I clicked over to the actual study. Yep, they bought breastmilk for this study.
Cross-sectional sample of human milk purchased via a popular US milk-sharing Web site (2012). Individuals advertising milk were contacted to arrange purchase, and milk was shipped to a rented mailbox in Ohio. The Internet milk samples (n = 101) were compared with unpasteurized samples of milk donated to a milk bank. 
I was not able to read the entire study since I didn't feel like paying for it, but the results were that 74 percent was found to have "high overall bacterial growth... reflecting poor collection, storage, or shipping practices".

My no particular order:

(1) While some things like shipping practices are unique to milk sharing, these are the exact same risks of pumping and storing our own milk, and Pediatrics isn't telling us to stop doing that. Why? Because unless a mom is able and willing to stay home for a year or so, having a freezer stash is NECESSARY for successful breastfeeding, which AAP and every other health organization recommend. Moms aren't doing this for shits and giggles. So, how bout some more education of the safe handling for milk collection and storage, which ABM has already published, rather than throwing the proverbial baby out with the breastmilk?!

(2) Yes breastmilk contains disease-causing bacteria...because that's how breastfeeding works! It's the same bacteria we come in contact with every single day and it helps to colonize the infant's gut. Breastmilk is not sterile, nor should it be. Guess what folks? Formula ain't sterile either. It has been known to contain *gasp* disease-causing bacteria! The difference being that the baby receiving formula isn't getting the antibodies from breastmilk. How many people actually prepare formula using WHO guidelines or even the directions on the formula can? I didn't and I have never known anyone else to either. And don't forget formula recalls for things like bugs and glass. (Note: I was a formula feeding mom, and I totally support moms who use formula. Lets not get off track here.)

(3) The whole damned study is flawed! Apparently, they used a website called Only the Breast, which, unlike the REPUTABLE sites the moms I know use, actually does allow members to buy and sell breastmilk. According to The Verge:
They anonymously ordered milk from a sampling of women across the country (relying primarily on Only The Breast and Milk Share) and paid for the product — at an average of $1.47 an ounce — via PayPal. "We kept the process as anonymous and transactional as possible," Keim says, "because we wanted to get samples indicative of what the average woman would be receiving."...Of 495 requests for breast milk sent out, 191 women never replied. An additional 41 stopped responding after one message and 57 were eliminated because "they wanted to communicate verbally or inquired about an infant."
Why in the name of all that is holy would anyone think this is an accurate representation of milk sharing?! As Emma Kwasnica, activist and founder of HM4HB, states "Women aren't stupid. They get a vague, anonymous note asking to buy some milk? They know something weird is going on." So who did respond? Maybe they didn't even expect the milk to go to a baby. Only the Breast actually has a section for men buying breastmilk.

As Shell Walker, midwife and founder of Eats of Feets, states:
The methodology, analysis, context, and ethics of this study are questionable. The study attempts to implicate all non-milk bank use of donor milk. In fact, it only addresses the use of donor milk obtained in a deceitful and unethical manner on behalf of the recipient (the researchers), and shoddy methods (the donors). These practices do not apply to the breastmilk sharing community.
So folks, I am pissed! Why? Pediatrics is supposed to be a legitimate medical journal with scholarly, peer reviewed articles, but people get stupid whenever lactating boobs are Kwasnica alluded to with "women and their dirty feminine fluids that need to be kept under control." I can't imagine why any thinking person would see this "study" as legit, and those actually familiar with peer-to-peer milk sharing do not.

So, on behalf of all my loud proud feminist lactivist friends, Pediatrics can go suck on it...

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Back in the Saddle Again

Well it's been well over a year since I posted anything here, and so much has happened.

I am a Real Nurse now!!! Wooooo hoooooo!!! RN baby!!! Besides graduating and passing boards, I also managed to land an awesome job in Progressive Care (Stepdown), and I LOVE it! It's not where I thought I saw myself working as a nurse, but I am loving it and learning so much.

DH and I are finally back to working on our house now that we (sort of) have the time and can (sort of) afford it. My kidlet is four...and meaner than ever. I'm also back to working a little more on my business, but that will have to take a back burner to the house right now. And, I'm already working on my BSN pre-reqs.

If all that isn't enough, we have decided another baby is in the future. Not the near future though, because I want to wait until I can use my short term disability, but we are in the planning stages. I want a homebirth. Unfortunately, I am approximately 1.5 hours away from any homebirth midwives, but hopefully I can work something out. There are no homebirth CNM's here, but there are several experienced CPM's. An alternative would be a birth center with CNM's, which just opened in my state, but it is approximately four hours away. The important thing is that this time I know what I want, and I will make sure to have the right support.

RN school was definitely the hardest thing I ever did, and the hardest thing my family ever went through, but it is finally paying off. It is amazing how different our lives are now than a year ago, and I believe another year will make even more difference.

Thank you to everyone who stood by me and supported me through this journey!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Target Employees Behaving Badly...Even on Facebook

On November 29, 2011, Michelle Hickman was harassed by Target staff for breastfeeding her baby. When she called corporate to complain, she was harassed by the woman on the phone and her supervisor. This is not the first time Target has behaved badly toward breastfeeding mothers. The same thing happened in 2006 and 2009.

What does Target's policy say on the matter?
 "Target has a long-standing practice that supports breastfeeding in our stores. We apologize for any inconvenience the guest experienced and will take this opportunity to reaffirm this commitment with our team members. For guests in our stores, we support the use of fitting rooms for women who wish to breastfeed their babies, even if others are waiting to use the fitting rooms. In addition, guests who choose to breastfeed discreetly in more public areas of the store are welcome to do so without being made to feel uncomfortable."
Personally, I feel the use of the word "discreet" speaks volumes about how they really feel, but I digress.

I understand that there will always be stupid employees, especially in such a large company, however THREE incidents tells me there is a serious lack of employee training. And seriously, CORPORATE?! Of all the people to know better!

I decided to head over to Target's facebook page and leave a little comment:

As I poked around in the wall posts, looking for other posts on the subject, I noticed something:

Same woman leaving nearly the same comment on three different threads. At the time I just figured she was a prude. I hear the same sentiment quite often, "I breastfed, but I had the decency to do it in private!" or something to that effect. However I noticed she was popping up on other threads too...basically anytime anyone had anything negative to say about Target.

And her comments get snarkier:

Ok so does she just like to defend Target or are they signing her paychecks?

So she works for the "head office"?

Mole or troll??? I'll let you decide.

Personally, I think the profile is fake. The picture looks like something would come in a frame from the store (maybe from Target?), and she appears to have zero friends, one "like" (Target), and no other pictures.

If she is actually an employee, I think it speaks volumes that another Target employee (presumably corporate) thinks it's cool to insult breastfeeding mothers.

So are we actually to believe Target supports breastfeeding?
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