Friday, October 14, 2011

News and updates

Clearing out my bookmarks (a.k.a. procrastinating grading my freshman composition papers):

CDC to support Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative
This just out: the CDC has dedicated $6 million to help more hospitals adopt the Baby-Friendly initiative! Dr. William H. Dietz, MD, Ph.D. and director of the CDC's Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity, commented: “We know that breastfeeding rates are higher in Baby-Friendly hospitals, yet only 5 percent of babies in this country are born in these facilities. We need to help hospitals improve their maternity care to better support breastfeeding. This project takes steps to do that, and it offers real solutions to improve the health of mothers and babies.”

Birth as Performance Art?
Brooklyn performance artist Marni Kotak plans to give birth in her art gallery, and the public is invited. From an interview with The Village Voice:
My performance at Microscope will begin as I install the show, setting up my own home-birth center in the space, and will span the entire duration of the exhibition. Part of giving birth is the mental and physical preparation for the event. A lot elements go into a traditional home-birth, and I received a whole list of necessary supplies from my midwife. I will be installing an inflatable birthing pool and a shower in the gallery, along with my deceased grandmother's bed, the rocking chair that my mother rocked me on when I was a baby, shag carpeting, a surround video projection of ocean waves crashing on the shores of my favorite Cape Cod beach, artwork made by my husband and the child's father, Jason Robert Bell, and a small kitchen area for food and drinks.

All of these elements are incorporated to make the labor process as smooth and as comfortable as possible. As this will take place in front of an audience, rather than in the privacy of my home, I am doing extra mental preparation at the advice of my doula (who along with my midwife will be present at the birth) to let go of my mind and totally go into my body. She told me that once I really enter active labor the body just takes over and I won't care at all what is going on around me. My focus will be on having my baby. I know it will be challenging, but I think if people give birth in the completely inhospitable environment of hospitals, hooked up to IVs and monitors and strapped with stirrups into a bed, I can give birth in an art gallery. And in giving birth in front of the audience, I am showing them, as in my previous performances, that real life is the best performance art, and that, if our eyes can be opened to it, all of the meaning that we seek is right there in our everyday lives.
Read the rest here.

Live home birth
Another woman, Canadian chiropractor Nancy Salgueiro, will be live-casting her birth. She's currently 41 weeks pregnant, so it should happen any day now. If you want to watch, you can register here.

Two VBAC stories
Accidental unassisted birth (caution: will probably make you laugh) and a hospital VBAC with a midwife & OB teaming up.

Birthing in Zion
If you're an LDS birth worker, there's a new online directory called Birthing in Zion organized by WAVE (Women Advocating for Voice & Equality).

Baby Style
My friend Desiree just wrote about baby style. I agree 100%. No rhinestones or tutus or butt pants on my little girls! My own style--if I can call it that, since 99.99% of my kids' clothes are second-hand--leans towards the slightly feminine but not girly. Some of my favorite girl's outfits are jeans and a peasant blouse. Of course, my kids wear a lot of mixed-gender clothes too! Zari's summer sandals are used boy's sandals with footballs and baseballs, and Dio's sandals are pink leather hand-me-downs.


  1. I would be curious to hear if there has been any patient satisfaction studies on the baby friendly hospitals. We have one in our city, not the one I delivered at and I have heard many complaints from women who felt guilted and shamed if they wanted to consider supplementing or wanted to ask their nurse if the baby could spend 2 hours in the nurses station between feedings so they could sleep. I'm definitely a proponent of breastfeeding (I exclusively breastfed my dd) but I'm not a proponent of shaming that can go on in those hospitals. I would hope that a more balanced approached that encourages and supports and lifts up new moms would be integrated rather than a simple - we don't do bottles approach.

  2. The very natural birth I had in the USA involved being bombarded with free samples the minute I pre-registered at the hospital and it only stopped because I left to Australia! My emergency caesarean in Australia was skin-to-skin right from delivery, through recovery and into post-natal. That child didn't get taken off me until I got up to go to the bathroom 24 hours later. He didn't get a bath until 10 days later and he was weighed just once in the hospital.
    It is like chalk and cheese. See, BFHI requires a complete mindset change. It is not just about not offering formula. The most important steps in BFHI are the early steps, like promoting skin to skin for lengthy periods post natal, evidence based birth practices, not separating babies from their mothers etc etc. If all that is done, that fact that there is free formula in the hospital is almost immaterial. Most people just don't need it. Some will still want it, but that is another story.
    The comment about wanting to send the baby to the nursery for two hours? Well, most of the BFHI hospitals no longer have well baby nurseries. There is just the fact that babies stay with their mothers. The occasional one might get wheeled to the nurses’ station, but babies stay with their mums. If your baby requires moderate medical care (like phototherapy or temparature control), it is all done at mum's bedside. Works very well, reduces stress in mothers which SURPRISE SURPRISE, doesn't inhibit the letdown reflex.
    Formula is available for medical reasons. If you need it, you get it. You do have to sign a consent form but it would be unethical not to. Formula introduces risk. The mother and the doctor have to weigh that risk against the risk of not using formula. If your decision is that the benefit of using formula outweights the risk, then that is all you are signing to say.
    If you don't need it, you get all the help you need with BF (like teaching on expressing, increasing your supply, normal newborn behaviour) and if you still want to feed formula, it is against medical advice and you bring your own and your own bottles too. Oh, and you sign to say that it is against medical advice. The midwives will supervise you and teach you how to make up the formula and clean and sterilise (because bottle feeding does have a higher risk of introduced bacterial and viral illness, even bottle feeding with EBM), but mothers feed their babies. Not midwives.
    And then we come onto the big one - formula marketing. Artificial baby milks can not be advertised or marketed in Australia unless at point of sale (that is the milks aimed at babies 12 months and under). That means that no cans of forumala get couriered to the front door, no formula samples in magazines, none of those 'breastfeeding bags' in the hospital, no advertising on TV and in magazine and no free supplies to hospitals. People in Australia who get government support (I think you call it WIC in the USA), buy their own food, and so there is no free or discounted formula for them.
    I love the BFHI and I really want it to work in the USA. But, until the rampant marketing of breast milk substitutes ceases, then I think it is fighting an uphill battle. When coupled with the absolute dark ages birthing culture that still exists in most parts of the USA and for the majority of US women, then I think BFHI will really struggle. Oh that I wish it were otherwise!

  3. A great news indeed. Moms will love to hear this type of method.

  4. Alot of people are up in arms about the artist giving birth in a gallery as an art piece.

    Honestly, as an artist and a natural birth momma I think they have alot in common. Art is there to make you think, change your view points, and in many cases reveal something deep and meaningful to the artist. I think that birth does all those things as well.

    We cannot say that we support choice in birth and then make another mothers choice seem stupid or wrong. Each to their own.


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