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Sep 16 2014

MIT Research Group Asks: Why Does the Breast Pump Suck So Much?

By at 2:12 pm

breast-pump

Hate pumping? You’re not alone. Most of those human milk machines are loud, clunky, uncomfortable, and prone to spillage. The double breast pump is especially creepy looking. (Kveller’s Director of Operations, Meredith Lewis, wrote about her love-hate relationship with the breast pump here.)

But pumping is important, not just for working moms who want to stay connected to their infants, but for premature and orphaned babies that rely on pumped milk for survival.

That’s why MIT Media Lab is hosting a “Make the Breast Pump Not Suck Hackathon.” Organized by a group of students and researchers at MIT who are also parents, between 60 and 80 designers, engineers, lactation consultants, parents, and public health researchers have gathered together to brainstorm ways to make life easier for moms and their babies. Cash prizes range from $1,000 to $3,000, sponsored by breast pump manufacturers like Modela and Vecna Technologies. Read the rest of this entry →

Oct 21 2013

News Roundup: “Milk-share” Breast Milk Sold Online is Often Contaminated

By at 4:15 pm

All the parenting news you probably didn’t have time to read this week.breastmilk

- You may or may not have been aware that human breast milk has become a commodified and unregulated product on the internet. While some mothers have found it to be helpful, a recent study has shown that breast milk bought from two popular “milk-share” websites had high levels of bacteria and salmonella. Yikes. (NY Times)

- This mother had high expectations for hiring a doula, which could be fairly a costly and time consuming process. What she thought would be a highly supportive approach ended up being quite the disappointment, leading her to the conclusion, “the doula experience felt like a con and a rip-off.” (Salon)

- It can be a bit rough for kids in school when they are allergic to the birthday cake their classmate brought in. Nearly one-third of food allergic children are bullied because of their allergies, and this mother suggests its every parent’s responsibility to facilitate “food-inclusive” environments for kids. (Motherlode) 

- Susan Bright writes for LightBox about the visual documentation of life’s oldest tradition in her latest book and exhibition, ‘Home Truths: Motherhood and Photography’. (Time)

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Oct 15 2013

I Can’t Bring Myself to Throw Away the Breast Milk

By at 10:07 am

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About four months ago, I stopped pumping.

I know. It’s a big deal. I’m a part-time, work-from-home mom, so pumping was something I had to do in order to go out and get in a few hours at the office. Every night, around 9 p.m. I’d get my water, wash my hands, set up the pump, and watch TV. After an hour of being attached to flanges that made an arooga sound as they pulled on my nipples, I’d have a few ounces and I’d know that I could leave the house the next time the babysitter came by.

Oh man, that pump. I know I’m not the first to complain about the noises it made (the TV volume was always up so high so I could hear over the damn thing) or about the way it could hurt or about how my relationship with cow’s milk has changed now that I myself have been like the cow. And yes, I would multitask, working my way through my DVR, sometimes attempting to respond to emails, but still–it was a huge commitment of time and energy, every night. Every night for almost a year. Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 17 2013

Why is Life & Style Magazine So Appalled at Breast Milk-Sharing?

By at 11:18 am

life and style magazine alicia silverstone break milk sharing programThe online parenting community has been abuzz with THIS picture taken from the Life & Style July 22nd issue.

As I sat down to write my response… I needed to take many deep breaths. Deep breaths to refrain from screaming or WRITING IN ALL CAPS! BAD IDEA? SLAVES? WHAT!?! Deep breaths… deep breaths.

Okay, first, some background: actress and vegan lifestyle advocate Alicia Silverstone has started a breast milk-sharing program called, “Kind Mama Milk Share.” It is a way for those with a milk surplus to provide for those moms in need.

The part of the picture that is true is, “Alicia Silverstone’s breast milk-sharing program is not new.” Wet nurses were around back in 2000 BCE. The profession is mentioned in the Bible when Pharaoh’s daughter needs one to nurse Moses. And could you imagine where we’d all be if that guy never got fed? Yes, there were slaves who took on this profession at various times in history, but the idea of milk-sharing IS nothing new, and it continues to be prominent and IMPORTANT (sorry…there are those caps again) in today’s society (see: the National Milk Bank, Prolacta, and a slew of others).  Read the rest of this entry →

Apr 30 2013

Would it Really Help to Measure My Breast Milk?

By at 4:01 pm

breastfeeding motherA new invention recently developed by an Israeli start-up can measure the amount of milk in your breast before and after you nurse your child, thereby telling you how much milk your baby is getting.

I would have given my left arm (but probably not my left boob) for something like this when I was nursing my first daughter. Breastfeeding was a struggle from the beginning, and thanks to the complete lack of Plexiglas windows on the side of either of my boobs, I had no idea if it was because I wasn’t producing enough or my daughter wasn’t sucking enough, or something else all together. My memories of nursing her over nine months consist primarily of checklists, timers, breast pumps, and on one particularly memorable occasion, an array of no fewer than 24 pills that I would take over the course of the day, all in the service of feeding my baby.  Read the rest of this entry →

Oct 29 2012

News Roundup: Straight Talk About Vaginal Birth Risks, Middle School, and Breaking the Breast Milk Bank

By at 8:39 pm

All the parenting news you probably didn’t have time to read this week.


Here’s a yucky but important topic: vaginal tears that result from vaginal childbirth. Turns out they may be a lot more widespread than most doctors know or admit, and can cause fecal matter through the vagina, flatus incontinence, and pain. Learn more so you can talk about it with your doctor ahead of time. (Motherlode)

Pretty much everyone agrees that middle school is the worst. But no one is really trying to make it better. Now researchers are discovering that helping middle schoolers have a better time predicts whether or not they’ll stay in school, and how successful they’ll be. (Slate)

As a mom you’re probably taking pictures of your kids and family all the time. But how often do you get in front of the camera yourself? One mom reminds us that someday when we’re gone our kids will want pictures of us, and we shouldn’t be erasing ourselves from our family’s photographic history. (Huffington Post)

A mom in Texas made it to the Guinness book of world records for donating a whopping 87 gallons of breast milk to her local breast milk bank. (NY Daily News)

Oct 10 2012

Why Was Breast Milk Banned from an Israeli Maternity Ward Fridge?

By at 4:43 pm

locked refigeratorIt all started with a note taped to a refrigerator. Not just any fridge; this was the staff refrigerator in a hospital maternity ward in Jerusalem. The nurse, who discovered the note, was placing her pumped breast milk therein when she noticed it. “To Whom It May Concern,” read the politely worded note with a less than polite message, “Please do not store breast milk in this refrigerator. The Staff.”

Back just a few days from her maternity leave, as the only nursing mother on staff, the letter may as well have been addressed to her. Shocked, she complained up the chain of command all the way to upper management. She was told that each ward is its own democracy and can decide independently if it wants to allow breast milk to be placed in its own staff refrigerators. Unable to be a part of a “democracy” that could make such decisions, the nurse resigned. Read the rest of this entry →

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