Monday, August 8, 2011

The Big Latch On 2011

          On Saturday, August 6th, 2011, at 10:30 am local time, breastfeeding moms gathered in locations all across the world for The Big Latch On, a synchronized breastfeeding event aimed at showing the general public that public nursing is normal. Moms and babies attempted to stay latched on for 60 seconds in order to try to beat a world record for the most moms nursing at one time. The previous record was 15,128 nursing mothers at 295 locations across The Phillipines in 2007.  The Big Latch On originated in New Zealand a few years ago and was brought to the United States by Joanne Edwards. Joanne, who is originally from New Zealand, organized a synchronized breastfeeding event in Portland, Oregon last year. She was also one of the organizers for this year's event alongside Annie Brown, a La Leche League Leader. According to Joanne, there was a provisional total of 4,123 women nursing their babies in 294 locations across the globe. This included the United States, Puerto Rico, the United Kingdom, Italy, and Australia.  Although the world record was not broken, the event served its purpose in uniting women across the United States and beyond in an effort to promote the benefits of breastfeeding and normalize breastfeeding in public.

          I attended The Big Latch On event at MochiBerri Frozen Yogurt at the Shoppes at Wiregrass in Wesley Chapel, Florida.  The event was organized by Katrina Lang and sponsored by Joyce Hepscher of Stroller Strides in New Tampa. Mochiberri Frozen Yogurt was kind enough to allow us to use their venue free of charge and offered participants and supporters drinks for $1 during the event. MedExpress donated gift bags for the participants and there were also gift bags prepared by the organizers. Skinny Water and LifeSource Wellness Centers donated items for these bags. There were items raffled at the end of the event which were donated by various community sponsors. Basic Black Collection at the Shoppes at Wiregrass donated a handbag and FitNich, also at Wiregrass donated a sports bra. Happy Baby baby food donated their Happy Baby book as well as coupons and The Crunchy boutique in New Port Richey donated Rockin Green Detergent. A Mary Kay consultant also donated items for the raffle. Plum Organics puffs and Mish Mash were also given out. At the end of the event, each mom received pink carnations for participating. Kathy's flowers in New Tampa donated half of these carnations. Thank you to all of our wonderful sponsors and organizers for making the event possible!

          The final count for my location was 42 nursing mom and baby pairs and 18 dads and others who attended the event for support. Among the attendees were a lactation consultant from St. Joseph's Women's Hospital who attended to give advice and spread the word, and a representative from the Pasco County Health Department who photographed the event.I had a wonderful time at the event and was glad to see so many breastfeeding mothers come together for a lactivism event. It was even greater to see that quite a few dads attended as well to support their wives and babies. The event itself was very well organized and we had a great turn out considering that it was put together in only 9 days and there was not much time to spread the word. We are expecting an even greater turn out next year.

Daniel and I latched on
          In nearby Largo, FL another event was organized by Magen Gilbreath and coincided with the Tampa Bay Birth Network's Family Fun Day. They ended up with 47 nursing moms, 27 of which were latched on for the full minute. Two of these moms were tandem nursing two children each. They had a total of about 155 attendees at the event, including 2 photographers who donated free family portraits.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Nursing "IS" Normal Project

          As nursing moms, one of the biggest struggles we face is nursing in public. From feeling self conscious and getting glared at by strangers to people saying that we need to go to the bathroom to nurse or that nursing in public is like having sex in public, nursing moms have it really hard when it comes to feeding their babies in public locations. This can often lead moms to feel like they have to be confined to their homes. Many moms even give up breastfeeding prematurely so that they can go out and be accepted in public. I personally am very conservative and did not have much exposure  to breastfeeding growing up so, naturally, I felt very self conscious nursing outside my home. So in the newborn days when Daniel would not stop nursing, I stayed home as much as possible and, consequently, became depressed. I am now making a conscious effort to breastfeed in public more and to support other mothers that do.

         While doing some research online, I came across the Nursing "IS" Normal project and decided to highlight it here in honor of World Breastfeeding Week and National Breastfeeding Month. The project was spearheaded by Kathy O'Brien, a birth doula and HypnoBabies instructor in Fort Worth, Texas. She took photographs of volunteer moms in her area breastfeeding their babies in public locations around town. The goal of the project was to show people that nursing is normal in the hopes that one day people will be so used to seeing it that it will no longer stand out or seem strange. Kathy also hopes to empower women everywhere to feel comfortable breastfeeding in public and not feel like they have to be confined to their homes. The photographs were exhibited at The Art of Birth in fort Worth.Here is a slide show of some of the pictures from part two of Kathy's project:

          But the project didn't end there. Kathy went on to do a part two and even three of her project and the project caught on throughout the nation. In Brattleboro, Vermont, parents Zachary and Michelle Stephens hosted their own Nursing "IS" Normal project. The photographs were showcased in an Art of Breastfeeding show sponsored by the Windham County Breastfeeding Coalition in collaboration with the Arts Council of Windham County. Here is a slide show of the photographs:

          In Madison, Wisconsin, Lea Wolf, co-founder of Happy Bambino, Madison's all in one resource for pregnancy, birth, babies and breastfeeding, photographed the nursing moms. Alison Dodge, the other co-founder of Happy Bambino, was the administrator. Here are some of their photographs:

          In Charlotte, North Carolina, the photographers were Juliet Simpson and Laura Sing, with guest photography by Nathaniel Meyer and Kaylie Plummer. Here are some of their photos:

          None of the people involved in these projects received any compensation and there were no profits made from these videos. Everyone involved simply has a passion for breastfeeding, a desire to see nursing in public become the norm, and a heart to help new moms feel comfortable breastfeeding their children anytime, anywhere. The slide shows are beautiful and highlight how natural breastfeeding really is. Hopefully the project will continue to spread and our generation will truly get to see nursing for what it really is, the most natural way to feed our babies!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Inspired by Finn Teething Anklet Review and Discount Code

          If you're like most parents, you dread the moment your baby starts teething: the pain, fussiness, and general uneasiness. You'd do anything to relieve your baby's discomfort and see him or her smile again. There are many teething medicines on the market but with so many recalls and dangerous ingredients even among some of the natural remedies, what's a parent to do? There is hope! Enter Baltic amber teething jewelry.

          The Baltic region contains 80% of the world's amber and Baltic amber is the most prized amber in the world. Baltic amber is the fossilized resin from pine trees that grew in the Baltic region about 45 million years ago. Amber is a warm to the touch gem and, when worn against the warmth of your skin, it releases healing oils. These oils contain succinic acid. Baltic amber contains a higher amount of succinic acid than any other amber in the world and that is why it is so highly prized. Succinic acid is a natural analgesic (pain reliever) and also has anti-inflammatory properties and has been used in Europe as a natural teething remedy for centuries. Baltic amber can also be used by adults and also helps with strengthening the immune system, restoring energy,maintaining wellness, and reducing chronic inflammation. Baltic amber can also be used to help with anxiety, depression, relieve stress and help maintain emotional health.

          Traditionally, babies wear amber teething necklaces around their neck for teething. However, Daniel is really curious and just has to touch everything so my husband and I were really worried about putting a necklace on him and were glad to find that an anklet can be a good alternative. There are many people out there selling fake amber so I must tell you what happened to us. We went to a festival and there was a man who was selling loose amber beads, amber chunks with inclusions, and a few necklaces. He recommended that we buy 12 polished beads at $2 each to make Daniel an anklet and even threw in some stretchy string for free. Daniel had seemed really uncomfortable with serious teething symptoms so we were really excited and did as he said. When I tried to make the anklet, I realized I did not have enough beads, the stretchy cord would not work and I had no idea what I was doing so I did some research online. I found that we paid way too much for the beads and I could have gotten a necklace or anklet for that price or even cheaper. I also came across a few posts on how to tell if the amber is real or fake and found that my beads were fake! I was very angry but the festival was over and nothing could be done.

          Then a friend recommended Inspired by Finn. She said they were a trustworthy company and she has one of the necklaces for her son. I did my research and found that they offer a 9 1/2" adjustable raw amber anklet as an alternative to a necklace and we decided to buy that. I contacted Inspired by Finn and they offered me a generous discount and I ordered the anklet. The customer service was excellent. I emailed them late one night and had a response early the next morning. Everyone was very friendly. I ordered my anklet and received it within 2 days even though the website said it would take 3-5 days with first class mail.

          I was very pleased with the quality of the anklet. There is a double knot in between each bead so if the anklet breaks, beads will not scatter everywhere and it has an adjustable clasp which means one size fits most and Daniel might never outgrow his anklet! The anklet is made of raw amber beads which have not been polished or shaped in any way and I was worried it would be ugly but it is very nice looking for a boy. Raw amber contains the most succinic acid and on the Inspired by Finn website it says they have done some studies that show a full 9 1/2" of raw amber as an anklet is a good alternative to the necklace although it might not work just as well. I did my tests and found that the amber is authentic. Daniel doesn't mess with the anklet too much since he's usually crawling around and not playing with his feet. The website recommends wearing socks over the anklet to keep it warmer and I will try to do that when we are at home in the air conditioner but now when we go out as it is very hot here in Florida right now. The anklet has not been irritating to his sensitive skin at all. Unfortunately, Daniel has no teeth and is not showing any teething discomfort at the moment so I cannot say whether or not the anklet works so I will have to write a "part two" to this post when his first tooth appears.

           A few tests to determine whether your amber is real are: Put it in a bowl of 1 part salt to two parts water. Real amber floats in salt water. However, my fake amber passed this test. rub it in between your hands. Real amber becomes really warm when you do this but this test is highly subjective. Wet a cotton swab with nail polish remover and swab a bead with it. Real amber will not be affected but fake amber will melt. This is what happened with my fake amber beads. My Inspired by Finn anklet survived this test of authenticity.

          Inspired by Finn teething necklaces start  at $20.95 depending on size and style and the anklet is $26.95. They also have adult amber jewelry as well as child and adult hazel wood jewelry. Inspired by Finn has been generous enough to offer all of my readers 25% off any purchase! With such a great offer and all of the benefits of natural Baltic amber, why not try one today? Visit Inspired by Finn and use code "Taisha" at checkout to get your discount. Once 15 items have been purchased, I will be hosting a giveaway here and the winner will receive a free item of their choice. Please leave a comment here letting me know how many items you purchased so I can keep track for the giveaway. I will be checking back with you soon for "part two" of this post and the giveaway!

Picture of anklet from inspired by Finn website
Daniel wearing his anklet

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Happy National Breastfeeding Month and World Breastfeeding Week!

          Did you know that the month of August is designated as National Breastfeeding Month? The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office on Women's Health hosts this breastfeeding awareness campaign to promote breastfeeding to first time parents who would not otherwise breastfeed their babies. The campaign raises awareness of the benefits of breastfeeding as well as how to overcome early breastfeeding issues with the goal of raising the number of moms who continue to breastfeed to at least 6 months of age.

          In honor of National Breastfeeding Month, partnered with celebrity moms such as Constance Marie, Lisa Loeb, and Kelly Rutherford, to create this video highlighting the benefits of breastfeeding:

          This week, August 1-7, is also designated as World Breastfeeding Week. World Breastfeeding Week is sponsored by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action and has been celebrated every year throughout the world since 1991. Many breastfeeding awareness events such as walks, fundraisers, family fun days, picnics, etc. take place this week throughout the world in order to raise awareness of the benefits of breastfeeding and where to get breastfeeding help.

          This year, in honor of World Breastfeeding Week, on Saturday, August 6th, 2011, at 10:30 am local time, moms and babies all over the world will be getting together for The Big Latch On to try to break the record for the most women breastfeeding at the same time. Babies must be latched on for one whole minute, from 10:30 to 10:31 am local time in order to count towards the total. Many of the locations are having goodies, raffles, giveaways, and other family fun events simultaneously.

         To celebrate National Breastfeeding Month and World Breastfeeding Week, I will be posting as much information about breastfeeding as I can on here and on the Diary of a Natural Mom Facebook page as well as on my personal Facebook page. I will also make it a point to talk about breastfeeding with everyone I know and......... {BIG SHOCK HERE}........ I will make more efforts to breastfeed in public (GASP!!)!! Dan, Daniel, and I plan to attend and participate in The Big Latch On in Tampa and I will be reporting back to you and posting pictures from the event. Hopefully my little wiggle worm will cooperate and latch on for the entire minute without being distracted! What are you doing to promote breastfeeding? How many of you are attending The Big Latch On in your area?