Tag Archives: got milk

Why do mothers stop breastfeeding?

I make milk - superpowerLast week I joined a group of moms and their little ones for a morning of social gathering and playing. I didn’t know any of the moms and it happens that most were first-time moms with babies under the age of one.

For a couple of hours I got to hear stories I once told others regarding my little babies, who now are little men. The feeding on demand, the short and sleepless nights, the first rollover, the first solid food, the first crawl… Some of my babies’ past is becoming blurry. Sometimes I confuse which baby did what. But I also remember some moments in great detail, including the little suckling noises they made as I nursed them in the stillness of the night, their super cute smiles and giggles, their unique ways to crawl, their reactions to first foods, their first steps… It seems it all happened so long ago and yet, it’s just been a few years. Time really flies when you’re having fun. And even when it’s not all fun sometimes.

One of the inevitable new-mom subjects is breastfeeding. Here in California, where people are more obsessed concerned with their health, it seems most moms give it a try. California laws support breastfeeding, allowing it in all public places and requiring employers to provide a private place to pump (restroom stalls not included). Many moms I’ve talked to (working and not-working) have managed to nurse their babies for a year or more, just as I did.

I'm still breastfeeding T-shirtSo I was surprised to hear the mom of a seven-month-old baby tell another mom she had breastfed her baby since birth, but she stopped at six months, even though she was still producing milk. The most interesting thing is when the other mom asked her why she’d stopped, she didn’t have an answer. She said she just stopped. This left me perplexed.

Everyone who’s ever tried to breastfeed will tell you the first few months are the hardest. Baby and mom need to become acquainted and often taught how to nurse. Mom is exhausted, nursing on demand, and doesn’t get much of a break. After a few months though, the feedings space out and baby becomes a suckling pro. If a mom nurses for the first six months, she’s gone through the hardest part of it all.

So why would a mom who embraces breastfeeding for the first six months of her baby’s life suddenly decide to stop? This mom stays at home and doesn’t experience any pressures from outside work, has no older siblings taking her attention and breasts away from the baby, and still produces plenty of milk. Why make the switch to expensive and non-natural formula, deal with making bottles, and not want to maintain this special bond for a few more months?

I just don’t get it. If all is going well, why stop it? I can’t think of any good reason why. And clearly, this mom couldn’t either but still did it. Would someone please enlighten me?

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Why is breastfeeding not considered a medical necessity?

With the current US administration undertaking the reform of healthcare in this past year, including eliminating pre-existing condition clauses meant to deny coverage, you’d think the US would be making progress towards supporting breastfeeding too. Well, it seems that is not yet the case… Even though some laws have been passed to allow more women to breastfeed in public, get a dedicated place to pump at work and get some unpaid breaks to do so, there is still a long way to go. One big sign that our government doesn’t believe in the “higher powers” of breastmilk? A breastpump is still not tax deductible, whether it is a manual or an electric breast pump.

Most US companies offer flexible spending accounts to their employees, allowing them to pay for their medical expenses with pre-tax dollars. Doctor co-pays, prescription co-pays, hospital bills and most dental procedures are covered. Breastpumps? Nope. I see why the IRS would be worried of opening Pandora’s box if breastpumps were a tax-deductible purchase. Moms who can’t breastfeed or decide not to breastfeed would complain that infant formula is a medical necessity in their case and that it should also be tax deductible. I bet the infant formula manufacturers constantly lobby Congress to get it on the list! But the issue would then be to wonder, is manufactured formula the same as breastmilk, when most of us know that both foods are not, and just can’t be the equal.

Why should the IRS consider breastmilk a medical necessity, deemed worthy of a tax exemption? Because liquid gold has been shown in many studies to:

– reduce your baby’s risk to catch many illnesses, or prevent them from getting as sick
– be more gentle on your baby’s digestive system
– can prevent your baby from developing food allergies
– contain growth factors that ensure the best development of your baby’s organs
– may boost your child’s intelligence (who doesn’t like that reason?)
– may protect your child from obesity
– offers plenty of health benefits to mom too!

I previously made my own list of the 10 things people don’t tell you about breastfeeding, but the list above has a little more scientific value, in case you needed that!

Medela breast pump, Pump in Style

Breastmilk still provides the most complete and optimal mix of nutrients, fluids and calories only a human being can provide to another. And a breast pump will help a mom continue to breastfeed her baby even after she returns to work. Using a breast pump, a mom doesn’t have to make a hard choice between breastmilk or formula, working or staying at home. With most breast pumps ranging from $100 to almost $300, a tax break of 10 to 20% would be nice. I was lucky enough to get my Medela Pump in Style from a family member and I loved it, using it several times a day for over a year for each of my boys. However most insurance companies don’t cover the cost or subsidize the purchase of breastpumps. Again, they don’t consider it a medical necessity.

To all of the health insurance companies and the IRS, I’d like to ask: why is Viagra only requires a co-pay and is tax deductible (= medical necessity) but a breastpump isn’t??? My guess is that the IRS and the insurance companies are run by older men, instead of real moms. Sometimes, I really feel that our boobs are underappreciated for what they can really do. I hope one day I get to see a change in our corporate world and government, and for someone to stand up and acknowledge that “breastmilk feeds life”. Liquid gold it is!

What’s your personal take on this issue?

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Kellogg’s® Corn Pops, Honey Smacks, Froot Loops and Apple Jacks cereals – select packages recalled

Kellogg is issuing a voluntarily recall of 28 million boxes of select packages of Kellogg’s® Corn Pops®, Honey Smacks®, Froot Loops® and Apple Jacks® cereals because of an “uncharacteristic off-flavor and smell” coming from packaging. Consumers should not eat the recalled products because they do not meet quality standards. Kellogg has identified a substance in the package liners that can produce an uncharacteristic waxy-like off taste and smell and cause physical symptoms, including nausea and diarrhea. 

Kellogg's froot loops recalled

Here’s a list of recalled cereals with their UPC numbers, according to Kellogg’s web site:

Kellogg’s Apple Jacks

  • UPC 3800039136 1: 17 ounce package with Better if Used Before Dates between APR 10 2011 and JUN 22 2011
  • UPC 3800039132 3: 8.7 ounce packages with Better if Used Before Dates between JUN 03 2011 and JUN 22 2011

Kellogg’s Corn Pops

  • UPC 3800039109 5: 12.5 ounce packages with Better if Used Before Dates between MAR 26 2011 and JUN 22 2011
  • UPC 3800039111 8: 17.2 ounce packages with Better if Used Before Dates between MAR 26 2011 and JUN 22 2011
  • UPC 3800039116 3: 9.2 ounce packages with Better if Used Before Dates between APR 05 2011 and JUN 22 2011

Kellogg’s Froot Loops

  • UPC 3800039118 7: 12.2 ounce packages with Better if Used Before Dates between MAR 26 2011 and JUN 22 2011
  • UPC 3800039120 0: 17 ounce packages with Better if Used Before Dates between MAR 26 2011 and JUN 22 2011
  • UPC 3800039125 5: 8.7 ounce packages with Better if Used Before Dates between MAR 26 2011 and JUN 22 2011

Kellogg’s Honey Smacks

  • UPC 3800039103 3: 15.3 ounce packages with Better if Used Before Dates between MAR 26 2011 and JUN 22 2011

I just checked our two boxes of Froot Loops and they’re OK! Yeah, we have cereal for breakfast tomorrow!

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Every day I see a cow

Several years ago, while I was listening to a popular morning radio show here in San Diego, one of the hosts mentioned a surprising fact. He stated that every day, each and everyone of us sees a cow. I burst out in laughter! Are you kidding me? I thought, I live in San Diego, not Kansas! He went on to clarify that it may not be a real cow, but the image of a cow, anywhere around us, which would include billboards, magazine ads, TV, books, products, etc.

I considered “every day” to be an overstatement so I decided to do some fact-checking. Boy, was I in for a ride! That very evening, as I opened my fridge, there it was, not one, but two cows in there! One on the milk jug and one of the yogurt tub, both staring at me with their tender bovine eyes. As the days passed by, I started to wonder, could this really be true? Well, so far it really looks like it is…

I live in California and for those of you who don’t know, over the past several years, the state has been promoting CA dairy products. Yes, you guessed it, the stars of the TV, print and billboard ad campaigns, are cows. You can visit the Real California Milk website and see it for yourself. Oops, did you click on that link already? Hmm, I guess you’ve exceeded your quota of cow sightings for the day!

By browsing the site, I found out there are actually six breeds of dairy cows in California:
1. Black and white Holstein
2. Jersey
3. Brown Swiss
4. Guernsey
5. Ayrshire
6. Milking Shorthorn

Happy cow plushies

Happy cow plushies

Who knew milk came in that many flavors, even before adding chocolate or vanilla to it? I continued browsing the site and viewed their most recent ad campaign, as well as the Happy Cows TV commercials, including the audition reels. For the hard-core Real California Milk fans, there’s even an online store. I’m thinking of getting the happy cow plushies. My kids could make up their own cow dialogues (I’m guessing cow poop would come up pretty quickly in the conversation, since they seem to enjoy this body-secretion stage right now). However, if I purchased the black and white plushies, I’d end up seeing even more cows than I do right now, so maybe it’s not such a good idea…

Last fall, we turned off our TV cable service after we realized that we never turned on our TV (look for an upcoming blog entry on this one!). I then thought that my daily cow sightings would disappear. Boy, was I wrong! Even though we don’t watch TV  and the milk we buy now doesn’t feature a cow on its labels, I still seem to bump into the long eye-lashed bovines every day. Why? Simply because I have kids who read lots of books, and somehow many of them feature cows. Books on farms? Cows. Books on trains? Cows, staring at the trains go by. Books on oceans? Cows. Alright sea cows, also known as manatees. OK, I’m pushing it with this one, but you get the picture.

And there’s my local grocery store whose manager finds it hilarious to place a giant (yes, giant!) photo of a cow head on the wall right above the dairy department. OK, maybe I’m overreacting here and they’re just providing a simple visual clue to their customers to locate the milk, but still…

The other night, as I lay down in bed at almost midnight from a long, tiring day, I couldn’t remember if I saw a cow that day. That’s strange, I thought, as I grabbed a recent issue of Money magazine. I flipped through the pages when suddenly, there it stood, a huge cow in the middle of a full-page ad. Hmm, why didn’t I think of that, a “cash cow” in a Money magazine? I can’t believe I could be tricked so easily.

Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story

Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story

Recently, I started having daily sightings of another character. I have two words for you: Buzz Lightyear. Surprisingly, my kids don’t watch TV and have never seen Toy Story 1, or 2, or 3, but they sure know a lot about Woody and the gang! It all started a couple of months ago when my oldest son came back from preschool and started talking about Buzz Lightyear. I guess one of his little friends had brought a doll at school, and that was the catalyst for our new space adventures! This somehow coincided with the promotion launch  of the upcoming Toy Story 3 (playing very soon in a theater near you) and a revival of the movie’s characters in our favorite stores (particularly Target and Walmart). As curious parents, we’ve embraced our kids’ interest in the characters and we now are the proud owners of several plastic dolls, books and even matching Buzz Lightyear PJs (for the kids, not for us, I need to mention). As a marketer by trade, I’m flabbergasted by the power of store displays to influence purchasing decisions of both my kids and myself (who doesn’t want Buzz tattoos) and the abundance of supplies. As a parent, I love watching my two-year old son hold Buzz Lightyear in one hand, Woody in the other, and create his own story, which usually ends up with one character tackling down the other. I think Buzz usually wins…

So for now and at least for the next few months to come, I can say that every day, I will not only see a cow, but also Buzz Lightyear. Hopefully, not on top of the cow, not a pretty sight…

June 27, 2010 update: they have cows at SeaWorld too!

September 29, 2010 update: Every day I see a cow, the French edition

DECEMBER 31, 2010 UPDATE – The brand new “Every day I see a cow” blog is up and running, just in time to document daily cow sightings in 2011! Take a look and let me know what you think. “Every day I see a cow” is also on Facebook, so feel free to visit the page, like it, and share your own cow sightings with everyone. The more, the merrier!

Every day I see a cow on Facebook

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