August is National Breastfeeding Month in the US.  Breastfeeding is one of the hot triggers in the so-called Mommy Wars, and even in the mainstream news with women across the country banned from feeding their infants in certain public places.  The differences in opinions, as well as such strong opinions from every viewpoint and angle, got me to thinking about how we have viewed breastfeeding as a society over time.  The history is very interesting and eye-opening.

A Necessity for Infant Survival

Science and common sense will tell you that humanity and breastfeeding have gone hand in hand throughout time and was once a necessity for infant survival, but as any modern lactation consult can attest to, breastfeeding is not without its challenges.  This is not a new fact that has developed as we developed, but one that has always been part of the process and experience.  So, what did our ancestors do to combat difficulties in breastfeeding?  Some evidence suggests that various natural remedies were used to stimulate lactation, but the easiest and most common solution was to hire a wet nurse.

Wet Nurses

A wet nurse is a woman who cares for and breastfeeds another woman’s child.  The practice developed as a solution to lactation problems or to feed infants whose mothers had died.  Over time, many women in the upper classes of society began to see breastfeeding as unfashionable and an inconvenience.  This lead to the rise in wet nursing as a respectable occupation, especially for poorer women.  Roman citizens even preferred Greek wet nurses, as they that babies fed by Greek nurses would have an easier time learning Greek, as well as Latin.  For centuries, wet nursing was a well maintained practice, most especially in Western Europe and the practice was even used in the American colonies and the early years of the United States.

Shift in Thinking

Around the time of the American and French Revolutions, some began to worry that wet nursing was unnatural and led to high mortality rates among newborns.  Physicians, scientists, those in the legal system and even popular writers began to encourage mothers to nurse their own children.  The romanticized viewpoint became one of mothering by getting back to nature.  This, however, did lead to the idea that a woman’s place was at home, and these early new governments were set up with women having little to no political rights.  Breastfeeding or wet nursing maintained as the way to feed infants, however, until the rise of infant formula and bottle feeding.

Bottles and Formula

In 19th Century America, mothers started feeding babies cow’s milk leading to a decline in breastfeeding.  Cow’s milk, which was nutritionally inferior to breast milk, oftentimes lead to infant death.  Scientists began to analyze human milk, and to create and improve upon nonhuman milk sources, so that they were more in line with human breast milk.  In 1865, a chemist named Justus von Liebig patented the first infant formula that was made of cow’s milk, wheat and malt flour and potassium bicarbonate.  This, along with the development of an infant feeding bottle, lead to a further decline in breastfeeding, although not completely as the new formula was somewhat expensive.  By the 1950s, however, new advances in formula making and government regulation, lead to breastfeeding being seen as unsanitary and almost taboo.

Women in the Job Market and Further Decline

By the 1970s, more and more women began to enter the job market leading to an even further decline in breastfeeding, as it is now difficult and inconvenient for women returning to work after having babies.  Infants were typically only fed formula until they reached four to six months old and then switched to cow’s milk.  Concerned about the lack of proper infant nutrition, the World Health Organization offered a little pushback suggesting that the Western fashion of formula feeding is being diffused to the rest of the world.

Government Concern and Regulation Lead to Increases in Breastfeeding in 1980s and Beyond

Taking note of the severe decline and concern over infant nutrition, the US government releases numerous reports advocating for breastfeeding and its advantages.  The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services established the first ever national health objective for breastfeeding establishing a goal to increase breastfeeding to 75% by 1990.  In 1980, the Infant Formula Act, which regulated infant formula to ensure the safety and nutrition, is signed into law by President Jimmy Carter.  In addition to increased health and safety regulations by the government, the increases in Internet usage and other technologies during the Information Age, allows the general population to easily access information about breastfeeding and many other subjects.  As a result, breastfeeding rates rose throughout the 1990s and 2000s.

Affordable Care Act

One stumbling block women still faced in this new century was returning to work after having a baby.  Breast pumps are affective in pumping milk for caretakers to feeding infants when their mothers can’t, but they can be very costly.  On March 23, 2010, President Barack Obama signed into law the Affordable Care Act.  One element of this new healthcare act was that insurance companies were mandated to cover breast pumps for lactating women.

Thankfully in today’s world, breastfeeding has been made to be easier for mothers and formula feeding has been made to be healthier and more nutritious for babies than in the past.  BOTH have become good options for families.  Whichever option results in a healthy and fed baby and a stress-free experience for both mom and baby is the right option to choose.  But for mamas choosing to breastfeed, be sure to refer to these helpful tips to help you get started on the right foot https://blog.rupreggers.com/2015/08/13/7-breastfeeding-tips-for-national-breastfeeding-month/ .

 

 

Timeline

Beginning of Human History – Breastfeeding necessary to infant survival.  Wet nurses employed to feed infants of women who have died or cannot breastfeed.

BC Era to 1700s – Wet nurses employed to feed the children of upper class society.  Becomes a respectable profession.

1700s – Shift in thinking romanticizes breastfeeding leading some mothers to nurse their own.

1800s – Mothers begin to feed infants cow’s milk as an alternative to breastfeeding.

1865 – First infant formula is patented.

1950s – Government regulation in formula leads to breastfeeding seen as unsanitary.

1970s – Women begin to enter job market further declining breastfeeding rates.

1980 – Infant Formula Act passed regulating safety and nutrition of formula.

1980s – Government push to increase breastfeeding.

2010 – Affordable Care Act signed into law requiring insurance companies to cover breast pumps.

 

 

 

Sources:

http://jezebel.com/5129536/milky-way-the-long-strange-history-of-breastfeeding

https://madeinamericathebook.wordpress.com/2011/09/21/breastfeeding-history/

http://www.parentschoiceformula.com/articles/Infant-Formula-Timeline-What-Should-we-Feed-Baby.aspx

http://womensissues.about.com/od/parentingcaregiving/f/What-Is-A-Wet-Nurse-Definition-Of-Wet-Nurse.htm

http://guardianlv.com/2013/08/breastfeeding-throughout-history-some-interesting-facts/

It’s summer and all those yummy summer cocktails are off limits to you, right?!  Don’t be sad.  We’ve got plenty of delicious “mocktails” that will make your non-pregnant friends jealous!!  (You can decide if you want to share!)

Deep Blue Sea

How about a refreshing lemonade drink that is perfect for those summer baby showers!!  Have your shower hostess prepare a punch bowl of this delicious concoction.  Add a little blue food coloring to “blue” it up if you need.

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Baby-Safe Blueberry Mojito

This recipe has all the refreshing mint and lime flavors of a mojito, but with delicious fresh blueberries added.  And it’s pretty to boot!  You really can’t go wrong with this drink.

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Traditional Mojito Mocktail

For a mojito mocktail without the blueberry, try this one out.  With the delicious lime and mint flavors you won’t even miss the rum!

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Strawberry Orange Virgin Mimosa

In our family, we love brunch showers.  Mimosas are the perfect brunch accompaniment.  But since mama will need a baby-friendly one, you can try this recipe.  Pureed strawberries really brighten up the look and flavor of this drink.

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Double Chocolate Mocktini for Mamas

This double delicious dessert mocktail should satisfy some of those pregnancy cravings!!  Who needs the liquor when you have a drink made with mint chocolate chip ice cream?!

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You should be set for the summer with this delicious mocktails.  But, if you need more possibilities, check out our previous blog on the subject!  Don’t forget to drink plenty of water, too!

On November 7, 2015, 36-year-old Moninda Marube won the Santa Barbara Veteran’s Day Half Marathon in Santa Barbara, California for the fourth time with a time of one hour, eight minutes and 41 seconds.  The event was the culmination of Moninda’s 3,700-mile journey that began last July in Auburn, Maine.

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Moninda grew up in Kenya.  A lack of steady money and political violence contributed to a difficult life as a youth.  But, his talent for running allowed him a way out, and his journey landed him in the United States.

In the U.S., Moninda began training, but ran into financial difficulties.  To help out, he began training with other Kenyan runners under a manager.  It was with this manager that Moninda fell victim to human trafficking.  The manager would keep winnings from the races the Kenyans ran, leaving little for living expenses.  Moninda lived in a house infested with bedbugs with no air conditioning and very little food.  Finally in 2012, Moninda met Dan Campbell, the technical director of the Santa Barbara Half Marathon.  He ran the Marathon and broke the course record.  Campbell helped him get out of his situation and relocate to Auburn, Maine, where life is finally good.

Becoming involved with the Auburn, Maine Police Athletic/Activities League (PAL) and motivated to help others, he began The Moninda Movement to help bring awareness of human trafficking.  The Moninda Movement consisted of Moninda’s one-man goal of running 3,700 miles in four months and finishing with the Santa Barbara Veteran’s Day Half Marathon. This amounted to running roughly 30 miles per day, 6 days a week.

Early into his journey, The Moninda Movement gained two sponsors – Bedard Pharmacy and Medical Supplies located in central Maine, and Therafirm, a compression hosiery manufacturer based in Hamlet, North Carolina with corporate offices in Kansas City, Kansas.

Bedard Pharmacy and Medical Supplies has a long history of serving its local community.  As a small, family-owned and operated business headquartered in Auburn, Maine, they are a company that cares about their customers like family. Providing the community with the best quality medical supplies and equipment available is how they strive to inspire and empower individuals to take life’s challenges as they come, and to live life on their terms. They are also proud to be one of the last independent pharmacies in the state of Maine.

Moninda’s mission was a perfect fit for Therafirm.  The U.S. manufacturer produces true gradient compression socks and hosiery including a line of athletic compression socks and leg and arm sleeves.  Gradient compression in athletic socks and sleeves feature compression that is greatest at the ankle and gradually decreases toward the top of the stocking to help increase energy for endurance, better performance and reduces muscle fatigue and recovery times.  But, equally important, Therafirm, as well as parent company Knit-Rite, Inc., holds improving lives as its mission, not only in the products it makes, but also in the many causes it supports locally and beyond.

The co-sponsorship included Therafirm-branded compression socks and sleeves and Moninda’s athletic apparel.  Custom screen printing on Moninda’s apparel advertised The Moninda Movement’s message.  Bedard and Therafirm also donated a portion of the proceeds from retail sales of Therafirm’s athletic compression products over an eight-month period to Moninda’s foundation in support of ending human trafficking.

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Originally, The Moninda Movement’s 3,700 miles was to be a cross-country journey where Moninda would run from Auburn, Maine to Santa Barbara, California stopping in several cities along the way.  Unfortunately, the logistics of getting his team of supporters through each leg of the journey proved difficult and the cross-country run had to be scrapped.  Moninda did not let the setback discourage him from his goals, however.  He continued to run his 30 miles each day from his home in Auburn, Maine making sure he reached the 3,700 miles it would have taken him to run from Maine to California.

Moninda finished his 3,700 mile run in time to catch a flight to Santa Barbara to run in the Santa Barbara Veteran’s Day Half Marathon – a race that he won for the record-breaking 4th straight year.

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Need some USA-inspired outfit ideas to cover that bump?  We’ve got you covered!

Did you know that Preggers Gradient Compression legwear is all made in the USA?  It is!  All of our Preggers legwear products are proudly made in our Hamlet, North Carolina manufacturing facility.  So, wearing a pair of our Preggers leggings with your USA-themed outfits adds an extra dose of patriotism.  A flowing maxi dress will help keep you cool in the hot summer sun and your made-in-the-USA Preggers leggings won’t add any unnecessary heat.  What it will do is give your legs the amazing feeling of gradient compression, which will help increase circulation and energize tired and achy legs.  Add some gold jewelry and a large handbag and you’ll be set for some 4th-of-July fun!!

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As well as gradient compression, Preggers also offers bump support!  The ultra-stretchy Maternity Support Band is a perfect companion to any outfit because of its super supportive nature.  The band is seamless and made of soft, breathable fibers that help to keep you cool and comfortable.  But, it also fits snug to offer the maximum support for your growing bump.  Speaking of that growing bump, the stretchiness of the Preggers Maternity Support Band allows it to grow with you, while continuing to offer its gentle support.  Wear one under an adorable button-down shirt dress in red, white and blue with some star earrings and a sweet pair of sandals.

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The rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air.  Going to be seeing any of this in the night sky soon?  I know we will!  But, you know what inevitably goes with rockets and bombs?  Smoke!  And we let that inspire our next outfit idea.  Cool gray smoke is a lovely color for a sweet and lightweight dress that accentuates your adorable baby bump.  Coordinate it with a pair of Preggers leggings in coal to keep your legs feeling great while you watch the fireworks.  Keep the gray theme going by adding a cute pair of gray strappy sandals, a gray bag and earrings.  You’ll be smokin’ just like the rockets!!

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Field of Flags at sunset, Lubbock TX

Memorial Day is the unofficial start to summer.  The three-day weekend is chalk full of barbecues, parades, super sales and pool and water park openings.  But, what is it, truly, that we are celebrating?  Many people don’t know that the day is set aside for remembering and memorializing American servicemen and women that have been killed in American wars.  But, there is so much more to the story.  Here are several facts about Memorial Day you may not know:

  1. Civil War origins – The late spring remembrance to American war dead began in the aftermath of the Civil War. Originally called Decoration Day, it was an informal commemoration of the roughly 620,000 soldiers killed during the Civil War.
  2. Freed American slaves organized earliest commemorations – On May 1, 1865, black US soldiers, including the Massachusetts 54th Infantry, gathered in Charleston, South Carolina at a new burial for Union dead. They distributed flowers and sang hymns.
  3. Official holiday founded in May 1868 – General John A. Logan, who was commander of a Union veterans’ group called the Grand Army of the Republic, decreed that May 30 would become a nationwide day of commemoration.
  4. Did not become a federal holiday until 1971 – After General Logan decreed a national day in 1868, more than 27 states adopted some form of commemoration. By 1890, every state had adopted it, but the day still only recognized Civil War dead.  After our entry into World War I, the holiday was expanded to include those killed in all wars.  But it wasn’t until 1971, when the U.S. was 6 years deep into the Vietnam War, for Memorial Day became the federal holiday set aside on the last Monday of May that we know it as now.
  5. Many have lobbied for it to return to May 30 – Many Veterans groups that American do not use the day for its intended purpose, but instead associate it with the first long weekend of the summer. They argue that returning the commemoration back to May 30, regardless of the day of the week would return the significance to honoring war dead.
  6. Memorial Day traditions and practices – On Memorial Day, the American flag should be hung at half-staff until 12:00 noon, and then raised to the top. In 2000 Congress passed a resolution that suggested Americans should pause at 3:00 pm local time to offer a National Moment of Remembrance.
  7. Who is included in a Federal Holiday – A Federal holiday, like Memorial Day, technically only applies to Federal employees and those in the District of Columbia. However, many of the 11 federal holidays, Memorial Day included, are observed by all 50 states and many businesses.

This Memorial Day, as you’re having barbecues and parades, pause for a few moments to remember those American servicemen and women who made the ultimate sacrifice. Happy Memorial Day from our team and Knit-Rite and Therafirm.

Memorial Day is right around the corner, and since it is traditionally the official kickoff to summer, we’ll use it as the official kickoff to your summer maternity wardrobe.  To me, there are three things that are most important when choosing items for a maternity wardrobe – especially a summer one.  And they are: 1) Comfort; 2) Style; and 3) Comfort!  Did you catch that?  Well, anyway, when you add one of our Preggers support garments or legwear to any outfit, you can be assured that you’ll experience comfort and style!  As well as the amazing added benefit of gradient compression – the only compression that is greatest at the ankle and gradually decreases as it gets higher up the legs.  Gradient compression encourages blood flow, which helps with swelling, and generally relieves tired and achy legs leaving them feeling great!

So, let’s dive right in!

Ready for all those Memorial Day barbecues and picnics?  Start with a long tunic of a cool lightweight material.  Preggers Leggings are a perfect addition.  Lightweight and not overly hot, the leggings will add style, the all-important comfort, and the healthy benefits of gradient compression.  Keeping your feet uncovered and in a pair of cute sandals will feel great.  Just make sure they aren’t too restrictive for what could be a long day.  A patriotic manicure will round out your ensemble.

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Another use for your Preggers Leggings can be under an adorable summer dress.  The leggings will keep your legs feeling great throughout all your summertime activities.  The light, breathable material will help keep you cool.  Paired with a fashionable maternity dress will add style to your little (or big!) bump.  This brown fringe bag completes the on-the-go summer outfit.

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This is the accessory we think you’ll want to live in!  The Preggers Maternity Support Band is the perfect addition to any maternity outfit.  The seamless, super soft and stretchy garment expands to provide gentle support and comfort throughout pregnancy.  It helps to ease back discomfort and provides abdominal support.  And as your bump gets bigger, we know how important that is!  It can be worn under any outfit, but we think it will be especially nice under a super summer go-to: sleeveless tunic top and a pair of lightweight maternity shorts.  Throw on a pair of sandals and you’re ready to tackle summer!

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We are very excited to be able to offer two very unique giveaways for Mother’s Day!!  These two beautiful diaper bags were made with love by a long-time Knit-Rite/Therafirm employee, Gloria Ladines.  Learn about Gloria and her bags from Gloria’s Creations below and click on the link to register to win.  Contest ends on Saturday, May 7 at 11:59 p.m. Contiguous U.S. states only.

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When Gloria Ladines retired from Knit-Rite’s Sewing Department in 2014, the highly skilled and talented seamstress wasn’t able to rest for long.  She put her skills to work making beautiful diaper bags and purses.

Gloria began sewing as a 13-year-old girl in the Philippines, where she eventually opened her own shop making wedding dresses with her sister-in-law.  In 1972 she married Dionisio Ladines, Jr. and together they had three daughters, Laurie, Leonida and Lourdes.  Dionisio then began working towards immigrating to the United States for his family and by 1984 they had been accepted to immigrate.  Gloria closed her wedding dress shop and the family came to the Kansas City area where soon after Dionisio Ladines began working at Knit-Rite.  He had brothers-in-law that were already working at Knit-Rite, so it became a natural fit and a family tradition. Gloria stayed at home raising their daughters.  In 1991, Dionisio and Gloria and their family became U.S. citizens.  Once the youngest daughter, Lourdes, graduated high school in 1996, Gloria began working at Knit-Rite as a seamstress.  For the next 10 years, she and Dionisio had lunch together every day while working.  They watched all three of their daughters also come to work for Knit-Rite – Laurie and Leonida still do!  Dionisio retired from Knit-Rite in 2006, before passing away in 2013.

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Gloria and Dionisio Ladines and their daughters, Laurie, Leonida and Lourdes shortly after arriving in the United States.

Now in her retirement, Gloria will occasionally work a temporary part-time shift applying her skills and talents to many of Knit-Rite’s products.  But, the majority of her time is spent with her daughters and grandchildren, and making her beautiful purses and diaper bags.  Her bags are extra special because of the amount of love she pours into everything she makes.

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Gloria today.