Saturday, July 31, 2010

Rep Ramsey says No Incident = No Change Needed?

Recently I received a reply to my letter writing campaign from Rep. Bob Ramsey (R). Here is what he had to say:
Legal did some checking on this. The statute was enacted in 2006 by HB 3582 by Lois DeBerry. It passed overwhelmingly, no amendments, no hang-ups. They talked with Judy Narramore since the bill went through Health. She doesn't recall any rationale for making it up to 12 months, other than that is when typically people stop breastfeeding. I don't see any reason why it would be a problem to remove the age restriction. I highly doubt that this is even a problem for any mother out there who is still breastfeeding after 12 months. If there are any incidents needing consideration, please contact your Legislative office and we will address it again. Thanks

I thought that deserved a reply of its own, so here's what I wrote. Feel free to write him and let him know how you feel!

Dear Mr. Ramsey,
I appreciate your time and effort into this matter. With recent news from neighboring states of mothers being harassed for breastfeeding their children in public areas, I would love to see the "12 months and younger" phrase removed from the statute.

With childhood obesity rampant in Tennessee, the first step we can to aid in healthier nutrition for our next generation. Breastfeeding can significantly lower the risk of life-long obesity.
With Tennessee ranking much lower than the national average on breastfeeding, we should encourage more mothers to do so. If a mother is faltering on the decision whether to follow her instincts and feed her baby the best way or wean, we, as a society, should promote breastfeeding, not put such a young age limit on it.

As part of the medical community, I know you are aware the health benefits for mother and child are numerous. I'm sure most people will agree that is not the issue.

This is a problem for me. I know several other mothers who also feel it is a problem. The age restriction is out-dated, and is refuted by the American Association of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization, both of which recommend breastfeeding until at least 2 years of age and as long thereafter as both mother and child are comfortable. By 12 months of age, it's true that most children will no longer require to breastfeed as often as an infant, but their need to nurse is just as important as a baby 12 months old and younger.

August 1-7th is World Breastfeeding Week. This would be a fantastic time to revist this statue and eliminate the age stipulation as it is no longer the norm. A bare minimum of 2 years is recommended by health officials. The American Academy of Family Physicians 2008 Position Paper on breastfeeding states that “breastfeeding at least until the second year of a child’s life is not considered ‘extended’ breastfeeding. Rather, breastfeeding until the bare minimum age of 2 years is the norm and anything less brings about detrimental consequences. With the current law, a mother may be compelled to wean prematurely, purely out of fear of consequences, thus having a detrimental affect on her child.

Please work with your constituents to normalize breastfeeding in our society so that our children and their children will not be faced by these issues.

Again, I thank you for your time and effort into this. I truly appreciate your hard work on my, and my children's, behalf.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Box Stitch Hat Free Girls Crochet Pattern

This pattern needs testers!

Special Stitches:

Box Stitch: Yo, insert hook into ch/sp, yo, pull up a loop, yo, insert hook into next ch/sp, yo, pull up a loop, yo, pull through all five loops on hook.

Increase Box Stitch: Yo, insert hook into ch/sp, yo, pull up a loop, yo, insert hook into same ch/sp, yo, pull up a loop, yo, pull through all five loops on hook.

I used a J hook and worsted weight yarn to obtain a small child (age 2-5) hat.

Ch. 4, sl st into first ch to form a ring.
Rnd 1: *Sc in ring, Ch1. Repeat from * 3 times
Rnd 2: Ch 2, *[(yo, insert hook into ch-sp, yo, pull up a loop, yo, insert hook into next ch-sp, yo, pull up a loop, yo, pull through all five loops on hook) chain 1, (yo, insert hook into same ch-sp as last stitch, yo, pull up a loop, yo, pull through all five loops on hook.)] Repeat from * around. Join with sl st to first box stitch.
Rnd 3: Ch 2 *[(yo, insert hook into first ch-sp, yo, pull up a loop, yo, insert hook into next ch-sp, yo, pull up a loop, yo, pull through all five loops on hook) ch 1, (yo, insert hook into same ch- sp as last stitch, yo, pull up a loop, yo, pull through all five loops on hook.)] Repeat from * around. Join with sl st to first box stitch.
Rnd 4: Ch 2, *box stitch in first two ch-spaces, increase box stitch in next ch-sp. Repeat from * around. Join with sl st to first box stitch.
Rnd 5: Ch 2, *box stitch in first three ch-spaces, increase box stitch in next ch-sp. Repeat from * around. Join with sl st to first box stitch.
Rnd 6: Ch 2, Box stitch 9 times, increase box stitch 1 time, box stitch 10 times, increase box stitch one time, box stitch 9 times, increase box stitch 1 time, box stitch 2 times. Join with sl st to first box stitch.
Rnd 7: Ch. 2 Box stitch around. Join with sl st to first box stitch.
Rnd 8-? Repeat Rnd 7 unstil hat is desired length. Leave about 1/2" for edging. Do not fasten off.


Sl st into same st as joining. *Sc, dc, sc in ch 1 sp, sl st in box stitch. Repeat from * around. Join with sl st to first sl st. Fasten Off.

Weave in loose ends.

©Lisa Crigger 2008. If you post pictures of this hat online, please be kind enough to link back to my site. This pattern is for your personal use ONLY.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Komen and Planned Parenthood Boobtastic or Boobawful?

Recently I saw a post on Facebook about the Komen foundation donating money to Planned Parenthood. My initial reaction was "No way!". Then I did an internet search and was very surprised at what I found.

Breastfeeding was only briefly mentioned on the Komen page, with a mere two paragraphs. I find this disturbing because I feel that an organization whose focus is on the anatomy in question should promote breastfeeding at least a little more than this. With recent studies showing that longer breastfeeding reduces risks of various female cancers exponentially, shouldn't the Komen foundation promote breastfeeding? How about donating some money to Best for Babes who actively promote breastfeeding instead of Planned Parenthood? Just pacify me for a moment here, how about using those same funds to help NON-abortion mammogram facilities in rural areas?

That's right ladies and gents. That money you raise when you race, a portion of it goes to Planned Parenthood for the sole use of breast health. Sure, sounds good, right? Think about this, how much money does that leave PP with for abortions, birth controls -- all of which are detrimental to breast health? Studies have shown that teenage girls who began usingoral contraceptives were at a higher risk as adults for breast cancer. So my question is, why does the Komen Foundation take our money, raised to find a cure and dump it back into a foundation who readily supplies chemical laden cancerous substances to anyone, without batting an eye or mentioning the dangers? Isn't that defeating the purpose?

Playing Devil's Advocate momentarily, let's say that PP does have a designated fund ONLY for mammograms and "breast health". The $805,000 PP received in the fiscal year of 2008, could have provided over 6,000 free mammograms or even more cheap ones.

However, when a mammogram routinely costs $120 and an abortion costs anywhere from $300-600 or more, where would you put the money? Make mammograms, which are already the cheaper of the two, even cheaper, or reduce the cost of abortions so they are more "affordable"? I have no proof of this, but... I'll let you draw your own conclusions on that.

Komen Foundation acknowledges their ties here and here.

When I get to the bottom line, I guess my real problem is why is the Komen Foundation "helping" an already billion dollar company aid others and not smaller clinics or Women's Centers who are struggling to serve their ever growing patient list in the economic downturn?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Tennessee State Breastfeeding Law Directly Refutes WHO and AAP

Please join me in writing to the TN state reps regarding a breastfeeding law that is outrageous! Feel free to personalize my letter below to your own situation.,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Dear Sirs and Madams,

I am writing to contact all of you today about the breastfeeding law in Tennessee.
Tenn. Code Ann. § 68-58-101 et seq. (2006) permits a mother to breastfeed an infant 12 months or younger in any location, public or private, that the mother is authorized to be, and prohibits local governments from criminalizing or restricting breastfeeding. Specifies that the act of breastfeeding shall not be considered public indecency as defined by § 39-13-511; or nudity, obscene, or sexual conduct as defined in § 39-17-901. (HB 3582)
Tenn. Code Ann. § 50-1-305 (1999) requires employers to provide daily unpaid break time for a mother to express breast milk for her infant child. Employers are also required to make a reasonable effort to provide a private location, other than a toilet stall, in close proximity to the workplace for this activity. (SB 1856)
I applaud your efforts to protect the rights of mothers to feed their children as God and nature intended. I am currently breastfeeding my 32 month old son. I am very disappointed to see that the law that has been passed in our state discriminates against the right of a mother to breastfeed her child in a location where she otherwise has a place to be because that child has passed his first birthday. The exact portion of the law that I am referring to states:

"A mother has a right to breastfeed her child who is twelve (12) months of age or younger in any location, public or private, where themother and child are otherwise authorized to be present."

I feel that this age limitation is arbitrary and contradictory to the current recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics, theAmerican Academy of Family Physicians and the World Health Organization.

"Exclusive breastfeeding is ideal nutrition and sufficient to support optimal growth and development for approximately the first 6 months after birth. Infants weaned before 12 months of age should not receive cow's milk feedings but should receive iron-fortified infant formula. Gradual introduction of iron-enriched solid foods in the second half of the first year should complement the breast milk diet. It is recommended that breastfeeding continue for at least 12 months, and thereafter for as long as mutually desired."

"The AAFP recommends that all babies, with rare exceptions, be breastfed and/or receive expressed human milk exclusively for about the first six months of life. Breastfeeding should continue with the addition of complementary foods throughout the second half of the first year. Breastfeeding beyond the first year offers considerable benefits to both mother and child, and should continue as long as mutually desired."
American Academy of Family Physicians Policy Statement

"As a global goal for optimal maternal and child health and nutrition, all women should be enabled to practice exclusive breastfeeding and all infants should be fed exclusively on breastmilk from birth to four to six months of age. Thereafter, children should continue to be breastfed, while receiving appropriate and adequate complementary foods, for up to two years of age or beyond. This child-feeding ideal is to be achieved by creating an appropriate environment of awareness and support so that women can breastfeed in this manner."
World Health Organization, The WHO/UNICEF Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes

I cannot find enough words to voice my displeasure at the direct refusal made by the state of Tennessee to protect the rights of a breastfeeding mother simply because her baby has passed her first birthday. The notion that babies should not be breastfed past one year is one that has been pushed by formula companies because most formula fed babies are switched to cow's milk at one year of age.
Our First Lady, Michelle Obama, is a strong advocate for breastfeeding. With her "Let's Move!" campaign, she hopes to eliminate obesity within a generation by promoting breastfeeding and healthy food choices to children. While obesity is a raging problem in Tennessee, ranking second in obesity rates of the United States, shouldn't we condone, not admonish, mothers who are feeding their children breastmilk which combats childhood obesity?
I am making a plea to all of you to correct this law to protect the rights of all breastfeeding mothers, regardless of the age of her baby. I appreciate your time and consideration in this matter. With an abundance of research in favor of breastfeeding beyond the 12 month mark, please revisit this law to aid in encouragement for mother's to continue nourishing her child without the discouragement from a law such as this, which is in direct opposition from national and world organization as listed above. Just because a baby passes the 12 month mark does not mean that he will not require to nurse any less than a child younger than him.

Thank you for your time and effort into this matter.


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Celebrating Six Years

Breastfeeding my Monster at a park in Rogersville, TN. 
He's nearly 3 years old here! 

Welcome to the July 2010 Carnival of Nursing in Public

This post was written for inclusion in the Carnival of Nursing in Public hosted by Dionna and Paige at All week, July 5-9, we will be featuring articles and posts about nursing in public ("NIP"). See the bottom of this post for more information.


Recently my oldest daughter turned six years old. Her birthday was also something special for me; not only had I been a mother for the better part of a decade, but I had also been the owner of this super-power called lactation. I have nursed through three toddler-hoods and two weanings only missing the achievement of nursing three children by a few months. Even after all this time, I am still utterly (no pun intended!) amazed at how remarkable my body is.

During my third and last pregnancy, I was nursing both my older daughters. Our oldest, 3.5 years at the time, weaned only a few months before her brother arrived and I continued to tandem nurse the younger two until our middle child weaned at the age of 2.5 years. At 2 years 8 months, our youngest child is still nursing.

I have nursed in many places and do so proudly. I have no reason to hide! However, I haven't always felt that way. I used to be the mother to search out the fitting rooms, or sit in the car whilst the rest of my family enjoyed shopping or other outings. One day, I realized how much I was missing out on by feeling the need to hide. I didn't come to this realization from my own experience, but from one I witnessed.

While out shopping one day, I had to take my oldest daughter to the restroom. Unbeknownst to me, I walked in the public restroom to see a momma jugging an infant and trying to nurse beside a changing table in a stuffy bathroom. This wasn't a nice bathroom with lounge chairs or attendants. It was a box retailer's run of the mill generic public restroom. At first my heart sunk. Why was she nursing in the gross bathroom?! I gave the mom an encouraging smile, but really, what message did I send? I, too, was hiding when I nursed. Looking back, at least a million times, I had wished I would have told her "Good for you" or "It's sad we feel the need to hide" but I didn't. Instead, I vowed to never hide again. I can breastfeed discreetly and I will.

From that day on, I nursed anywhere and everywhere. Disneyworld? Nursed there. Gatlinburg TN? Right there on the streets. The local zoo? Many places, but a favorite of ours is overlooking the Savannah with zebras and elephants.

My husband was a little concerned in the beginning, but it wasn't long until he realized how much easier it was to just nurse where ever we were and how little you could actually see while nursing. For both of us, this was a huge change to the culture of where we both grew up. The breast was so sexualized and the bottle was glorified that I had only seen breastfeeding very briefly one time before having my own children.

Which brings me back to the six years of continuous nursing day. We took our daughter and my husband's parents out to eat at a pizza place for our daughter's birthday dinner. After a day of mini-golf in the sun, we knew our two year old was only breaths away from a tantrum and meltdown. After being seated, it was only minutes until our son asked to nurse. Of course I let him! No one in the whole restaurant cared. The waitress never blinked; however, my father-in-law was sure to keep his head down the entire time I was breastfeeding. At least he didn't leave! Hey, that's progress, right?

Art by Erika Hastings at

Welcome to the Carnival of Nursing in Public

Please join us all week, July 5-9, as we celebrate and support breastfeeding mothers. And visit any time to connect with other breastfeeding supporters, learn more about your legal right to nurse in public, and read (and contribute!) articles about breastfeeding and N.I.P.

Do you support breastfeeding in public? Grab this badge for your blog or website to show your support and encourage others to educate themselves about the benefits of breastfeeding and the rights of breastfeeding mothers and children.

This post is just one of many being featured as part of the Carnival of Nursing in Public. Please visit our other writers each day of the Carnival. Click on the links below to see each day’s posts - new articles will be posted on the following days:
July 5 - Making Breastfeeding the Norm: Creating a Culture of Breastfeeding in a Hyper-Sexualized World
July 6 – Supporting Breastfeeding Mothers: the New, the Experienced, and the Mothers of More Than One Nursing Child
July 7 – Creating a Supportive Network: Your Stories and Celebrations of N.I.P.
July 8 – Breastfeeding: International and Religious Perspectives
July 9 – Your Legal Right to Nurse in Public, and How to Respond to Anyone Who Questions It