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Breastfeeding Action Guide

  Photo of Coral Charles-Dunne, 91, by Nick Wilkinson Do you ever wonder what you can do to protect breastfeeding? Are you or do you want to become a breastfeeding advocate? Whether it’s breastfeeding in public, breastfeeding and working, breastfeeding and jury duty, pumping during a medical licensing exam, or the distribution of formula samples to new mothers in hospitals, breastfeeding is the civil rights issue of our time. What can you do? Write a letter. Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper. Find out the email of the parenting/family editor and ask... read more

Hospital Formula Sampling: What You Can Do

It’s an exciting time for breastfeeding advocacy. Last week, Public Citizen and the United States Breastfeeding Committee (USBC) held a joint webinar, “Take Action to Keep Formula Marketing Out of Health Care Facilities,” and it was packed full of inspiration and practical tips for citizen action. Formula “discharge bags,” or formula sampling to new mothers in hospitals, has been used effectively for over 40 years; it implies an endorsement by the hospital. According to Marsha Walker of the USBC and Ban the Bags, those who receive these... read more

The New Health Journalism: Challenging the Status Quo

By Peggy O'Mara This article was the opening speech delivered by Peggy O'Mara for the 4th International Public Conference on Vaccination put on by the National Vaccine Information Center in Washington DC on October 2, 2009. Visit Peggy's blog for more information about the conference events. Ever since Barbara asked me to talk on “The New Health Journalism: Challenging the Status Quo” I have been struck by the irony of this title. What we call “new” journalism is actually a return to the old, to the very roots of journalism. This return to the roots of journalism is... read more

Diversity in Birth and Parenting Organizations

When I called Shafia Monroe, president of the International Center for Traditional Childbearing (ICTC), to talk about coming to the 7th International Black Midwives and Healers Conference, she commented on the lack of diversity among the leadership of birth and parenting organizations in the US, a lack that I too have observed. In response, Monroe put together a diverse panel of presidents of major US health organizations. Monroe sees ICTC as a midwifery building organization. She said that there are not enough women of color who want midwives or who want to become... read more

At The Black Midwives and Healers Conference

Mothering’s art director, Laura Egley-Taylor, and I are in Long Beach, California attending the 7th International Black Midwives and Healers Conference. The conference is sponsored by the International Center for Traditional Childbearing (ICTC), the seminal organization founded by Mothering’s Living Treasure, Shafia Monroe, CM. (Below at the opening luncheon) I spoke to Martha Drohobyczer, CNM (below) this morning about the importance of objective and standardized criteria for preceptors of student midwives. One of the obstacles to increasing the number of black... read more

Toys with a Conscience

The holiday season can be a tough time for the conscience. We want to give presents to our children, but we don’t want to overwhelm them with consumerism. We’re concerned about fair trade and how things are made, but we don’t always know how to determine this. Plus we have a limited budget for presents so price is also a consideration. We have to get creative. First, it’s good to remember how little children really want. A ball in a big box wrapped with lots of paper (could be newspaper) to rip off is always a hit. In a great column from last year, GeekDad identified... read more

Screen-Free Week

Preschoolers spend 32 hours a week looking at a screen despite the fact that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no screen time for children under two. According to Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood, “Time with screens is linked to poor school performance, childhood obesity, and attention problems. And it is primarily through screens that children are exposed to harmful marketing.” Formerly TV-Turnoff Week, Screen-Free Week (April 30 through May 6th) is a springboard for important lifestyle changes that can improve quality of life. Thousands of... read more

Breastfeeding Champion: Tom Hale

Thomas Hale, PhD, is a leading international authority on breastfeeding and drugs. He has educated an entire generation of lactation consultants about drug use in breastfeeding women, teaching them that women can safely breastfeed while taking medications. Hale holds a doctorate in pharmacology and is a professor of pediatrics at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Medicine, where he has spent the last 30 years teaching pharmacotherapy. He started learning about breastfeeding and drugs in 1992 at which time little or nothing was being published on... read more

Breastfeeding Champion: Marian Tompson

  If you read between the lines of the story of La Leche League (LLL) you will find seven women who were radical in their articulation of women’s rights at a time when the word breastfeeding was considered too explicit to be used in the name of their organization or even uttered by a news commentator. The Founding Mothers of LLL are feminists in the truest sense of the word because they recognized long before anyone else did that breastfeeding is a political act. Marian Tompson was the president of La Leche League from 1957 to 1981 and thus its spokesperson during the... read more

Drug-Safe Kids

When I was a young mom I believed that I could protect my children from all evil, or at least I would try. My eyes were opened when, as the editor of Mothering, I received a submission from a respected La Leche Leader whose teenage son was having trouble with drug abuse. I realized then that this could happen to anyone. After my own children grew up, they confided in me about drug experiences they had had as teenagers that I was blissfully unaware of. Now, I wonder how much my own myopic view of perfect parenting contributed to a blindness to their... read more

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