The power scares me

Despite Carolyn’s rather desperate comments yesterday ( “I will never forgive you if you don’t use the blue mouse buttons”) I went on and recklessly put the wooden ones on.

Ppswweaterdt

In the end, the commenters who thought that the sweater already had a lot going on convinced me. Those mousies are so cute that I want to put them on something where they will be the stars of the show. (I have also become desperately possessed, thanks to a comment from Marianne, with the idea of finding wooden mouse buttons. Sadly, in this high tech day and age, using my google-fu to enact a search for “mouse buttons” was counter productive. I swear that even as I clicked my mouse on the search that I was thinking of nothing but clothing instead of computers.)

Ppswweatd

The incredible thing is (and now I am starting to frighten even me) that I sewed the buttons on last night, and I learned this morning that a healthy baby boy (8lb 4oz) was born to my neighbour almost instantly. (Less than a four hour labour later.) I have been largely joking about my superstitious belief that I control the arrival of human infants with the mighty power of knitting, but I might have to start taking this more seriously. Clearly, with great power comes great responsibility. I’ve got to start finishing baby stuff on time this poor lady was due the 21st. (Do you think she hates me?)

In other baby news, Jeanne, who reads the blog and is a knitter, has an idea. She works to promote breastfeeding with low-income families, and is trying to get together gifts to give to families at an event in early August to inspire interest in what the WIC program has to say about breastfeeding. She has had the wonderful idea to give them each a baby/toddler hat (especially a fruit or vegetable hat, since the program is about nutrition) and would love to enlist a few knitters to help her get enough hats.

Most of you know by know that I’m an IBCLC (Lactation Consultant) and can imagine that this means that I’m extremely pro-breastfeeding. I’m interested in everything to do with breastfeeding, but I have a special passion for initiatives that serve low income families. In Canada and the US breastfeeding initiation and duration (if you start and how long you stay with it) has a very great deal to do with your income and education. (This effect is very pronounced in the US, likely because of issues surrounding maternity leave, access to health care, and public information) The more money you make and the more education you have, the more likely it is that you will be breastfeeding.

It is alarming to me, extraordinarily alarming, that the people who can least afford to have a child who is more likely to suffer illness, disease and long term consequences, are the very people who aren’t being given the information and support that is necessary to lower their kids risks. The disadvantaged child suffers more disadvantages. (This is right up there for me with the whole “rich get richer while the poor get poorer” thing.)

Now, before you all write to me and dump your misplaced guilt (“I tried to breastfeed, I really did” ) let me tell you this. It’s really ok.

I respect a woman’s right to make decisions about her own baby, and I’m not interested in judging another woman’s choices. (It is demeaning to say that you respect and empower women, but only as long as they are making choices you agree with. ) It is a woman’s right to decide what she does with her breasts. Period.

It’s a nasty trick, this getting women to spend all of their time slagging each other for breastfeeding or not breastfeeding instead of wondering why, when they tried to breastfeed their baby there was no reliable information, no reliable help and not enough time off of work to get the hang well enough to continue, or why women find out after they have decided to feed formula that it is significantly linked with diabetes.

I am frustrated with the culture that does not provide women with proper information about risk, tells us that formula and breastmilk are the same, and forces women through misinformation and poor social constructs, to make decisions that they wouldn’t have to make if they had proper help and support. This is a culture where women are bombarded with information and incentive to use formula, because nobody makes any money when you breastfeed.

I’m angry that we know that the infant mortality rate among formula fed babies is higher, but that the US has the worst maternity leave of any developed country in the world. (If I were an American woman, making up 52% of the population, that would be a serious election issue for me.) We know that in countries where breastfeeding is taught properly, supported socially and enabled by proper leave time, the number of women who are able to breastfeed increases drastically, just like the number of car crashes decreases when you teach driving, or the number of knitters increases if you teach knitting. It is a sad state of affairs when we all stand around condemning women for not “choosing” to breastfeed, when the circumstances of their lives often provide little choice at all.

It is simply not possible, in any sort of a way, that Swedish women (who initiate breastfeeding at a rate of 98%) have wonder-breasts, but that American breasts fail miserably…often. The breasts are the same, the women are the same, the fault lies with a culture that does not help women properly, not even those who desperately need and want to nurse their babies. (If you have little money and no health insurance, it should be a priority to minimize your baby’s needs to go to the doctor, and to spare you the $1500/year expense of formula.)

Therefore, I think that Jeanne is doing good work in the world. She’s increasing breastfeeding among low income families in California, and she’s doing it with about 1/100th of the budget that a formula company is using to convince these same families of their point of view. Jeanne is going to be giving away these baby hats during Breastfeeding week, and if you want to help her to make the US a baby-friendlier place, or if you’re grateful that you had the resources to nurse your baby, maybe you can knit one (or ten) for her. If you email me, I’ll tell you where to send them.

Ps. If you were one of the knitters asking for the Sock pattern yesterday, It’s a Socks That Rock pattern from Blue Moon. (“Rock and Weave”) and if you contact them, they’ll set you up.

424 thoughts on “The power scares me

  1. I’ll try to get some hats a goin’ dear Stephanie of the breasts – maybe a watermelon and a carrot top!
    Breastfeeders and the miracle worker of lace who could really bring peace to the world
    I’m a believer!

  2. What I find is sad is that I think alot of low income women who could be saving money and improving the health of their children are not capable of breast feeding because they have no access to nutritious food themselves. It is a sad state of affairs and I hope that somehow, someday the poverty issue and children’s health can be remedied!

  3. I would be delighted to send some hats…I tend to fixate on the apple and eggplant hats, but I can convince myself to experiment with other tasty options.

  4. BRAVO Stephanie Could you please run for President, be my Congresswoman and Senator from my state? Then, GOOD things would actually happen.
    Where would we send the fruit caps?
    diana

  5. Brava.
    Both for the information, and for the fact that you do not force your opinions on others. You simply state them. As it should be.
    But Dude, the power you have over pregnant women, and the length of thier term? Scary.

  6. Whoa, this is the first time I’ve ever checked here and seen: Comments 0. Course, there are already a few when I click the link, but still. πŸ™‚
    The sweater looks great, and you are unbelievably fast. I’m sure the mother will love it even if it did cost her a week.
    And yes, our politicians talk about family values all the time, but all too often don’t seem to do much to actually support families. :p

  7. Yay! I went through almost the same rant a few days ago. After repeatedly offering help to a friend of a friend, I found out she took the baby to the Dr. and he was dehydrated. The nearest lactation consultant to this woman is over an hour away. She is supplementing and trying to pump to build her supply. But if we had a good support structure in the US, it never would have come to this. Unfortunately, most people think it is normal to give formula.
    I’m quitting before I get on a soapbox.
    I think that the hats are going to a great cause!
    Astabeth

  8. You are my new hero. Thank you for putting into words what I have never been able to.

  9. Oh yeah. I live in California. How do it get a hold of Jeanne?
    I’m already reaching for the needles to knit a cute little watermelon hat.

  10. Right on, sister! I especially liked how you came across totally supporting breastfeeding but without being the least judgmental. I am forever grateful to the nurse who helped me make the transition back to work from maternity leave. That little bit of education made all the difference to me and my (now 13 & 15 year old) babies.

  11. Hooray for baby hats. I’m guessing little baby hats that look like a breast are probably not what she has in mind, eh? That *is* the ultimate baby food, right? But perhaps more ‘easily-recognizable-as-food’ motifs are to be preferred…
    Where do we send them? (or deliver them? I’m wondering if Jeanne’s event is in my neck of the Californian woods…)

  12. Beautiful sweater and all hail the power of knitting over imminent delivery of the recipient!! I’m sure the mom will forgive you.
    You are spot-on with the breastfeeding!! I will email you so that I can do the hats, too!
    You state your position with eloquence and make us thank heaven for women like you who recognize their own power and recognize and encourage it in others.

  13. I did not know you were a lactation consultant! My mom is a doula and child birth educator. πŸ™‚ So, as a result I am surrounded with birth and breasts and babies! πŸ™‚ I give all the credit to the lactation consultant at my hospital for my successful breast feeding experience, she was amazing. I would be happy to help with this project, please let me know where to send a hat!
    thanks, kris

  14. In regards to your comment about the Swedish women having the same breasts and thus the problem lies with the culture, I do have a little quibble. While I do agree that the culture is the biggest problem, there may also be a biological component to it.
    Many smaller Old World Countries (such as Sweden) tend to have a much more homogenous population than the US (ie. the people are much more genetically similar, and dare we say, less outbred. It’s a consequence of historic geologic isolation and culture.) It’s also a place with a historically harsher climate than say . . . California. So there was likely selective pressure for centuries to produce good milk. In fact, the ‘breast cancer gene’ in Eastern European Jewish populations is thought to persist because of improved milk production. (But you probably know that already. *headsmack*)
    Of course you are the lactaction expert, so I am not going to argue the specifics of your profession, I just wanted to point out that Sweden might not be the best comparison to the rather heterogeneous US, where breast are expected to vary more. (That sounded weirder than I intended.)
    On another note, I applaud your open-mindedness. I wish every lactation specialist were as rational about it as you are.
    And the sweater looks great!

  15. I know nothing about having babies and having kids. I haven’t even decided if I want to have kids, but I am open to the idea. I guess I’m just more scared that I won’t get the right information or that other information would be forced upon me, so I wouldn’t see the other available options…
    Anyway, what I’m trying to say is, thanks for the info… but what about for Canada? How do we fair compared to the States? Are we any better?
    That is a beautiful sweater, btw.

  16. You must remember to use your knitting powers for good, not evil.
    And thank you for articulating the breastfeeding issue. My own Mom, when her supply was too low for my needs, got advice along the lines of “Can’t you fix it?” and “Can’t you keep the baby quiet in church?” Unsurprisingly she became frustrated and I ended up getting some formula.
    I feel the need to make a little apple hat. I’ll be emailing about where to send it (them?).

  17. Ok the mousies deserve something that will let them shine on their own, the sweater is beautiful. Your power is great and you must use it wisely. See women on bedrest need only request you to knit something for them and you would then knit it very slowly so that babe can make it to the 36/37 wk mark. πŸ˜‰
    You have spoken well about breastfeeding, thank you.

  18. Excellent post & you’ve hit a hot button of mine. From personal experience, I’ll say that even as someone with the knowledge, education, & desire to BF, it was challenging. The hospitals pay lip service to BF, but their actions speak otherwise. We’re “gifted” with giant diaper bags of formula with a pamphlet on breastfeeding hidden somewhere inside & many of the nurses are well meaning but have no experience with lactation so they want to give the babies sugar water or a bottle of formula during the overnight. When I was preparing to return to work after the birth of #3, a LC at a local hospital put a great deal of effort into discouraging me from a pump rental because “it’s nearly impossible to work full time & BF” Excuse me? If I hadn’t done it twice before successfully, I might have believed her. Instead, I bought my own pump.
    **deep breath**puts soapbox away**
    Where do we send the hats?

  19. I’ll make a few hats for this very worthy cause. You may want to wait 24 hours and see how many people are planning to knit hats before you email us. I have a feeling that you will get a lot of knitters who will respond.

  20. In the US, pregant military spouses,below a certain paygrade, are sent to enroll in WIC,(for food stamps)on their first pre-natal appointment! Are sent home from the hospital with cans of formula, and are encouraged to keep using WIC for the formula vouchers until the child is 3 years old!
    My niece was born in a Naval hospital last December and the lactation consultant who came in once,2 hours before they went home told my sister “some babies never take to nursing”.
    There’s a great free pattern for apple hats on knitting pattern central. com

  21. I’ll make a few hats for this very worthy cause. You may want to wait 24 hours and see how many people are planning to knit hats before you email us. I have a feeling that you will get a lot of knitters who will respond.

  22. Where do we send hats? I had an incredibly tough time nursing my first-born, but it was worth it in the end. I am forever grateful to the women of La Leche League, who offered incredible help and support. I fully support choice: whatever works for individual women, though I wish there was more support in this country for nursing. It bothered me that even though I told my nurses that I was breast-feeding, they still plied me with formula samples and coupons. Sheesh.

  23. Then there’s always the fight about where to pump! I am fortunate enough to have an office with a door, but I know several women who had to supplement because they were unable to schedule time in the ONE nursing mother’s room for a company of several hundred employees.
    The lack of support for families in this country irritates me on such a profound level that as yet I have been unable to think about it without wanting to punch my local congressman. (Well, I usually want to do that anyway, as he’s a BIG jerk and lives in Bush’s pocket.)
    Okay, deep breath.
    All that was designed to say COUNT ME IN, I wanna knit some fruit hats. Does Jeanne have information anywhere that specifies sizes, fiber content, etc?
    PS – I didn’t get Meg’s exact haircut, but I did show my stylist the picture and say, “Adapt this for me” and I LOVE it. Thanks for showing pictures of your beautiful hip daughters!

  24. Re hats: no problem. email attached to post? Also, I belong to a group of knit mad women: (if we do this, can we call ourselves the mad hatters?), most of whom are fairly alternative in health areas, and I am sure would love to help.
    Do you really want to email everyone the address? Would it be easier to put it on the next blog?In any case, I’ll see w(hat!) I can get going. No more puns attached, I promise.
    Re baby sweater: I voted for the wooden buttons; it really does look nice. And just in case your theory of knitting and birth is really true, think of the power. No more premies. No more delays. As long as you can keep knitting on cue…on the other hand, maybe not.

  25. I am 10 weeks preganant with my first child (woo hoo! First midwife appointment tomorrow!) and I cannot WAIT to breastfeed, yet some of my friends find this disgusting! They said “Ugh, it’s unnatural!” Ummm….yeah….the real reason God gave us breasts were for our partners to play with, of course…*rolls eyes*
    Anyway, what I find weird is that if you are low-income, wouldn’t you WANT to breastfeed, seeing as it’s FREE for your baby? As opposed to expensive formula? Hmm.

  26. I agree wholeheartedly. They really don’t tell you much at all. I was under the impression that it would be easy and nearly gave up with my first daughter. Then a nurse trained to help with such things showed me how it’s done. Nursing my children was one of my favorite things!
    Daughter 1 liked it – daughter 2 loved it and never wanted to stop. I was reminded of the response I got from a more experinced mom when I asked about how you know when to stop. She said that she and her child “finally had a discussion about it.” Thankfully I stopped a bit earlier than that.
    Where do we send the hats and whre can we find the best fruit & veggie hat patterns?

  27. Here here! Lovely knittin and lovely rant. I am still breastfeeding my nearly-two-year-old son and he’s never been sick, ever. It was so hard! I’d come out of the shower and his dad would have a bottle in his mouth!!

  28. Done and done. Where do I send it/them?
    I am a *huge* supporter of breast feeding education and particularly support for lower income mothers/families (because so often the father plays a role in the decision wether or not to nurse…). I was fortunate that I didn’t have trouble nursing, and that I was able to keep it up as long as I was (you may remember a certain afghan sew-up party chez vous that ended up being the last day that I nursed!). If there’s anything I can do to help someone else, well, I’m in! And knitting hats is way more do-able than becoming an IBCLC! πŸ™‚

  29. I would also like to make some hats for your friend. Bfeeding is something I too feel strongly about. I failed bfeeding my first but was determined to do it right the second time around and it was wonderful! It is SO important to have information and especially support! Bravo Stephanie!
    Great sweater by the way!

  30. Hooray for you!
    I’m due in about 4 weeks and plan on breastfeeding. However…
    I have watched several friends and family be pushed to use formula because their newborns did not take to the breast right away. These weren’t even women who didn’t have the education or the money to know what to do.
    I think part of the culture is that people tend to believe what they are told by the nurse, doctor or whatever medical practioner they are seeing because the mentality is that they know what they’re doing. There isn’t that empowerment to understand that you know what’s best for you and yours.
    Kudos to all who support the right to make your own choices and who support the right to be educated enough to make informed choices.

  31. I’m joining the baby hat brigade. What else would a knitter do during a 4 day weekend with too many sporting events to watch on TV (World Cup, Wimbledon, Red Sox, Tour de France)?

  32. Yay Jeanne! Yay breastfeeding! My Mom is a women’s and children’s health advocate and educator, so she raised a zealot! And this zealot will make hats! And also recruit my friend the La Leche League leader! Woot!

  33. Amen sister! I agree with an earlier comment that the hospitals do pay lip service to breastfeeding but when it comes down to it they are pushing the formula every chance they get. My first son was in the NICU for the first week and I remember the nurse freaking out because I had (FINALLY) got a good latch but didn’t manage to get the little formula tube that they’d taped to my breast into his little mouth. After arguing with her for a couple of minutes, she said that when she came back she wanted to see some of that formula gone. Cheeky as I am, I dumped most of it out on a washcloth when she wasn’t looking. πŸ™‚ I’d love to make some baby hats – I even have a couple of patterns on my site (the Thumbelina is very similar to a fruit cap.)

  34. Ooooh baby hats!! That look like fruits and veggies?? Yes! I think it is a great idea. Perhaps you have some links to favorite patterns?

  35. Please don’t knit those baby things too early! Though I would have loved to have you on board and missed the whole deliver-at-26-weeks or die thing ha. All’s well that ends well – I’m healthy again and my now SIX year old boy is perfect and YES I’ll knit a hat or two – I’ll email for an address.

  36. Hooray for boobies! And kudos to all the other Lactation consultants out there. I was lucky enough to have a pediatrician who has an LC on staff. She was such a GODSEND to me. A nurse at the hosptial came in for like 20 minutes to show me how to nurse, but once I got home, I was lost. Turned out that I had inverted nipples, so my wee one was having trouble. If I hadn’t had the lactation consultalnt to turn to, I would have switched to formula. As it turned out, I was able to happily nurse the wee one for close to a year, and I am 100% sure that is why my daughter rarely gets sick, despite being in daycare since she was 6 weeks old – another issue I have problems with, as well as the struggle to pump while at work.I could go on for days…I will totally knit up a hat or two.

  37. Kick ass post. You’ve articulated so nicely virtually all my own beefs with the (lack of) breastfeeding culture here. Baby Hats on the way (they would even if you didn’t write a kick ass post to fire me up).
    You do know they will be drowning in hats now, right?

  38. I’m all for the hats – I’ll be making some up. And I nursed my babies, until I thought I would go insane if I spent one more minute with a child hanging off me. Little did I know that 26 years later they still won’t leave me alone!! But know they come with grandchildren, so I let ’em!!

  39. I’d love to make some veggie/fruit hats! how do we contact jeanne? and can you give the name and/or link for the organization she works for? thanks! πŸ˜€ also, the sweater – too cute!! I have that in my stack o’ baby patterns too. πŸ™‚

  40. 1 – I’m only 7 weeks along, but please promise me that if by some strange occurance you knit something for my future child (which would be really odd since we only met for 5 minutes at the Knit One book signing) that you please finish said item 12 days before my due date. Not only because it would be cool to go a little early but mostly because then my child would share my birthday. Truly, I believe you have the power. πŸ™‚
    2 – Unfortunately at the moment, in their attempts to pander for votes, all our elected officials seem to care about are ways of limiting the rights of certain segments of the population and fighting about the war. This is why I watch The West Wing, to dream that there are actually politicians out there with our best interests at heart.
    3 – I count myself among the lucky that I can afford to take 12 weeks for maternity leave WITHOUT pay, but I have trouble imagining my ability to pump once I return to work. I work in a cube and the only private room in the office (other than the bathroom) is our resource library. I hope to find a solution and will work with my employer to make necessary changes…but the fact that I will have to work for a solution is just sad.
    4 – Love the buttons your chose. I think you should choose a sweater pattern for another child specifically to show off the mousies. πŸ™‚ Would Hank appreciate them, or is he told old for blue mice now?
    Thanks for everything that you write. It makes my day.

  41. And the WIC program gives free formula to low income mothers. My daughter & I would love to make some baby hats. Please send me the address to mail them to. I would love to do this on an ongoing basis if Jeanne is interested.

  42. And the WIC program gives free formula to low income mothers. My daughter & I would love to make some baby hats. Please send me the address to mail them to. I would love to do this on an ongoing basis if Jeanne is interested. This is an issue that I have very strong feelings about.

  43. I’m happy to do some knitting for “the cause.” More than hats, too, if wanted.
    As a low-income (but fairly well-educated) new mother 25 years ago, home births and breast-feeding were (initially) done out of necessity, but continued out of conviction . . .

  44. Stephanie,
    I had no idea you are a Lactation Consultant. I just want to say that LCs rule! I had an LC help me through my BF problems in the beginning. And with my decreased milk supply when I was back at work and pumping.
    Ironically, last night I posted in my blog about the fact that my baby boy who just turned 1 year old is weaning and that I am very sad about it. I’ve been breastfeeding/pumping this entire time. Any sage advice for a mom who is having a hard time thinking that her baby will one day (soon!) not want to nurse?
    Betty

  45. I’ll send the watermelon hat that I made recently, having miscalculated gauge (I know, I know) so it’s now useless for the 4.5 lb preemie for whom it was intended. Fear not, I’ve since knit a properly sized one for her.
    Please send me (or save yourself the effort and post) the address.

  46. Isn’t it AWFUL how many women try to nurse, really TRY, and end up convinced that they didn’t have enough milk (or with thrush, sore nipples, nipple trauma, etc…all preventable)? If it were as common as we hear, the human race would have died out millions of years ago! It’s a _cultural_ problem, for MOST of them! With better information and support, and HELP, most women wouldn’t have these problems!!!!
    And so, count me in for a couple of fruit hats…gotta go find some patterns! Hey, how about a list of where to find some, Stephanie?
    Oh, I do NOT have that power over babies…babies are forever arriving before I finish their knitting πŸ˜‰

  47. Your comments on breast-feeding nearly made me weep. When I had my son nearly 18 years ago, I had NO help in learning how to breast-feed. I had a single nurse in the hospital who pretty much grabbed my breast with one hand and attached the baby with the other, and that’s all the “training” I got. I felt like a failure for not being able to do something that was supposed to be completely natural to me. So I switched to formula… and I had plenty, because the hospital sent me home with piles of it.
    I raised a lovely, healthy child who will be going to college this fall, so everything turned out okay. But I remember the guilt and sorrow of that time, and I wish so much there had been someone to help me.
    Reading comments like this fires me up even more to be an advocate for those who don’t get the help they need. Thank you so much.

  48. OK, I can knit a little hat, I think. I used a Medela breast pump — the big one in its own bag and all. Since it wasn’t really super fun to pump, I sometimes needed to remind myself how lucky I was to be able to afford it and to have a job where I could just walk away for 10-20 minute every few hours. With other jobs I’ve had (recently), that would not have been possible. We really need more support (oh, and more leave — I didn’t get ANY maternity leave. I took two weeks of vacation time and then wheedled two more weeks of half-time work before I was back to full-time. I would not stand for this again.)

  49. Although both my obstetrician and my baby’s pediatrician encouraged breasfeeding my children, the nurse tried to give me a pill to “dry up the supply,” and got really snippy when I refused to take it. And one of my friends (?) looked me in the eye and told me at least she wasn’t a cow (she was about 80 pounds overweight at the time).
    My OB also told me that in Scandinavian countries, there is an insurance premium deduction for mothers and babies who breastfeed.
    What is the USA doing wrong (besides bowing to the almighty dollar)?

  50. This is such an interesting post to me. Breastfeeding is such a charged issue among women, and I kindof know what it means to be on the low-income end of things with a new baby and all. During my 3rd year of college, I had an unexpected (and very, very pricey) C-Section when I had my son. Even though I really, really wanted to breastfeed, it just went HORRIBLY for me! I don’t know how it works up there, but WIC in the state where I lived at the time would provide breastfeeding “advice” (i.e. pamphlets, etc.), but to actually meet with a breastfeeding consultant was SO expensive. Or, you could just get free formula. (Hmm, I wonder which one most women picked!?)
    In my case, I forked out the money to see a consultant, who then just made me feel guilty for the fact that it wasn’t going well, and embarrassed because I wasn’t “good at it,” and like a bad mom because I had some issues with the fact that A) it was excruciatingly painful (and I’m not just talking your getting-used-to-breastfeeding pain) and B) even after I would nurse the kid for hours upon end he would STILL be hungry. Maybe it isn’t this way everywhere, but I have sure talked to many, many women who had similar issues!
    I’m sure there are lactation consultants who are very, very helpful. But it seems like there are a lot of them who are “breastfeeding nazis”, who are happy to tell you how important breastfeeding is (which I already knew), but who aren’t all that helpful as far as actually HELPING you to breastfeed! (I really appreciate your point, by the way, that it is the woman’s choice what she does with her breasts!) Is it any wonder that even women who want to breastfeed give up and switch to formula, whether they have to pay for it or not?
    I think you bring up some really good issues, here! I wish there were some easier solutions to some of these things.

  51. I hate to spoil the party, but I had the opposite experience with medical people — they told me of course I could breastfeed, anyone could, here’s the number of La Leche League, no, they really won’t surround you and poke you with sticks until you produce milk, and so on. I don’t even recall getting formula samples. I did put the kids on formula part time when I went back to work. (The thing I couldn’t figure out was how to sterilize the pump so I could pump more than once during the work day.)
    OK, enough of that. Tiny twinge of guilt, begone! (Sorry, not your fault, you tried.) I’ll try to think of something else, like hat patterns.
    Oh, and I think one reason why low-income women don’t BF as much is that they can’t afford unpaid time off, so they have to go back to work quickly, and they tend to have jobs that don’t accommodate BF and/or pumping very well if at all.

  52. thank you for promoting this! please send me the info. when i start to feel bad about the fact that I now have no breasts due to cancer, I need to remind myself that i nursed two healthy babies on my terms. nothing can replace that. so off i go to knit hats. and hand me a hankie. i need to go shed a few tears.

  53. I’ve got a nine month old baby, here. Breastfeeding for me was complicated by a chronic pain condition I have, namely, I couldn’t take the medication I need to function AND breast feed, it was one or the other. (I managed it for four months. The kid is huge and healthy, so whatever I did, it worked.)
    The amount of misinformation I got from doctors, nurses, and the ‘helpful general public’ was breathtaking. You can’t win. If you breast feed, people complain because you have BARED YOUR BOOB IN PUBLIC. If you bottle feed, you’re starving your child and should be shot for abuse. It’s bizarre. Truly bizarre. And oh my god, don’t even try to feed them anything solid before the six month point, or you’ll KILL THEM. (hah)
    I wish they’d just get it together and present mothers with accurate information. We can take it from there.

  54. I am sitting home on leave with my second bout with mastisis and this post truly touched me and made me remember why I have gone thru all this pain these past 11 months. You see my son had what the LC said was “EXTREME suction” something that 2% of they babies have. He literally tore my nipple off (no really he did it was torn half off with proper latch that was checked a gazillion times) so I switched to a breastpump and have pumped for the past 10 months. It tears my heart to not have that bond with him, but it would tear my heart more if he was not getting the nutrition that I believe only mommy’s milk provides…I still feel guilt, but that is another story…
    In short, as a breastfeeding/pumping mom who has gone through torture to make sure her son has had breastmilk his whole life thus far – I would be honored to make a hat. Please tell me how and where.

  55. A big ugly list unfurled in my head when I read this sentence: “This is a culture where [people] are bombarded with information and incentive to use [X], because nobody makes any money when you [Y].”
    Thanks for making me think, thanks for making me smile (and growl), thanks for lighting so many fires under so many … of us.
    Where to send hats, please?
    My second child was born 20 minutes after I put my first to bed. My 3rd was born 40 minutes after the first two got picked up. My 4th was born just as soon as the first three had had a good night’s sleep so that they could come into our room and welcome him and then be sane and wonderful the rest of the day. Do you REALLY think the power is in your hands? Statistically, it does look that way, but there’s plenty of reason not to be alarmed. Either way, though, that sweater is worth it!

  56. “…because nobody makes any money when you breastfeed.”
    Spot on, Stephanie. Money makes too much of this world go ’round.
    I’m on the margins of the entire experience of parenthood (no kids of my own but hear a lot from my friends), and it’s surprising and saddening to find out how freely strangers heap criticism on the decisions people make about their children.

  57. Oh, and (yeah, it’s me again) Earthami is *brilliant*. You should obviously be knitting for babies threatening to be preemies.

  58. I’m a militant breastfeeder support person and will contribute hats. Plain hats unless someone can give me a pattern for veggie hats. (Anyone?)
    I’ll see who else I can enlist . . . .

  59. I will be totally honest, with my kids I chose to BF because we had no extra money. In the end FREE won over $formula hands down. I can’t say it wasn’t without its ups and downs (engorgement…yikes) but overall I wouldn’t have done anything different.
    I think another issue with BFing in general round these parts is the social stigma of it. I was asked to leave several places because I was BFing… or worse… asked to go into the ladies room (yuck!). And I’m the type to use a blanket to cover up as I do so… no flagrant whipping out of boobage for all to see like a National Geographic Special. I think that if people stopped being prude in all the wrong ways (BFing) and started being prude in all the right ways (safe practices with you know what, and what is seen on TV and movies) the world might be less weird. Cause there’s just something wrong with people getting the heebie jeebies from BFing, but happily and willingly watching movies like Saw. Damn, I’d tried avoiding the soapbox, sorry.
    On knitting though, the wooden buttons look fantastic.

  60. I agree whole-heartedly about the breastfeeding thing. I “boobed” my kids when they were younger because I felt it was the best choice for them (and me). I can not tell you how many strange looks I recieved from people when I would do it (inconspicuously) in public from people who were pro-bottle or maybe just anti-boob.
    How many strange looks and rude comments do people who bottle feed thier children get? Not as many as those who breastfeed do.
    If you could get me the info regarding the baby caps, I would love to help out.

  61. I’m sure this will get lost in all the wonderful comments…
    Stephanie, you really are quite remarkable.
    First I discovered this witty blog where you tell stories and show off you knitting.
    Second I found out you’d leapt into the world of book publishing and started writing books that got better and funnier with each go.
    Then, I read in one of your books that you were a doula!
    Now, you reveal that you are an IBCLC! (I don’t know if anyone has a real appreciation of how much work it takes to get an IBCLC certification, but it really blew my mind when I was deciding, post natally, that I wanted to help pregnant and new mothers and briefly considered going for an IBCLC.)
    As a woman who has just returned from The Farm (yes, for those of you who’ve read Ina May Gaskin, THAT farm!) where I attended my DONA Labour Doula training, discovering your deep committment to newborn nutrition, on top of your doula background and the fact that you are a writer (me too!) and kick ass knitter – well, something inside my chest just swelled up!
    Thank you for being an inspiration.

  62. “…because nobody makes any money when you breastfeed.”
    Well, actually, breastpump companies like Medela make money. πŸ™‚

  63. So is knitting a tiny baby hat in the shape of a breast considered gauche? Can you please tell us where to find fruit hat patterns if you know?
    I don’t have children. My mother told me of the difficulties she (and I) suffered as they tried to find the “right” formula for me, as I was apparently allergic to everything. Everything except breastmilk. When I asked her why she didn’t just breastfeed me she told me that her doctor advised her against it (this was back in the dark ages-1967. Her doctor also gave her an unnecessary hysterectomy when she was 23, but that’s a story for another day.).
    Her doctor advised her against it. It still boggles my mind. I suffered horrible allergies and asthma as a kid, spent weeks and weeks in hospital because I was always so sick. Had I been breastfed maybe I wouldn’t have suffered so as a little kid.
    So hell yeah, I’ll knit some hats to maybe help some kid from not going through what I went through. Just need patterns and where to send…

  64. I love making baby hats! I love breastfeeding! Where do I send the hats?
    Thanks for talking about this. There are some new ads here (in US) from some branch of the government (HHS? NIH?) that equate not breastfeeding with risky behavior like riding a mechanical bull while pregnant. These ads are contorversial – why? We see ads promoting formula all the time!

  65. The sweater is beautiful and I think it does look nicer with the wooden buttons.
    Breastfeeding….I just don’t know what I can add. I love that your post was non-judgmental. Your compassionate/non-judgey attitude was definately not my experience with lactation consultants. Wish I’d had you around.
    All I can say is that I have an extremely healthy and happy 2 year old daughter. And, at the end of the day, that’s really what matters.

  66. Thanks for the articulate way you wrote about breast-feeding. Every time one of my co-workers turns up pregnant, I give them “The Art of Breastfeeding” as a gift. It really saved me with my two kiddies and I’m happy to say that I’ve made a few converts!
    So I’m all for anything that helps inform. Great suggestion with the hats!

  67. Sign me up! I will look for an address tomorrrow so you don’t have to send out a gazillion e-mails. I was wondering what to knit next. As soon as we get yarn specifics, I will start apple hats and others (cupcakes anyone? or are we supposed to support healthy eating?) I, too, have a long BF story bur will post it elsewhere.

  68. whether or not swedish women aren’t as diverse as american, they do have 18 months paid maternity leave and amazing health care, which i think has a lot to do with the breast feeding rate. loved this post.

  69. They’re not mousies, but they’re damned cute anyway:
    http://www.morehousefarm.com/KnittingEssentials/Buttons/Woodshed/
    I was told by the nurses at the NICU that there would be no way in hell that my preemie would breastfeed. She and I disagreed. That said, we were about a day away from giving up. I would have pumped, though, because that was the one thing with my body that went right: milk production pretty much fed half the NICU for nine weeks. My father started calling me the Dairy Queen. And my kid finally latched after six weeks of frustration…she hated the bottle and had to be tube-fed until we could get the breast situation working.
    I’ll be glad for the day when a woman’s decision to breastfeed or not to breastfeed is not dictated by anyone but herself. Lack of education and support leading to a decision not to do it is just wrong.

  70. My mom had to go back to work right after I was born (even Canada didn’t have much maternity leave in the 60’s) and I’ve hardly been sick at all. I had almost a perfect attendance in Elementary and High school, and even now my work place is amazed if I have to call in sick! I think there are more conditions than just whether they breastfeed or not.

  71. I nursed all 3 of my boys-#2 through 6 months of mastitis and post partum depression. When I had #3 he was in NICU for a week and then despite almost daily working with a 35yr Lactation FNP, it took 2 months for him to latch on and nurse. Without the support of my family, an amazing milking-machine, and pure stubborness to defy the odds, I wouldn’t have been able to brag about my 23, 17 & 14 yr olds and their perfect health today.
    I want to knit veggie/fruit hats! Send me the email please.

  72. Hurray for titty milk! I had a hard time with nursing my firstborn and had to compromise (at each feeding she nursed, then got some formula.) It was my own solution to her lack of weight gain, and it worked. But no one helped me, I had to figure it out myself. Breastfeeding is natural, but doesn’t always come naturally. I think part of the reason for that is that many of us have not been around nursing mothers much, to see how it’s done, to ask questions, to feel comfortable. Anyway, I too would like to make a hat. I’m already envisioning one of those cute watermelon hats. Can I make one since I live in Canada, which is not very close to California?

  73. I can’t say how much I love you, even moreso now that you’ve written such a wonderful (and DEAD ON) post about one of my pet issues. Were I to be having more kids, I would move up there just to have you as my doula.
    I’d love to knit a hat for this immensely worthy cause.
    Can’t wait to meet you in Oklahoma City!

  74. Wonderful rant! Should be turned into an op-ed piece for every newspaper (U.S., Canadian, U.K.) to run once every nine months. (Instead, today I read about a governor and cardinal hoping to pass legislation against gay marriage. How about real issues like health care — for women and men.)
    Many thanks.

  75. From California also, have heard speakers from WIC (In Monterey County then)and their programs to encourage breast feeding and healthy eating as well as part of a Soroptimist program. Monterey County has a huge Low Income population (despite the fact that its one of the most expensive places to live) that really need the help. I will start on some hats, maybe you could post some contact info or a link to some sites ???

  76. I with you Steph. My kids were born in Berkeley over 40 years ago and breastfeeding was encouraged and expected then. Please send me Jeanne’s info and I’ll send her some hats.
    What a great post. Of course all of these surrounding issues are election deal breakers. Oh, for some viable candidates …

  77. From California also, have heard speakers from WIC (In Monterey County then)and their programs to encourage breast feeding and healthy eating as well as part of a Soroptimist program. Monterey County has a huge Low Income population (despite the fact that its one of the most expensive places to live) that really need the help. I will start on some hats, maybe you could post some contact info or a link to some sites ???

  78. Rock on, Yarn Harlot, exposer of Breastfeeding Political Ramifications while not getting sucked into some terrible anti woman judgement.
    Rock on Jeanne, for your excellent people power(ed) and power(ing) idea. (Though I secretly don’t have time to knit a bunch of hats, I am going to make time.)
    I’m gonna have to check to see if you gave a number of stitches for the fruit hat. If not, perhaps I can get the measurements of a tiny head somewhere.

  79. I knew you rocked 900 different kinds of awesome, but now you rock 901! Yet another reason to love you!

  80. Sometimes I wonder about ideological convergence.
    This week, I have been reading Dr. Jack Newman’s Ultimate Breastfeeding Book and, when I compare that information to the information that my friends and doula clients receive from their doctors and I want to scream.
    It is so upsetting!
    But my dear, you rock. You raise awareness and all that good stuff. I will knit hats!

  81. I breastfed both of my sons. And loved the quiet intimacy. There was no information at the hostpital that I can remember. I had no support. My then husband was not at all supportive – except he couldn’t get up in the night for feedings. I just (ignorance is bliss category) did it. And luckily for me, I had no problems that didn’t work themselves out.
    Isn’t there a statistic somewhere that if you do BF, you are less likely to get breast cancer in later years? Think I remember reading that once.
    Add my name to the hordes knitting a baby hat. You might think about re-posting your baby hat “formula” for all.
    Thanks for another thought provoking post.

  82. Every time I hear a thunderclaps going on right now I just want to rush out and buy a great big tarp for Megan. I’ll be too distracted to get any work done until it stops raining. Damn.
    In gratitude for the very strong support my hospital, nurses and doctors provided me when my son was dropping weight in his first week as it took a few extra days for my milk to come in – no one ever mentioned formula, just the 24 hour breastfeeding cure and an appointment with the lactation clinic – and living in a country that supports a long maternity leave I’ll be making a hat.

  83. Go, Stephanie. When I was in the hospital with my first baby, my roommate, who had already had one unsuccesful attempt at breastfeeding with an earlier child, was speaking to the “WIC” lady and the nurse. She desperately wanted to give her baby a bottle — breastfeeding wasn’t working, and she was afraid her baby would starve. Instead of finding this woman help, or even just saying, “Don’t worry, sometimes it takes a little bit of time to get the hang of it,” they just kept shaking their heads, and telling her breastfeeding is best. Well, of course it is, but if no one shows her how, or encourages her, then how is she supposed to do it? A lactation consultant is what she needed, or at least a nurse with some knowledge and compassion, and instead she was made to feel like a failure.
    You are completely scary with the knitting and baby timing thing. The wooden buttons were the right choice.

  84. I’m right with you there on not slagging women for whatever choices they make. To promote breastfeeding, I:
    -breastfed both of my children to 13 months and 15 months
    -took every opportunity to do so in public
    -never hid what I was doing behind a towel or blanket
    -encourage expectant mothers to just try it
    -speak with animation about how much I enjoyed my breastfeeding years
    I guess I’m going to have to add a knitting a watermelon hat to that list.

  85. Someone mentioned that low income families would lean towards breastfeeding because its free vs the cost of formula. You WOULD think that, but its not the case. A lot of moms I know who use WIC, went straight to formula BECAUSE of WIC. Their reasoning was, why bother with breastfeeding if WIC is giving them free formula? Sad.
    Plus an entire generation of women have only been exposed to formula fed babies and don’t understand that breastfed babies, eat more often as they digest breastmilk faster. This leads them to think they’re eating so often because they’re not getting enough, alas they supplement, this causes their supply to dip, and here starts the cycle.
    With that said, WIC is a great program, but its successes vary from city to city depending on their staff and how much work they individually put into educating WIC families. We used WIC when we had our first two children while my husband was finishing his undergrad degree, and I stayed home. I partiallly credit WIC for my successful nursing relationship specifically with my second child, as the LC on staff, whas FABULOUS. As well as my family doctor who worked with that LC to get me on meds for my lack of milk supply, and was overall a good friend and supporter. This WIC program (Madison WI) is one of the best I’ve been exposed to. Others around the country, I’ve just heard extreme horror stories about.. some women leaving the program, despite NEEDING its help because of mis-information and horrible volunteers and staff.
    ok..rambled there, but this is a big issue for me, and I only successfully breastfed one of my four children (til he was 2) Funny, he was still nursing at the time, his little brother was weaning himself at 4 months following a long hospital stay. People always thought that odd, that the toddler was still nursing and my infant wasnt.
    BUT…I’m game for making some itty bitty fruit caps! Count me in!

  86. A friend of mine works in a hospital in New York City that sees alot of low income mothers and children; she said the mothers often have to be told NOT TO PUT COKE OR PEPSI IN THE BABY’S BOTTLE.
    And as the US tries to force more women and children off welfare so they can work, work, work, this problem will only get worse.
    We idealize motherhood, and yet we don’t support it.
    Blessings to anyone who helps more mothers nurse!

  87. I’ll be getting right on the fruit hats. They will have to wait a few days, though. I have three doula clients due in the next 2 weeks, and your post freaked the heck out of me that all of the babies are waiting for their hats. These moms are going to be pissed if they are still pregnant because the doula can’t get her needles in gear.

  88. As both a nurse and a mother who had bad and great breastfeeding experiences, my chief gripe is both the lack of support and and information that is out there. When I failed with my first child, but 5 years later both older wiser and more determined, I suceeded and nursed both sons past a year. Since then I have encourged many women with my most favorite advice, the first 6 weeks are the hardest. I have convinced many coworkers to just give it a try and feel free to call if they have a problem or just need to vent!

  89. I will knit at least one hat. Will anxiously await the mailing address. Just a month until World Brestfeeding week.
    I am a Maternal Child nurse. Love to teach women/babies to Breast feed. Our hospital does not send home formula with the new families. Took us a long time to get there but we did it.
    Did you know that UC San Diego has a Batchelors Degree Program for Lactation? I think that is so neat. In the NICU we try to only use Mother’s milk or bank milk. Still babies do get formula.
    As with everything education is the key.

  90. You are gifted in many ways — you can state your strong opinion on a (unfortunately controversial) subject without causing commentroversy, you can put out flame wars, you support righteous causes and you control due dates. Why hasn’t Hollywood optioned your life?

  91. Hear, hear! As someone who NEVER thought she’d be breastfeeding a three year old, I now can’t imagine doing anything else. Thank you so much for this wonderful post. I’m so thankful I’m in Canada and had a full year paid mat leave.

  92. Stephanie, what a wonderful post! It’s inspiring to hear you bring your eloquence to bear on this very important issue. I nursed both my children, my second for 29 months, and I’m grateful that I had the support and the resources to do so, including understanding coworkers who supported my need to take 20-minute breaks from meetings for many months.
    For those who have difficulty working without a pattern, I’ve put a pattern for my watermelon hat up on my blog, http://explaiknit.typepad.com — the 16″ size should nicely fit most babies from a few weeks after arrival through toddlerhood. I think I can throw together an apple hat pattern very quickly and get that up later today, and I’ll see if I can come up with a few more to go up there also.
    I’ll email for Jeanne’s address.

  93. I worked for a time as a LLL-trained breastfeeding peer counselor for a WIC program here in Washington State. It was hard to work with moms who are tossed formula at every turn, but it was a great experience when I got through to a mom and helped her breastfeed. My own children were breastfed. My 6-year-old son was born with gastroschisis at 36 weeks and I pumped full-time for 5 weeks and then partially for another 3 weeks. We were lucky that he didn’t get nipple confused and went to the breast beautifully. He weaned himself at 19 months. Oh, did I mention that I was a WIC mother and my husband and I were both in college? We made it work. πŸ™‚ My 3-year-old son is enjoying extended nursing. We were on WIC with him as well and I fought tooth and nail to make them understand that he was growing fine and that their growth charts and diet recalls needed serious updating. They’re finally getting around to it. It’s really frustrating to be a mother today. Thanks for the encouragement.

  94. I’d love to knit a fruit hat… just tell me (and the rest of us it seems) where and by when, to send them!!

  95. Super post!
    Can you direct us to patterns?
    And referring back several weeks. there was great enthusiasm about a spread sheet someone had forwarded to you. Any chance of a follow up on it?

  96. Very well said. I am so angered that there just isn’t the support, education, and resources out there so that women can breastfeed successfuly. Glad to help in any way I can.

  97. I’ve seen so many (parenting) blogs where a seemingly harmless post about breastfeeding turns into a full on mud-slinging war.
    Thanks, Stephanie, for writing about this in such a non-judgemental way. It seems that lots of us agree with you fully.
    Friends of mine had a baby boy last June who needed open heart surgury asap. They went to Edmonton (6 hours away) right away, and lived there for a month while the baby was recovering. The mum pumped the whole time, and babe got breast milk in a tube the whole time. Over the Canada day long weekend they had an “Amazing” doctor/nurse team who spent lots of time helping the baby learn how to latch. The baby figured it out that weekend (at 4 weeks old, never having had a chance to feed normally), and he was released from the hospital a few days later, once they made sure his weight was increasing.
    A little bit of breastfeeding support helped them get home and back to normal life as soon as possible.

  98. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I sure wish there had been someone just like you, Stephanie, when I had my daughter a bit over 21 years ago. Labor, delivery and new baby jitters would have been so much easier to deal with! I do know that if anyone asks, I will surely recommend that they find a doula and a lactation specialist.

  99. My sister-in-law, well-off and educated, was told at one of our city hospitals that because of a flu scare in the nursery which delayed her and her infant getting to know each other immediately, she should bottle feed because she would have to supplement anyway. Wtf? So she did.

  100. Wonderful post! I lucked out when I had my first child to have an enlightened mid-wife walk this fraidy cat through the whole thing, from morning sickness, false labor, through accepting breast-feeding as natural when it was so discouraged twenty years ago. Breast-feeding isn’t just great for the baby, it helps the mom eat better, as one knows that milk can only be as good as what you eat, enough protein daily, etc. and it provided me with the excuse to just sit and relax numerous times a day, endlessly valuable to any new mom. The first few weeks seemed difficult, just like learning any skill and then it was almost a piece of cake. My babies all gained lots of weight their first 3 days!
    And for anyone considering it, remember breast size has nothing to do with it, the mammary glands are actually a small bit of the breast. As an under-endowed woman I can testify I made more than enough milk, as my kids were fast growing with that cute chubby baby look. And then they were weaned, started running and turned into beanpoles!
    Our society should treat parents better, I’d say give new dads 6 weeks off, new moms 16 weeks would really get the new family off to a great start. But until there are at least the same percentage of women government representatives in power as there are in the general population, this won’t change easily.
    The sweater is perfect. Your timing is terrific and perhaps an awesome power. Do the moms-to-be know when their sweater is finished? Or is it a true blind experiment…. finish sweater and wait to see if the phone rings from new mom?

  101. Bravo. You have said it all. As women we need to support one another not accuse or condemn. I have grown weary My knitting skills are questionable. I would be happy to donate yarn or make a monetary donation.

  102. Stephanie, thanks for saying in this post what I’ve been wanting to say about the recent breastfeeding frou-frou. You hit the nail on the head. Women’s choice is important, and especially informed choice. With support from society. I’m going to link to this entry from my blog, and I will cast on today for a hat. Please let us know where to send the hats – I can have mine done this week. Sorry if that question has been answered in comments, don’t have time to read ’em all between my toddler and nursing newborn.
    You and Jeanne rock!

  103. I am very much pro-breastfeeding. My poor mom had me when she was young (in 1973) and the nurses at the hospital pretty much forced her to use sugar water and formula. She wishes now that she had been able to try to breastfeed. I wanted to make sure that I made that effort when I had my boys. Luckily, I hired a doula (best, best money I ever spent in my life) and she gave me lots of information that helped me. I breastfed both my boys until they were 3 (still breastfeeding my youngest at bedtime…he’s 3) and they are super healthy and happier for it. And, know this is TMI, but my hubby loves my full bosom…during and after the breastfeeding years : )

  104. Happy to help – would love some patterns and where to send the hats. Thanks to both of you for your efforts in this regard. I nursed my two baby girls exclusively and then when I had my 10 pound boy he just couldn’t get enough. With the help of a great lactation consultant I was able to work to give him as much breastmilk as possible and then just supplement with formula. I’m sure if I didn’t have the resources for the consultant I just would have had to give up. You go gals!

  105. Two great things that go great together – knitting and breastfeeding. As the proud mother of a still-nursing 19 month old and a LLL Leader Applicant, I would love to contribute to this project. Please tell me where to send the hat(s) and when to have them sent. Thanks for a great read, as usual.

  106. I would have breastfed, I tried, but my son was allergic to milk! And, at the time, I WAS an abondoned wife with no income. I read all the brochures and La Leche League counciling…. doesn’t do any good if your baby is allergic to milk.
    OTOH, my parents weren’t poor, and I wasn’t breastfed, I, too, was allergic to milk aa a baby. I grew up just fine. A friend of mine, same age, same life style growing up, was breastfed and is very sickly.

  107. Amen! I’m the oldest of 8 (soon to be 9) and Mom’s breastfed us all.
    Therefore, work permitting, I’ll help! πŸ™‚

  108. I hope you’ll keep your monthly archieve list (back to the very beginning) on your website. I’m a new fan and need to catch up. Do you ever sleep?????

  109. Wow, Stephanie, great post. I have 3 daughters (23,21 & 18) all breastfed and happy about it. I work as an Early Childhood Interventionist and see many low income and not so low income Mom’s who resist breastfeeding but because I don’t see them until after they are home for a few weeks, the time has passed. Our hospital here in Frederiction, NB now has a Baby-Friendly program (WHO and UNICEF initiative) that encouraged breasfeeding, has dedicated Lactation Consultant and restricts giving new parents Free samples of formula. Infact I think formula is only provided to babies when medically required. Of course, Mom’s are only in Hospital for 48 hours but they are closely followed at home.
    OK, end of my rant. I would love to do up some hats. Please send me the address. (Maybe I should try this program in my community, with credit given to Jeanne)
    Take care, Anne from Fredericton

  110. Bravo, both on the power of your knitting (where were you when each of my last two went two weeks overdue?) and the power of your writing.
    I successfully BFed all four of my kids. Oddly, I had an easier time getting started with the first two than with the second two, possibly because of the 13-year gap between #2 and #3. I was very very blessed in that, both in Oklahoma and in Colorado, I had wonderful support from the nurses and LCs, although there were a couple of odd bits of advice from the non-LC nurses. I also nurse in public routinely and have never had any unpleasant “incidents”, even though none of my kids ever tolerated any kind of cover over them while nursing. However, my sister had exactly the opposite experience from me–lack of support to the point of emotional sabotage, lack of education and self-confidence, resulting in very curtailed nursing. Her kids are happy and healthy, but she still feels wounded by her experience.
    So I’ll get at least one hat done, and I’ll alert my knitting circle. If you don’t post the details in your blog, please email me the information as to where to send hats and what the deadline is.

  111. Didn’t have time to read all of the comments before me and so someone else may already have said this – or maybe I’m the only devil…Anyway, often the choice to use formula isn’t based on a lack of education/information at all. I live in the U.S. and am very familiar with the WIC program and the Medicaid program, having been a fortunate recipient of both at one time in my life. Both programs give lots of information about breastfeeding and the benefits thereof and the WIC program even allows nursing mothers additional food like beans, peanut butter, and tuna fish. Sadly, so many women here just think that nursing will make their breasts sag or they “just think it sounds too weird.” I am aware that there are those who have tried and it didn’t work for whatever reason and I know that there can be great emotional stress over that and I have great sympathy for those women. For the many, many others that don’t breastfeed, I think that, too often, using formula is a decision based on self-serving interests not lack of information. Hat or no hat won’t change their minds. Just my opinion.

  112. I’m in California too – would like to help with a hat. May not be able to do a fruit, I am short on time (work issues) but by golly I can knit SOMETHING cute! Just tell me where to send it.

  113. Stephanie, you ROCK! Woman do need to be able to make an informed choice. Really know the pro’s and cons. And it is unfortunate that breast feeding doesn’t get all the kudos that it deserves. As a mom of 3, I breast feed them all, I can attest to the fact that its HARD to find a good breastfeeding consultant if you need help or support. Although it might be where I live. There where many times, that I had to stand up for my belief that breast is best. When Allysa was having medical problems, and her gastroenterologest was trying to tell me that formula was better. (which made me so mad, that I screamed at him asking him why he felt that way. And found a much, much better gastroenterologest that supports my choice.)
    Anyway, can ya let me know where to send the hats? Thanks! Sure hope a pumpkin’s ok! : )

  114. Hear hear! I’m totally with you Steph! When does the hat need to be done and where does it go? I will try to find a fruity pattern and knit one up ASAP!

  115. Excellent post, Stephanie! I agree with everything you say. I remember from my anthropology classes eons ago that formula companies were making inroads into some of Third World countries, trying to get women to give up breastfeeding. The trouble was that it was expensive, and the health risks were greater because there was little refrigeration and poor sanitation. And yes, the US has an abysmal record when it comes to maternity leave (or any other kind of leave, for that matter).

  116. I never comment on your blog because there are so many I can’t imagine that you get around to reading them all… That being said, I am a rather new, faithful reader and fan and was VERY excited to read that you were also an IBCLC. I passed the test last July and it was something I had worked for – for a long time. I would LOVE to help with the project.
    The sweater is very cool and it is a little scary the power you seem to have…

  117. I decided while we were raising 3 children on partial incomes while DH was in graduate school that one has to be REALLY SMART to be poor! And that begins with listening to the instinctive need and ability to feed the baby. Amen!

  118. I am so happy the Canadian women have the right to 52 weeks of maternity leave. It was the second biggest factor in my decision to breastfeed. The first being that I had been breastfed, so had my mother and her mother and so on.
    Perhaps part of the problem is that we are always supposed to be on the go, but get weird looks if we dare try to care for our children in public. We as a society need to remember that not everything from the past belongs there and that newer is often not better. Science cannot replace nature.

  119. I hate to admit this but as I am currently pregnant (21 weeks and counting) – knitting makes me sea sick… yes.. I said it – SEA SICK!!
    I hadn’t before put my needles down for more than a 12-24 hour stretch since learning how to knit, and now it’s been nearly 15 weeks without any knitting progress.
    This is a big issue for me as I am not so worried about being a good parent, or how I am going to deal with a newborn (my first) but instead I worry about my child not having enough warm clothing (since he is due Nov 6th and I’ve yet to knit him anything).
    So — what am I saying…. I say kudos to you for offering up your opinion on breastfeeding (one I agree with) and I would like to support the cause!! I am going to attempt to knit a hat (they’re small right — how sick could I get).. but if all else fails… can I donate some yarn to the cause for someone else to knit a hat? After all – it’s just sitting here, whining at me for ignoring it this long… I’m starting to feel a real sense of guilt!
    Also – given your magical trick with babies and knitting – any chance I can commission you to knit something for the little boy inside me (towards the end of October of course) to coax him out in a timely fashion??? Just a thought but you might want to add this to your profession (after mother and writer of course!!) πŸ™‚ I think you could make some big bucks with the very pregnant among us! I have heard of a lot of “way” to coax a baby out: sex, castor oil, massage, etc – but knitting… this is my favorite!

  120. Huh. Mom always said that she didn’t breastfeed me because I sicked it up right after; the doctors said I was allergic. Wonder now if that’s true; the la leche league site seems to be trafficked out.
    Adorable sweater! =) Yet another interested call in the baby hat dept.

  121. I didn’t finish my earlier statement. I have grown weary of the debates we as women constantly wage between ourselves. Breast or bottle, stay- at-home or working, school or home school. Can’t we just be empowering to one another? You and people like Jeanne are a credit to us all! Again Bravo Just for the record I have both bottle and breastfed.

  122. I am eternally grateful to La Leche League. When my high need child(nursed every hour) was born I thought breastfeeding was natural and instinct would take over. Boy was I wrong as I learned about techniques.
    I was involved with La Leche League for 5 years and NO my child did not nurse that long. She nursed 3 of those 5 years. Nursing a toddler is not the same as a newborn.
    Nursing that long was not of my choice either but I had to go back to work and had to suppliment.
    As it turned out she was allergic to cow’s milk and hated the taste of soy formula. She knew what was breast. I had to quit the job for the kid.
    I cried when she stopped nursing and she said she didn’t want baby’s milk anymore.She is 16 now and has never had anything but the occasional sniffle.
    At the daycare I now work at I get a chance to support other mums that have chosen to breastfeed their babies. The information I get to pass along makes the job worth while.
    I love the idea of the hats.

  123. The sweater is gorgeous.
    The BFing rant is gorgeous, too. Bless you!
    Hey . . . my second kidlet is due October 7. The first was two weeks late, 2 days of induction with just about zero progress, and a c-section. Gah. (But I was able to BF. Hooray for midwives!)
    I don’t need a whole sweater from the hands of The Harlot – but maybe you can sort of spiritually dedicate the completion of a dishcloth or something equally minor to the cause sometime early this fall? I need all the help I can get! πŸ˜‰

  124. You Have The Power ***needles over head – lightning cracks*** use it wisely:)
    Having BF with one child and not with another, I see benefits from many sides. BFing is so much better, and I think that is a common sense thing – the issue has to do with time and money. Many woman who fit that low income catagory are working and just making ends meet. They need the money for daily living, but unfortuatly don’t have the time to BF. Even if your a stay at home mom, it still takes time to sit and let the kid eat. Your pretty much stuck sitting there until feed time is over…granted I loved bonding with my daughter but there are some mothers who would rather toss the kid a bottle while they fall asleep in the crib or play-pen. I returned to work 6wk after having the 2nd and rented a pump. BFing wasnt free for me…there were costs involved in BF…it all comes down to the right choices for the right reasons.

  125. I would like to help with the hats, as well. Let me know where to send them. Breastfeeding is an issue close to my heart. I incorporate breastfeeding information into the private childbirth classes I teach, and I tell all my students to call me if they need any support. Successful breastfeeding takes time, support, and patience. I hope that I am doing my small part to encourage more Moms to breastfeed.
    Diana North

  126. Well said! Especially about the empowerment part. It’s about giving women the information and the circumstances so that they/we can make real choices for ourselves, given our own particular situations and values.
    And would you look at that, women’s rights sound a lot like human rights.

  127. So glad to hear that you are so supportive of breastfeeding. I breastfed all 7 of my kids, in spite of the fact that after #1 I got the worst advice ever from an imbecilic male doctor and nearly lost all my milk while my poor little girl got skinnier and skinnier. That’s when I found out how strongly I felt about breastfeeding. I contacted La Leche League and went through two months of difficult and exhausting relactation so I could continue to feed my baby. After that the next 6 were easy, except the time my youngest daughter and I both got thrush . . . we survived and continued to breastfeed! Oh, and we’re low-income too, and were even on WIC for a few years. I think I was one of their model moms!

  128. This is the most coincidental moment of my life.. Was just talking to a pregnant co-worker this morning about breastfeeding. Quebec has he lowest rate of breastfeeding in Canada – not helping us at all being one of the poorest in the Country. Anyhow, i wanted to ask you to send me the web site or link to a Quebec chapter promoting breastfeeding.. We are in such a low in Quebec that when i breastfed 13 yrs ago, a nurse told me that an important Mtl hospital was actually looking for breast milk for prematures… And by the way, what i found sad is the lack of support my co-worker will receive too: all her friends tried – how, story doesn’t say – but i kept telling her how i loved it.. The problem also resides in the lack of preparation BEFORE you give birth – there are tons of tricks that can help you out.. the only thing that can stop you is an infection really . Keep telling myself that it must have been breast milk when people keep telling me how bright and lovely my daughter is….

  129. Thank you for the incredibly powerful post today. I am ‘in’ on the hats and will email you. At the time I was having my babies we were terribly poor but no more or less than the friends we had, we were all earth-mamas and breastfed our babies and at times would ‘cover’ for a friend and feed their baby..they were actually verra good times. The sweater is beautiful and oh so endearing, sturdily sweet(still trying to express it). Did find buttons and emailed you but now we’re off to knit up some cappies.

  130. So, you can help baby’s come out, eh? Would you mind knitting me something, LOL! I’m due, again, in 4 and a half weeks, I don’t want to go past a week and a half more, lol!
    The sweater turned out great!!! Congrats to your neighbor!

  131. Wow. I didn’t know any of that (and maybe I shouldn’t have expected to since I’ve never had a baby, but it’s still amazing)!

  132. My own experience breast feeding is only as an infant so I’m pretty limited in it personally, but I’ve always planned on nursing my future children. I grew up middle-class American and have never heard half of this information about the benefits of BFing…only that formula “wasn’t great.”
    I find it sad that it’s considered offensive if a woman breast feeds in public. I hope by the time I’m bearing my own breasts for the needs of my child (er..for food. Not for anything else that could imply) it won’t be so, but social stigmas rarely move quickly.
    I’d love to knit a hat, if there were a pattern someone was willing to share with a complete newbie whose only knitted glorified swatches. Babies won’t care if it’s an ugly, bumpy thing, will they? πŸ™‚

  133. Hey Stephanie, I’ve been lurking for a couple of months now, enjoying your posts and sitting in awe of the knitting community. The breast feeding post has boosted me from lurker to commentor. All you have said about breast feeding is spot-on. Do please provide Jeanne’s contact information. As a novice knitter, I knit glacially but as an event producer in California, I would be willing to come out and help if the location is geographically feasible. Thanks for everything!
    ps – I’ve taken your second sock syndrome comments to heart. I’m almost done with of my first sock on size 1 needles. A second sock is not looking good…

  134. YAY for boobs and using them for the purpose they’re intended! It devestated me to supplement with formula when I had to go back to work, where the only place to pump was the public restroom πŸ™ I know the benefits of breastfeeding, and wanted nothing less for my children – but how do you prepare your baby’s food in a public restroom??? Ick.

  135. YAY for boobs and using them for the purpose they’re intended! It devestated me to supplement with formula when I had to go back to work, where the only place to pump was the public restroom πŸ™ I know the benefits of breastfeeding, and wanted nothing less for my children – but how do you prepare your baby’s food in a public restroom??? Ick. I’m making some breastfeeding hats!!!

  136. Please, please run for public office. The Republicans want to change that whole bit about needing to be born here so they can run Arnold. You’d be fabulous!
    I’m hoping to breast feed if/when I ever have a child. Did you know it lowers your risk of breast cancer? And helps get rid of the pregnacy-related weight gain? It’s not just better for the baby, it’s better for the mom too.
    Count me in. Where do the hats get sent to and can you post a link to a pattern or two?

  137. I’m probably one of the few women who reads this blog who has no desire to have children and starts to climb the walls if required to be in a room with children for more than 30 minutes. That said, I definitely believe my country (USA) is pathetic when it comes to supporting new families! (The Family Leave Act was but a mere, and hard won, drop in the bucket.) Those who choose to have children shouldn’t have to deal with the two-faced nonsense our “regime” deals out. Fortunately my sister (a nurse) had nothing but the most supportive LCs and midwives when she had her two kids, not to mention a supportive work environment. I’ve heard horror stories from friends who haven’t been so lucky. Thanks for your post.

  138. My mom nursed all six of hers for their first four months, in the 50s and early 60s when it was emphatically Not Done. She just defied that, and was quite proud of herself for it. I had a terrible time with my first one, with no help and no family (read: Mom) nearby, but I was determined to follow her example, only for longer. After that first blip, it was easy; twelve to fifteen months, with all four of my kids. I would tell all new moms, simply, don’t nurse for too long the first day or so before your milk comes in, and that will avoid so much pain.

  139. I was quite surprised at the lack of support I got when trying to breast feed my first child. I had had to have a c-section and she was in the ICU for the first 24 hours as a precaution. They kept giving her formula right before I was due to come in and try and feed her. I finally let one nurse have it and she didn’t do it again. It took me nearly eight weeks to get my milk supply up (almost constantly using a rented pump) due to those first few horrible days and I was basically on my own with it; everyone kept telling me to give her formula. My second was much easier. Even with a painful cracked nipple I was able to keep with it. Thank you for being supportive of breast feeding!

  140. i don’t much knit for charity, but breast feeding is a topic near to my heart.
    back in 1973, there was even less support, but i managed to nurse (even though the hospital actively discouraged!)
    great idea. i’ll get something knit (i do have this pattern for a thistle hat (we could pretend its an artichoke..not exactly babies first vegetable.)

  141. Amen. Amen, amen, amen. A standing ovation for you. You expressed EXACTLY how I feel about this issue.
    I have three up-and-coming babies to knit for this summer. But for a cause like this, I will do my best to make at least one hat, which I will show off to my still-breastfeeding 3-year-old daughter before shipping it off.
    Anyone looking for patterns may find the following links helpful:
    http://www.knitty.com/ISSUEwinter03/PATTbabytart.html
    http://www.knitlist.com/96gift/giftapplehat.htm
    http://brookowens.blogspot.com/2005/09/tuttie-cutie-fruity-hats.html
    http://acechick.typepad.com/knitchicks_patterns/2006/01/strawberry_bean.html
    http://grandbluedoor.com/knitblog/?p=47
    http://www.yarnharlot.ca/blog/archives/2006/06/01/things_that_can_be_yours.html

  142. I have the absolute perfect hat in mind — a pineapple hat with green leaf tassels! Also, ditto on everything else you said. The US continually puts women in second-class status when it comes to having children. But at the same time women here seem to just accept it too often. It’s sad.

  143. Well, now you’ve done it. Not only did the li’l peapod cardi launch your neighbor’s baby, but my twin granddaughters decided to come five weeks early, last evening! I’m sure I’ll forgive you as soon as I get a chance to cuddle them, which may be a few days off. And, since my baby-knitting schedule not only doubled but scooted up on the calendar, I’m not sure I can donate any fruity caps to the cause — I WILL try. When the TWO baby blankets are done, and a few little socks and bits, I’ll see what I can do. (Yes, I’m for mom lactation – I nursed four adorable precious babes in their time, a long time ago, sigh.)

  144. Another breast-feeding-fruit-hat-knitting knitter to help with the cause!
    And I love the peapod cardi — it *is* magical πŸ™‚

  145. Stephanie, I’m probably the 158th person to post this today (since there are 157 comments as I write), but…I love you. And I just happened to have purchased the patterns for the Fiber Trends Berry Cap and Pineapple Cap yesterday on a yarn jaunt.
    I work in the U.S. at an institution full of highly educated, highly motivated, mostly white, mostly upper-middle-class women–a place where there was no maternity or parental leave policy until last year. Shame on us. Go, Jeanne; go, Stephanie.

  146. I will have to remember to have you make me a sweater next time I’m pregnant- both my girls were a week over due! Anyway, I am lucky to be able to stay home with my kids and breastfeed! I can’t imagine going back to work and having to worry about feeding (my daughter won’t take a bottle). After working with inner city families and seeing first hand what they go through on a daily basis- many with little support- I would be happy to send a hat to the cause.

  147. Amen!! I agree with you wholeheartedly! Living in a very rural area, there was no such thing as consultants when my kids were born. The nurse at the hospital asked if I wanted to breast feed, I said yes and she handed me the baby. I don’t know if I would have been successful without my mother-in-law. She was just old-school country but she understood about breast feeding (she had 4 kids.) She stayed with us for two weeks and encouraged me every time-even got up at night with us. She brought me ice water each time and talked me through the “nipple toughening” period! LOL I breast fed my daughter for 11 months (her choice) and my son 14 months (my choice). All of the comments about the US are right. We are soooo far behind!

  148. I work at a clinic in Washington, DC where we mostly serve low-income Latinos. Unfortunately, obesity and diabetes are running rampant among this population. Wouldn’t it be great to get all of our moms into first, eating nutritious foods that can help them get good milk to their babies, then establish healthy eating habits that would keep some of these other disease away? Then pass that healthy eating onto the kids? It would all go hand in hand.
    The main doc who provides prenatal care here is really lobbying to get a consultant to come speak to our patients and meet with them after the babies are born. I hope it will happen!

  149. I would love to make hats! This is such a cool cause! I’ve been working with inner city youth/families for a few years now and I’ve seen this exact thing happening. I’ll be happy to be a part of this!
    And also, seeing as you’re a knitting guru and today I learn you’re a LC too, I have a problem perhaps you can help me with. . . for three weeks now I’ve been deparately trying to figure out how to nurse my new baby and knit at the same time. . .any suggestions?

  150. Yikes. I’m TTC and planning to breastfeed, but I never considered the possibility of being “unable” to do it. Now I’m worried!
    Count me in for the hat-making! I think it’s a great idea and I’d like to get the address from you!

  151. I live here in Atlanta and I am 26 weeks pregnant with my first and consider myself lucky that we can afford the (u.s.)$100.00 breastfeeding class at our hospital and the (u.s.)$350.00 breast pump. It is not, BTW, covered by insurance-shame on them, shame on us! What are low-income families suppose to do?!!Go Jeanne -go Stephanie! Let us know where to sign up and we’ll get you those hats!!

  152. It drives me nuts when women say “I didn’t have enough milk” or other excuses. I breast fed through abuse, through mastitis (three times!), with no support from LLL, yeast infections, biting, pregnancies, bruised breasts from car accidents, being assaulted by strangers who would pull my breasts away from my child because I was “smothering” him, dealing with idiots who said I could never breastfeed before DS was even born because of the size of my breasts, given jars and jars of free formula from the formula companies and literature from them expecting me to fail and more. I’ve even been told that the manner in which I breast feed is “wrong.” I leave my baby on my breast up to 20 minutes or more and then if they are still hungry, switch. Why do I do that? Because I know that the fore milk is for one type of growth and the hind milk is for another type. If I switch too soon, I don’t give my baby everything s/he needs to grow and be healthy.
    But because I don’t have “lactation consultant” behind my name, I’m an idiot when it comes to breastfeeding. I’ve been doing it for over 8 years now. I’ve yet to talk to an LC who has done the same for more than 3.
    There needs to be more support. But more importantly, formula needs to be made a script only purchase and put behind the pharmacy counter as well as held libel for giving away “free samples.”
    Breasts are for babies, not sex.

  153. Oh, thank you, Stephanie. And thank you to Jeanne for her wonderful work!
    It’s unbelievably sad that something that all moms can agree on – feeding our babies the best way we know how in the best way we’re able, whatever those “bests” might be for us – so often becomes something divisive that keeps moms from seeing eye to eye.
    I fed my twin boys formula almost from the start (Day Three, I think it was), in part because of medical personnel who all agreed that “breast is best” but who had no idea on how to truly /support/ breastfeeding, especially in a mom of twins (aside from suggesting the double-“football” position for tandem feeding).
    I never gave up trying to breastfeed though, and the day the copy of “Mothering Multiples” I’d ordered arrived was a turning point in all our lives. Finally there was real support and real advice and nobody expected me to get myself and my two newborns cleaned, dressed, fed and out of the house and to an outside LC (the only kind my insurance covered) by a certain time.
    We wound up supplementing formula throughout my boys’ infancy, but they’re two years old now and still breastfeeding with no signs of being ready to give it up.
    I’m so glad we did, but I look back at how much I struggled and can see all the times when greater support from my friends, my family, my community, my doctors would have allowed me to struggle less and parent more.
    I hope soon more women can realize that they have no need to feel guilty about the choices they made, but rather should feel entitled to be angry that their choices were not as “free” as many would have us believe, and then turn that anger into action to make changes to how our society treats mothers and breastfeeding.

  154. BF all 7 of my offspring, including my now 18-yr old twins. Fortunately had a friend whos mom was in La Leche who had good advice. My biggest detractor was my own mom, who thought I should just use a bottle, because nursing two at once made me ‘cow-like’. She got even more upset as my daughter(#6) nursed until after my last child was born four years later. My mom found it upsetting that she would crawl up in my lap to help herself. But maybe ticking her off was part of what made me so stubborn about it.
    Also love the sweater. Maybe if my midwives had your power, my last child wouldn’t have been five weeks late!

  155. Someone mentioned low income women putting Coke in the baby’s bottle. I saw that a lot growing up in an economically disadvantaged family. All of these were very young single mothers who didn’t even have a high school education. No one taught them any better and for them, getting the baby to stop crying in the present, any way they could, was more important than some problem that may or may not manifest in the future.

  156. Please let me know where to send baby and toddler fruit and veg. hats. I have been hovering on the edge of this website for a long time as I only make mittens. I would love to plunge in and help out. I think I made a hat once. I’ll be careful. A lovely idea, and you chose the right buttons for the green baby sweater. Cheers, Maggie

  157. Amen and amen…
    The wooden buttons do look nice but the mousies deserve a sweater of their own now for sure. =)
    Yarn Barn…Lawrence, Kansas?

  158. Count me in for hats as well and as a mother who BF her daughter. One of my friends said ooooo but the streatch marks?!!! (I was in my early 20s) Almost 30 years later and who cares about streatch marks? My daughter was a healthy child with no colic and I would much rather wake up to nurse than to walk the floor with a howling sick child. Yah, streach marks…

  159. I used to help moms learn to breastfeed and I always told them, “there are only two real reasons for not breastfeeding, one: you have no breasts and two: you don’t want to. Everything else we can work with.
    No one has a right to make the decision for anyone except herself. Unfortunately many women make the decision based on too little information and too little support.

  160. Hooray for the wooden buttons! They had my vote and I am so glad you chose them! The sweater is absolutely adorable and I can’t wait to make one for a soon-to-be-born baby.
    Breastfeeding – I run a knitting group that is very generous with their goods. Please tell me where the hats should be sent!

  161. You are such a lovely person!!! Thank you for that post. I would knit a ton of hats but I have yet to figure out how to nurse my 3 month old and knit at the same time (any tips on that?:-) But I will try to knit a quick hat during naptime and I’ll tell my LLL playgroup.
    I think that the two biggest problems we have in the US are uneducated doctors and lack of pumping support for working moms. My LLL friends are constantly educating their docs about breastfeeding. I’m lucky to live in Minnesota where we have a law that a pumping place be provided (not a bathroom) and because of that I was able to pump for my older son for 14 months.
    I did read a funny pumping story a couple of years ago. A mother did not have a decent pumping space, so she got a poncho and just pumped right there in her cubicle! A new knitting campaign maybe? I can see it now, “Ponchos for Pumping.” πŸ™‚

  162. What a great read, I love your blog and as an avid knitter and Mother always feel really inspired, to read all this about breastfeeding is jsut great as I know you reach a lot of women. You go girl, its so refreshing to hear this all put so positively. An extra note my three year old has just gone off to sleep with his breast feed, I still get that little smile of utter contentment from him.
    Suzie (UK)

  163. Thanks for some surprising information. I would have guessed that low income would be *more* likely to breastfeed since it’s cheaper!
    Sweater looks great, love the way it turned out and I think those mouse buttons are crying for a plain sweater to liven up.

  164. Oh…and that *is* scary about the birth/sweater done thing…. but remember, she was already late when you started it, so maybe you just actually helped her along. πŸ™‚

  165. Wooden mouse buttons (with leather tail):
    http://www.buttonshoppe.com/noveltyWood.htm
    (Second to last row, second from left)
    I’ve never ordered from them, so this is not an endorsement of any sort! Found them by googling for “wooden mouse leather tail buttons” and hoping to heck that I’d get at least some pages that would be clean enough to get past the filters.

  166. Amen, sister! I don’t know where I’d have been when breastfeeding my oldest without my great-grandmother and my great-aunt. My grandmother and mother had bottle babies, but Grandma McNickle and Aunt Bea had both breastfed and had tons of advice and help for a new, nervous mom. One of my daughter’s favorite stories about Grandma McNickle had to do with her reaction to some poor man the first time I breastfed in public… And my Aunt Bea, during the war, not only breastfed her babies, but several other babies in the neighborhood, too.

  167. I think a lot of women don’t want to breastfeed because of all the talk of nipple toughening, nipple trauma and biting… seriously, that totally scares the piss out of me. I was fed 2% cow milk and was a healthy child and am a healthy adult. Formula isn’t always the only other choice.

  168. As another IBCLC (who knits at conferences) don’t despair, not all is lost. Oregon’s WIC program has the highest breastfeeding rate in the nation. Some WIC programs have the word, and really do a great job promoting breastfeeding. (like supplying pumps to moms of premies and giving moms who breast feed food coupons for a year as opposed to formula coupons for 6 months) My hospital’s lactation service knits and sells caps to promote breastfeeding education.

  169. Remarking on your knitting control over babies’ arrivals–I believe you may be right. I take my knitting with me everywhere now–red lights turn green, cashiers open up new lines, and trains are quickly past as soon as I pick up my knitting to while away the wait!

  170. i am an l and d nurse here in manhattan, and we service a VERY low income immigrant group of mainly spanish and asian americans. it is so shocking that they are so unwilling to even try to bf! it is not even an issue, they will not even entertain the conversation! i think what you and jeanne are involved in is a wondful necessary message to lower income populations. you go girl (s)!!!

  171. You go!!!!!!
    I’d love to make some hats to help out, and boy, are you on to something.
    Although I haven’t had any of my own yet, I’ve witnessed much indignity toward nursing women.
    I don’t get it…we’re WOMEN. We give life and are able to nourish it…you’d think we’d get a bit more respect.
    A friend and former co-worker was banished to basically a supply closet so she could pump while at work, another had to pump in the ladies’ (yuck)and my friend’s sister is about to sue her former employer.
    Not only did she have to request a key to the room provided for her – everytime she needed it, how embarrassing – but she was ‘let go’ shortly thereafter.
    I’m tired of seeing my friends’ attempts at trying to properly nourish their babies be treated as an incovenience to the world at large.
    Positively shameful.
    And the wooden buttons are adorable!

  172. Don’t you find it ironic that the Grand Ole Party which is currently in power here (USA) supposedly supports “family values.” Hah! Only if you’re white, rich enough that mom can stay home with the babe, and pay for her own lactation consultant. Otherwise it’s like, put those breasts away and get back to work!
    Um. and Yeah, I’d love to send a hat.

  173. Oooh! I’ll knit hats for that cause! (so I guess knitting breasts with nipples would be out? What if we ‘pierce’ the nipple or give the ‘breast’ a ‘tattoo’?

  174. There is an Easy Stitch Apple Cap in the Spring/Summer 2002 Family Circle Easy Knitting magazine on page 19.

  175. I would love to make a hat. Please add me to the list of people who need to know where to send it (and by when).
    Thanks!

  176. You go girl! I breastfed both my babies until they were 2 1/2 – and my daughter got a rocky start with prematurity, but we got there with pumping and persistence. Unfortunately, the main reason I succeeded was because as a physician I had access to the information myself and stuck to my guns. BC wasn’t bad, but when I had my son in Winnipeg, they bugged me incessantly to leave him in the nursery where I knew darn well they were going to give him formula. By day 2 my milk was in and he was nursing great guns – the nurse actually told me that that was really strange and abnormal! I listened to the “advice” given to the teary woman in the next bed who desparately wanted to breastfeed: “not everyone can, you know – formula’s a great option.” Day 2! The kid had been supplemented constantly in the nursery and not once did anyone ever give her encouragement or instruction in actual technique.
    And don’t even get me started on North American (OK largely American) culture that is both obsessed with breasts as freakishly “enhanced” sexual objects and terrified of nipples and breastfeeding as obscene! How wacked is that? No wonder women feel constrained and imprisoned, trying to keep their “dirty little secret” under blankets and inside public washrooms (!!!). No wonder they quit as soon as the manual says they can, or never start. It’s not like this everywhere in the world – our society SO needs to get over its twisted attitudes toward the body. That’s where it all starts. When I worked in Lesotho, showing leg above the knee was considered vulgar and provocative, but there were boobs hanging out all over. Because they’re for feeding babies.
    Sorry for the rant – can you tell this is one of my pet peeves?

  177. I’ve been lurking around your site for some time and have been a great fan of your books – being a small bookstore owner and a knitter, but the well organized commentary on breastfeeding put you right over the top in my book.
    Short story: my son got RSV and pneumonia at age 6 mos – he was a big, fat boy who ate plenty of healthy baby food and enthusiastically breastfed (he was something of a human vacuum). In the hospital ICU, they tell me somewhat off-handedly that he would probably have died had he not breastfed and had the strength to fight off the 2ndary infections that often accompany this disease. My shock was – why do they know these things and not share them in the delivery room instead of giving out cans of formula? Why, when he was born with a respiratory problem, did they want to bottle feed him in the NICU instead of let me, with my over-filled boobs, feed him? My outrage was palpable. I’m not a hippy, breastfeeding zealot, I just think that the lumps in front were placed for a specific purpose and they should not go unused.
    I still cringe at the family friend (a stay-at-home mom) who stopped trying to breastfeed her baby because it was so messy (?what???) and “unnatural”. I’m not kidding – I lost all respect for the woman. Now her 3 year old has chronic asthma, ear infections and some type of lymph blockage that will need surgery when his breathing is better and he can tolerate the anesthesia. I don’t claim that breastfeeding would have prevented all those problems, but I know for a fact that none of them would be as severe as they are now – and he probably would have already had the surgery.
    Enough of the soap box – I love the little sweater – and I love that you have so many little ones in your life to knit for.
    I have an entire basket of fruit & veggie hats in reserve for gifts, I’d love to contribute them to the lactation cause.

  178. Thank you for this – I wish you had been my LC! I had a wonderful experience though and great help when my daughter was born premature, not quite ready to nurse yet. Having the means to HAVE an LC or internet access to find an LLL group was a huge help and one I can’t deny was part of our success.
    Off to knit some hats now… traalalaa…

  179. Wow. 202 comments. As Strong Bad would say, “Holy Crap”.
    Thank you for your comments on breastfeeding. I am a militant breastfeeder and an avid supporter providing more education and …uh… support for low-income mothers and breastfeeding.
    I have been a little shocked to find out, over the past five years, that breastfeeding is considered something the ‘privileged’ mothers do. When I had my first Boo, I was un(der)employed and I saved a crapload of money by breastfeeding and using cloth diapers (and trying some early toilet training). With my second Boo, there was never even a question.
    The point that I wanted to make here was that I appreciate your comment about women having the right to decide what happens with their own breasts; it’s been difficult for me to articulate this position – that I will help you in whatever way I can (“you” being a new mum for the first, second, or fifth time), and I will encourage you to breastfeed, but that if you make the decision not to, I’m not going to deride you.
    You are right – there needs to be more education (and more QUALITY education) about breastfeeding BEFORE the baby pops out, and the dissemination of formula (and formula propaganda) at prenatal classes and in hospitals needs to be tempered with (if not stopped altogether) a LOT more material from breastfeeding support.
    Anyhow, thank you. I’m far too scattered to make much sense at this point.
    Write on.

  180. HERE, HERE! You have so echoed my sentiments. As a full time working mom whose 2 kids refused to take a bottle and whose youngest is still nursing at two, I KNOW how much our society (I’m talking America here) puts barriers in the way of breastfeeding and how little support there is in the world of work. I would LOVE to knit some hats to let other moms know that there are folks out there who do support them and want them to be successful in their parenting choices. Please let me know Jeanne’s address, etc. Thanks so much for your strong words – you are so very right!

  181. Stephanie
    I am a new fan (about a month or so). I would love to help with the baby hats but I am hoping you can leave a message in your next blog about where to get the patterns. Thanks for the breastfeeding info. I just spent three days with my daughter and her new baby. Yes, she is breastfeeding and enjoying it.
    Diane

  182. thats nothing, do you remeber that scandal a few years ago with the pharmecutical companies selling formula to the thrid world and trying to convince the mothers that breastmilk was unhealthy and formula was better and doing it so well that the women were buying formula but couldent afford enough and so had to water it down and were starving their babies to death?
    what a world, eh?
    Tommy

  183. You rock, woman! The sweater is stunning – I can’t wait for the reappearance of the mouse buttons, though. Amazing how these babies seem to wait for their sweaters.
    As for the whole breastfeeding thing, my mother-in-law was told be her doctor that she would breastfeed no matter what (and we are talking about the 50’s here). I was lucky enough to get reasonable help in the hospital, have the time, and want/need to save the money that formula would have cost. I just donated it if any was sent to me.
    Stay powerful, Steph!

  184. My goodness!! Do you really get the time to read all these posts? πŸ™‚ I’d love to help out with making hats for WIC children. Where do we get information on where to send them?

  185. Such an interesting post. Where I live, breastfeeding is big. I was on WIC with both my children, but due to the medication I take I chose not to breastfeed either one of them. With my first, I was in labor for 34 hours, then pushed for a little over 4, and ended up having a c-section anyway. I was put out after the surgery, but my daughter, at 9 1/2 lbs and almost 3 weeks overdue was hungry. They handed my husband a bottle and he went to it while I was out. There was never any discussion, and my poor hubby knew I wasn’t going to breastfeed so he fed it to her anyway. But the point was is they just took it upon themselves to give her a bottle. With my son, he was in the neo-natal the first 48 hours after his birth. I also had a section with him, and therefore had to go be taken down by a nurse to the floor below when I wanted to see him. If I was going to breastfeed I could have pumped-but it would have been hard. It was depressing being on that floor with all the other new moms and hearing their babies cry while I sat alone in my silent room.
    WIC was friendly, but getting the formula wasn’t always. Many times I was berated by the cashiers for not breastfeeding, and other times mom’s were offering their advice, but not in the kindest of ways. It was difficult. My daughter has never been ill (minus two or three head colds) and she is almost 8. I figured a lot of it is because she was a good size when she was born, and was always in the 150th percentile or so when she was an infant. My son was 8 1/2 lbs at birth, but was exposed to the Strep B in my body and that is why he was in the neo-natal unit(don’t get me started on that whole subject-it still pisses me off to this day). At five weeks he came down with viral meningitis. I was terrified and guilt-stricken. When he was admitted to the hospital, the young female resident asked me if I breastfed or bottlefed. I said bottle, and she actually said to me “do you think he would be this sick if he was breastfed?” My mother jumped down the woman’s throat, but the damage was done. I was mortified. He is 4 now and I am happy to say that the only ear infection he has ever had was that one. He is as healthy as a kid can be.
    My long point is women should make their own choices, and I agree with you the biggest thing they need is education, reassurance, and support-no matter what choice they make. The low-income in my area are big breastfeeders. My friend worked for years in labor and delivery at the local Catholic hospital, where most of the families are Hispanic, and she said the nurses would get so pissed because the mom’s did not start to breastfeed until their milk came in. The nurses always wanted to supplement with a bottle, but the mom’s held fast. Good for them. It is a choice only a mom should make, but she should be armed with all the knowledge she can. I know my cousin was frustrated because every nurse on every shift told her she was doing something wrong-so much so she just gave up. There was no consistency. And there are women like me, who chose to not (or can not) breastfeed for various reasons, and are made out to be villians because we give our kids a bottle. There has to be a middle ground.
    And lastly, as long as men are in control of things like big companies and politics, women will suffer. It pisses me off to no end, like why is birth control so damn expensive but not Viagra? It is something too many women accept, but there needs to be a change for sure. Raising children and feeding them should not be about a bottom line, but it often is. And boobs aren’t for selling more tickets to movies or splashing across a glossy mag, but try to tell that to most people. They are there to feed babies, even if they never get used for that. I think a lot of people can’t seperate the sexual signifigance breast are given versus what mother nature gave them to us for.
    Alright, now I am going to knit a hat.

  186. I am awed (and a little scared) by the mighty power of your needles …
    I’m also moved by your comment about Jeanne’s work (and a mighty hear-hear to your tirade about maternity leave, coming straight from an American woman). I’ll get at least one hat knocked off during July, though at my slow knitting pace that’s a nearly herculean effort for me.
    Breastfeeding isn’t the only thing we can do as mothers, or even the most important thing (love, respect, kindness, regular meals of any sort … all of those things are *way* higher in the priority list) but it absolutely should be easier than it was with my daughter, and especially for folks who need the option most. Formula is ungodly expensive, and there are plenty of people out there who live on the ragged edge but not quite ragged enough to qualify for WIC. But the thing that irritates me most is that people paint it as a binary choice; there’s no reason in the world mothers can’t breast *AND* bottle feed, as is appropriate for them. My daughter was a terrible nurser, and (having no support at all) I finally gave up at 3 months. My son took to it like a duck to water, and he was 3 1/2 before I finally pried him off. LOL I did the best I possibly could by both of them with the resources I was given. I hope other mothers have the same chance. Jeanne deserves a massive attagirl for working toward that goal.

  187. I am even more in awe of you now. I used to be a student midwife (never quite got around to qualifying!) and was horrifed by how little information most women in this country (UK)have about breastfeeding. I also get seriously hacked off by the insidious advertising in hospitals and clinics by the formula manufacturers. OK it’s not blatant adverts, but it really undermines the breastfeeding

  188. I am breastfeeding my almost 5 month old son, and it is simultaneously the best and hardest thing I’ve done. I am all for moms doing the best they can with what they’ve got, and support makes all the difference with establishing breastfeeding. I will knit as many caps as the little guy lets me–just tell me where to send em! And way to go on the baby arrival making–amazing!

  189. How cool that you are an IBCLC? I was just ranting about breastfeeding on my blog – here in the US we are doing a nurse-in at Victoria’s Secret on Saturday after several moms in several different parts of the country were told to go to the restroom to nurse. Because it would be “unsanitary” for them to nurse in a dressing room. Don’t even get me started.
    I get so sick of breastfeeding being viewed as a “lifestyle choice” in this country. A friend and I started a pro-breastfeeding group called the Nippers (NIP for Nurse In Public) to help moms feel more comfortable breastfeeding in public after my friend was harrassed for nursing her babe in a local grocery store. I think that along with the other factors you mentioned, the whole can of worms about nursing in public is a reason why many moms choose not to breastfeed. I’m really uncomfortable nipping, but I do it. However, despite the fact that I know that I’m right, and what I’m doing is natural, I still can’t help feeling vaguely like I’m doing something perverse, especially now that my son is 15 months old. I want my daughter to grow up in a world where nipping is natural and accepted, and she doesn’t feel any shame about it.
    Anyway, thanks for your post – you are even more my hero now than you were already!!! As is your friend Jeanne. I don’t have time to knit any hats myself as I am a designer and WAY overbooked for the next few months with work knitting, but I will be sending my blog readers your way to help out.

  190. AMEN SISTER!
    I breastfed both my daughters for two years and would not have gotten off to such a good start had it not been for my dear grandmother who stayed with me after leaving the hospital. (My mother in law was not helpful or supportive about the whole issue at all.) They are both very healthy and always have been. The nurses in the hospital were not the most helpful either after each one asking me “bottle or breast” the entire time I was in labor (21 hours so I saw everyone in that hospital!), when I asked when I could start nursing my baby I was informed that they had just given her a bottle! I was livid, not to mention getting uncomfortable! Believe me, you do not want to tell a new mother who has just spent 21 hours in labor and then had to hav an emergency Csection that you have just bottle fed her baby after everyone in the hospital has asked her “bottle or breast!”
    I had wonderful women in my church (farming community) who also were very supportive. How do you think “farm kids” get so big and hearty in the first place?!
    I would like the email address.

  191. When I my youngest brother was born (he’s now 26) the first time my mother met the baby doctor (with her previous kids, the OBGYN took care of the baby through the 6-week check-up) the first thing that he asked was if she was going to breastfeed. When she replied yes, he said “Good then I don’t need to give you any lectures” – this won my mother over since the doctor’s she had previously had were not supportive of breastfeeding.
    Unfortunately, my brother did not thrive. He wasn’t getting enough to eat and was supplemented with formula. However, the doctor was adamant that she should NOT stop breastfeeding, simply give him more food.
    Happily, this was the right combination for him and he is now a healthy 26.

  192. Stephanie, the sweater looks beautiful with the wood buttons! Also, I searched on Google using “mice buttons”-computer+clothing and came up with this: http://tinyurl.com/pnvec (this link will take you to a Google page full of links). Hope these help.

  193. Bravo!
    As a young woman ready to start a family, who just went found a lump and sat anxiously for two weeks to even get into have tests run… who is CANCER FREE!! and eagerly wants information on breastfeeding, so that I can start arming myself with information now… I applaud your passion… and the fashion in which you choose to state them. Thank you for your insight.
    .. and sorry for my horrible, horrible grammar….

  194. Bravo!
    As a young woman ready to start a family, who just went found a lump and sat anxiously for two weeks to even get into have tests run… who is CANCER FREE!! and eagerly wants information on breastfeeding, so that I can start arming myself with information now… I applaud your passion… and the fashion in which you choose to state them. Thank you for your insight.
    .. and sorry for my horrible, horrible grammar….

  195. As a US resident and mother who breastfed, I can say how extremely satisfying it was for me…. That being said, I can concure about the culture here towards breastfeeding. If a mother wants to breastfeed her child in public, she is usually relegated to dirty bathrooms or changing rooms. Nursing rooms were hard to come by (at least they were in 1996) and when I tried to descreetly do it in public, I was met with many a dirty look.
    I would love to make hats…just say the word!!!

  196. is she prepared to be inundated with veggies? I will happily contribute. Oh, and if you have any links that you like to hand out, I would love to pass those on to a girlfriend that is expecting and I was expecting her to breastfeed, but she refers to getting used to bottles a little too often to assume.

  197. Stephanie, once again, I so agree with you. Where do I send my fruity-goodness-lactation-inspiring hats?
    Stephanie, you truly make this world a better place to live. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
    Monika

  198. I nursed my kid until she was 3 1/2, so believe that I’m a big breastfeeding booster. I’ll do this if you need, but it looks like you’ve already got about a gazillion hats coming your way.
    Studies show that even if you say you intend to breastfeed, you’re much more likely to go to formula if you’ve got the samples already in the house, which is why I refused to take any samples or put my name on mailing lists offered by my pediatrician and hospital. It’s like crack – the first hit is free.
    Next, let’s all knit breasts and send them to those who have the power to change policies about free formula samples. I guarantee a pile of breasts landing on someone’s doorstep would generate some publicity!

  199. Yea for breastfeeding!
    I breast fed my daughter until she discovered that it could be had stone cold from the fridge. She never touched warm milk again. It wasn’t the milk, it was the temperature. I just to pump and then chill it before she’d drink it! LOL!

  200. Stephanie, once again, I so agree with you. Where do I send my fruity-goodness/lactation-inspiring hats?
    As a mother who breastfed and enjoyed this natural process, the closeness, not to mention health and financial benefits, I plegde to do my part to spread the good word. I will put my knitting needles where my mouth is.
    Stephanie, you truly make this world a better place to live. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
    Monika

  201. A wonderful rant without anyone feeling put down. I nursed my daughter, now 21, for 17 months, when she weaned herself. We had a rocky time at about 7 months, when she went on a nursing strike. She had bitten me, then quit nursing. She wasn’t happy about it and I wasn’t ready for her to stop. I expressed milk into just enough cereal to make a slurry, which was slooshed into her mouth. After 2 weeks, we both were growing tired of this, when I spoke to a nutritionist about formula. She told me that her daughter had done the same thing at the same age. She had “cured” it by putting chocolate sauce on her nipples. Since the only chocolate sauce I had on hand was seriously bittersweet, I opted for blueberry jam. Worked. Silly child. But she still loves blueberries.

  202. Stephanie! YOU ROCK!
    Thanks for getting on your soapbox about breastfeeding!!
    Send me the info, I’ll knit a few hats, and pass the word to other knitters I know!
    Sue J

  203. California here, send me her link. I agree totally with your mini rant. I have 4 kids. the first two I worked with and only made it for 3 months and 5 weeks each, the last two I was home and made it 12 months and 14 months. The best time of my children’s infancy was sitting up late at night breast feeding and knowing no matter what was going on I was at peace with my child.

  204. I’d love to knit a hat for this cause. I am a highly educated but low income mother of two who nursed until age 2. My daughter never even had an antibiotic till she was 6 years old. It made sense medically, emotionally and economically for me to breastfeed and I was a participant in the WIC program here in California, as well.
    But I don’t have any fruit hat patterns! Where do I go?
    Thanks for the genuine and loving post! Breastfeeding if you can is a great experience and well worth any trouble!

  205. Bravo. I probably have some good yarn and a little time to back this up!
    I was in NY state over the weekend and my mother told me about a commercial by the Health Dept.The commercial had a pregnant woman riding a mechanical bull.. they likened not breastfeeding your baby as being as dangerous as riding the bull when pregnant.. totally not helping the cause. yuck! Commercial bad.. good lactation consultants like you good!! Keep it up.. and where were you when ALL my kids were 2 weeks late!! oi

  206. i’m so in that as soon as i finish this sentence i’ll get up and get the yarn and pattern and get started.
    La Leche League anyone?

  207. WIC was amazingly good for DD and me (Eureka, Montana in the early 90’s). When she was 6 months old and I had to do a 2-day weaning so I could have my first cancer surgery, the ladies at WIC helped me shift DD over to real food and avoid formula, and they helped me cope with the exploding chest dilemma.
    The WIC nurse had been DD’s father’s nurse, too, and was a gold mine of down-to-earth knowledge with a lovely personality. She actually made getting shots a positive experience for the kids!
    HOORAY for WIC!!!

  208. As a mother who nursed four children (I am so giddily proud of that fact), I support breastfeeding wholeheartly. When my first child (now 20 years old) was born, breastfeeding was just beginning to be supported again here in the U.S. My mother was no help since she hadn’t nursed us. However, her younger sister is a lactation consultant and she was a tremendous help for me. It also helps that her children are just a little older than my own kids. My youngest child was nursed exclusively for a year despite health problems and I attribute the fact that he thrived as well as he did to the fact that I nursed him. I treasured the quiet moments with my children as we nursed. One of my best memories of my youngest son (he passed away four years ago) is of sitting in the parked car, while on a road trip and nursing him as the world went by outside our car. We were in our own secret little warm cocoon – just he and I. That moment would not have been quite the same with a bottle of formula.

  209. Oh yes, hats, must do baby hats. I’ll get on that. Got on a tangent with my last post.

  210. Oh yes, hats, must do baby hats. I’ll get on that. Got on a tangent with my last post.

  211. Bravo! I agree completely. I took ten weeks maternity leave (unpaid), and when I returned to work was provided with access to a computer equipment closet with a plywood floor and folding chair in which to use my breast pump.
    I nursed my son, but I also did a little part for “sticking it to the formula companies”. Did you know that, if you fill out the “information card” that is in all U.S. OB/GYN offices, and check the box that indicates you plan to breastfeed, they send you A TON of free formula samples and $10, $15, and $20 coupons? I took them ALL, and gave them to my local food pantry, who put them to good use. (They send you fewer coupons and freebies if you do not check the breastfeeding box.)
    So, if any of you ladies are expecting, fill out those formula company cards, and let THEM pay for supplying the folks who need the help.

  212. My baby has just nodded off on the Boppy pillow after nursing as I read this…where can I find patterns for (easy, I’m a beginner) hats?

  213. Stephanie,
    I sent an email requesting where and when to send hats. DH and I shall be knitting some up.
    Thank you for sharing this wonderful cause.
    The baby sweater is adorable! Excellent choice on the buttons.

  214. I almost had the same rant when my SIL and the rest of the in laws acted like I grew a second head when I said I was nursing my son (my nephew is the same age so lots of comparisons). What’s worse is SIL works in the medical field. So whose children eat what they are served and ask for things like salmon, asparagus, and dare I say it brussel sprouts? (Ages 8 & 4)
    And when I was a new mom with the first, I was on WIC (long story). Kudos to anyone who is trying to help. WIC is great because it’s not just a handout but teaching good eating values.
    Pass me that mailing info. I’m in for some hats!!!

  215. I’ll throw in my voice with the chorus, and say, “You go, girl!”
    I’m not a mom, being biologically incapable of that miracle, but I certainly support moms (and dads) in their efforts to to the best and healthiest things for their infants and children. And I’d love to make some hats for the cause, but the only pattern I’ve got for babies’ hats is a Viking Chicken pattern. No fruits, no veggies….*sigh*
    Would you please consider sending us some links to patterns, or sources for patterns, or put them in your next blog entry?

  216. Remind me to let you know someday when I decide to have kids… I’ll commission a project with a strict deadline to ensure an on-time birth! πŸ™‚
    I think it’s wonderful, by the way, that you use your blog and your “power” to promote such great causes and get knitters into action. You know that you’re going to receive about 5000 baby fruit hats, though…
    (I almost typed baby fruit BATS… that would be scary.)

  217. I love this idea, too. I remember in school back in the dark ages of the 70s being taught during environmental science that American companies would push two items in third world countries like India: cigarettes and baby formula. Ads were telling women in India that formula was better than breast milk. To top it off, the moms were mixing the formula with unclean water, thus adding to the issue.
    It amazes me how little the US government has done to educate and promote breastfeeding. Yes, you may see a billboard every once in a while, but that’s it. And what do you get during one of the visits with your OB? A bag to carry bottles in, graciously provided by a manufacturer of formula.
    I thought the facts about education and income being so linked to breastfeeding were very interesting. I’d like to add that I think part of that has to do with not only women knowing the benefits of breastfeeding, but their male partners as well.
    Finally, I’d like to see an ad that encourages people not to stare at women who are breastfeeding in public or to put a sour look on their face as if it was wrong. Grow up people!

  218. Okay second comment after reading some of the previous comments.
    Noticed a lot of posts about WIC promoting formula not breastfeeding. Having been a participant in the WIC program I can honestly say that I was ENCOURAGED to breastfeed. You are provided with vouchers for things like tuna, carrots, milk, and other food products to encourage healthy breast milk production. If you are NOT nursing, you just receive formula vouchers.
    So there’s my logic in supporting WIC.

  219. I’m a fellow IBCLC and knitter. I’m hoping to get a few hats done for the cause in between studying for the exam (scared I am). I wholly support mothers making educated decisions and supporting them where they are. We live at a time where there are so many demands on women and no matter what we are supposed to do everything perfectly. Breastfeeding is hard work and mothers deserve all the support we can give them so they can achieve their goals.
    Great post today! Don’t suppose you are going to ILCA- would love to meet you.

  220. If you *really* want to drive yourself insane, read, “Milk, Money & Madness” (Naomi Baumslag, MD). I was already boycotting Nestle, but it made me stark raving insane after I read the book (not a long drive, that!). I’m sure you are familiar with ProMom.org and BabyMilkAction.org, but both are fantabulous resources for any readers our there not familiar with them.

  221. Here here! I didn’t know you were a LC – thought you might be a doula. Anyway, I am due with my first in 10 weeks. I’m in NYC and all the doctors I know here are big BF promoters. Luckily I’ll have access to lactation consultants in the hospital and when we’re home.
    How much would you charge to knit my baby a sweater say 4 days before our due date? You definitely seem to have supernatural powers!

  222. As an outsider who has dealt with low income women and girls as co-workers and fellow night school students, something that strikes me as astounding is that many of them don’t know how to cook. They can open a bag of potato chips but that’s about all. I grew up on a tight budget in a family that had a strong tradition of home cooking on a broken shoestring, so imagine my shock when I found through casual conversation that many don’t even know how to scramble an egg when a few generations before many of their grandmothers could create magnificent meals from organ meats, discarded vegetables and whatever else they could scrounge up – meals that fed everyone economically and reasonably nutritiously. Perhaps part of this education could include how to cook, how to shop and get the most from your WIC vouchers, and why living on cold cereal out of the box is a bad idea? It might help everyone in the long run.

  223. La Leche League has been promoting breastfeeding since the 50s. It is free. Membership is offered, but not required. They have a library full of books at meetings, Leaders can come to womens homes etc.
    http://www.lalecheleague.org

  224. Thank God for my Mom!
    She came out for a month to help me after my daughter was born and I had such a hard time of nursing – once the milk came in I swelled to a J-cup (from DD to begin with) and just couldn’t manage this tiny baby and the ginormous breasts. My Mom sat behind me and she held my breast as I held Willow and we managed. The breasts calmed down after that and settled on a G-cup, and while still large, were manageable. I nursed Willow until she was 13 months old and she weaned herself off. She’s nearly 4 now and I still miss that tranquility and peacefulness of us just being together.
    I feel your anger at the maternity leave situation as well. I had 10 months unpaid leave with Willow (I left my job) – and while it will be paid leave the next time around with Number Two when I get pregnant, I know the pressure will be there to not take the fullest leave I could take – not if I want to keep the job I love (a high-pressure one with strict deadlines), the health benefits I am very grateful for, or – the basest reason – the potential for advancement in my career.
    I’ll echo the others – where to, please?

  225. Please send information on where to send hats for breast-feeding program in CA.

  226. I find it really sad that women are put in situations that they can’t really chose to breastfeed. My mom has 4 kids and only got to breastfed my youngest sister, she was advised against it with my and my sister because we had a skin condition, I forget what, but breastfeeding would have actually been more benefitical. Then with my brother she just couldn’t due to a number of circumstances, so she was only able to breastfeed my youngest sister.
    I love the sweater btw, the buttons are wonderful.

  227. I would love to knit a baby hat for her!!! I think that it is wonderful what she is doing, and a very important cause! By the way, Steph, you do have magical powers. πŸ™‚ See you in July!

  228. please count me in for hats! i’ve nursed all four of my children (ok, and for embarassingly long periods of time, including the one we had to tell that no one else was going to be nursing in kindergarden–she told us she didn’t care, and went right on). our second child had a serious heart defect and an immune system disorder, but the nurses didn’t like breastfeeding b/c they couldn’t measure his “intake.” thank heavens we didn’t listen to him, as he needed it more than anyone, but there is no way i could have gone that route without the help of an incredible lactation consultant. so i’m overjoyed to pay it forward!!! someone send me a hat pattern or two for little babies, and i’ll be happy to knit away!

  229. My baby is due in about 6 weeks. I will be BOTTLE feeding because I am adopting! So, are there any suggestions for the “best of the worst” formula? I’m hoping I don’t raise an asthmatic diabetic just because of the fact she’s adopted.
    (And yes, I have heard that La Leche League supports adoptive mothers trying to breastfeed, but I don’t think that’s the answer in this case.)

  230. I live in the poorest state in the U.S. I am 5.5 mos preg. When I tell people I plan to breastfeed I either get “Wonderful!” or “Ewww…Why?” The masses of women here think using breasts for anything besides something to fill the top of their bikini is just plain icky. And totally unnecessary. I have hired a doula, but they are few and far between here. I always wondered why the state with the highest infant mortality rate has the fewest number of birth assistants. But with the attitudes around here, I’m not sure they would make a difference. Southern women have a serious case of “too posh to push.” And too “put out” to breastfeed.

  231. I’m in! This is a topic that’s near and dear to my heart, and I’d love to help!

  232. I appreciate your non-judgemental stance on BF. I just wish everyone on both sides of the issue understands how deeply personal the decision can be to BF or not to BF. When my 10.5lb infant lost 2lbs her first week and the LC gave her formula and me a lecture on nursing/pumping/supplimentation I was really determined to make it work. After 4 weeks I realized I was spending more time with the pump then bonding with my daughter. I cried for a week after I decided to bottle feed, convinced I had doomed my child to every illness imagined. Then I realized how much more we were both benefiting because I could calmly hold her and sing to her and lock eyes with her while she drank from a bottle. Not all bottle feeding mothers do so because they “can’t be bothered” to breast feed. All mothers would benefit if we could come together and all be happy to be mommies without trying to decide who is the worst or best one. Thank you. I feel better now.

  233. Great post, Stephanie. I could go on for hours about the twisted values in the USA that have corporations grubbing for money from the poorest. Buy our formula! Buy our disposable diapers! Give your money to us, don’t spend it on food and rent! I was boycotting Nestle (for the record, not a US firm) 28 years ago because of its shenanigans in the third world. And don’t get me started on the breastfeeding-as-pornography complaints when our 11 year olds are encouraged to dress like hookers and there is filth all over prime-time television. All women should be able to choose what’s best for baby and themselves,and that means they have to have real education, not propaganda, and real support for their choices. I was fortunate to have both 19 years ago when my daughter was born, so would love to make a hat for this cause. BTW, re: Swedish genetic homogeniety, ALL women are genetically selected for breastfeeding (though a tiny percentage anywhere will have problems). Up until a few decades ago, there was no alternative anywhere except to find a recently bereaved young mother to help out or watch baby sicken from malnutrition.
    On a lighter note, the sweater is beautiful, absolutely perfect, and I’m sure Baby is too.

  234. Ha! But are you reading this comment? Just kidding. The buttons look perfect.
    I totally agree with you about BFing. I loved it, had no problems and wouldn’t have done it any other way. It actually liberated me to do in public. My best friend had the most awful time with it but was so determined–she stuck it out, trying everything and finally, after 3 months it worked without pain! I have never seen anyone so determined and go through such pain by choice–she said it was much harder than natural childbirth. But she did it and was SO happy she did. It was like a personal Everest.

  235. This reminds me of the old adage “Think Global, Act Local” and I want to bring the idea of the knitted infant caps (fruity, veggie, or boobie) to the attention of whomever needs to raise funds or support breastfeeding in my own backyard. My hands are full right now (with breastfeeding a 3 month old and parenting the other children, oddly enough), so I won’t be sending a cap to California. But I’ll file the idea away for now, and what a great concept. Your friend Jeanne is brilliant, and should be commended for coming up with this great idea. So: Kudos Jeanne!

  236. the sweater is beautiful! perfect button choice. am in love with the pattern, where was it from again? So many of us want to help, I think you’d better just post the info in the next blog! ps. still having panic about the shawl repair. hoo baby! I think that would have become a ufo at my house.

  237. Stephanie, that was so beautifully said in such a pro-mom way. Not bashing anyone. Wow, just wow!

  238. Okay, I need to say something about breastfeeding. If people want to work towards getting all of the women in this country to give breastfeeding a shot as their first choice, I am behind that 100%. Same with changing attitudes so that women who are trying to breastfeed are supported instead of knocked down. But. If people expect that to mean that all of those women will be nursing at 1 year, they’re fucking crazy. So yeah, I tried to breastfeed. I tried breastfeeding, pumping, hand expressing, lactation consultants, and everyone, from the nurses at the hospital to my pediatrician to people on the street, was supportive. I realize this is not the case for everyone, but it was for me. In addition I was well informed of the benefits of breastfeeding, I invested in a very nice pump, had reasonable accomodations at work. And it still didn’t work out. And I don’t feel guilty, I feel pissed off, because trying but not making it for the long haul just isn’t good enough for many people. And as great as you post was in other ways, it still seemed to be saying “Well, if only these women knew better…”
    Things I like about being a bottle feeding mom:
    *my partner has equal feeding duties, which means more time for me to sleep so that I can actually function, and more time for him to bond with the babe. not to mention the fact that because he has a better understanding of equality in care taking (since we can’t afford to have either of us stay home) due to feedings, that spills over into other areas, and I am not the only one changing the diaper, or cleaning.
    *I got to skip mastitis, thrush, plugged ducts, and biting.
    *I am not currently going through massive amounts of depression like my breastfeeding friends because they are convinced it is never okay for the ending of breastfeeding to be their choice. milk supply drying up, bites that get infected, pumping working less and less…. all of these things are currently killing the mental health of my friends, and I’d have more sympathy, except that there is no way, absolutely no way, no how, no sir, any chance that they would ever supplement. if you won’t supplement, but you’re running out of milk, you’ve got to make a choice at some point for the health of your kid.
    *I enjoy my time with my babe so much more than I did when every feeding was a fight. when it takes 1 hour to get the babe to latch and stay on, and you have to use three hands to stimulate her to keep her awake during the feeding, even night ones, and as far as the lactation consultants can tell you’re doing nothing wrong… well, bottle feeding is bliss for both of us.
    Am I for breastfeeding? Hell yes. For getting everyone informed, and giving it at least a reasonable shot? Hell yes. But I am sick of women who assume I’m bottle feeding because I am stupid, lazy or ignorant.
    And since this post was also about hats for a good cause, I’ll do my best to add to the pile.

  239. Totally agree. I was all prepared to breast feed my daughter, but she didn’t take to it. La Leche tried to help and I had support in the hospital, however, she ended up dehydrated and in the ER as a result. The ER misdiagnosed her as having mennigitis and she spent a week in the hospital hooked to numerous iv’s and monitors before they finally realized she was just dehydrated from improper breast feeding. My husband and I couldn’t even hold her. By the end of the week, she was hooked on a bottle and formula. I continued to pump as long as I could. Out of this whole experience though, what really bugged me was that I was maligned by several mothers and my pediatrician because I wasn’t breast feeding. All of this popped out of their mouths before they knew the trauma my family and daughter went through. It made me feel horrible and angry. So for those who chastise someone for not breast feeding, consider the mother’s feelings. They may be in a situation like mine and these words, no matter how well intended, hurt and harm. Just my two cents

  240. *fabulous* ditto on all you said and *much* of the comments I read (except for a few who seem to be getting their information from ann coulter-ish places – swedish women are genetically better at breatfeeding wtf?)
    please send me the necessary information about making and sending these hats in. (i’m in CA also).
    thanks for your grace, wit, and smarts.

  241. The tiny green sweater is just wonderful! Like many others I only knew breastfeeding was good for a long list of reasons but had no clue and no advice. I was just viewed as a kid trying to be against the establishment. Yes, that is a hint as to how long ago it was. I love the hat idea and I also would like to suggest one of my own. A baby blanket could be printed with the benifits of BF and could be packaged with info on the how-tos. If desired the Mom could drape it while feeding in public and inform others. It might cut down on rude stares and so on. It might make a difference. Knowledge is power, as we used to say!

  242. The sweater looks fab! I think you made the right choice there. The mice were too much – hilarious to look online for wooden mice!
    I am thinking there could be something to the baby arrival/sweater completion anomaly. It keeps happening to people I know lately. Hmmmm…
    I am with you re: US mat leaves. What the deuce are they thinking about? God. Most people I know are having a hard time leaving their babies to return to work at 1 yr – I cannot even imagine having to take my infant to daycare. And I work in daycare! (Oddly enough my favourite job setting was working with infants – but boy did I feel for those Moms and not a few of them were really suffering with their choice to go back to work — well, it wasn’t so much a choice for them but a necessity) but I am getting off track.
    Great cause – more people with less access to medical care and education really do need to know how to best help their babies. Too sad.
    So yes – where would we send some little caps?
    Like the idea of a blanket that comes with info too. Handmade blankets are a lovely gift.

  243. Stephanie, what do you think about a hat drive, like Dulaan? I would pledge ten hats to your breastfeeding-drive. I am unmarried and without children, but I am in the education field. Most of the children I teach are at or below poverty level (I teach at a Title I school), and the students come to school hungry and dirty and often sick. I wonder: if their mother’s were given the chance of prenatal education, would they feel more hope and be more proactive? Would my students be ready to learn, instead of sleepy and hungry?

  244. ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh Stephanie!
    I really love reading your stuff… you make me laugh, you make me cry and you make me think… and that’s great! Thank you for taking the time to share you passionate opinions… It’s really amazing to realise how technology allows us to to find others that live similar experiences and believe in the same values… So, as a fellow knitter (still with a small k, I fear!) and breastfeeding mom, count me in for some hats!
    P.S. just want to add my own personnal rant: Breastfeeding my firstborn was a struggle… it hurt for a good two months… i’m not kidding… i’m talking craked, bleeding nipples for TWO months with a hefty “frenzied feeder” who just wanted some more… and it’s not that I didn’t try to resolve the issue… I attended a breatfeeding clinic every week and thank goodness, I had a devoted “nursing godmother” to provide technique and support… it’s just that I had to slowly heal my body to get to the “fun, relationnal” part of breastfeeding everyone kept referring to… my family was hardly supportive after seeing the stressed-out mess I was turning into (“you were fed formula, and you didn’t die!”)… the key to this whole situation? my hubby who stayed calmly by my side (and that was hard for him, being a new dad and all), rubbing the small of my back at every feeding… each and every single one of them, especially at 3 in the morning when I feared the night would never end (with a first baby, feeding every 2 hours, the early nights were tough)… I would not have made it through the tough times without his silent support… I know that he would have supported any decision I made regarding breastfeeding, but not once did he suggest I quit (unlike the husband of a friend who rushed to the pharmacy to buy formula because he coulnd’t stand to see his wife cry. His very noble and loving intentions were good, but…) Anyway, it took a while, but my nipples healed, I felt better about my decision to keep on nursing and my new role as a mom… and I calmed down… and I breastfed LΓ©o for almost 11 months, until he decided he didn’t want to nurse anymore (his little fists pushing away my breast were actually a bit of a heartbreak)… I’m currently breasfeeding Isaac, baby no 2, with much more ease and confidence and I wouldn’t want to miss this opportunity for anything in the world… It’s a completely different experience (with no cracked nipples this time!) and it just goes to show that if it was tough once, it won’t necessarily be the second time around… But, as it is definitely important to get breastfeeding information out there, it is primordial to also target the mother’s “support network”… Dads, friends and relatives need to understand the mom’s choices and know how to help out in their respective way…It’s crucial to get everyone informed, not just the moms!

  245. Beautiful sweater and I am glad you chose the wooden buttons. I have been eyeing the sweater on IWK’s website and I decided after seeing yours to attempt it for a baby due in October.
    I agree with much of your post on breastfeeding, though in my case the support was the most important thing. With my first born I didn’t have any support and gave up quickly. I don’t think there was even a lactation consultant at the hospital. With my second baby, born last September I had tons of support from my other mommy friends. Had I not had this support I probably would have given up again, not because I didn’t want to do it and not because I didn’t have the information about how healthy it is, but because it really is hard to do. I know it is suppoed to be the most natural thing in the world, but there were many times in the first few days of her life when I just cried because she wouldn’t eat and I had no idea what to do. I had wonderful supportive friends and there was a lactation consultant in the hospital this time, so I stuck with it and I am glad I did.
    I think that what you are doing is wonderful and I hope that you are able to help many people. I would like to help with the hats, but am not sure that I will be able to get many done. If I could have the info for sending them that would be great in case I do finish one or two! Thanks for being such a great role model in knitting and other life stuff. I think there was a comment yesterday about you writing a book on ‘parenting stuff’…I think that’s a fabulous idea:)

  246. I will do a couple hats…..I still have baseball games at least until the 17th of July. Socks are loads of fun, but hey, a hat would be a nice change of pace. Any suggestions on where to find fruit/veggie hat patterns?

  247. I would love to do a few hats for this. I’m in baby knitting mode right now, as everyone I know seems to be pregnant…so what’s a couple more hats? I’ll be watching to see if there’s links to some fruity/vegie hats and where we are to mail them.

  248. I must say that with my first daughter (now 3), I received breastfeeding instruction from the nurses and lactation consultants in the hospital. By the time I left the hospital when my daughter was 2 days old, I had both hickies on my breasts and open sores because most of them gave me poor advice. One actually took my baby off the breast while we were both happily nursing and repositioning her (incorrectly). After 2 excrutiating months of the football hold (the sores prohibited any other position) and formula supplementation (also pediatrician mandated for slight jaundice), I finally got the sores to heal and got the hang of feeding properly. In that time I met with lactation consultants at the hospital (a free service once you’ve had your child at said hospital), talked to her pediatrician and my OB, and read everything I could get my hands on. No one seemed to be able to help. In fact, my OB thought my open sores meant thrush and prescribed a cream that I had to diligently wash off before each feeding and which gave me radiating pain as it entered the sores. On top of that, I had to return to work (part-time, so all leave was unpaid) when I was 3 weeks postpartum in order to cover the bills. My employer would only let me pump in the restrooms. I contacted La Leche League and was promised that one of their lawyers would contact me….and they didn’t. I tried calling again with the same response. I finally gave up and just started taking a metal folding chair into the handicapped stall, setting my things out on the baby changing table (which was also in the handicapped stall), and spending my 30 minute lunch and two 15 minute breaks in the freakin’ handicapped stall of the bathroom. I asked my manager if he’d want his drinks or meals prepared in a nasty public restroom and he didn’t seem to understand the correlation.
    I just had my second daughter, now 6 weeks. I *refused* help in the hospital. Granted, I was blessed with a bit of practice with my first daughter, but we caught on A LOT faster. It was still awkward at first, but I haven’t had any sores or hickies. Sad, isn’t it? That the help available to me actually hindered progress? Of course, now I’ve cursed myself. This one won’t take a bottle at all…even one filled with breastmilk, so no help from Dad this time. πŸ™ So if this post seems a little “off” it’s probably sleep-deprivation. πŸ™‚

  249. Wow. I was lucky enough to have fantastic breastfeeding support- when my eldest son was three days old, he was struggling to latch on, and our midwife came out to us and helped get him on the boob (this was at 11pm at night.) He nursed for 17 months.
    All three of my kids have dairy allergies and atopic illnesses despite being breastfed- that half an hour probably saved at least one life. Count me in.

  250. That sweater is adorable! Good choice on the buttons. The mice were so cute, but I think a bit much with all the pattern in the cardi.
    Also, where do I send a hat (or more)? I’ve been hunting for an excuse to knit a little fruit hat. Coz you know…six projects is never enough. πŸ™‚

  251. I’ve never commented before, but this time I just have to. Brava, Stephanie. It is disgusting the way things are here in the US with regard to postpartum mothers. I completely agree with you that there needs to be better conditions that are conducive to breastfeeding, but let’s not try to make every woman who chose not to or couldn’t feel guilty.

  252. Hurray Stephanie!!!! I breastfed my son for the 1st 7 months and it was a great experience for us both. I really liked not being able to know exactly how much he ate and the fact that I didn’t have to sterilize anything, ouch!!! There are those people who are very concerned with, and always asking, the amount your baby’s eating, how often, what formula, and all that. I’m not the kind of person to obsess over these things and since I didn’t know, I had a legit reason to not be able to tell them LOL! Since he was growing like a weed, it was obvious I was doing something right. I haven’t heard about the link with formula and diabetes and find it sad but very believable. Could you please post where to find this info? I’m very interested and have some friends that would be too. Thanks and keep up the great work.
    Laurie

  253. Yes, education and continuing support for the (hopefully) year of breastfeeding. I had a support line I could call any time and I did. What a great woman behind the support. I couldn’t have done it all by myself. My mom only breast fed one of her kids, Me, for 3-6 weeks. She had no idea, no suggestions.
    This is a subject very dear to my heart. Please send me the information for the vegetable hats.

  254. Once again, I check out your blog and find myself so impressed… I had the same thought Kemma did, that *really* we should all send in boob hats (what could be easier? a skin tone hat with a pink pom-pom on the top…), but I guess that might alienate some of the on-the-fence moms she is trying to influence.

  255. Such a big deal was made over a woman BF in a public park (covered with Blanket for modesty)…that a LAW was passed that BF in public was NOT indecent exposure….some people wanted her arrested!!In Phoenix, Arizona in 2006. Can you believe it? With a large immigrant/low income, population here you would think there would be a big push for BF education…but no they want you arrested for indecent exposure for feeding your baby the way nature and God intended. Boobs were not invented as toys but as a neessary way to nourish our young! I did it for two, couldn’t because of outside circumstances with my third…and she was the one with all the ear infections….so what does that tell you?
    YH thanks for the much needed post….eloquent as ususal!!!….now how do we get it all on a billboard?? OR splashed across the NY TIMES “Canadian (yarn) Harlot Gives BF Advice Over The Internet!!!” that would get some attention!!! Loved the pea pod sweater with the perfect buttons. And it sounds like you should go into the knitting for the expecting business…make a tidy sum by promising timely deliveries!!!! jenna

  256. Hey, Stephanie, nice post! I’ve spoken to you before about breastfeeding at the SPA event. I too am IBCLC and work for WIC as a Breastfeeding Coordinator, serve on their state task force and run the local Peer Counselor program. What a wonderful idea with the hats. I think I’ll try to plan to do that too. If you get a whole lot of hats could you contact me, or else maybe I’ll have to work on it for next year. Again FABULOUS idea.

  257. Oh, Harlot! I didn’t think I could think you were any more wonderful, but I couldn’t agree more with everything you said. The situation is very much the same in the UK and it sucks (pun not intended!) I’m going to make at least two hats in gratitude for the support I received to help me breastfeed my two boys – one of the most rewarding and enjoyable experiences of my life, as well as one of the most frustrating and tiring. In fact my five-year-old would still do it if I let him (we stopped three years ago!)

  258. That was a wonderful blog! I will be happy to knit a few veggie and fruit hats. I don’t have any children but I totally understand it coming from Thailand which is also a relatively poor country and whose women are victimized by formula companies.

  259. As always, you’ve nailed it. If you could post the info for the wee hats that would be great – I don’t know how much time I’ll have between now and the move, but I can try! Go Steph!!

  260. For those looking for baby hat measurements, it occurred to me that Her Harlotness in fact published them in her last book!! I don’t want to incur copyright wrath by posting them… but something between 12 and 14 inches around and 5ish inches tall should do.
    I knew a girl, a sister of a friend, who is a nurse and decided not to breastfeed because she didn’t want her boobs to shrink, and she said that formula is just as good. *screams inwardly* There was no convincing her, since she clearly already knew it all!

  261. First: business
    1. I wanna knit veggie hats for the cause. I’ll dig around to find out where the send them.
    2. You’ve been voted the Knitter We’d Most Like To Get Drunk With in our local Stitch n B*tch.
    Second:
    A few years ago I was a breastfeeding peer counselor at WIC. My own BF experience had been wonderful due to my son (should’ve been named Hoover…once he latched on he was ON, sort of like a pit bull), my own determination and the local, free support group headed by a lactation consultant. La Leche League in our area was inactive due to this group. I found it wonderful and needed nothing more. But there was an obvious gap.
    I found my experience as a counselor painful. I don’t know how many times I heard, “My baby is nursing too much, and my doctor said I wasn’t making enough milk so I weaned him/her.” Invariably this occurred at six weeks. It became disheartening, and I tried to educate about the six-week growth spurt and why babies will start nursing more, but I felt powerless to stop the formula-pushing that was everywhere (and, as adamant as I was that we were BF when I had my son, they STILL managed to slip a can of formula into our stuff before we went home–I was livid).
    I was supposed to be non-judgmental about the choices of the women I was counseling, but couldn’t be, so I didn’t last long as a counselor. They are not equal, as you have so clearly and articulately stated.

  262. LOL, Kathie Marie, GMTA operating here. I didn’t have anything else to do last night, so after reading Stephanie’s post, I wandered around the web too. Here’s some more hat links:
    From Carol Duvall show site – rather generic fruit/veggie hats:
    http://www.hgtv.com/hgtv/cr_needlework_knitting/article/0,1789,HGTV_3263_1368471,00.html
    Also from the Knitlist site, like the apple and pumpkin hats Kathie Marie listed:
    — onion hat, no pic
    http://www.knitlist.com/95gift/onion.htm
    — watermelon hat, no pic
    http://www.knitlist.com/95gift/water.htm
    — and a leaf for the pumpkin hat
    http://www.knitlist.com/98gift/pumpkinleaf.htm
    Sarah Bradberry’s site – her Knut Hat:
    http://www.knitting-and.com/knitting/patterns/hats/knut-hat.html
    (Ok, supposedly looks like a nut, not a fruit/veggie, but a great basic non-roll brim hat for beginners – then they could go nuts with color.)
    Note – The majority of free patterns seem to be for a simple roll-brim hat terminating with i-cord on the top to indicate a stem (or stems, with multiple i-cords). Other than that, they’re mostly differentiated by color to indicate different fruits/veggies. So those are no-brainers, once you’ve knit your first roll-brim hat. If you’re more advanced and get bored, well, you could add other kinds of leaves…coil i-cord and do some bobbles to indicate grapes… Who knows what else?

  263. I’ll be happy to knit up a fruit hat – and would love some ideas on “masculine” fruit. I nursed 2 boys past one year w/ very little support from WIC/child nutrition. Blueberries?

  264. Too often there are things that we cannot change or impact, count me in.
    by the way, I like the wooden buttons over the blue mouse.

  265. Coincidentally, I found wooden mouse buttons yesterday. They are actually the tail end of the mouse, as if the mouse were disappearing into a mouse hole. There are coordinating cat buttons (a silhouette of the cat from the back) that would look adorable going every other one. Both have waxed string tails. Super cute. I will take my camera and see if they will let me photograph them for you and if you’d like them, I’d be happy to pick them up and send them to you. (The button store is a 5 minute walk from my office–on the way to Starbuck’s–so no sweat.) Unfortunately, the shop is not near where you will be when you are here in Chicago next month.

  266. Sorry I don’t have much to say on the breastfeeding front (although I concur on it’s importance), we have no kids and we are currently in the process of adopting internationally. Seeing your knitting powers, perhaps you could be coerced (paid, even) to knit something small for me (one baby sock might even do it, Lord knows you can do that while taking a pee…ok no, wait that’s gross)and by the time you’re done we will have received news that we’ve been matched with a baby. No? Okay then maybe just touch some baby yarn and think of me. I bet the powers of the almighty harlot are that strong. πŸ™‚

  267. When my niece was born my SIL had diffuculities getting her to lack on properly. Instead of offering her help the staff offered her formula. I was terribly saddened to see a mom who wanted to BF her new baby given no other options but a bottle. I’d be happy to make a hat for the cause!!

  268. That sweater and it’s buttons are simply awesome.
    I am a pro-breast feeding mom and I vote. (That would make an excellent campaign button.)

  269. You know, when my son was born (2 years ago), none of the nurses at the hospital were really of any assistance. A friend who worked with WIC gave me a book and that was about it. Not surprisingly, about 1 week into it, he had lost weight, and supposedly wasn’t getting enough milk. The doctor immediately suggested supplementing with formula and so of course, I did. I am kind of angry that no one tried to help me increase my milk supply.
    Anyway, I was made to think that I just didn’t produce milk, which I know now is crazy, and under the whole “what’s best for the baby” thing, I was convinced to give up.
    You are right, there isn’t nearly enough education, or maternity leave for that matter.

  270. I am SO glad I live in Canada. I thought we were badly off with (in 1996) 6 MONTHS maternity leave! I breastfed my daughter through that time, and now she’s a healthy, happy 9-almost-10-year-old!
    Sign me up.

  271. I’m a soon to be mom (Sept.) and I’ve been doing my research. I’m planning to breastfeed. Exclusively. For one thing, I don’t think we can afford me being a stay-at-home mom without me doing so, and I want to be there for my child–at least for a while. Maybe until he gets to kindergarten. One resource I didn’t even know about until I started doing my research is the La Leche League–formed of women who do/did breastfeed, who can help with everything from latching on correctly, to how to feed in public.

  272. Please forward me the address of where to send–breastfeeding was one of the best things I did with my children, and I endorse every bit of what you have posted! Bravo!

  273. The next time I have a baby can you be my lactation consultant? I breast fed my son, and tried to breast feed my daughter (for four long months, pumping and trying to get her to latch, with no progress in sight, so I gave into the easyness of formula) and I think if I had someone with your enthusiasm for bf’ing by my side I would have stuck it out longer with my daughter.
    Bravo to this project. It’s wonderful. πŸ™‚

  274. Reading all this has reminded me of a time I was about 5, and was playing dolls with my mother. As I remember it, my mother suggested it was time to feed the “baby,” obviously expecting me to take the little toy bottle to feed the doll. Instead I cheerfully lifted up my shirt and procceeded to pretend to nurse the doll. Mom was a little taken aback but agreed that yes, that was how you feed a baby. (I believe she breastfed, herself.)
    It makes me think about just how early the idea of bottle feeding begins to be drummed in to girls.

  275. Stephanie yours was the first blog I ever read, long before I even knew what a blog was. You almost lost me here today (as if you need me) with the breastfeeding thing. I think if you are able to breastfeed great, but the current trend to treat mothers who don’t breastfeed like child abusers is shameful. I wasn’t able to breastfeed because I was on medication that would have been bad for my baby. Even with that circumstance, I was treated horribly by nurses in the hospital and others breastfeeding advocates.
    I agree that women have to have choices, but the current trend in the U.S. to scare and threaten moms into making the choice to breasfeed is terrible. I am also quite sick of woman who are fighting to whip out a breast and feed wherever they choose. It makes others uncomfortable. Yes its perfectly natural. So is peeing. I don’t want to see anyone pee in the middle of Starbucks either.
    I buy all your books I love your blog I’m just not crazy about your politics. I fully support your right to voice your opinions though and I admire you for standing up for them.

  276. I know you have enough comments, but I have to add my 2 Canadian cents worth. As a mother that did try and fail due to physical reasons, I do not have any misplaced guilt. I do harbour some ill will against a “lactation consultant” that berated me, yelled at me, and called me a failure when I decided to give my starving (and glowing yellow from jaundice) child formula after my milk had not come in four days after delivery. Guess what? It is a genetic problem that my grandmother, mother, sister, and several cousins experienced. And here I thought I wasn’t trying hard enough!
    I wish I had lived near you, I could have used some SUPPORT rather than hatred because I was “poisoning my child” with formula.
    Wholeheartedly, I want to promote causes that are truly in support of women who want to breastfeed, and are accepting of those who do not or can not. So. Where do I send my hats :)?

  277. I haven’t done this before, but methinks a really easy fruit hat would be…an orange!! Done in seed stitch for more accurate bumpiness, a little bright orange yarn…ta-da!
    I know almost nothing about seed stitch, though, so if it’s somehow not exactly practical for hats or something…disregard. I’ll be over here practicing binding off. πŸ™‚

  278. I have to agree! I just gave birth in May and had to go back to work after only 6 weeks. My husband and I just couldn’t afford to have me not working. The strange thing is that breastfeeding went extremely well and I enjoyed every minute of it – even the growth spurts weren’t that bad as soon as I could identify them. The hardest part was pumping. I would pump for over 15 minutes and not even get an ounce. Buying an electrical pump was out of the question so we starting weaning with all of the free formula that we got in the mail and from the doctor’s office. One thing my husband and I decided was if we decide to have another baby we’re going to save up enough money for me to take more time off so that I can breast feed longer and maybe master pumping.
    Thanks for the rant. I live in the US and would love to see maternity leave extended – or even better paternity leave programs! My co-workers in the UK get amazing time off and we work for the same company! It just doesn’t seem right . . .
    I’ll take that address too. Maybe I’ll get to knit one of these days during a daytime nap!

  279. As a former LLL leader and doula in my community, I appreciate your (tackful, knowledgeable)support of breastfeeding by raising this issue. As a current member of a community breastfeeding group that seeks to educate the public about breastfeeding (esp about World Breastfeeding Week)and an assistant director at a pregancy centre that sees a large number of teen and low-income families, I can attest to the many benefits of breastfeeding and the importance of offering accurate information that is appropriate, culturally sensitive and respectful. The problem doesn’t only exist in the United States. Ontario’s breastfeeding initiation rates have increased but the duration of breastfeeding is still pathetic. It’s a sad fact that our culture values breasts to sell beer not to feed babies.
    One small irke I have is the assumption that breastfeeding is 100% effective in preventing disease. I breastfeed each of my kids (in a measurement of YEARS not months or weeks) through a great deal of difficulty (that I won’t bore everyone with). Both my kids had severe asthma and allergies and cycled in and out of hospital as babies and toddlers. One child was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in childhood. Do I still think that breastfeeding is worth it? ABSOLUTELY. The benefits of breastfeeding go well beyond a feeling that breastfeeding is a free insurance policy against the bad things that can happen to our children. (jumping off soapbox now…sorry, a passionate subject for me)
    On a lighter note…I once knit a breast for my LLL group in order to help teach breastfeeding techniques to new moms (and handknit wool breastpads are much more comfy and absorbent than icky paper disposable ones).
    Carrie

  280. Had three boys….first one, I breastfed for 4 months, at that point, I just could not provide enough for him. He started out as a big boy and stayed that way (his almost 20 and 6’7″). He has always been an extremely healthy guy.
    #2 was successfully breastfed for six months. Yet strangely enough, he was my sickliest baby – ear infections all the time, finally evolved into a persistent sinus infection by the time he hit kindergarten. He is a healthy, happy and huge (6’3″ and still growing) 15 year old now (he’s my “jock”). I really shutter to think what his health would have been like if I had not breastfed. I was also really tuned into his physical health when he was little – don’t know if that was a result of the breastfeeding time or not. But that did nip a lot of problems in the bud before they became problems.
    #3 absolutely refused to breastfeed. Did the whole lactation counsellor thing, nothing worked. Finally formula fed him when it got to the point that trying to breastfeed him would frazzle me so much I would be in tears. And being in tears and on the verge of hysteria does not contribute to the breastfeeding experience. He is also a healthy kid (we are really blessed), but he is the pickiest eater of all the kids! He will turn down a new food sight unseen, because he has not heard of it! He’s NINE, there are lots of things in the world that he hasn’t heard of!
    But I do admire women who have the patience, and the calm to breastfeed successfully. I don’t appreciate the women who just flop it out in public and plug the kid in. On the other hand, the women who can do it in a descrete and relaxed manner, have my undying admiration. I have never in my life achieved that kind of grace and sophistication on any level.

  281. After reading all these comments, I couldn’t help but add my own! It’s now very apparent to me how fortunate I was to give birth to both my daughters in an Italian hospital. (I was stationed in Italy while in the USAF) My first daughter was a preemie, and the hospital put an electric breast pump in the room so that they could feed the baby with it (she was in an incubator for first 2 wks). For the second daughter, the nurses in the hospital were very helpful with showing me how to breastfeed, and diligent about bringing the baby to me whenever it was time to feed… 12 noon or 12 midnight!
    Michell

  282. any woman who can inspire me to knit Olympically can have anything she wants, including hats for someone I don’t even know.

  283. I found buttons here . They’re technically rabbits, but I thought they looked very similiar to mice.

  284. Back in 1993, the Women’s Hospital in BC didn’t give me any help to breast feed and still I did it. They refused to give me formula, but at the same time, didn’t help me latch or anything like that. So I breastfed. Not because I could, but because my ex refused to pay for formula. I was lucky he bought diapers! (the “breastfed through abuse” in my previous post)
    Anyway, I don’t want to send to WIC because, although WIC is a good cause, it isn’t Canadian and I am adament about supporting Canadian, not American, causes. Is there a Canadian group we could send to instead? I know we have a “WIC”-like thang called “Healthy Babies” or “Better Beginnings” but that only lasts until baby is 6mo old at the most, not several years old like WIC.
    Its a Canadian Thing. Why should we support Americans breastfeeding when we have the same problem in our own country? Even when breastfeeding is covered by federal Canadian Human Rights laws, there are still jerks that tell us to use the bathroom or sabotage us from the start.
    I’m “signed up” for the “free stuff” from the marketting things this pregnancy. Let’s see if I get anything for free. I told them NO FORMULA. Like that stopped them before. *sigh*

  285. thank god for people like you and Jeanne … I read “The Politics of Breastfeeding” many moons (like 130 or so) ago and got sufficiently pissed off and did what I could for awhile before becoming totally distracted by the environment (PCBs with your breastmilk, anyone?). I’m happy there are those still fighting the good fight and I’d love to help by sending a hat (how about one with an areola & nipple on top?! πŸ˜‰ don’t worry, I wouldn’t!) if you let me know where to send it.
    Thanks again & again Stephanie, Tara

  286. I work for a program that is promoting breast-feeding to low-income women in Kingston. The whole secret, we have found, is to change the culture. When women see other women breast-feeding, they become interested themselves (that’s how it worked for me!). It seems acceptable. And they try harder to succeed. Agreed – there needs to be WAY more support and encouragement for all women.
    I’m interested in supporting the hat project – how about some hat patterns?

  287. Steph, you can get on your soapbox about this issue anytime, as far as I’m concerned! Wow. Now, I had NO idea that formula-fed babies had higher incidences of diabetes, and suffered a moment of angst as I realized that my “inability” to breast-feed (frankly I don’t know why – no help? maybe – a kid who refused to be held? yes, as weird as THAT was…) but her dad was diabetic as are members of my family, so I won’t say the formula is the only reason she’s diabetic today…she’s breastfed both of her babies (and will with another soon to arrive), thank goodness. But every pregnancy is now high-risk thanks to the diabetes…
    I could rant with you about how we’re supposed to support big business by buying a substance that is sub-quality with the very stuff our bodies make naturally…about the haves and have-nots, but I think you’ve done just an exquisite job of framing the argument. If someone doesn’t agree, that’s fine, but you stated very clearly you weren’t condemning anyone for another choice!
    You’ve taught me something today that was unrelated to knitting and I’m grateful. (You’ve taught me so much about knitting, it was time for something off-topic!) I must say, you’re still my favorite place to stop in blog-dom…! Now even more so…
    Now…I’ll see about one of those vegie hats (WIC is a TERRIFIC program!).
    (((hugs)))

  288. I can probably grow a veghead hat or two. Please get me connected to Jeanne. I’d also love any recommendations for any reasonably easy hat(s) appropriate to this project.
    And thanks, Stephanie, for inspiring me to try more ambitious projects. I’m shopping for my first bit of sock yarn tomorrow!

  289. Hi!
    Thanks for such a wonderful post. Please let me know where to send the hats!

  290. Boy, do I feel stupid. I had no idea there could be so many problems with breastfeeding. When I had my children in the 70’s I never considered anything but BFing, after all, that’s what breasts are for, right? At the hospital they asked if I was going to BF or use a bottle but I never got any advice or help and was too dumb to think anything was wrong about that. Luckily, I never had any trouble at all and nursed both my first child and then my second, three years later, until they weaned themselves at about 14 months. Since I was an at home mom, I never knew about breast pumps.
    Now my daughter is pregnant. She’s planning on BFing but will have to go back to work, hopefully only part-time. Since I can be encouraging but have no real knowledge about the problems that can happen, I’m going to buy her some of the books that some of you have suggested. I hope things go as easily for her as they did for me. After reading of the problems that some of you have had, I’ve become aware of how lucky I was.
    I’ve heard of the baby hat plan and am knitting already.

  291. Thanks so much for getting the word out about breastfeeding in such a sensitive and even handed way.
    (Though my Swedish Grandmother-in-law does assert that Swedish women have wonder breasts.)

  292. I nursed all 7 of my kids (varied from 4-36mths) for a total of 12yrs!! (MOO) When the lactation specialist came into my room after my youngest was born, he looked from my chart to my happily nursing daughter and asked if he could ask me questions instead! (He was newly trained and had volunteered for the training because he wanted to be able to help his wife- they were expecting their first child. My kind of man!) Since I was 40 when my 7th was born, my doc wanted me to have a baseline mammo and he scheduled it for just after my 6 wk post-partum. The radiologist said he couldn’t do a mammo on a nursing breast so he told me to come back after the baby was weaned- there were open appts in the following month? I made my appt 3yrs later. Does Jeanne prefer cotton or wool hats? (She may have to rent a PO box!)
    Much as I love the mousie buttons, I agree that they deserve a sweater of their own. Perhaps a soft pearly-gray furry angora-ish yarn that looks like a wee mousie? And of course a matching hat or set of mitts with mousie ears. Oh, and I used to have tiny wooden mouse buttons with a leather wisp of a tail. I used them on a Christmas quilt (“not a creature was stirring…”). I think they were either La Mode or JHB International and came 2 to a card.

  293. Beth, I am breastfeeding my 19 month old son and I have never experienced any of the things you described in your comments as being the norm for the breastfeeding mother and my husband got to share in the feeding duties, also (with pumped breast milk when our son was exclusively breastfed and with food when we began to introduce solids.)
    I think your post demonstrates a lot of the misconceptions women in America have with regard to breastfeeding. Which is not to say that you didn’t make the correct choice for you. I do, however, think you do a disservice by asserting all of these as normal for breastfeeding mothers.

  294. So you feel strongly about breast-feeding? (LOL…sorry, could not resist). On a lighter note, I am much enamoured of the wee blue mice buttons. I do hope you show us what you finally decide to decorate with them. The Pea sweater, the cuffed socks, so very beautiful.

  295. Here is another adorable pattern:
    http://knitting.about.com/library/blpumpkin.htm
    Stephanie, me and my knitting group Eweforia will be all over this. Thanks for sending me the address!
    Side note — a former co-worker of mine once tried to lecture me about how soy formula has it all over breast milk, and even went so far as to tell me that “no one is breastfeeding any more”. I could only stare at her with my mouth hanging open. I could not even begin to respond rationally to what she was saying. No idea where this gal gets her health info (this is a high-income, highly-educated woman too, just a little bit — no, a lot — out there as far as her health info).
    So, baby hats ‘r’ us! Yay!

  296. Amen sister! As a mom that just recently finished BF and feeling a lack of support (i.e., being chastised in public, feeling pressure from work, feeling encouraged when it was hard to just switch to formula rather than offer help, etc.) the entire time I stand up and cheer with your post!

  297. Breastfeeding is wonderful. I’m still doing it with my 10-month-old daughter. When I was thinking about breastfeeding v. formula (there was never really a debate for me. why would women’s bodies make milk if we were supposed to feed them manmade powder?), I kept thinking how wonderful it would be that I’d save so much money by not buying formula. Now, I question that assumption. Since I’ve been nursing, I eat at least as much as two grown people.

  298. I don’t have time right now to read all the comments (I can’t seem to BF and use the computer very well, LOL), but I read recently in the award winning Today’s Parent magazine that HALF the formula sold in the States is through the WIC program, where low income mothers can get it FREE! That seems totally bizarre to me. I’m one of those people who feel that it should be considered a medical item, especially in the first 6 weeks. My VERY wealthy, very educated SIL, in the States, just had a baby and decided to bottlefeed (She has an Ont. nursing degree!) because she was planning to return to work part time at 6 weeks and thought BF would be too much effort. Now, 4 weeks later, thinks maybe it would be okay to wait a few months before returning part time, but I doubt I could convince her to try to re-lactate (would it be possible?).
    Anyway…I’m all for supporting BF support (we have a great clinic up here north of T.O–why it’s open and not Dr. Newman’s…I don’t know!)
    Tracy

  299. As a La Leche League leader for five years, I have seen what you’re talking about. Good for you for bringing this up in your blog. I love the idea of knitted hats. There needs to be more incentive, information, encouragement, and support for pregnant/nursing moms, how about, “This could save your baby’s life.”
    For not being 3rd world, our bf rates are atrocious. Maybe if we just keep talking….

  300. What a wonderful post, Stephanie, and I do love the sweater (with the wooden buttons). Like Wendy commented above, increasing breastfeeding will have to come from changing the culture, not from just spreading information. When I was born (early 70s), formula was apparently very heavily pushed. Now we have a lot of new grandmothers who are having to, in their heart of hearts, defend what they were told was the best at the time, even though now everyone is saying that was a bad choice. That’s why you hear so much of “but you had formula and you turned out fine!” Until breastfeeding is thought of as the norm and assumed to be the default approach to baby feeding by everyone around a new mom, then the chances of that new mom bucking the trend are slim. If none of your friends/family are doing it, then you probably won’t, unless you decide to be a granola-crunchy rebel hippie momma just to piss off the in-laws. Not that I’d do that or anything… ;-).
    When I nursed my daughter, the first 4 weeks were pretty rough, but we eventually got things going well, and made it to 15 months. My older son, very smooth sailing, made it to 18 months. The twins, well, aside from the logistical challenges involved with two squirmy floppy things, thrush, early jaundice, late milk coming in after delivery, etc., had a rougher start, but still nursed to 18 and 20 months, respectively (the first twin started laughing at me when I pulled up my shirt – he was -so- done.) Now, my daughter had some formula supplementation at daycare when she was a bit older and pumping was starting to level off. Son 1 never got formula because he wouldn’t drink it. The twins got some formula because I couldn’t bring home a full quart of milk from pumping during the day. Health-wise, they’ve varied widely – two have had chronic ear infections and two haven’t.
    I wish breastfeeding were not seen as an all-or-nothing thing, and it would be so much more helpful if there were better information about how hard and easy it is (in much different ways than is popularized). It’s a simple supply and demand system. You nurse more, you make more. Most babies can figure it out. It’s sad that when so many women are thinking of breastfeeding, the first thing they think of is whether or not they’ll be able to do it. It *is* hard, though, and there is very little information out there on that aspect. Early on, it hurts, thrush hurts like mad if you have it, and it’s not that fun getting bitten.
    One major thing that gets in the way so often, though, is the expectation that childbirth is just something you do, you get done with in a few weeks, and then things are back to normal. And we internalize this, too. After you have a baby, there is no “me time.” You will get by on crap sleep for a very long while. Your baby will need you a lot, and it is completely unreasonable to expect him or her to get with the program and allow you to have a “normal” life again. That’s how it’s hard. If we could change that expectation somehow, that would be brilliant. Maternity leave here is abysmal, and even at the university where I work, they only just started giving maternity leave less than two years ago. I was able to pump because I have an office and a relatively flexible schedule. If I were in a setting where my breaks were strictly regimented and few, there is no way it would work.
    I’d love for this to be addressed politically, but it seems they’d rather pretend that women should shut up, put their boobs away unless someone wants to play with them, let the guys make all the rules, and certainly not marry each other, because then who would make all the decisions. Ugh.
    I’ll make a hat or two, too, but can we make them for the grandparents, too, along with an information pamphlet on the benefits and how to support their daughters(in-law)? That way, maybe we could influence the level of support they get.

  301. I am very interested in knowing where to send hats! I am in the UK as an american expat –fortunate enough to have given birth in Sweden– and still nursing my toddler! I am an avid knitter, a breastfeeding counsellor trainee and will be spending my MPH thesis time on this important issue. I’d love to spend some knitting time making hats if you’d care to send along the address. Thank you!

  302. I’d love to knit some hats! I loved what you said about respecting and empowering women even if they have different views. Good for you! Please send the address or post. Thanks.

  303. I completely agree with you about the state of breastfeeding in North America. But I would take exception to the idea that culture is to blame. Culture is made up of what people do individually–in their homes, in their circle of friends, in their beliefs. It’s traditions, family ties, and the like. It’s the conglomeration of millions of people’s practices and lives. Changing culture is just about impossible–and it feels awfully defeating to blame such a subjective and amorphous thing as culture.
    Living in the US, the overwhelming impression I’ve got is that it’s the mega-companies who push formula; the public schooling system that mostly succeeds in making sure that kids don’t know the few really important things they need to know (like how their bodies really work, what they need to feed them, and how to feed their children!); the overworked nurses/hospital staff, whose lives are made easier when a baby can be “supplemented”; and the WIC program that gives “free” formula and food to mothers & families who have lower income.
    It’s so angering, to go to the store and see all of the WIC classifications on things like sugary, highly colored breakfast cereals; processed “food products”; formula; disposable diapers (I use cloth on my kids); chemicals galore; and the like. All these things that I’m forced to pay for through taxes–things I wouldn’t have in my house, or give to my worst enemy! If I ate strictly what was offered by WIC, I wouldn’t have enough milk. (I’m currently nursing baby #4.) In the US, I would say that it’s also a result of poor government “programs” that push families toward poor nutrition and free formula; on failed legislation that has been trying since the 1920’s to level the field economically, but all it has succeeded in doing is condemning the poor to their poverty and isolating the top few percent of incomes from the majority of taxes, and taxing those of us in more average ranges to the point where it’s hard to find any means with which to do good.
    I grew up in a small town, where there was a “Women’s Improvement Club”. The majority of the members belonged to my grandmother’s generation, and the club had a long history of doing things to improve both themselves and the community. (Planting trees along Main Street, providing a modest scholarship each year to a local high school graduate, and other things like that.) No “agendas” other than kind service. That organization is no more–the taxes on the small hall they owned got to be too high to meet, and so they had to sell it. By that time the memebers were dwindling (mostly due to ill health and death), and the organization folded.
    But this is now a book. Suffice it to say, if people were left to do good, and were left their own income with which to do it, the world would be a better place for babies, for moms, and for all of us.

  304. Lol, I know the print was tiny, and you were nerve wracked with yet another speach, but I wish you would have caught on to what I wore to see you when you came to see us knitters in St. Louis. I wore a purple T shirt with a breast feeding logo on it. It was an insentive from WIC (Women Infants and Children) to reach the 9 month of breast feeding. The prizes got higher every time I visited them. The last one (at one year) was a coffee mug. My favorite was at 6 months, she got a bib decaring “I eat at Mom’s”. The WIC people are overstaffed, and they are critisised for giving away formula if you need it.. but I have a lactation consultant calling me to THIS DAY every so often. and the baby is 15 months.

  305. Wonderful comments on breastfeeding. My 4 year old and 1 1/2 year old have been breastfed longer than I will comment on. My 4 year old has not yet been to the doctor because she is sick. It is great that you work so much for this cause even though your children are older!

  306. I am also an IBCLC, have been since 1988, so I agree with the “Amen sister!” comment. You very sensitively and concisely stated the very reason why breastfeeding is such an issue for women. Did you know that the US Government is the single largest buyer of formula in the WORLD????The counselors for WIC work under difficult circumstances, so let’s support this lady!
    Where do we send the hats?

  307. I hate to argue with Annalea, but I know from my experience with WIC that you are NOT ALLOWED to buy sugary, high calorie cereal. The only type of cereal allowed is Kix, corn flakes, rice cereals, and bran cereals. Plain oatmeal or Malt O’Meal is also allowed. You also get a lot of milk, any percentage, each month, as well as eggs and cheese. WIC does not supply diapers, or “chemicals”. When the baby is born, they do issue coupons for formula if you chose to go that way, but their big emphasis is on breastfeeding (they encourage it). They also give coupons for juice after the six month mark, as well as cereal. WIC also requires regular appointments for the woman and infant to come in, so they can test the babies iron, weigh the child, and make sure all is going well. They also very carefully go over with you what the child’s diet consist of, and offer assistance if the mom is unable (or unsure of) to prepare meals properly. WIC tries very, very hard to make sure infants and children are being fed well. The only sugary item WIC coupons allow are peanut butter, and even then that is a choice-you can also get different types of beans for protein.
    I resent it a little when people say “what I pay tax for”. Like the commercial use to say, WIC is a hand-up not a hand-out. My husband works and we pay taxes, but we also supplemented with WIC for years (children may be on the program until they are 5). WIC offers all sorts of dietician services, help people arrange rides to their appts. if needed, and make sure children are getting proper medical care as well as their immunizations. It is a great program, not a “program that pushes poor nutrition and free formula” on families. I chuckle because sometimes it was frustrating having taken my child to the doctor, and then going to WIC and basically going through it all again a few days later, and then all the questions about the kids diet all the time-but I knew they wanted to make sure I was using my coupons and that my kids were eating healthy. WIC was a godsend when I was pregnant and had my babies. Please don’t be so quick to judge.

  308. Here in Iowa a woman recently won a legal battle with a restaurant because they told her if she wanted to breast-feed she either had to go to the bathroom or leave. Many women showed up to the restaurant to protest and in the end they had to change their policy.
    My mom’s a big advocate for BF. She BF her first two, and then she tried with me for about two weeks and got an infection, so that was it for me(but I got the colustrum (sp?), and that’s important, right?), and then she didn’t BF my next brother, because she was afraid I’D try it(try BF the baby, that is), and then she just had no luck with my youngest brother. I have vague memories of her complaining that it had just dried up or something because she hadn’t BF with the last baby. It’s something she regrets quite a bit, and I know she’ll help me all she can when I have kids someday. My older sister tried, but (and she’s rather vague on this) it didn’t work. I think she may have just given up after it was too hard, or something, and now she’s struggling quite a bit to pay for formula. She’s living in Colorado. It seems like they’re really gung-ho for BF here in Iowa, though, because all of my child development classes in high school spent a lot of time telling us how it was much better for the baby and should be at the very least be done for the first few weeks.
    Ahem. Back to the knitting, anyway, that sweater looks fantastic!

  309. I breastfed my daughter for 18 months, despite a cracked nipple that made the first 6 weeks very unpleasant. But it was so worth it. I am a librarian, and the other day, a (probably) low-income patron asked for a book about how to wean her almost-two-year-old. She seemed to feel ashamed that she had nursed him for so long but also guilty about stopping. I was pleased to tell her that she should feel proud of having breastfed … and also that she shouldn’t feel bad for weaning him now. She said all her family had given her a hard time about breastfeeding.
    I feel lucky that my husband now tells all his friends how great breastfeeding is. It’s mainly because he got a lot more sleep than he would have if he’d had to share feedings, but whatever works. πŸ™‚
    I would love to make a hat. Where to send it?

  310. Thank you!!! It is sadly rare to see such an intelligent discussion of breastfeeding promotion. I also work in the field of human lactation and I hate that any public discussion of how breastfeeding is best always turns into blaming mothers. Let people make their own choices, but give them good information and help! The blame belongs to the government that won’t support mothers with actual maternity leave. Yours was the most articulate description of the issues I have read. Oh, and the knitting is lovely too! I agree with the button choice. I think you might need to design a whole sweater around the mice buttons. Perhaps with lacey holes to imply swiss cheese?

  311. TELL IT SISTER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    The same forces that pit one woman’s breasts against another are the same rat bastards (sorry) who pit working moms against stay at home moms!
    WE ARE MOMS AND MUMS. WE LOVE OUR CHILDREN SO MUCH IT HURTS. . . and how dare anyone try to trick us into working against each other instead of together in order to raise our best hope for a better planet.
    (rant off)
    ps: I LOVE that sweater and will most likely knit one for my next.

  312. I’ve been reading your blog for some time, it’s one of my favorites. This post really speaks to me, as a new mom (who breastfed her daughter for 6 months until the flu overtook her) and as a staunch advocate for better healthcare and longer maternity leave. Thank you for so eloquently stating what so many of us have been thinking. Please send along the info on where to send the hats.

  313. Count me in, too! I want to make fruity hats! I forwarded your blog post to my mother, who was a La Leche League leader in the early 70’s in Japan. She responded, “As a totally breastfed baby/child…you owe this lady a (some) hat(s).
    Love, Mom” It seems I have a mission…
    Love the sweater, too!

  314. As a current La Leche League Leader, breastfeeding mother of two, and a member of a Breastfeeding Advisory Panel–my hats off to you!! If only this were a national newspaper or magazine so that everyone who NEEDS to hear this, would. You are right on with ALL your points! Let me know where to send a little love [aka hat] for all those babies being born that NEED the best nourishment available to them–milk straight from the source!

  315. I loved the post on BF. I had a rough start breastfeeding my now 10 month old (and still nursing) son. He was born late on a Monday night and the lactation consultant wasn’t in until Wed. The nurses who tried helping for 1 1/2 days made minimal progress. I was lucky to see the LC twice on Wed before leaving so that I knew what a good latch was supposed to be.
    In the first few months I dealt with cracking and bleeding, two bouts of mastitis and a milk pearl. (My LC suggested taking a needle to it – I refused.) I had horrible trials with pumping when I returned to teaching after 11 weeks. I lasted through one quarter of pumping in a locked conference room while hearing teenage boys out in the hallway – UGH! After my son start dropping in weight percentile during those 12 weeks, my husband and I decided to go down to one income so I could stay home with my son and keep nursing. It was a tough decision but the right one for us.
    Thank you again YH for the wonderful post.

  316. Solid rant, Stephanie. Never heard it stated so well. It’s hard to find people who are passionate without being self-righteous regardless of the topic. Bravo, Woman, you did it.
    I have to confess to the twisted way my mind works. When you said that Jeanne was a breastfeeding advocate and wanted knit hats to help spread the word about good baby nutrition my first mental picture was a baby hat that looked like a breast complete with an i-cord nipple on top. I think it would be adorable and great for a laugh but probably not a big hit. πŸ™‚
    I wholeheartedly support this idea and would love to knit a hat, I promise not a breast looking one. Where do I send it?

  317. Bravo on the nursing comments! I didn’t nurse my first very long and regretted it so much later. Nursed the other 5 and loved (still nursing the 6 month old) every minute! The last nursed 33 months!
    I heard to that Breast Cancer rates drop in mothers who nursed.
    Have a great day!!!

  318. Well, I’ve had some mixed feelings, reading all of these moving comments. I started out all gung ho about BF’ing. Great, not a problem. Also very much in favour of choice, and far be it from me to judge anyone else. I have no idea what you all have been / are going through. Won’t be there, because it’s too late for me. Also have no problem about bearing the boobs in public. Honestly, I’ve been known to do it without a kid attached. Breasts are glands and fat. Not exactly sexy.
    What bothers me is the comments about big business. I am big business. That is, I work for the man, and I love it. While all of you amazing, driven, beautiful, fantastic women are off giving life and love to the next generation (and bless you for it), there are those of us left behind to do our job, and yours, while you are away. While we are prepared to do that for the greater good, it’s painful. I have lost evenings, weekends and lain awake many a sleepness night trying to do two full-time jobs so that my beloved colleagues could be at home with their children. Never mind the knowledge you take with you when you go.
    I have, regrettably, mis-calculated, mis-informed and mis-judged our managers, owners, and most importantly, our customers because I can’t fill your shoes. It sucks, I know, but please remember, we are all sisters. Whether mothers or not, we are in this together.
    My point is, maternity leave, or lack thereof, is a problem. It doesn’t only punish mothers, it punishes those of us left behind. I don’t know what the answer is, but I know what we have isn’t working (and I’m Canadian!).
    But, my needles are up in praise of the sister-hood! I will practice the veg-and-fruit hats on my four new neices (yup, 4, from 3 mothers, thankfully), and then any additional produce will go to the worthy cause.
    Misty

  319. I’m immensely grateful to all the helpful nurses and lactation consultants at my hospital that helped me and baby get along on the nursing. We were clueless but had lots of help. Please send me the addy for the fruit hats. It would be my pleasure to send along some of the good karma!

  320. I greatly appreciate your rant about breastfeeding. I could add a rant about doulas, who should be available to everybody but now are available only to the rich. Oh yes, and another rant about health disparities. I’ve already ranted on my blog about education for primary care health professionals, for which US funding has been cut by over 50% already and more cuts have been proposed. But it’s time for bed and I’m getting my blood pressure up…

  321. Thank you for your rational, non-judgemental tirade. Moms, and all women, would have so much more power if we stopped criticizing each other, and just supported everyone for doing the best that they know how. At the time I started nursing, I planned to for 2-3 months. Little did I know, that may have saved my dd’s life. At 3 months she had 1 oz. of formula, when I tried to introduce it. She was severly allergic, and at 5 is still allergic to milk. If we had gone the formula route, I would have needed specialty formulas costing over $50/can. Even as a middle-class, stay-at-home mom, we couldn’t afford that. Could you imagine going back to work, just to afford the formula? An LC like you helped me through many issues, and that was $$ well spent. Thank you.
    A hat it in the works.

  322. Steph, I hope you can hear me giving you a standing ovation from the office at my house way down here in Louisiana — there I am, standing on my toes and waving, can you see me now? I’m the one in the “Spay/Neuter Your Pets” T-Shirt.
    Please move to my state immediately so you can become Governor. You would immensely improve life way down here in Last Place. We have to fight hard with West Virginia and Mississippi to stay as poor and backward as we are, but it’s worth it to rule the bottom. Most teen pregnancies! Highest rate of HIV transmisison!
    Whew! It makes one giddy.
    I would like to see this situation change here and anywhere else. Please give me info on the hat program?

  323. Sorry for two comments in one day but I thought of something else:
    Waaaaay back long ago a friend was asked by a restaurant manager to go breastfeed in the bathroom (she had tucked the baby under a poncho the first time they were in fashion, and she was in a BOOTH for Gawd’s sake). She glared at him and said, “of course … if you bring a table in there, along with my food, so I can finish my meal?”
    He said exactly these words, “I’m sorry, but health laws don’t allow us to serve food in the … oh … yes … I see … um … ah … excuse me.”
    In this country, women pay $$$ to acquire enormous fake boobs, and some women get money stuffed in their garters for waving said boobs around at “gentlemen’s clubs” (if you can call a drunk, howling idiot a gentleman), and a select few women get paid fantabulous salaries for displaying their milk glands on the wide screen … yet, in the VERY same society, (I hesitiate to use the word “culture”) women are made to feel “scandalous” for whipping out a nipple in public for the purpose for which it was made.
    This is a sick country, I tell ya. Sick, sick, sick.
    I didn’t NEED to say “America,” did I?

  324. Sorry for two comments in one day but I thought of something else:
    Waaaaay back long ago a friend was asked by a manager to go breastfeed in the bathroom of a so-called “family restaurant”(she had tucked the baby under a poncho the FIRST time they were in fashion, and she was in a BOOTH for Gawd’s sake). She glared at him and said, “of course … if you bring a table in there, along with my food, so I can finish my meal?”
    He said exactly these words, “I’m sorry, but health laws don’t allow us to serve food in the … oh … yes … I see … um … ah … excuse me.”
    In this country, women pay $$$ to acquire enormous fake boobs, and some women get money stuffed in their garters for waving said boobs around at “gentlemen’s clubs” (if you can call a drunk, howling idiot a gentleman), and a select few women get paid fantabulous salaries for displaying their milk glands on the wide screen … yet, in the VERY same society, (I hesitiate to use the word “culture”) women are made to feel “scandalous” for whipping out a nipple in public for the purpose for which it was made.
    This is a sick country, I tell ya. Sick, sick, sick.
    I didn’t NEED to say “America,” did I?

  325. I used to know someone who fed her babies on canned milk, hot tap water and sugar. She also thought breastfeeding was only for savages. When I had my babies, I had to fight the nurses to keep from taking my kids to the nursery to fill them with sugar water because it took me a while to get going. They also thought I was weird because I nursed them till 15 months and 12 months, and this was in an area of Canada that considered itself to be very supportive of breastfeeding. I was supposed to stop and switch to formula after 1 month. The nurses knew nothing about it, and the doctors very little more.

  326. Patterns for little fruit to hang off the tops of plain hats are here:
    http://www.jimmybeanswool.com/freeKnittingPatternBabyRattles.asp
    I am almost disappointed to say that I have never, ever been challenged about my militant-yet-discreet breastfeeding habits. I had all sorts of come-backs ready, that are just languishing on the shelf. (This is in the northeastern US. Maybe it’d be different if I was somewhere more rural).
    I did have to pay out of pocket for a Lactation Consultant (luckily I could afford it) and fight with my doctors to convince them I really did have thrush; and endure agony for weeks as a result of their (and my insurance company’s) reluctance to act. Ladies, if it hurts something is wrong and they can fix it. Be persistent!

  327. Should we start sending the desperate couples who have been trying to have kids for years your way? They could ask you to knit a jersey for their wish baby…and voila! Pregnancy and delivery will happen in no time!

  328. I’ve been looking for an excuse to try one of those cute baby hats everyone’s been talking about. Please let me know where to send it.

  329. Re breastfeeding, I was only able to ‘partially’ breastfeed my daughter because of a several week delay in starting to nurse (blood pressure medication). But still I was doing both breast and formula for about four months until she simply refused anymore and I gave up (and dried up). It wasn’t until a couple of months later that I read somewhere that sometimes when you get your first period post-pregnancy, it can turn the baby off a little, you have to keep trying. But it was too late by then I was dry and she was on the bottle. I recommend part-time nursing to mothers who cannot nurse full-time, it truly worked for me and my child, now a healthy five year old..Keep up the good work!

  330. Nearly three years of nursing- must have strengthened up- these old boobs… you can see my near miss, DPN shish-ka-boob incident on my June 27 post;)

  331. I breastfed my daughter til she was over a year old (in the end, it was her choice to stop). I can’t imagine having to wake up in the wee hours of the morning to mix and heat formula & then try to get my child (and myself) back to sleep. I also can’t imagine having to PLAN my outings (around a feeding schedule, or planning how many bottles to take along). And the COST of formula!
    If I had listened only to some of the breastfeeding “advice” I received from some of the hospital’s lactation nurses, I would have had a hard time breastfeeding. I did my own research, and was DETERMINED to do it. When I went back to work (when my daughter was 7 months old), I spent my break & lunch pumping milk for her.
    It’s too bad you can’t run for Pres here in the US! You have a better grip of what this country needs than our politicians do! Perhaps it’s just time for a female President? πŸ™‚

  332. Oh Stephanie, if I lived in Toronto, I would be on your doorstep now demanding you knit my son (due in 2 weeks, 5 days but who is counting) a pair of short socks.. NOW. However, I will happily settle for a list of a few good books on breastfeeding.
    I am planning on breastfeeding but when the topic comes up, my husband and I talk about when to end it. We saw a British show where a child psychologist tried to fix problem behaviors of children this past winter. One involved a 3 or 4 year old girl who was still nursing despite her mother’s wishes; this little girl would become physically and verbally abusive! I still can hear her say, “I want mummy’s titty! Why can’t I have your titty?”

  333. What?!? You finished the Pea Pod set before me? HHHHOOOOOOWWWWW? I’m on vacation, and working fairly diligently, and yet – I am outdone. It looks great. (Still jealous though).
    So – does the average length of breastfeeding in Canada differ from the US?

  334. Let me tell you it is so empowering to inform yourself with information. I found a lump in my left breast last year and I was told I needed to stop breastfeeding my son who was 3 months old at the time. I didn’t want to and educated myself and had my lumpectomy (benign thank god) and here we are it is almost his first birthday and we are still nursing strong!

  335. Wonderful idea! I have six kids, all breastfed, heathly and (for the most part as a majority are now teens)happy. And yes what is needed is support and information that doesn’t come from a formula company.

  336. Amen Sister! Women make up 52% of the population. Let’s start acting like sisters instead of enemies.
    I think the mousie buttions would do better on something not as busy.

  337. I KNOW that breasts are for feeding babies. But NOT for sex? Sorry, but I’m not gonna let anyone else define my erogenous zones for me, and it’s my experience that breasts can multi-task.
    Aara

  338. When I had my first, I never even gave formula a second thought. I just knew I was going to breastfeed, and it was the same thing with my second and now with my third (who will hopefully be here really, really soon). I guess i just figured if my mom and grandma could do (and all my aunts) then why can’t i?
    I know some people get frustrated because they try to do a schedule right away, and I think that makes it harder on them and the baby. If they could just wait a few weeks, then the baby will go to it’s own schedule. My cousin said she quit because she didn’t like all the snacking, but her daughter wasn’t 2 weeks old, and so I told her they usually snack when they are hitting a growth spurt, and if she’d waited a week or so, she’d probably would have stopped.
    I know that not getting enough water can cause a milk supply to go down, so I don’t normally have that problem, because I drink a lot of water.

  339. Yaaa breastfeeding! I’m currently breastfeeding my fourth – I actually fed him while you spoke in St. Louis and you cooed at him later in line. Where do we send the hats?

  340. I am SO in! I usually make fruit & veggie hats to sell, but I’ll make a few to donate to this cause! Breastfeeding my son, who turned 7 months day before yesterday, has been one of the most rewarding & emotionally healing acts I could ever perform. After years of thinking & believing negative things about my body, knowing that it has been the only thing keeping him alive & growing & healthy has done more for my self-worth than any amount of therapy ever could.

  341. oh! and pictures of the boogermonkey (proper name: Andrew) are here: http://gonzopants.com/gallery2/main.php?g2_view=core.ShowItem&g2_itemId=27. You’ll get to meet him in September when you come to Eugene to read, and if we’re all lucky (there are some Portland gals who are REALLY hoping we’re lucky) and you agree to a Eugene “tour” or “dinner” of some kind, you’ll even get to spend some time with the chunker, shown performing his new favorite trick here: http://gonzopants.com/gallery2/main.php?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=2815&g2_serialNumber=2.

  342. Right On! I’ve been nursing now over 7 years without a day off. My first daughter nursed through my second pregnancy, and on to her 5th birthday, then was done. My second daughter, born 3 years after no.1, just turned 4 and isn’t done yet. I had a lot of problems -recurring mastitis, raw nips, and a duct that leaked into my breast tissue and eventually OUT the side of my breast!-and good support, and conviction. Daughter number two has been completely breastfed on only one breast since she was ittybitty because of the whole “evil” milk duct bit. Maybe this is too much nursing for some people, but my kids are awesome, super healthy, secure little people. Thanks for letting us in on a way to help other mamas.

  343. I’m a great fan of the whole breastfeeding thing. I did it with all three of my “babies” – now all quasi-adults/1 teen. But I was fortunate to have grown up in a pro-breastfeeding family. My family doctor’s wife was, I think, the founder of LaLeche League in Illinois back in the late fifties or early sixties. It must be hard for women who aren’t exposed (no pun intended, heh) to nursing often enough to see it as normal or a good and doable option. Even those who work outside the home can manage it with some prep and planning. And it’s good for Mom’s health too! Not to mention time management, bottle washing, and so on. I just loved the whole experience!

  344. Wow reading the comments makes me feel lucky to live where I do. The basic state employee health insurance (which is far from basic I will admit) has pro breastfeeding people so much so that when I went to my first prenatal visit they were already strongly recommending breast feeding (I was about 6 weeks at the time) and they give you a coupon to help offset the cost of whatever pump you need for your lifestyle. Now I just hope that I actually get to have kids where there is all this support!
    On the button note: while up with insomnia, I looked for wooden mouse buttons (I was more successful with “wood buttons” as my search, but “animal buttons” might be better) and the first two pages of the google search yielded many adorable buttons but no wood mice. I did think that maybe you could draw little mice onto round wood buttons with a very fine point permanent pen. Sort of a modern version of the old painted buttons. (Of course if you are good at painting tiny objects and know which paints are non-toxic you could always paint them on.)

  345. Annalea said:
    “It’s so angering, to go to the store and see all of the WIC classifications on things like sugary, highly colored breakfast cereals; processed “food products”; formula; disposable diapers (I use cloth on my kids); chemicals galore; and the like. All these things that I’m forced to pay for through taxes–things I wouldn’t have in my house, or give to my worst enemy! If I ate strictly what was offered by WIC, I wouldn’t have enough milk. (I’m currently nursing baby #4.) In the US, I would say that it’s also a result of poor government “programs” that push families toward poor nutrition and free formula…”
    Wow, do you have your facts messed up. For starters, aside from juice, WIC offers healthy choices. I really wish they didn’t give juice vouchers starting at 6 months because what 6-month-old needs juice, but I guess if moms can’t afford fresh produce, at least they’re getting some vitamins from the juice. Also, WIC offers vouchers to use at farmer’s markets for fresh, local, often organic produce in season. There is no sugared or artificially colored cereal covered. Eggs, natural cheeses, milk, beans, those things are hardly chemical atrocities or processed food products. Disposable diapers are also not covered. I mean, yippee for you for using cloth diapers, but surely you realize not everyone is going to do that.
    Finally, you’re right, if you ate strictly what could be bought with WIC, you probably wouldn’t have enough milk to nurse. But WIC is a supplemental food program, not meant to solely feed a family.
    WIC does not “push” formula on anyone. The encourage breastfeeding, and they were a godsend when I was having trouble nursing my oldest. They even gave me a hospital grade pump to use for FREE with a brand new box of attachments.
    WIC is an awesome program, and rather than poor government, it’s poorly informed people like yourself who rant about “But my tax dollars!” who are the doom of social programs.

  346. I would have given up on breastfeeding would it have not been for a wonderful lactation consultant (note: it was NOT the superficially breastfeeding friendly hospital that helped in this regard, I was even forced to feed formula to my baby there). In the meantime I spoke to many lower income mothers and most of them really wanted to breastfeed their babies (it is not that they don’t KNOW that it is good for them), but they had the same problems in the beginning that I had and they did not have the financial resources and/or knowledge to consult a lactation specialist. Great initiative. Thanks for doing this.
    Helga

  347. Whoops! If you ask for iced tea in the southern US states, you get sweetened tea, or simply “sweet tea”, definitely not unsweetened.
    Happy celebrations to both of our countries!

  348. I did not know that you are a lactation consultant, maybe I haven’t been reading long enough – I have a master in public health, and most of my work is program management oriented, but recently I’ve gone back to the idea of becoming a doula and adding on from that base – midwife training, lactation consultant, etc. I have lots of friends who are pregnant right now and I’ve started asking them what their birthing plans are and talking about breastfeeding with them. Jeanne’s idea is wonderful – I wonder if we can get something like that going in other places.
    As for comments above in the vein of ‘we need you to run for Congress’ – well, that’s not realistic, and your emphasis on 52% of us using our voting power is more relevant. If anything, the Americans commenting here ought to think about running for Congress.

  349. You are remarkable. I am kowtowing in your direction.
    I will check to see if it’s on your blog in a few days; if not, please send me information about fruit and veggie hats. My needles itch.

  350. Very well said and compelling. I have forwarded your request for hats to all my knitter friends, who actually know how to knit useful things!

  351. I was on WIC and when I told them I was breastfeeding they asked if I was a foreigner. I’m serious. They said I couldn’t be from this country if I was nursing. And then the insult of being given a voucher for a bag of carrots and 2 cans of tuna to “support” my breastfeeding. And then in comes the mom of preemie infants being given crap Carnation formula. Dear God, help that family. And all of us.
    Thanks to good (but rare!) lactation consultants, I was able to push past a severe hormonal imbalance that caused my milk to all but dry up, and BF my son til 15 months when we mutually weaned. My 9 month old daughter is nursing now. But only because I had help! I’m now a certified childbirth educator (CCE), Birthworks) and future midwife.
    OK, so I want to knit a hat and hand deliver it to my local WIC.

  352. I am a mommy of 3 who has never left the paid workforce. I was also a rabid breastfeeder. It not only takes dedication, it takes support (of husband, of family, of fabulous lactation consultant, and of society). Often, one or more bits of the support is missing.
    I have pumped in closets, storerooms, bathrooms, and the lavatory of every major domestic airline. I have taken a baby with me to London, and paid for childcare on both sides of the Atlantic, so as to continue breastfeeding.
    But, as Stephanie points out, I have been blessed with education, support, and a good helping of chutzpah (when a fellow diner in a restaurant told me to go feed my son in the bathroom, I said, “You don’t eat in the bathroom, why should he?”). Would that all the women in the world were so blessed.
    Thank you, Stephanie, for articulating the criticality of support.

  353. Would you please email me the information about the hats? I’d like to support this cause as well.

  354. Steph, love reading you, you brighten my days.There has been a recent study saying that babies are at lower risk to SIDS if the have soothers. I usually tell new breast Moms that their little ones need soothers. Agree? Disagree? Love to hear what you think.I volunteer in extra support to parent program from our local maternity hosp. Often help new Mums with breast feeding, give them the facts and they can choose then I support their decision.

  355. On the superstition front, when I was a little girl (and even a high school student) I too was baffled by the other kids and felt pretty rotten about it. When I was having a particularly hard time, my Mom would offer to put a curse on the tormentor. My Mom is a very nice, mainly ordinary woman who would look more at home at a WASP convention than any occult gathering, and being her daughter, I rolled my eyes and said, “Oh, MOM” (you know the tone).
    Well, bad ends have come to all the people she offered to put a curse on. The most spectacular was the girl who reportedly became a lady of the evening in train stations. (She was REALLY mean.) Maybe it was their bad vibes that led to their downfalls, but I am now a little afraid of my mother.

  356. Breastfeeding, maternity, and post partum support would certainly be major election issues for me as well, but it is nearly impossible to find politicians who run on those issues or are willing to do anything about them if elected.

  357. What a great post! A cute sweater, strong positive thoughts on breastfeeding and the news on the hats for the new ones. Here’s a question for the consultant: With a ravenous, round-the-clock-nursing, humongous 2 month old, how/what the heck can I knit?!? Gone are the ideas of knitting sweet nothings and knocking out Xmas gifts while he cherubically snoozes. Really, how many “warsh rags” can you knit before your knitting progress is mummified and the only lace is on your nursing bra?

  358. I think, as a working mom who has successfully breastfed two babies, that stress has a lot to do with the reason women give up. You are on to something when you say that Sweden has better maternity leave, better social programs, and more time for women to relax and bond. I was lucky enough to be able to take off six months each time to get established, and then could pump at work (ugh), while feeding at night and on weekends. Also, co-sleeping is key if you are working, as the little ones make up for lost time by feeding at night. Now, where can I get an eggplant hat for the wee one? Love Kiki. P.S. I do supplement now (at one year) with organic formula during the day, plus pureed organic foods. There are services that will deliver to your door if time is an issue (like homemadebaby.com). And, am struggling to learn to knit in my spare time. Baby needs new booties!

  359. Love you blog and I just picked up that pea pod pattern to make for nephew, it looks great with the wooden buttons πŸ˜‰

  360. just wanted to write as a nursery/nicu nurse at an american (and southern) hospital, that i do encourage any and all mothers who say and express interest in breast-feeding. we have a few different ibclc’s on staff who are excellent and supportive of our mothers. i do not, however, push breast-feeding on to anyone who does not want to do it or is uncomfortable with the process after a few attempts. in response to WIC and lower income families… it would seem to make sense that they would want to breast feed b/c it is free, but if it is a single mother who works one or two or more jobs to make ends meet, she may find it difficult to find the time and/or afford the resources needed to pump/breast feed. before making judgements on american culture, it may do well for you to be more familiar with all of the cultures that make up america.

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