Thursday, March 6, 2008

Legislative Women's Caucus, Legislative Leaders Unveil Innovative, Family Friendly Nursing and Baby Changing Facilities

Press Release

Legislative Women's Caucus, Legislative Leaders Unveil Innovative, Family Friendly Nursing and Baby Changing Facilities

Newly-Adapted Restrooms Offer Parents Creative Options With State of the Art Facilities

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno and Legislative Women's Caucus Chair Assemblymember Patricia Eddington held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to unveil the installation of nursing and baby changing facilities throughout the Legislative Office Building (LOB).

Inspired by a request from a constituent who needed to nurse her child during a visit to Assembly Labor Committee Chair Susan John, Silver said the facilities were intended to make it easier for the thousands of parents who work and visit the Capitol to meet their families' needs.
"Each year thousands of advocates come to the L.O.B. and to the Capitol, to meet with their legislators and to experience the legislative process. While I believe that we have done a good job of opening up the People's House to all New Yorkers -- government leaders must be ever vigilant and always sensitive to the changing needs of the citizens we serve. These nursing and baby-changing facilities will make the Legislature more user-friendly to the parents and the families who come here to participate in their government," said Silver.

"It is vitally important that the bathrooms in public buildings fit the needs of all New Yorkers. These newly redesigned facilities mark an important step along that path. I am confident these improvements will encourage more people to enter the L.O.B. and become participants in government. I'd like to thank the Legislative Women's Caucus for taking the lead on this issue and working to get these changes made," said Bruno.

"Research clearly demonstrates the tremendous health benefits gained by breast feeding babies. It is a natural process that helps build the antibodies that boost and improve the baby's immune system. Unfortunately, it's becoming harder and harder for mothers to breast feed. Many women work outside the home and it can be difficult to continue the breast feeding process. Others face challenges when out in public. It can be difficult to find a safe, clean environment in which to care for a child. I am pleased that the Senate and the Assembly recognized the importance of this issue and made rooms available for women to have the opportunity to breast feed their infants. I want to thank Speaker Silver and Senator Bruno for their progressive insight into this very important project," said Eddington (D-Suffolk).

"This is a very exciting day for the families of New York State," said John (D-Rochester). "The issue of the lack of breastfeeding facilities came to my attention when a constituent came to Albany with her baby. When it was feeding time there was no place for the mother to feed her child. I offered her the use of my office, but I knew there had to be a better way for this mother to care for her child. I applaud the Speaker for his leadership on this issue, and I know that today's action by the Assembly will encourage employers across New York to do what is right for our children and families."

"Personally speaking, as a mother who nursed four infants, I can attest to the barrier that existed years ago. Finally a greater understanding of the benefits of nursing has brought the Legislature, and society generally, to create a more supportive environment. I applaud and thank our legislative leaders," said Senator Suzi Oppenheimer (D-Westchester).
"Accommodating new mothers and their young children in this very important way is something of which we can all be proud," said Senator Betty Little (R-Queensbury). "I commend Assemblywoman John for bringing this concern to the attention of the Women's Caucus and applaud our legislative leaders, Bruno and Silver, for responding so quickly. Few things could better affirm our commitment to 'family values' than providing these facilities for mothers to care for their babies."

Each floor of the LOB contains one Nursing and Baby changing facility. In addition, baby changing equipment is available in the men's restrooms on each floor. Additional amenities of the newly renovated Nursing Centers include a large, comfortable lounge chair constructed from an antimicrobial vinyl material; a footstool and a "Boppy" pillow, to provide additional support for the nursing mother.

The rooms are equipped with a wall divider for privacy, a ground fault interrupter for safety, hand sanitizers and baby wipes. In addition, refrigerators exclusively for breast milk storage will be available in the nurse's offices in the LOB and the Capitol to allow those mothers who need to express milk and those fathers who may need to store food for their children.
"I commend the Legislative Women's Caucus and their Chair, Assembly Member Patricia Eddington for their leadership in establishing this nursing and baby changing facility and ensuring that similar facilities will be available throughout the Legislative Office Building," said Silver.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

This article REALLY annoys me!


If the stories told were accurate, then these professionals did cross boundaries and were innapropriate in their conduct. An LC making recommendations regarding the care of a 33 week neonate is beyond her scope of practice. There are good and bad in every area, thats why moms should get a doula or an LC who has the appropriate training and references.

That said, I wish the NYT realizes how many women benefit from a good doula and a good LC. I am sure they will get plenty of letters disputing this article, maybe it will encourage them to write something to balance the negative protrayal they describe in this article.

Friday, February 22, 2008

NYS Museum Follow Up

Word on the lactivism message boards and lists is that about twenty-five moms and their babies went to the NYS museum not as a nurse in, but as a show of support.
Read about it here

'Breast is best' message flawed article from Science Alert

'Breast is best' message flawed
Original Press Release

Breast is best' message flawed

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Current promotional and educational programs which describe breastfeeding as 'best' are undermining women’s capacity to make informed decisions about infant feeding, according to an article published by a University of Wollongong doctoral student in Maternal and Child Nutrition.
Ms Nina Berry from UOW’s Centre for Health Initiatives was joint author of a report with Karleen Gribble from the University of Western Sydney called “Breast is no longer best: promoting normal infant feeding”. Breastfeeding is not 'best', say the authors, it is simply the normal way to feed human infants.
The article suggested that breastfeeding promotion and education programs should abandon the ‘breast is best’ message because it is misleading and fails to communicate the importance of breastfeeding.
“In fact, these messages may have obscured the importance of breastfeeding to infant and maternal health and the well-established risks associated with early weaning from breastfeeding,” Ms Berry said. "To say that 'breast is best' is to suggest that what breastfeeding offers is a handful of optional bonuses and that formula-fed infants are the normal standard for comparison. In fact, human babies were designed to be fed human milk."
“Research has found that while most people accept that breastfed babies are healthier, they do not understand that this means that formula-fed babies are likely to be sicker. Because formula feeding is viewed as harmless, women are not getting the support they need to continue breastfeeding and to make informed choices about infant feeding. This misunderstanding demonstrates the failure of the ‘breast is best’ message and the need to rethink breastfeeding promotion”, she said.
The paper in Maternal and Child Nutrition also illuminates an important addition to the body of evidence pointing to the significance of using breastfed babies as the control group when conducting research.
The World Health Organisation (WHO)’s Multicenter Growth Reference study found that the growth of formula- fed babies deviated from that of breastfed babies and that using growth charts based on formula-fed babies could be contributing to the current obesity epidemic.
The use of formula-fed babies in control groups makes it difficult for readers to see that formula-fed babies are at increased risk of adverse health outcomes, Ms Berry said.
The WHO recommends that children are breastfed for up to two years or more and that they should not be given any food or drink other than breast milk for the first six months of their lives.
“It takes a great deal of support for mothers to reach these goals. However, mothers are not being provided with adequate support because the risks associated with early introduction of foods other than human milk are not well understood by health professionals. Furthermore, many health professionals are reluctant to talk to mothers about risks because they do not want to make mothers feel guilty. This is not about guilt. It is about a mother’s right to have all the information she needs to make an informed choice about how she should feed her baby – it is about ensuring that mothers have the support they need,” Ms Berry said.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Bill Would Exempt Nursing Mothers From Jury Duty

Bill Would Exempt Nursing Mothers From Jury Duty

Legislation pending in the state Senate would exempt nursing mothers from jury duty.
Harford County state Senator Nancy Jacobs says she has known of instances in her own district in which breast-feeding mothers were required to serve on juries, even though they argued they couldn't be away from their babies.
Jacobs says she introduced the bill because of a case a few years ago in which an Anne Arundel County mother was cited for contempt of court. A similar bill was introduced in 2004 but died in a legislative committee.
The proposed exemption would be allowed until the nursing child turns two-years-old.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

More on NYS Museum

Click here for article containing statement by NYS museum

So as of now hat I have read on the WWW is that there is a nurse in planned for Friday at NYS museum, however this is from the article that is linked above: "The State Museum has checked its employees and says no one with that name and the description Kelly gave was on the museum floor Tuesday. They say the Museum is “family friendly” and they want Kelly and others to know they are welcome to breastfeed wherever they want. They feel it could not have been one of their employees. “We wouldn’t do that, none of our staff would do that…we try to be as welcoming to families as possible, “ says Cliff Siegfried, Director of the State Museum. He says many state workers with state ID badges routinely walk through the Museum during the course of the day and feels the woman who confronted Kelly could have been one of those employees, not a Museum staffer."

I would like to say that as much as I support the Lactivism movement and am a firm believer in it, there is definitely not enough info yet to be calling a nurse-in. Please refer to this blog article, Nurse ins are not the first line of defense written by Jennider Wilcock AKA The Lactivist. Jennifer says here exactly what I think, but is much more eloquent than I could ever be.

My advice, for what its worth, is call of the nurse-in for now. There are not enough facts at this point and the museum can be 100% innocent of any wrong doing and should not have to suffer because a museum visitor made an ignorant statement.

Mom told to stop breastfeeding in NYS Museum

Click here for article
ALBANY -- In New York, the law states you can breastfeed in any public place. But an Albany woman says a State Museum employee must not know that. Kristin Kelly is a young mother of three including a 4 month old she breast feeds.
Tuesday she says she was insulted and humiliated for feeding her baby in public even though she knew she was well within the law.
"I absolutely felt like I was doing something wrong," said Kristin Kelly with tears in her eyes.
Kelly and her three children ages 5, 3 and little four month old Zachary were enjoying an afternoon at the New York State Museum. Near the end of their visit Zachary got hungry and Kristin says she found a bench up against a wall and began to breast feed her baby.
"I sat down and made sure I was covered, three blankets over him actually, and I began to nurse, while my other two children sat beside me," she said.
Suddenly, according to Kristin all this was interrupted.
"A lady that said she was an employee of the museum they had another person report me and so I had to go to the bathroom where they had a chair set up where you could nurse or I would have to leave the museum," she said.
Kristin says was speechless when the woman with the museum ID tag came back a second time, stared at her and asked her to move again.
Zachary was finished by then but when Kristin told her husband Shaun he was so outraged he contacted the museum. Shaun says a spokesperson told him the museum allows nursing anywhere but he was not surprised Kristin was told to stop.
When Newschannel 13 contacted the museum, the museum director, Cliff Siegfried said, "the museum has no such policy prohibiting breast feeding anywhere."
As for Kristin she believes there's a lesson here for all breast feeding mothers and those who would stop them.
"I have a right to feed my child where ever I want to feed him," she said.
The museum director also told Newschannel 13 that he was still looking into identifying the museum employee who Kristin says told her to stop breast feeding. He did not however say what action, if any would be taken if the employee is identified.