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The ten barriers of breastfeeding

Moms and babies breastfeed within a complex web of history, culture, family and intimate relationship with each other.

There are 10 barriers or challenges in breastfeeding that can get between a breast and a baby. The Big Latch On is a worldwide event that addresses most of these issues.

1. Communities that don't breastfeed. If you have seen other women breastfeed, you are more likely to start and to continue when you have difficulties. The New Paltz Big Latch On brings people together who live near each other, who breastfeed and those who support breastfeeding, even if they aren't breastfeeding.

2. Breastfeeding difficulties. If you are having trouble, you may need a greater perspective and some support to continue. The New Paltz Big Latch On brings professionals and peers together to share and help each other.

3. Embarrassment. When you see other mothers nursing and living life at the same time, by talking, eating, shopping, laughing and telling their "embarrassing moments of breastfeeding" stories at The New Paltz Big Latch On, you can get over your shyness, anxiety, and embarrassment.

4. Innocence and Ignorance - Many women go into mothering their new baby assuming that breastfeeding is natural and will come easily and instinctively. And, for many women, that is true. Many more are blindsided by their lack of knowing about breastfeeding. The New Paltz Big Latch On  educates about the many ways that breastfeeding can happen.

5. Healthcare professionals - You may know a very good Lactation Consultant, ;-) or you may not be so lucky. I am hosting The New Paltz Big Latch On  because I want people to know who is around to help.

6. Working is a reality for many breastfeeding moms, so The Big Latch On is held on 2 days. The New Paltz Big Latch On is SATURDAY August 5 at 10:00 am.

7. Family and friends don't want you to suffer and may suggest weaning out of concern for you. The New Paltz Big Latch On is a way for them to see the bigger picture of normal breastfeeding at all ages and stages.

8. Beyond the pain threshold. Girls and women are taught to suffer in silence. Pain is a big reason why women quit nursing. It's also a way women delay getting help because painful feeds are promoted as a right of passage. PAIN IS NOT NORMAL. Don't suck it up or tough it out. Please. At The New Paltz Big Latch On, you will meet many women who suffered and had immediate relief as soon as they got help. (Disclaimer, you will meet a couple who are still suffering. Know that I never tell you to continue if nursing is painful.)

9. Illness and injury are confounding and unpredictable factors. Childbirth can be a rough and physically challenging experience. Moms and babies get sick or injured and breastfeeding can be the last thing on anyone's mind. This is beyond the scope of The New Paltz Big Latch On, but we can share war stories in the grieving circle.

10. The true cost of failure is never discussed. More than money, quitting breastfeeding may eat at you. At The New Paltz Big Latch On we will have a closed door grieving circle and share stories of breastfeeding and grieving.

If you are needing some breastfeeding support, education, encouragement or coaching, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to schedule a free "Needs assessment" session to help you discover ways to make breastfeeding better and what local resources are available for you.


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How to Have a Great Milk Supply

...even if your breasts are small, even if you have twins, even if you're worried.

The secret to an abundant milk supply is frequent, active feeds. For newborns and even many older babies, this usually means 12-16 feeds in 24 hours. When weight gain is steady, predictable and feedings are easier, it's ok to drop to 8-12 feeds in 24 hours, if your baby is content doing so.

Pay attention to the baby's sucking and behavior.

When babies are rooting or looking hungry, they probably need to breastfeed, even if they don't need to "eat." If you aren't sure, it's fine to offer your breast. You can't overfeed a breastfed baby! We aren't used to breastfed babies and often moms will compare breastfed babies with formula fed babies who typically eat every 3 or 4 hours.

If we remember that a baby's stomach is the size of their fist and that breastmilk is digested easily, it makes sense that they would eat frequently. But why is this important? For one, humans are species that carries its babies. Frequent feeding is easy to accomplish when you carry your baby everywhere you go.

Another reason is that breastfeeding is so much more than food for a baby. It's a source of comfort, connection and soothing. It is a way of feeding that fills all five senses at once and gives both mother and baby a dose of oxytocin, the love hormone.

When we look at other species, it's easier to understand the unique qualities of human milk. 

Cows grow about 1000 pounds in the first year. Their milk is highest in protein because this is the essential nutrient for muscle and bone growth. Whales live in the ocean, which is cold. In order to thrive, they have a thick layer of blubber. Their milk is highest in fat.

Humans develop their brains during the first year. Human milk is full of special sugars that feed brain cells. In addition, constant engagement with the mother means that with every feed, their brain is connecting neural pathways. Breastfeeding means that babies smell, taste, see, hear, and feel their mom. Each sip is not just a sip! It is a brain-bursting experience! 

Don’t wait to feed!

One of the biggest misconceptions I run into is "waiting for breasts to fill up" before you feed your baby. The fastest way to make abundant milk is to keep your breasts empty. Empty breasts signal your body to make milk while full ones tell your body to stop making milk.

It's like being at a buffet. When the serving dishes get low, a waiter keeps bringing new ones. If no one eats anything, the tray just sits there. Your body will continue reabsorbing and producing fresh milk, so, unlike the buffet, the milk is always fresh and ready to eat, but over time, you will make less and less milk. Your baby may show signs of hunger and be less content. Their weight will plateau or drop.

In the early days and months, you will feel your breasts filling and emptying. Between 4 and 6 months, the amount of milk you make between feeds decreases. In other words, you won't feel as full. Your body starts to make most of the milk when the baby sucks, rather than between feeds.

Increasing your milk without pumping or galatagogues

If your baby doesn’t seem hungry, and also, is not gaining or only slowly gaining weight, increase the number of feeds in every day using a "mother led growth spurt." Many babies actually prefer to feed every hour or two all the way through the first year and beyond. A good rule of thumb is if your baby is gaining weight and staying on their curve, 8-12 feeds a day is fine. If they aren’t gaining, or they seem to need more, nurse 12-16 times in 24 hours.

A practice that goes along with this is switching sides frequently. A sleepy baby can suckle gently on one side for an hour and receive little or no measurable milk. If you watch them feeding and switch sides soon after they are done gulping, they will receive more milk with less effort. You may feed on each side several times and notice that each time, their sucking happens in short bursts and then slows down.

If your baby suddenly seems hungry after a few weeks of predictable feeding, follow their cues and feed as much as they want - it's normal and nothing to worry about - it's called "frequency days" or "growth spurts". After a few days of nursing more frequently, you should notice more fullness in your breasts and hear more swallowing when they breastfeed.

Worrying about having enough milk may be the #1 worry of all new mothers! 

Research shows that only 1 to 3% of women should worry about it! The first step, and frequently the shortcut, to a bountiful supply of milk is to offer your baby the breast frequently and encourage your baby to drink as much milk as they can. If you are worried, ask for guidance so that you can be really sure your baby is getting enough milk.

Conventional advice of nursing 10-20 minutes on each side is correct in one way- most babies do nurse about this long - but it does not take into account the QUALITY of the session. Watch the baby - when they are getting milk, you should hear gulping, see the jaw moving. and feel a rhythmic pull on your nipple.

How frequently you feed your baby is always the first benchmark to compare if you feel you need to increase the amount of milk you make.

If you feel anxious, check your baby's weight once a week. Ask to make an appointment at your pediatrician’s office, buy a scale or drop in to New Baby New Paltz any time we are open. We have a scale next to the changing table and a 3 ring notebook if you want to keep a chart.


Is this a Nursing Strike?

"Hey, so all of the sudden my three month won't eat. He won't take my breast and if he does it's a very short feed. He screams if I even put him in the position. I have milk and it's leaking out- even shooting out now because I'm so full. I tried a bottle with a slow nipple- he took some and then started crying. He has NEVER been like this before. He loves breastfeeding and his weight is great - 20 pounds at 3 months. He is an awesome eater and I'm worried. Should I call the pediatrician? He's arching his back, do you think he has reflux? I'm worried because of the lack of wet diapers. He needs to eat and I feel like I am going to burst!"

While, their might be a few things happening here, the first thing to start with is your baby's refusing to nurse which is called a nursing strike. 

A nursing strike is when a baby suddenly refuses to breastfeed. You might think a baby is weaning themselves but if they are younger than 12-18 months, that is unlikely. In addition, most babies gradually wean off breastfeeding before they stop completely. 

During a nursing strike, sometimes it is obvious why they stopped and more often, it takes detective work to figure out why.  Stay calm. Since his weight is great, you have a cushion of time. He's not going to starve or dehydrate if he doesn't nurse for a half a day or a day.  You, on the other hand will be very uncomfortable, so express milk to prevent engorgement and plugged ducts. You may need to pump several times to bring relief.

When a baby is refusing to breastfeed, you will make faster progress if you accept that there is a very good reason (in his mind, anyway) to NOT breastfeed. Don't fight that and don't force breastfeeding. Take a longer term view stay optimistic and keep trying.

So, if a baby has a very good reason, why do babies go on nursing strikes?

Babies strike for many reasons. What often happens is that something startled or bothered him while he was nursing and he got scared. He's afraid it will happen again. Therefore, if he doesn't nurse, it won't happen and he won't be scared! 

Think back and see if you can remember what might have happened just before he started refusing. Was there a loud noise? Did he bite you? Did you yell?

If you can figure out what it is, talk your baby through the event. Apologize if you did something that scared him. Explain what happened and try to coax him back onto the breast by reassuring him that it won't happen again. That you are his mommy and will protect him.

Maybe he's sick?

If he has an ear infection or a sore throat, nursing may be painful. Sometimes babies gag on a forceful letdown of milk.  Sometimes there's a new smell they don't like, like a new detergent, soap or deodorant. 

If he will not nurse, just keep him skin to skin. Try breastfeeding again when he's sleeping or drowsy. Try taking a bath together and see if that relaxes both of you into breastfeeding. Keep snuggling skin-to-skin, and keep offering without any pressure! Your attitude should be one of coaxing or seducing them back to breastfeeding. Making it their choice, not your will.

New or Old Patterns?

You may find settling into a favorite position helps or you may find just the opposite. Try different and unfamiliar positions to break the pattern.

If it continues more than 12 hours, offer a bottle or cup of breastmilk. If he refuses milk for more than a day, it's probably a good idea to see the doctor to rule out injury or illness.

How Much Does a Lactation Consultant Cost?

The answer to this question depends on several factors: 

1.What are the qualifications of the Lactation Consultant?

2. What do you need help with? 

3. Do you have health insurance or low-income qualifications?

Because "Lactation Consultant" is not a professional license recognized by the New York State Board of Regents, there is no Lactation Consultant license in New York (or most states), which means that anyone can say they are a Lactation Consultant. Most Lactation Consultants get a certificate from an organization showing their level of training, but there is no requirement that they do so.

So, it's a good idea to interview several Lactation Consultants before you select one and these questions can help you know which one can help you best.

  1. What is your certification?
  2. What is your professional training in helping moms and babies?
  3. Where have you worked as a Lactation Consultant?
  4. How long have you been a Lactation Consultant?
  5. Do you have a specialty?
  6. Describe your situation and ask, "How would help me in overcoming this problem?"
  7. How many appointments should I expect if we work together?
  8. When are you available to meet?
  9. Are you able to come to my home?
  10. What is your fee?
  11. Do you accept insurance?
  12. What resources do you have available to support me and my baby after our appointment?

International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLC) are the highest level of Lactation Consultants. In order to be certified, IBCLCs must pass certain college level classes, use a mentor who supervises their clinical training and pass a rigorous test. In addition, they must re-certify every 5 years and take 15 hours of continuing education in breastfeeding every year. Among IBCLCs there are specialties and wide differences in experience. IBCLCs who work in the hospital tend to work more with beginning breastfeeding, the first few weeks and breastfeeding premature babies. IBCLCs in private practice generally see the full range of breastfeeding experience from birth to weaning. In addition, they are free from corporate politics and policy.

Services by IBCLCs are covered by insurance companies both in and out of network. Coverage varies. Some IBCLCs are in network and you pay only a deductible. Most private practice IBCLCs are not in network. You pay out of pocket and be reimbursed. Most accept credit cards. Some offer sliding scale or payment plans. You can expect to pay IBCLCs from $0 in a hospital to $300+.


Certified Breastfeeding Counselors (CBC) are RNs who take a 45 hour course and pass the CBC certifying test. You can expect CBCs to charge from $0 at the hospital to $300+ for a home visit. Services of CBC/RNs are covered by insurance companies both in and out of network. Coverage varies. Some are in network and you pay only a deductible. 


Certified Breastfeeding Specialist (CBS), and Certified Lactation Counselors (CLC). These certificates are awarded after 45 hours of classroom education. Neither of these certifications requires any supervised training or personal experience before the Lactation Consultant receives their certificate. There is a wide range of experience and knowledge in these designations, from those who take only the 45 hours of classroom education, to RNs and MDs who earn the certificate to better understand breastfeeding. You could expect a consult to cost between $0 for CLCs working in a hospital or medical office, those just starting in private practice, up to $75 for a one-on-one appointment.


WIC Breastfeeding Peer Counselor: WIC PCs receive supervised training through WIC. There is a wide range of experience and knowledge in Peer Counselors, from those who have taken 20 hours of classroom education to those who have worked for WIC for decades. The services of WIC PCs are free if you receive WIC. In addition, some WIC offices have CLCs and IBCLCs on staff who are able to see you for a one-on-one appointment.


La Leche League Leaders. Technically, a LLL Leader is not a Lactation Consultant, but a highly educated volunteer who has breastfed at least one baby, gone through extensive training and mentorship and agrees to LLL's Ten Concepts of breastfeeding and parenting.  Breastfeeding help received through La Leche League Leaders is free. Yearly membership is encouraged but not mandatory. La Leche League Leaders help women either over the phone or in monthly group meetings that are held all over the world. They are allowed to make home visits, but not obligated.


Which is the right one to make an appointment with?


All Lactation Consultants and Specialists can help you with this:

  • How often to feed and how much
  • What to expect in the early days
  • Baby's feeding cues
  • How to know baby is getting enough
  • How to make more or less milk
  • How to have optimal feeds
  • Suggestions about latch
  • Show you different ways to hold your baby
  • Explain nipple care
  • If you want to pump, they can help you size pump flanges

All Lactation Consultants will observe you and your baby breastfeeding and write out a care plan that focuses on your problems and solutions.


An IBCLC is a health professional who, in addition to the basics above, will take a thorough medical history and discuss things that have an effect on breastfeeding. They work with your doctor or midwife if you need blood tests or other medical procedures that impact breastfeeding or milk production. 


If you have one of these situations, an IBCLC will probably be more helpful:

  • Your nipples are raw, bleeding, cracked, or hurting
  • You think, or have been told, that you are not making enough milk
  • Your baby is 5 days old and your milk has not come in or is 10 days and has not regained birth weight
  • Your baby is colicky or fussy or you think that your baby hates you and/or breastfeeding
  • You are crying every time you breastfeed because it hurts
  • You can't pump the amount of milk you need
  • You have an ongoing medical condition
  • Concerns about your baby's weight and how they latch or breastfeed,

In these situations, an IBCLC in private practice is more likely to be of help:

  • You need ongoing support and knowledge - continuous care
  • You need a long (hour plus) appointment
  • Your baby is older than 2 weeks
  • You need a specialist in your problem
  • You don't want to go to a hospital or clinic
  • You think, or you are ready to quit breastfeeding because you have tried everything
  • You want information unfiltered by corporate practice, policy or politics
  • It is an evening, weekend or holiday and your baby is hungry

With this information, where can you find a Lactation Consultant?

Most hospitals, WIC offices, and some pediatrician's offices and breastfeeding groups have Lactation Consultants on staff. 

There are many Lactation Consultants in private practice. You can find a geographical listing here: http://www.ilca.org/why-ibclc/falc 

Ask your friends or your doctor for a referral. You can also search online using search terms like "lactation consultant" along with the name of your town or nearby city.

When you are researching, it may seem that using a free or low cost Lactation Consultant is the best way to start. Another way of thinking is that if you never breastfed before, an excellent Lactation Consultant will shorten your learning curve and prevent problems. This is why it's important to talk to several before you make your decision. Remember that the most important thing is that you feel comfortable and overcome your current challenges.

What is a Good Latch?

What a "Good Latch" is...

(And is not!)

A good latch is a mouthful of breast that positions the nipple far back in the baby’s mouth, behind the hard palate. The baby’s face, nose, chin and both cheeks are evenly pressed against the breast. The baby’s cheeks are relaxed, not dimpled. When the baby sucks, their jaw moves from front to back, with a visible wave that starts at the chin and ends at the ear. You feel a rhythmic tugging on your nipple. 

A good latch is comfortable, in the "I could do this all day" kind of way.

A good latch is not sucking on the nipple like a bottle nipple.

While your baby is nursing, watch their cheek. Sucking in and dimpling means that the baby needs better positioning.

Sucking only on the nipple won't provide much milk because breastmilk is not removed by suction, but by ejection which happens with compressing, massaging or 'milking' the breast and nipple together.

You might be suprised to learn that a breast pump doesn't work by sucking out milk. Yes, technically pumps suck, but they also release which causes a different response from your body.

Vacuum stretches, and then releases, your nipple stimulating a release of oxytocin, which signals the smooth breast muscle to contract, ejecting the milk. The diaphragm inside the bottle opens from the pressure of the milk to collect it in the bottle, then closes with the next suction cycle of the pump.

 You may have difficulty ejecting milk when you are in pain, compounding low supply, weight gain and latch issues.


Here are some actions that aren't helpful and may cause more harm:

1. Latching and unlatching repeatedly will hurt your nipple and cause bruises, cracks or bleeding. Each time the baby clenches your nipple, it injures it more.

 2. Focusing on whether baby's lips are "flanged" or "not flanged". 

3. Pushing your baby's mouth or jaw open. This action triggers a fight response and your baby clenches their mouth tighter. Nobody likes being forced to have stuff put into their mouth. Your baby has probably already had this experience and is learning each time how to prevent it from happening again.

4. Touching your baby's face, top and back of head. All these touches trigger pushing and turning reflexes which moves baby away from your breast, not toward.

5. Hunching forward. This puts your baby in an unstable position and they will clench your nipple for stability, causing you pain and injury.

 6. Using a Boppy, My Brest Friend or other nursing pillow. These are convenient once you and your baby learn how to nurse, but will get in your way right now.


How to get a "Good Latch.”

The easiest way to get a good latch is to lean back into a reclining postion, let the baby find your nipple, self-attach and relax into suckling and swallowing. This is also called 'the breast crawl,' 'biological nurturing' or 'laid back nursing.'

If you have tried that and it isn't working, there are probably some good reasons why. You can come back to it when your baby learns how to breastfeed a little better. 

These instructions work for any nursing hold: Cradle, cross-cradle, football and side-lying.

Help the baby take the nipple in any of the dozen ways you've been shown. If it hurts, brace yourself until, and while, you make these adjustments in positioning and posture. As soon as you and the baby are positioned correctly it will stop hurting, or at least hurt much less. It may take 10 seconds or up to a minute. Each time you feed, good postioning will be more automatic.

1. With your baby attached to your breast, lean back into a reclining or semi-reclining position

2. Roll your baby until you are "belly-to-belly"

3. Pull the baby in close with most of their body pressing into you and your belly

4. Wait for the baby to start suckling. If it hurts, even if it hurts a lot, breathe through the pain until they start to suckle rythmically.

5. While the baby is focused on nursing, start to move the baby's body into alignment. You can make as many of these adjustments as you need for comfort.

  • belly to belly (not belly up)
  • ear, shoulder and hip aligned
  • face pressed in with nose, chin and two cheeks all touching the breast
  • chin level, not tipped or tucked
  • spine straight, not in a side-to side "C"
  • baby's hands on each side of their mouth, holding the breast

Gravity holds the baby in a stable position so your baby can relax. A relaxed baby opens their mouth, drops their lower jaw and allows a mouthful of breast and your nipple to be positioned deeply in their mouth. This eases nipple pain for you.


Still not comfortable?

 Check your posture:

  • Leaning back, fully supported by pillows or furniture
  • Shoulders square and level, supported by the chair, bed or couch.
  • Legs parallel, not crossed
  • Feet resting on a footstool, ottoman, bed, pillows, coffee table or floor
  • Arms resting on your belly or pillows

Posture for side-lying:

  • Lie on side with a pillow under your head, behind your butt and between your knees
  • Baby lies on side, belly to belly, facing you. Roll a receving blanket and tuck it behind their back.
  • You will probably need to attach the baby while propped on your elbow, before sliding down onto your pillow

Still not comfortable?

This positioning and postural alignment improves 98% of all latches and reduces pain for most mothers. If it doesn't:

1. It may be something you and your partner are not understanding. Written words are not as clear as coaching. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

2. It may be that you or your baby have tension, injury or asymmetry strains, like back strain in you or jaw misalignment or tortocollis in your baby, from pregnancy and birth that can be relieved with some physical therapy, osteopathy, chiropratic, cranio-sacral therapy or massage. 

3. There may be physical tethering of the tongue, lip or cheeks (tongue tie) that can be revised with scissoring or lasering by a qualified professional such as a pediatrician, ENT or dentist.


Reading articles is a great way to become more educated about breastfeeding. Because nursing your baby is a learned skill, you may find some coaching helpful. Please call or text Donna Bruschi at (845) 750-4402 if you would like additional help with your latch. 


The Step-by-Step Holiday Guide to Plugs, Blebs and Mastitis

As parties, preparations and push-up bras work their evil magic...

Ho! Ho! Ho! and Go! Go! Go! grinds to a halt.

This is the day you don't feel so good and that throbbing pain in your breast may need medical attention today. Yes, TODAY! The day of all days that you can't afford to waste a single minute, let alone cross the whole day off your calendar and go to bed. Here is a step-by-step guide to moving milk and getting back in the game.

Plugged (clogged) Milk Ducts

Plugged ducts happen when milk stagnates in a section of your breast either from compression or inefficient milk removal. It could be a baby who isn’t latching well, or a few days when you are busy and delay nursing, or it could be from clothing that compresses an area of your breast- like an underwire or too tight bra.

The stagnant milk curdles into yogurt and then cheese. This solid milk creates a plug - a tiny string cheese, the thickness of angel hair pasta - which causes a back up of milk inside your breast. The painful lump is not the plug. The lump is a reservoir of milk BEHIND the plugged milk duct. If you start massaging on the lump, you are pressing milk into the plug and increasing the pressure without moving any dried milk out.

If you don’t move the plug and get the milk flowing again, you can develop mastitis.

Start self care immediately. It would be a good idea to call in sick to work and/or get help if you have children who rely on you for everything. Continue breastfeeding and pumping as often as possible. To work on getting the plug out, you may want to take a pain reliever, like Motrin, and give it some time to get into your system. You may not. Everyone has different pain tolerances, but working out a plugged duct is painful, even though it also feels good in a certain way.

It’s easier if someone can take care of your baby while you work on this.  If that isn’t possible, try when the baby takes a nap.

  • Breastfeed or pump, so your breast is less full. Either work in a big bowl of warm water or in the bathtub, with the water high enough that you can comfortably lean over and soak your breasts.  Soak them for a few minutes, to let the heat expand the ducts and soften the skin of your nipple.  
  • Grasp the nipple and pull it down away from the breast. Press it between your fingers and roll it, to your pain tolerance. It doesn’t have to be vigorous. All you are trying to do is work some dried milk out and reshape the curdled milk in the duct, so liquid milk can help to wash it out. You may start to see a white dot or a tiny string cheese on the tip of your nipple.
  • Move back about 1/2 inch and repeat, pulling the nipple down and away from your breast. Then, move back another 1/2” pinching and rolling any lumpy areas down, moving milk down to the plug. You may feel stringy lumps like spaghetti, inside your breast while you are massaging. This is dried milk. Massage any sore areas towards the nipple tip. You may use olive or another massage oil to keep friction to a minimum if you are not working in water.
  • When you are working the thickened milk out, it feels painful, or at least uncomfortable, and when the plug releases it feels immediately better. Sometimes you see the breastmilk string cheese in the water. If you don’t, that’s OK. Your baby may remove it while breastfeeding. It won't hurt your baby to swallow it. It’s just breastmilk cheese and still has all the antibodies and nutrients of your milk.

Breastfeeding with a plugged duct

Because a baby’s tongue massages your breast when they breastfeed, try changing up positions when you nurse. Try to line up their nose or chin with the sore spot and breastfeed. Some mothers swear by “dangle nursing.” Get on your hands and knees with the baby beneath you and breastfeed.

Be persistent and stay on top of milk removal. Try to figure out the cause and prevent that from happening. Some women have overabundant milk and their baby can’t remove it fast enough. If their baby oversleeps one night, they develop a plug. Some women are so exhausted they sleep in one position for 5 hours compressing a spot on their breast. Babies go through teething, a distractable phase, or have stuffy noses and leave breasts half-full. And, don't forget the above-mentioned parties and bras.

If you don't work out the plug you may develop a....

Nipple Bleb

A bleb is a milk pimple. It starts when milk sits in the nipple so long that it skins over. The treatment is the same as for plugged ducts. If nursing, massage or gentle exfoliation doesn’t open the skin, you may need to see your doctor to have it lanced. It sounds awful, but it is less painful than a bleb and brings immediate relief. Once the skin is opened, diligent and persistent plugged duct treatment is needed, or it will re-form. Both plugged ducts and blebs can also be a symptom of poor latch and tongue tie.

If you ignore blebs and plugs, you may develop...


Mastitis is an infection inside your breast. It happens when milk stagnates in a section of your breast and you are exhausted. Milk stagnates when there is incomplete removal of milk either from compression or a baby who isn’t latching well. 

Mastitis starts with a plugged duct and a lump in breast which you may or may not notice until it becomes infected. The first sign many women notice is an overnight decrease in milk production on one side. If nursing, pumping and massage don’t move the plug and the milk behind it, a pink or red patch will develop on the skin. Over time the red patch will grow, often into a stripe from nipple to the lump and into the armpit. You will become feverish, often engorged in one breast and feel awful. Mastitis has sudden-onset, flu-like symptoms: fatigue, aches, fever, chills and a sore or throbbing breast.

Mastitis can come on suddenly, in a matter of hours. It is a serious condition, that if untreated, can lead to breast abscesses or hospitalization.

There are two components of treatment.

The first is to get the milk flowing and the second is to address the infection. Getting milk moving is addressed in the section above on plugged ducts.

To treat the infection, you are going to have to decide how sick you are and what your treatment options are. It's not easy to decide to go to the emergency room when it's an hour away and you have 2 sick kids and a baby. Or, you've been fighting a yeast infection for months. Or this is your third round of mastitis in the past few months. Or, maybe it's Saturday night and you can go to the Urgent Care doctor in 12 hours.

If you can get the milk moving within an hour or so, you may start to heal with self-care alone. Your first action should be to massage the plug out and use your normal home remedies for sickness. Some people take vitamins, garlic, herbal teas or tinctures, zinc, chicken soup - whatever your favorite healing remedy is - take the time to massage your breast, get the milk flowing and go to bed. Your routine for the next few hours or 1/2 day should be sleep, nurse the baby, hand express/pump and massage the plug out. 

If you have done self-care for 12 hours and you are not getting better, or feel worse, it's time for medical attention.

If you know you are too sick for self-care, call your primary care, midwife or obstetrician, go to urgent care or the emergency room. They will prescribe an breastfeeding-friendly antibiotic which usually clears up the infection in a day or so. They may also take a culture when they examine you. You still need to unplug the duct but it will be easier when the infection is reduced. 

Mastitis is almost always a sign that you are trying to do too many things without enough rest. An exhausted mom will take not time to attend to make sure every latch is perfect, every feed complete. Because she is tired, it seems overwhelming to unplug yet another plugged duct. Mastitis is a call to simplify, to let go of something, so that you can take care of the most important person in your family, YOU.

If you need help resolving your plugged ducts, call or text Donna Bruschi, IBCLC at (845) 750-4402 for an appointment.

Biting the Breast That Feeds You

Nothing prepared Jenn for the searing pain coming from her left breast. She let out a howl and looked down at her son. If that wasn’t bad enough, there was Josh with a big smile on his face. He pulled her nipple out another inch and let it go. He stared at her and tried to nurse again when her hand and a loud “No!” stopped him. His smile turned to a cry and he burst out sobbing.

Jenn felt terrible and confused. It hurt! Why would he bite her? Why was he so proud of hurting her?  Her first impulse was to push him away, then tears came to her eyes and she hugged him in.  A quick look at her nipple showed bright red teeth prints but no blood.

There is not much worse than a baby who bites. The most dedicated nursing mother can give up hope when faced with round two or three of nursing after a hard bite.

Why do babies bite and what can you do to stop them?

Most mothers report that their baby started biting at around 4-6 months of age. A baby usually bites because he wants his mother’s attention and her attention is elsewhere. A baby wants to be in constant connection with his mother because she is his lifeline. When she is away, even if it’s only on a mental vacation, he will try to bring her attention back. Other reasons a baby might be biting is because the milk flow slowed, his teeth hurt or he sees he’s getting an unusual reaction from his mother and he’s curious about it.

The easiest way to avoid being bitten again is to pay attention to your baby while he is nursing. There are clues that a bite is coming. In every feeding, you usually have three stages. The first is active feeding time, when the baby is gulping. That is usually a low risk time for biting. Then comes a transition time where you may feel your baby start to become restless, stop sucking or start squirming. Right after this, there may be a pause followed by the bite.

During the transition time, focus on your baby. If he tries to bite, be prepared to unlatch him with your finger. Alternatively, you can pull him in against your breast so his nose is blocked. When his nose is blocked, his mouth will pop open and he will release your breast. Most mothers have a preference to one way or the other.

At this point you can offer him something else, talk to him about nursing correctly or just end the nursing session and hold him. Try not to overreact by pushing him away or setting him down away from you. This just reinforces the feeling of separation that he was bringing to your attention by biting you.

Some babies bite once and never do it again. Others need a little more coaching. All babies stop because they love breastfeeding and you. They don’t want to hurt you or their ability to nurse.

I've got boob on the brain

August is Breastfeeding Awareness month and I’ve got boob on the brain! My baby girl, Rita Cassidy was born 3 summers ago, in August of 2011. We are about to celebrate her 3rd birthday later this week! It is truly amazing how quickly little ones grow!

I cannot put very many accomplishments above watching my daughter’s growth in those first 8 months during which she was exclusively breastfed! I remember moments of pride that couldn’t be contained after well-visits with the pediatrician confirmed our belief that our daughter was thriving on her mama’s milk.

There are few relationships in life that are as basic, primal, and intrinsic as that of the newborn baby and mother: an exclusive, yet mutually beneficial symbiotic partnership!

I remember there were moments during pregnancy where I found it difficult to visualize what my days would be like with a new baby in our home: what would it be like to breastfeed? Would my breasts meet their required duties? Would they leak like a dripping faucet? All of these questions whirled through my mind as Rita’s expected arrival in the world drew nearer…

I told myself, time and again during pregnancy, when it came to breastfeeding, "Just take it day by day." I had faith in my body, but the breastfeeding class I had participated in left me with doubts! In my last trimester I came to the realization that I had done enough breastfeeding homework. I felt like the only way to learn breastfeeding, was to have my baby at my breast!

12 days after her expected due date, Rita arrived right on time! One hour after she was born, she successfully latched and nursed on both sides. My heart was full. There are no words to describe the emotions which new parents go through in the first few days after welcoming a new baby to the world. It is a feeling I will cherish forever. What I find so remarkable is that although my baby and I had never exchanged glances before, this was not the beginning of our journey.

The journey together for mother and baby begins with conception, peaks at birth and then is nurtured through breastfeeding! After coming home from the hospital with our daughter I was surprised how quickly we were able to find our own rhythms. At the heart of our daily rhythm was breastfeeding.  

Finding our way to a happy nursing relationship facilitated my ability to create daily patterns that kept both me and Rita content! Our first waking moments together each morning were shared during breastfeeding. Nursing led to Rita’s naps and helped her transition back to wakefulness from rest. Finally, nursing was how would say good night to each other at the end of each day!  

We weaned when she was 25 months. These days my breasts still hold a special place in Rita’s heart! Looking back it almost seems the weaning period was more difficult for me than her, emotionally speaking! Every once in a while she will catch an exposed breast and attempt a lightning fast latch on! But, to our surprise she has forgotten how to latch properly and we both start to giggle!

She recently told me “I want big boobs!” I laughed and asked her what she would do with them?” She responded “I would let Mama nurse on them!”  

Pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding empowered me as a woman! Through these experiences I became passionate about autonomy in birth, lactivism and family wellness! I want to dedicate some of my time to fostering a way of societal thinking that promotes holistic wellness from conception through breastfeeding and onward! I feel so blessed to be raising my daughter in a conscious community like New Paltz. Our community is a Mecca for holistic living particularly in the childbirth department!

Let us work together: Mothers, Fathers, Grandmothers, Lactivists, Midwives, Doulas and Childbirth Educators, all side by side, in an effort to create a space where children come into this world peacefully and parents feel empowered to make their own informed choices!

Power to the Peaceful Parent!

Till Next Time, Be Well!

How Long You Gonna Breastfeed that Baby?

The number one, Nosy Nelly question, stated or implied with an eyeroll.

toddler nursing how long new baby new paltzVariations include:

  • When are you going to stop breastfeeding?
  • You're STILL breastfeeding!?
  • You'll stop when he has teeth, right?
  • You know, there's no nutritional value after a year.
  • She doesn't take a bottle!?
  • It's time to stop nursing now. You did it long enough.
  • The "say-nothing-but-wrinkle-their-nose-raise-their-eyebrows-and-look-at-you" look


Ending breastfeeding is full of emotions for you and your baby.

It can be hard to be OK with all of your own feelings around weaning, let alone articulate and share them with random strangers and rude relatives.

Weaning might be forced at a few weeks or months due to lack of support, misinformation or medical cause. It might be an independent one year old too busy with his big brother to nurse. It may happen after 5 or more years of mutually satisfying breastfeeding.

Even in relationships where baby-led weaning is desired, you will swing between overwhelming love and feeling trapped. Closeness and connection can quickly turn claustrophobic with 24/7 soothing and feeding. You can dislike your larger, leaking breasts, and breastfeeding related problems like plugged ducts and mastitis, even as you love your baby's robust health, milk drunk naps, loving looks and snuggles.

The obvious neediness of a normal baby doesn't look like normal in our culture. 

We pride ourself on bootstrapping independence. Many nursing mamas feel, and are told that they are somehow "causing" this innate neediness, because their baby insists on connection and reconnection with their mama. While there are many variables in personalities, babies who are breastfed longer tend to develop greater confidence, security and independence in the preschool years and later.

When asked for responses to "How long are you going to breastfeed?" Moms find many ways to answer, and their overwhelming reaction is this: 

"It is an intimate question; one that shouldn't be asked!"

Rude people are everywhere and the best defense is a good offense. It can be helpful to practice a few responses. Write down ones that pop up after the offender has left. You may find a few responses here that resonate with you. Practice saying them and you will gracefully handle this question every time it pops up!

People are curious about breastfeeding.

If this might be the case, try a straightforward answer, grounded in life as you know it. You might say:

"When he's ready."
"Whenever my baby decides she's done."
"When we are both ready."
"Whenever it feels like it's time. I'll follow my baby's lead. No specific age in mind."
"Whenever my baby wants to."
"When my daughter decides to or I stop producing... whichever comes first."
"I was surprised we got to 1 year...now she's 3 so I gave up guessing. One less thing for me to worry about as far as her being a picky eater."
"When my baby is done or when she becomes too old for me to be comfortable with continuing."
"When it isn't working for us anymore. He's 3.5 years and we're still going strong... Very, very strong."
"My first was 4 when he stopped. my second just turned 3 and the baby is 9 months, so I have years left."
"My son just turned 1 and I am so done. I am slowly in the process of weaning."
"I'm hoping to make it at least a year. Anything after that will be a pleasant bonus. We'll wean whenever we're both ready after that.

Being evasive is a time honored way of subtly letting rude people know that their question is not welcome!

"Some day."
"In about fifteen minutes."
"After we switch sides."

Be prepared for what happened when other mamas were evasive: 

"I told someone 'When he's ready' this weekend. She went all bug-eyed and said, "WHAT IF THAT'S NOT TILL HE'S FIVE?" My response was a shrug."

"When he doesn't want to anymore. I love the look on everyone's face when I say that.

Another milestone, college, is often mentioned to politely deflect the question.

"Maybe the day I drop her off at college."
"I just say college and change the subject, because it's no one's business."
"It's hard to side-lie in a dorm bed!"
"Of course if he decides to stay local as opposed to going away, say SUNY New Paltz, well, obviously we'll have reassess weaning.

'I'm sure he'll quit by middle school..."

If they don't take a mild hint? Bring out the big guns!

"When are you going to stop minding my business?"
"When you pry this baby from my cold dead hands!!!!
"Never! She's gunna breastfeed til I die."

Finally, there's nothing like confidence and personal experience to educate another:

"I would like to be completely weaned before she turns 2. I went to 18 months with my first."

"I've breastfed two kids to their second birthdays and they self-weaned. I plan on letting my baby do the same and hopefully she'll go longer than her older sisters! When my baby is done, that's when I'll stop breastfeeding."

"I remember holding my 3 year old child, who wasn't breastfed, and thinking I wouldn't be comfortable breastfeeding a child this old. Of course, it may be different with my second, because I have a breastfeeding relationship with her already....we shall see."

"I say one, but I love it so much, I don't know. I'll let her decide. I never realized what a bond it is. I love it. My hubby knows how much it means to me too, so he is good with it. We were at my mom's yesterday and I was feeding the baby on the couch. He pulled down my shirt. He was being funny! He said "I don't care if your boob is out, but cover the belly." Ha! I never thought I would hear that one."

"We are at 7 months. I would personally like to stop at 1 year, but she seems to be on her own schedule, as usual, so whatever her majesty wants, I guess her majesty gets!"

"There are days when I'm over it- when she still nurses like a newborn. She's 19 mos, but for the most part I'm so glad we're still at it!! Especially when she goes through eating strikes or when she's sick...I'll let her decide when to wean."

"I used to tell people that my minimum goal was the guideline set by World Health Organization and talk about the importance of that. If pushed, I'd tell them that my goal is baby-led weaning."

"In the end, none of my four were entirely baby-led weaned and I would have liked things to go differently. My first was 4 years 9 months and cut off cold turkey in desperation when baby-led weaning, tapering feeds slowly and discussions didn't work. It was a HUGE mistake. It affected our relationship for years. I nudged my second, third and fourth along a little faster than they were ready for, but I was never going to cut my kids off cold turkey again. The second and third were 5 years when they weaned. The last one weaned a bit before her 3rd birthday because I ran out of milk, dry nursing was very uncomfortable and she wasn't especially upset."

"When my pediatrician and I agree that the baby is no longer breastfeeding. (this puzzles them) I often had a diaper bag full of articles and research that I would offer to family members who had something to say about it. I told my MIL that when she graduated from medical school and completed her residency in Pediatrics, I would be happy to discuss the care and feeding of my child with her, but until she is a doctor I will not discuss these issues with her at all. That shut her up."

"I went to 2 1/2 last time. Not really thinking I want to do that again. We'll see how it goes."

"When baby feels like it. My first weaned around 16 months but I hope my second makes it to 2 years."

Whenever you and your baby decide to wean, whether breastfeeding is measured in days, weeks or years, know that it is a highly personal decision that is rarely based in hard facts. It's often unpredictable and complicated. When you are finished, you will have appreciation for nursing and for yourself, and probably some regrets and 20-20 hindsight. But, you will never forget how breastfeeding and weaning made you feel.

My thanks to the mamas of Café Mama's Breastfeeding Café for their wise comments and quotes.

If you are needing information about weaning your breastfed baby or child, please call/text Donna Bruschi at 845-750-4402 or read more here.

Teething, Biting & Being Mean

"All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth..."

It was a wonderful and exciting day I lost my first baby tooth!  The entire class gathered round to see the tooth. To stare at the bloody gap. To speculate how much the tooth fairy would leave. (I think I got a dime per tooth.) And, for some crusty first graders, to completely deny the existence of The Tooth Fairy. (No!!! And Santa? And the Easter Bunny?)

The excitement passed hands within a day or so, as another classmate took center stage with a tooth falling out. 

It was one thing to be the bloodied master of my own destiny, yanking my tooth out of its socket, triumphantly holding it in my fingers, going to the nurse's office and coming back with a small brown envelope and a bloody gauze square!

It was another to be in the middle of the pumpkin toothed masses with big gaps and even bigger teeth crookedly making their way front and center. When that happened, I remember becoming acutely self-conscious. I yearned for my beautifully aligned, small, perfect, baby teeth.

But, growing up doesn't work that way. It was the end of one era and the beginning of another.

Whether for a 6 month old or a 6 year old, two front teeth are a perfect gift! Teeth are wonderfully useful things to have, to use and to look at. Teeth make possible a whole new way of eating, relating to the world and, of course, change a baby's looks dramatically.

The process of teething requires your patience and understanding. It's often uncomfortable or painful and when we have a painful spot, our instinct is to apply pressure. That is exactly what babies do to mama's breast, daddy's shoulder or brother's fingers.

Unfortunately, it usually result in the first act of discipline that a child experiences.

One idea I often hear, and would like to clarify is that babies aren't evil and they don't "like" to inflict pain on you. What they do love is "surprises." When they bite you and see you jump, your face changes dramatically and your exclamation is not what they usually hear. (I hope!) They laugh at the surprise!

Because of this misunderstanding, a number of parents are dramatic or harsh when their baby bites and their dramatic responses may actually prolong their baby's biting experiments, because the baby is looking first for a pattern and then for a surprise.

A respectful way to handle baby bites is try to decipher a pattern of biting, anticipate bites, and avoid them. If baby does land a bite, try to quickly pull the baby in closer, try to stay calm and redirect them with something they CAN chew on - a frozen cloth, a wooden or silicone teether, or a snack.

A kind way to stay out of harm's way, yet connected and communicating correct behavior is to keep the baby on your lap and face them out while putting a teether in their mouth or hand.

As with any discipline, practice makes perfect! And, with 20 teeth to practice on, it is inevitable that you will find a way that works best for you and your baby.

Toddlers who bite are another 'beast' altogether and I will talk about them next week.

Childhood Perceptions of Breastfeeding

Do you ever wonder how children’s perceptions of breastfeeding evolve as they get older? I do! I am interested in how children’s perceptions change specifically in the period surrounding their wean time, as well as the next couple of years after weaning.

It seems obvious to me that a child’s relationship to breastfeeding evolves from the time they are a newborn till the time they wean. What happens then? Breastfeeding which was always a personal experience for the child becomes something of a spectator sport, something which they no longer participate in, but will often see other children in the act.

Recently, my 2 ½ year old daughter and I were at the library socializing with other children her age. A nursing toddler, a little girl Rita’s size, caught her eye. She hurried over and asked “Are you nursing?” The mother replied “Yes” politely while the nursing toddler went about her business.

Awkward-Extended-Breastfeeding-Explanation crisis averted.

Then Rita asked “How come your still nursing? You're not a tiny baby!” I started to cringe a bit, wondering where this conversation would lead. The mother smiled but paused for a moment and responded “Because she still likes to.” A great answer in my book and Rita seemed content with it too. 

What strikes me as comical about this situation and others similar to it is that Rita breastfed long beyond being a “tiny baby.” In fact when she weaned only a few months previous, she was quite a big girl, weighing in at over 30 lbs and past 2 years old! Yet, for some reason, at this point, Rita only associates nursing with tiny babies.

Perhaps, I am the culprit to Rita’s association of breastfeeding with tiny babies.

As Rita was fully weaned, every so often she would try to nurse on me (she still does this six months after weaning every once in a while). I would respond to her nursing attempts by saying “What are you doing trying to nurse? You're not a tiny baby anymore, you finished up all mama’s milk.” At this she will laugh and forget about her prior request.

Did I oversimplify the breastfeeding relationship to my daughter throughout the weaning process? Granted she is only two, so naturally many of our explanations to her are probably oversimplified. But, after our interaction at the library I felt like I may have fallen short.

My daughter and I breastfed longer than most,  and yet she didn’t understand the relationship when she saw another toddler-mother pair modeling it! I am thinking through continuing to educate her on the evolving role that breastfeeding can play in a child’s life and emphasizing that it is unique to each child.

I have one memory from my youth of breastfeeding.

Growing up, I was not exposed to breastfeeding. It was Christmas and the whole family was together. I drifted from the group and wandered into the seemingly empty living room. There was my Aunt Nancy, with my newborn cousin, silently nursing. I felt like I had interrupted, didn’t belong and snuck out just as quietly as I had entered. That’s it. My only memory of breastfeeding comes from my Aunt isolating herself from the rest of my family to nurse.

I will never forget the first time I saw a group of mothers breastfeeding together.

At that point I was a breastfeeding mom myself and it blew my mind. It kindled an ancient memory in me, as if I, deep down in my cells, remembered a time when women gathered and tended their children together.

I don’t want my daughter to grow up with the minimal exposure to breastfeeding that I had. I want her to understand it as a natural part of our lives, something that does not need to be secretive or concealed.

 I want her to know how it filled me with pride to breastfeed her!  It fills me with joy to think about her experiencing this same relationship someday! As she grows and her memories of being at the breast grow foggier, I will strive to continue educating her about the normalcy of breastfeeding (at any size or age). I’m not trying to turn my two year old into a lactivist by any means; it is simply my hope that as she gets older she remains comfortable with the breastfeeding relationship when she observes it! As with most situations in life, a bit of compassion and understanding go along way!

Till next time, Be Well!

Your Baby Is Using You As A Pacifier

breastfeeding baby cosleep new baby new paltz

Let's take a closer look at that statement.

First, pacifiers don't have any milk. They are something to suck. Specifically, an object to suck. A firm object that is in the same category as hard candies, lollipops, popsicles, pens, spoons, and straws to name a few others. Generic, easily lost, easily replaced.

The biggest difference between you and a pacifier is that even when your baby is lazily flutter sucking, they are getting everchanging droplets of milk. Milk specially designed for your baby's age and gender, full of antibodies, hormones, nutrients, and things that we don't even know exist. That, in itself, should encourage you to let your little one suckle.

Why is suckling so important?

Suckling relieves pain.

In an adult, the need to suck is clinically, and jokingly, called an oral fixation. It's so pervasive that there are thousands and thousands of jokes and beliefs about it. It's a habit that is hard to break because it is not a habit. It is a need. Humans need to suck. It's how we survive as infants with eating as well as soothing. If we suck our thumb, a pacifier or breastfeed until we wean ourselves, the need is integrated and we grow out of it.

Here's another reason to let your baby suckle at the breast.

It's so easy. There are a hundred reasons why your baby or child may need to breastfeed. Hunger and thirst are obvious. But what about being too cold or hot? Overwhelmed? Bored? Tired?

Even when you don't know exactly why your baby is needing to suckle, nursing your baby or child will heal a multitude of woes.

Intertwined with feeding is our need for attention. It is through interacting with other humans, especially our mother that we learn everything we need to know in the early years. Breastfeeding engages all five of the baby's senses at once. There is a constant interaction between mama and baby gazing at each other, talking and listening, touching and stroking. Every single interaction fires neurons in the brain and makes connections. This is one of the reasons breastfed babies have higher IQs.

What it really means.

In its primal way, your baby is saying, "Mama, I need you. I need you, the life giver, the one who nurtures me best. I need you to comfort me. I need you to help me through this time until I feel good again. I need you to nurse me while I feel uncomfortable. Someday I will be able to tell you I'm sad, hungry, lonely, angry, hot, cold, lazy or that I just don't know what's wrong, but I can't do that yet.

"I need your milk. It's made just for me. I need your eyes looking into mine, to know that I am safe. I need to know that you are near. I need to hear your reassuring voice soothing me back into happiness. I need to taste your milk that leads me drip by drip into comfort and contentment. I need to feel your skin, your touch, your grounding presence bringing me back when I fly off into the unknown.

"Most of all, I just need to know that you are with me, human being to human being."

Why it's so hard to do.

The challenge I see in my work with moms is that parents feel overwhelmed at the duration and intensity of caring for newborns. It's easy to breastfeed for a little while, but sometimes, babies cry endlessly. A crying baby can cause you to feel all kinds of horrible feelings. When you are upset, it makes it very hard for your baby to calm down.

When you feel overwhelmed, you will try anything to stop that baby from crying. As a result, you rush through one thing after another trying to solve the unknown problem and upset the baby even more by overwhelming them with even more sensations and processes.

Learning to be still and present with an upset baby is partly instinctual but mostly it's a learned skill. The first step is to understand that humans usually only need to be listened to and comforted when they are upset. They don't always need a problem solved in order to return to happiness. 

Back to the pacifying.

If suckling at your breast works, then use it. What better way to teach your child to connect with other humans than by offering comfort and company of breastfeeding during the challenging life stage of infancy. Offering (or forcing) a baby to use a pacifier teaches them to look for comfort from objects, not humans.

When you hold your baby and let them suckle, they learn empathy and compassion. They learn how to help others in times of suffering. For what is the purpose of being human with our ability to talk and share, if we can not connect with another in our darkest, most painful hours?

My love to you and your family....


Tis The Season for Mastitis

What do Push-up Bras, Holiday Festivities, Exhaustion, Babysitters and too many desserts all have in common?


Continue Reading

Target Nurse-In

I am hosting a Nurse-In standing in solidarity with Michelle Hickman, a Houston mom who was harassed at Target. She is organizing a series of “nurse-ins” at Target stores across the country on December 28th at 10:00am to raise awareness about a baby’s right to be fed in public.

Wednesday, December 28, 10-11 am Target, Hudson Valley Mall, Kingston.

I invite you to be present, nursing or not. I am going to speak with the manager at Target-Kingston, today. First to interview them with our Breastfeeding Initiative of Ulster County questionnaire and then to let them know what we have planned. I am hoping for an educational table and moms nursing either in a group or all through the store (if we have enough to make a real presence). It would be great if they hosted us!

After I meet with Target, I will send out more details. The event is happening even if they don't want to host us!

Please share this with your friends!

I need help with contacts: The Ulster Department of Health, The Kingston Hospital, and WIC are all agencies in support of breastfeeding. It would be great if any or all of them had a public presence at the event.

Does anyone have a contact at The Daily Freeman? How about the local TV stations?



Here is the story if you want to read more:


Target is in hot water again after employees at a Houston Target store harassed a breastfeeding mother, in contravention of their own corporate breastfeeding policy. Michelle Hickman was Christmas shopping on the evening of November 29, 2011 and had a basket full of planned purchases when her baby woke up and needed to be fed. Hickman found a quiet space to nurse her baby  and was harassed and humiliated by Target staff for doing so. When she complained to Target guest relations about the incident, she was further harassed by the woman on the phone and accused of “flaunting it” and was then dismissed by that woman’s supervisor too.

Hickman told her story to the Best for Babes Foundation, an organization that works to beat the “booby traps” that prevent moms from meeting their own breastfeeding goals. Describing the scenario in the store, Hickman wrote about what happened after she sat down and started nursing her baby, using a nursing cover that completely covered him:

"Two female employees came and verbally asked me to move. The 2nd one told me that Target employees had been told/trained to interrupt nursing and to redirect mothers to the fitting rooms. Even after I informed the 2nd employee of my legal right to nurse in public she still suggested me moving closer to the jean display, turning to face another direction, and also turn my basket a certain way which would have put me practically underneath the jean display and totally barricaded me in. Employee #2 even hinted in a threatening way “you can get a ticket and be reported for indecent exposure” when nothing was being exposed and there was more boob showing from low cut shirts several shoppers were wearing that night."

As this was happening, another three or four employees were standing around watching, shaking their heads, and “making a spectacle” or her nursing. Hickman notes that no one other than store employees even saw her nursing. The next day, Hickman contacted the Target corporate office and spoke to a guest relations officer. She wanted to notify them of the situation and suggest that they inform their employees of a woman’s legal right to nurse in public. She describes what happened on that phone call:

"The lady (I wish I would have gotten her name) told me that she and Target were aware of our legal rights as nursing mothers, but that Target has different policies because they are a family friendly public place. I can’t think of a more family friendly act than breastfeeding and providing the irrefutably proven healthiest diet to my baby. She continued to inform me repeatedly that Target’s policies were different than the law and even went as far to say several times that just because it is a woman’s right to nurse in public even without a nursing cover like I was using, doesn’t mean women should walk around “flaunting it” and was extremely rude."

Hickman asked to speak to the woman’s supervisor but didn’t get any further with the supervisor either.
This isn’t the first time that breastfeeding moms have been harassed at Target. It happened in 2006 in Minneapolis and in 2009 in Michigan. Despite these incidents, Target insists that it supports breastfeeding in its stores. In a 2006 statement on its corporate policy, Target wrote:

"Target has a long-standing practice that supports breastfeeding in our stores. We apologize for any inconvenience the guest experienced and will take this opportunity to reaffirm this commitment with our team members. For guests in our stores, we support the use of fitting rooms for women who wish to breastfeed their babies, even if others are waiting to use the fitting rooms. In addition, guests who choose to breastfeed discreetly in more public areas of the store are welcome to do so without being made to feel uncomfortable."

A series of “nurse-ins” are being planned at Target stores across the country on December 28th at 10:00am to raise awareness about a baby’s right to be fed in public.

Target Nurse-In Follow Up

What a week! It started when I was interviewed by Time magazine online who gave me a generous quote.

On Monday and Tuesday, I was trying to get the insurance settled for the mall. That went right up until the beginning of the Target Nurse-In.

On Tuesday, I had just gotten out of the shower when my home phone rang. It's ABC News wanting to interview me. (Of course, my phone battery is dying!)

I got everything together, picked up Liz Pickett, from MISN and a friend, (She was the catalyst for this event!!) and went to Kingston.

When Liz and I arrived, there was no table, no chairs. I called. I went to the office. It was locked. I called and left a message. Liz went a little later and said they wanted to talk to me about the insurance. People from Healthy Start, The Institute for Family Health and filmmaker Heather MacLean were already there. Beth Croughan, the reporter from YNN was on her way for an interview.

The mall manager was brusque, said I had misrepresented the event, I didn't have the insurance needed, and they were denying the application. There would be no event. I told him "OK, this conversation is over." He told me I had to leave the mall premises and if I didn't leave, I would be removed. I went back to the group, got my stuff and started taking it back to my car. Liz talked to Mark, the manager of Target. He offered that we could meet in the snack bar.

Beth Croughan had permission to film in the parking  lot, so we went out. I put all the handouts and table displays in my car. Beth got her camera and interviewed me. (She also interviewed Heather MacLean and Katy Weber.)

When we came back in,  we had several mothers from New Baby New Paltz, representatives from Kingston Hospital, Family Institute for Health, WIC, and Journalists Anne Pyburn, Rob Walters. Rob interviewed me in the snack bar, took pictures, made audio and video clips. It is thanks to him that we had such a nice story. Because of that story, we got a lot of publicity.

The Nurse-In? It was really mellow! In total we had 12 moms, their babies and children sitting in the snack bar doing what they always do--tending to the needs of their children and chatting.  OK... it was a little more excitement than usual, but nothing abnormal!

Thank You to the Target manager, Mark, for his helpfulness and kind words. I know several of you got to talk with him.

A BIG Thank You to the participants:

Moms with babies/children: (please let me know if I didn't get your name right)
Evon Valentine
Kathy Puffer
Kristin Koffman
Kelly Burns
Katy Weber
Kim McArdle
Antonia Kannengeiser
Nancy Hoose
Rachel Loshak
Nicole Aulicino
Erin Bertholf

Professionals from the Breastfeeding Initiative of Ulster County (BIUC)

Laurie Smith, Community Heart Health (?)
Matt Maher, Institute Family Health
Liz Pickett, Maternal Infant Services Network
Gabriela Franze, Institute Family Health
Donna Bruschi, New Baby New Paltz
Laurie Mozian, Kingston Hospital
Amy, WIC
Natasha Grant, Institute Family Health(?)

And a big thank you to the Media, for their accurate and pro-breastfeeding slant on all their stories!

Time Online
YNN Channel 6, Beth Croughan
ABC News
Times Herald Record
Daily Freeman http://dailyfreeman.com/articles/2011/12/28/news/doc4efb70760eeff759336853.txt
Mid-Hudson News http://midhudsonnews.com/News/2011/December/28/Breastfeeding-28Dec11.htm
Anne Pyburn, journalist
Rob Walters, journalist
Heather MacLean, Filmmaker

I think all our publicity is posted on the New Baby New Paltz Facebook page. You don't need to be on Facebook to read it--it's public.

I also want to thank all of you who were there in spirit. If babies weren't babies, I know a lot more of you would have been there. It's hard to coordinate an event and hope your baby isn't sleeping, sick, or vacationing. I'd like to also acknowledge all of you employed moms, who were paying the bills so your families can be comfortable. In reality, you are working two jobs and I give you props for all your sacrifices.

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New Paltz, NY 12561

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