Thursday, October 27, 2011

Pumpkin Milk for Pumpkin Baby

I saw this floating around facebook. Right away I had some questions; how will Pumpkin mama feed pumpkin baby? I hope she decides to refuse the hospital milk that I've heard is too often suggested. And I also hope she has lots of support and love inside and outside of her circle should she have questions or if she feels discouraged know that help is nearby. Perhaps mama will find articles  and other reading on how to grow strong and healthy pumpkins. I wondered if pumpkins are valued more or less based on their outward appearance than let's say a cucumber, zucchini or watermelon, even though they are all members of the Cucurbit family? Do they face discrimination in the patch or elsewhere? Or do those viewed as more valuable than others have more of a chance at feeding their little orange ones? Must they place bumper stickers on a wheel barrow while moving around? Is it necessary to cover up even though they don't normally wear clothes? If they experienced harassment would they have pumpkin-ins? I thought this was cute, folks! We are in a season where pumpkins are all around. Whether you are celebrating any holiday or not, have a happy and safe day!

Below is a recipe for pumpkin milk. Apparently the final product turns a bit green,
but is loaded with nutritious goodness. If you make this, share your thoughts!

Fresh Pumpkin Seed Milk Recipe

Breastfeeding is boo-tiful!

The IBCLC Road Is Longer Than Expected

Well it looks like it's going to take a bit longer to get through nursing school than I thought. No, not that kind of nursing, breastfeeding school! I haven't started any classes yet. The bottom line is these courses have turned out to be much more costly than I expected so I'm working in that area. I looked into federal funding (more student loans, eek) but not sure I'd even want to go that route.

I am still on the right track with gathering information and using what resources I have to move me in the right direction -- marinating, so I am not that worried. But like I said before will be going through and finishing graduate school, so as long as I have the classes done within a specific amount of time I'm good, and I can do that. I am still looking into volunteering and in about a week or so, will be meeting with the manager of the Breastfeeding Coalition of Washington, and I continue to blog since it keeps me active and alert. Yes I would like all of this to happen like NOW, since I'm still that excited about it, but the way I look at it is slow and steady wins, and I am talking to people and learning a ton of stuff -- hopefully teaching a few things, and making a difference along the way. This is all part of it. After all, this is a lactation journey, not a destination.

Breastfeeding Laws In Washington State

A few years ago for my friend's birthday, we went on a camping trip to Orcas Island. The campsite she and I stayed at had a restaurant we visited, and as we were eating I remember a woman sitting inside, a couple tables away, with her breasts very exposed while she fed her child. I also remember one of the others with her at the table, a male, glanced around to see if anyone was watching -- it wasn't the kind of nervous or embarrassed look, but a look to see if anyone was watching since she was close to bare-chested is the feeling I got.

I've only ever felt anything but just how much Washingtonians pride ourselves on being progressive, liberal, and earthy -- we're pretty granola around here. And though I have been around many who will and have happily whipped out a breast anytime, anywhere to feed their child -- especially those close to me me like friends and family, I have to admit I haven't seen much breastfeeding in public. Now, it is possible that I haven't really looked for it, until I became the most interested in breastfeeding, which was more recently. But looking at all of the politics and seeing so much anti-breastfeeding in our society I've thought about that day in the restaurant and wondered what would have happened if someone, ignorant of infant feeding as a non-sexual act and lacking cultural awareness, would have given this woman a hard time for nursing in a public space -- no allowing her baby to finish eating to satisfy its hunger just as all of us were doing in this restaurant that day? Would she have known her rights? If I had known would I have stepped in? Would you? Well, thankfully the woman was able to feed her baby without incident, but this is unlike so many stories I have read about and heard of, where women are constantly harassed and laws designed to protect, often face dissidence.

Of course I know about the laws in other states like Michigan because of the most recent nurse in. The law states you can feed your baby anytime, anywhere in public whether you are covered or not, and it is not considered indecent. And I also know about breastfeeding laws in Pennsylvania because of that questionable mobile breastfeeding unit, the Milk truck that was recently introduced. But as someone who considers myself an advocate in this area, I'm embarrassed to say until very recently, I had no idea about the laws on breastfeeding in the state I live in.

Well, after not too much searching this is what I found on the Breastfeeding Coalition of Washington's website: On April 22, 2009, Governor Chris Gregoire signed into law a breastfeeding civil rights bill. HB1596 amends the state anti-discrimination statutes RCW 49.60.030 and 2007 c 187 s 3 to add the following civil right: (g) the right of a mother to breastfeed her child in any place of public resort, accommodation, assemblage, or amusement. In simple terms, this means a public place such as a park, fairground, etc.

Though there is nothing that protects nursing women in the workplace, you can feed your baby in public! But what I am wondering is where did this come from ? I mean, if this is a new law, what does it supersede? What was the old one? Was there anything in place protecting nursing mothers?

Just to be clear, I think it is absolutely pathetic to have laws in order to feed children! People go hungry everyday, and making sure we have nourishing meals and are all fed should be our priority! There is no such laws when it comes to feeding ourselves. I believe we need an overhaul in our culture that will produce more understanding, awareness and encouragement when it comes to breastfeeding, so we won't need to resort to exercising a law to do it wherever, and while I dedicate time and effort, and contribute what I can to this area, here is a just a small way to become informed.

There are resources out there. These sites contain multiple resources and other ways to get you in the know with the necessary breastfeeding information you will need for yourself and for others. This is only  a few resources, and I encourage you to look for others.

  1. Breastfeeding Coalition of Washington
  2. La Leche League of Washington
  3. Within Reach is an organization dedicated to the wellness of child and family health for the residents of Washington, and has breastfeeding information available, along with information on healthy food initiative, healthcare, low cost child care, support hotlines, and a list of others. 
  4. Washington State Department of Health WIC Breastfeeding website 
As stated these are just a few. What others do you know of? What do you recommend?

Are you in Washington State? Do you know other breastfeeding laws and legislation here? In the Pacific Northwest? Do you know the laws on breastfeeding in your state or another?

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Sunday, October 23, 2011


CURE TOOTH DECAY: REMINERALIZE CAVITIES & REPAIR YOUR TEETH NATURALLY WITH GOOD FOOD (Second Edition), is written by Ramiel Nagel, who has a degree in Legal Studies from UC Santa Cruz, and gives an in- depth look at our eating habits and cultural traditions, how they are linked to our overall dental health, and how through the same avenues, can be repaired. Ramiel Nagel began searching for ways to naturally cure tooth decay upon discovering his young daughter's need for dental work and did not wan to subject her to harsh treatments.

"Your teeth are not designed to decay. They were designed to remain strong, resilient, and cavity free for your entire life," is the first line of this text, and tells us contrary to what most of us have been made to believe, cavities, decaying teeth, and dentures in our old age is not only abnormal, but is a complete contradiction to nature. Why would nature contradict itself?  Ramiel Nagel based much of his initial research from Dr. Weston Price, whose work as a dentist and research of indigenous cultures and their thriving dental and overall health found that not only did they have optimal facial bone structure, but they were immune to dental caries and cavities. The overarching question to be answered is "Why do we suffer from tooth decay, and what can we do about it?

I felt a bit overwhelmed by this book -- by the list of things to eat, but mostly the list of things to avoid. This feeling comes from a place of privilege as well as a place where I must orient myself in this world, and take into account a global society around me. In the country I live in we often believe we are better than others in that we feel our industrial and modern society is superior. However, it is this same types of thinking and practices that make us often disregard the lessons we can learn from others who do things differently. This is also where we turn our backs on the suffering we often cause, support, or simply pretend it does not exist. For that reason, I want to start out by recognizing my privilege and, like Ramiel Nagel in his small section titled Thanksgiving, where he acknowledges his thankfulness for having food whether good food or bad food, thank God and the Universe that I eat everyday. There have been times where I have faced tremendous hardship, but I don't go hungry. In fact, in the midsts of my deepest struggles, I have been made to consciously recognize the blessing of my eating habits -- consuming whole, unprocessed foods, while the situation could have been drastically different. Even though I can't say the majority of foods produced today, at least in the society I'm in, are all natural and are produced in the best moral and social settings and have the intentions of bringing this in the best way to its consumers, I do recognize many around the world and even in my own environment do not have access to even that. And if you have read this text and like me are feeling overwhelmed by what seems to be too many restrictions, you are also likely coming from a place of privilege. Recognizing this continues to motivate me, and I hope you as well, to become and remain actively involved in eradicating these types of injustices and disparities, and work at getting to a place where everyone, everywhere can have healthy and filling meals that nourish us, and repair and restore our bodies.

I have always lived by the mantra "The earth has everything we need to sustain ourselves!" Yet we have been heavily influenced and conditioned to believe that outside intervention is not only viable, but the only option in our dental health and well-being, and the majority of us have sworn by this for generations. However, as mentioned above, that message only reflects the utter contradiction of nature. "Our teeth should remain strong, resilient, and cavity free for our entire lives. Why would nature contradict itself?" It also reflects the need for each of us to go beneath the surface and question what contributes to the increasing decline in our dental health, and while we're at it, we could also benefit from seeking out and questioning a few other areas that work together in keeping this dependence on modern society and misinformation in many areas at the backdrop of our society.

I had long known the dangers of the Western diet are often times, despite our efforts, less than ideal -- "Store food gives us store teeth." And I knew the body was capable of repairing itself through nutrition, but when it came to teeth I didn't really know the extent of just how the meals we believe are healthy affects our teeth, or that through this same avenue -- eating, could be repaired. If I never saw Ramiel Nagel's credentials, I would have never known his background is in Legal Studies. This text, forewarded by the President of the Holistic Dental Association, provides well-researched and informative material that, for starters is not filled with esoteric facts, dental-eese, or requires a working knowledge of the dental industry, but also gives us an in- depth history of the industry's practices and why these have been able to continue. 

CURE TOOTH DECAY gives us alternatives. And these alternatives, unlike the dental industry which is something experienced by the privileged, are more accessible to many people.The recipes, tips, and simple methods such as brushing with sea salt, or oil pulling, for example, that do not require a large budget or extensive knowledge, and shows us that taking care of our teeth can be achieved outside of those mainstream institutions. Somewhere along the way while reading this text, I became convinced this author has some background in anthropology, and believe some of the recipes he provides along with raw milk, eggs, etc. -- those considered non-traditional or what many here in Western culture would consider so-called scraps -- fish head soup, fish intestines, for example,  can work to destigmatize and de-'Other'ize certain groups whose eating habits are different and whose dental and overall health are thriving. He even shared his children's love of eating grasshoppers. The only area where I felt slightly discouraged is towards the end. All of the methods were praised throughout this text, then mentioned they may not work, but that I know, is a given for anything, and of course was not enough to thwart my belief in nature's ability to heal us, or my belief in the part we can play in healing ourselves. 

The information provided is information I would share while working with communities in lower-socio economic statuses -- those who do not have access to proper dental care which, in my opinion, makes this more than just information on obtaining better dental health for ourselves, but it is key in showing us how we can implement these in areas that need it most. Our teeth can tell a lot about our living situation and our society, and through these methods we can change those areas that are flawed -- with more people and communities having access, garnering our own sense of agency and increasing our overall health. At least that's the way I see it. I walked away with the feeling this book is more than just about being published and making profit, but about empowering people, contributing to positive social changes, and making a difference. I really appreciate this information, and am so happy to have read this.

In this video, Ramiel Nagel talks about the holistic alternative to conventional dentistry!

Click here for Part II and her for Part III

Author: Ramiel Nagel
Year: 2010
Paperback: 28.97
Genre: Dentistry/Health
Pages: 234 
ISBN: 978-1434810601

Thank you, Golden Child Publishing, for providing a copy of CURE TOOTH DECAY: REMINERALIZE CAVITIES & REPAIR YOUR TEETH NATURALLY WITH GOOD FOOD, for this review.

Note: All opinions are my own and honest, and I am not compensated by the publisher!

Trade Books for Free - PaperBack Swap.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Not That Interested In Birth

An archaeological excavation in Italy's Mugello Valley: A
2,600 year old image of a woman giving birth. 
I've been thinking about a conversation with a friend a while ago when talking about baby stuff. We somehow got on the subject of birth -- probably because she's on her way to becoming a doula, but she began to tell me some birth stories she learned about in her classes. I remember when we began to talk about other aspects of birth also, I told her that I'm not that intrigued by birth. Wait! Let me rephrase that. It's not that I'm not intrigued by birth. I am absolutely intrigued by birth. The fact that we are able to make another human being, incubate and nourish it for nine months, then watch as it emerges from our fabulous bodies (something I have witnessed on a few occasions) -- that's incredible! I'm just not that interested in it.

Maybe I'm having a bit of trouble correctly articulating my point. I remember talking to my friend and telling her the reasons I would be interested in birth -- misrepresentation, marginalization, unfair birthing practices --  injustice. Where those unfair practices are prevalent then I would be interested in it -- to advocate for justice and equality. But on a regular, I have to say I'm not all that interested in the whole baby experience, mama stuff, and I don't get warm fuzzies thinking about at-home deliveries, baby blankets, booties, cloth diapering, and baby slings. Now I know breastfeeding a baby requires a birth, but strange as it may sound I sometimes figure my reasons are simple: we don't have to have babies. Don't get me wrong, my foundation is pro life -- understanding there are exceptions related to politics, access, assaults and more behind this that I won't get into right now, but the whole pregnancy process does not have to happen. Putting sexual activity and the reproduction aspect into a heterosexual paradigm (though not suggesting various orientations do not play a part in this), in many cases, we don't have to be pregnant, and there are times we can avert this -- safe methods of birth control, getting to the foundation of our sexually hedonistic society, and critiquing tactics where sex sells a tire, a sock, a refrigerator, electric fans, a computer desk -- a pair of shoelaces?! I won't even go there. Or abstinence. But we cannot avert eating to live. It must be done! That's the way I see it. And how our infants eat not only can affect us and our communities for generations, but who is eating, what we are eating, and who has access is a reflection of so many other areas of society. Infant feeding is a practice steeped heavily in politics. I'm interested in those politics.

I understand it's not always this cut and dry and gets more complicated, but before you castigate and label me a heathen, know that I do feel a little guilty about feeling this way -- especially in this particular realm. Also remember that although I don't have any children of my own, I have 15 nieces and nephews and I have played a very active role in helping raise Each. And. Every. One of them. Those are my kids. And I loved and cherished it! Also know that once upon a time I was very interested in birth -- of my own. In fact, I wanted to have children (three) and become a midwife -- back in the late 90s/early 2000s when I was in my early 20s, and always pictured myself having all of my babies at home, in the bathtub, underwater, with my entire family around eating pizza and playing games in the next room -- you know, long before this stuff was popular around here. People always said I'd be such a great mother, and others already called me 'Nature Mom.' Now, if my views and feelings change and I do ever decide to mother, adoption is my final answer! But the former -- well, those were the days. That was back then. I was at and am in different place.

Today, I am an advocate of infant feeding because I see the politics behind it, and want to face those head on, and am using what I know and will learn to bring these issues to the forefront, and work to make infant feeding accessible to those who choose to practice this type of nourishment. I want to help empower those interested so we can make informed decisions -- not ones based on misinformation, manipulation, misrepresentation, and bias. I work in the margins. I am also interested in actively challenging health and social disparities on multiple fronts that stem from this. That's what I'm here for. And even though I do get excited when I find out someone I know is going to have a baby, will go to baby showers and help out the best I can, and encourage nursing not just for food, but for overall health, well-being and the multitude of other benefits, I'm just not that interested in the process it takes to get there. Is that bad?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

New Nursing Mama


My friend's dog,  Jellybean, had a litter of two males and one female on Tuesday night.


When I saw them on Wednesday morning, they were all happily snuggled


under their mama -- and nursing. 


Breastfeeding and Feminism at the UNC

I just learned that the University of North Carolina at Greenboro just issued a Call for papers and Save The Date for their 7th Annual Breastfeeding and Feminism Conference in March of next year -- and my eyes lit up!

 For a moment I thought of submitting and abstract until I saw that the presentations are for only 15 minutes each, and flying across the country to give a 15 minute presentation? Of course I could always visit my bestie, who lives just up north while I was there and that would make the trip worth it. I'm thinking about it. Of course this sounds funny after my last post talking about all of my insecurities and nervousness about presenting at the International Lactation Consultant Association's Annual Meeting if chosen, so this is a bit funny. But I will give this some thought because breastfeeding and feminism is right up my alley, and of course I'll keep you up to date on what happens.

What about you? Would you give any thought on speaking at this event? What would you talk about?

I'm Speaking at the International Lactation Consultant Association's Annual Meeting Part II

I submitted my proposal to the ILCA in time to speak at the 2012 Conference in Florida! So now it's just a waiting game -- well, at least until November 6th when they will, through email, notify those who have been chosen to speak, present, give a workshop or whatever other entrants have decided to do. I not sure exactly how good my submission was since I put it together at the very last minute, and I had to quickly throw together an outline and do a fast update to my curriculum vitae -- I forgot I even had one, so that's kind of iffy, but I believe my perspective and abstract is what will make me stand out! I have to be honest that part of me is excited about this whole thing, while another part of me is wondering "What in the freaking heck was I thinking?" And yet, there is also that very tiny part that may breathe just a small sigh of relief upon learning I got the cyber boot.

Now, this doesn't mean I don't think I'm qualified to give a presentation and bring a new perspective, but like I said before, it also doesn't mean I'm not somewhat-kinda-sorta-absolutely terrified of being in a room full of IBCLCs, Nurses, Drs, previous and/or current nursers -- and those who have years of information, research, and personal, professional and academic scholarship under their belts, hearing a pitch from a never has-been nor ever will-be nurser. Nope. Just some chick who is pretty new to the theoretical and political aspect of infant feeding, throwing in my two cents on how I think we're screwing up with winning more people over to breastfeeding culture and my simple method to fix it. And I can't back out since I agreed that if chosen, I'll go! OK, I'll be back right after I've done some breathing.

Actually, I've been pretty lucky that I have usually been able to engage my audience with the things I speak on -- even if it is only to roll their eyes at me and the nonsense coming from my mouth. But seriously, I think that  if I am chosen I do have some reservations on the climate and atmosphere, but then again when I do some more thinking about it, encouragement can come in many ways and from many different directions, and maybe this is just the right atmosphere to bring such a perspective.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

I'm Speaking at the International Lactation Consultant Association's Annual Meeting

Well. . . Maybe.

The International Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA) announced its call for proposals for the 2012 conference in Orlando, Florida, and I'm thinking of going. Well, not only am I thinking of going, but the only reason I'm thinking of going is because I'm thinking of submitting a proposal - an abstract in order to give a presentation. The conference's theme is 'A Call To Action: New Perspectives in Human Lactation,' and I think this is a great opportunity. What would I speak about, you ask?  Well, of the available categories my interests would fit mostly in 'Policy and Promotion', since I am an advocate and Blactavist, right?!

Even though you don't have to be a professional to present at this conference, I do have some reservations about this, and I'll admit I do get intimidated by being so new to the area and being among, or presenting new information to those who have nursed, are nursing, have done extensive research, are IBCLCs, Dr.s, etc. in the area, but I also know that I do have a special vantage point that really could benefit this area; Anthropology!

I know anthropology would be such a great tool to bring to the table -- not that everyone need to have a background in the discipline in order to learn and participate, but I know sharing and explaining some of the practices and ways to produce more cultural understanding and awareness, thus increasing knowledge and breastfeeding rates will be priceless. I am a firm believer in the discipline and know that anthropology needs a more public eye, and as an anthropologist it is my job to bring these tools that I am confident will benefit our society to the forefront. Plus I have about 9 Months to put a presentation together.

Here's the fine print: I would need to become a member of the ILCA like now! No, not next week, but now, since I'm almost positive memberships are required to participate! Also, I just learned of this call for papers, which apparently began in the middle of September, but all info must be submitted by the 10th of this month at midnight -- yes, as in four days from now, but it's only an abstract so it's doable. But even if these two things happen and I submit a proposal there is still no guarantee I will be selected for presentation. But then there's always a chance I will.

Saving vs. Empowering: Look But Don't Touch!

I was recently in a situation where I was asked what I believed the difference was between saving someone and empowering them. My response was akin to the giving someone a fish versus teaching someone how to fish analogy. In my mind this makes so much sense, which is why I agree with the article titled "Why Breastfeeding Help Should Be Hands Off."

Here's a small excerpt:
"When helping moms who are struggling with breastfeeding, it can be very hard to resist the temptation to get right in there and help latch the baby on. It is important however for breastfeeding helpers, whether IBCLC, nurse, midwife, LLL Leader, peer counselor etc, to be hands off when it comes to helping mothers with breastfeeding. The most important thing we can do when working with breastfeeding families, is to help empower the mother to believe in herself and her ability to feed her baby. If we latch the baby on for her, we take her power away." Read the full article here
I have no doubt that breastfeeding can be a challenging experience -- especially with a first baby, and I can't think of anything more frustrating than being in the presence of someone who could so easily assist with situating a baby on its mother's breast, thus ending a possible lengthy crying. However, like I told my initial questioner -- empowering someone instead of saving them enables them to not only become the agent of one's own change, it also gives them the knowledge and tools to assist someone else on their road to empowerment. So in other words, look but don't touch. What experiences have you had with hands on/hands off breastfeeding advice and experience?

Would You Drink Breastmilk? (Video)

Would you drink your sister's?

I was looking at the latest post on the Blacktating blog and saw a post on the famous Mowry twins, Tia and Tamera, who apparently have a reality show. In the episode, Tia, who recently had a baby, convinces Tamera to try a freshly-pumped cup of her breastmilk. Well, after a bit of reluctance not only did Tamera try it, but she liked it  -- comparing it to chai tea.

I found it funny reading some of the comments about this. Though on the Blacktating blog there were no real reactions of disgust since most of the readers are breastmilk advocates, others said it's OK since they are twins, and they may be willing to try a sip but not a full glass. And then you just know there are plenty of others freaking out over this -- right before they're off to drink their pus/ fecal matter/hormone- injected cow's milk, that is. Well, I can tell you this; I do have a twin sister, and I would probably try her breastmilk.

I wonder if Tia has ever tried her milk herself.

What are the reasons you would or would not try mother's milk? 

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