We received numerous letters in response to our story "The Best Cities in America to Have a Baby," (February/March 2006). Here are some of the additional letters:
POOR REVIEW FOR PORTLAND
I wanted to comment on the Best Cities article. I am from the Northwest and gave birth to my first child in the Portland area. It was a terrible experience! Not only are there breastfeeding Nazi's, I had nurses at my bedside rudely stating that I needed a parenting class and that breastfeeding is the only option unless I am a careless mother. I am not a careless mother, but I chose not to breastfeed for my own reasons. This should be a private decision for each mother and we should not be made to feel like failures if we do not choose this option. If you want to choose what is best for you, I would not recommend the Northwest as a birthing option.
Jayme Beal, LAS VEGAS, NEV.
Thank you for your story on the best cities in America to have a baby. Portland breastfeeding advocates are not surprised at our "A" grade, but we are delighted nonetheless. Five Oregon delegates just returned from a US Breastfeeding Committee conference where Oregon was featured in recognition of reaching Healthy People 2010 goals by 2004.
There are many components to this success, including WIC leadership on breastfeeding education to staff and distribution of over 43,000 breastpumps, grassroots political advocacy, numerous breastfeeding support organizations and a Certified Breastfeeding Mother-Friendly Employer Project run by the state.
There is also something elusive called "the culture," which is difficult to talk about. I attempted, however, to demonstrate it at the conference by talking about progressive birthing trends. I included our four baby-friendly hospitals, educated LC's and NP's and culture of midwifery, which I deeply desired to quantify, but could not.
Thank you for pulling it all together to demonstrate the continuity of care; how we birth does not affect how we breastfeed. How we are supported through all these transitions makes all the difference. Please tell me--where did you get the great birth data?
Amelia Psmythe, Executive Director, Nursing Mothers Counsel of Oregon, PORTLAND, ORE.
Why the "C" for Charlotte?
I was glad to see Charlotte, North Carolina as number 8 on the list of the best cities to have a baby. However, I was very surprised to see a "C" grade for lactation! I often think of Charlotte as Lactopia because of our extensive resources. We have International Board-Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLC'S) at every hospital, both inpatient and outpatient. We have eight chapters of La Leche League, WIC programs, a peer support group and a number of maternity stores. Your story says "Compared with the number of babies born, Charlotte has almost two times more lactation consultants than our 50-city average. That's the second highest ratio in our survey." So why the "C" grade?
Jan Ellen Brown, R.D.H., IBCLC, CHARLOTTE, N.C.