Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Senator Mike Faulk Triumphs for Breastfeeding

Senate Bill 83 was signed by the Governor on April 21st. Mothers have the right to breastfeed their children in public without the threat of the state's indecency laws. This law takes effect July 1st.

I sincerely hope that this is one small step towards more mothers choosing to breastfeed their children. May we all return to the root of our existence and find the normalcy in doing as Mother Nature and God intended. In hopes to extinguish the wildfire of childhood obesity and diabetic storms thrashing through Tennessee, I implore more mothers to not hide behind closed doors for fear that someone may (gasp!) see them feeding their child.

Thank you to all my readers who have followed this journey with me and taken part in this change. Thank you Sen. Faulk and Rep. Brooks for taking the time to address an issue that may seem so unimportant in the scope of our world today to most leaders. Thank you to my husband who listened to me relentlessly every step of the way. Thank you Shelly for allowing me to join with you. Most of all, thank you Smarmy, Bean and Monster for molding me to the mother I am today,  I never would have imagined myself here today.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Tennessee State Breastfeeding Laws May Soon Change

In July 2010 I wrote a letter to every Senator/Representative in Tennessee. I implored them to change the law protecting breastfeeding mothers in Tennessee. Why? Several reasons for the change in the law, but why did I write the letter? First of all, after participating in the Carnival of NIP at NursingFreedom.org, I began to realize that legally I wasn't protected to nurse my 3 year old in public in TN.

I complained, of course, to my husband. He complained about several work related things to me, and frankly, we were just complaining too much. I was tired of complaining. If I was going to complain, at least I wanted to be able to say I did something about which I was complaining. Being a breastfeeding advocate, of course my first step was in that direction. Did I think anything would be accomplished? No, of course I didn't. Honestly, with the state of TN, I fully anticipated nothing to change and if anything I would be told how "abusive" I was just by breastfeeding my 3 year old.

Yes, that's a true story. A school-teacher (though not in TN, but in WV) was brass enough to accuse me of sexually abusing my child by breastfeeding. This shattered me, of course, being a child molestation survivor. I experienced emotions that I cannot begin to describe. I would never harm my children. Breastfeeding my children is the furthest thing from abusing them. I was saddened to know that this elementary grade teacher was not only the most influential figure in 20-30 children's lives everyday but possibly, in the poverty stricken  area she teaches, the only educated adult figure in some of their lives.

Again, instead of complaining, I wanted to do something. But what? What could someone as insignificant as I am do to change something so huge? Surely someone with no Master's Degree, someone of a meager upbringing, someone of so little, could not accomplish something so big.

So I did what I do best. I wrote a letter. I worked on that letter for a while and as I clicked the send button, I knew I would not receive a warm response, I just knew it. The first response I received nearly knocked my socks off. Here's what Sen. Faulk had to say:

Thank you, Lisa, for your informative e-mail. As I recall the discussion on this bill, there was no discussion of a longer period of time, shorter period of time, or any time constraint whatsoever.

By sending a copy of this e-mal to my administrative assistant, Deana Guenther, I am asking her to forward your e-mail to the State Commissioner of Health for comment.

Once I've heard from the Commissioner, I'm certainly willing to consider an amendment to this law to extend the period of time breastfeeding is protected.

Sincerely,
Mike Faulk 


I was giddy with receiving, not only a response, but a positive one! Then the other shoe dropped and I received a response from Rep. Ramsey that wasn't positive or negative, but wish washy. Another reply, this time from Rep. Ben West, but alas, he says he's retiring and unable to further *my* ideas. 


Months go by and I hear nothing. Nada. Zip. In the meantime, I am directed to another TN mother who is campaigning for the same thing I am and we join forces; shes' in the capital and more in-the-know about the legal proceedings and the progress behind the scenes.

She finds out that Sen. Faulk has drawn up a bill. That bill soon has a companion bill in the House. I am more than happy, I am downright ecstatic to hear this news. Sen. Faulk is kind enough to contact me to let me know that he has had an overwhelmingly positive response to the bill and he believes the bill will indeed pass. He also mentions that he will be bringing the bill before the Senate-General Welfare, Health and Human Resources Committee and that the proceeding can be viewed online. I wait, on pins and needles.

SB0083 was heard before the General Welfare, Health and Human Resources Committee. While the companion bill in the House passed quite easily and relatively fast, the Senate Bill provoked much discussion.

You can view the video here
It gets very interesting when Senators Stacey Campfield, Ophelia Ford and Randy McNally begin discussing breastfeeding older children.

Senator Campfield suggests we cap the age at 3 years as no one really wants to be disturbed (as Sen. Ford says) by breastfeeding an older child. I was very happy with Sen. Faulk's response.

Anyone who has any qualms about how much skin a breastfeeding mother shows, can see that even breastfeeding a 36 lb almost 3 year old can be discreet. If I were sitting next to you, breastfeeding him, you would never know, unless, of course, you stared.
In June of last year when I first contacted the entire House and Senate, I was quite disappointed with the responses. Sen. Faulk went above and beyond in his duties and I am proud to say that he will have mine and many fellowing breastfeeding mothers continued support. This bill will save money, save lives and cost virtually nothing. As you can see in my photo, breastfeeding an almost 3 year old is not "gross" or "disturbing". There's absolutely nothing sexual about it and has nothing to do with "my" enjoyment. I'm assuming that anyone who believes that has no children or has never attempted to breastfeed. Breastfeeding, at times, can be equivalent of holding a kitten to my chest and proceeding to allow it to claw me continuously. Sound fun? Not really. When toddler-hood strikes, the twiddling that comes natural to most children can be hair raising. Having my own Cirque du Soleil show each night while attached to a body part is not my idea of "fun" or "sexual". Breastfeeding my children gives me enjoyment in only the aspect that I know I am giving them nourishment and protection that they cannot receive anywhere else. Formula cannot and will never compare to the live antibodies naturally present in a mother's milk. My children will have a dramatically lower risk of childhood obesity, my daughters and myself have reduced our risk of female cancers    

In the end, it does pass on to the General Senate with 7-1 Stacey Campfield abstaining. 

It passes through the Senate with 32 ayes and none against. The House bill is on the calendar for March 31st, so if you haven't written your Representative, NOW is the time to do so! 

Friday, January 21, 2011

Support TN Bill to Remove Age Limitation on Protection of Breastfeeding Rights

This post is also featured on NursingFreedom.org

I first researched Tennessee's breastfeeding laws during NursingFreedom.org's 2010 Carnival of Nursing in Public. I'm not a Tennessee Native, so I had never given it much thought until NursingFreedom.org encouraged mama's to learn about their states' law, and to carry the law with them for protection (assuming the law protects breastfeeding pairs). 
Upon reading the laws for my state, I realized that since my son was nearly 3 years old, we would not be protected from indecency laws if we needed to nurse while in public. I had many emotions, but the one that stands out the most was sadness. I was deeply saddened that the state I lived in thought it only necessary to protect mothers who were nursing babies younger than 12 months. How would this affect a mother who wasn't entirely comfortable nursing to begin with? Would this law affect her decision to nurse beyond one year, or worse, to nurse at all? 
I'm a huge fan of "Be the change you want to see." Instead of being astonished and leaving it at that, I decided to take action. I began an internet search for history on this particular law and came up with scarce results.  My next step was to compose a letter to my representatives You can read that letter here
I didn't have high hopes. I never anticipated a single return email. I never expected other moms in my state to respond and write their own letters. The response was overwhelming. I can only imagine what  the Senators and Representatives thought the next morning when they checked their email. 
My imagined morning email check from an unnamed Legislator:

"Diane, what are all these emails about breasts in my inbox?"
"Sir, did you say breasts?"
"Yes, I did. I have 5,698 emails all about breastfeeding. Can you email them all back for me?"
{Pause}
"What should I say?"
"Tell  them something, anything, just be nice. I don't want to be squirted in the eye."

Ok, that may have been a bit extreme, but I tend to over-analyze sometimes!
I received a few responses, surprisingly enough, ranging from "I'm retiring," to "no change needed," and finally "let's take some action." I was certain the latter email was a bluff. 

You can read about Rep. Ramsey's response regarding no incidents mean no change is needed here

Sen. Mike Faulk returned my initial email the very next morning. He said: 

Thank you, Lisa, for your informative e-mail. As I recall the discussion on this bill, there was no discussion of a longer period of time, shorter period of time, or any time constraint whatsoever.
By sending a copy of this e-mail to my administrative assistant, Deana Guenther, I am asking her to forward your e-mail to the State Commissioner of Health for comment.
Once I've heard from the Commissioner, I'm certainly willing to consider an amendment to this law to extend the period of time breastfeeding is protected.
Sincerely,
Mike Faulk

This was the email I was sure was a bluff. All smoke and no fire. I was very wrong. 
I recently had a nice surprise in my email from another mom I had joined forces with earlier. Her boss alerted her to a proposed bill in the Senate that removes the age limitation in the law permitting mothers to breastfeed in public children who are age 12 months or younger. You can view and track the bill here.  
I admit, when I saw the bill, a little rush of excitement, and a huge Oh My Gosh moment washed over me. How exciting to be even slightly involved! But then I realized, the hard part has only begun. 
Now we have to rally our efforts and call and write even more than before so this bill will also be introduced into the House, and then it can be voted on. Then, and only then, will we make a difference. 
Even as I write this I know my time nursing is soon coming to an end. My son is now 3.5 years old and only nurses once a day. I will not give up, even if he weans before this is over. It may not affect me, but it could affect my children's children. If not them, this law could discourage another mother from giving her baby the best start possible in life. It's for those babies, for those mothers, that the law matters the most
Now, we need your help more than ever. Call and write your Legislator. Let her/him know that you are in favor of this bill! 
You don't know who to call? No problem! Follow this link to find your Legislator and their contact information. The more interest in the bill, the more likely it will become part of the law. 
Not from Tennessee? It doesn't matter - if you ever visit Tennessee or are planning a visit to Tennessee, we still want you to call or write. You can find a list of all TN Senators at this link.

When you call your Senator, you can say something as simple as this: "Please protect all breastfeeding pairs by voting for Senate Bill 0083. We need to remove the unfounded age restriction!"


When you write your Senator, here is a simple letter you can add to and edit:



Dear < insert name>,

I am writing to ask that you please show support of Senate Bill 0083, so that it may pass and be signed into law. With an abundance of research in favor of breastfeeding beyond the 12 month mark, we, as a state, need this bill to encourage mothers to continue breastfeeding as suggested by the World Health Organization. May we begin to reduce our state's obesity rate by aiding mothers to give their babies the very best start in life, and protect them while doing so. 

Thank you for your time and effort into this matter. 

Sincerely,

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Senate Bill #83 Proposes to Remove the Age Restriction

Almost 6 months exactly from my first letter to my legislators regarding the Breastfeeding Laws in Tennessee, I was delighted to see that a bill was introduced in the Senate to have the wording in the law changed. Senate bill #83 was introduced by Senator M. Faulk to have the 12 months age restriction removed from TN's Breastfeeding Law regarding Nursing In Public.


My first letter to our Legislators can be found here. I received a reply from Sen. Faulk the very same day. Here's what he had to say:


Thank you, Lisa, for your informative e-mail. As I recall the discussion on this bill, there was no discussion of a longer period of time, shorter period of time, or any time constraint whatsoever.

By sending a copy of this e-mal to my administrative assistant, Deana Guenther, I am asking her to forward your e-mail to the State Commissioner of Health for comment.

Once I've heard from the Commissioner, I'm certainly willing to consider an amendment to this law to extend the period of time breastfeeding is protected.

Sincerely,

Mike Faulk



Now, we need your help more than ever. Call and write your Legislator. Let her/him know that you are in favor of this bill! 


You don't know who to call? No problem! Follow this link to find your Legislator and their contact information. The more interest in the bill, the more likely it will become part of the law. 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

All The Problems In Life Can Be Solved

Walking through life I've found you can pretty much solve everything with two simple things.
If you need it to stop, use Duck Tape. If you need it to go, use WD-40.


That is, until I lactated. At first, I was a little timid about it. The liquid essence was meant only for my baby and that was it. I soon discovered that it was meant for much much more.

Have you ever tried to suction a baby's nose when there's a humongous booger hanging out way up there? It's not easy, let me tell you. There's saline, but from personal experience, it stinks, literally. It was by happy accident that I sprayed her in the nose and the slime evacuated much easier. Hmm, there must be something to this breastmilk stuff.

Cough? Eh, breastmilk will fix it (yes, on the hubby/aunt/sister/brother/cousin/unsuspecting stranger as well)

Diarrhea? Breastmilk can fix that too.

Acne? Yep, you guessed it. Breastmilk to the rescue once again.

Pink eye going around in your kid's class? A couple squirts a day will fix your kidlet right up.

Eye or Ear infection? No need for those cold yucky drops, just a couple squirts a day at just the right temperature will fix that too.

Need something lubricated? Breastmilk sure smells a lot better than WD-40 (and cheaper than KY)!

Woke up with a crusty eye? Breastmilk can rid you of that as well.

Need a quick facial? How about silky smooth hair? A quick scrub with breastmilk will have you good to go.

Want soap with all natural ingredients? Make breastmilk soap!

Play outside all day and forget the insect repellent? No fear, squirt some milk on those annoyingly itchy red spots and rub it on. Begone with the itchies!

Need to clean a contact lens that popped out? No solution with you? Gasp! Use your milk! It's FREE!

Buy a gorgeous vintage pair of earrings at a thrift store and just dying to wear them RIGHT NOW? Don't fret! Use your milk to clean away any lingering germs from the previous user.

A little person fall and get hurt? Does he need more than just a kiss to make it better? Snuggle him close and offer him your breast. As he latches on look into his eyes, kiss his forehead and let him know that everything will be alright. You'll see the love in his eyes, the trust, the healing come over him and you'll know that you are doing absolutely the most wonderful thing you could for him at that moment. He'll thank you for it and you'll have those moments cemented in your memory when one day he no longer fits on your lap or no longer needs those kisses to make everything better. Those moments will be the ones that leave just a small slither of your heart intact when he must find his own way in his own life. You'll never forget those moments when Mommy made everything better with just a kiss, hug and sip. They'll be gone, but you'll always remember. Always.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Leaky Boob Exclusive!




It's World Breastfeeding Week!

I will be participating the The Leaky B@@b's Blog Carnival for World Breastfeeding Week. Be sure to check her blog to read about Breastfeeding from Every Angle!

This is an exclusive design tributed to The Leaky B@@b!

You can download here

Why Yes, I Am Royalty



It's World Breastfeeding Week!

I will be participating the The Leaky B@@b's Blog Carnival for World Breastfeeding Week. Be sure to check her blog to read about Breastfeeding from Every Angle!

I thought we'd end the week with something special!
Most every girl, at one time or another, wants to be a princess. Now that I'm playing grown-up, I have declared myself a Queen -- and so are you!


NOTE: I have not tested these designs! Please use scrap to test them first and if any problems arise, please let me know so I can adjust the design. Thanks!

I have included .pes, .jef, and .hus. If you need a different extension, please let me know and if I can adapt it for you, I will be more than happy to do so.


Download Here

For file extension *.dst, you can download it here.