Tag Archives: Blog 4: Exercising Your Public Voice

Choose your Halloween costume wisely

Image result for halloween pumpkins

Halloween is the one time where you can dress up as anything that you want and you wont get judged for being “slutty” or really cheesy because everyone is doing it. But listen, there has to be a line.

I work in a coffee shop, in a small town with a lot of pretty wealthy people that have a chip on their shoulder, so it’s not that foreign for me to see some ignorance here and then. I was working this evening and all of the sudden, I see a white male dressed up as a terrorist walking right by our window, just taking a stroll, smoking a cigarette. Me and my other coworkers were in complete awe. How, especially with all of the ignorance that is going on in the world, would you ever dress up as a terrorist? It is simply just not appropriate and I have no patience for anyone who has even an ounce of racism. Thankfully he didn’t come in because I honestly would not have served him.

So my position is this, you can’t dress up as something for halloween that makes fun of anyone, especially not a specific culture/race. 

There are a lot of racist people in the world, hell our country is being run by a misogynist racist. So how have people not caught up and realized that dressing up as someone of another culture IS NOT OKAY? Even dressing up in a sombrero and a poncho and dressing up as a “Mexican” (in quotes because people from Mexico don’t dress like that) is offensive. When has cultural appropriation ever been okay? As a person from a different country, I would never dress up as someone from another culture and think that it was funny.

I just had to write about this because it completely angered me that someone would do something like that and think that it was okay. I guess with a president (not my president, sorry not sorry) like this one, people can think they can do whatever the hell without any consequences because he does the same thing.

So please, choose your halloween costume wisely.

On a lighter note and in the spirit of halloween, here’s a picture from my class instagram of some of me and my friends with the pumpkins that we carved.

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Breast is Best

Breastfeeding has benefits for the child, mother, environment, and the economy. The benefits include physical health and nutrition, positive emotional effects, and fostering a deep bond between the mother and child. As stated in the advocacy strategy Breastfeeding Advocacy Initiative, developed by UNICEF and the World Health Organization, “Optimal breastfeeding practices consist of (1) early initiation of breastfeeding within the first hour of life; (2) exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months and (3) continued breastfeeding for 2 years or beyond.” The best option for feeding infants is natural breastfeeding.

Obstacles to Breastfeeding

Standard prenatal medical visits in the United States include education and instruction that emphasize the importance of breastfeeding and give basic support to expecting mothers. There may be medical reasons why breastfeeding is challenging or even unattainable. An infants’ medical conditions may include but are not limited to tongue-tie, lip-tie, glandular tissue deficiency, excessive reflux, cleft pallet, and cleft lip. Some of these conditions can be treated before the infant leaves to hospital while others require more investigation and occasionally symptoms are missed all together. Mothers may also have medical conditions that cause them to be unable to breastfeed easily or at all. Mothers may suffer from sore nipples, blocked ducts, thrush, and postpartum depression. thThe La Leche League explains that “Mother and baby need to be together early and often to establish a satisfying relationship and an adequate milk supply.” If breastfeeding is not initiated immediately or the mother and child experience another delays in productive breastfeeding the easy solution is often for mothers to give up trying to breastfeed and moving to formula exclusively.

Working mothers need adequate time in their work day to pump, a suitable space to pump as well as safely store the expressed milk. Although there are laws in place requiring employers to provide private space for breastfeeding; they are still so new there are evolving interpretations. The World Health Organization, states mothers should breastfeed for at least six months, preferably a year. However, in the United States the Family Medical Leave Act only guarantees 12 weeks of job protection an unpaid leave. Modifying breastfeeding schedules and pumping routines to fit the constraints of working mothers can be taxing and deter the continuation of breastfeeding.

Whether at work, in public, or at home, social stigma can be a hurdle for new mothers. Phrases and questions such as good mothers choose breastfeeding, will my colleagues treat me differently, how do I breastfeed at the mall, breasts are not appropriate for public viewing, can run through the minds of new mothers. Often mothers who breastfed have their child in sleep with them for ease of feeding and increased bonding; the benefit is not always recognized by persons outside the immediate family and may instead come across as odd practice. There may be pressure to wean between 6 and 8 months. Any longer may be seen as stunting the child’s development or in extreme cases as sexually inappropriate; when in reality studies show that breastfeeding is developmentally appropriate through age 2. This added stress can make breastfeeding seem unrealistic or not worth the worry.

Benefits to Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding within the first hour of birth has been proven to reduce the risk of thneonatal mortality. The first liquid expressed from the breast is colostrum which meets the immediate needs of the infant. Murkoff & Mazel’s, What to Expect: When you’re expecting, explains that a newborn’s stomach can hold only 6ml, or 0.20oz, on the first day. Around day three, when the newborn’s stomach is ready for it, the milk develops into copious production.  According to La Leche League, the only food necessary until the baby shows signs of needing solids is breast milk. The liquid the baby receives is more than milk; it contains various components that assist in the child’s development from birth to age 2 and beyond; helping to ward off disease, stimulate growth, and provide high quality nutrition.

Mothers who breastfeed often have strong feelings of accomplishment and satisfaction as a parent. A mother’s body naturally produces Oxycontin in correlation to breast feeding. Oxytocin is a natural mood enhancer and can help combat post-partum depression, anxiety, and stress. The strong bond developed during breastfeeding helps to increase attachment and build a relationship between the mother and child. Additionally the mother will experience positive physical benefits including hormone balance, healthy weight loss, and even reduced risk of diabetes, osteoporosis, ovarian cancer, heart disease, and breast cancer.

There are economic benefits to increased rates in breastfeeding. Breastfed babies have better overall health and require less medical intervention. “In the US, $13 billion could be saved in pediatric health care and other costs if exclusive breastfeeding rates increased. Another $17 million could be saved related to maternal health care and other costs” UNICEF and the World Health Organization. Increased rates of exclusively breastfed babies would decrease landfill use, greenhouse gas emissions, as well as water and energy resources. If more women were willing and able to breastfeed, world-wide there would be a decrease in medical and environmental costs.

Conclusion

Breastfed babies have better overall health and require less medical intervention. Breastfeeding was once the only option, it was normal and necessary for the majority of human existence. Based on this research the only downside to breastfeeding is the complications it may create in social and work place settings. Changing the perception and stigma surrounding breastfeeding is an up-hill battle. Fortunately, there are numerous, influential organizations currently advocating for breastfeeding.

Breast is best but it sure takes quite a bit of preparation

A post shared by Ashley (@hk8045qe) on

 

Vaccinations are good for you and the community

The vaccination debate continues in the presidential campaign. And, many medical experts believe Trump’s fear-based comment about the link between autism and vaccinations is dangerous for families and the community at large. There are rare exceptions where vaccines caused severe reactions; however, studies have shown that there is no link between receiving vaccinations and developing autism. Vaccinations save millions of live. The benefits of vaccinations outweighs their risk.

I believe in advocating for our own families; however, when your actions affect the greater health of the community you need to accept the consequences. When government guidelines require specific vaccinations before a child enters kindergarten, then I think families who make the choice not to vaccinate their children (for personal reasons, not medical reasons) ought to home-school their children—that’s how strongly I feel about vaccinations. Because of the 1990s deadly measles outbreak in Minnesota, one of our daughters had to get an additional measles vaccination due to our exposure to community mostly affected.

From thirteen to sixteen years-old, I volunteered as candy striper at a local hospital. My assignments were simple tasks that supported the patients’ need such as, filling their water, delivering their food trays, or bringing them an extra blanket—but I took the job seriously. It felt good knowing that I was helping others.

At the same time, my volunteer experience exposed me to some of the consequences of infectious diseases. The patient who impacted me the most, to quit fussing about getting vaccinations, was the young women in the iron lung. She had polio. She was only in her mid-twenties and was confined to a large machine to help keep her alive. Because only her head was exposed from the machine, she learned to paint holding the paintbrush in her mouth. My job was to hold the paint pallet so she could enjoy painting.

Watch a video clip to learn more about the iron lung

As a carefree teen, it was alarming to see the damaging effects caused by polio—a vaccine-preventable disease. Since 1979, the U.S. has been polio free, thanks to the polio vaccine. However, the crippling and potentially deadly polio virus is still a threat in some countries. It only takes one case of an infectious disease to cause concern, because it can quickly cause an outbreak. The range of symptoms can be from mild to severe and life-threatening. With the ease of access to travel around the world it’s important that you and your family have up-to-date vaccinations.

The infographic below (compiled by designer Leon Farrant) shows the dramatic impact of vaccinations.

 

Your vaccinations also help people who cannot receive them for health reasons. For example, people with compromised immune systems are especially vulnerable to life-threatening illnesses when exposed to diseases. Our friend Steve, who has been sick since childhood, had a double-lung transplant in 2014. He relies on the people around him to be up-to-date on their vaccinations to help protect him—it’s a matter of life and death.

Are your vaccinations up-to-date? Educate yourself on the positive impact of vaccinations. Visit the Public Health Organization to gain a better understanding of vaccines.