Friday, January 22, 2016

American Academy of Pediatrics Publishes Guidelines on Extreme Breastfeeding.....

Portland, OR- When new mother Jessica Ramirez found a Groupon for free skydiving lessons, she imagined having the experience of a lifetime soaring above the clouds. After all, this was an adventure that she had dreamed of embarking on for years. Excited, and more than a little nervous, Ramirez approached the counter with her smartphone in one hand and the head of her quietly nursing 3-month-old daughter Jennifer supported in the other.

An extreme breastfeeder, shown here feeding her young infant during the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona

“The man at the counter gave me this look, like he was shocked that I would feed my hungry baby in public,” Ramirez recounted. “And when he told me that they didn’t allow mothers to breastfeed during jumps, my jaw hit the floor. This is 2016. This is America.”
Ramirez, an artisinal home infusionist at Portland's Peach & Barrow compounding pharmacy, is part of growing trend in human lactation known as extreme breastfeeding. Extreme breastfeeding, though considered pejorative by some in the lactation support industry, is considered by many proponents to be the leading edge of a struggle to normalize public breastfeeding. They encourage mothers to breastfeed when and wherever they choose, even if that means making some people uncomfortable. 

"The scientific evidence is incredibly clear when it comes to the benefits of human lactation," Nancy Shiversmith IBCLC, RLC, GED, CPR certified, a Portland area lactation consultant revealed. "Isn't it bad enough that many of these children had to wait up to 9 months in the womb before having access to their mother's precious elixir of life? Should they have to wait for her to finish her mixed martial training class too?"

In response to an increase in incidents involving the practice of extreme breastfeeding, the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Section on Breastfeeding recently published an updated policy statement. In the report, common concerns from mothers, business owners, and government officials are addressed. The statement endorses the practice and calls for more accommodations for mothers choosing to breastfeed during nontraditional activities, like whitewater rafting or zip lining, or when nursing their child in atypical locations, such as a shooting range or the summit of Mount Everest.
Mort Fishman MD FAAP, lead author of the AAP report, believes that society needs to move beyond this issue and that the new guidelines are a step in the right direction. He considers the labeling of some activities as appropriate for breastfeeding while others, such as waters skiing or horseback riding, are deemed extreme to be just another form of harassment and misogyny. “Frankly there is no life experience that is not made more rewarding by breastfeeding while doing it. Accommodations should be made so that nursing mothers can comfortably feed their children whenever they are hungry and not when society dictates it is appropriate.”

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