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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The colour of money....and cereal


I've been preaching about this topic for a long time- 7 years to be precise. Artificial colour additives in food.

Before I get into the news article I'm writing about, let me tell you a story about my eldest daughter Quinlin.  When Quinlin was 15 months old it was christmas time- time for getting together with friends and family, time for parties and time for lots and lots of eating. Being a cute toddling happy 15 month old, Quinlin made the rounds of the party in our home, stopping for a cuddle with her "aunty", sharing a giggle with our neighbours, and sampling the wide array of snacks that were place in easy hands reach in brightly decorated bowls: veggies and dip, cheese and crackers, and chips, cheesies, and of course the quintessential candies.  I steered her clear of the candy and put the bowls and boxes out of her grabbing range, but figured "What the hell, let her have some chips and cheesies- it's a party!" ....

When I put her to bed that night- many hours past her bed time- I got very frustrated with her as she wouldn't really nurse, didn't want to cuddle and just kept thrashing around the bed.  After almost 2 hours she finally fell asleep.  I thought "Oh, she's just over tired and over excited from the party".  4 days later we attended a similar get together at a friends house and again, my little princess held court with friends and family and made the rounds of the snack bowls.  That night, same thing again, but this time she cried and cried.  She literally was vibrating, her legs shook, her arms twitched, her eyes were wide open and her face looked almost terrified!! It scared the shit out of me.
Over the course of the holiday season we had several more episodes and I started keeping track of what she'd eaten. The only common denominator I could find was cheese- which made no sense as she ate cheese all the time and never reacted this way before... ahhhhh but they were all cheese flavoured products: cheesies, nacho chips, mac & cheese... So I pulled a bunch of wrappers and boxes out and started researching the ingredients.  They all had one ingredient in common: Tartrazine.  Also known as Yellow #5. and thus my search for tartrazine began.  It's in EVERYTHING!  Go a head.  Go take a look through your pantry at the ingredients in your store bought preprepared foods.  I guarantee that at least half of them will have it listed.  Hell! it's even in White cheddar macaroni & cheese!!!
From that moment on ALL artificial food colours were banned from our house...for the most part anyways (mommy has a small cheesie addiction that has to sated occasionally). Our youngest daughter had a slight reaction to tartrazine too, but no where near as strong, but our younger son is also very sensitive to it- he becomes almost violent and thrashes and kicks and screams.

I'm sending a copy of this article to all of our friends because I have had to defend my choice to keep my children away from these colourful poisons regularly.  Just this afternoon and friend came for a visit with his daughters and brought a big bag of gummie candies for our kids.  I looked at him and said "You KNOW they can't have these".... and he made some excuse about "oh kids have to have fun, let them have them.." and even threatened (good heartedly) to tell them so that they would bug me for some candy, and I had to put my foot down and be the big meany and say "NO!"

So to all of you out there, be a Nancy and just say "NO!"  Our childrens health is worth more than a colourful (and sometimes not so colourful!) treat. 


Is Food Dye Just a Colorful Killer?

Bright-red soda, rainbow-hued kid's cereal, electric-yellow popsicles...most of us have eaten them. But unlike the public health uproar over salt and trans fats, there hasn't been much said about the dangers of food dyes. Fed up with consumer apathy, The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) is calling for a complete government ban of food dyes. The advocacy group says the three most widely used dyes -- Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6 -- contain cancer-causing substances. Another dye, Red 3, has actually been identified as a carcinogen by the FDA, but you can still find it on supermarket shelves.

"These synthetic chemicals do absolutely nothing to improve the nutritional quality or safety of foods," says Michael F. Jacobson, executive director of the nonprofit group. "[They] trigger behavior problems in children and, possibly, cancer in anybody."

Think you're immune to the problem because you don't gobble Fruit Loops in the morning? Think again. The dyes are in a staggering array of foods, from salad dressing to matzo balls. In fact, manufacturers put about 15 million pounds of eight synthetic dyes into the food supply each year, according to CSPI. Even scarier? Per capita consumption of dyes has risen five-fold since 1955. A lot of it has to do with the kinds of foods now marketed to children. The wilder the color, the more cash a product often brings in....

...But are the risks real? Blue 1, Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6 have long been known to cause allergic reactions in some people. CSPI says that while those reactions are not common, they can be serious. Numerous studies have shown that dyes can cause hyperactivity in children.

But cancer is the biggest worry. In 1985, the acting commissioner of the FDA said that Red 3, one of the lesser-used dyes, "has clearly been shown to induce cancer" and was "of greatest public health concern." The dye was never banned, however, and according to the CSPI, manufacturers use about 200,000 pounds of Red 3 every year in foods like fruit leather and frozen meals marketed to children.

Tests of Blue 1, Blue 2, Green 3, Red 40, Yellow 5(Tartrazine), and Yellow 6 showed signs of causing cancer in lab animals, according to CSPI. Yellow 5 also caused mutations, an indication of possible carcinogenicity.

In addition, according to the report, FDA tests show that the three most-widely used dyes, Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6, are tainted with low levels of cancer-causing compounds, including benzidine and 4-aminobiphenyl in Yellow 5.
HERE to read the entire article

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The High Cost of Caesarean Sections

Almost weekly now we are reading news stories in North American main stream media about our appalling maternal and infant mortality rates in Canada and the US, which I've written about many times:

*"Canada’s reputation for low infant mortality takes stunning decline"

*Canada gets a "C" for infant mortality

*Amnesty blows the whistle on Maternal Mortality rates in the US

*"Emotional Impact of Caesareans"

This week is continuing the tradition with yet another article on the High cost of Caesarean Sections- both in loss of life and financially.  You have to wonder if the Medical Machine is ever going to wake up and realize that THEY are the problem right now.  Study after Study has been done to show the increased risks that come with Caesarean Section births, especially elective C/Sections. More and more women and babies are suffering from needless trauma, and horrifyingly our maternal and infant mortality rates just keep climbing.  Various medical organizations have pointed fingers at North America's high preterm birth rates and an increase in multiple births due to fertility treatments as reasons for the decline, but they refuse to accept that the biggest reasons are the use of chemical inductions, epidurals and C/Section.

Do I sound like a broken record?   I really hate sounding like a one hit wonder.  But I'll keep roaring from my soap box and hopefully someone will listen. Even if it's just a pregnant first time mom who needs to hear the truth.

(as usual the highlighted areas are my own)

The high cost of caesareans

FOR A symbol of what ails the US health system, look no further than hospital delivery rooms, where costly caesareans, many for non-medical reasons, are inching closer to a majority of all births.
Even though caesareans are associated with higher rates of complications than vaginal births, they are becomingly increasingly common. Problems range from infections, including the more serious antibiotic-resistant ones, to blood clots, prematurity, respiratory problems for the baby, and more complications with subsequent pregnancies. There is even a small but measurably higher risk of death for the mother.
Between 2000 and 2006, while the Massachusetts caesarean rate climbed from 16th to 10th highest among all states, the state’s ranking on neonatal mortality has slipped from 4th best to a tie for 9th. Six hospitals in the state have caesarean rates greater than 40 percent for first time mothers, yet none of these hospitals is designated as a high-risk center. So much for the argument that high-risk pregnancies are the reason for these rates.
There are also cost consequences for taxpayers — the caesarean rate for Massachusetts mothers on Medicaid is increasing at a faster pace than among privately insured mothers. Nationally, in 2008, average hospital charges for an uncomplicated caesarean section were $14,894, while such charges for an uncomplicated vaginal birth were $8,919.
What can we do to lower the caesarean rate? Considerable media attention has focused on how extreme obesity can raise the risk of having a caesarean, but more emphasis is needed on these system-based approaches:
■More hospitals need to institute policies that restrict the induction of labor, unless there is a good medical reason. Unfortunately, labor is now sometimes induced solely for the convenience of the physician or the mother, and labor induction increases the likelihood of a caesarean section in many women. Almost all the recent increase in late preterm (34 to 36 weeks) births was related to planned caesareans carried out too soon, and the rise in premature and low-birth-weight babies has required more expensive hospital-based care to address the medical problems of these infants.
■Obstetricians and hospitals should follow the new National Institute of Health recommendations to offer the option of vaginal birth after a caesarean for those women who want to avoid repeat surgery. As noted in a recent NIH press release, “Although as many as 60 percent of hospitals in some states routinely prohibit vaginal delivery by women who have had a caesarean section, that practice is out of step with current medical research.’’
Expanding this option would require that the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists amend a recommendation that hospitals have 24/7 presence of an anesthesiologist if they choose to offer vaginal births after a caesarean. Because of this recommendation, many hospitals concerned about liability refuse to allow them. Yet those same hospitals find it acceptable to call in an off-site anesthesiologist when mothers need an emergency caesarean for any other reason.
Hospitals could expand access to nurse-midwifery care. In Boston, statistics for hospitals that care for women facing the same risk of complications show that hospitals with nurse-midwifery services tend to have lower caesarean rates than those without a significant midwifery presence.

 HERE to read the entire article

Monday, June 28, 2010

Rear Facing: It does a Toddler Good!

Every country and province/state has their own laws about car seats- rear facing and forward facing- and booster seats, but are the current legal recommendations in your area in the best interest for the safety of your child(ren)?  I have found that like most things, the federal governments tend to err on the lower side of the caution scale, which can leave parents confused as to what to do.

Right now in Canada the current "recommendation"- and seriously, this is just their "safety tip", not a law- is to keep babies rear facing for at least the first 12 months:

safety tip Don't be in a hurry to start using a forward-facing child seat. The longer you use a rear-facing infant-only seat, infant /child seat, or infant/child/booster seat that fits correctly, even past your baby's first birthday, the safer your baby will be in a crash. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions for use and check the label for the weight and height that are allowed.

But is rear facing till 12 months really enough to insure the safety of your child?  According to various European countries, no it isn't.  In the UK doctors are warning that children should be kept rear facing until they are 4 years old!

'Use rear-facing car seats up to age of 4', warn doctors

By Daily Mail Reporter

Parents should keep children in rear-facing car seats up to the age of four, say doctors.
Switching to forward-facing ones before that is dangerous and could result in spinal injury in an accident.
There is compelling evidence that children's lives are being put at risk even though parents believe they are doing the best for them, doctors claim.
Mother and baby driving in car with baby in front seat baby 
Safest: Parents should keep young children in rear-facing car seats for as long as possible
They have published an alert on the British Medical Journal website ( advising parents to keep young children in rear-facing seats for as long as possible.
Dr Elizabeth Watson, a GP, and Dr Michael Monteiro, who specialises in facial injuries at the Royal Surrey County Hospital, Guildford, say several studies show this is safest.
Many parents switch babies from rear-facing seats to a forward-facing one when they reach 20lb.

That could be as early as eight months of age for an average boy
Canadian CTV News Reports:
British Drs. Elizabeth Watson and Michael Monteiro reviewed the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's vehicle crash database, focusing on incidents involving 870 children between 1998 and 2003. They also looked at data from Sweden, where rear-facing children up to age four is common practice.
The researchers found that children up to 23 months sustained fewer injuries in any kind of crash when they were in seats facing backward.
Some toddlers who died in accidents while in forward-facing seats could have survived had they been facing the rear, the researchers say they found.
Toddlers seem to be at increased risk of severe injury when they're in front-facing seats in head-on collisions because of their relatively large heads, the authors contend.
"Excessive stretching or even transection (severing) of the spinal cord can result if a child is involved in a head-on crash while in a forward facing car seat. The younger the child, the lower the crash force required to cause spinal injury," they write.
Rear-facing seats are more effective at keeping the head, neck and spine aligned, distributing the force of the crash more evenly across those areas, they say.
The authors say many parents and healthcare providers are unaware it is safer to leave children in rear-facing seats for as long as possible.
"Parents and guardians should be advised to keep young children in rear facing seats for as long as possible," the researchers conclude in their study, published on the website of the British Medical Journal.
They called on manufacturers and retailers to increase the availability of rear-facing seats for older children. They also called for a change to the current weight-range labelling of European seats, which suggest that forward- and rear-facing seats are equally safe for kids over 20 pounds.

 Keeping your child rear facing reduces the risk of serious neck and chest injuries in a collision- something that there are now multiple studies on from the US, Canada and various European countries. In the Scandinavian countries, like Sweden, children are regularly kept rear facing until the age of 4- resulting in far fewer toddler deaths and serious injuries due to car crashes.

It is yet another decision that parents have to make for their children: Do you follow the standard "rear facing till 12 months" protocol that the Canadian government calls for, or do you take the initiative and do your own studies and keep your children safer by keeping them rear facing as long as possible?  It's a tough decision for many parents depending on the child and how well they tolerate their car seats in the rear facing position.  Is it safer to have your toddler rear facing if they are screaming for hours on end and distracting the driver of the car?  That is a  decision that only a parent can make according to their own situation.  We turned our youngest daughter around to forward facing at 15 months when we drove across Canada from BC to Ontario.  We made this decision not based on any safety facts at all which is pretty sad.  We turned her forward facing just for convenience because I couldn't hand her snacks  and toys while she was facing away from me.  When we arrived in Toronto I heard about keeping children rear facing longer and we tried to turn her around to rear facing again... but by then she was too set in her ways and refused to sit that way- which is sad as she has always been a tiny pixie and could of remained safely rear facing according to the weight restrictions of her seat until just 6 months ago when she finally topped the 32lb 4 and a half years old! (I told you she was our "pixie"!).

Needless to say, our youngest son will be kept rear facing for as long as he falls within the limits of his new convertible car seat.

Like all choices that parents have to make informing yourself about the issues, risks and studies that have been done is necessary to make an educated decision.  But before you decide one way or the other, I'd like to you to read Joel's story.  His grandfather Jim tells the story about his grandson, Joel, who was in a front facing, properly installed car seat and broke his neck in a collision. At the time, he was 18 mos & 33 lbs. A big boy for his age-( He survived the crash and is recovering). The accident happened in 2008. But since that time, Joel's grandfather has immersed himself in ERF advocacy, and is still pursuing the powers to be (NHTSA and AAP) to revisit and/or change the 12mo / 20 lb "rule". 

 Here's a link to the video: Joel's YouTube video.
    And a link to the web site Joel's Journey
On Joel's Journey you will find lots of information of Rear Facing advocacy...and updates on Joel's journey to being a happy and healthy toddler!!

Cara Miller writes an excellent article on CPO with lots of facts and information about Rear Facing Toddlers.

So before you go out and spend $150-$200 on a convertible car seat, you might want to research which brands have higher weight/height limits- Safety First, Radian, Britax and Graco all make models that have RF limits that are higher than the usual run of the mill car seats.  It's worth spending the extra money on!!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Apparently the French "Get It"

While I was sitting at the computer sipping my coffee and enjoying a couple of moments of stolen silence to surf the web I discovered something:  The French "Get IT"!!!!  Yea Yea Yea, we know that the French are a fashionable breed and all that, but there are just as many great American and Canadian designers out there.  So don't they "Get It"?!? 

I've just had a baby, so what?!  Does that mean that I have lost all will to look nice?  Does that mean that my wardrobe has been secretly zapped into another dimension by the body snatchers (they took my waist too, which I'd like to have back), and replaced with a wardrobe of sweatpants and tank tops?  Ok it's true that I don't get out much- wrestling 4 kids 7 and under takes the patience of Siddhartha  and the arms of Shiva, and occasionally requires bribery and empty threats, but when I do go out I would, occasionally, like to look nice!!!  You know, Like a Grown woman with a wardrobe that  is not milk stained and snot covered!!!! (not that the milk stains and baby snot are fixable with fashion... but you know what I mean!) Yet even when I have a few precious moments to shop for my self (haha, never mind), the search for a nice top that is nursing friendly is a lament that brings a tear to my eye, and a tantrum to my heel.  Ok, so nursing tanks are the greatest invention since maternity pant stretch panels, but really I wouldn't mind having something else to wear. Occasionally.

Which brings me back to my original topic:  How come the French "Get It" and our designers over here don't?!?  Why is it that French mamas get to wear these wonderful cute and sexy tops.... and I'm still stuck in a tank (or an over sized sack-like TShirt that seems to be the standard issue nursing apparel in every maternity store)?  HELLO?!  Are you designers listening?

*insert tantrum here*

Well, if you're inclined to order your  clothes from over seas, here you go.  For the rest of us, well, here's a few pictures to daydream over while you decide which nursing tank top to wear with your yoga pants.


HERE to visit the Mama Nana Website... Bring your own translator!
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Saturday, June 26, 2010

"You Can't Take the Effect and Make it the Cause"

This excellent article from Musings of a Montreal Doula- Mother Wit  is a beautiful Ode to the Doulas out there that struggle with negative comments and attitudes of Hospital and Maternity ward staff on an ongoing basis.  Mother Wit speaks openly about the prejudice that exists towards doulas in general and the difficulties that they encounter in the hospital settings where they are oh so valuable. 

Doulas are Goddesses gift to birthing mothers and their partners.  They are there to encourage, inspire, calm, and communicate.  They are not medical practitioners. They do not provide medical services in anyway.  But they are a vital part of Birthing naturally.

3Cheers for Doulas!!!!  You're AWSOME!

You Can't Take the Effect and Make it the Cause

Thursday, June 24, 2010

"You can't take the effect and make it the cause," is a saying I quite like, immortalized in a song by The White Stripes....

Doulas have been around since the beginning of time, doing our warm-fuzzy bit for birthing women and new moms. But in the last few decades, this role has become far more political. Now we are also called upon to be advocates. As the doula profession grows stronger and stronger as more and more women request our services, we are becoming more scrutinzed, criticized, and even ridiculed by many medical professionals, despite most of our clients' excellent outcomes, both clinical and experiential.

Consider this: our modern role developed BECAUSE loads of women weren't enjoying their obstetric experiences. Women were coming away from delivery rooms feeling confused and traumatized about what went down. You've all heard about Twilight Sleep and all babies being yanked out with forceps. It was the women who said, "We need to figure out whether this debilitating treatment of us in birth is actually needed! Were we not born capable of figuring most of this out on our own like those women we hear about who squat in fields? What's wrong with us that we need to be knocked out and cut and without our husbands?" And as the women looked for more gentleness in birth, their concerns being picked up and validated by compassionate medical people, they realized that in the throes of intense labour sensations, they may not have the power to communicate their worries, and were terrified of getting caught in a cascade of interventions they didn't need or want.

Wonderful people, such as Klaus and Kennel, noticed how much better women felt about themselves and their birth experiences when they decided to take another woman with them into the birthing room. Even just the presence of another woman contributed great things to the birth experience, never mind a female who also knew how to provide great emotional support, communication of the mother's needs (not decided for her BY the support person, but translated to the medical staff FOR her if the labouring woman couldn't speak herself), and soothing comfort measures. These researchers took the time to conduct some well known and well documented studies which confirmed their observations. Lo and behold, the presence of a non-medical, nurturing woman in the birthing room drastically reduces the need for medical interventions, as well as the desire for pain relief from labour sensations.
I can kind of imagine how medical people, who have busted their humps to get through the gruelling hell that is medical school, becoming skilled at diagnosing complications and executing amazing feats to spare mothers and babies from death, might scratch their heads and go, "Say what?" when a friendly woman NOT in scrubs asks them, because the labouring couple are clearly very focused on the work of dealing with huge contractions, "if it's not truly necessary to stay lying down, this lady would enjoy walking around to help soothe her labour pain. She would like to have a natural labour if this is how things work out, and being upright seems to help her a lot. Would this be okay with you?" If that doula/mother/partner team do all kinds of strange things together, like slow dance, everyone massaging and murmuring sweet nothings to the mom, who drapes herself in unfamiliar positions chanting oddities like "oooopen!" and even yelling out tension releasing expressions of pain that would fill the uninitiated with fear, you might feel extremely wary. If you as the doctor are simply not comfortable with these shenannigans, having learned a way of managing labour that you are secure with and within your knowledge base and experience keeps your patients safe, you might, if you're not actually impressed by the birth unfolding naturally, feel odd. You may feel usurped. You may feel resentful that the couple seemed to respond emotionally far better to the person with the strange smelling back of doula tricks than to you, who is the one ensuring their safety, for Pete's sake! You may feel downright angry that some chick with her essential oils and hippie talk of breathing away tension came into your delivery room and messed around with your sense of rightness, in your own place of work no less!

We get that. I think it would probably be quite a normal human reaction, considering the doctor is the one in the room who bears all the clinical responsibility. But the thing is, our strange ministrations to these women ALONG with excellent clinical care actually create more favourable outcomes, for doctors, mothers, babies, and partners (fathers or other mothers). Even if medical people want to look at doulas sideways, believing we are puppet masters who pull our clients' strings to make them carry out our evil plots of undermining medical authority, it's important to take a breath and get some perspective.

Doulas do NOT attempt to assume medical care of a client (decent, run of the mill doulas don't, anyway). It may seem like it to a doctor or nurse if a mom is being yelled at to get angry and PUSH while we're smiling at her silently, not joining that enthusiastic cheering squad. It might irk nurses to hear us say, "your body is amazing! It knows how to birth that baby. You know how to do this." Please know this is not a covert attempt to undermine anyone's medical authority, but to execute the wishes of the mother, made known to us in advance. She has spent her pregnancy reading up, figuring out how she wants things in her birthing environment if things go reasonably normally, and discussing those things with us. We open their eyes to other possibilities they may not have learned in their hospital based childbirth education classes, yes, but if a mom is not interested in something, we don't go there. If our clients have different ideas from what is typically done in a hospital, it is our job to lead them to resources that will help them make decisions about their care...we don't tell them what to do, we make sure they've informed themselves from several different sources, so as to better make choices for themselves from an empowered place. We absolutely encourage them to discuss their wishes with their caregivers. Then we support what they want. If their ideas are not sympatico with typical hospital protocols, it is important for medical people not to assume their patients are weak minded, malleable creatures whose minds were warped by the likes of doulas. Patients need more credit than that. In fact, that's probably why we're here, because even up to the latter part of the last century, birth practices were still pretty barbaric in many ways..and women became fed up....

  HERE to read the entire article by Mother Wit

G8 & G20- Safe Motherhood and Breastfeeding Protection

Please Share this Widely to all your friends, groups and forums.

Help make breastfeeding protection, promotion, support and Safe Motherhood a priority for the G-8 and G-20 meetings June, 2010

Early and exclusive breastfeeding reduces child mortality and malnutrition.

Safe Motherhood support is critical to improve maternal health and reduce maternal deaths related to childbirths.

The G-8 G-20 meetings to be held in Canada will focus on the Maternal Newborn Child Health Initiative.
The objective of the Maternal Newborn Child Initiative is to give momentum to the implementation of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDG) 4 and 5 aimed at reducing the outrageous global rates of maternal and child deaths, malnutrition and illness.

MDG Goal 4: Reduce child mortality

Target: Reduce by two thirds, between 1990 and 2015, the under-fives mortality rate.

MDG Goal 5: Improve maternal health

Target: Reduce by two thirds, between 1990 and 2015, the maternal mortality rate.
Breastfeeding, early and exclusive, is well documented as the most effective and least costly intervention to reduce mortality rates for children under the age of five years.
Nearly all mothers can breastfeed. Adequate societal, nutritional and health care system supports are important to ensure that all women are facilitated to breastfeed their children. Important support measures include:
  • Implementation of the Baby Friendly Initiative (BFI) in all countries. The BFI provides all mothers with adequate prenatal and post natal supports for early initiation of exclusive breastfeeding. Early breastfeeding, within the first hour after birth, ensures that newborn infants receive the critical immunological protection of colostrum;
  • Adequate maternity benefits to protect a mother’s recovery from childbirth and to enhance a mother’s capacity to breastfeed exclusively for the first six months and continue to two years and beyond;
  • Meaningful implementation of the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes and subsequent World Health Assembly Resolutions for the protection and support of a mother’s right to breastfeed. Implementations through regulatory mechanisms which are monitored and enforced are essential to protect breastfeeding from the undermining effects of artificial feeding promotions.
32% of under fives deaths are due to diarrheal disease and acute respiratory disease. Both are prevented by early and exclusive breastfeeding. The Lancet series on Child Survival (2003) have noted that 13 percent of under fives deaths can be reduced by the promotion, protection and support of breastfeeding. As well the WHO publication Global health risks: mortality and burden of disease attributable to selected major risks. Geneva, 2009, notes: Sub-optimal breastfeeding contributes to 1,000,000 deaths (3.7% of total deaths) in low-income countries. Childhood underweight contributes to 2,000,000 deaths (7.8% of total deaths in low-income countries).
Let Canada’s politicians know that the protection, promotion and support for breastfeeding and maternal supports for Safe Motherhood are critical measures to be included on the G-8 Maternal Newborn Child Health Initiative agenda. Maternal breastfeeding support is critical to achieve the very important targets of the UN MDGs and effectively reduce under fives deaths, infant and young child health and improve maternal survival.
Your actions can improve global maternal and child survival!
Elisabeth Sterken
Director INFACT Canada

Help INFACT Canada to promote, protect and support breastfeeding. Click this button to donate any amount you wish.

INFACT Canada, 6 Trinity Square, Toronto, ONM5G 1B1
Tel: (416) 595-9819Fax: (416) 591-9355

Friday, June 25, 2010

Sleeping with your baby is sooooooo dangerous...

.... and of course the fact that they've just recalled 2 million cribs (Bringing the total in the past 5 years to 9 MILLION cribs recalled due to entrapment issues that have lead to serious injuries and death!!) doesn't mean anything, right?  And it's not just Drop Sided Cribs that have been recalled- there have been several stationary  cribs recalled too!

More than 2 million cribs from Evenflo, Delta Enterprise Corp. and five other companies were recalled Thursday amid concerns that babies can suffocate, become trapped or fall from the cribs.
Most of the cribs were drop-sides, which have a side rail that moves up and down so parents can lift children from them more easily. That movable side, however, can malfunction or detach from the crib, creating a dangerous gap where babies' heads can become trapped, leading to suffocation or strangulation...
No deaths were linked to the recalled cribs, but there were more than 250 reports of drop-sides detaching or failing and at least 16 entrapments of infants. In one case, a child was found unconscious and later hospitalized.
In the announcement from the Consumer Product Safety Commission, all seven companies recalled drop-side cribs. Delta and Child Craft also acknowledged problems with fixed-side cribs.
Drop-sides have increasingly come under scrutiny, with several warnings from the CPSC in the last year that the cribs can be deadly. CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum has pledged to ban their manufacture and sale by year's end.

...Ban the manufacture and sale by YEAR'S END?!?  WTF?!  32 confirmed Deaths due to these cribs, with 14 death still unconfirmed, and 16 entrapments- Don't you think they have enough proof to ban the stupid things RIGHT NOW!!!  What about the parents that are going out to purchase one this weekend? or next month?  What if they haven't read the consumer reports about the dangers of these cribs? WHY are they on the market at all?

No thanx.  I'm quite happy to sleep with my baby snuggled up next to me and my husband in our king size bed.  Co-Sleeping and family bed's are safer than cribs when you follow the the safety rules and inform yourselves about the facts

"Independent Women Will be Cut"

Have I mentioned that I love the Feminist Breeder Blog?!  Gina has a brilliant way to capturing your attention with her words and getting her point across with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer. Unfortunately, when you talk to people about the dangers of medical interventions during child birth and the risks involved in C/Sections, many times a sledgehammer IS needed to wake them up from their zombie like adoration of the medical machine and all the "wonders" that it has to offer to a birthing incubator... I mean, Woman.

The Feminist Breeder laments the so called feminist ideology that suffering through birth is anti-feminist, a misguided notion that has to be held accountable for at least some of the percentage of the almost 40% of surgical births that happen in North America.

"So many young women today think that drugged-up births and cesareans are the “feminist” choice, and that labor pains are oppressive or patriarchal in nature.  I understand… I really do.  I once was that girl.  I thought anything that could disconnect me from my biology meant freedom, and even joked about wanting a hysterectomy before I ever had kids.*  I didn’t necessarily want a cesarean (I’m scared of surgery) but when I became pregnant, I had blind faith that the obstetrician I hired could easily and painlessly remove the parasite I was growing in my womb with a nice epidural cocktail and some forceps.  Simple, right?
Of course I had no education whatsoever about epidurals or forceps or cesareans, and how much damage they could do to a woman’s body.  I just assumed that if the technology existed, then they must have perfected it, and if it could keep me from feeling a contraction then by golly, I had to get me some of that."

So, what if you decide to take control over your birth?  Ah, well, The Establishment doesn’t like that.  In this brilliant 2008 expose, Born in the USA: How a Broken Maternity System Must Be Fixed to Put Women and Children First, Dr. Marsden Wagner pulls back the curtain and shows us exactly how The Establishment feels about a woman who attempts to humanize, personalize, or retain autonomy over her own birth experience.

In his book, Dr. Wagner (an obstetrician and former Director of Women and Children’s Health for the World Health Organization) explains,
“This table heaps contempt on women whose ideas and preferences for giving birth inconvenience the doctor.  Many obstetricians find the table hilariously funny.  Isn’t it frightening that the ultimate weapon obstetricians use to punish overly “independent” women is to cut into their bodies, using a surgical procedure (cesarean section) only obstetricians can perform, which completely deprives the women of control over their own bodies?”
Yes, Dr. Wagner – it IS frightening.  Even more frightening is the fact that so many young women frivolously joke about electing a procedure that you describe as nothing short of violence against women.  All the while, women and babies are dying at a higher rate in the U.S. than in most other developed countries.

HERE to read the entire article on The Feminist Breeder

 And the Maternal and Infant mortality rates in our countries (US and Canada) continue to rise, and WILL continue to rise until women take back their births and stand up- not just for themselves but for their sisters too.

The Brilliant Gloria Lemay posted this on her blog and it is ohhhhhhh so true:

When Good Women Remain Silent

“First they came for the breech birthers, and I did not speak out–because I was not a breech birther;
Then they came for the twins, and I did not speak out–because I was not carrying twins;
Then they came for the high risk women, and I did not speak out-because I was not a high risk woman;
Then they came for the VBACs, and I did not speak out– because I was not a VBAC;
Then they came for me– and there was no one left to speak out for me.”
Taken from a talk by Laureen Hudson of California at the Trust Birth Conference (March 2010).

My new favourite Quote (for this week anyways):
“’If one went to the extreme of giving the patient the full details of mortality and morbidity related to cesarean section, most of them would get
up and go out and have their baby under a tree,’ [Dr. McDonald] said.”
[Neel J. Medicolegal pressure, MDs’ lack of patience cited in cesarean
‘epidemic.’ Ob.Gyn. News Vol 22 No 10]
Don't' let the medical machine fool you into installing a zipper.  Once it's there, it's awfully hard to get rid of. Once it's there, the machine will insist on using it.

Unnecessareans {365/34}, originally uploaded by Trader Photography.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

"When it comes to Breastfeeding, We can't handle the Truth"

How I missed this article I don't know, but when I read this on the weekend, I think I actually cheered.  The Feminist Breeder Gina speaks freely and without guile - straight to the heart of the matter.  Why DO we pussy foot around the topic of breastfeeding?  Why is it that women are immediately on the defensive when the word "Breastfeeding" is uttered?  We don't get our hackles up nearly so much on other topics.  So Why Breastfeeding?  And why is it that the media is the first to jump on the bank wagon of pushing the "guilt" envelope?

The Feminist Breeder talks about the new study released: Study: Lack of breastfeeding costs lives, billions of dollars - the Journal of Pediatrics published some very serious new findings indicating that 911 babies in America die every year from not being breastfed.  Yes, AMERICA, not a third world country in the equatorial region of the planet!!   She talks about the  breast beating by the public in her article "When it comes to Breastfeeding, We can't handle the Truth".  One of my favourite sections of the article brings the point across perfectly:

" for those Americans only interested in the bottom line, it should be noted that the same study found that if we can get 90% of mothers breastfeeding for the minimum amount of time recommended, then we’d save 13 billion dollars a year in medical costs. (that’s BILLION, with a B, people.)
So what the heck is the problem, then? Why can’t we get on board with this research? The problem is that people don’t want to hear it. But I’ll say it anyway.
Breastfeeding. Saves. Lives.
You know what else saves lives? Car seats. So, why aren’t people spitting mad at the NHTSA for saying that? Why aren’t they leaving thousands of comments on car seat articles saying “But I just couldn’t afford a car seat, why are you trying to make me feel guilty?!?!” Well, maybe it’s because our society will admit that car seats save lives, and we’re willing to give them out free at fire stations and hospitals if we have to because it is that important.
So why aren’t we doing the same for breastfeeding? Why won’t they hand out free breast pumps and visits to a lactation consultant when we know it would save lives and money? Well, I think the obvious answer is that there are breasts involved, and people just lose their minds when female anatomy comes up in conversation.
Of course then people say “It’s her CHOICE to formula-feed – leave her alone!” But I don’t believe that most women are making this “choice.” The CDC shows that 3/4 of women are initiating breastfeeding in the hospital, but only 13.6% of women are still exclusively breastfeeding at 6 months. What this tells me is that somewhere along the way, they gave up on themselves, and the reason I hear most often is, “But, I tried! I just couldn’t make any milk!”
Here is the cold hard truth ladies: You have been lied to."

HERE To read the entire article  on The Feminist Breeder

Yep.  Car seats DO save lives, and our governments have created laws to protect our children and keep them safe..... yet in Canada we can't even get our government to fund vital breastfeeding support services like The Newman Breastfeeding Clinic & Institute, nor will they act to protect breastfeeding by making the WHO International Code  into law.  It's all well for them to talk the talk "Breast is best"... but it's time for them to put their money where their mouth is.

Breast ISN'T Best- Breast is NORMAL.  Get with the program.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

85% of kids drinks contain high levels of LEAD!

GREAT!!  Just when you thought you were doing a good thing by buying your kids some nice unsweetened 100% pure fruit juice for their lunch box on these hot summer days!!!!!

85 per cent of childrens' drinks contain lead exceeding federal limits for young kids

Tuesday, June 15th 2010, 4:00 AM
According to the Environmental Law Foundation, 85 percent of kids' 
drinks contain so much lead they may exceed federal limits for young 
According to the Environmental Law Foundation, 85 percent of kids' drinks contain so much lead they may exceed federal limits for young children.
Both organic and conventional juices were among the lead-tainted products, according to the Environmental Law Foundation, a Bay Area-based environmental nonprofit that used a U.S. Environmental Protection Agencycertified lab to test 400 samples of 150 products marketed to kids.

Of 146 products, 125 were contaminated with enough lead in a single serving to require a warning label under California's Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986...

...Besides juices in flavors like apple and grape, the products included fruit cocktail mixes, packaged pears and peaches and some baby food, according to
...Excessive lead exposure can cause anemia, hearing damage, behavioral problems, learning disabilities and a host of other problems in children, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Ain't that just Wonderful!!!!  You know, I really try to do the best that I can for my family.  I limit pre-prepared foods, stay away from preservatives, added colour/flavours, and chemical additives.  But IT"'S FREAKIN' JUICE!!!!!!!

Head+ Wall= repeat.

Dr. Newman: Breastfeeding Basics for Prenatal Families

Please share this with any families you know in the GTA who are having a baby!!

Register now for nbci’s newest class,
Breastfeeding Basics for Prenatal Families presented by nbci and New Growth Nutrition

Whether this is your first baby or the newest addition to your growing family, we encourage you to take this breastfeeding class in your third trimester to help you achieve your own breastfeeding goals.  Leading the class is Dallas Parsons, a Registered Dietitian and Lactation Specialist (IBCLC Candidate).  She will guide you through this interactive 3-hour class where you can get your questions answered and expect to learn about:

       How to get breastfeeding off to a good start in hospital and at home
       Guiding your baby to latch and drink effectively
       The benefits of skin to skin contact
       Managing breast milk supply and flow
       Reading your baby’s feeding cues
       How to know if your baby is getting enough milk
       How to help you and your baby get more sleep
       Nutrition tips for breastfeeding moms
       How to know when breastfeeding is going well and what to do if it is not

When:                  Saturday, July 10th, 2010

Time:                    9:00am to 12:00pm

Location:             Newman Breastfeeding Clinic & Institute
Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine
Rm 2080 at 1255 Sheppard Avenue East (Leslie and Sheppard), Toronto

Cost:                      $70.00 per couple (receipt will be provided at the class)

Please see attached for Registration Form

For more information, please email or call 647-519-6150

Global MOMS Act

Amnesty International USA: TAKE ACTION NOW!
Tell Congress: No women should die during childbirth.
Urge your Representative to co-sponsor the Global MOMS Act today!

Hundreds of thousands of women die each year from pregnancy-related complications. The vast majority of these deaths are unnecessary and preventable, caused by a lack of access to timely, quality health care.
The Global MOMS Act, supported by Amnesty International USA, will have a lifesaving impact. In some countries, it truly could mean the difference between life and death for a woman.

Urge your Member of Congress to co-sponsor the Global MOMS Act.

The Global MOMS Act will support activities that help expand access to better quality maternal health services, remove barriers to such services, and ensure that they meet international human rights standards.

Demand justice for the women of Atenco
Women dying during pregnancy and childbirth is not just a public health
emergency, it is also a human rights crisis. Amnesty International has
identified obstacles to lifesaving treatment faced by pregnant women
around the world. In Peru, poor, rural and indigenous women face language
barriers and too few accessible clinics. In Burkina Faso, women die
because they cannot reach a health facility capable of treating them or
because they arrive too late.
Two years ago, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution
affirming "commitment to promoting maternal health and child survival both
at home and abroad through greater international investment and participation."
It's time to match commitment with action. The lives of millions of 
women are at stake.

Tell your Representative to co-sponsor the Global MOMS Act today!

Thank you for joining our cause.
In solidarity,

Daphne Jayasinghe
Advocacy Director, Women's Human Rights
Amnesty International USA

Breastfeeding Twins, Triplets or even more!!

Aruban Breastfeeding Mamas has written a very informative article on Breastfeeding babies-plural! 

Breastfeeding twins and triplets (or more! )

A first time mother finds out she's expecting twins! One of the first thoughts that race through her mind is " how on earth will I be able to breastfeed one baby, let alone two?!"

A seasoned mother is expecting her second child after having succesfully breastfed her first for over 3 years. Her feeding choice is a 'no brainer'... that is...until she's told that there's not just one baby in there...there's three. She feels shattered and overwhelmed at even the prospect of trying to nurse three babies. "After successfully breastfeeding a first child, you don't even flinch about the decision to nurse the second baby, so when I found out I was having three, I felt a sadness about possibly not breastfeeding one or more of my triplets"

What these two women have in common is a wide-spread reluctance and fear of breastfeeding more than one baby. Does this mean that it's impossible? Absolutely not! If you're a mom the second time around, but the first time around with multiples, you may be wondering less about if you're able to make milk and more about how you're gonna get the milk to all two or three babies!

HERE to read the entire article from Aruban Breastfeeding mamas

Politics of Breastfeeding- Web chat today!

Baby Milk Action

Email update : 22 June 2010

HAPPENING TODAY AT 14:30 UK TIME: Gabrielle Palmer web chat on the Politics of Breastfeeding. See:

  • Breastfeeding Week campaign update
  • Solidarity message from Brazilian National Breastfeeding Conference
  • United Reformed Church Assembly presents opportunity to pressure Nestlé to change

Breastfeeding Week campaign update

It is UK Breastfeeding Awareness Week (21 - 27 June).
In our press release we are asking people to support our Email Nestlé in June campaign, calling on it to stop claiming its formula 'protects' babies. Here's an update on the campaign.
Nestle tin

Nestlé is still defending its strategy of promoting its breastmilk substitutes with the claim these 'protect' babies and other health claims.
Nestlé refuses to stop this violation of the World Health Assembly marketing standards - so if you have already emailed Nestle yourself, please help us to promote our email campaign by going to this page:
In its latest statement, Nestle is telling people: "the World Health Assembly does not formulate marketing standards – rather it makes health policy recommendations to Member States."
A strange claim as the Assembly adopted the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes in 1981 and in May 2010 again called upon “Infant food manufacturers and distributors to comply fully with their responsibilities under the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and subsequent, relevant World Health Assembly resolutions.”
Nestlé's not listening to the Assembly, as it puts its own profits first. Our experience shows that if enough people raise a fuss, it will back down. This is now being reported in the mainstream media today, which increases the pressure on Nestlé (links from our press release above).

Brazilian Breastfeeding Conference sends message of solidarity

We have posted a message from the Brazilian National Breastfeeding Conference that took place earlier this month.

Brazil has introduced progressively stronger regulations implementing the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and subsequent, relevant Resolutions of the World Health Assembly. Hence, Nestlé's 'protect' logos do not appear in Brazil, but have been launched in 120 other countries. In Brazil median breastfeeding duration has increased from less than 3 months at the start of the 1980s to ten months today.

United Reformed Church Assembly 2010 presents opportunity to expose Nestlé

We have just learned that the forthcoming URC Assembly is due to discuss its boycott on investing in Nestlé on 4 July and possibly its promotion of the boycott of Nestlé products.
If you are a member of the Church, please take a look at our campaign blog for information on how this can be used as an opportunity to expose how Nestlé is pushing baby milk with its 'protect' strategy and other violations of the World Health Assembly marketing standards.

Monday, June 21, 2010


I came across this article and LOVED it!  Great Ideas for  hot summer days and for  teething babies & toddlers.


MOMSICLES - Frozen Breastmilk On A Stick
Mini-momsicles    Variations for Older Babies

Have you heard of "Breastmilk Popsicles"? Lots of breastfeeding moms call them "Momsicles". They are easy to make, and most babies love them.
You can purchase a single Popsicle mold from the dollar store (the ones at Target had a pretty long stick & handle, and it might be hard for baby to handle), which holds 4 popsicles, for a dollar. After washing and rinsing well, pour expressed breastmilk into the mold and freeze. You can store these in the freezer above the fridge and offer them daily, every other day, every few days, or once a week.
If you find the regular popsicle molds to be "too big" or "too much" you can try the following to make Mini-Momsicles:

1) Freeze water about half way up on the popsicle mold, and then once it's frozen use wax paper, or saran and "layer" so you can break the water part off once the breastmilk is frozen. Once you have the layer poked in you can then pour the breastmilk and put the "stick" in & freeze.

2) Use the cap off of a Gerber bottle, and a pacifier. The one shown here (below) is an Evenflo "Natural Comfort" - which has no hard parts.
Fill the cap 2/3 or 3/4 of the way with ebm and stick the paci in.. then freeze. To release the frozen "pop", run hot water over cap for just a few seconds, the milk will "melt" a tad and release. Be sure not to hold under the water very long or the milk will melt too much

3) Freeze breastmilk in clean ice cube trays. Store the cubes in a heavy-duty FREEZER bag. Place a "cube" in a Baby Safe Feeder and let baby chew on it. Using the Baby Safe Feeder keeps the "cube" from being too slippery for baby to handle. Note that babies who have teeth may tear the net!

For babies who are are not quite old enough for solids, but are showing interest in what's going on around them during meals, momsicles are a great alternative to introducing solids too early. Teething babies really enjoy "chewing" on these, and it is also a healthy snack and a good way to get a little more breastmilk into a baby who may not be nursing well due to teething, distractibilty, or not feeling well.
Be aware they "are" a little messy as they melt so you may want to use a bib on baby and you may want to have a "splat mat" on the floor if you have carpet in kitchen to catch the drips.

HERE to read all the great ideas and the rest of the article

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Ode to a Daddy

  "A truly rich man is one whose children run into his arms when his hands are empty". - Unknown Author

Anyone can be a father, but to be a Daddy takes a special person.   A man can sire a child and call him self a father, but a Daddy is the light of a small childs life.  A Daddy loves his children unconditionally.  In the middle of the night, in the early morning, during the breakfast insanity, the lunch time madness, the afternoon boredom, the missed nap crankiness, the pre dinner rush, the bathtime chaos, and the bedtime "I'm not tired"'s.   A Daddy is the protector that chases away the boogie man and the monster that lives under the bed.  A Daddy is the strong arms that holds a weeping child while kissing the scraped knee all better. A Daddy has a warm chest that soothes a baby to sleep. A Daddy is the torturer who tickles the children until they bounce off the ceiling.  A Daddy is the holder of hands while a little girls tries on her first pair of roller skates, and runs behind a little boy holding the bike steady till he's ready to peddle by himself.  A Daddy is devoted to his children and will do anything to keep them safe and warm and fed.    I'm lucky to live with the Best "Daddy" in the world.

This is for my children's Daddy, because I know how much it means to him.  I love you Nick.

Arms Wide Open

Well I just heard the news today
It seems my life is gonna change
I closed my eyes, began to pray
Then tears of joy streamed down my face

With arms wide open
Under the sunlight
Welcome to this place
I'll show you everything
With arms wide open
With arms wide open

Well I don't know if I'm ready
To be the man I have to be
I'll take a breath, Ill take her by my side
We stand in awe, we've created life

With arms wide open
Under the sunlight
Welcome to this place
I'll show you everything
WIth arms wide open
Now everything has changed
I'll show you love
I'll show you everything
With arms wide open
With arms wide open
I'll show you everything
Oh yeah
With arms wide open, wide open

If I had just one wish
Only one demand
I hope he's not like me
I hope he understands
That he can take this life
And hold it by the hand
That he can greet the world
With arms wide open

With arms wide open
Under the sunlight
Welcome to this place
I'll show you everything
WIth arms wide open
Now everything has changed
I'll show you love
I'll show you everything
With arms wide open
With arms wide open
I'll show you everything
Oh yeah

With arms wide open, wide open

This Daddy is the Hero to his daughters and sons- they love him beyond anything else.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Kim Kardashian says "cover up" to breastfeeding mothers!!

OH yeah!  Does anyone else see the uproariously hysterical, point your finger and laugh punch line to this?!?
Yes, Kim Kardishian said yesterday that she witnessed a woman in a restaurant breastfeeding her baby ...With Out a Cover!!!   Oh nooooooooo!  The Shock!  The Horror!!!!!!!!.  Ok, so said breastfeeder kinda ruined the moment by then changing her babies bum on the table (don't bitch slap me for this: but really?  changing a babies bum on the dinner table in a restaurant kinda smacks of hillbilly to me) (not that I want to offend any hillbillies!).

When kim got slapped with a backlashing from lactivists she then went on to tweet:
"My sister breast feeds! Its a natural beautiful thing, there's nothing wrong w it, but she covers herself, not w her boobs exposed "
ROTFLMFAO!!!!!!  Is she Serious?!?  This coming from a chick who's had pictures of her naked tata's plastered all over magazines and the internet?!  REALLY!!  Who the hell are you trying to fool Kim?!?

Aruban Breastfeeding Mama said it quite nicely I think:

"Oh Kim, by the first tweet you should have stopped. Now you have about, mmm, let's say, a billion tweets by  outraged lactvists with your name or a hashtag resembling #KimKisagainstbfing.

I find it absolutely comical that a woman with a show such as hers, that promotes the showing of breasts (and more) finds it offensive when a mother breastfeeds without a cover... but then again, oh right, these two things I have sitting in my bra aren't meant to be seen with a child attached to them. Silly me. Moving on.

Kim, Kimberly, I think it's time you wake up and smell the coffee. If prancing around exposing your breasts and cleavage to the whole world is acceptable to you, but nursing without a cover isn't, you gotta get your priorities in order."

So.... according to Kim, THIS is totally unacceptable

But THIS is completely OK?
Kim Kardashian Playboy Photos 2009