Press Release–1st Nationwide Miracle Milk™ Mother’s Day Stroll

by Danielle Rigg, JD CLC | April 14, 2014 1:53 pm

For Immediate Release:  Best for Babes® launches 1st Nationwide Miracle Milk™ Mother’s Day Stroll to Save Lives. 

April 14, 2014. The Best for Babes® Foundation announces another first for healthier moms and babies – the 1st Nationwide Miracle Milk™ Mother’s Day Stroll.  On Saturday May 10, 2014, thousands of parents, friends, family and community members, will gather in 67 parks and malls across the U.S. and Canada to raise funds and awareness for human milk to help save the lives of 500 premature infants that die annually from Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC) – and help prevent 5000 babies each year from contracting this often deadly and painful disease.  Best for Babes’ Champions for Moms[1] Kelly Rutherford and Alysia Reiner will attend the NYC event. (continued below image)M_Milk_FB_withCanada (2)[2]


Feeding fragile and compromised babies human milk – whether from the mother or by donor — has been shown to reduce the risk of NEC by 79%[3].  NEC is an excruciating bowel inflammation that can require multiple surgeries to remove dead tissue, may result in organ failure, months- long neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) stays, and can cost between $200,000 to over $1,000,000 to treat[4].  Lifelong complications and treatment may also ensue.  The anguish it causes parents is indescribable.

In its most recent policy statement on breastfeeding and human milk, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) states unequivocally that “the potent benefits of human milk are such that all preterm infants should receive human milk… If mother’s own milk is unavailable despite significant lactation support, pasteurized donor milk should be used.” PEDIATRICS Vol. 129 No. 3 March 1, 2012, pp. e827 -e841.

“The AAP’s call for all preterm babies to have pasteurized donor milk when mother’s own milk is unavailable is being ignored.  60%[5] of the nation’s NICUs do not use donor milk,” says Jennifer Canvasser, whose son died last year from NEC.  Canvasser is the founder of the NECSociety,[6] a primary partner of the event.  “It’s a tragedy that more parents, health care providers, medical directors and hospital administrators don’t know about donor milk’s existence, accessibility, safety and life-saving powers for babies in the NICU.”

“Our goal with this event is to create a nationwide consumer-driven platform to raise awareness, funds and milk donations to help make human and donor milk the standard of care in NICUs everywhere to help reduce suffering and deaths” says Best for Babes Co-Founder Danielle Rigg.  “Human Milk Saves Lives.  We don’t really need more science. What we need are more solutions to help more moms get more Miracle Milk™ to more premature, sick and fragile babies.”

Currently, the Stroll has more than 50 sites across the U.S. and Canada, [7]with more on the way.  Groups are being led by local volunteers and will gather casually in common spaces to socialize, stroll, and celebrate the human milk cause.  Registration requires a donation, and anyone can make a donation even if they cannot attend.  The purchase of the official event Miracle Milk™ T-shirt is optional.  Donations of human milk are being accepted by HMBANA in conjunction with this event by contacting them directly at [8]and mentioning the Stroll.

Proceeds benefit Best for Babes[9] and its partners NECSociety[10],  Human Milk Banking Association of North America [11](HMBANA), Reaching our Sisters Everywhere[12] (ROSE), and the United States Lactation Consultant Association[13] (USLCA), and  will be used to fund education for parents, health care providers, medical directors and hospital administrators about the critical role of human milk and donor milk in a premature, fragile or compromised infant’s diet.  The event is being generously sponsored by PJ’s Comfort® breast pump maker Limerick[14] and Motherlove® Herbal  Company[15]

To register, donate, or learn more, visit:[16]

Best for Babes is the only mainstream, independent non-profit dedicated to changing the cultural perception of breastfeeding and to removing the barriers—the Breastfeeding Booby Traps® [17]– that prevent millions of moms annually from realizing their personal breastfeeding goals.   Best for Babes is harnessing the power of moms, celebrities, companies, advertising, the media and the medical community to build a true cause that can put pressure on the barriers, not moms, through education, advocacy and Team Best for Babes.  We are raising awareness of the power of human milk (whether via breastfeeding or donated milk) as both prevention and treatment for pandemic diseases.

Contact:[18]  973.818.6299

  1. Champions for Moms:
  2. [Image]:
  3. reduce the risk of NEC by 79%:
  4. $200,000 to over $1,000,000 to treat:
  5. 60%:
  6. NECSociety,:
  7. 50 sites across the U.S. and Canada, :
  8. :
  9. Best for Babes:
  10. NECSociety:
  11. Human Milk Banking Association of North America :
  12. Reaching our Sisters Everywhere:
  13. United States Lactation Consultant Association:
  14. Limerick:
  15. Motherlove® Herbal  Company:
  17. Breastfeeding Booby Traps® :

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Actress Jenna Elfman Joins Best for Babes Advisory Board

by admin | February 23, 2014 5:54 pm

JennaFanPhoto2 copy[2]The Best for Babes®  Foundation is thrilled to to announce that actress Jenna Elfman[1], star of NBC’s new comedy, Growing Up Fisher[2], has agreed to join their Advisory Board.  As a mother who struggled with breastfeeding and ultimately succeeded, Ms. Elfman will work with Best for Babes to raise awareness of the unnecessary obstacles millions of expecting and new moms face every year — the Breastfeeding Booby Traps[3]®.  She will help Best for Babes inspire, prepare and empower moms to achieve their personal breastfeeding goals.

“I am honored and thrilled to work with Best for Babes to help moms and babies,” says Jenna Elfman.  “I don’t want other women to experience what I experienced with my first child.  Breastfeeding can be incredibly rewarding and empowering, and all moms that want to and are able to breastfeed deserve to have that experience.  As someone who donated her milk[4] to a very sick baby, I also believe that mothers and babies deserve better access to donor milk.”

According to recent research, more moms than ever want to breastfeed and 77% try— but very few make it past the first few days and weeks. The average hospital in the U.S. scores a “D”[5] in breastfeeding support, and 25% of full-term, healthy newborns are being supplemented unnecessarily[6], often in spite of the parents’ wishes.  In the U.S., only 16% of U.S. moms breastfeed exclusively until 6 months, putting the United States in the bottom rung of most industrialized countries where breastfeeding is concerned.

“We are thrilled that Ms. Elfman is coming on to the Advisory Board, and is bringing her passion, leadership, inimitable style and great sense of humor to the breastfeeding cause. Ms. Elfman’s involvement sends the message that fighting the breastfeeding barriers, focusing on prevention, and building the breastfeeding cause should be top of the national priority charts,”  says Best for Babes Co-Founder Danielle Rigg. “Human milk is the first defense against illness and disease and is the foundation of human health.  Helping mothers to breastfeed benefits moms, babies, society and the planet.” adds Rigg, who is also a breast cancer survivor.  “Breastfeeding is indisputably as good for us as exercise, and moms deserve to be cheered on.  This is a cause for all of us to get behind.”

*Jenna Elfman won a Golden Globe for her role in the hit TV series “Dharma & Greg”.  Her new comedy, “Growing Up Fisher[2]“, debuts Sunday February 23. Jenna also appeared in the hit comedy “Friends with Benefits” with Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis, and starred in “Keeping the Faith” with Ben Stiller and Edward Norton.   We named Jenna a Best for Babes Champion for Moms[7] in 2010 when she shared with us her own struggles with the Breastfeeding Booby Traps[3]®, how she overcame them and eventually donated her milk to a severely ill baby.  (Read the interview: Part I[8]  and Part II[9] .) Along with Kelly Preston and Laila Ali, Jenna Elfman co-hosted the first-ever celebrity breastfeeding & toxin-free living event[10] in 2012, at her home, to raise awareness of the barriers to breastfeeding (and how to succeed!) and the benefits of toxin-free living in raising healthy children. The event was a collaboration between Best for Babes and Healthy Child Healthy World.  Jenna is married to Bodhi Elfman. They have two awesome children, Story and Easton. 

Best for Babes is the only mainstream, independent non-profit dedicated to changing the cultural perception of breastfeeding and to removing the barriers—the Breastfeeding Booby Traps®[11] – that prevent millions of moms annually from realizing their personal breastfeeding goals.   Best for Babes is harnessing the power of moms, celebrities, companies, advertising, the media and the medical community to build a true cause that can put pressure on the barriers, not moms, through education, advocacy and Team Best for Babes[12].  We are raising awareness of the power of human milk (whether via breastfeeding or donated milk) as both prevention and treatment for pandemic diseases.[13]



  1. Jenna Elfman:
  2. Growing Up Fisher:
  3. Breastfeeding Booby Traps:
  4. As someone who donated her milk:
  5. average hospital in the U.S. scores a “D”:
  6. supplemented unnecessarily:
  7. Best for Babes Champion for Moms:
  8. Part I:
  9. Part II:
  10. celebrity breastfeeding & toxin-free living event:
  11. Breastfeeding Booby Traps®:
  12. Team Best for Babes:
  14. @BestforBabes:

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From Booby Trapped to a Tongue Tie Pioneer: An Interview with Dr. Evelyn Jain

by Nikki Lee RN, IBCLC | January 31, 2014 4:00 pm

dr evelyn jainWe’re very pleased to share an interview with Dr. Evelyn Jain[1], a renowned family physician best known for her work on the management of tongue tie for breastfeeding babies[2].   Dr. Jain is a Family Physician, Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Calgary, and director of the Lakeview Breastfeeding Clinic[3].  She has been working with mothers and babies for over 20 years.  

After a Booby Trapped[4] start to breastfeeding with her own daughters, she became determined to break down barriers for other mothers and babies, and went to medical school at what most would consider a late stage in life.  Despite many obstacles, she has let nothing stand in her way of improving care for mothers and babies.  Evelyn spoke with Nikki Lee[5].

Dr. Jain, what is your own background?

I was born in England just about the end of the War.  My mother breastfed; it was a strong family tradition, to the point that when I was 15 or 16, she expressed a great concern that I may not be able to breastfeed as I had small breasts!  I was a bit surprised but I certainly got the message that breastfeeding was important and I wasn’t even thinking of having children!  So it didn’t seem that relevant at the time.  However, perhaps a little pushback just made me that bit more determined!  That is quite a theme throughout my life, actually.

How did breastfeeding go for you when you did have children?

It was a mixed experience.  I was very lucky that the biological systems all went well and my underlying conviction helped greatly to deal with an inhospitable hospital system, so I had reasonable but mixed success.  With my first daughter, I was able to do partial breastfeeding up to about nine months (nine months was equivalent to three years in societal terms then!).  The hospital system made everything extremely difficult with my first baby in the UK, as she was always in the nursery and I could only see her every 4 hours!

With my first baby, since I’d been evacuated from Libya in the 1967 Middle East War, I was staying with my parents.  I just got home from hospital and the baby had just fed and when she started crying I looked at my watch, my parents said, “Go on, and feed her.  That’s ridiculous; don’t follow those hospital rules” and when the baby fed so well, they just leaned over the chair behind me, said, “See, Evelyn?  She likes it” and that simple statement set me up in the best possible way.  All of the worries and rules fell away.

The second baby was born in North Africa, a much more breastfeeding friendly, non-rigid environment.  However, to my great disappointment, since I knew nothing at all about medicine or even biology at that time, I was given the pill. As it was much stronger in those days, I started to lose my milk when she was just a few months old.

With the third baby, I was in Canada and I got connected with La Leche League, so I had a great deal of peer support and also started to gain a lot of knowledge about breastfeeding.  All went very, very well and she nursed for two or three years.  Interestingly enough, she is now a dentist and participated in making my recent DVD, “Anterior and Posterior Tongue-Tie:  A Comprehensive Guide.[6]”

Why did you suddenly switch into medicine when you had been a stay-at-home mom with your three daughters?

When I was about to give birth to my third baby, I discussed with my family doctor a few requests such as being informed if I was to be given drugs, that I not be in stirrups and that I have my baby with me and that I breastfeed exclusively in hospital.

She was quite upset and was not in the least agreeable to any of these radical ideas, so as I left the office, I was in tears of either disappointment or rage; I am not sure how much of each.  But by the time I got to my car, I just knew I wanted to be a doctor.  I felt that things could be so much better.  We could consider the whole experience of birthing and breastfeeding while at the same time, looking after all of the important safety issues  From then on, my desire was basically non-negotiable.  My friends and supporters would say, “You know there’s hardly any chance you’ll get in” I would reply, “Yes, I know, but it’s my calling.  I can’t not try.”  They’d say, “Well, you’ll be 45 by the time you finish.”  And I’d say, “Yes, and I’ll be 45 anyway.”

What did you hope to achieve in medicine?

I hoped to contribute to the idea that it was not a compromise of safety to allow mothers and babies to stay together, to encourage total breastfeeding and hold off from formula as long as the baby was not at risk, to allow mothers reasonable choices in how they wished to deliver their babies in comfort and with loving support around them, and to reduce the use of unnecessary procedures – procedures which may be very useful for some people but shouldn’t be applied across the board.

These hopes were fulfilled beyond my wildest dreams during my career in Obstetrics; I would leave every delivery with a great feeling of that I had helped provide a better start at motherhood into that woman’s life by being there, just as I would have wished for myself in those circumstances.

It seems to you that in many ways, your efforts have been triggered by difficulties you yourself have had.

Yes, that’s absolutely true.  A lot of energy came from my huge disappointments with the birth and breastfeeding experiences I had when I was young.

What do you see as the problems which mothers face now?

Years ago, I used to think that more information would be very helpful and, in fact, it is. However now I sense that mothers are overwhelmed with tidal waves of information which are confusing and take away from their own instincts and common sense.  There can be a tendency to follow rigid schedules and this often leads to some anxiety.  I would like to see them tune in more to their actual baby and try not to apply too many rules and irrelevant facts to their own experience. I really hope to see a more relational approach that mothers have with their babies and so over the years, I’ve  evolved into trying to show mothers how to read the baby’s own messages,  a major learning challenge, for all of us when we have our first baby.

What do you love about your work?

I love to see mothers who are dedicated to their children and loving and hoping to do the very best thing for them.  I love it when people come to the clinic in great distress, with confusion, pain, anxiety and then build with them a plan that will lead to success, relieve their anxiety and bring them to joy with their relationship with their baby. I also love that over the years, we have increased our knowledge in this field and that most breastfeeding problems can be resolved very well and give mothers a chance for months of happy breastfeeding.

I’m a Grandma now and I really sense the importance of the great, lifelong journey of parenthood. I like to start off with mothers at this very early stage so that their memories and their outlook will be shaped by a positive experience. This is very important to me.  Some mothers biologically are unable to breastfeed totally or perhaps even at all and I feel very sorry when these mothers feel guilty and are even blamed by some of their peers.  These mothers especially need support and I like to help them move along from the idea of guilt to the idea of disappointment and to recognize all the other many precious ways in which they will offer their baby their love and bond with their baby.  Parenting is a much bigger job than we ever thought when we started out!

TongueTieNewCover-200You’ve become known primarily for your work with tongue-tie.  How did that happen?

In the first year of my practice, I saw one particularly remarkable mother who was doing everything completely right and yet her baby was not thriving and her nipples were badly damaged. I was at a loss and then I looked inside the baby’s mouth and the tongue was not moving well, and then I found this membrane, the very prominent anterior tongue-tie. I realized that was the reason for all of her problems and that it was up to me to do something about it.

So that was the first frenotomy that I performed.  After that, I was more diligent in looking for this and would find it in a certain percentage of our patients (it’s thought to be about 5% of the general population; of course, a much higher proportion will be seen at any breastfeeding clinic).

I ran into considerable opposition about this.  Several of my colleagues were extremely upset to the point of preventing patients from attending the clinic, but that was in 1994.  My response to that was to create a video to show my colleagues what problems could be caused by a tongue-tie, how it was released safely and what benefits the patients derived from that release.

My initial plan was to distribute a few copies amongst my local colleagues, but my staff recommended using the Web to advertise it for a wider audience, which I did, and was bowled over by the number of people who wanted to buy that video in 1996. It was out there for 16 years, and led to many wonderful speaking opportunities worldwide.

Last year, as I had gained much more experience I created a much more broadly based video, “Anterior and Posterior Tongue-Tie: a Comprehensive Guide[7]’ in 2012, which has had a similar huge success, to my great delight. This one includes, in addition to breastfeeding issues in depth, special features on child, adult and dental issues.

Do you think, Dr. Jain, that tongue-tie could be a bit overdiagnosed and over-stated as an issue?

Well, I think there are a few cases like that, especially in the case of posterior tongue-tie, and I think it behooves all of us in lactation work to do the whole job and not just pick this one condition and blame that. Because of this there are many things depicted on the new video such as great attention to proper technique in latching.  We  also need to treat the damaged nipples, the sore nipples, and deal with the milk supply in every way possible, and even supplement the baby as needed to make him or her stronger and better able to nurse.

I would say from what I see in referrals I receive, at least 90% are legitimate referrals and probably 10% or less would be cases that can be solved by other methods without a release.  I surprise myself though sometimes, when a tongue-tie seems anatomically small but the release that’s possible with a posterior frenotomy can still produce a dramatic difference to the opening of the mouth and the sustained sucking and swallowing.

While frenotomy is a very simple procedure, it is also one of extreme precision.  There is no room for any errors and so I believe it’s beneficial in most cases for practitioners to have plenty of experience of diagnosing it by inspection and palpation and assessing the functional issues involved before clipping it.  I myself did anteriors for many years before addressing the posteriors, which are a little trickier.

My goal in teaching has been to ensure that anyone interested in treating tongue-ties has learned the necessary precision and technique so that there is not a risk in doing it.  In talking to some of my colleagues recently at the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine, it appears the consensus is that clipping with scissors surgically appears to be less painful than the laser treatment.  I had been getting concerned about that as I perform it with scissors always and do want my patients to have the best possible care.

Did your baby have difficulty latching properly because she was tongue-tied?  Who identified it, and what kind of care did you receive?

  1. Dr. Evelyn Jain:
  2. tongue tie for breastfeeding babies:
  3. Lakeview Breastfeeding Clinic:
  4. Booby Trapped:
  5. Nikki Lee:
  6. Anterior and Posterior Tongue-Tie:  A Comprehensive Guide.:
  7. Anterior and Posterior Tongue-Tie: a Comprehensive Guide:

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Booby Traps Series: 40 years on, why is breastfeeding in public still a problem?

by Tanya Lieberman, IBCLC | December 13, 2013 4:44 pm

Angelina Jolie breastfeedingA few years ago, while staffing a hospital breastfeeding warm line, I spoke on the phone with a nursing mom who had called to ask for advice on weaning.

She was young (maybe 18) and Latina, and from the start breastfeeding had gone beautifully for her.  No pain, no concerns about milk supply, healthy baby, and she was enjoying it.

So why did she want to wean?  “Because I want to be able to go to the mall,” she said, “and I heard that people will stare at you and give you a hard time.”

Celebrities like Beyonce[1] and Salma Hayek[2] do it.  Angelina Jolie[3] does it on the cover of a national magazine.  Most states have laws (albeit weak) protecting[4] the rights of moms to do it.

So why do we regularly hear about women kicked out of restaurants[5], swimming pools[6], courthouses[7], theme parks[8], day cares[9], buses[10], even off a plane[11], for breastfeeding in public?

Nearly 40 years after breastfeeding rates began to rise, we still regularly hear about women being told that nursing in public is inappropriate, and that it should happen only out of public view.

There is no national data documenting how common this is, but Best for Babes’ Nursing in Public Hotline (1-855-NIP-FREE)[12] has taken nearly 300 calls since it began a little over a year ago, according to the hotline director Michelle Hickman.  Calls have come from mothers who have had trouble in restaurants, stores, schools, day cares, and churches.  A notable 62 incidents were reported by moms who had trouble at YMCAs.  And of course these are calls from mothers who happened to know about the hotline and wanted to report it.  The true number, judging from the frequency in which problems are reported in the media, is clearly far higher.

Some dismiss these problems as inconsequential.  And it’s of course true that many women nurse in public without incident, or even with positive responses.

But as the Surgeon General[13] notes:

Such situations make women feel embarrassed and fearful of being stigmatized by people around them when they breastfeed.  Embarrassment remains a formidable barrier to breastfeeding in the United States and is closely related to disapproval of breastfeeding in public. [emphasis added]

In fact, a recent poll conducted for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation found that “being in public” was the most common breastfeeding challenge[14] cited by respondents.  And attitudes are especially prohibitive in regions[15] where, understandably, breastfeeding rates are low.

To make matters worse, cultural attitudes pose a particularly potent barrier to some of the communities with low breastfeeding rates[16] – the same ones at higher risk of infant mortality and childhood obesity.  Remember the young mom of color I mentioned at the top?

Underlying the discomfort the public has with breastfeeding in public is the notion that breasts are purely sexual in nature – an idea constantly promoted by the media.  It’s this idea that turns an act of feeding and tenderness into something obscene.  It gets photos banned from Facebook[17] and results in mothers being told that they can’t get their photos developed[18] because they violate nudity policies.

It goes beyond the fear that mothers will expose themselves, to the very idea of breastfeeding, evidenced by the fact that many women who are told to leave public places are wearing nursing covers.  Nursing mothers’ rooms are a nice amenity for women who are uncomfortable nursing in public, but to some mothers feel like a form of quarantine.  And the solution couldn’t possibly be a nursing mothers room in every single public accommodation in the world, could it?

It’s been said many times before, but the answer is the normalization of breastfeeding, so that mothers who are feeding at the breast in public receive no more or less attention than mothers who are feeding by bottle.

Changing attitudes is at the core of Best for Babes’ mission[19].  Through Best for Babes’ work to give breastfeeding a makeover, we aim to create permanent culture change that embraces, celebrates and supports breastfeeding and moms.

It’s our hope that someday breastfeeding will be, as Best for Babes Champion Jenna Elfman says[20], “a natural part of our life as a society.”

How have you experienced breastfeeding in public?  Have you had positive or negative responses – or none at all?  What do you think it would take to change public attitudes about it?

  1. Beyonce:
  2. Salma Hayek:
  3. Angelina Jolie:
  4. laws (albeit weak) protecting:
  5. restaurants:
  6. swimming pools:
  7. courthouses:
  8. theme parks:
  9. day cares:
  10. buses:
  11. off a plane:
  12. Best for Babes’ Nursing in Public Hotline (1-855-NIP-FREE):
  13. Surgeon General:
  14. most common breastfeeding challenge:
  15. especially prohibitive in regions:
  16. some of the communities with low breastfeeding rates:
  17. gets photos banned from Facebook: http://Eliminatingthisbarriertobreastfeedingwillmeanthatweexpandourviewofbresatsfromthepurelysexualtothe
  18. mothers being told that they can’t get their photos developed:
  19. Best for Babes’ mission:
  20. Jenna Elfman says: http://HowBeyonce

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Booby Traps Series: Direct-to-mom formula marketing, or “How did all that formula end up on my doorstep?”

by Tanya Lieberman, IBCLC | December 5, 2013 6:35 am

401px-Enfamil_Formula_(2457208915)Did you wake one morning to find a case of formula you never ordered on your doorstep?

Here’s one way it may have ended up there.

For years formula companies have relied on hospitals to promote their products through “gift bags” given to moms as they leave.  They have been a very effective marketing tool,*  but they’re slowly but surely on the way out.  The decline in the distribution of these bags has been been documented in research[1] and also in our survey of you[2].

So if you were one of those companies and you wanted to continue to recruit new customers, how else could you do it?  Where do pregnant and new moms go, both in person and online?

Untitled[3]Well, pregnant moms need clothes.  And many of them purchase maternity clothes at one of a few chain stores.  Let’s take a look at one of those.

Destination Maternity[4], which operates Motherhood Maternity[5] and A Pea in the Pod[6], is the world’s largest maternity apparel retailer[7] with over 1,700 retail locations in the U.S., Canada, India and the Middle East.

As of a few years ago Destination Maternity had 35% to 45% market share of the US maternity apparel business, and was poised to grow, according to one business analysis[8].  It also supplies maternity clothes to department stores, including Kohl’s, Sears, and Macy’s.

Destination Maternity also has a business partnership with Mead Johnson, makers of Enfamil.  This partnership is displayed on their website (see above image).

When mothers shop at Motherhood Maternity, they are encouraged to sign up for a “perks” program to “save up to $400″[9] through coupons, samples, and discounts from their preferred partners (if you sign up online you’d have to know to scroll down to see who thees partners are).  When mothers who sign up for this program their information shared with a formula company, and that’s how formula samples appear on their doorsteps.

An astonishing 70% of you[10] told us that you received formula gifts (including samples) in the mail when you hadn’t requested them.  And many of you told us that Motherhood is the only place where you shopped for maternity items.  One of you even entered a fake name to see if you’d receive samples addressed to that name, and you did!

This is one form of direct-to-consumer marketing of formula.  It comes in other forms, too, such as online advertising (Enfamil actually created a page heading which read “the breastmilk formula[11]” a few years ago), television ads with product placement tie-ins[12] on reality baby shows[13], and magazines[14].

All of these forms of marketing are violations of the World Health Organization’s Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes[15], which explicitly prohibits both direct-to-mother advertising of formula and marketing through providing samples.

Did you receive formula samples in the mail?  Do you think that the companies got your information from a maternity store?

* Not sure why those bags are harmful to breastfeeding?  Check out this post[16].

  1. research:
  2. our survey of you:
  3. [Image]:
  4. Destination Maternity:
  5. Motherhood Maternity:
  6. A Pea in the Pod:
  7. world’s largest maternity apparel retailer:
  8. business analysis:
  9. “perks” program to “save up to $400″:
  10. An astonishing 70% of you:
  11. the breastmilk formula:
  12. television ads with product placement tie-ins:
  13. on reality baby shows:
  14. magazines:
  15. World Health Organization’s Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes:
  16. this post:

Source URL:

Booby Traps Series: Exclusively pumping moms face unique Booby Traps

by Tanya Lieberman, IBCLC | November 20, 2013 10:07 am

ExclusivelyPumpingWe’re very pleased to share a guest post by Stephanie Casemore, author of Exclusively Pumping Breast Milk (just released in a second edition[1]) and Breastfeeding Take Two:  Successful Breastfeeding the Second Time Around[2].

I asked Stephanie to identify the Booby Traps that exclusive pumping moms face, the areas where good information and support are lacking, and for her best advice to moms trying to avoid these barriers.  Based on hearing from moms over many years, and from comments she received when she posed these questions to fans of her Exclusively Pumping Facebook page[3], she compiled this summary of the Booby Traps faced by exclusively pumping moms.

Booby Traps when making the decision to exclusively pump

The Booby Traps moms face when confronted with the decision to exclusively pump can most easily be divided into three different categories. There are Booby Traps that lead women to exclusively pump, Booby Traps that prevent women from exclusively pumping (which usually means the woman then chooses to feed formula), and there are Booby Traps that make exclusively pumping difficult or introduces unnecessary challenges for a mother.

Booby Traps that push women towards exclusively pumping center around the type of support given for breastfeeding difficulties. Being a new mom is hard, and when you add in the stress of breastfeeding challenges many women are bearing incredibly heavy loads. When women seek help and mention that they are thinking about exclusively pumping or simply struggling and needing to make a change, some women are told that they should just keep trying to breastfeed but there is not always support given to do so. Alternatives to pumping and bottle feeding, such as using cup or finger feeding or using a Supplemental Nursing System (SNS), are not always mentioned—options that might maintain the breastfeeding relationship. When women feel that they are at the end of what they can endure, and no practical assistance is offered, they often feel that their choices are limited.

The vast majority of women who exclusively pump wanted to breastfeed. Offering options and specific plans and strategies for initiating breastfeeding, and support for the emotional side of breastfeeding difficulties, can help a mother see a light at the end of the breastfeeding tunnel and can encourage them to persevere a bit longer, but if support comes only in the form of “keep trying” without a clear plan of how to “keep trying” it can be more difficult to continue on.

Booby Traps that prevent women from exclusively pumping

Booby Traps that prevent women from exclusively pumping abound and are often related to inaccurate information. The first and likely most common Booby Trap that prevents women from exclusively pumping is the simple fact that women are not told of exclusively pumping as an alternative to formula feeding. Whether this is in an attempt to encourage breastfeeding or a lack of awareness for the option of exclusively pumping, many women have no idea that long-term exclusive pumping is possible. How many women switch from breastfeeding to formula feeding—or simply feed formula from the start—without knowing that exclusively pumping is an alternative to formula?

Another common Booby Trap is the warning that maintaining a milk supply with a breast pump is impossible and supply will eventually dry up. This simply isn’t true. While it is important to understand how to initiate and maintain milk supply with a breast pump, there are many, many women who pump for six months, a year, or even longer who would clearly argue it is possible. Being told it can’t be done dissuades many from even trying and also prevents women from locating accurate information early on when they need it most.

Being told it is not possible to exclusively pump often is accompanied by the encouragement to “just feed formula.”  This pressure can come from family and friends, but it also comes from medical staff.  Often this encouragement to feed formula is well-meaning and is given due to concern for the mother’s ability to cope with the pressures she is facing, but it can also come from the belief that formula is “as good” as breast milk, or “my kids were formula fed and they’re healthy and smart!” And of course the converse of this are those who tell the mother to just keep breastfeeding without providing the necessary support to do so—both practical and emotional support, as mentioned previously.

There is a general failure to recognize the emotional toll breastfeeding difficulties take on a new mother and the increasing stress load placed on a mother who is trying to work to initiate breastfeeding, pumping to maintain supply, and then bottle feeding to supplement the baby who is not doing well at the breast. This is an overwhelming cycle to get caught in and mothers need to know there is an end in sight. Sometimes this means providing breastfeeding support and practical support for the mother, but sometimes this means offering alternatives; and exclusively pumping can be an alternative that will allow a mother to protect her milk supply and potentially return to breastfeeding if desired. When a mother’s emotional needs are not taken into consideration during breastfeeding challenges, it increases the risk that she will break under the pressure and formula feeding will be used as the alternative feeding method. Taking the time to get to know the mother and get a sense of how she is coping is important.

A final Booby Trap that often prevents mothers from exclusively pumping is the well-meaning person who says that exclusively pumping is too difficult and it’s better to just breastfeed or formula feed. There is no doubt that exclusively pumping is difficult, but it’s not impossible, and the rewards of exclusively pumping are many. Removing the option of exclusively pumping by making a judgement of its demands and rewards for the mother is unfair. Other alternatives may be easier, but there are very few women who exclusively pump who wish they had never made that choice.

Booby Traps that make exclusively pumping difficult

And then there are the Booby Traps that make exclusively pumping difficult. The first type of Booby Trap in this category relates to poor information or a lack of information. Bad advice abounds when it comes to exclusive pumping, from how many minutes a day or how many minutes per session to pump, to information on how to feed expressed breast milk and what kind of pump to use. Unfortunately, inaccurate information received early on can set up a mother for supply troubles down the road. Far too many women are forced to try to increase their supply two or three months postpartum because of poor advice received early on about exclusively pumping—or poor breastfeeding advice. Advice given to exclusively pumping moms often relates specifically to breastfeeding or formula feeding and doesn’t take the unique needs of an exclusively pumping mother into consideration.

The second type of Booby Trap in this category relates to support—or more accurately a lack of support. Poor support can come from family and friends, or even breastfeeding support workers and support groups. Some mothers who have had breastfeeding difficulties and have made the choice to exclusively pump feel abandoned by their breastfeeding supporters when they make the decision to pump and no longer work to establish breastfeeding. When a mother is no longer actively trying to establish breastfeeding, breastfeeding support workers can sometimes end the support relationship. Exclusively pumping is disconnected from breastfeeding, and yet it is not formula feeding. Mothers who make this choice are often left in limbo.

And this limbo can affect the emotions of an exclusively pumping mom. Mothers feel not only a lack of support when they attend breastfeeding or mom groups—they don’t really fit with any of the “common” feeding options—they can often feel judged. Women have been told they should “just breastfeed” as though that was an option they hadn’t thought of, told that expressed breast milk isn’t as good as direct breastfeeding, told that they are being selfish for pumping, or that they are taking too much time away from their babies by exclusively pumping and that they won’t bond with their child. It’s a no-win situation! Many exclusively pumping moms struggle with not only an overwhelming sense of loss when they are not able to have the breastfeeding relationship they had expected and hoped for, but also feelings of guilt for what they are not doing for their baby. This emotional burden can make exclusively pumping very difficult.

There is a lack of accurate information about exclusively pumping and a lack of support for exclusively pumping mothers. Women need to know that it is possible to exclusively pump long term, and they need to know how to initiate and maintain their milk supply with a breast pump. There must be recognition that exclusively pumping is different than breastfeeding and different than breastfeeding and pumping in combination in terms of initiating and maintaining supply. It is also critical that we begin to pay attention to the emotional aspects of breastfeeding and how early breastfeeding support needs to go beyond breastfeeding management and also include the emotional needs of a new mom. Support for exclusively pumping needs to be accessible and available so women aren’t left feeling alone and in limbo.

Advice for moms facing exclusive pumping Booby Traps

Advice for moms who are facing barriers to exclusively pumping? First and foremost, stick up for what you want. If breastfeeding is still your goal, push for support and don’t let those in a position to support you off the hook—demand the help you need. If exclusively pumping is the decision you’ve made, don’t let anyone tell you it isn’t possible. Look for information and support that recognizes the unique challenges of exclusively pumping and seek out those with experience helping women who are exclusively pumping. Seek out other women who are doing—or have done—what you’re doing. There is very little research about long-term exclusive pumping, but there is plenty of knowledge and lots of best practices as a result of women who are exclusively pumping. The science of lactation is the same for a breastfeeding and exclusively pumping mom, but the practice is different and you must find sources of information that recognize this.

Finally, talk about your experience with those in a position to change attitudes and share information with other moms. Doctors, nurses, midwives, lactation consultants, pharmacists: these professionals work day in and day out with other women just like you who need accurate, supportive information. By sharing your experience and letting people know that exclusively pumping is possible, you can help make it easier for other women and help to destroy some of the barriers currently in place. And of course share your knowledge and journey with other women. You can provide a source of support and information that will encourage another woman and help provide breast milk for another baby.

Have you exclusively pumped?   Did you face any of these Booby Traps along the way?  How did you overcome them, and what would you advise to other moms facing the same barriers?


  1. Exclusively Pumping Breast Milk (just released in a second edition:
  2. Breastfeeding Take Two:  Successful Breastfeeding the Second Time Around:
  3. Exclusively Pumping Facebook page:

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Booby Traps Series: Most nursing in public laws have no teeth

by Tanya Lieberman, IBCLC | November 14, 2013 3:17 pm

breastfeeding, breastfeeding in public, nursing in public, nursing in public laws, booby traps, best for babes foundationYour state law has protections for nursing in public.  That means that you shouldn’t have trouble using them, right?

Unfortunately, it’s not that simple.

A recent story told in the New York Times[1] provides a great example of a fundamental weakness in most state laws:

At the beginning of the summer, I visited a discount store on the fringe of Park Slope. C. C. and I looked at curtain rods while his younger brother nursed peacefully in the carrier … until all three of us were subjected to a barrage of abuse from a female security guard. I was told repeatedly and at top volume to cover myself. When I tried to calmly explain that the law was on my side, the guard retorted: “Don’t talk to me about the law. Next thing you gonna be taking off your clothes and walking around naked.”

This mother was right:  New York state law[2] establishes a mother’s right to breastfeed in public places such as this store.

But the security guard’s dismissive attitude toward the law was unfortunately probably reasonable.  Why?  Because she and her employer would face no consequences for their violation of the law.

While 45 states establish a mother’s right to breastfeed in public, “if,” as lawyer Jake Marcus points out[3], “a law has no enforcement provision, there is nothing you can do if the law is broken.”  And New York is one of the vast majority of states which have nursing in public laws which include no enforcement provision.  Jake explains further:[4]

That means that while a state may have a law that says a mother has a right to breastfeed in public, if someone harasses her while she does it, there is probably no legal action she can take against the harasser. Depending on the circumstances of a particular incident, there may be a lawsuit a lawyer can bring but, by and large, women can not afford lawyers, few lawyers will take breastfeeding cases pro bono, and there are few viable legal claims. In short, a breastfeeding law without an enforcement provision is of little to no value to breastfeeding women.

What does an enforcement provision look like?  Here’s the law in my state, Massachusetts[5]:

d) The attorney general may bring a civil action for equitable relief to restrain or prevent a violation of subsection (c).

(e) A civil action may be brought under this section by a mother subjected to a violation of subsection (c). In any such action, the court may: (i) award actual damages in an amount not to exceed $500; (ii) enter an order to restrain such unlawful conduct; and (iii) award reasonable attorney fees.

In addition to Massachusetts, New Jersey[6], Rhode Island[7], Vermont[8], Washington state[9], Washington, D.C.[10] and Connecticut[11] are among the states that have enforcement provisions.  But they represent a handful of the 45 states[12] which have nursing in public laws.  For most mothers, the law provides a right with no way to enforce it.

And some laws are even weaker.  South Dakota,[13] Michigan[14], and West Virginia[15], have laws stating only that breastfeeding in public is not indecent exposure, meaning that a woman cannot be charged criminally for breastfeeding in public.  These laws do not establish a right to breastfeed in public.  Idaho[16] doesn’t even have this provision.

State laws protecting nursing in public without an enforcement provision are certainly still useful.  They can act as a deterrent or persuade establishments to back off even when there is no legal consequence (especially when they aren’t aware of it).  And most businesses will to go great lengths to avoid an evening news report stating that they’ve broken the law.

But short of shame and bad publicity, there isn’t anything in most state laws to compel a business to comply.

To see if your state law includes an enforcement provision, see the Breastfeeding Law[17] site run by Jake Marcus.

Does your state’s law include an enforcement provision?  Have you had to raise your state law to exercise your right to breastfeed in public?  Have you experienced the limits of your state’s nursing in public laws? 

Image credit:  Wikimedia Commons[18]

  1. story told in the New York Times:
  2. New York state law:$$CVR79-E$$@TXCVR079-E+&LIST=LAW+&BROWSER=EXPLORER+&TOKEN=02655689+&TARGET=VIEW
  3. lawyer Jake Marcus points out:
  4. Jake explains further::
  5. the law in my state, Massachusetts:
  6. New Jersey:
  7. Rhode Island:
  8. Vermont:
  9. Washington state:
  10. Washington, D.C.:
  11. Connecticut:
  12. 45 states:
  13. South Dakota,:
  14. Michigan:
  15. West Virginia:
  16. Idaho:
  17. Breastfeeding Law:
  18. Wikimedia Commons:

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Booby Traps Series: Federal pumping law leaves out millions of moms

by Tanya Lieberman, IBCLC | November 7, 2013 3:18 pm

Businesswoman Holding a BabyIf you expect to be pumping at work and want to know your rights, there is good news and bad news.

The good news is that one of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare” requires[1] that, effective March, 2010, employers provide break time and a private non-bathroom place for nursing mothers to pump breastmilk during the workday, for one year after their child’s birth.  This was obviously a very welcome development for many moms.

The bad news is that the provisions of the law related to pumping were (reportedly unintentionally) added to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), limiting their effect to “hourly” employees, generally meaning employees who do not receive a salary.

This leaves out a lot of mothers.  An estimated 12 million moms[2], according to the U.S. Breastfeeding Committee.

This difference in rights, in the words of the U.S. Breastfeeding Committee[3], “was unintentional and is causing confusion for employers and employees alike.”  (For help determining whether you are covered, you can call the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division at 1-866-487-9243, and ask for the Fair Labor Standards Act Advisor.)

breastfeeding law[4] Fortunately some mothers not covered by the Affordable Care Act are covered by state laws[5].  Some states provide pumping rights that are as strong or stronger than federal law and cover more employees.  Mothers who live in those states have rights under whichever law is stronger.  But currently only about half of the states have workplace pumping laws[6], leaving moms in the other half who are not covered by the FLSA out of luck.

To rectify the inequity in federal law we’re encouraging support for the Supporting Working Moms Act[7], which would extend these pumping right to all employees.  To voice your support, use the U.S. Breastfeeding Committee’s site to ask your representative to become a co-sponsor of this legislation.[8]

Another question is whether or not there is a penalty of some kind for employers who do not comply.  An enforcement action a few years ago by the Department of Labor[9] would seem to indicate so, but there remain questions[10] about what kind of violation would result in a penalty, and what that penalty might be.  A new suit filed by the ACLU[11] on behalf of a Pennsylvania glass factory worker may provide some answers.

If you do feel that your employers is not complying with the law, we’d encourage mothers to contact the Department of Labor[12].

So, when it comes to workplace pumping law, there is good news and bad news.  We hope that we’ll have more good news to share soon.

For more detailed information about your breastfeeding rights, please see the website[13] by acclaimed national expert Jake A. Marcus, JD.  

Have you been able to use your rights under federal law?  Are you a salaried employee and not able to take advantage of them?  Did your employer provide the break time and space you needed?


  1. requires:
  2. 12 million moms:
  3. U.S. Breastfeeding Committee:
  4. [Image]:
  5. state laws:
  6. half of the states have workplace pumping laws:
  7. we’re encouraging support for the Supporting Working Moms Act:
  8. ask your representative to become a co-sponsor of this legislation.:
  9. enforcement action a few years ago by the Department of Labor:
  10. questions:
  11. suit filed by the ACLU:
  12. contact the Department of Labor:

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Booby Traps Series: “Las dos” and other cultural barriers to breastfeeding

by Tanya Lieberman, IBCLC | October 23, 2013 6:54 am

las dos 4A while back I wrote about cultural Booby Traps in the hospital[1], and offered my own embarrassing story of how, in trying to help a mom, I found myself creating a Booby Trap for a mom.

But the flip side of providers not knowing how to deal sensitively with moms’ cultural practices that don’t affect breastfeeding success, are some cultural practices that do undermine breastfeeding.  So in this post I’m discussing some of the cultural Booby Traps we inherit or absorb from our communities.

Some cultural practices moms follow are helpful when it comes to breastfeeding, some are harmless, and some are harmful, and it’s important to understand the difference.

Some helpful or harmless cultural practices are things like eating special foods.  Moms of Mexican heritage sometimes says they need to drink atole.  Some moms of Chinese background say that they need to balance “hot and cold” foods while breastfeeding.  These are all things that are either helpful or harmless.

You might think that moms would feel constrained by being told that they need to eat certain traditional foods, and that this would hinder breastfeeding.  But consider the example of this hospital[2], which discovered that for Cambodian American moms “one barrier to breastfeeding is a lack of hospital foods that allow women to follow a traditional diet postpartum.”  The childbirth unit and the food service department teamed up to offer a traditional Cambodian menu for moms, and the rate of breastfeeding increased from 17% to 67%.

These kinds of traditions are comforting and make us feel that things are “right.”  Think turkey at Thanksgiving, birthday cakes at birthday parties, even popcorn on movie night.


But when it comes to other practices which do undermine breastfeeding and exclusive breastfeeding, we sometimes find themselves Booby Trapped by our own cultures.  And in those instances providers do have a responsibility to discuss it and make sure moms understand the implications.

An example of a cultural practice which does undermine breastfeeding is “las dos” or “las dos cosas.”  “Las dos,” which means “both,” is an expression used by some Latina/Hispanic moms to describe feeding by both breastfeeding and formula.

This practice is significant enough that it shows up in national breastfeeding rates.  While Latinas initiate breastfeeding in numbers higher than the U.S. average (80% compared to about 75%), they also supplement more than the average (at two days, 33% compared to 25%).

There are a number of reasons why Latinas plan to do “las dos,” including some common to all moms (return to work or school, discomfort with nursing in public) and some which are more specific to the mothers’ culture[3], such as a high value placed on very chubby babies, the belief that breastmilk lacks vitamins, and the belief that negative emotions can spoil breastmilk.

But the problem with doing “las dos” is that it deprives the baby of the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding, and it creates problems with the mother’s milk supply.  Some mothers don’t understand[4] that supplementing can cause these problems.

That’s why in 2010 the Massachusetts Breastfeeding Coalition created a poster campaign [5]to address this issue, based on research and focus group discussions with Latina moms about “las dos.”  The posters explain that “las dos” can harm milk supply.  In one case it talks about “the secret” to keeping milk flowing (this was the way Latina moms we interviewed talked about it) is to “give only the breast.”  And one used humor to get the message across – a slogan actually coined by my husband[6]!

Another cultural Booby Traps is the “colostrum taboo- ” a belief that colostrum is bad, “stale,” or even evil.  This leads mothers to express and discard their colostrum and feel their babies formula until their mature milk comes in.

This is an ancient belief, and common to many cultures.  It was once prevalent in Ireland and the U.K[7]., and remains a belief in some African and Indian cultures (here is my favorite PSA[8] related to it, from India).  I saw this practice among Russian moms at a hospital where I worked.  Obviously, this practice means that the babies do not receive the immune-rich colostrum, are exposed to formula very early, and may impact the speed at which mothers’ mature milk comes in[9].

Let’s also acknowledge that cultural beliefs that undermine breastfeeding aren’t just held by recent immigrants.  Remember that in mainstream American notion that feeding on cue will “spoil the baby,” creating too much dependency.  The practice of scheduling feedings, formerly endorsed by pediatricians, is one cultural practice that has a significant effect on breastfeeding by hindering the development of moms’ milk supplies and reducing the amount of milk babies get.  This idea may be well on its way out, but it was prevalent for quite a while.  If you don’t ascribe to it yourself chances are your mom or grandmother did.

So there are many ways in which our cultural practices are helpful or harmless, and other ways in which they do us a disservice when it comes to breastfeeding.  It’s important to know the difference.

Did you follow a cultural practice that helped or hurt your breastfeeding experience?  Have you helped moms who followed these practices? 

  1. I wrote about cultural Booby Traps in the hospital:
  2. this hospital:
  3. some which are more specific to the mothers’ culture:
  4. don’t understand:
  5. Massachusetts Breastfeeding Coalition created a poster campaign :
  6. coined by my husband:
  7. once prevalent in Ireland and the U.K:
  8. my favorite PSA:
  9. impact the speed at which mothers’ mature milk comes in:

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“Cuz the Nipple is Dope” — Actress & Filmmaker Lena Dunham

by Bettina Forbes, CLC | October 16, 2013 6:59 pm

Breastfeeding has a new champion.   Actress and filmmaker Lena Dunham posted a picture of her nursing friend Sarah Sophie Flicker  on Instagram yesterday:

“My @sarahsophief[1] feeding the brand new Dusty. I made the flower crown and she added the flower censor. Wish she didn’t have to cuz the nipple is dope. Instagram, get down with the nipple.”

Both Dunham (creator and star of HBO series “Girls”[2]) and Flicker (The Citizen’s Band[3]) are apparently aware that Instagram, like Facebook[4], has had a problem with breastfeeding . . . or more accurately, a problem educating their staff on how to tell the difference between breastfeeding, which is normal, healthy, and accepted around the world; and nudity, and even pornography, which is considered more private or taboo in many cultures.

Read:  Facebook vs. Breastfeeding by Jodine Chase[5].

So thank you, Lena and Sarah, for using your influence and visibility to speak up for the need for acceptance of  girls using their girls, if you don’t mind the pun, to feed and nurture their babies, and to protect their and their babies’ health.   Thank you for the beautiful, serene photo which captures perfectly the miracle of breastfeeding.

Can we give these ladies @lenadunham and @sarahsophief some love on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to thank them?

lena dunham, nipple, sarah sophie flicker, breastfeeding[6]

@LenaDunham photo of @sarahsophief on Instagram

  1. @sarahsophief:
  2. HBO series “Girls”:
  3. The Citizen’s Band:
  4. Facebook:
  5. Read:  Facebook vs. Breastfeeding by Jodine Chase:
  6. [Image]:

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