Thursday, December 11, 2014

Texas Breastfeeding Coalition Is Starting an Art Collection

This is an idea I've had percolating for awhile, and it's finally happening! Texas Breastfeeding Coalition is in the process of building a collection of breastfeeding art.  The art is intended to be exhibited throughout Texas in the coming years, in an effort to normalize breastfeeding and to educate those who see it on the benefits of breastfeeding and the need for support to bring those benefits to fruition.


This project is in its infancy.  There are no hard and fast rules at the moment, and most of the plans are a wish list we would like to make a reality.  What we hope for is a permanent art collection that will travel the state in galleries, restaurants, libraries, coffee houses, etcetera, with the coordination of breastfeeding advocates and local coalitions.  We are looking for support and involvement in a number of ways.  You can become involved by reading for more information below and contacting TXBCArt@gmail.com.

ART SUBMISSIONS
We are accepting submissions of art, and will continue to do so indefinitely.  Please email TXBCArt@gmail.com for more information as you plan your submission. Please note that our first show is currently scheduled for February 16-24, and we would like to have enough pieces together by then to fill a gallery at the Capitol.  Pieces for the Capitol exhibit will need to be - and I hate this word, but for lack of a better one - modest.  Pieces to show elsewhere do not need to take that into consideration.
Art should be framed (if appropriate), and we would prefer donations.   If a piece is on loan, we will need a signed liability release.  There is no budget allotted at this time for shipping, so artists should plan to be responsible for delivery of their piece(s).  At this time, art is being collected in Austin.  
Pieces are intended to be shown with informational signage - stats on breastfeeding benefits, personal stories of the impact of facing discrimination for breastfeeding in public or of having support (or not) to pump at work.  If you feel moved to include such information with your piece, please do so.
Pieces are not intended to be sold or judged. (It's possible that we could include photos of pieces on the TXBC website that could link to the artists so that prints could be sold. But pieces would not be for sale from exhibits.)
We would like to show diversity in ethnicity of the subjects and in feeding methods.


EXHIBIT SPACES
We need help securing spaces to show the collection.  Please contact us for available dates, then work to secure dates for shows in any venues that may want to display art.


LEADERSHIP
We need someone passionate and committed to take the lead on organizing this project.  This person or team will maintain the calendar, make arrangements for travel/shipment, and be responsible for the educational element (signs to display with each piece, with information as described above).


DISPLAY
We need a way to display the art, at least at the Capitol.  This could mean borrowing easels, or having something custom-built.  If you are available to help with either, please contact us.


SIGNS
The educational elements described above, we are imagining having printed on foam core signs.  It would be wonderful to have the printing of these donated.
We will need help in writing, designing, editing, etc.

FUNDRAISING
We may need to raise funds for displays, signs, and shipping.  If you can donate money, please contact TXBCArt@gmail.com.


LIABILITY WAIVER
We need a liability release drafted, to be signed by anyone loaning art.


TITLE/THEME
We need a title for the exhibit, that will sort of tie things together thematically (beyond the theme of “breastfeeding.”  The theme should be something along the lines of “It Takes a Village” - only clever instead of clich├ęd.  Point is, the collection and the educational signage with it will be used to educate, and to stress the need for support of breastfeeding mothers and children.

TRANSPORT
It would be great to have some boxes donated to transport the framed artwork safely.


Love this submission from Brian the Birth Guy!
(And now the song lyric, "I'm so excited, and I just can't hide it!"
is running through my head.)
While this has been in my head for a long while, the time to make it really happen is now short. Please spread the word and help out in whatever way you can. I'm so excited! Really! This is going to be awesome!

Friday, November 14, 2014

What's Kim Kardashian Got to Do with Alyssa Milano?

I'm adding the "(insert sexy/nude stuff here) is ok but breastfeeding is not" complaints to stuff I'm *OVER* regarding breastfeeding advocacy. (The list so far includes nurse-ins getting all the glory while preventative measures like legislation lack the same passionate involvement, trolls, comments sections, & anyone who likens breastfeeding to any natural functions we perform in private, from sex to pooping to nose picking.)

It's been a pet peeve for awhile now, but this here article ("Alyssa Milano Gets Heat for Breastfeeding Selfies But Kim Kardashian Nudes are Celebrated?") has me seething.

A. It's not okay that Kim Kardashian posed nude - people are freaking the frak out about it. It SHOULD be okay - celebrated even, perhaps, but opinions are like... Well, everybody's got an opinion, & some of them are really judgmental.

B. Did Alyssa Milano get heat for her breastfeeding selfies? Probably, I guess, because internet trolls. But surely most of us are all "BOOYAH!" about it, right?

C. To answer the question posed in the article, "What do you find more offensive..." I'll say this: the fact that the author refers to Kim Kardashian's booty as her "giant rump," and "overly ample backside" is what I find most offensive. I don't follow the Kardashians, so it's not that I'm a fan. It just really ticks me off that someone is either advocating for breastfeeding while being a jerkface about another woman, or they're *pretending* to advocate for breastfeeding while being a jerkface about another woman for double the media hot topics.

In short:

It's okay for Kim Kardashian to pose nude on the cover of a magazine.

It's okay for Alyssa Milano to post breastfeeding selfies.

It's NOT okay for anybody to act high & mighty judging either choice, or by judging how they look doing it.

End rant.



Screenshot courtesy of Victoria S.

Friday, November 7, 2014

It's Time! We Need You Now!

The picture below is from a screen grab of an email I wrote to my friend almost seven years ago, after we went to the Capitol together with other mothers and advocates to legislators in support of Rep. Farrar's second filing of her bill to strengthen the NIP law.

SEVEN years ago. 

And the bill still has no enforcement. 

It has been filed every session since, & each time it has failed. No more. It's time to get this bill passed, y'all. 

Our right to breastfeed our babies wherever we are authorized to be is routinely violated. And a law that is flouted with impunity is one which needs strengthening. Otherwise, what is the point of anything our legislators do?
I was so anxious that first time I went to advocate for mothers and babies. As an introvert, I was completely out of my element. I'm still an introvert, but now I know that when I'm telling lawmakers that they need to take responsibility for supporting mothers and babies through policy - I am IN my element. 

But we need y'all there with Texas Breastfeeding Coalition. Please join us for some or all of the TXBC Fall Meeting & Legislative Action Days this month.




In anticipation of the start of the 84th legislative session, we are meeting with legislators this month, and we need people (whether you're a TXBC member or not) in attendance from all over this huge state. Legislators are most interested in that which their constituents care about, so we need a lot of involvement for our 31 large Senate districts and our 150 Representative districts. There will be training before you meet with legislators/staffers, and efforts will be made to pair people together for meetings, so the meetings won't be as intimidating as they may sound!

The TXBC Fall Meeting and Legislative Action Days are just a week and a half away now, on Nov. 17 & 18. To register for the meeting, click here.

There is a downloadable flyer on the Fall Meeting page of the website if you want to share meeting information with other breastfeeding advocates. You can also help to promote the event by inviting friends on Facebook.

If you are only able to attend Day 2 (Tuesday, Nov. 18) of the meeting, there will be no registration fee for Day 2 only attendance. To register for Day 2 only, please complete this two-question survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/RTSNPQF

This meeting will be held in the Banquet Room of the Capitol Grill (E1.002) at the state Capitol in Austin. There is limited power, so bring your electronic devices fully charged.

In addition to our legislative agenda, the meeting will include TXBC business, an ethics E CERP and a screening of the incredible documentary, The Milky Way.

If you need to bring your baby/child, that's perfectly alright! If they become distracting, you'll be able to step out into the cafeteria or even stroll around the Capitol to settle them, & then rejoin the meeting! If you are interested in child care, that is something we may be able to arrange for. Email txbfleg@gmail.com with "Child Care" in the subject so we can gauge interest.

If you are unable to attend, please visit the lege page of our website at TXBFLeg.com for a menu of ways to support pro-breastfeeding legislation.

See the flyer on the website for more details, and please register or complete the survey as soon as you are able, to facilitate appointment making.

Friday, October 24, 2014

No.

No.  No no no no no no no.  Just, NO.

A HOSPITAL has discriminated against a breastfeeding mother.

We have hospitals in Texas doing things right - the Texas Ten Step Program, the Star Achiever Initiative, hospitals seeking Baby-Friendly status.

Then there's UMC, where someone decided to tell a mother with a four-month-old infant waiting for her appointment - to breastfeed in private.  In a restroom, in fact.

Someone who thought that the health of that baby was trumped by the discomfort of some adults.

NO!

I have no doubt this will go viral.  And everyone will be talking about Texas law.
Sec. 165.002. RIGHT TO BREAST-FEED. A mother is entitled to breast-feed her baby in any location in which the mother is authorized to be.
And who will be correcting the people who comment that what that hospital did was totally illegal?

You.

We need you to spread the word while this is being discussed in articles and social media that it is not illegal to violate a mother's right to feed her child. And until it IS illegal, this kind of discrimination will continue to jeopardize breastfeeding relationships.

Texas Breastfeeding Coalition is meeting November 17 and 18 and we will make a presentation to legislators and staffers on legislation we will support in the coming session.  We will also have meetings in their offices.  The bill closest to my heart will be filed by Representative Farrar.  It will make it illegal to interfere with or restrict breastfeeding, it will educate business owners that the law exists, and it will allow mothers to sue businesses for a max of $500 if they are harassed.
If that sounds like something you want to make happen, register for the TXBC meeting and help us.  It will take people from all over this humongous state (politely) demanding that their representatives and senators take responsibility for supporting mothers and babies.  Policy is vital to changing this systemic problem, where even in a hospital, a mother must worry that she will be confronted by ignorance.

Photo Courtesy of The Good Body Project
If you cannot make this meeting, plan to attend the next one in February, and go to TXBFLeg.com to see how else you can be a part of making change happen.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

My Sweet Pea's Heart

On August 24th, my five-year-old middle son walked off the edge of a playscape and got hurt.  Hearing my husband's reaction to seeing the fall, I rushed over as Adam scooped Sweet Pea up and sat him down on the playscape to look at him.  He started to lay down and I realized he'd passed out.  He was kicking his legs and I thought he must be having a seizure.  I felt panicky and told Adam to call 911.

By the time he grabbed his phone from a few feet away, Sweet Pea was conscious again.  He didn't talk for a couple of minutes, and didn't make any sense for a couple more, but the crisis was over so quickly that we were left reeling, unsure of what had just happened.

When we saw the doctor, she thought he may just have passed out in reaction to the pain, that it may not be the neurocardiogenic syncope that we have in our family's medical history.  That was my fear; I worried this would happen again and again throughout his life.

Our pediatrician ordered an EKG, which for some reason I assumed would reveal nothing.  And she thought it looked fine, but said she'd send it to the specialist to read it, to be sure.

Later that day she called to say that the EKG showed something.  By the time we hung up I had written down the names and numbers for two pediatric cardiology offices; I was supposed to see one within the week.

But I couldn't really remember what else she'd said.  I felt crazy.  I felt SO guilty.
There'd been medical jargon, and I had no clue what it meant, and I was freaking the $#%@ out.  I wracked my brain for the word while I called my sister, who did her best to talk me down.

She asked if the doctor had said Long QT Syndrome.  I thought not, but then I started to worry that was it, and I was even more freaked out, because I knew that would be a very scary condition.  I had Adam leave a message with the pedi that we needed another call to go over it again.

Finally I started Googling EKG, or something, and there it was - "pre-excitation."

I was a little familiar with one form of pre-ecitation syndrome.  My sister has Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome.

Adam and I watched a video online and learned that electricity should only travel between the top chambers and bottom chambers through the AV node.  But Sweet Pea has an extra pathway.  So electrical impulses can go through there, as well, and the heart can beat too quickly.

The pediatric cardiologist confirmed Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome, and also said he has an innocent (harmless) heart murmur.  After a long ultrasound we were told that his heart is structurally sound.  So the only concern is the WPW.

We were referred to another pedi cardiologist, an electrophysiologist who treats pre-excitation syndrome.  He put SP on a heart monitor for 24 hours to determine if the accessory pathway might be a weak one.  Sometimes with WPW, when the heart gets beating really fast, the pathway is too weak to keep up and the heart rate kind of maxes out - or at least that's how I understand it.

Sweet Pea's extra pathway isn't wimpy.

The biggest concern with WPW is that, while it is rare, people can die from it.  And there's no way of telling who might die suddenly and who might never even have an episode of an excessively fast heart rate.

So on Tuesday they'll send a catheter up through the femoral artery, into Sweet Pea's heart.  They'll locate the pathway and, depending on where it is, will use either hot or cold energy to zap it.  The success rate of radiofrequency ablation is 95%.  The risk of a major complication is about 3%.  The risk of sudden death is 0 to 0.39% per year.  Much lower (yearly) than the risks involved in treatment - but as terrified as I am of the procedure, I am more afraid of a .39% chance of Sweet Pea just suddenly dying from something we can cure.

And I really am terrified of medical procedures.  I passed out over shots for most of my childhood.  I took care of my mother when she had breast cancer, and I barely stayed conscious when she had her lung drained to treat pleural effusion and when she had a PICC line inserted.

I had my first son naturally to avoid having an epidural.  Giving birth naturally was incredibly empowering, so the other two were born without interventions not out of any fear.  But the first time around, I was more afraid of that needle and the possible avalanche of medical interventions than I was of contractions.

I'm terrified of sedation, even.  My mother's heart stopped twice under anesthesia when I was a kid.

I'm an anxious person to begin with, but the anxiety over this situation is becoming unbearable.

Sweet Pea & Magoo celebrating my blog's 2nd birthday with cupcakes at Quintessence.  He has such a beautiful smile, but it's hard to catch on camera.  I told him to smile like I was going to tickle him, and he laughed and acted like I was actually tickling him.  Sweet, silly boy.
For some reason, I've not talked about it much with people, in real life or on social media.  And that's increasing my anxiety.  I feel like there's not much point connecting with people on anything, when the most important thing is one I'm mostly guarding.

I've become almost silent on the KANIP Facebook page.  I didn't follow through with finishing my logo contest, I barely promoted Quintessence.

It's hard for me to put energy into advocacy when I feel like, for two years now, advocacy has often taken priority over my family - especially in regards to my desire to provide them with all that comes with the homemaker side of my job.  And right now I just want to focus on my family.

So I've gradually drifted away from posting.  And it sucks.  And it's awesome.  I'm starting to let go of some of the anxiety I have about staying current with breastfeeding news and posting regularly and maintaining my reach and keeping up with Facebook algorithms, etc.

But as nice as the vacation from my work has been, this passion of mine being neglected isn't sustainable.  Working on pro-breastfeeding legislation is extremely important to me.  It's my Rose, if you're familiar with "The Little Prince."  I've put too much time into her to give up now.

So, I guess I've come to feel that I needed to put this out there.

Thankfully my friend Mandi helps me admin the Facebook page, and she has shared funny memes and thought-provoking articles while I've been turtling.  But I need to feel like this situation is not in the way of me posting a funny meme, because right now I wouldn't bother.  It seems too unimportant compared to what I want to be saying.  I feel like I've needed to explain why I've been absent.

And I needed to write it out, to process it.  I don't really understand exactly why I feel like I need to put it on my blog.  It's not about breastfeeding or even feminism or gender issues or body image or anything non-breastfeeding that I sometimes share about.

I guess that maybe it's that this blog is such a personal outlet for me.  I have an impulse now to talk about this because it's so personal, but I've been holding it too tightly.  I need help to carry it.  I've been telling friends and colleagues more.  I hope that the more I share, the more I'll let go of my fears and anxiety.  Because they get worse the closer Tuesday gets.  And my baby needs me to be strong, not terrified.

I know that, in a way, this is no big deal.  There are far worse things.  I'm thankful the WPW was diagnosed and can be treated.  Still, this is my sensitive, compassionate, precious, sunny little boy who tells goofy jokes and gives the best snuggles and is just freaking delightful.  And lucky as we are that it's not worse, I'm still scared.

I'd appreciate any prayers, positive vibes, and good juju that you can send Sweet Pea and my family and the doctors and nurses and anesthesiologist treating him on Tuesday morning.  And if you have any advice about preparing the boys and/or getting through this, I'd appreciate it.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

KANIP Logo Contest

I've been meaning to have a logo contest for my blog for like two years.  Well, maybe a little less, cause it's not two years old yet, but for a really long time, y'all.  Seems like National Breastfeeding Month is as good a reason as any to quit procrastinating.

Photo by Jennifer Gabriele
Once, in college, I had to do a project for an art class that was required for my design/tech theatre degree.  I had this large framed mirror that was cracked - I don't remember if it cracked around the time of the project or I risked seven years bad luck for the sake of a grade or what, but I used the mirror and a sloppy mess of pink ribbon and I think I splattered it with black paint.  It was supposed to be about my mother's breast cancer.  It looked like crap.  I seem to recall tossing it in a dumpster once it was graded and returned to me.  I have blocked any memory of what grade I received.

I'm not an artist.  BUT, I think it would rock like Slayer to have a logo for my blog.  I love the Wonder Woman photo I use on FB, and I'm super appreciative that my husband Adam (a brilliant copywriter/marketing consultant/pianist/songwriter, and also NOT - notnotnotnotnot - a graphic artist) made the cover photo I have on Facebook.  The blue and red work for Wonder Woman, but with text, it makes my eyes hurt.  Seriously.  I worry it could give someone a seizure.



Source
I have just about zero guidance on how it should look.  I'd like to have a new profile pic and cover photo, something that works together.  But if it's just a logo, not like a whole concept-ey kind of a thing, that's cool, too.  Whatever.  I'm not picky.  

Oh - I called the blog Keep Austin Nursing in Public after the Keep Austin Weird campaign that's about supporting local businesses.  The slogan is repurposed a lot around here.  The font Adam used mimics the one used for the bumper stickers and T-shirts around town, and I like that.  But I do want my advocacy work to reach outside of the ATX, and to expand my audience.  Just FYI.  So maybe no, like, Austin skyline, ya know?

And while mostly I blog about breastfeeding advocacy, I also post about feminism in general, body image, gender stereotyping, parenthood, etc.  But mostly boobs.

Entry constitutes permission to use your name and logo in the future, without additional compensation.  Any submissions are made with the understanding that I have permission to use, edit, etc. (not edit as in mess with your art, but, for example, with our breastfeeding coalition the name is part of the logo and I've needed to remove that for some projects.)  I don't know if that makes them my property or just that you're giving the A-OK to use them.  I can't afford a graphic designer let alone a lawyer to make this sound all official; if you have questions please ask so we're on the same page.  If you submit a logo and I use it, it may well end up on T-shirts, and even if I make a little dough selling those, you'll just be stuck with your one shirt.  Oh, yeah - if you win, I'll make you a shirt!  (That's the aforementioned compensation, but just for the person whose logo I use.)

Submissions are due no later than 11:57 pm on September 4th to KeepAustinNIP@gmail.com, with "LOGO" in the subject.  It should be a high res image that I can use on your shirt.  It would be great to get it as a Jpeg, & also in an EPS format (I don't know what that is, but I know it's been preferable for our coalition shirts in the past).

Be sure to subscribe to this blog in case there are updates.  I feel certain I'm forgetting something... 

If all goes well I'll share the chosen logo on September 5th - the anniversary of the incident that started this whole advocacy thing for me.  Cause I want to celebrate the Lemonade with a new logo!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Can You Help Michael?



A friend of mine helped you, though you may not even know it.  

Now I'd like to tell you how you can help her.

This blog started because my sons' school district adopted a regulation requiring nursing mothers to go to a private room.  The chief legal counsel insisted this was legal and claimed that the practice was in place "at the City of Austin, Travis County, The University of Texas, Seton Family of Hospitals, and other school districts in the Austin area."

Knowing this to be hogwash and having majored in journalism, my dear friend Rachel Ham started contacting the places on the list, systematically refuting every claim.  It was her call to Hays Consolidated Independent School District that led to the breastfeeding-friendly policy there.  Austin ISD's Board Policy Committee drew heavily on the Hays policy when deciding to adopt a regulation that upholds the law.

So that's a little bit about Rachel, and how she helped breastfeeding moms, and one way in which she is awesome.


Rachel's little boy is very, very ill.  Scary ill.  

Although she breastfed Michael for 14 months and breastmilk helps to prevent C. diff infections, he got sick with it seven months ago and has been fighting re-infections ever since.  The doctors are resorting to a rarely used treatment not covered by Rachel's health insurance, so on top of everything else her family is going through, they now have to find a way to pay for a treatment they cannot afford but is vital to getting Michael safe.

You can help here: Help the Hams

I know there are so many things out there that you could do with your money.  I know you're probably here because if I ever ask anything of you, it's usually about breastfeeding advocacy and that matters to you.  I know this isn't about breastfeeding.

I've felt so helpless as Michael has gotten sick over and over again.  I've been so afraid for them, cried so many tears, prayed so many prayers.  I'm writing about this here because it's something I can do, to try to help.  I can ask you to please consider helping, even just in a small way.  I can't cure Michael, but I can try to help lift this unnecessary financial burden from his family.  I hope you'll help, too.


Sweet Michael, exhausted by the
constant fight his body is waging.





Thursday, July 10, 2014

National Breastfeeding Month Events in Austin

August is National Breastfeeding Month and the first week is World Breastfeeding Week!  How will you celebrate the breastfeedingest time of the year?!

I'll do my best to update the events below as new details come up.  I have some ideas that I'm really excited about but I need to find some time and help to make them happen.  



I was honored to be a part of Leilani Rogers' Public Breastfeeding Awareness Project.
Check out her blog and Facebook page August 1-7 for more wonderful NIP photos.
Membership Drive:
Did you know that you can be a part of your state and local breastfeeding coalitions?  This strengthens the coalitions, because there is strength in numbers, and gives you more opportunities to promote and support breastfeeding.  You can encourage your friends, family, pediatrician, dentist, hair stylist, midwife group, doula group, ETC.! to join - and win a prize!  What prize, you ask?  I'm not sure just yet - I'm still working on that.  For sure it will include an autographed book by Barbara Wilson-Clay!  If you'd like to contribute to the prizes, contact me at KeepAustinNIP@gmail.com and include "Prizes" in the subject.  To WIN a prize, have those you refer be certain to include your name as the person who referred them.  The prize(s) will go to whomever recruits the most members (with extra weight given to recruited organizations), and if there is a tie the winner will be randomly chosen from the top recruiters.
Join Central Texas Breastfeeding Coalition (we're transitioning from the name Central Texas Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition) for $10/year as an individual or for $30/year as an organization here and have your recruits include your name
 in the "Specific Interests" field of the membership form.
Join Texas Breastfeeding Coalition for $10 per individual, $25 for agencies/organizations, and $100 for businesses.  Ask your recruits to include your name with the committee they would like to join on the form here.
Breastfeeding T-shirts:
Image courtesy of Melissa Mason Hansen
If you need another reason to join CTBC, here it is!  T-shirts with this fantastic breastfeeding Rosie the Riveter image by artist Melissa Mason Hansen will be available with membership beginning with our August 9th screening of The Milky Way (see events list below).  T-shirts will be available for pick up by members/with membership registration at select August events including the Community Breastfeeding Support Initiative on August 20, while supplies last.




At last year's latch on event.
My biggest kid snuggling my littlest
during the latch.  So sweet.
August 2
Event:
Latch On Texas
Are you ready to get your Latch On?!!  Latch On Texas will highlight breastfeeding by having mothers across Texas breastfeeding their babies at Latch On Texas sites across the state.  It is an inclusive event open to mothers feeding their babies their own breastmilk or donor milk via SNS, syringe, tube, or other delivery method.  (This event is in lieu of The Big Latch On, which is now sponsored by a for-profit milk bank.  Many advocates are uncomfortable with this as our priority is the HMBANA non-profit milk banks like Mothers' Milk Bank at Austin.)
Two Locations:
In Austin: The Natural Baby Company, 515 South Congress, Suite 200, Austin)
Time: 10:00am; Latch will be promptly at 10:30am for 1 minute; store will open at 9:30am
Details: The Natural Baby Company will give each participant a free pair of Bamboobies nursing pads, and Central Texas Breastfeeding Coalition will bring CDs and breastfeeding literature from WIC.  We will have two fantastic photographers - Paige Wilks Photography and An Infinite Moment - check them out!  They're both participant photographers in Leilani Rogers' Public Breastfeeding Awareness Project (see her #PBAP2014 interview here with one of my breastfeeding heroes, Jennifer Borget).
In Round Rock: Farmer's Market at 300 University Blvd. (parking lot of Scott and White Hospital)

Time: 9:00am-10:30am; Latch will be promptly at 10:30am for 1 minute
Details: Williamson County WIC is hosting this event.  To sign in go to the WIC ROCK and REST station anytime between 9:00 and 10:30.




August 2
Event: Concerts for a Cause
Father and (9-year-old) son duo Rockaroni & Cheese will give a concert benefiting Central Texas Breastfeeding Coalition.  (By the by, this is my husband and kid, and they're kind of freaking awesome!)  Fancy Fig Photography will provide a photo booth, and Grammy's Tasty Treats will donate 20% of proceeds to CTBC.  Share the Facebook event page with your friends!

Location: Milt’s BBQ Pit, 208 W. Center St., Kyle
Time: 5:30-8:00pm
Cost: Donation


Rockaroni and Cheese

August 7
Event: "Breastfeeding Month Concert"
Join Mothers' Milk Bank at Austin for awesome music, prizes and of course lots of fun at the third annual breastfeeding month concert! Featuring the highly acclaimed Austin musician Elizabeth McQueen, this breastfeeding and milk banking awareness concert is FREE and family-friendly!
Location: Central Market North 
Time: 6:30pm-9:00pm
Cost: Free


August 9
Event:
The Milky Way” screening, with Panel Discussion & Breastfeeding Month Proclamation

CTBC helped to fund this incredible documentary, and we are proud to offer a screening in celebration of National Breastfeeding Month!  A panel discussion with special guests Julie Stagg from DSHS, Tracy Erickson of Texas WIC, pediatrician Dr. Vaidyanathan, IBCLC and CTBC vice president Janet Jones, and myself will follow the film, and City Council Member Laura Morrison will present a Proclamation.  For more information, go here.  Remember - the awesome T-shirts will be available at the event for members!
Location: Alamo Drafthouse, 5701 W. Slaughter Lane, Austin Time: 1:00pm-4:00pm
Cost: $30 (includes lunch).  Purchase tickets here.


August 12

Event: Round Rock Express Baseball Game
Spend the evening with Mothers' Milk Bank at Austin celebrating milk banking and breastfeeding while cheering on the Round Rock Express. MMBA will be the featured non-profit of the night. 
Location: Dell Diamond
Time: 7:00pm
Cost: Ticket information TBA

August 18
Event: Milk & Cookies Tour
Curious to see what goes on in the lab after milk has been donated to Mothers' Milk Bank at Austin? Join a Milk & Cookies Tour of the Milk Bank lab followed by milk (or coffee) and cookies. Feel free to bring your kids along! Space is limited, so please RSVP to Allie at allison@milkbank.org if you are interested in attending.
Location: Mothers' Milk Bank at Austin
Time: 10:30am-11:30am

August 19 
Event: Milk & Cookies Tour
See August 18th for more info.
Time: 2:00pm-3:00pm

August 20
Event: Milk & Cookies Tour
See August 18th for more info.
Time: 5:30pm-6:30pm

August 20
Event: Community Breastfeeding Support Initiative
Austin/Travis County Health & Human Services WIC,Chronic Disease Prevention and Control Programs, and Texas Department of State Health Services Texas Ten Step Star Achiever Program are collaborating on the Breastfeeding Support Information and Networking Session.  CTBC will join the meeting in lieu of our regualar August meeting, from 1:30-4:30 in the Boyd Vance Theatre at the George Washington Carver Museum (1165 Angelina St, Austin).

Please join this gathering of the community, including providers, organizations, public health programs, elected and appointed officials, and families that want to learn about Texas breastfeeding support initiatives and to share information, resources, and ideas to strengthen community-based breastfeeding support for new families.


RSVP to wichelp@austintexas.gov by August 13, 2014. Please indicate the name of your organization (if any) and the number of attendees.

A reception will follow immediately to celebrate WIC's 40th anniversary!

Our fantastic CTBC breastfeeding T-shirts will be available to members at this event.

Please invite anyone you think would like to attend.

Find a Facebook event page for this meeting here.



August 21
Event: Milk & Cookies Tour
See August 18th for more info.
Time: 12:00pm-1:00pm


August 22
Event: Milk & Cookies Tour
See August 18th for more info.
Time: 10:30am-11:30am


August 26
Event: Mom’s Place Open House
Learn more about Mom’s Place, WIC’s Breastfeeding Clinic!
Location: Mom's Place, 8701-B Research Boulevard (Hwy 183), Austin
Time: 10:00am-6:00pm

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Positive Breastfeeding Reference in Game of Thrones

Once I get a load of laundry in the washing machine, I get to watch Game of Thrones, cause it's back on this week!  Which reminds me, I've been meaning to make a GOT meme.

Did you catch the breastfeeding reference in the first episode this season?

Prince Oberyn is talking to Tyrion, and he says, "The last time I was in the capital was many years ago. Another wedding. My sister Elia and Rhaegar Targaryen. The last dragon. My sister loved him. She bore his children. Swaddled them, rocked them, nursed them at her own breast. She wouldn’t let the wet nurse touch them."

I won't quote the rest, cause it gets awful as it takes a turn for tragedy, as you know if you're a fan, and my point is supposed to be a happy one:

Breastfeeding was mentioned in a widely-viewed television show, and it wasn't for a laugh!

So often when breastfeeding comes up in media it's a joke, like an episode of Friends where Joey and Chandler freak out about Carol breastfeeding Ben, and later there's milk-tasting by several characters.

There's even been a study done on references to breastfeeding in the media, and it's no surprise that they're not often well done.

I read an article recently that suggests that NIP laws have limited influence (failing to recognize that it's because they lack enforcement provisions) and suggests that if Victoria's Secret sold nursing bras that would have a far-reaching impact.  I think it would be great if Victoria's Secret sold nursing bras again, but if you've followed me for long you know how strongly I feel legislation would make a tremendous difference!

BUT, I do think that TV could so much to normalize breastfeeding.  Think of what it's done for other social issues.

Now, Game of Thrones did previously show breastfeeding in a way that made it intentionally creepy, so they didn't win any points there.  But I was excited at its mention this season.  Not only was it not a joke, it was said to illustrate the depth of a mother's love for her children.

Now that kind of a reference to breastfeeding could do a world of good to, as Baby's Breastie puts it, "normalize society."

Monday, May 26, 2014

Diaper Bags - What to Carry AND an Awesome Giveaway!

To celebrate reaching 2,000 "Likes" on my Facebook page, The Natural Baby Company - Austin, TX is sponsoring a giveaway of an award-winning, eco-friendly Lassig diaper bag, valued at $154!  Check it out here - it's super cool - made from recycled materials and full of pockets and extra goodies like a changing pad.  You can enter to win below the suggestions for what you might want to carry in your diaper bag!

At MommyCon with Whitney, the sweet & lovely owner of TNBC.
A note about the giveaway: This blog and my Facebook page are, I think, equal parts local and global.  So don't let the name fool you - feel free to read and like from outside of Austin!  And after all, there's that whole "Think Global, Act Local" notion.  That said, the contest involves FB-liking local-to-me breastfeeding coalitions CTBC and TXBC, a diaper charity, and of course, The Natural Baby Co.  Even if you're not local, I'm sure you'll still see great stuff in your news feed as a result.  And you may be inspired to seek out similar organizations in your area - wouldn't that be cool?

On Diaper Bags

I'm no BabyGuyNYC, but I was a Girl Scout, so I know a little something about having an over-prepared, bulging-at-the-seams diaper bag. Now in the event of a Zombie Apocalypse, the only truly vital baby gear for me is boobs. But if we're just talking playdates and grocery shopping, you may want to have a bunch of crap for their... well, crap.

There are a few ways to go with diaper bags.  You've heard how moms sometimes handle a dropped pacifier with multiple kids, right?  Sanitize with the first, blow them off with the second, just hand it right back to the third?

Well, if you have just one child, you may opt to have one very large, very well-stocked diaper bag that will do double duty as your purse, because it will be with you always.

If you are on your second child, you might stuff a diaper and travel wipes case into your purse, and pop the purse into your big old diaper bag, so that the diaper bag can stay in the car and you can just grab your purse to run into places.

With the third kid?  Let's just say, hopefully there will be a few loose diapers floating around in the car if you've already used the one from your purse the next time Baby has a blow-out!

True confession, though - the first time I took my oldest down the street to see his pediatrician, the nurse, needing to weigh him without a diaper, asked me if I had a diaper for him.  I did not!  We lived just six minutes away, and it hadn't occurred to me that we'd need a diaper while we were so close to home for just a short while!

Actually, my wonderful first diaper bag that I'd left home that day finally crapped out (pun intended - sorry, couldn't help it!) when Bellybean, my third son, was wee little.  It was an extensively-researched, carefully-selected backpack.  The backpack part stunk when I was wearing a kid on my back, but otherwise it was perfectly awesome - full of many pockets so I could organize every little thing.

Its replacement, my new-to-me/consignment-sale-find, has a changing pad that does not detach from the bag.  If you don't win the Lassig bag and you're reading this still needing to buy a bag - do NOT get one with an attached pad.  These are stupid.  One messy change and the whole bag needs to go in the washing machine.  And if your oldest son cracks his head open doing a back flip into the pool while you're cleaning up a blow-out - well, then you're really screwed, cause you'll be rushing to the emergency room with that thing, terrified that you're going to get poo germs in your kid's head wound.  But I digress.  Or flash back. Whatever.

Anyway - here's a Girl-Scoutified list of what to pack in your (first kid's) diaper bag.  Grab some popcorn and settle in - it's very thorough.

Krisdee's Diaper Bag Crap Checklist
  • Bib - If you use one.  Is it lazy that I never did?
  • Blanket - There are blankets for swaddling that have Velcro to help you get it right - they're awesome. I have blankets that are just thin cotton fabric with a hem, which are perfect in Texas.
  • Bottles/Formula/Expressed Milk - If you're bottle feeding, be sure to keep all of the accoutrements ready to go.  If you're carrying EBM, you'll want some ice packs and a cooler, or an insulated pocket on your diaper bag.
  • Burp Cloth - Especially if you have a very spitty baby.
  • Business Cards - If you don't have any, consider printing some "Mommy Cards" to give to moms you meet while out and about.  Start building your mama tribe!
  • Camera - Hooray for cell phones!  When my 8.5-year-old was born, I don't think my phone took pictures.  Now if there's a Kodak Moment (does that phrase date me?), we've got our smart phones at the ready.  But, let's face it, even when you Instagram it up, many cell pics just suck.  It's nice to sometimes have a real camera along.
  • Car Seat Locking Clip - We don't usually use ours, but we have when we've traveled.
  • Change of Clothes - Or maybe two.  Including socks, which we sometimes leave the house without, but then want later when the air conditioning makes a place too chilly for baby toes.  Don't forget a change of clothes for Baby's potty-training older sibling, too.
  • Changing Pad - Eventually you may just change your kids on concrete or picnic benches, but to start, at least, you'll want a nice padded, washable (not attached to your bag) changing pad.  Two might be nice, to swap in the extra if one gets blasted and is in the laundry.
  • Checklist - With Kid #1, I'd use a checklist to be sure I'd restocked my bag every now and again.  You can find my free printable list here.  Save it as a Google Doc to customize it.
  • Contact/Emergency Info - Just in case, throw in an index card with your contact information, including an emergency contact or three and your pediatrician's number, and any allergy/medication information.  That way if your bag is lost or there's an emergency, there's information to help.  You might want to throw in a couple, and when you're in a large crowd you can put one in your child's shoe in case you are separated.
  • Diaper Rash Cream - California Baby is really nice, and is rated a "1" on the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep® Cosmetics Database (a site I highly recommend!).  There are some that are a zero, though, too.  I should check those out...
  • Diapers - Enough for 2-3 days, because you won't want to have to restock on the daily.
  • Disposable Bags - If you're using disposable diapers, you can usually fold up a diaper and close it up with the tabs.  But some blow-outs require a plastic bag, because trying to get that diaper all closed up is like trying to get a tent back into a tent bag.  There are biodegradable bags for disposing of diapers, if you want to limit your ecological footprint to just the disposable diapers and not bags on top of that. I always re-used plastic grocery bags, but Austin is bag-free now.  Find a pocket on your diaper bag to zip these away when stored so they aren't played with, since they pose a suffocation risk.
  • Ear Plugs - Not a necessity at all, but the disposable ones don't take up any real space, and they've come in handy before when we've left our good ear muffs at home and we've been at, say, a hockey game, or concert, or a Chinese New Year celebration (lots of firecrackers!).
  • First-Aid Kit - Bandaids, mostly, but one of those little travel kits with extras might be nice.  Just be sure there aren't medicines that your little one could eventually tear into.
  • Hand Sanitizer - I prefer something natural like Burt's Bees, because the Triclosan in most antibacterial gels scares me.  If you saw that episode of "House" with the pathologist who has thyroid psychosis, then you know what I'm talking about. (Thyroid psychosis is not a medical term as far as I'm aware. But it makes more sense to me than "myxedema crisis.")
  • Hat - For sun or cold, depending on the season.  In winter it can be nice to have a an extra pair of mittens, too, in case it's colder than expected once you're out and about, or if you stay out late.  And in summer (so, February to October here), those baby-sized sunglasses not only help with half the job of a sunhat, they are cuuuuute - if you can keep them on Baby's head.
  • Instant Cold Compress - This seemed brilliant when I saw them in the Dollar Spot at Target long ago.  Never used it.
  • Jacket - Just in case it gets chilly or the coat (s)he's wearing falls victim to bodily fluids.
  • Lanolin - If you have a sample size or have had discomfort, it can be nice to keep some on hand, but you may never need it.
  • Nail Clippers - Because the only time you ever remember to trim your baby's nails is when you have no clippers handy.  Or is that just me?
  • Nursing Cover - IF you're more comfortable nursing in public with a cover, remember to tuck this in your bag.  Just know that they are not a requirement.
  • Nursing Pads - I had oversupply, so I've needed nursing pads when my babies were born, until my supply leveled out. There are cloth ones, disposable, & also silicone ones that stick to your boobs.
  • Pen/Pencil & Notebook - For making grocery/to do lists in the car while waiting for an interminable nap to end, or for whatever other writing needs arise.  This habit formed for me pre-smart phone, but still - batteries die.
  • Purse/Purse Stuff - Either your whole purse, or everything you'd usually carry in it - wallet, chapstick, keys, phone, etc.
  • Shirt for Mom - Leaky boobs and spit up can make this a nice extra to have handy.
  • Shoes - If you're like me and you often carry your toddler to the car forgetting that, now that (s)he toddles, (s)he needs shoes, throw an extra pair into the diaper bag.
  • Sippy Cup - Kleen Kanteen makes my fave.  Side note - as a lazy mom, I recommend water only in sippy cups.  A rogue sippy cup with juice or milk is not a sippy cup you want to find two weeks later...
  • Sling or Wrap - I like to keep a pouch sling in my diaper bag in case I forget to bring my Ergo with me.  It doesn't take up much space at all (I can even fit it in my pocket).  In Austin, you can get babywearing help (even rentals) here. Outside of Austin, look here for help.
  • Snacks - Pack healthy snacks for yourself, the baby if (s)he's eating solids, and anybody else whose hanger (the anger that results when a someone is insanely hungry) may impact your day.
  • Sunscreen - Because that stuff needs constant reapplications, so you can't get away with just using the bottle at home before you head out the door.  I don't want any chemical sunscreens being absorbed by my family members' skin, so although it doesn't go on as super easy and I have to try to rub it in well to avoid the ghostly pallor of a physical barrier sunscreen, my favorite is by Badger. It gets a good rating on Skin Deep®.  Recommendations are that babies under six months should not wear sunscreen, but should instead be kept out of the sun.
  • Teether - Rubber teethers are pricey, but are a safe, natural material. No worrying about BPAs, or whatever they're using to replace BPAs in plastics.
  • Thank You for Breastfeeding Cards - These are a must for me.  It's easier for me as an introvert who tends to feel shy, to approach a breastfeeding mom if I have a card I can hand her.  And since my own negative NIP incident, I've vowed to always say something nice to nursing mamas when I see them.
  • Thermometer - I've actually bought one when out and about - first kid, of course. Then I kept that one in the bag in case I worried and wanted to check his temp while we were away from home.  Seems kinda silly now, but I did say "over-prepared."
  • Tissues - 'Cause Mommy's shirt is not a Kleenex.
  • Toys - Because the sweetener packets on the restaurant table are only
    interesting for so long.  I've packed up an extra travel wipes case with little toys, a book, crayons, and paper.  (These are played with while supervised, since some could be choking hazards for my under-three-year-old).



Water for Mom - Especially if you're nursing - and especially especially if you're nursing in Texas - have a bottle of water in your bag.  I read that while aluminum is no longer considered to be linked to Alzheimer's, it does require a plastic liner, which could contain BPAs.  And single-use plastic contains endocrine disruptors, too, in addition to not being environmentally-friendly.  I opt for stainless steel with no plastic liner - I love our Klean Kanteens.
  • Wet Bag - Whether it's for cloth diapers or soiled clothes, you may want two of these.  Not the vinyl zippered kind, cause those are gross to clean.  Though I haven't actually used them, I think I'd prefer the drawstring cloth bags sold for use with cloth diapers.  Get two, so you've always got a clean one to keep in your bag.
  • Wipes - I prefer a good-sized bag of them because again, if you've just got a travel case, you'll need to restock often.  If you're using cloth wipes away from home, you'll probably want a little spray bottle so you can wet them.
I almost put pacifier on my list, but then I read this on Kellymom.  I waited until six weeks to try one with my youngest, because he and my oldest seemed to want to nurse even after they were full while I had oversupply.  And they can be helpful in the car.  But looking at research, I would not suggest them as a staple to a breastfeeding mom.

So, there it is - my complete guide to essential and utterly non-essential diaper bag paraphernalia.  And now...

The Giveaway!

Note the cool green interior.  Love it!
Winner will be chosen randomly and must be 18 or older with a U.S. mailing address.  Enter below from May 26 through June 10.  Winner will be announced June 11.  If (s)he does not reply within three days, a new winner will be chosen.

Good luck, and thank you for entering and sharing this with friends!

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