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Archive for February, 2011

10 Organic Facts You Need to Know

Our guest post this week is from Jennifer Rose, the new media manager and staff writer for the Organic Trade Association. The Organic Trade Association (OTA) is the membership-based business association for the organic industry in North America. We asked Jennifer to give us 10 facts that we all need to know about organic.

1.  Organic is the most heavily regulated and closely monitored food production system in the U.S.
Unlike natural and other eco-label claims, only organic offers government-backed assurance that products are grown and processed without the use of toxic chemicals, antibiotics, and synthetic growth hormones. Additionally, organic requires rigorous third-party inspections of organic operations to ensure that products bearing the USDA Organic label are grown and processed in a transparent manner you and your family can trust.

2.  Organic products support good health.
Mounting evidence, including a ground-breaking report from the President’s Cancer Panel, shows that consuming organic foods is a great way to reduce exposure to toxic and persistent pesticides. A growing body of research also shows that organic foods are rich in nutrients, such as iron, magnesium, and vitamin C, which are critical to maintaining good health.

3.  Organic prohibits the use of GMOs.
By law, organic products must be made and produced without the use of genetic engineering.  That is why at every phase in the production process, organic processors and producers are required to take steps to make sure that you and your family are getting all the benefits you need and want and none of the things you don’t—including GMOs.

4.  Organic prohibits the use of toxic pesticides and fertilizers.
By law, organic producers are prohibited from being grown or processed using toxic and persistent pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. Instead, they rely on such practices as hand weeding, mechanical control, mulches, cover crops, crop rotation and dense planting to enrich the soil in which they grow their crops. Additionally, organic producers and processors must keep detailed records from the farm to when you purchase them.

5.  Organic prohibits the use of synthetic growth hormones.
In order to qualify for the USDA Organic label, organic farmers are prohibited from using synthetic growth hormones like rBGH on their animals. Organic standards also mandate a rigorous system for inspection, certification and verification of organic practices, all of which means practices you don’t approve of are not used to produce your food.

6.  Organic prohibits the use of antibiotics.
Organic practices prohibit the use of antibiotics for the purpose of stimulating the growth or production of livestock. If an antibiotic is used to restore an animal to health, that animal cannot be used for organic production or be sold, labeled or represented as organic.

7.  Organic prohibits the use of chemical additives.
Organic food contains no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives. Minor ingredients used in organic food must come from a list of approved substances that have been evaluated for safety and their impact on both human and environmental health. By law, these ingredients must make up 5% or less of the total ingredients used to make organic food.

8.  Organic has something for everyone.
Including everything from soap to clothing, organic is more than just food. That means that whether you are in search of facial cream or food for your pet, you can find organic products that meet the needs of everyone in your household.

9.  Buying organic is easier and more affordable than ever.
Thanks to the growth of farmers’ markets, CSAs, private label products, coupons, and customer loyalty programs, it’s easier and more affordable than ever to enjoy your favorite organic products. Whether you seek food, clothing, personal care products, or even pet food, you can find an organic version on store shelves across the country. In many cases, the price of organic is comparable to that of non-organic, making the decision to “go organic” simple and cost-effective.

10.  Organic reflects the true cost of food production.
When you buy organic products, you are paying the true cost of the food. By contrast, when you buy non-organic products, there are hidden costs for which we all will pay indirectly—called agricultural “externalities.” These include damage to water sources, soil resources, wildlife and ecosystem biodiversity, and human health from such things as exposure to pesticides. When you add this to the many personal health and environmental benefits organic has to offer, it becomes clear that organic is the better bargain.

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Jennifer Rose is the new media manager and staff writer for OTA. Working closely with other members of OTA’s Integrated Marketing and Communications team, Jennifer manages OTA’s social media outlets and consumer education and outreach intiatives. She also contributes to OTA’s public relations and marketing efforts by writing articles for several trade publications. Jennifer can be reached at jrose@ota.com.

Guest Post: Choosing and Fitting the Right Nursing Bra

If you’re planning to breastfeed, at least two or three nursing bras should be on your essentials list. It’s important to choose a nursing bra to match your lifestyle, your breast size, and your personal preferences.

To help you on your nursing bra selection process, we’ve consulted with Nicole Zoellner, mom and owner of Nizo Wear bras. A nursing bra expert, Nicole offers some tips on fitting a nursing bra, an explanation of different bra types, as well as different bra materials.

When should I purchase a nursing bra?

Wait to purchase your nursing bra until you are into your third trimester  as your rib cage will expand during pregnancy. Once you are in your third trimester your band size should remain the same.  Most women go up a cup size after their milk comes in. I would look for a bra that is made of primarily cotton so it will breathe, but one that also has some stretch/spandex in it as well to accommodate your changing breast size. So, if you are purchasing your bra before your baby is born I would fit the band and then go up a cup size to what you are currently measuring. The key is in the spandex at this point because your size will change so much in the first couple of weeks. Comfort is number one priority here ladies.

How do I fit a nursing bra?

If you have a professional bra fitter in your area you may want to call upon their services. But, you can also do it yourself at home. Here is how to figure out your size:

Band Size: Wearing a good supporting bra, stand in front of a mirror and measure straight across the back and over the top of the breasts right at underarm level. It is important that the tape measure is a straight line. If it does not, that will add inches. Having someone help with this will ensure a more accurate measurement. Add one inch to the resulting figure.  This figure will be the band size.

Cup Size: While wearing a good fitting, well supportive, non padded bra measure across the back and over the top of fullest part of your breasts. If the resulting figure is a fraction, then you will round up to the nearest number and add an inch if the number is odd. For instance, for 30 and ½ inches you would round up to 31 and add 1 inch.  If the figure were 27 and ½ you would round up to an even 28.

Take the band size and subtract it from the second figure. The difference between these sizes in inches determines the cup size (1/2-1 = A, 1-2 = B, 2-3 = C, 3-4 = D, 4-5 = E, 5-6 = F).

Fit Tips

  • A great fitting bra shouldn’t dig, pull, poke or otherwise cause discomfort. If it does, it’s not the right size (or bra) for you. Make sure it feels comfortable when you are moving around.
  • There shouldn’t be any breast tissue spillage at the top, side or bottom of the cups. If there is, your cup size is too small. Try sizing up for a better fit.
  • Straps shouldn’t work too hard. Your bra’s support comes from the band, not the straps. So be sure that you’re wearing the correct band size. Too big, and your straps will end up taking the weight, which will cause them to put pressure on your shoulders and dig in.
  • Is your band straight? Look in the mirror from the side. Your band should be at the same level all the way around your back. If it is riding up in back, it’s probably too big. Try sizing down a band size or tightening your band.
  • No gapping: The center front of your bra should lie flat against your breastbone. It should not lie on top of any breast tissue. If there’s a large gap, you may need to go up a cup size.
  • Band tightness: Your band should feel firm and secure, but you should also be able to slip two fingers beneath the band in back, and one in the center in front. If you can’t, you may need to loosen your band a bit, or go up a size.
  • Underwires: Underwires should lie flat at the front of your bra, against your ribcage. If you feel your underwire digging into any breast tissue, you should try a larger cup size or a different style.
  • Bras stretch over time: Be sure you’re wearing your bra on the loosest hook. Your bras can stretch with washing and wear, so when you buy a new bra, it’s best to ensure it fits properly on a loose hook, so you can tighten it as needed.
  • A perfect fit: Your breasts will feel like they are “sitting” in the cups, you will not feel any underwire pinching and your bra will feel comfortable and supportive. You shouldn’t have to settle for a so-so fit. Sometimes you will have to go up a cup size or two. Don’t let it concern you – sizes do vary among brands. Finding the perfect bra takes time and patience, but the way you will look (and feel) once you have found it will be worth all of your effort.

STYLES OF NURSING BRAS

Soft Cup: A softcup nursing bra is designed to be springy and stretch and contract while still fitting well. The most obvious advantage to a softcup nursing bra has to be its comfort. This is the perfect bra for at least the first few weeks, but can be worn longer.

Molded/Padded Cup; Yes, even the very large breasted nursing mothers choose padded nursing bras for some very good reasons.  It’s not about enhancing the size of a nursing mother’s breasts because nursing has done a very good job of that. It’s about style and comfort as well as practicality. A padded maternity bra can help conceal nipples and disguise thicker nursing pads that some moms may need due to leakage especially in those first few months.

Sleep Bra: Typically sized by S, M, L, XL and is used during sleep or light activity. Many women love this bra for support it provides while sleeping, or it could be to hold in the nursing pads and still allow for comfort or even for everyday around the house wear or for pre-delivery wear for those growing breasts.

Now it’s true that a nursing sleep bra is not built to lift and separate and give your breasts that perfectly holstered look. However, they are engineered for support during sleep (or even activities), and easy access during those late night feedings, especially for larger breasted nursing mothers and to be extremely comfortable for sleeping or around the house wear when there is no need for the more restrictive full nursing bra.

Underwire Bras can dig into your breast tissue, clogging a milk duct without your being aware of it. Many lactation consultants prefer nursing mothers to wear softcup bras, especially in the early weeks of breastfeeding. However, many women prefer the support of an underwire bra, and can wear one comfortably. If you do choose an underwire bra, make sure that all your breast tissue is inside the cup, and that the wire is not pressing on any part of your breast. The fit of this bra is crucial!

NURSING BRA MATERIALS

Materials for nursing bras should be stretchy because this helps them fulfill their function of support and comfort with breasts that might vary in size from hour to hour. Another important concern is that the fabric should also be breathable in order to keep moisture and possibly yeast infections down.  How long a nursing bra lasts, and how comfortable it is, will depend upon the fabric it is made from.

Here are some of the most popular nursing bra materials:

Cotton nursing bras are not what your grandma used. Today, they are considered the best choice by many, and recommended by professionals over any other nursing bra material. Cotton is lightweight, durable, and allows air to flow, which keeps breasts dryer. It also can be woven to have a moderate amount of elasticity. The drawback to cotton is that it lacks the elasticity of synthetic fabrics and is only moderately expandable and is not as absorbent as other materials, so nursing pads should be worn.

Spandex nursing bras tend to be the most flexible and sizable of nursing bra materials. They shrink and expand to fit best of all. On the other hand, they are not usually very breathable and don’t allow the airflow to your skin that cotton does. They also are not as comfortable for many women as cotton or cotton blends.

Microfiber (Cotton/Spandex blend) nursing bras seem to combine the best of both worlds. This nursing bra material has the ability to stretch beyond that of cotton, and provide a nice firm support. The microfiber nursing bra material is also a lot more breathable than spandex and increased airflow which keeps the breasts drier and can enhance skin and breast health.

Some microfiber nursing bras can be lined with bamboo. Bamboo provides a natural antibiotic effect that is eco friendly and can help prevent infections. It also has excellent absorbency and will wick water away from skin and can be luxuriously soft.

On the negative side of the coin is that Microfiber nursing bra materials are usually synthetics, which is not a choice for those who prefer organic nursing bra materials.  Many women hold the opinion that synthetic materials don’t last as long as organic materials.

http://www.nizowear.com/

Podcast: Breast surgeries and breastfeeding, with Diana West

We’re talking breastfeeding after breast reduction surgery, breast augmentation surgery, breast lifts, and nipple piercings on this month’s Motherlove Podcast!

Tanya interviews Diana West, IBCLC, founder of the web’s best resource on breast surgeries and breastfeeding:  bfar.org, and lowmilksupply.org.  She is author of Defining Your Own Success, Breastfeeding after Breast Reduction Surgery, and co-author of Breastfeeding after Breast and Nipple Procedures, The Breastfeeding Mother’s Guide to Making More Milk and The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, Eighth Edition.  Diana successfully breastfed three sons after her own breast reduction surgery.

You can listen to the conversation using the player below, listen with Quicktime, or download it for free at Motherlove’s iTunes store (available soon).

BlogHer Sponsorship Blog Contest

We have become friends with so many amazing bloggers that it’s impossible to pick just one (or a dozen) to sponsor for BlogHer, so we decided to let you pick amongst yourselves. Here’s the skinny:

Motherlove will give three $50 sponsorships to three bloggers, one in each category. The categories are all breastfeeding related, but you don’t have to be a breastfeeding mom to participate.

1.  The first category is CHALLENGES, and your blog post should talk about a challenge you’ve faced as a mom, and how it has resolved. You might have worked really hard to fix the situation or just learned to live with something, we want to hear about it. Just like breastfeeding can be a challenge, the story is different for each of us.

2.  The second category is GREEN. Motherlove has been a toxin-free, herbal company since way before that was the cool thing to do. How about you? What do you want to accomplish this year to make the world a better place? Whether you are very light green or a complete hippie, let’s hear it.

3.  The third category is MOTHERLOVE. What does “motherlove” mean to you? (As in the love of a mother, not the company.)

To participate, just pick one of the categories and write your blog article. Post a link on our Facebook page and put your info in a comment below this post. Please tell us at the beginning of your article which category you are entering.

To win, we’re going to let your readers pick their favorite blog posts from each category. Vote by coming to our Facebook page and commenting under the blog’s entry on our wall. To keep it from becoming impossible to judge accurately, only votes posted correctly will be counted.

The fine print:

1.  If you want sponsored to go to BlogHer, you have to be going to BlogHer. If you win, you must provide us with proof of your ticket within seven days of winning or we will pick another winner. You can already have purchased your ticket, or purchase it within seven days of winning the sponsorship.

2.  You can enter more than one category, and you can ask your friends and family to vote for you. Only one vote per person will count.

3.  Posts need to include at least one web-friendly image.

4.  Posts must contain at least one link back to the Motherlove Facebook page and/or Motherlove blog.

5.  The contest ends at midnight MST on February 13, 2011. In keeping with our theme, we’ll announce the winners on Valentine’s Day.

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