Did you know that Madison has it’s own breastfeeding promotion organization called the Madison Breastfeeding Promotion Network (MBPN)? This group has been working for years to make breastfeeding easier for women in Madison. They organize an annual free breastfeeding education event for health care providers. Now they’ve got a website, http://www.publichealthmdc.com/MBPN/, so that they’re easier to find. It’s attractive and links to the Public Health website.
Madison made the national news in a New York Times article about infant mortality. Apparently Madison has had a dramatic decline in infant mortality among African American babies — to the point where their mortality rate is comparable to white babies.
“This kind of dramatic elimination of the black-white gap in a short period has never been seen,” Dr. Philip M. Farrell, professor of pediatrics and former dean of the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, said of the progress in Dane County.
Dr. Schlenker, the county health director, credits heightened outreach to young women by health workers and private groups. “I think it’s a community effect,” he said. “Pregnant women need to feel safe, cared for and valued. I believe that when they don’t, that contributes to premature birth and fetal loss in the sixth or seventh month.”
I know many of the health care providers that take care of mothers and babies in public health and at Access and they are impressive people. I’m so glad that they’re getting some of the recognition that they deserve!
One of my parenting regrets is that I only have two pictures of me nursing one of my babies. I breastfed four children for a total of over a decade. We nursed everywhere, all the time. It was a normal, happy part of my life for many years. But the only photos I have are of my first little one nursing in the hospital. He has an IV and the IV pole is a prominent feature in the picture. I look sad and tired. I wish so much that I had photos of the happy nursings: in the park, in the rocking chair, snuggled up in bed, at the Farmers’ Market, at the library, at the beach, at church, at Grandma’s house, on the bus,…
So maybe other mothers can learn from my mistake. Nursing was so normal in my life that I didn’t think to document it. So I’m encouraging all of you that are breastfeeding your babies: Get a picture!
If you need help, check out the Nursing Is Normal Project in Madison. As part of the NIN project, mothers get free high quality digital photos of themselves nursing their babies in a public place. In return, they let the NIN project display one of the pictures in the photo gallery as encouragement to other breastfeeding mothers that may not yet feel confident nursing in public. This project is going on all over the country. In Madison, photographer Lea Wolf has volunteered to take the pictures. If you haven’t checked out her work before, it’s great — here’s a link. She’ll be taking the NIN pictures this spring through fall. Here’s how you can get in touch with her.
As a side note, I HATE having my picture taken. Lea took my picture for Happy Bambino’s staff page and it was a good experience (ok, as all right as this ever gets for me). If you too are one of those people that can’t stand being on the lens-end of the camera, Lea is a good choice for getting a portrait.
The Madison and Dane County public health and WIC programs have got some great breastfeeding promotion posters on the Madison Metro buses. If you aren’t going to be on the bus soon, you can see them here:
The Public Health Department of Madison and Dane County has a new website. It’s attractive, easy to navigate, and points out all the great services that public health offers our community. Why do I mention it here? Well, they dedicate an entire section of the site to breastfeeding support, including a description of their breastfeeding-related services, community lactation resources, and a whole page listing the good things about breastfeeding. Isn’t this great? Public health and WIC support of breastfeeding has come a long way.
Unfortunately their community lactation resources list is out of date and doesn’t have links to on-line information — so I’m not recommending that page as a good information resource right now. Hopefully this will be one of the things that gets fixed when they’ve had time to work with the new site for a while.