The Best Insurance Policy for a Nursing Baby

by Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist April 17, 2013

insuranceThose of us who have exclusively nursed a child know the heavy responsibility that comes with knowing that you are another human being’s sole source of nourishing sustenance.

I remember so well nursing my first son and worrying about what would happen if I was in a car wreck or got ill and was unable to nurse him for even a short period of time.

I never wanted a single drop of commercial formula to pass my baby’s lips even in a dire emergency!

While I usually managed to keep a day or two of frozen breastmilk in the freezer, I never seemed to have enough extra stocked up should an extended separation unexpectedly occur.  As a result, you can imagine my relief when I discovered the recipe for a nourishing, homemade baby formula using grassfed raw milk while pregnant with my second child.

Even though I nursed my second and third children exclusively as with my first child, having the ingredients for this nourishing, homemade formula ready to go in the pantry as needed gave me such incredible peace of mind!

Motherhood has a way of really impressing upon us Moms our vulnerabilities – can you relate?

Since then, as a Weston A. Price Chapter Leader, I have always counseled nursing mothers in my local community to keep the homemade formula ingredients on hand for emergencies.  I also recommend that they make the formula a few times so that they know what to do and have any other primary caregivers in the home do the same.

Homemade Formula to the Rescue! 

The critical importance of having an “insurance policy” for your exclusively nursing child was impressed upon me once again while reading a recent story on the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund website.

Just last week on April 7, 2013, law enforcement officers came to the home of Colorado farmers Ethan and Renee Abbott and ended up arresting Renee for a misdemeanor offense that had occurred several months earlier.

police carThe incident involved a breach in the Abbott’s fencing which Ethan suspected was the result of vandalism on their property that had allowed some of their livestock to get free and graze on the municipal right of way.  Despite the fact that she was exclusively nursing a 4 month old baby, the officers hauled Renee off to jail for this minor offense.

Fortunately, the Abbotts were able to call the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund hotline. The attorney on call at the time, Elizabeth Rich, immediately returned Ethan’s call. Going above and beyond her duties as legal counselor, Elizabeth read out to Ethan over the phone the recipe for the homemade baby formula as she could hear the hungry baby’s cries in the background.

She then contacted the Office of the Weld County Sheriff and spoke sternly to the deputy on duty about dragging a mother exclusively breastfeeding an infant off to jail for a minor ordinance violation. Ms. Rich further discovered that there were absolutely no extenuating circumstances such as threats or disorderly conduct which could explain the severity of Renee’s treatment at the hands of the officers.

Fortunately, the deputy agreed to release Renee from custody after talking with Attorney Rich. Ethan was able to pick her up a short time later so that she could nurse her hungry baby!

Nursing a Baby?  Have a Backup Plan

The moral of this story is to have a backup plan should you have an exclusively nursing infant in the household.  Fortunately, the Abbotts had the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund to turn to which took care of the baby’s immediate needs as well as returned Renee to her rightful place – with her baby at home.

An exclusive nursing relationship between Mother and child is precious and yet perilous in the face of unforeseen events.  Freeze some breastmilk if you are able, stock that pantry with the ingredients for the homemade formula and source out a supplier of clean, grassfed milk for your baby should the need ever arise.

And, if you have a small farm or buy products from one, join the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund to protect yourself from overzealous bureaucrats intent on trampling your rights who may unexpectedly come knocking at your door and haul you away over a misdemeanor ticket!

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

Disclosure: cmp.ly/4 and cmp.ly/5

Picture Credit

 

Comments (78)

  1. Wow! I read the link for the recipe. Very interesting! Likely, I am done breastfeeding, but will certainly keep this information in mind when I come across new mothers.

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  2. Home made baby formula is good. But human milk is the best for a human baby. I would say that the easiest way to prepare for such emergencies is to store some of your own mothers milk i the freezer. Or maybe you are lucky enough to have a sister or good friend who is also nursing a baby, then you can be each others backup! If it`s a permanent or long term situation it´s a different story and home made baby formula might be the only practical choice.

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    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
      Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist April 18, 2013 at 9:12 am

      Unfortunately, this is not something to be relied on either. I always had frozen breastmilk in the freezer but not enough to cover more than a day or two. Few women have enough breastmilk stored up for weeks which is what would be needed in the event of an injury from a car wreck or other unforeseen circumstance that caused extended separation of mother and child.

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      • agree. i could get enough for on the road so we didnt have to stop when out all the time but beyond 4 ozs in a few days of hand pumping or trying to use pump which made me sore, no way. good write up Sarah wish more of those I know would breastfeed or use this recipe instead of corn syrup garbage!

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      • It would be good to see some resources listed here. When Moms can’t pump it is most likely the pump and not the Mom. When you were nursing and you hit a bump where did you get your information? It would be good to see links on your blog for quality breastfeeding information.
        llli.org
        breastfeeding.org
        Kellymom.com
        breastfeedinginc.com
        bflrc.com/ljs/breastfeeding/bfnotwk/htm

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      • So sorry, I did forget to mention that it’s not a good idea to take these if breastfeeding, as with all supplements. I am not breastfeeding so I don’t run any risk in trying them out. But the product is 100% natural and I thought it was worth mentioning for those of you who are having difficulty losing the pregnancy weight. Each of us has their own preferred method, so try what works best for you and what you are the most comfortable with.

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    • I breastfeed and cut out all processed foods and sugars and went from a size 8 to a size 4 in about 3/4 months. No need to take products and pay money. Just do it naturally :)

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    • hahaha I lost 20lbs preg boo hoo I gained 20 nursing. starving i was first 6 m. 11m better now as she nurses 4 or 5 times aday.

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  3. Since I worked outside the home, I have MASSIVE amounts of frozen breastmilk. It turned out to be a great thing about the 10 month mark. At that point not only did I not know about homemade formula, but would have had no clue where to even find raw milk. I think this is an issue that weighs heavily in the mind of a nursing mother, so the more options you have, the better! I would say frozen would be best, followed by the homemade if you have good raw milk.

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  4. freezing your own breastmilk is even better. freeze a little at a time and getting a month or two’s supply is very do-able.

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  5. I love the homemade formula! I have a 19th month old and a five week old. My 19th month old still drinks the formula every morning along with raw milk throughout the day. I was freaking out about giving my children store bought formula. With a little research, I found Western Price and it saved me from a heart attack! I am nursing my son but my milk supply is not enough. I have to supplement with the homemade formula along with me nursing. Any more tips on how to up my milk? Im on the vitamins, raw milk, water, etc. Any tips would be great!

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    • One way you could get tips and a lot of other great info is by getting the Spring E-Book Bundle offered on yesterday’s post for just $39.

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    • Heather,
      Fennel and basil essential oils can increase your supply dramatically. Rub them on your chest and take internally, just be sure you are using a brand that is safe to take internally. I’m not here to sell or promote a certain brand, I just know that this works and I like to pass on the info! Good luck!

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    • I improved my supply drastically by increasing skin-to-skin contact. I think the best was letting the baby’s face just sit on my bare breast.

      That, and I’m sure you’ve heard to get plenty of rest!

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    • The best piece of advice I ever received was to eat lots of protein. I never had as much milk the day after not eating lots of protein. Lots of people I know reported the same thing. I used to eat way more protein than my husband – to the point of eating almost a double portion size in the evening. I posted above about my weight loss – I ate soooo much and yet the pounds dropped off.

      Goodluck! :)

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    • When you supplement, try giving it in a SNS or Lact Aid device which attaches to your breast to deliver the extra nourishment while still encouraging a good latch and driving demand. (Breast feeding is supply and demand- the more your baby nurses, the more your body receives hormonal signals to make more milk.) Also if you can, try the “rest cure”. Spend a day or weekend doing nothing but snuggling skin to skin with baby and nursing as much as possible. You should only get up to use the rest room. Otherwise just cuddle and sleep with baby on a bed made safe for cosleeping. If that’s not possible (try to have someone around to help with 19mo or try to set up an area next to you to safely play on the floor), then try to get as much contact with baby as possible. Babywearing makes nursing on demand anywhere and everywhere easier as it’s hands free and often very discrete. Cosleeping makes middle of the night feedings much simpler, just be sure to follow safe cosleeping guidelines. Those middle of the night feeds are super important to your supply as your levels of prolactin peak in the wee hours.

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    • Heather, “more milk plus” tincture by motherlove is my go to if I need to increase my supply. I just pumped a 6 week supply for my cousin’s adopted baby, while nursing my own infant. Good luck!

      Reply
  6. I love this post!

    My husband and I are considering adopting/fostering and it is so great to have something like this to use. I do not want to use commercial formula and I do not know if I will be able to do induce lactation (even if so that would probably be considered “inappropriate” in a foster situation).

    I have had this recipe for a while but I will practice making it.

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      • I had to spend the night in the hospital when my son was 4 months old. They would not let him in to see me because of flu season. They could care less that he was exclusively breastfed. This is a common practice among hospitals so just assuming you will be allowed to breastfeed your child if you had to be in the hospital is not a good backup plan.

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  7. I have nursed 7 children to age 2 (or more) without ever supplementing, but with my fourth child, due to medical reasons I was unable to nurse him. Thank the Lord for this recipe!!! It WORKS!! This was 11 years ago and I had to search for the ingredients, but the help of our grass based dairy farmer and his wife (the Nolts) we were able to pull it off. He was on the formula for a year+ and is a solid, athlethic, smart boy turning 11 today. It is a lot of work, (especially if your used to nursing) but so worth it. And now you can get the kit!!
    Thanks for a great article getting this information out!!

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    • The Weston Price Foundation gets rave testimonials all the time on how babies absolutely thrive on this homemade formula.

      Luckily the ingredients are now offered in a kit through Radiant Life Catalog, except for fresh grassfed raw milk.

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    • Emergencies don’t always send us a notice. In my case, and I am sure others, I could not have saved milk ahead of time, and definitly not enough to last a year+. My sister offered to ship me milk from several states away, but she wasn’t due for a few more weeks, and to do that for over a year??? Be grateful if you can store up extra milk, but be careful to support people who put in a very tough situation must find a solution. I am not talking alternitive to breastfeeding, but an alternative to commercial formula.
      It was one of the hardest things I had ever had to deal with (My mom was a veteran LaLeche Leader – and I was training to be one myself) and I am glad I can look back without regrets.

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    • Some women have a hard time pumping any extra. I was one of those. Try being an advocate and encourager of other moms instead of judgemental and condescending. I’m so sick of seeing moms tear each other down.

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    • Athena, did you do that yourself? I did and it worked for me, but not everybody’s body as mine. Some babies suck you dry every single time and don’t really have nursing strikes like mine did. Some women barely have enough milk for their babies. Did you read about that woman who end up in jail in the above article? Do you think that place had a pump? Be reasonable, dear, and stop being so rood. There are many moms who have tough time with breast feeding and your “smart” comments may hurt them. You try make them feel stooped. “Ever heard of pump and freeze”. Yes, we all did. What is your question? Or what is your problem?

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  8. According to the World Health Organization, the recommended infant nutrition guidelines are first, nursing, second pumped milk from mom, third donor milk and/or cross nursing (aka wet nursing), fourth formula. While I agree WAPF formula is better than commercial, you can’t replicate immunities found in breast milk. Building a stash of frozen milk would be best. Then if that’s unavailable, finding a healthy milk donor through organizations like Milk Share, or one’s local Eats on Feets and/or Human Milk 4 Human Babies chapter. These resources can then be supplemented with homemade formula and/or nutrient dense solids once baby is six months old.

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    • Isn’t the milk from milk banks pasturised? I’d never feed my baby pasturised milk. After a lot of research I would only consider the homemade formula as an alternative to breastfeeding myself – which I intend to do for any further babies I’m fortunate enough to have.

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      • Milk bank milk is pasteurized, yes BUT those organizations I mentioned are NOT milk banks- they’re networks for informal mother to mother milk sharing. Someone says they have extra milk or post that they need milk and they can arrange to meet up. Sometimes the donor may have freshly pumped milk or may even offer to cross nurse. They offer guidelines on asking about medical background and safely screening donors. This is also a reason building a supply of pumped milk in the freezer should be encouraged- even if you don’t personally need it, someone else may.

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        • That is actually true. I stored milk that I did not use. I had to pump and give milk to my baby with a bottle. She was very sensitive to my milk to food I ate and I had to find the food that cause her bad eczema and vomiting. There were many foods that mad her sick like dairy, gluten, red fruits and vegetables, nightshades, seeds, and nuts. I still breastfed and as I eliminating those foods one by one she was getting better. I kept that milk for a month and tried to give it to her. First of all, she did not want to drink defrosted milk and it was a battle to get her drinking it. It did not taste as good. Second of all, she throw up shortly after she had it. I had about 800 oz of breast milk in freezer which I could not give to my baby. I was glad to find milk sharing website. With my first baby I threw out about 500 oz of milk because I could not find a way to donate it without all crazy things through hospital or some other agency. This time I donated it to mom who needed it. Then I end up with more milk that my daughter would not drink and it could go bad. Moms were very happy with my milk. I ate very clean organic nurturing food even with limitations.

          I would advise anyone in need of breast milk to look for a donor. But it is also hard to find a donor. Consider this option, but still it is good to have other options available.

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  9. So what if an accident does happen and you have months of your frozen breast milk for babe and you dry up while you are recovering??

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      • Formula is not necessary for babies over one year old. So if they’re around that age, you could probably transition to cow or goat milk along with lots of nutrient dense solids. While the immune protection from breastmilk is beneficial no matter what the child’s age, formula, especially commercial formula, is best not continued after a year since other foods can be used.

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        • Mine year old did not eat much solid at all and there was no way to force her to eat it. Also, she is 19 months old now, but would not touch dairy milk and she is sensitive to it. I tried to mix it with breast milk. She walk up with puffy eyes and had too much gas. My son had the same problem, but now he is fine with dairy milk. He is 3.5

          What could I do if I lost my milk or got in to a problem? I have no idea. My kids could not even have home made formula.

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  10. I’m exclusively nursing my 7 month baby girl and am really wantin to get serious about loosing the 30 pounds of baby fat that I’m still holding on to. Any advice about how to loose the weight and keep up a quality, rich milk supply for her? I really want to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight, but don’t want to loose my milk supply.

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    • Its not going to make a lick of sense (initially), but just eat more. If your body is clinging to weight it is because you are not getting enough fuel to keep both you and your milk supply going. Our bodies will fight tooth and nail to lose any weight if it is not getting enough food to provide all the “services” you are asking of it. You just had a baby, so you need fuel to heal from that, you are making milk, so you need fuel for that, you probably aren’t getting enough sleep, so you need extra fuel to help your body survive through lack of sleep.

      This is a very exhausting time on your body and it needs the one thing we all know will heal it: Food -and plenty of it!! Just for once, don’t worry how your body looks; just love it, praise it for the miracle that it is and feed it. I swear to you the weight will begin to fall off once your body now realizes it no longer needs to store fat because of all the demands you are putting on it. If you want panckaes with maple syrup and bacon, then eat them, if you want a big old baked potato with all the fixin’s them eat it. Just eat and eat for 2 or 3 weeks. It will work. I promise you!! What have you got to lose, really. It is worth a try!

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  11. I used the WAPF homemade formula with my first child, as I was unable to BF due to endocrine issues. I have since been able to correct those issues through diet, and eliminating allergens, but I am SO thankful for the homemade formula! My daughter THRIVED on it, and is still healthy, happy, never sick, and has perfect teeth and a lovely wide palate and round face just like the traditional peoples. She also spoke early, and had a HUGE vocabulary at a very young age. My 6-week-old son is now nursing beautifully, and I have plenty of rich, nourishing milk. I even have oversupply, which I am pumping and storing for emergencies, but I will certainly use the formula again if I ever come to need it. No hesitation whatsoever, it was amazing for our family.

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  12. Milk sharing is my back-up plan: Human Milk 4 Human Babies and Eats on Feets. I have discussed this plan with my husband and he agrees.

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  13. I am a grandma now but back in the day I exclusively breastfed my 4 children until they were about 2 years old. I always had enough milk for my babies but I certainly could not pump out any extra. I tried but there just wasn’t any more than what I needed.
    I think that recipe is great insurance and could add peace of mind. As one other person wrote it is an alternative for formula, not exclusive breastfeeding.
    I am tucking this away for my daughter and daughter in law who are both pregnant or nursing.

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  14. My mother-in-law was warned by a police officer for her “misdemeanour” because she had the audacity to breastfeed her baby daughter in her car, with a nursing blanket and all the windows closed. This was in the 70′s. This country needs to show more respect for mothers, infants and their rights.

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  15. Can anyone tell me? Isn’t there some kind of milk donation place(web site) where you can donate extra milk and buy the donated milk? We are considering adoption/foster and thought something like this existed.

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    • Yes, I am not sure where you are located but I would do an online search (ie milk bank, mother’s milk bank etc.) for your area. Hopefully there is something like that in your area! In my state, there is a mother’s milk bank through a university hospital and it is wonderful–they have several drop off locations to make it convenient. I have had a large oversupply so far with all 3 of my babies and have been greatly blessed to have been able to donate my excess to help sick babies, and for situations in which a mother is unable to nurse. I would recommend looking into it!

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    • Yep- the two big ones are Eats on Feets http://www.eatsonfeets.org/ and Human Milk for Human Babies http://www.hm4hb.net/. Both have international chapters to find local nursing moms willing to donate for free. Simply look up your area and find its Facebook page to post a need. There is also milkshare.com that you can check out. They work a little differently but same idea.

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    • There is a lot of informal human milk sharing happening now and it is a fantastic choice for mothers who cannot provide all the milk their baby needs as long as you are fully aware of the risks. Look at hm4hb.org and search ‘eats on feets’ on Facebook. Also, milkshare.com is another one. This blogger will tell you that homemade raw COW’s milk formula is better than most donor milk, but that is her opinion, not scientific fact. Milk is species-specific!

      As for ‘back up’ plans for emergencies, I think it depends on what kind of emergency we’re talking about. I can think of many situations where making formula would be very unsafe just from a bacterial contamination standpoint. If I was unable to breastfeed for whatever reason and the world was in chaos, I would hope that another lactating mom would wetnurse my baby. Whatever viruses and pathogens were in the environment would be combatted by the wetnurse’s milk. That would be true insurance.

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    • I think donated milk is really good in some circumstances. I did use donated breastmilk for the first day in the nicu for baby until I could get some of my own milk to come in. I was thankful to have that over commercial formula. After hospital life, in my situation I didn’t want to depend on milk from someone I don’t know because I have seen other mom’s milk a lot when I spent so much time in the nicu for my baby. Some women don’t have very good looking milk and I wouldn’t want to feed that to baby. Some are very thin and pure white, almost blueish, didn’t look healthy and full of fat like a baby needs. Sorry but it’s true. Also a milk bank is usually pasteurized from what i understand. But if I had a friend or someone I trusted who I knew was healthy and had good quality milk to give breastmilk for my baby, that would be awesome.

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  16. Not going to get into a breastfeeding debate, just sharing my experience. I breastfed my first child no problems for 14 months until she weaned herself. My second child was premature and after getting out of the hospital finally he would only nurse for a few more weeks. I had some freezer stash of breastmilk, but not enough for a year! I kept him exclusively on pumped milk until about month 4 and then I had to switch to formula and give him frozen breastmilk. Fortunately he was only on commercial formula for a few weeks before I found the Weston A price raw cows milk baby formula. I immediately bought all the ingredients online in bulk and started giving it to my baby. He loves it! He still drinks it, and I still have freezer milk too, but only enough to give him a few ounces a day. It will probably run out in another month but I am so glad to have the formula recipe. I make it every day and my two month old premature baby has thrived on it. He gets really excited when he sees a bottle. Breastfeeding was my first choice, but it didn’t work out like how I wanted, so it was WONDERFUL to have a healthy choice rather than the industrial waste that is commercial formula which made me feel very guilty for the few weeks he was drinking it. My guilt is relieved now that I make his formula every day myself.

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  17. Shirelle James Edghill via Facebook April 19, 2013 at 8:47 am

    Thanks for the info on the homemade formula. The only problem is when your baby doesn’t care about your backup plan. My baby will not take a bottle at all! I do worry about what we would do if something happened to me.

    Reply
  18. Monica McKnight via Facebook April 19, 2013 at 8:48 am

    So, am I reading correctly that she was taken to jail for a broken fence? If someone could shed some light on this I would appreciate it.

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  19. Monica McKnight via Facebook April 19, 2013 at 8:58 am

    Wow! I can’t believe that is even a misdemeanor, everything breaks and has to be repaired sometimes. But arresting a nursing mother for that “crime” signifies that the system is what is broken and in need of repair. Thank you for sharing.

    Reply
  20. Kristine Smith Cocchiarella via Facebook April 19, 2013 at 8:59 am

    Great article. Thanks for sharing the info about the FTCLDF, once we move this summer, I’ll be joining them as a consumer (Plus it can’t help my cause as a Real Food blogger. I may need their help some day!) :)

    Reply
  21. Renee Troutman via Facebook April 19, 2013 at 9:02 am

    I’ve searched and Ican’t find any other sources that back this story up. You would think a story like this, at least the local news would pick it up.

    Reply
  22. Selissa Richter via Facebook April 19, 2013 at 9:05 am

    For those who have babies who will not take a bottle try giving a sippy cup or even a regular cup of whatever you’re feeding them. Some people do not use a bottle ever and only use this method. I’m not promoting anything but breastfeeding but sometimes you need a backup plan. :)

    Reply
  23. Laura Joanna Myers via Facebook April 19, 2013 at 9:46 am

    It blew my mind that they would separate a mother from her infant for a misdemeanor, especially a breastfed baby. I’d sue the police for child endangerment. They would’ve had to do some serious damage to me to get my baby out of my arms. Disgraceful.

    Reply
  24. Jen Ward via Facebook April 19, 2013 at 10:19 am

    Human milk is the ideal food for human babies. Before offering any kind of formula we should encourage mothers to seek out donor milk from organizations like Eats on Feets and Human Milk For Human Babies.

    Reply
    • I have a fridge magnet from milkinmamas.com. I know nothing about that website. But the fridge magnet is very handy. It says for a self contained refrigeration/freezer unit (like the one in the kitchen) it lasts 3/4 months at -4 degrees Farenheit. Probably because the door is opened so often and it’s not set as cold. But in a deep freezer it lasts 6-12 months at -4 degrees F. I bought a used chest freezer when my baby was premature and I didn’t know how long he’s be in the hospital to start freezing pumped milk. The hospital gave me a spot in their freezer to fill, but I quickly filled it. I bought a used freezer, 20 years old, $50. Worked and and still works great. I keep a thermometer in there and keep it a little below zero and some of the milk has been in there 7 months so far, and it is still good. I am still using a little bit every day with the formula recipe.

      Reply
  25. The recommendations I was given for length of storage were these: In an upright freezer (like that on top of your refrigerator, 3-4 months. In a deep freeze at 0 degrees or lower it will last 1 year.

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  26. None of my 4 kids was able to drink from a bottle as a baby. And I know from studies conducted that it is because it is a different tecnique it is a real cannot. They would not be able to “taken it if they got hungry enough” as it was simply a matter of cannot. I never considered having an “insurance policy” on hand as I have seen too many women stop nursing at a moment it got tough on them as they had it in the house. Here you also get to take a nursling with you to the hospital and even to jail in the very rare circumstance a nursing mother ends upin jail. Usually people do not go to jail for minor things anyway out here.

    Reply

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