Leonard Bruno

Leonard is a website designer and graphic designer for the North Park Group. He has been working with SDCBC for the past year on developing the website.

AWARD Your Breastfeeding-Friendly Employer!

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From Gisele Bundchen to Alyssa Milano, every once in a while, a celebrity breastfeeding at work (which is, for these celebrity women, breastfeeding while getting styled) photo would appear on the media, catching attention and starting discussion. I’m always thrilled to see women multitask like that. I also envy those who are lucky to have such understanding colleagues that they could nurse at work.

For many mothers, it’s not possible to have their baby with them on the job and even asking for a reasonable time and/or space to pump at work is a challenge.

I used to work for a company where I had to pump in the restroom and was harassed by my colleagues for washing pump accessories in the office kitchen. The fight for my right to breastfeed was long and exhausting, and the situation eventually resulted in my resignation.

A while ago I was invited to a KAZN talk show to talk about my breastfeeding experience, and the most important thing I wanted to tell my fellow breastfeeding mothers was “know your right.”

You don’t have any right if you don’t know any. Federal law requires any employer with 50 or more employees to provide employees with reasonable time and space for nursing. Here in California, even require all the employers to do this.

So breastfeeding is your personal right. Most employers are happy to provide the support that you need, as long as they know how important it is for you to have their support. If your company does not have a breastfeeding support program (like my previous company), it could be that nobody has ever asked for one. As a breastfeeding mother, it is important that you be the one who asks for it!

If the supervisor doesn’t understand how important it is for you to breastfeed, explain to him that breastfeeding is the healthiest choice for you and your baby. You can even have an expert from your local breastfeeding organization to talk to your supervisor. Just contact your local breastfeeding support group and they would be happy to help. San Diego County Breastfeeding Coalition is a good place to start.

Your supervisor may not know what you need to continue breastfeeding. Let him know your basic needs for express milk is simply a private location and some flexible breaks. If your supervisor tells you that the company has no space for a pumping area, you can look around, find space that you are willing to use, and make the proposal. If your supervisor tells you that other colleagues would complain, you can invite lactation professionals to your company and have a seminar about the benefits of breastfeeding to mother and baby’s health so that your colleagues can learn. If your supervisor tells you that they don’t want to do this just for one person, you can remind him that supporting breastfeeding is actually beneficial to the company.

And supporting breastfeeding does benefit the company. Employees receive support for breastfeeding are happier and more productive. They are less likely to miss work to take care of sick babies because breastfed babies are healthier. Breastfeeding also helps lower the company’s health care cost since both the mom and the baby are healthier.

If you do get the support you need, remember to show appreciation to your supervisor and colleagues. And the employers who support breastfeeding do deserve some appreciation! San Diego County Breastfeeding Coalition is currently accepting nominations for the coalition’s 2015 Breastfeeding Friendly Workplace Award. Know a local employer that goes extra miles to support breastfeeding? Submit an online nomination here: http://www.breastfeeding.org/site_page.php?page=workplace_awards



leonardbrunoAWARD Your Breastfeeding-Friendly Employer!
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What the Similac AD “The Hood” tells us

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What the Similac AD “The Hood” tells us

Formula milk manufacturer Similac recently scored a big hit with a controversial ad, “the Hood.” While some consider it’s pretty good and honest, others find it insulting and misleading.

If you ask me, I’d say it is a piece of clever formula propaganda that successfully changes the conversation from “breastfeeding is the best” to “all choices are equal.” At the end of the ad, of course, it sends a sentimental message “no matter what our beliefs, we are parents first. Welcome to the sisterhood of motherhood.”

This kind of slick commercial that tugs at the heartstrings has become a common practice among those who are trying to sell “not that good” stuff. For example, we all know that coke is not that good for our health, so the coke ads no longer tell us how much sugar they reduced in the drink but rather how the drink brings happiness to your family. By so doing, the conversation will be about giving your kids a coke at special occasion shows how much you love them rather than building a healthy and happy eating environment for your children.

It is exactly what’s going on here. By sending out that schmaltzy message, the conversation will be about accepting all choices, not what needs to be changed in order to make breastfeeding a more viable option. Sentimental videos go viral, and that’s what companies like Similac want.

But I found that I, myself, cannot be taken in by this. First and foremost, I don’t appreciate how Similac exploiting the stereotypes of “mothers at war”. At the beginning of the ad, we see a group or career moms on their mobile phones, rich moms pushing their luxury strollers, yoga moms wearing their baby slings, boastful nursing moms, and bottle-feeding moms in a park. They are all shouting very stupid and spiteful things to one another. In the next minute, the mummies are ready to eat one another alive. And they might as well do that if there wasn’t a runaway stroller that stopped them.

I’m amused by the scene. Do we mothers really hate other moms who chose to feed their babies differently? I once breastfed in a park, sitting next to a bottle-feeding mom who then told me how she quit breastfeeding because her supervisor gave her a hard time at work for pumping and she still feel bad about quitting. I expressed my sympathy and told her that I think her boss was a jerk and it was not her fault. And that’s exactly what I think—we should attack those factors that make breastfeeding so hard, not the mothers who choose to formula feed. This is what a real mother think and talk in real life. But in a Similac ad, the mother would act like a bitch and yell “some mothers are too lazy to breastfeed.”

The “mothers at war” thing is a juicy tale that created by the media three decades ago originally of working moms and stay-at-home moms dissing each other. The media construct sells newspapers, magazines, TV shows, and now formula milk.

Mothers do compete with one another over many things, I don’t deny that. But without media like this Similac ad that constantly telling us that “this is how you must feel, you hate other mothers,” things would not be that awful. Plus, competition and hate are two very different things.

According to the company, the ad is all about “encouragement, not judgement.” However I found exactly the opposite—by portraying mothers as a group of gruesome, shrill Momzillas, the ad is not encouraging at all but actually very judgmental.

And I think this is the message that Similac should get, “Stop pitting mothers against each other in order to sell formula milk.”



leonardbrunoWhat the Similac AD “The Hood” tells us
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Breastfeeding in Developing Countries: the Myths, the Problems, and the Progress

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The critical importance of promoting the value of breastfeeding globally, nationally, and at the community level can never be highlighted enough. According to UNICEF, the potential impact of optimal breastfeeding practices is especially important in developing country situations with a high burden of disease and low access to clean water and sanitation.

Dr. Yvonne Vaucher (MD, MPH, FAAP), the Immediate Past-President of San Diego County Breastfeeding Coalition and Professor of Pediatrics at UC San Diego, recently discussed the problems and progress of breastfeeding in developing countries at the Coalition’s general meeting.

Dr. Vaucher talked about the impact of suboptimal breastfeeding on survival in developing countries, pointing out that suboptimal breastfeeding is a major cause of childhood death worldwide. She cited a 2006 study published by Public Health Nutrition, saying that suboptimal breastfeeding is the number three cause of childhood death globally, second only to malnutrition which causes 3.75 million deaths per year, and unsafe water, sanitation and hygiene which lead to 1.73 million deaths per year.

“Suboptimal breastfeeding is responsible for 1.45 million deaths per year,” said Dr. Vaucher, “that is 4,000 deaths per day, 165 deaths per hour, or 3 deaths per minute.”

The same study showed that optimal breastfeeding up to two years of age in developing counties would prevent 13%, or 800,000 of all deaths in children under five years each year. Unfortunately, “there are too many factors resulting in suboptimal breastfeeding,” said Dr. Vaucher.

Those factors include: delayed initiation of breastfeeding, prelacteal feeds, supplementation with water, teas, animal milks, formula feeding, health provider misinformation, commercial promotion of formula, maternal C-section, illness, or death, and infant low birth weight or illness.

Dr. Vaucher believes that early and exclusive breastfeeding is a cultural issue. “Some cultures appreciate other liquids like teas and animal milks,” she said. “Others accept water as compatible with early breastfeeding. Some cultures prescribe early feeding of solids at four to five months, or believe that a fat baby is a healthy baby.”

Formula and breast milk supplements also contribute to the barriers to exclusive breastfeeding. In many developing countries, people believe that formula is “scientific” and “modern,” and symbolize economic and social success.

A risk of breastfeeding in developing countries is the transmission of infectious diseases such as HIV and Ebola. The New York Times reported in 2008 that “up to 48% of infant HIV in developing countries is from breastfeeding.” However, Dr. Vaucher said, “Protective factors including antibodies, cytokines, antiviral lipids, lactoferrin, and glucosoaminoglycans are also present in breast milk.”

There has also been a lot of discussion about Ebola. “The risk of transmission from mother to infant is very high based on close contact alone, not necessarily breastfeeding,” said Dr. Vaucher. “If possible, experts recommend to have anuninfected caretaker and alternative food source for infant.”

It is often assumed that breastfeeding is optimal in developing countries where it is the norm. This is a myth. There are actually many barriers to exclusive breastfeeding in developing countries. “The good news is,” said Dr. Vaucher, “breastfeeding rates in developing countries are no longer declining.”

She said that exclusive breastfeeding rates are improving in most developing countries, thank to increased government action to support and protect breastfeeding. Currently, world health organizations continue their breastfeeding initiatives in developing countries. Key components and interventions including controlling marketing of breast milk substitutes, and providing community-based counseling and support.



leonardbrunoBreastfeeding in Developing Countries: the Myths, the Problems, and the Progress
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No Peppermint Coffee for Breastfeeding Moms this Holiday Season

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It’s that wonderful time of the year—the holiday season. And we live in San Diego, where Starbucks reminds us of the season change with their peppermint hot chocolate, pumpkin spice latte, and other delicious seasonal drinks.

As a nursing mom, I was warned about peppermint coffee or hot chocolate. “Peppermint might decrease your milk supply, and consuming too many caffeinated drinks can harm your baby.” said my lactation consultant.

To be clear, it is actually safe to have caffeine while breastfeeding as long as the mother doesn’t overdo it. When caffeine enters the mother’s bloodstream, a small amount of it, usually less than 1 percent, ends up in her breast milk. The caffeine amount in her milk peaks a couple of hours after she consumes it.

Since a newborn’s body can’t easily break down and get rid of the caffeine, it may accumulate in his system. At about three months, the baby will begin to process caffeine more efficiently, and over time it will become easier and easier for him to excrete it.

Experts say that a moderate amount of caffeine, which means no more than 300 milligrams per day, or the amount in about 16 ounces of brewed coffee, is fine for nursing moms, and should cause no changes in most babies’ behavior. Only if a mother is drinking more than two cups of coffee a day could it cause the baby to become fuzzy.

Personally I can certainly live without coffee or hot chocolate. But peppermint! I love peppermint. The peppermint candy after a big meal tames my stomach trouble, the peppermint tea at the end of a hard day eases my headache, and putting peppermint oil on the temples boosts my concentration at work. Not to mention it is holiday season, and I smell peppermint lattes and peppermint hot chocolate everywhere!

So I did a little bit research and found a great resource from Kellymom.com about herbs that can and lower milk production.

According the website, consuming large amounts of peppermint and some other herbs and natural remedies should be avoided while nursing because they have been known to decrease milk supply. The amounts of these herbs normally used in cooking are unlikely to be of concern; it’s mainly the larger amounts that might be used therapeutically that could pose a problem. However, some moms have noticed a decrease in supply after eating things like dressing with lots of sage, sage tea (often recommended when moms are weaning), lots of strong peppermint candies or menthol cough drops, or other foods or teas with large amounts of the particular herb. These herbs, including Black Walnut, Chickweed, Herb Robert (Geranium robertianum), Lemon Balm Oregano, Parsley (Petroselinum crispum), Peppermint (Mentha piperita)/Menthol, Periwinkle Herb (Vinca minor), Sage (Salvia officinalis), Sorrel (Rumex acetosa), Spearmint, Thyme, and Yarrow, are sometimes used by nursing mothers to treat oversupply, or when weaning.

I did have some decaf peppermint lattes during the past few days, but haven’t noticed any decrease in milk supply fall. I guess it is okay as long as I’m not consuming “large” amounts of the herbs. But, still, I decided to take that piece of advice and stopped consuming all those herbs.

Yeah, I know, this is the season of candy canes, Christmas barks, menthol cough drops, and sage filled stuffing…and I’ve sacrificed all of these. This is one of those not so fun phases of breastfeeding.

But I also know that I’ve got only one precious first year with my little one. Next holiday season, I’m sure I’ll be drinking peppermint lattes, eating sage filled stuffing, and missing these days of breastfeeding.




leonardbrunoNo Peppermint Coffee for Breastfeeding Moms this Holiday Season
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Building a breastfeeding friendly society

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Building a breastfeeding friendly society

During a recent business trip to Taiwan, I was surprised by what I saw: There are nursing rooms literary everywhere I went. Nursing rooms can be found in government buildings, in shopping malls, in libraries, even in metro stations.

I was surprised because this is not the Taiwan that I remembered. I was born and raised in 1980’s Taiwan. My mom did not breastfeed. When I was growing up I had never seen anyone breastfeed. As a child, I thought all the babies were born to be bottle fed.

And this is not my personal experience. This is a collective memory of all the Taiwanese people in my age. Actually, according to the Taiwanese government, infant formula marketing in Taiwan reached its peak in 1980. In 1989, only 5.8% newborns in Taiwan were breastfed.

Now the generation that was not breastfed, that has never seen anyone breastfeed as a child, grew up and became new parents of the next generation. Surprisingly, most of them choose to breastfeed. Currently in Taiwan, 72% newborns under 1 month old are exclusively breastfed; 45.6% infants under 6 month old are exclusively breastfed.

What happened in Taiwan during the past 30 years is amazing. The 5.8% low breastfeeding rate in 1989 shocked the Taiwanese government and medical professionals. Later in 1992, the government adopted “International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitute” and decided to ban infant formula TV commercial and infant formula promotion in hospitals. But the breastfeeding rate did not go up.

Then in 1998, Taiwanese government started to promote Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, requiring all the hospitals to train its health care staff in the skills necessary to implement breastfeeding policy, helping mothers initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth, and allowing mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day. Taiwanese breastfeeding rate went up after this policy.

On the other side of Taiwan Strait, it’s totally a different story in Mainland China. Back in 1998, more than 67% newborns in Mainland China were breastfed, but the current number is 27%. In 16 years, the breastfeeding rate in China dropped by 40%. China has became the world’s largest infant formula consuming country. Each year, Chinese parents spent $11.3 billion on infant formula. More and more Chinese mothers give up breastfeeding to formula feeding.

The “Breast is Best” poster can be found everywhere in all the hospitals China, but infant formula manufacturers can also freely promote their product anywhere in all the hospitals in China. While health care staff telling mothers “breastfed babies are the healthiest,” formula manufacturers tell mothers “breastfeeding is only for those who cannot afford infant formula.”

Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative is not promoted in mainland China. Women’s right to nurse in public and pump at work is not protected by Chinese law.

The 2008 Chinese milk scandal did not change the situation any. According to a CCTV survey, more than 70% of Chinese parents lost confidence in Chinese-produced infant formula, but they did not switch to breastfeeding. Instead, they rushed to Hong Kong to purchase U.S.-produced infant formula. The situation got so bad that Hong Kong government passed a restriction order, requiring each mainlanders can only carry two cans of infant formula when leaving Hong Kong. Now Chinese parents are buying up infant milk everywhere they can get it, outside of China. And that has led to baby formula shortages in at least a half-dozen countries, from Netherlands to New Zealand.

The lesson from China and Taiwan is that, simply telling mothers “breast is best” is not enough to encourage mothers to breastfeed. Mothers need a real breastfeeding-friendly environment to comfortably nurse their babies, from a baby-friendly hospital to a baby-friendly public.



leonardbrunoBuilding a breastfeeding friendly society
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When manufactures try to sell moms the “breast milk substitute” that’s not even close to breast milk

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When manufactures try to sell moms the “breast milk substitute” that’s not even close to breast milk

The U.S. government is suing baby food maker Gerber, owned by Nestle SA, over health claims in baby formula advertisements. According to the Federal Trade Commission, Gerber allegedly advertised that its Good Start Gentle formula would reduce the risk of a baby developing allergies despite having no proof for the claim.

The FTC filed the lawsuit last week, saying that Gerber put stickers on the baby food which said the formula would “reduce the risk of developing allergies.”

The FTC also said that Gerber advertised that the Food and Drug Administration approved its health claims, although the agency had NOT done so.

This is not the first Nestle’s infant formula advertisement dispute. In 1974, Nestle was accused of getting third world mothers hooked on formula, which is less healthy and more expensive than breast milk. The allegations led to hearings in the U.S. Senate and the World Health Organization (WHO), resulting in a new set of marketing rules, known as today’s International Code of Marketing of Breast milk Substitutes.

Thirty years later, Nestle once again being accused for its infant formula advertisements. It is bigger than an exaggerated advertisement allegation. It is a reminder that inappropriate formula advertisement is still violating mothers’ and babies’ breastfeeding rights.

Today, many health care facilities and the largest formula makers continue to break the International Code of Marketing of Breast milk Substitute in the U.S. and worldwide. It is reported that the largest formula makers in North America, including Mead Johnson of Enfamil, Abbott of Similac, and Nestle of Gerber Good Start are still distributing of commercial discharge bags with formula samples—a longstanding violation of the code.

It is recently reported to San Diego County Breastfeeding Coalition that a hospital in the county is giving out formula samples to new mothers. A lactation consultant working with low-income, first-time mothers reported to the coalition that when working with a 15-years-old teenage mom, “she showed me a drawer full of those bottle-looking formulas! My client said herself that she thought it would be okay since the hospital gave it to her…I’m just saddened.”

It is a clear example how inappropriate formula marketing affect mothers’ breastfeeding decision and discourage public health workers, violating consumer rights, public health, women’s health, and corporate accountability.

Most health care professionals and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that mothers exclusively breastfeed for six months. All infant formula try to mimic breast milk, but experts agree that the highly processed breast milk substitutes cannot compete with the real thing. However, when given information that has been influenced by formula companies, mothers can wrongly choose not to breastfeed.

Protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding is a human right. The violation of International Code of Marketing of Breast milk Substitute is a violation of human rights.

It is important for government officials and stakeholders to improve diets and raise nutrition levels through policies that more effectively address today’s major nutrition challenges. It is equally important for individuals to recognize the harm of inappropriate infant formula marketing and send messages to companies through different platforms.

The good thing is, breastfeeding advocates and mothers around the world never stopped fighting against formula ads in health care facilities. Earlier this year, Public Citizen led a day of action to urge the companies to end the unethical practice of promoting formula in health care facilities and thousands mothers participated. The work to keep infant formula marketing out of healthcare facilities continues.



leonardbrunoWhen manufactures try to sell moms the “breast milk substitute” that’s not even close to breast milk
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Breastfeeding students deserve full support

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An on-campus pumping incident was recently brought to the attention of San Diego County Breastfeeding Coalition—a nursing mother who is also a student at a local medical institute was recently reprimanded for expressing her breast milk at school. According to the mother’s report, she was discretely pumping her breast milk needed for her six-week-old infant. However, other students complained “discomfort” about this and she was told by her instructor to find a place to pump her milk off campus.

As a San Diego community-based advocacy and education organization, SDCBC believes that, even though the current federal and California state laws for lactation accommodation in the workplace and nursing in public don’t mandate space for students to pump on campus, nursing students DO deserve full support.

Breastfeeding is well documented to improve child health by decreasing the risk of respiratory infection, gastrointestinal infection, sudden infant death (SID), obesity, celiac disease, and improving developmental outcome for the child. Breastfeeding also improve maternal health by decreasing the risk of breast and ovarian cancer, diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease for the mother. It benefits the mother’s employer because when the child is healthier, the mother needs to take off less time from work to care for her ill child.

Given the overwhelming evidence of better child and maternal health, exclusive breastfeeding is preferred and strongly recommended for all infants under six month old with continuation until at least one year of age by the United States Surgeon General, American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), and World Health Organization (WHO).

As such, SDCBC believes that mothers who seek to provide breast milk for their infants deserve EVERYONE’S FULL SUPPORT. In the incident recently reported to SDCBC, “Here is a woman who is not only trying to breastfeed her new baby but is also continuing her education at six weeks postpartum,” said Yvonne Vaucher, the president of SDCBC, “she needs five gold stars.”

SDCBC believes that mothers who are both breastfeeding and either working or going to school at the same time should be applauded for trying to do the best for both their own future as well as their infants’ health. It is essential for a mother separated from her infant to express her breast milk frequently, every two to four hours, in order to maintain and adequate supply of breast milk for her child. Recognizing this imperative, CA State Law ACR 155 and US Affordable Care Act both require that employees to provide a private place but not a toilet stall for employees to pump their milk during their work day. Although at present these laws apply to employees but not students, the need is similar and both the public and provide schools nationwide are rapidly following suit for their students as well as employees.

For example, here in California, University of California at Berkeley has a breastfeeding support program which supports all students, faculty, staff, and their spouses who choose to continue breastfeeding after returning to work or school.

In Washington State, University of Washington has many on-site lactation stations for students and staff. Some of the lactation stations even have a multiple user pump available for students to use with their own personal kit.

In Massachusetts, Massachusetts Institute of Technology has a dozen private, locked campus lactation rooms that accommodate breastfeeding students and staff.

SDCBC encourages all the schools in San Diego county to follow the examples and accommodate the needs of breastfeeding mothers. SDCBC is always happy to provide professional educators to discuss the benefits of breastfeeding and needs of the nursing mothers with the staff and students.



leonardbrunoBreastfeeding students deserve full support
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A Mother's Voice

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My name is To-wen Tseng. I’m a journalist, previously a TV reporter, now a freelance writer.

I’m also a wife to my husband who is a computer engineer, and a mother to our little one, who is now 17 months old.

I didn’t really have a breastfeeding plan when I first got pregnant. I came from a culture that is relatively breastfeeding unfriendly. Currently in China, less then 30% of newborn are being breastfed. Being raised in Taiwan, I’ve never seen anybody breastfeed when I was growing up. However after a prenatal interview with my then future pediatrician, I decided to breastfeed.

So I became a mother with an exclusively breastfed baby. In August of last year, I returned to work when my baby was 3 moth old. I was writing for World Journal, the largest Chinese-language newspaper serving North America.

On Oct 21st, the newspaper published an article titled “Breastfeeding Photos Embarrass Chinese-American to death,” describing breastfeeding in pubic and/or sharing breastfeeding photo as “disturbing” and “disgusting,” As a breastfeeding mother, I was shocked and offended. I talked to my editor, but he didn’t think there was any problem with that article. The newspaper received complains from readers, but had no response.

I was very, very disappointed. The truth is, the company wasn’t friendly to breastfeeding mothers. We didn’t have a nursing room, even though California law requires appropriate reasonable space for pumping.

I was pumping in the restroom. When I washed my pumping parts in the kitchen, some of my colleagues would say, “don’t wash your dirty panties in the office.” I reported this to Human Resources, but they never dealt with it.

Later they published an article claiming that it is impractical for employers to provide lactation accommodations. I spoke with the editor-in-chief, a newsperson whom I once admired. We sat down for a 3-hour long conversation and he insisted that there was nothing wrong with the article, that I was overreacting, that I had a personal issue.

So I quit, ending a 10-year-long relationship with them. I sued the newspaper for sex discrimination.

The suit was settled and one thing I didn’t agree was confidentiality. They wanted to pay for my silence which I refused. Other than that I’m happy about the agreement, it requires the company to change its policies regarding lactation accommodations and to share these policies with staff in multiple languages. Moreover, all the supervisors will be trained on the policy and how to respond to requests for lactation accommodations.

Ten years is a long time to devote to a career. I loved my job but had to end it because of a hostile reaction to breastfeeding. I turned down the financial compensation in my lawsuit, so that I could speak out about this type of discrimination. My hope is to yes my example to encourage other Chinese-American mothers. I’m glad that my Chinese blog is getting lots of response.

So, I can say this today–all the mother can help make breastfeeding easier.


Thanks. Have a great weekend!



leonardbrunoA Mother's Voice
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Breastfeeding may cut the risk of breast cancer!

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Estrogen receptor(ER)-negative breast cancer is a tumor subtype that is more common in black women and carries a higher risk of death. A new, large study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute suggested that the reason why black women are at higher risk for this aggressive type of breast cancer may be because the breastfeeding rate among them is lower.

In other words, mothers who choose to not breastfeed may be at a higher risk of breast cancer than those who do.

The research effort is led by researchers at Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Boston University’s Slone Epidemiology Center and the University of North Carolina Linebarger Cancer Center.

The team looked at questionnaire data from several studies, including two cohort studies and two case-control studies of breast cancer in African-American women. They analyzed data from nearly 3,700 black breast cancer patients. About one-third of them had ER-negative breast cancer.

Researchers founded that women with children were one-third more likely to develop these type of breast tumors compared to those who never had children. However, whether or not a mother breastfed her infants seem to influence her risk for the tumor even more.

For example, the results indicated that women who had four or more children but had never breastfed were 68 percent more likely to develop an ER-negative breast cancer, compared to women who had only one child but did breastfeed.

“Promotion of lactation may be an effective tool for reducing occurrence of the subtypes that contribute disproportionately to breast cancer mortality,” Julie Palmer, a study co-leader and professor of epidemiology at Boston University’s Slone Epidemiology Center wrote.

The authors concluded that this study may explain, in part, why African-American women, who typically have more children but a lower prevalence of lactation than U.S. white women, are disproportionately affected by ER-breast cancer.

The study also found that black women who breastfeed have a lower risk of being diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer, in which tumor cells test negative for three key hormone receptors thus is hard to treat. The authors suggest that triple-negative breast cancer in African-American women who have given birth could be lowered by almost two-thirds if they breastfed at a similar rate as non-Hispanic white women.

“These findings showing that breastfeeding can reduce the risk for African American women of getting aggressive breast cancers are exciting because this is something that can be acted upon, where we can actually prevent some cases of these often-deadly cancers,” said Dr. Christine B. Ambrosone, a study co-leader and chair of the department of cancer prevention and control at Rosewell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York, in a statement. “We already know that breastfeeding has so many benefits to babies and their mothers. This is one more reason to encourage and support breastfeeding.”

The new study provides the most conclusive evidence to date, but is not the first and/or only study that has shown a connection between the number of times a woman has given birth and increased risk of ER-negative tumors, and that breastfeeding reduced risk of these aggressive cancers.

Breastfeeding has long been recognized as one of the factors that reduce the risk of breast cancer. In her recent article published in Huffington Post, Dr. Marisa Weiss, the president and founder of breastcancer.org, wrote, “You can take steps to reduce your risk of the disease by maintaining a healthy weight…and breastfeeding your baby.”



leonardbrunoBreastfeeding may cut the risk of breast cancer!
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Nipple Pain, Damage & Infections

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Nipple pain, damage, and infections can happen to any breastfeeding mother. According to a 2008 research published on Pediatrics, pain is one of the major reasons why women stop breastfeeding. At the most recent San Diego County Breastfeeding Coalition general meeting, Vicki Wolfrum, RN, CNM, IBCLC, discussed these breastfeeding challenges with her colleagues.

Breastfeeding is not supposed to be painful. Wolfrum said many mothers came to her with nipple pain and said, “I waited for a while before seeking help because they told me it’s supposed to be painful in the first few days.” However, Wolfrum said, “That is not true!”

She said, “If breastfeeding is extremely painful, something is not right.”

Sensitivity during the first week is normal. For example, during the first one to three days after birth, mother’s nipples are extra sensitive because of estrogen, a hormone. However, anything more than the normal sensitivity is not right and needs to be investigated.

Wolfrum recognized three common causes of nipple pain: mechanical problems such as poor latch, poor positioning, and disorganized suck; nipple problems such as flat, inverted, or short nipples; diseases such a bacterial infection, inflammatory breasts, and eczema.

Ankyloglossia can also present as nipple pain.

Poor positioning is much more common then imagined. Not leaning back, mother slumped forward, baby below the breasts, baby handing on nipple, and baby’s head twisted can all be considered poor positioning.

“The best first latch is skin to skin touch. The first thing is to get the mother comfortable, and then just put baby on the chest and he will find his way to the breasts. It works a lot of the time,” said Wolfrum, “Bring baby to the breasts, not breasts to the baby.”

Poor or shallow latch is also common. While latching well, the baby’s mouth should be widely open and the lops should be flared.

Ankyloglossia is another common cause of mild to severe nipple trauma and pain. “If there is ‘pinch’ with every suck, pain from first latch, severe pain when no trauma evident, persistent pain regardless of great latch, post feed crease and nipples of great latch or linear scabs on nipples,” Wolfrum explained, “then it’s probably ankyloglossia.”

She shared a classic story with her fellow IBCLCs, “a mother with her third baby is feeling extreme pain in nipples. Her pediatrician told her to stop breastfeeding for three days to let her nipples healed. She did, and the nipples were healed,but she still had pain. Then a lactation consultant told her that she had thrush because the baby’s tongue was white. she asked her OB for Diflucan but nipples were continually painful.”

When Wolfrum saw the mother, the baby was 4 weeks old and the mother was ready to quit breastfeeding. She found that the baby had posterior tongue tie and labial tie.

The mother had her baby laser frenotomy of both tongue and lip. There was an immediate relief. In one week the baby was sucking peacefully with loud swallows.

However, Wolfrum reminded that not all ties cause nipple pain and the decision for frenotomy should be carefully discussed with doctors.

The coalition’s Dr. James Murphy (MD, FAAP, FABM, IBCLC) also pointed out that thrush is a mouth infection, but it is perfectly normal for a baby’s tongue to be white. White tongue doesn’t necessary mean thrush.

Some nipple pain can be relieved by natural remedies, while others require medication. Common treatment for nipple healing and comfort includes lanolin, lanolin mixed with breast milk, hydrogel gel pads, APNO (all-purpose nipple ointment), miconazole cream, and epsom salt bath.

Wolfrum recommended using lanolin and breast milk mix and hydrogel gel pads together, “Mothers often ‘ahhhhhh’ with use of hydrogels!”



leonardbrunoNipple Pain, Damage & Infections
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