Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Breast is still Best
My Toastmaster's group ended its meeting yesterday with a baby shower for one of our members who is expecting twins. Everyone was encouraged to bring a children's book for the new mother-to-be. I gave her Henci Goer's, The Thinking Woman's Guide to Childbirth, a book that somehow stood out amongst the Dr. Suesses and Richard Scarrys. Each gifter had to explain their book selection, so I had an opportunity to talk about my work with birth. It felt good to have an audience for my ideas, and get their feedback and answer their questions. On another note, I also met with my Breastfeeding Committee yesterday. (My secondary passion after birth) We are a committee of the Maternal & Child Health Coalition (www.mchc.net), a health advocacy group. The BF committee is devoted to increasing breastfeeding initiation and duration rates in our metropolitan area through professional education and support. I'm so excited about our latest project for this year's World Breastfeeding Week. (August 1-7) (www.waba.org) We are bringing Kathi Barber to town, founder of the African-American Breastfeeding Alliance, and author of the book, The African-American Woman's Guide to Breastfeeding (www.aabaonline.com). I hope it's different where you live, dear reader, but our breastfeeding rates here are in the toilet, and worst of all for African-American mothers who nurse at the lowest rates of anyone. I always thought this a great irony since African-Americans tend to suffer most from the disease processes that are impacted the most by breastfeeding (think diabetes, obesity, etc.). Surely I can't be the first one to figure this out. Why hasn't there been an outcry within and without the African-American community or the healthcare community to promote breastfeeding? Why is it the folks who stand to benefit the most have the lowest rates? Still the silence continues. Our entire group is excited to bring Kathi to town to talk to healthcare professionals that work with at-risk populations. We are also sending all the hospitals in town that do deliveries, (all 19 of them) samples of our breastfeeding crib cards that we developed and the "eat at moms" onsie that we developed and trademarked, and are encouraging them to have some event at their facility to mark World Breastfeeding Week. This is truly our big event of the year and I like making the most of it. Meanwhile, sadly, my daughter-in-law is struggling with getting her breastfeeding established. They came home from the hospital yesterday, and I got one call in the middle of the night, and another early this morning. I hope she hangs in there with it. I'll visit later today to see how I can help. I plan to take her to an La Leche League meeting next week. Keep your fingers crossed for them.