…Contemplating the Core Elements of a Modern Breastfeeding Lifestyle
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Conscious Breastfeeding is Integrative Nutrition

Geneen Roth, author of ‘Women, Food and God‘ recently featured on Oprah has a philosophy about food that is very much aligned with Conscious Breastfeeding. She has been teaching here in NYC at Integrative Nutrition and describes why this is a good fit in the video below.

A comment thread to my post: Breastfeeding Relationship Status Update: It’s Complicated made me reflect upon these very points.   Breastmilk technically is a food. The natural delivery system is breastfeeding.  In modern times, the relationship inherent in breastfeeding has taken a backseat to it as a nutritional commodity.  An integrative nutrition view blends these two, the  relationship to mother and spirit with the quintessential food for human babies.

Ms. Roth speaks of  “Looking at food as a way of exploring the health and happiness of our entire lives.”  This is my view of Conscious Breastfeeding.  It is feeding with intention and attention; being fully in the moment and as a consequence developing a very powerful. intimate relationship with your baby that informs every aspect of his/her developing life.

Breastmilk  is the conduit for this energy exchange.  Thus, even when apart from the baby, the expressed milk maintains the connection literally and figuratively.  It is quite understandable that food is often equated with love, especially in breastfeeding circles.

Both integrative nutrition and conscious breastfeeding take a holistic view of  mind, body and spirit in relationship to the experience of eating.  Balancing the sum of these parts can help us to set the tone for health and well-being in our lives.

What do you think?

August 30, 2010   No Comments

Breastfeeding in Public: Eye Candy or Not?

This summer the pedestrian mall between Herald Square and Times Square in New York City is home to a unique art installation, Sidewalk Catwalk, promoting the fashion district.

The mannequin below was designed by Kenneth Cole.  Its tongue in cheek message made me think of the topic du jour…Breastfeeding in Public.

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Lily O’Brien’s Chocolate Cafe near Bryant Park is just a few blocks away from the “eye candy” above.   A New York mother claims in a law suit filed this week  that she was harassed there last summer while breastfeeding her 5 month old infant.

In the past 24+ hours her story has been trotted out on all the local media. Read more here.

Cathal Queally, the Irish candy man proprietor of Lily O’Brien’s Chocolate Cafe, told the local NBC interviewer that it was a misunderstanding.   He said he grew up with sisters and was surrounded by breastfeeding women. He added that the target audience for his confections are mothers and children.  Indeed, there were signs welcoming breastfeeding mothers on his store front window.

It is Breastfeeding Awareness Month so any buzz on breastfeeding gets traction.  The comments on the blogs, news articles online and those solicited from New Yorkers on the street were mixed.

A cynical analysis might be that the entire episode is being “milked” for all it is worth by the parties involved.  On the whole. the impact of this publicity seems positive.

The media news blitz is educating the public about the law allowing mothers to breastfeed anywhere, rallying other breastfeeding mothers to have confidence to openly breastfeed and publicizing an establishment now very openly declaring that they are breastfeeding friendly.

I still find it quite amazing that breastfeeding in public ruffles so many feathers.   Breasts are mammary glands perfectly designed to feed human babies.  Their function as eye candy is contextual.

We have lost touch with the naked truth.  As the Kenneth Cole mannequin reminds us…Underneath it all you are all naked.

Human bodies are works of art in their own right.  When a mother breastfeeds her baby that stark beauty is expanded into a very sweet and tender tableau…

Eye candy in the eyes of the beholder.  What do you think?

August 17, 2010   3 Comments

Breastfeeding Office Memorabilia

It has been many years since I first donned this button from the Florida Lactation Consultant Association (FLCA).  I found it doing the August Cleanup suggested by Dr. Jeanette Cates on her blog.

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I wore it on my lab coat while I was the first lactation consultant at a major NYC hospital.  It was a conversation starter.  People were intrigued and wondered what it meant.  The nurses thought it was a great button for me to wear as the representative of breastfeeding on our maternity unit.

I have to laugh as its message was unclear to anyone who was unfamiliar with my passion for breastfeeding promotion and support.  One day on the elevator a man asked me, “Are you a vegetarian?” His companion chimed in, “Are you Hindu?”   My Irish eyes were smiling as I explained to them the meaning of my button.  “Human babies should not drink cow’s milk which is for cow’s.  They should be breastfed by their mothers.”

Believe it or not, not long after that comical incident, I was called into the office of the Director of Maternal Child Health.  She told me that I was offending formula feeding families with my FLCA pin and demanded that I should remove it from my lapel.  I explained  its purpose in detail, but my protests fell upon deaf ears.

It should be of no great surprise that I resigned soon after that encounter to go into a full time private lactation consulting practice.  I figured I would be better able to help new moms and breastfeeding families on the “outside”.

To still keep a foot in the system, I  moved to another hospital to teach all their prenatal breastfeeding classes.   I felt that empowering mothers with information before birth, one of the Ten Steps, would be the best way to set them up for success.

What continues to distress me after all these years is that there still seems to be a need. here in NYC, to temper the endorsement of breastfeeding when dealing with the consumers of maternity hospital services.

You’ve come a long way baby or NOT?

Is this an only in New York phenomena?  Or have you also received  mixed messages about breastfeeding in the hospital or from members of your health care team?

Can you share what approaches helped or hindered you as you began your journey as a breastfeeding mother?

August 15, 2010   5 Comments

Breastfeeding and Inception: My Dream Within A Dream

Inception” (2010) is a must-see movie, completely original and thought provoking.

 

It captured my imagination when I saw it this week. I found myself having lucid dreams about the potential of inception.  I was mulling over in my head the fact that subliminal messages enter our minds on a daily basis. Advertising campaigns deliberately harness the power of suggestion to drive our product allegience. Ideas that have found their way into our subconscious are digested and interpreted during our dream life.

Although  it is not yet possible to share actual dreams in the fashion of the movie “Inception”, we often speak of having a shared dream in our conscious life. 

I started to think how marvelous it would be if inception were possible.  World Breastfeeding Week begins today.  It would be awesome if a universal subconscious brand loyalty for breastfeeding would have a viral inception.  To create a model where the dream of all human babies being breastfed, as nature intended, was indeed the reality. 

Edgar Allen Poe

‘All that you see or seem, is but a dream within a dream.’

Sometimes, I feel caught in a dream within a dream.  A place where there is a lack of belief  in a woman’s body being able to nurture her baby after birth and a need to continually prove that human milk is superior to artificial baby milk. I feel like Cobb in the movie trying to instill an idea that breastfeeding is the biologic norm against these objections implanted by the marketing geniuses of Big Pharma.

Inspired by ”Inception” the movie, and the definition of the word according to the World English Dictionary:  the beginning, as of a project or undertaking…

During this month of August, I will be participating in the Ultimate Blog Challenge.  On a daily basis, in my waking life, I will promote conscious breastfeeding and plant the seeds to share the dream of living in a breastfeeding world.   

Won’t you join me and share the ride?

August 1, 2010   No Comments