Sunday, March 31, 2013

Sunday Surf: The importance of breastfeeding

Welcome to the Sunday Surf, a tour of the best blogposts I've read throughout the week.

Happy Easter photo collage from JC Penney Portraits
Hope you're having a very happy Easter! Per Mikko's request, we're having an Easter piƱata (well, of course), as well as heading over to his aunt's for dinner and egg dyeing. What fun are you having?

This week's Sunday Surf is dedicated to a specific topic: the recent Healthy Life Summit and a controversial presentation by Sarah Pope (The Healthy Home Economist) on nutrition as it relates to breastfeeding, as well as the position the Village Green Network (sponsors of the Healthy Life Summit) and the Weston A. Price Foundation (a related organization) take on the topic.

nummies from MamaOver the last few days there have been a lot of heated debates, controversial posts, and social media outcry because of the strident messages being put forth. While VGN and WAPF do present sound information on the ideal diet for breastfeeding mothers, they do so in a manner that brings about guilt, fear, and confusion.

On Thursday, bloggers from around the world came together in a show of support for breastfeeding mothers. New mothers have enough challenges without having to feel guilty for how they feed their baby, especially when they are choosing the most natural of means — breastfeeding.

The bloggers who participated in the Breastfeeding Support Blog Party are not trying to create a divide between mothers. They simply want to offer support, in the form of blog posts, as to why breastfeeding should always be the first choice both for baby and mama.

We hope you take some time to read the posts that were written as part of the Blog Party, which I've pasted below. There are also over 140 posts linked up as part of this. Take some time to check them out here or link up your own breastfeeding support post!

Since I didn't post on Thursday, here are my thoughts on the subject:

The WAPF position is a suggestion that women without an ideal Weston Price-approved diet have breastmilk no better nutritionally than commercial formula. For those not familiar with Weston Price, he was a forward-thinking dentist who in the 1930s traveled extensively and noted that people eating the traditional foods of their culture as opposed to the typical Western diet had stronger teeth and better overall health. He wrote the book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration as a result. The WAPF have codified his observations into very strict rules of traditional foods eating (ignoring, in my opinion, Price's own rules of eating your own culture's foods, though I find that very challenging in any case as an American mutt!).

The WAPF and Village Green Network have been encouraging the use of their homemade formula recipe, and one of their sponsors sells a kit and the hard-to-find ingredients. This is not only a clear violation of the WHO Code, but it is also dangerous: There are no peer-reviewed studies showing their formula is safe or beneficial for infants and children long term — whereas there are tons showing breastfeeding is not only safe (regardless of the mother's nutritional status) but also highly beneficial beyond the use of commercial formula. My statement here is not meant to stir up "Mommy Wars" of breastfeeding vs. bottle feeding; I'm only pointing out that breastfeeding has an established safety and value record (of millennia!), and commercial formula as well has many checks and balances in place in terms of safety and research. This homemade version does not have those advantages, and I think it's foolhardy for an organization to promote it so cavalierly.

My other problem with denigrating American women's breastmilk composition is that it misses the point that breastfeeding is about more than breastmilk. There has been much speculation that increases in IQ among breastfed babies, for example, has less to do with breastmilk nutrition and more to do with the face-to-face bonding time that breastfeeding ensures. There are so many benefits to breastfeeding, for both the baby and the mama, that have nothing to do with what precisely the baby is drinking. (Speaking of which, there are ways to bottle feed in a breastfeeding manner.)

My third problem is that this kind of nitpicking of American eating habits in a divisive and combative way is exactly what I hate about people's discussions of diets. Despite the fact that I can also find no studies proving the WAPF dietary principles over all others (and I've looked, because in general I like the general direction of Weston Price's conclusions), these advocates have transformed themselves into zealots with zero tolerance for anyone who doesn't follow their directives to the letter. There's little room for trying things out or finding what works for you; there's a definite all-or-nothing bent, and that extends into these discussions on breastfeeding and nutrition. I think their message — that pregnant and breastfeeding parents should consider seriously the makeup of their diet and make changes that would improve the health of their infants — is being corrupted with the dismissive and vehement rhetoric that obscures that core of truth.

So that's my take, and I'll be looking for transcripts and further discussions of the talks from the WAPF and VGN summit soon to read in more detail what the speakers had to say. For now, I'll leave you with the voices of other illustrious parenting bloggers who gave their take on breastfeeding's benefits and the relationship with nutrition:

Dionna at Code Name: Mama has come up with 40 ways that family, friends, coworkers and employers can support mothers who pump breastmilk, along with a ton of resources for you and the pumping mom in your life. There are also some fun graphics you can print and pass out, with 70% of all proceeds going to buy pumps for moms in domestic violence shelters!

Destany at They Are All of Me writes about ten common breastfeeding myths that scare women out of breastfeeding.

Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama discusses how her diet wasn't WAPF perfect, but she still breastfed a perfectly healthy baby.

Christine at African Babies Don't Cry is passionate about breastfeeding, here are her 101 reasons why!

Kelly at Becoming Crunchy discusses the question of whether you should still nurse - even if your diet isn't 'right'.

Jorje of Momma Jorje has enough pressure in her life, she is glad she doesn't have to worry about what, when and how much food she feeds her son since he is also still nursing.

Angela at EarthMamas World discusses a few of the most common problems that a mama may encounter while breastfeeding. Angela also shares natural remedies for each of these breastfeeding problems!

That Mama Gretchen reflects on the beautiful bond breastfeeding has created as her two children have transitioned from their womb experience to their earth side one.

Julia at A Little Bit of All of It shares ways breastfeeding and breastmilk are unique and special in a way only they can be.

Amy W. at Natural Parents Network shares 5 scientific reasons that mother's milk is an unequaled form of nutrition and nurture: so awesome, and so unique!

Laura at Authentic Parenting shares solid information on iron intake for the breastfed baby.

Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama shares the questions (and answers) about breastfeeding she wished she had a friend to answer for her before becoming a mama.

Abbie at Farmer's Daughter choose to breastfeed her children in part because it’s easier than bottle feeding, not to mention that it is the best nutrition for babies, that it has health benefits for both mother and child, that it encourages bonding, and of course that it’s free! Basically breastmilk is the ultimate convenience food.

KerryAnn at Cooking Traditional Foods shares how the rush to recommend raw milk formula actually harms mothers.

Starlene at GAPS Diet Journey shares her experience with nursing and why she feels it is an important piece of the your baby's health.

At Living Peacefully with Children, Mandy draws a connection between how formula companies market and how women are treated by society.

Amy at Anktangle outlines a few of the many ways breastfeeding benefits both mom and child—aside from providing excellent nutrition.

Adrienne at Whole New Mom shares Part One and Part Two of 100 Reasons Why Breast Is Best.

Dawn at Cultured Mama shares her personal breastfeeding journey and how she overcame low supply issues and successfully tandemed nursed with only one breast.

And here are some other important posts to note:

At & Hobo Mama:

Join me for the Weekly Parenting Poetry Workshop in April!

Weekly Parenting Poetry Workshop footprints on beach photo poetry-beach_zps6992dd51.jpg
April is National Poetry Month, and I want to celebrate poems and parenting in one beautiful span of five poetry-drenched weeks.

Come along with me on this challenge with one simple mission in mind: 
Write some parenting poetry.

That's it. It doesn't have to be amazing (though you'll find that a lot of it is!). You just have to write, and then share — inspire, and be inspired.

The minimal goal is to write at least one poem a week on the overarching theme for that week, which I'll post on Mondays. 

On Fridays, I'll host a linky for participants to share their poem(s) of the week.

We'll comment on each other's poems throughout the challenge and embrace the creativity of the group.

At the end of the challenge, there will be some prizes and sweet celebration — as well as the knowledge that you have at least five more parenting poems in your portfolio!

Come back tomorrow for this first week's prompts!

Carnival news:

Calling for submissions for the April 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Family Recipes!

April Carnival of Natural Parenting Call for Submissions: Family RecipesHere are the submission details for April 2013:

Theme: Family Recipes: Let go of the family secrets – share them with us! What is your favorite recipe, and where did it come from? Share your recipes, your stories, your pictures, and your memories.

Deadline: THIS Tuesday, April 2. Fill out the webform and email your submission to us by 11:59 p.m. Pacific time: CarNatPar {at}

(Photo credit: Kristin of Intrepid Murmurings)

Take my poll:

Choose a few answers that reflect what you MOST want to see on Hobo Mama.


I've got THREE nice big giveaways ending TODAY, each for a $100 CVS gift card! (As in, enter all of them!)
Fluffy rainbow clouds of joy on a sick day (plus a $100 giveaway!)

Staying well during sick days + $100 giveaway from Children's Mucinex! {3.31; US}
7 ways to turn sick days into fun days
Being sniffly doesn't have to mean being miserable.
7 ways to turn sick days into fun days + $100 CVS gift card giveaway {3.31; US}
Enter with one easy comment on each post for a chance to win one of three $100 gift cards to CVS. (They all end today, March 31, and are open to the US only.) It's nice to have a little extra spending money during cold & flu season!

Plus, at Natural Parents Network:

Giveaway: CHOOZE Shoes in Size 7 Toddler – 4 Youth Giveaway $45 {4/13; US/Can}

Surf with us:

Sunday Surf with Authentic Parenting and Hobo MamaWe love following along with fellow Sunday Surfers. If you have your own post of reading links to share, please link up your post on Hobo Mama or on Authentic Parenting. The linky will go live every Sunday, and you can link up any day that week. You only need to add your post to one of the sites, and the linky will automatically show up on both sites.

You can get the Sunday Surf button by Jenna Designs and some code to add to your post from my Sunday Surf page.

Check out previous editions for good reading, and you can find more shared items during the week at my Tumblr blog, Hobo Mama's Shared Items.

This linky list is now closed.


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