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 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
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
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 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 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