Entries in Breast Feeding (16)


AU Professor Defends Classroom Breastfeeding

George Doyle/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A single mother and professor at Washington, D.C.’s American University who sparked controversy after she breastfed her toddler in class says that she wasn’t trying to start a revolution, but was trying to manage an untenable situation.

Adrienne Pine, an assistant anthropology professor at American University, was scheduled to teach her “Sex, Gender and Culture” class on Aug. 25 when her 1-year-old daughter, Lee, woke up with a fever.  Her daycare, which doesn’t accept sick children, was not an option.  Pine was encouraged by a friend to take Lee with her to class and use it as a “teachable moment,” so Pine did just that.

“It wasn’t the ideal option but the fact is there were no ideal options and it was the best of the options available to me,” Pine said.

As described by Pine herself in a posting on her blog, the baby was “dressed in her comfiest blue onesie, alternately strapped to my back and crawling on the floor by my feet” while Pine lectured the 40 students.

Baby Lee was fine at first, but soon she started to fuss.  Pine did what she always does -- at home, on buses, at restaurants: breastfed her.  And she continued with her class while she did it.

“People seemed largely charmed -- you know, by the humanity that I think children can bring to a workplace environment, without necessarily detracting from the seriousness,” Pine said.

Later, Pine said she learned of a tweet from one of the students in her class about her behavior.

“Sex, gender, and culture professor, total feminist, walks in with her baby, midway through class breast feeding time #wtf,” the tweet said.

When the school paper got wind of the story, the campus started buzzing,  with some students voicing that they were offended.

Pine received an email from a reporter with the school’s newspaper asking for comment.  Anticipating any coverage would provoke headlines, Pine decided to take the issue head-on herself in the blog posting, titled “Exposing My Breasts on the Internet.”

“So here’s the story, Internet: I fed my sick baby during feminist anthropology class without disrupting the lecture so as to not have to cancel the first day of class,” she wrote in the Sept. 5 post.  “I doubt anyone saw my nipple, because I’m pretty good at covering it.  But if they did, they now know that I too, a university professor, like them, have nipples.  Or at least that I have one.”

Some students at American feel that what Pine did was not appropriate in a classroom.

“I think what’s inappropriate is that she brought her child to class in the first place.  It’s very distracting to a lot of the students,” AU student Sarah Miles said.

Still, many students say that they were not at all offended by Pine breastfeeding her baby in the classroom.

“She let us know that she was about to do it, so I wasn’t too surprised.  I think she handled it in the most professional way that she could,” said AU student Nia McCarthy.

Pine told ABC News that when she decided to breast-feed Lee, she wasn’t trying to spark a debate -- she was just attempting to manage, like so many moms do, a shaky situation that was thrown into her lap.

“I’m surprised at the hostility that is clearly aimed at women in the workplace and women who breast-fed in the workplace in particular,” Pine said.

She’s hoping, at least, her actions will spark not just controversy, but a deeper discussion about how wrenching these childcare struggles can be, especially for people with no cushion.

“Can we set up a sort of collective childcare system, so that not every single woman in the workplace is facing these issues as an individual, but rather, we’re discussing them together?” she asked.

American University officials declined to comment directly to questions from ABC News, saying the university “does not comment on personnel matters.”

The university later issued a statement saying they “support faculty and staff as they face challenges of work life balance” but disagree with Pine’s blog posting.

“AU does not agree with Counterpunch blog post,” the statement read.  “The views expressed in the blog were those of the faculty member.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Twin Study Shows Moisturizing, Breast Feeding Stall Breast Aging

James Woodson/Digital Vision/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Breast feeding, daily moisturizing and hormone replacement therapy can make a woman's breasts appear more beautiful, but smoking, drinking alcohol and having multiple pregnancies can take an aesthetic toll, according to researchers.

A study of identical twins published Tuesday in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal, titled "Determinants of Breast Appearance and Aging in Twins," shows environmental factors play a key role in how a woman's breasts age.

Other factors like higher body mass index (BMI) and larger bra and cup sizes also contribute to accelerated breast aging, according to the study.

An estimated 316,848 women had breast augmentations and 127,054 had breast lifts performed in 2011, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.

Now, women can identify lifestyle behaviors that can slow the aging process to avoid surgical intervention, according to the study, which was funded by a grant from the Aesthetic Surgery Education and Research Foundation.

For the last three years, plastic surgeon Hooman T. Soltanian of University Hospitals Case Medical Center and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland, Ohio, studied 161 pairs of twins.

"It's very rare that both twins have been through the same exact environmental factors throughout life," he said.  "The idea was that they have the same [breasts] from a genetic standpoint.  If we see a difference, it's more likely to be environmental factors."

Soltanian collected data from consenting women between the ages of 25 and 74 at the annual Twins Days Festival in Twinsberg, Ohio.  The average age of the study's participants was 45.5 years old.

"The twins come from all over the country for a weekend to have fun and celebrate," he said.  "We have been using that opportunity to study their breasts.  It's not a longitudinal study, but a cross-sectional study."

The study had two parts.  First, each set of twins was given a questionnaire on lifestyle habits, such as smoking, drinking, number of pregnancies, use of a bra, stress at work, sports, hormone replacement therapy, moisturizing and exposure to the sun.  Each twin answered independently.

Then, photos of the twins' breasts were taken "in a secluded area by professionals."  Those photos were "subjectively evaluated by independent reviewers."

Soltanian acknowledged there is "no objective measurement" for what makes a breast "beautiful."  But researchers looked for skin tone, droopiness, shape and areola size.

Moisturizing seemed an "obvious" advantage on a breast's appearance, showing fewer wrinkles, according to Soltanian.  

Those who received hormone replacement therapy after menopause had more attractive breast shape, size, projection, areolar shape and areolar size.

The study seemed to refute myths about the negative effects of nursing a baby, findings that even surprised Soltanian.  Even though the size and shape of the areola had suffered, the skin quality was better in women who breast fed.

"All these twins did not breast-feed without being pregnant and pregnancy has a negative effect on breast appearance," he said.  "My explanation is that women who breast fed have a different hormonal milieu -- sort of like internal hormone replacement.  So even though those were disadvantages, they gained some benefit."

Soltanian, who does reconstructive surgeries for women after breast cancer, said this twin research could be expanded to longitudinal studies that look for environmental influences when one twin has cancer and the other doesn't.

As for the study's importance, he said, "It's obvious to me that breast appearance and breast health as a whole are a major part of female health."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Breast Milk Blocks HIV Transmission in Mice, Study Finds

George Doyle/Thinkstock(CHAPEL HILL, N.C.) -- Women with HIV are often told by health care providers to refrain from breastfeeding for fear their breast milk will transmit the virus to their infants. But a new study released Thursday in the journal PLoS Pathogens suggests breast milk may kill the virus and protect against its transmission.

The study was done on mice, adding to the growing confusion as to whether it’s ever safe for women with HIV to breastfeed.

Researchers at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine fed mice whose immune systems had been engineered to mimic those of humans breast milk from healthy human donors that had been injected with HIV.

The researcher found that the virus could not be transmitted to the mice through the breast milk, and that the virus died when it entered the breast milk.

“We reinforced the belief, and we have solid data that milk is not a vehicle for transmission but may offer protection,” said Victor Garcia, a professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina, and a co-author of the study. “Milk should not be withheld from children.”

More than 15 percent of new HIV infections occur in children, according to the World Health Organization. If untreated, only 65 percent of HIV-infected children will live to see their first birthdays, and fewer than half will make it to the age of 2, WHO estimates.

For years, HIV experts have linked the virus in babies to breastfeeding. But most infants who are breastfed by HIV-infected mothers, even for long periods of time, do not become infected.

WHO recommends that infected mothers in some countries breastfeed their infants, and that both mother and infant take antiretroviral medication to avoid HIV transmission.

“One of the big breakthroughs of having this model is to look at what is affecting transmission,” said Garcia. “If milk isn’t it, then how is it being transmitted?”

Garcia said one way to answer that question might be to learn what it is in breast milk that kills the HIV and study whether it can be used to protect against other forms of transmission.

But the findings don’t mean that infected mothers should breastfeed their children without taking antiretroviral medications just yet, Garcia said. Future studies will look at milk from infected donors to see if the outcome will be the same, he said.

“Milk itself has an inhibitory effect,” said Garcia. “But from what we know so far, it seems like there won’t be a big difference.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Study: Only One-Third of Moms Breastfeed for First Three Months

George Doyle/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Most new moms hope to exclusively breastfeed their babies for at least the first three months, but a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that, for a variety of reasons, only about one-third of those moms fulfill that breastfeeding goal.

CDC researchers surveyed nearly 1,500 pregnant women on their plans for exclusive breastfeeding after their babies were born, and then followed up with monthly surveys throughout the next year.  The scientists found that 85 percent of mothers planned to breastfeed exclusively for at least three months, but only about 32 percent were able to do so for the intended amount of time.

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization recommend that all women exclusively breastfeed for the first 6 months of babies' lives.

"While most of these women said they hoped to exclusively breastfeed for at least three months, very few actually succeeded in their goal," said Cria Perrine, co-author of the study and an epidemiologist in the division of nutrition, physical activity and obesity at the CDC.  "There is obviously a huge disconnect between these women's intentions and how they're able to follow through."

Perrine said many hospitals might not be as supportive as possible in helping women achieve these goals.  In the study, 15 percent of the women's babies had already been given some sort of supplement to their breast milk before even leaving the hospital, which can cause nipple confusion and make it difficult to breastfeed afterwards.

Moms who began breastfeeding within an hour of birth were more likely to breastfeed according to their goals.  Those who already had at least one other child and those whose babies were not given supplemental formula feedings were also more likely to reach their exclusive breastfeeding goals.

Women who were obese, smoked or had a longer intended exclusive feed time were less likely to reach their goals, the researchers found.

The study's authors concluded that increasing Baby-Friendly Hospital practices, which include giving only breast milk to babies in the hospital, might help mothers reach their breastfeeding goals.

The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative is a global program sponsored by the World Health Organization and UNICEF.  Its mission is to encourage hospitals to offer an optimal level of care for infant feeding by giving mothers information, confidence and skills to successfully initiative and continue breastfeeding their babies.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Breast-Feeding 'Time' Cover Mom Responds to Critics

TIME(NEW YORK) -- The California mom at the center of the Time magazine cover controversy knew there would be backlash, but she posed for photographs while nursing her 3-year-old son anyway.

“Out of all families, I really feel like somebody has … to start the dialogue and I feel like our family is confident enough to be the ones to do it,” Jamie Lynne Grumet, 26, told Nightline correspondent Juju Chang.

If Grumet was looking to start a dialogue, she succeeded. The image of the thin, blonde Grumet and her son, who stood on a chair to reach her left breast, went viral and attracted both admiration and derision, with critics questioning whether Time’s photo was overly sexualized and, more broadly, whether Grumet and moms like her were harming their children through what’s known as extended breast-feeding -- nursing a child after he or she is 1 year old.

Whether there are, indeed, consequences to extended breast-feeding seems to be anyone’s guess.

“We don’t have the long-term data,” women’s health expert Dr. Jennifer Ashton told Good Morning America. “We have to follow [Grumet's son] and lots of them until they’re 40 and find out: Did they win a Nobel prize, are they a serial killer or are they normal?  But I think it’s important to always remember that most moms, they’re not trying to hurt their kids, they’re trying to do what’s best for their children. I don’t think this is like putting a cigarette in your child’s hands.”

ABC News’ chief health and medical editor, Dr. Richard Besser, said it used to be typical in hunter-gatherer societies for children as old as 5 or 6 to be breast-fed.

Today, he added, “When I see a child who is doing extended breast-feeding, I really look hard at how they are developing. … If a child is making friends, is developing, is interacting normally, is learning to eat other foods in a normal way and is still occasionally nursing, that’s not a big deal.”

But Besser said he has seen cases where breast-feeding by older children indicated a problem.

“It’s been a big clue into a dysfunctional family relationship,” he said. “It’s not always the case, but you want to look and see what’s going on in that family.”

Grumet, herself, was breast-fed until she was 6 years old and acknowledged, “I was on the older age of that spectrum of what’s considered normal human weaning,” but added, “My mom let me do what was right for me.”

Grumet believes she’s doing what’ s right for her children -- she also occasionally breast feeds her adopted 5-year-old son, she told Time -- despite the heavy criticism she’s weathered. Some have accused her of molestation.

“I think it’s a lot of ignorance and so it’s really hard to get mad at that,” she said. “It’s almost an ethnocentric, western perspective on how we see breast in our culture, and it’s definitely not a global view. … It’s really, really hard for people to understand that breasts are mammary glands and this is what they were designed for, and there’s nothing [any more] sexual than any other part of the body.”

She is a proponent of attachment parenting -- the parenting philosophy explored by Time in its cover story -- the tenets of which include extended breastfeeding, baby “wearing” through slings and co-sleeping. Grumet also home-schools her children.

“I want my children to have what my parents gave me and that’s kind of a global perspective; be able to travel with them, show them other cultures, and so they understand why we did this … [to] really to teach them to stick up for what’s right even if it’s hard.”

Grumet said one thing she doesn’t want to do is pit mothers against one other over the practice of attachment parenting. A number of critics, including mom bloggers, have argued that Time’s cover -- with the headline “Are You Mom Enough?” -- unnecessarily fanned the flames of the proverbial mommy wars.

“If it’s not working for you, then don’t feel guilty,” she said. “You just do what’s right for your family, and your child is not going to suffer if the family is happy.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


“Time” Cover Shows 3-Year-Old Breast-Feeding

TIME(NEW YORK) -- Should a mom continue nursing her child even after he’s too big to be held in her arms? For mothers who practice what’s known as “attachment parenting,” the answer is an emphatic “yes” — and some are more than happy to demonstrate.

This week’s cover of Time Magazine shows Los Angeles mother Jamie Lynne Grumet nursing her 3-year-old son, who reaches her breast with the help of a step stool.

“When you think of breast-feeding, you think of mothers holding their children, which was impossible with some of these older kids,” photographer Martin Schoeller said in a Time Magazine online story explaining the cover photo. “I liked the idea of having the kids standing up to underline the point that this was an uncommon situation.”

The cover story illustrated by the photo takes a look at the philosophy of attachment parenting today — which, in addition to extended breastfeeding, also promotes co-sleeping and using slings to “wear” infants — and its roots in the 1992 parenting guide, The Baby Book by Dr. Bill and Martha Sears.

ABC News Nightline correspondent Juju Chang recently interviewed sitcom star Mayim Bialik about her practice of attachment parenting. Watch and read about the interview here.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Breastfeeding Advocates Protest Outside Facebook Offices 

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A group of moms protested outside Facebook offices around the world on Monday, charging that the social network has repeatedly taken down photos that show mothers breastfeeding their babies.

The site even disabled the accounts of some moms who had uploaded the nursing pictures, the group claimed.

"A woman is protected to breastfeed her child wherever she is legally allowed," said Emma Kwasnica, a mid-wife and breastfeeding advocate who helped spearhead the nurse-in. "Health experts are always pushing women to breastfeed, but we're constantly seeing road blocks like this."

Kwasnica implored Facebook to train their staff to better decipher what is and what isn't appropriate content. She also asked that the social networking giant build stronger ties to their clients, so that there is a point of contact for clients in case errors such as these continue to arise.

Breastfeeding photos are allowed to be uploaded to the social networking site, but if another Facebook user flags a photo as inappropriate it may be taken down, according to a company spokesperson.

In the course of processing more than one billion photos per day, employees are bound to make a mistake once in a while when determining what is and is not appropriate, Facebook said.

Kwasnica said dozens of her photos have been flagged since she joined Facebook in 2007.  Her personal page has been disabled four times due to breastfeeding pictures.

A spokesperson for the site said Facebook is glad that mothers and their families, including many who work at Facebook, use the site to share their parenting experiences, including breastfeeding their children.

"By uploading photos, joining groups, and engaging with different organizations, these families are able to share and connect on a very important topic, and we are thrilled they are using Facebook to do so," a Facebook spokesperson said. "When it comes to uploaded photos on Facebook, the vast majority of breastfeeding photos comply with our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, which closely mirrors the policy that governs broadcast television."

"Facebook receives hundreds of thousands of reports every week, and as you might expect, occasionally we make a mistake and remove a piece of content we shouldn't," the company said.

When this happens, employees at the social network quickly work to address an error by apologizing to those affected and making any necessary changes to the processes to ensure the same type of mistakes do not continue to be made, the company said.  The site encourages people to re-upload the photos they believe were removed in error.

But, Kwasnica said she receives messages nearly every day from other mothers who have been blocked or suspended from Facebook due to their breastfeeding photos.

"If it is truly because of employee errors, it happens so much that it seems that Facebook has lost control of its network," Kwasnica said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Breastfed Babies Cry More, UK Study Finds

George Doyle/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- Breastfed babies cry more than formula-fed ones, but that’s normal, so stick with it.  Formula-fed babies may be quieter but overfed.

That’s the message the U.K. Medical Research Council wants mothers to take from a study published this week in the science journal PLoS One.

The British and U.S. governments recommend mothers exclusively breastfeed for the first six months of a child’s life.  They cite research showing breastfeeding is healthier for babies and mothers.  Some researchers even say it makes children, especially boys, smarter.

In both countries, official statistics show three-quarters of new mothers follow this advice, but many give up in the first few months, if not weeks.  According to the latest U.S. data, 13 percent of those who tried completed the whole six months.

The most common reason given by women in Britain’s 2005 Infant Feeding Survey was, “Breast milk alone didn’t satisfy my baby.”

This means mothers perceive irritability as “a negative signal,” a Medical Research Council statement said, an interpretation perhaps few mothers would challenge.

However, “[R]ather than being a sign of stress, the researchers say irritability is a natural part of the dynamic communication between mothers and babies and should not deter women from breastfeeding,” the release continued.

And formula-fed babies, “may appear more content, but research suggests that these infants may be over-nourished and gain weight too quickly,” wrote the study’s lead researcher, Dr. Ken Ong, of University of Cambridge.

To study the link between infant temperament and feeding, the study asked mothers of 316 babies to rate their baby’s behavior at age three months.  Compared with formula-fed babies, exclusive breast-fed and mixed-fed babies showed “greater distress,” “less smiling” and “lower soothability,” according to the article.

Susan Burger, PhD, president of the New York Lactation Consultant Association, faulted the study for assessing babies’ temperaments using mothers’ self-reported data but agreed with the study’s goal of giving mothers more realistic expectations as a way to bolster breastfeeding.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Why Is Public Breast-Feeding Still an Issue?

George Doyle/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A controversial tweet from NASCAR driver Kasey Kahne and "nurse-in" demonstrations by breast-feeding mothers at Target stores nationwide this week have re-ignited the debate about nursing in public.

The question of whether it is appropriate for nursing mothers to breastfeed in public areas elicits passionate responses on both sides of the argument. Those against it believe breastfeeding should be done in private, saying it makes them uncomfortable to see a mother nursing her child out in the open. Those who support nursing in public contend that the practice is normal, natural, and a mother's right.

Kahne found himself in hot water Tuesday when he said on Twitter that a woman breastfeeding in public was "nasty."

His tweet prompted a firestorm of comments from both men and women, many of whom chastised Kahne for being insensitive, telling him to "grow up." But several others agreed with him. Kahne issued an apology on his Facebook page Wednesday.

This social media spat comes the same week that "nurse-in" demonstrations have taken place at Target stores across the country.

Michelle Hickman, 35, was asked last month to move into a dressing room when Target employees saw her breastfeeding her baby in the Webster, Texas store. Her story, which was shared on the pro-breastfeeding website Best for Babes, launched fellow moms into action. Kelly Roth, a nursing mother and a friend of Hickman, started a Facebook group to help organize a "nurse in," which now has 7,500 members.

Hundreds of mothers brought their infants to Target stores to nurse together as a group, taking photos of the event and posting them online. "Nurse-in" demonstrations have taken place in 31 states and Canada, according to the Facebook group.

Bernice Hausman, an English professor at Virginia Tech who is the author of Mother's Milk: Breastfeeding Controversies in America and Viral Mothers: Breastfeeding in the Age of HIV/AIDS, said "nurse-in" demonstrations have been going on since the late 90s, and the outrage over public breastfeeding boils down to "policing women's behavior."

"The biggest question is where women who are mothers are allowed to be. Apparently, mothers are not allowed to be walking around Target," she said.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends mothers exclusively breastfeed their babies for six months, and continue nursing up to one year after introducing solid foods. Forty-five states have laws that specifically allow women to breastfeed in either public or private areas, and 28 states have specific clauses that exempt nursing mothers from public indecency exposure laws.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Kasey Kahne Apologizes over Breast Feeding Comments

Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR(NEW YORK) -- NASCAR driver Kasey Kahne is apologizing after drawing angry responses when he tweeted that he found a woman breast feeding her baby in a supermarket “nasty.”

The driver, who finished in fourth place in NASCAR standings this year and recently inked a multi-year agreement to take over the No. 5 Chevrolet at Hendrick Motorsports, took to Twitter to express his disgust on Tuesday.

“Just walking though supermarket. See a mom breast feeding little kid. Took second look because obviously I was seeing things. I wasn’t!” he wrote, then graphically described what he saw. “#nasty,” Kahne added, “I don’t feel like shopping anymore or eating.”

The tweet from Kahne, who has over 100,000 followers on the social networking site, quickly led to widespread backlash.

“I hope someday you have a kid and someone tells your wife that feeding your child looks nasty,” Twitter user KnittingRad, who describes herself as a liberal, pro-choice, feminist mother of three responded.  Kahne soon responded to her: “And your a dumb b*tch.”

Kahne soon removed the initial comments from his Twitter feed and took to his Facebook page Wednesday to apologize.

“I understand that my comments regarding breastfeeding posted on Twitter were offensive to some people. For that, I apologize,” Kahne wrote. “It was in no way my intention to offend any mother who chooses to breastfeed her child, or, for that matter, anyone who supports breast feeding children. I want to make that clear."

“My comments were not directed at the mother’s right to breastfeed. They were just a reaction to the location of that choice, and the fashion in which it was executed on that occasion,” he added. “I respect the mother’s right to feed her child whenever and wherever she pleases.”

He also directly apologized to Twitter user KnittingRad: “I wanted to apologize for saying what I said to you yesterday. It was out of line,” he wrote, adding that she is welcome to directly message him to discuss the situation.

The controversy comes the same week that mothers from across the country have posted pictures of themselves nursing at Target stores, as part of “nurse-in” demonstrations at stores nationwide.  The action comes after a nursing mother’s upsetting experience at her local Target last month.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio