Breast: Why Settle For Less?

25 07 2010

This is my idea of a breastfeeding support and protection poster.  I was wondering what yours was?  I thought of “Breast: Why Settle For Less?” as I was doing the housework this afternoon.  Ooops, better get back to it.  But I’d really like to see some positive, phrased appropriately, and home made poster ideas, from you all.  Really good ones, I’ll publish on the blog.  Leave your feedback on whether or not you think (above) and the others, work for you, or you think they might work for others.
Slogan ideas, you can simply post in comments below.  Actual mock ups, comment with your eddress (email address) below, and I’ll send you mine, for sending on the file.  No worries – your eddress won’t be seen, or published.  🙂
Let’s See What You’ve Got!

Have Fun Tomorrow!!!!

18 07 2010
This is Elaine Scully, and her son, Robin.  Due to my son coming down with a high fever and being Quite Poorly, Elaine will be the main presence at Westminster tomorrow.  Which is only fitting, as she is in London, and is heavily involved in supporting mothers.  🙂
Just look out for her bright red hair, If All Else Fails.  
All the directions and instructions you need for the Westminster event, are here.  We meet in the large semi-circle of grass, with the small tree (for shade) in it, behind the Rodin Statue.  Last year there was a toddler group there as well, with toddler trucks and push along and toys.  That’s not us!  
Elaine is very nervous about dealing with the MPs who are coming along.  Help her out ladies!  It’s just nerves.  🙂
The regional picnics are here, although there are informal ones in Durham and Leeds as well.  I’ll update all that link info, as I go along today.
Next Year’s Picnic is all set – for the weekend of June 18th and 19th, 2011.  Explanation on why the changes, here.
If you want to organise a local picnic for next year, join this yahoo group.  You will be sent a pending message, and full instructions.
If you want to attend a picnic, either keep an eye on this blog, or join this Facebook Group.
Have fun everyone!  It’s the UK, don’t forget sun screen, woolly jumper and an umbrella!  😉

Write And Praise BBC Birmingham

16 07 2010

… for this fabulous radio interview.  Shane O’Connor does what all journalists and presenters should do… have a perfectly normal conversation, about something, without setting it into all the myths and misinformation, or acting like it’s not normal.

In terms of affecting our culture, writing and praising for positive approaches, does more than writing and complaining.  If you’ve ever written a complaint about shoddy journalism, sensationalism and bias in reporting breastfeeding issues, PLEASE write and praise this interviewer, and this production team.  They were even accurate on the law in England & Wales!  (Which won’t please some!)

And do note, pressure to breastfeed etc, was covered without any problem, as it CAN BE.  You don’t need a divisive agenda when discussing this issue.  Mothers are mothers, babies are babies: hungry babies get fed.

Articulate, intelligent and open handed interviewing on this subject, is possible.  PLEASE reward this team!

Write to BBC Birmingham itself:  click the ‘contact us’ button.  Or email here.

Also copy your comments to BBC Head Office:  scroll the comments box to ‘appreciation’.

And weren’t Kat and Claire, just wonderful?  *rounds of applause*

(Interview is the first 45 minutes of the show.)

Breastfeeding Picnics 2010

13 07 2010

First of all, an apology for the lateness of these updates.  More about that on the longer spiel at the bottom.
Second of all, this list will be updated further, between now and Sunday: part and parcel of why everything got so late this year!  See below.
Third of all, several of the picnics, may be linked live by ITV news, this year, and I will, again, update that, here, as the week goes on.  I think so far we are looking at Westminster, Birmingham, and Nottingham.


Westminster Breastfeeding Picnic
next to Parliament
Monday July 19th
noon – 3pm
Facebook Group
Birmingham Breastfeeding Picnic
Colmore Row
Monday July 19th
noon – 3pm
Facebook Group
Nottingham Breastfeeding Picnic
Waverly Street 
Monday July 19th
noon- 3pm
Warrington Breastfeeding Picnic
next to Town Hall
Monday July 19th
noon – 2pm
Facebook Group
Dorset Breastfeeding Picnic
Bournemouth Gardens
opposite big balloon
Monday July 19th
noon – 3pm
Facebook Group
Wrecsam Breastfeeding Picnic
behind the Guidlhall, Queen’s Square
Monday July 19th
noon – 3pm
Facebook Group
Stroud Breastfeeding Picnic
Stratford Park
near the bandstand
11am – 2pm
Monday July 19th


Changes To The Breastfeeding Picnic 2011
I said above, that the picnics got squeezed out on organisation this year.  The primary reason for this, was the General Election.  Recess dates for Westminster aren’t published that far ahead, and the delay on the forming of the new Government, which took, if you recall, weeks rather than a day or two, really put pressure on us organising Westminster.  In fact, we finally announced the date, before the Westminster recess dates were published, and crossed our fingers.
Realistically, we also had to wait until the Coalition Government, had set its own agenda for the Parliament ahead.  Not only could they have announced a Breastfeeding Bill, there was also the matter of waiting to see the tone and mood of their agenda: to speak effectively to them, in their own terms.
All this pushed the planning waaay down the line.  Combined with my moving house several hundred miles, and Emily Pulling, the picnic’s founder, juggling family employment issues, meant there just hasn’t been space to slowly build up, as we usually do.  After all, we are Just Mums With Attitude.  🙂
The huge upheaval of the political situation, has also meant there has been discussion of two of the thorny issues about organising the picnics.  Many picnic organisers, know they would get more turn out, at the weekend.  The entire point, however, was to highlight the issue to Westminster, which does not sit on the Weekend.  Our picnic organisers in Scotland, have also pointed out that when it’s held in late July, Holyrood, the Scottish Parliament, is already in recess.  And as Scotland has this law, then allowing for MSP attendance, makes good political sense.
Emily and I had resisted changing the set-up,. as we felt a central MP presence at Westminster, was more important: we need at law for outside Scotland!  However, it’s been pointed out, that feedback from MPs has often said, they would attend a weekend event in their constituency, but they are too busy at Westminster, at the end of the session, to attend the central one.
Therefore, from 2011, we are changing the structure of the National Breastfeeding Picnic.  It will take place over a weekend, late in June or early in July.

EDIT:  June18/19th, 2011

Local organisers will be free to hold their picnic on either the Saturday, or the Sunday, of that weekend.  This enables family and religious observations commitments, to be accommodated for the main organiser.  There will always be a Westminster Picnic, but it will be equal to the other picnics, not the central event.  So organisers can invite their MP first and foremost to their own constituency, and if they are in Westminster that weekend, they can attend the Westminster one.

Whilst I will be hosting the final “central” Westminster Picnic on Monday, from 2011 I will be hosting the “No Borders” Breastfeeding Picnic on the A1 at the Scottish/England Border!  Just to show the inanity, and inequality.  (Okay, a photoshoot will be done at the Border, but the actual Picnic will be in beautiful Berwick-Upon-Tweed.)
Over the four years since Emily’s original Breastfeeding Picnic at Parliament Square, we’ve learned a lot about how to go about this, as a mother-to-mother thing, done on the cheap and with minimum work.  So we’ve also developed a clearer pathway on how to take part.  
If you want to organise a Breastfeeding Picnic, then join the National Breastfeeding Picnic group on yahoo groups.  It’s moderated entry, to stop spam, just say in your message where you want to organise one.  Then you’ll have access to the “How too..” sheets.  (Very simple, very clearly laid out.)
If you want to attend a Breastfeeding Picnic, join the Facebook group, and then each event is listed as an event.  Or read this blog.
See you on Monday!

Dear Friends….. WABA

6 07 2010

Date: 2 July 2010 08:32:56 GMT+01:00

Subject: Breastfeeding Advocate thrown off the BBC World Service

Dear friends,

We have just received news via LACTNET (Lactation Information and Discussion) that Morgan Gallagher, Chairperson of Nursing Matters, a non-profit making, voluntary organisation that advocates for breastfeeding babies was thrown off a BBC World Service programme for saying that unsafe formula feeding kills babies in Africa.

Portions of her posting on LACTNET – reproduced with permission from Morgan.

” Just a quick note to let you know, I’ve just been thrown off a BBC World Service programme, for saying that unsafe formula feeding kills babies in Africa.The programme went out live at 6pm, BST time, here, and I was booked, at  the last minutes, to do an hour of the whole world programme, and then the 30 minutes afterwards, on Africa only.

When I asked the discussion about breastfeeding be ‘creepy’ be about women  being put in impossible position, and maybe we should look at why an intelligent, articulate, well educated woman in the UK would be so creeped out by a baby touching her breast… the mic was closed.  When I said we needed to address the pressure to formula feed, not the pressure to breastfeed… the mic was closed.  When I stated that 4000 babies die everyday from unsafe formula feeding… the mic was closed.

When I was then taken off air, and roundly shouted at by the producer.  I challenged her, and stated that we could not have global context discussion on breastfeeding, without discussing formula feeding, and how on earth could she ask a women in Nairobi if she’d support a woman to formula feed if she wanted to?  That ignoring the situation in Africa with formula, and acting  if we were all in the UK, was precisely the bias they were showing.  She said the World Service was for everyone, and I asked how a women in the slums in Kenya, tonight, would feel, listening to us prattling on about  formula feeding as a supported choice.  Did she have any idea who many babies would die tonight, in Kenya, from formula feeding? She blew up, said I’d said formula feeding kills babies, and that was making her very angry, and I was out of the programme.  A taxi would be called to take me away right away, and good bye.”

Morgan has blogged about her experience in detail and you can view it here:

To listen to the entire podcast (about 50 minutes long) please click on the link below.

WHYS 30 June 2010: Is breastfeeding ‘creepy’? Wed, 30 Jun 10

Kathryn Blundell is the deputy editor of a leading parenting magazine here in the UK and she’s got women all over the the world talking. She didn’t breastfeed her children – she says that her breasts are for sex not for feeding.

If you’ve had children, did you feel a pressure to breast-feed?

We hope that you will share this news with your network especially for those who have experience in living or working in resource poor settings to write to the BBC that as a worldwide broadcast – they must carry a world view perspective and understand they have a responsibility to ensure that it is made clear that while the “choice” to formula feed in the UK or Western Europe might be one that can be made with limited negative impact on child and mother that this is simply not the case in much of the world- that that formula feeding commonly results in death in much of the world.


Julianna Lim Abdullah, IBCLC
Senior Coordinator
Information, Communications and Networking

Dear BBC World Service…. KG

3 07 2010

From: Karleen Gribble
Sent: Friday, 2 July 2010 12:10 AM
To: ‘’
Subject: formula feeding in resource poor settings
I listening to your program on whether breastfeeding is “creepy.”  I thought that it was a very interesting program and that the exploration of the issues surrounding why women in a country like the UK might choose not to breastfeed was valuable. However, I thought that because the BBC World Service is broadcast worldwide that there was a responsibility to ensure that it is made clear that while the “choice” to formula feed in the UK or Western Europe might be one that can be made with limited negative impact on child and mother that this is simply not the case in much of the world- that (as Morgan Gallagher tried to communicate) that formula feeding commonly results in death in much of the world. This is a message that MUST be broadcast.
In two months I will be conducting training at a meeting convened by UNICEF in the Philippines on infant feeding in emergencies. One of the things I will be talking about is how whenever there is a natural emergency, media reporting drives the literal flooding of emergency areas with donations of infant formula- usually sent by well meaning individuals and organisations that are simply unaware of the risks associated with formula feeding in resource poor contexts. Programs like yours, that presented formula feeding as a simple, legitimate and costless choice add to this problem.  They cause harm. Increased infant morbidity and mortality results directly from media reports that present infant formula as something that will help infants, ignoring the risks. Health ministers and aid orgs like UNICEF and Save the children working in countries affected by emergencies tear their hair out trying to stop the container and truck loads of formula arriving in emergency aid arriving and being distributed. 
Please, could you consider actually having a world view in your programs and understand that what might be OK in the UK may not be OK in India or in Botswana or Peru. Could you please consider having interviewees  who know what they are talking about- are experts on infant feeding, on the marketing of infant formula, on the support needed by women to breastfeed, on the relative importance of infant feeding decisions in developed vs underdeveloped contexts?? The cultural blinkers of living in a privileged environment with good sanitation and health care were evident in your interviewer.
If you did consider doing something on this I could certainly put you in touch with a variety of such experts and would be happy to be interviewed myself.
Karleen Gribble
Dr Karleen D Gribble BRurSc PhD
Adjunct Research Fellow
School of Nursing and Midwifery
University of Western Sydney

An Unpalatable Truth

2 07 2010
Sorry for not getting this post done until now.  I started it in my head last night, after some criticisms emerged on some pro-breast sites.  But a broken fridge door, has actually taken most of my time today!  (It’s now fixed.)
Comments have been made that I wasn’t speaking appropriately, for a discussion programme, and others have asked what I was told before I went on.  I thought I’d just make a few points.
I was asked to take part in a programme discussing an anti-breastfeeding article.  An article that denigrated breastfeeding, and upheld formula feeding, explicitly.  As part of that, in my interview by the journalist who booked me to appear, I was asked how I would respond to several questions, if they came up.  I was probed on how I would respond to the points raised in the the article, about both breastfeeding, and formula feeding.
Again, this is memory.  I didn’t record the conversation!  (Although guess what I will be doing from now on…?)
What was my reaction to Ms Blundell saying it was ‘creepy’ to breastfeed?  
I answered that I wouldn’t comment on Ms Blundell, as I didn’t know her, but that in general, my reaction would be that someone expressing those thoughts, had a problem with their own body image and self-esteem, perhaps their sexuality.  Which was hardly surprising, given how confused and contradictory our society is about women and their bodies.  That some women did feel this, and it wasn’t surprising, but really, working on it, for themselves, is the best thing.
What about a woman who had five children and needed to work, and she HAD to formula feed, what would I say to her, would I not have sympathy with that?
I replied that I’d tell the woman with the five children how lucky she was to be able to afford to formula feed her five kids.  That millions of women live with five kids, on under a dollar a day.  And if they don’t breastfeed their kids, the kids might die.  How lucky of the Mum to live in a world where she can afford to buy formula, and have clean water to make it up.  And, if she really did want to breastfeed, she could.  She could get help and support.  That was the point, if she really wanted to, she could get support to make it happen.  Working was not a barrier, and she should get the help she needed, and others would help her do so.  But again, how lucky she was to live in a nice clean world where she COULD choose to formula feed, was what I’d say to her.
I expanded this point to say that’s there is nothing wrong with formula feeding, as long as it was informed choice.  If a baby was hungry, it needed fed, and the WHO recognised that if nothing else was there, then formula was the fourth choice to feed a baby.  But it was fourth in line.  The issue was informed choice, and not enough women knew that formula feeding carries risks.
I then expanded that point, by stating that when my husband has his heart attack, and I sent my up till then exclusively breast fed three month old baby, out to my family to be formula fed, I had had no idea I was putting my baby at risk.  That when I needed help and information most, I was unaware that I was putting my beloved baby at risk, by sending him to a loving, caring family, who all had formula fed, but that they didn’t know about formula safety.  That my own family made up batches of formula in the morning, put them in the fridge, and put them in the microwave to heat them up all through the day.  And I’d sent my baby out to that, not knowing that it was dangerous.
That that was the issue.  Women knowing all the information, and making informed choices.

Edit: knew I forgot a bit.

There was a moment in the discussion, when we talked about risk, when I stated that the risk was not limited to poorer countries.  That modern countries also had a problem.  In the USA, for instance, twice as many formula fed babies dies as breastfed ones, in the first six weeks.  It’s a tiny tiny number, 2 per thousand, rather than 1 per thousand, but if you are the mother of that one baby in a thousand, it’s a terrible thing.  So I said that CLEARLY to the very nice and very coherent person interviewing me.  Who was, in fact, as I’ve said, was lovely: very professional and extremely coherent and intelligent.  Just to clarify on those figures ‘tho, I did say it wrong, on the phone.  It’s 2 more babies per thousand, that die for formula feeding, in the first few weeks of life, than ones breastfed.  It’s 2 per thousand for breastfed, and 4 per thousand for formula fed.  Reference  end edit 

She also asked if I could not understand the problem of women being confused about breasts for sex, or for babies.
I replied yes, I could, that was very valid, and support needed to be done there.  When women are told their breasts are sexual playthings, it can be difficult.  It is difficult being female in our society, and women needed support.
She then asked my husband if my breastfeeding had caused problems in our sex life.  He burst out laughing.  🙂
I was then told how well I’d answered, and how good it was that I could speak well, and pepper facts in, without it all becoming to ‘fact’ heavy.  That I had a good way of talking about things, and putting facts in as I went. Would I please come and do an hour and a half?  We did, as I have recorded prior, discuss thoroughly that it was a free discussion programme between the women, and the male presenter would introduce, then back away and let us communicate with each other, like we would at a dinner party, chatting.
I was then asked how I would like to be introduced.  After a few minutes discussion, – mother, breastfeeding supporter, lactavist etc I said I’d like to be introduced as a ‘feminist’ as this made the most sense to me.  
I was, of course, introduced as Chair of Nursing Matters. (Which I had given permission for, so that was okay, but my point is I was introduced for that formal role.)
So, this is the discussion that led to me being invited to speak.  Then not being allowed to speak.  🙂
PS  If you don’t think I was speaking as I would at a dinner party, best not come round to dinner!