The Massachusetts Breastfeeding Coalition has announced that, as of July 1st, 2012, all 49 of the state's hospitals have gone "bag free," making it the second and largest state to end their distribution in hospitals.
The bags in question are the formula company promotional "gift bags" given to new mothers as they leave the hospital. Rhode Island announced last year that all their hospitals had gotten rid of them.
Not sure why these bags are harmful to breastfeeding? Check out this podcast with Dr. Alison Steube I posted a few years ago. I have new one on this topic coming out in August at the Motherlove Blog - an interview with Marsha Walker.
This is great news because the bags have been shown in multiple studies to negatively impact breastfeeding, but also because getting rid of them is one (very challenging step) in the process of becoming a Baby Friendly hospital.
We talked about the history of VBAC, barriers and access to VBAC, and how to prepare for one. We also discussed ICAN’s research about hospital VBAC bans, and the 2010 National Institutes of Health statement on VBAC.
I talked with Vicki Elson, a childbirth educator and creator of the film "Laboring Under an Illusion" about how childbirth looks on the big and small screen, and how it impacts our expectations and fears about childbirth.
A few years ago I was helping a mom with breastfeeding, and we started talking about her birth. She said, "You know, no one tells you all the things you can do to help your scar heal well after you have a c-section."
I nodded sympathetically and said, "yeah," but what I was really thinking was, "What? I had a c-section and I have no idea what she's talking about! What the heck can you do?"
I recently became a member of the International Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN), and one of the first things I did was watch a webinar they hosted on caring for the c-section incision area. I really enjoyed it was able to arrange to interview, for Motherlove Herbal Company, the woman who did the presentation, a New York physical therapist named Isa Herrera who is the author of Ending Female Pain: A Woman's Guide.
In the interview Isa said that some women have pain, numbness and other complaints from their scar for years after their births, and that in some countries in Europe women are automatically referred for physical therapy as part of their recovery.
And here's an older post on race and other demographic factors and breastfeeding initiation data, called "Who breastfeeds?" and a more recent one describing an unwelcome result from the data, "Big gaps persist."
We discussed the concept of Biological Nurturing, the primitive neonatal reflexes she has identified, why babies sometimes fight or “box” the breast when feeding in traditionally-taught breastfeeding holds, and why she believes babies are “front feeders” and not “dorsal feeders.”
*One note: This interview was recorded in the busy hallway at a breastfeeding conference, and as a result the audio is not up to my usual standard. Hope you enjoy it anyway!
We talked about the reasons for the record-high rates of cesarean birth and induction, the low rate of VBAC, her assessment of where things are trending, and how to avoid getting "pushed" in childbirth. We also discussed the response of women's organizations to these trends in birth.
A little while back I also did an email interview with Jennifer on the reasons for the high rate of early elective births, for the Best for Babes blog.