Thursday, July 21, 2011

Support: The Missing Link

The Centers for Disease Control's (CDC) 2010 Breastfeeding Report Card is out. There are wonderful tidbits of good news to be had - 3 out of 4 American mothers now start out breastfeeding and "more babies in the United States are now born at Baby-Friendly™ facilities than ever before." But - and there are more than a few "buts" here - breastfeeding rates by 6 to 12 months are low and stagnant and even though more births are at Baby-Friendly™ facilities, these still account for less than 4% of all births.

And here is one of the most important keys:

"High breastfeeding initiation rates show that most mothers in the United States want to breastfeed and are trying to do so. However, even from the very start, mothers may not be getting the breastfeeding support they need. "

Mothers need support. Real life, personal, interactive, connective support. Parenting is intense. Breastfeeding isn't always easy. And nothing you read or hear is as critical to breastfeeding as being surrounded by support. Having a spouse or partner who is a champion of breastfeeding is essential and amazing, but if there is no community, if there are no other mothers who can share your breastfeeding bootcamp stories with, if there aren't others who can show you, help you, and "get" you and your challenges, it doesn't stick.

Support comes in many forms and from many different outlets. And breastfeeding has more than a few champions. They are out there, but not necessarily where new moms are looking or where they can be found. From local networks to national organizations, the resources are plentiful but disconnected.

The Holistic Moms Network is, at our core, all about support. Whatever choices a mother makes and whatever her parenting journey, we believe moms need and deserve support along the way. Being a Holistic Mom is not about being perfect and is not without its challenges, but it is about making natural, healthy, and sustainable choices for yourself and for your family. Having a supportive community around you is the key to empowering mothers to make these choices and that is how and why the Holistic Moms Network was formed.

We agree with the CDC that many mothers want to breastfeed their babes but lack the support to continue through the challenges or uncertainties. We want to connect mothers with the resources that are out there and that can help them achieve their breastfeeding goals. That is why we are organizing what we hope will be the World's Biggest Breastfeeding Twitter Party on Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011, 10 pm Eastern. We are inviting moms, breastfeeding supporters, organizations, companies, and everyone who advocates breastfeeding to join us and highlight all the offerings of the breastfeeding community.

We hope this opportunity will highlight the value of support and connect mothers with the resources they need. To join us, visit our Facebook page at:

You may be asking yourself: How do I attend a Twitter party?

Well, you’ve come to the right place for answers!

What is a Twitter Party?

A Twitter party is a gathering of individuals on Twitter who follow a single conversation or subject using something called a hashtag.

Where do I start?

Begin by setting up an account at Twitter. Once you’re up and running, you’re ready to join in the fun!

How to Attend a Twitter Party

Refreshing your home page at just won’t cut it… Twitter parties go fast — and can be hard to follow when there are many people chatting all at once! We recommend using TweetChat for party participation – we think it is the most useful and user friendly application we’ve found so far. When you get to TweetChat, you add the hashtag for the party you’ll be attending (#BigBFParty) at the top and then follow the prompts to connect to your Twitter user name.

The benefit of TweetChat is that you can keep an eye on every post with the #BigBFParty hashtag and scroll up and down to go back to see what you may have missed (when it scrolls fast!) and when you post through TweetChat, it puts the #BigBFParty hashtag in for you so you can type your tweet and it’ll remember to add #BigBFParty for you! As you type your tweet, there is a gray box telling you how many characters you’ve used. If your tweet gets too long… the box will turn red — alerting you that you’ll need to shorten it before sending.

What is a hashtag?

A hashtag is the # sign. The hashtag for this party is #BigBFParty. Whenever you tweet during the World's Biggest Breastfeeding Twitter Party to ask a question, make a comment, or participate in a prize giveaway, simply add #BigBFParty at the beginning or end of your tweet. Remember, if you’re using TweetChat it adds the hashtag for you!

Why do we use hashtags?

Hashtags allow Twitter and other applications to sort and bring together all tweets that are intended to be shared within the framework of the party or theme. A hashtag can be used any time, not just during a Twitter party, so your tweet will be seen by people who are searching for that phrase.

How do I win Twitter party prizes?

Because this will be such a huge party, we’re doing things a little different. If you want to win a prize, share information about support organizations or receive information about anything we talk about during the party, we’ll have a special link for you. Go and fill in the blanks, and give us a little info so we can send your prize or any info you request. We will not email you except by specific instruction from you.

Remember: You only have 140 characters to use! Keep it short and sweet.

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