What Are Nipple Shields — And Do You Need Them When Nursing?

Most women will level with you if you inquire about the realities of breastfeeding. It’s an enormous burden for some women just to be able to produce at all, while others overproduce so much milk they have no idea what to do with it all (we recommend donation, because there are always other expectant mothers out there who will have those rather embarrassing or annoying personal issues). And then there’s the pain associated with nursing. But hey, guess what: there are some quick fixes for that latter problem.

The Nipple Shield is offered by Medela for nursing moms. There are a number of situations that might cause a mom discomfort while breastfeeding, but they can be used by any mom with tender nipples.

Women with nipple inversion or flat nipples might consider using the product to create a seam between your skin and the baby’s mouth. This will give the baby something to actually latch onto — it can be traumatizing for a new mother to see her baby trying and failing to suckle milk. 

Another reason women might consider the Nipple Shield occurs when a baby is born prematurely. The shield helps “position” the nipple to make it easier for any baby to latch onto, but this is an especially common problem for premature newborns. The baby can attach or detach more easily. Medela asserts research that has proved the nipple shield leads to more milk consumption in premature newborns. 

Nipple Shields are not for use without a “Board-Certified Lactation Consultant,” who can help you navigate any unforeseen nursing quandaries you might experience. This consultant will ensure the product is used safely and properly to increase the odds of success. 

You can use a Nipple Shield to complement your home pumping efforts if supply is running low. The consultant can help you prepare for this possibility as well.

Can You Claim Bankruptcy Because Of Healthcare Debt?

The short answer is yes. The long answer is more complicated — and probably more depressing than any story you’ve heard recently. The United States is still in the midst of rising healthcare costs. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) temporarily slowed the rate of rising costs, but Trump’s successful stripping of the individual mandate reduced the numbers of insured, which increased the rate of rising costs yet again.

And now, more people than ever before are going into bankruptcy because they cannot afford healthcare costs. Breast cancer mortality rates have stagnated in recent years because of these rising costs. When a patient can’t afford treatment, she is more likely to go without — even if withholding treatment kills her. That’s because debt is generally transferred to loved ones. 

The Indiana State Cancer Registry (ISCR) studied the cases of patients whose names were added to the registry from January 1, 2008 until December 31, 2014 to find out how many would eventually file for bankruptcy. The California-based fullmanfirm.com acknowledged that many potential clients were former breast cancer patients seeking debt relief or information on Chapter 7 options. The firm acknowledged that it could help make some victims financially whole again over an extended period, but that most didn’t seek help.

The ISCR study found that nearly all patients who filed for bankruptcy after diagnosis were in younger demographics or lived in low-income neighborhoods. Minority patients were also much more likely to file than Caucasian patients. 

According to information compiled by the Cancer Legal Care organization, the vast majority of all cancer patients do not have the financial capacity to pay for long-term care. Most have limited legal options available, or simply don’t know those options exist. An infographic shows that a whopping 42 percent of patients exhaust all their life savings by the time two years have elapsed. These individuals are 250 percent more likely to go into bankruptcy as those who are never diagnosed with cancer.

Nearly one-third of women who are diagnosed with breast cancer are out of work within four years. Of those who go bankrupt because of healthcare costs, a staggering 78 percent were “covered” by health insurance. Notably, the United States remains one of the only developed countries to not offer free treatment to its citizens as a matter of course. Instead, our citizens go bankrupt. Each of these bankruptcies represents another person unable to contribute or produce because of our own culture’s lack of empathy for struggling citizens.

About 13 percent of the U.S. female population will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetimes — but men are uncommonly diagnosed as well. In 2021, an estimated 43,600 women will succumb to breast cancer. Advances in early screening and overall breast cancer treatment have driven rates of mortality slowly downward, but this could be sped up through increased funding and free healthcare. Breast cancer fatality rates remain higher than any other form of cancer (except lung). 

Why Your Nipples Grow Hard

When we discuss body parts that grow, we don’t always contemplate the human nipple right away, but…let’s face it, they get hard. Remember that scene from Deuce Bigalow, American Gigolo? Yeah, we knew you would. You sicko! And although many of us can point out some occasions that are more likely to result in pointy nipples, how much do you really know about the biological or physiological processes at work?

Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon Michelle Lee says, “Underneath the nipple and areola (the area surrounding the nipple), there are tiny muscles that contract and pull on the skin and push the nipple out.” When stimulated, “the sympathetic nervous system — part of the body’s neural wiring that makes your heart race, skin get goosebumps, and palms sweat — sends signals to the nerves in those tiny little muscles that cause them to contract.”

So it’s no surprise that these are often the situations that tend to result in hard nipples. Of course arousal can lead to stimulated and hard nipples, but any physical contact might be enough, especially since the nipples aren’t typically a part of the body that see a lot of action where touching is concerned.

Cold weather forces the same physiological reaction because those muscles want as much warm air as they can muster — and so they contract to keep more of it in. That’s basic science! Less surface area means less heat loss. 

Another reason that your nipples might become erect? Hormones! Dr. Irobunda says, “During your period or even ovulation, changes in your hormone levels — especially estrogen — can cause your nipples to become harder.”

Dr. Lee adds, “During pregnancy, the hormone progesterone causes the formation of more milk lobules and duct systems. During breastfeeding, mechanical stimulation of the nipple from the baby causes the body to release oxytocin; this hormone acts on the milk glands to contract and push milk out to the baby.”

Kentucky-based Lawsuit Alleges Healthcare Staff Medical Malpractice

Kentucky mom Kim Johnson was terrified that her own brush with death had finally come. Her mom had died a number of years ago. She and her family had watched her mother’s health fail during a slow decline, and she remembered the emotional pain it caused everyone else. Could it be her turn? When she discovered a lump in her right breast during a self-check, she scheduled a doctor’s visit immediately and was sent in for a mammogram.

Later, she received a letter from the Fleming County Hospital Radiology Department. It was time to read what was inside. The letter read, “No evidence of cancer.”

According to evidence later obtained by the family and her lawyers, there had been a grievous error made by hospital staff. The X-rays showed signs of cancer, but no additional tests were ordered. The hospital staff erroneously sent her the letter she received instead of one that asked her to return to more tests based on the evidence on hand. The pain became progressively worse as time wore on, so Johnson asked for a second opinion ten months later. 

The cancer was detected successfully this time, but late enough that the new doctors didn’t know if she could be saved.

Now, Johnson contends that the hospital staff at Fleming County Hospital went out of their way to cover up the mistake that might cost Johnson her life.

Most victims of a misdiagnosis will approach a medical malpractice law firm for guidance — even if they don’t intend to launch a lawsuit to recoup damages. Not every case is a winner, but medical malpractice attorneys have a general idea of what potential clients might want or what they might think is worth fighting for (if anything).

Johnson did this. Her lawyers hired their own forensics expert to find evidence of malpractice — and what they did find was nothing short of breathtaking. At least two hospital staff members edited Johnson’s records electronically and deleted any evidence of the letter she had received in the mail. Additional “fake” letters were placed into the electronic system. These falsified documents asked Johnson to return for additional tests. Doctors from Fleming County testified that Johnson was at fault — not them.

Hospital lawyers contended that the forensics expert’s testimony was not to be trusted because the electronic system employed by the hospital was no longer in use. They did acknowledge a small clerical error by an employee who mistook Johnson for another patient. But that clerical error is exactly what caused the delay in treatment and put Johnson’s life at risk.

Perhaps not so curiously, the hospital hired a forensics expert of their own to review the same evidence as Johnson’s attorneys’ expert — and whatever was found didn’t make its way into court. 

Johnson’s husband Delbert said, “I tend to put my trust in doctors and professionals, the system even. But they failed Kim and tried to hide it.”

Referring to electronic data, Pennsylvania attorney Matthew Keris said, “The cases are literally doubling in complexity because of these issues.”

Our Favorite Words That Contain The Word “Breast”

Our site’s tagline is “We love boobies!” but most of our content is eclectic. Sometimes we focus on the comical aspects of the human breast, while other times we focus on the serious nature of injuries, elective surgeries, and implants. Today, we’ll look at our favorite words within a word or compound words using the word “breast.” Because…there’s so much to love.

  • Breastplate. Noun. A metallic plate covering armor. You would hear about breastplates if you lived in the Middle Ages!
  • Breastbone. Noun. Synonymous with the human sternum, a bone behind the breast.
  • Breaststroke. Noun. This is a particular style of swimming. YouTube the breaststroke if you’re so interested in learning!
  • Redbreast. Noun. A synonym for the beautiful European or American robin. Redbreast is also used to describe the red-breasted snipe. Aren’t birds wonderful?
  • Breastwork. Noun. You’d be forgiven if you’d never heard this word used in a sentence. It can be used to describe defensements in castles or on the ground. These defensements are usually temporary.
  • Abreast. This is the adverbial form of the word “breast.” Abreast is usually used  to define two objects that are lined up side by side or opposite of one another, as in “they were swimming abreast.”
  • Breasted. This is the imperfect form or past participle of the word “breast.” You might own an item of clothing that uses the word breasted or it might be used to define or metaphorize another word or thought. If you are “breasted,” then it means you have a breast. Woo hoo!

Did you know there were so many words formed using the word “breast?” Neither did we. But we’ll spend the next seven-and-a-half years researching every one of them to make sure our world view is upheld. What are your favorite breast-filled words? Don’t answer that.

Can You Get Financial Assistance When Fighting Breast Cancer?

The United States remains one of the only developed nations to deny its citizens the right to healthcare paid through taxes — even though it would reduce the overall burden on the system and many of those citizens. Especially the ones who are already battling breast cancer. But the country is obsessed with business at the expense of everything else. Insurance doesn’t always cover the costs of healthcare, so how does everyone else pay for a major diagnosis?

This waiter pay infographic clearly shows that while many service professionals can make a living, they can’t necessarily pay for enormous medical bills unaided. Other professions with median pay and benefits are much the same. Even good insurance can result in victims of breast cancer paying an arm and a leg to cover costs. Some put themselves in a lifetime’s worth of debt.

Each state has its own non-profit organizations designed to help cover healthcare costs for anyone with a particular disease or major, life-threatening diagnosis. For example, the Adena Health System in Ohio is the recipient of the 2021 Breast Cancer Fund of Ohio (BFOhio) and provides financial assistance to Ohio residents who are diagnosed with breast cancer. These funds serve residents whose living needs have changed as well. 

If you would like to get involved in the fight against breast cancer, you can attend local town hall meetings to organize a drive and push awareness.

The teen organized “Pink Shabbat” recently held a fundraiser to raise breast cancer awareness and support Jewish women who have been recently diagnosed. Watkinson student Elijah Harris said he was “empowered to be able to help plan an event for such a meaningful cause. I was able to connect with other Jewish community members that I do not see all the time, which was great!”

Hall ‘22 student Kylie Gertner said, “Sharsheret makes sanctuaries, holy dwelling spaces for people affected by breast cancer, both the individuals themselves and their families. These spaces are holy because only the people who have been connected to each other through Sharsheret can fully understand the impact of the sanctuary building that Sharsheret does. By simply being here this evening, you are helping Sharsheret continue their incredible work of creating these holy spaces for those who need them, and you are helping make our JTConnect community a holy space as well.”

Kentucky organization “reSettled Life” is a licensed move management auction house that collaborated with the I Have Wings Breast Cancer Foundation to provide help to those who are fighting breast cancer. The foundation was conceived and created by Janet Chambers, who got the iea after she became a breast cancer survivor.

Chambers said, “We’re extremely proud to be a part of helping this wonderful organization and hope to aid them as much as possible to deliver the support needed to these families during difficult times. Being able to help a local organization that’s also women-owned as well is something we’re happy to do, and we just hope that more women and their families can be impacted and their lives made a little bit easier by this partnership.”

Lactation Struggle Anonymous: Donate Breast Milk!

New moms will know (or learn very quickly) that lactating can be a difficult process. Making sure your newborn has the food he or she needs to grow in those first few critical months is very important. Not having an easy time providing that food can vastly increase stress, making it even more difficult. But there are other options available. One woman has donated a whopping 62 gallons of breast milk to those who find it difficult to lactate.

Katy Bannerman had a rare problem — she was producing too much breast milk during the coronavirus pandemic. So much, in fact, that she had nearly 8,000 ounces to spare. But that’s not to say it was always easy. She struggled the same way other moms do when her first child was born. Before her second child was delivered, she planned a visit to a private lactation consultant, after which she quickly began to see a surplus in milk. 

Donation seemed like the most prudent course.

Bannerman said, “That was kind of my intended recipient, some who had themselves struggled with breastfeeding, for one reason or another. I was so happy to be able to donate. At one point I had consistent people that I would donate to, they would come by every week.”

Trouble lactating isn’t the only reason that would-be parents might need support, though. Bannerman received countless requests for milk from adoptive parents, and at least one set of parents had a child who was born with a need for extra nutrients. Bannerman’s supply was notorious for its high level of fat, and she was able to save the day.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, infants should be breastfed for at least six months after birth. Sadly, only about a quarter of newborns actually are, sometimes due to a parent’s choice, or sometimes due to lactation ability. 

Are you willing to donate surplus breast milk? Reaching out to new parents is the first step!

Early Childhood Sexual Abuse: What Is Breast Ironing?

Sexual abuse is a reality that millions of women around the world grow up experiencing. In fact, nearly four million will have experienced the act of “breast ironing” — which most of us have probably never heard about. For those who have, it’s about as horrific an act of intense violence and abuse as can be conceived. For those who have not, it’s about time to learn. We need to identify forms of abuse before we can put an end to them.

Sometimes called “breast flattening,” ironing is exactly what it sounds like: Heated irons or other flat objects are pounded into a pubescent girl’s breasts in order to prevent development — or to destroy them altogether.

Much of this abuse — as insane as this sounds — is perpetrated by a close family member such as the mother or grandmother. And even more strangely, most of these family members contend that they are trying to protect their beloved daughter from rate or other forms of harassment and sexual assault. But then again, these are also mostly conservative guardians who admit that a childhood pregnancy would besmirch the family’s honor.

Other reasons for the barbaric practice include preventing an early (and forced) marriage, which often occurs subsequent to unexpected pregnancy in many third-world countries or to prevent sexually transmitted infections that are more common in some countries. Sometimes, we forget that HIV and AIDS are part of a worldwide pandemic that gets less and less attention as treatment options here at home become more widely available (and do a better job of preventing serious illness). 

One California sexual abuse attorney acknowledged that sexual abuse is common in the United States, but not this kind. 

Dr. Leyla Hussein OBE writes, “Last year, the United Nations called attention to the ‘shadow pandemic’ that has spread alongside COVID-19. Domestic violence against women increased significantly due to the confinement imposed dby international lockdowns. Unfortunately, this shadow pandemic does not receive the attention it deserves.”

She continued, “A girl undergoing [female genital mutilation] in Somalia; a wife being abused by her husband in England; a woman enduring sexual harrassment in Mexico; a female executive not receiving the same pay as her male counterpart in Canada — each of these experiences are tied together through the strings of misogyny, which are rarely discussed and challenged but are right there in plain sight if you are willing to look for them.”

Hussein is concerned that even while human rights moments like #MeToo are becoming more common, turning a blind eye to these acts of harassment, abuse, violence, and gender inequality is still a worldwide problem. This is not just something we see in the third world. This is something pervasive here at home.

Breast ironing isn’t a single act of abuse. It occurs for weeks, sometimes months, at a time until the breasts show signs of halting development. The abuse can become worse — and more prolonged — when the victim resists. The act is becoming more common in England due to Cameroonian subculture. 

How Often Are Breasts Associated With Divorce

One could obviously joke that breasts are associated with one-hundred percent of divorces initiated by the straight male — but how many divorces are the byproduct of a person’s lack of satisfaction with the physical features of a lover? The answer might surprise you. We’ll explore the realities of physical augmentation (you know which ones) and all the strange legal quandaries that develop as a result.

First and foremost: Are you more likely to get a divorce when you or a spouse decide to get breast implants? It’s a valid question due to skyrocketing rates of breast augmentation. There are about 50 percent more procedures performed today than there were in the year 2000. 

Luckily for most married couples, breast size doesn’t seem to connect or correlate to divorce incidence. Googling the topic will likely result in a number of anecdotes but few hard facts. Here’s what we can say for sure: Many women who receive breast augmentation experience renewed self-confidence (others do not), and that could absolutely carry over into the bedroom. “Happy wife, happy life,” or so they say.

And of course we can make all kind of non-factual assessments based on (perhaps) unrelated facts. For one, studies seem to show that certain men’s “oppressive beliefs predict their breast size preferences in women.” But still, no obvious difference in divorce before or after surgery. Oh well. Back to the drawing board. 

Here’s another crazy question for you (and yes, divorcing couples actually ask): Are implants considered marital property? Wow. That one’s a doozy. First, what is marital property? Basically, marital property is that which must be divided equitably when a marriage dissolves. The idea comes down to a fair 50/50 split of most assets. And because the laws are inherently abstract (Solomon might be able to cut a baby in two, but we can’t), there are a lot of absurd claims.

Isaacson v. Isaacson (yes, this actually went to court) was the story of a husband who said his wife’s implants were marital assets. When Mr. Isaacson eventually lost the case to his wife, the North Dakota Supreme Court failed to overturn the appeal. In other words, the precedent was set that a woman’s breasts, augmented or not, belong to her. Except that similar decisions in other states have gone the opposite way, forcing the augmented woman to pay her husband his fair share (in cash). 

The same argument has been used to argue that all sorts of things are marital assets, right down to the fillings in a person’s teeth.

While a divorce lawyer in any state will tell you that while couples do not experience a greater incidence of divorce when a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer, it does happen sometimes. In fact, many couples are more likely to agree to couples counseling when a crazy catalyst like cancer changes the overall outlook or introduces friction into a relationship.

So there you have it. Breasts are sometimes a subject of debate during a divorce, but they don’t seem to be associated with getting a divorce. Truth be told, we expected to find the opposite to hold true. Oh well.

Boob Trivia Extravaganza: Weird Facts You Should Definitely Know

Men might argue that boobs are perhaps the natural world’s greatest inventions. It might not surprise you that a typical man’s knowledge of the female breast is mostly skin deep. Ask them any of these trivia questions and they’ll probably look at you with typical “who cares?” attitude. Here are the weirdest facts about boobs you might not know (but you definitely should). 

Breasts are not solid masses! There are six to nine “lobes” that make up a typical breast. Each of these lobes is made up of yet smaller “lobules,” each of which ends in a tiny bulb. Every single one of those bulbs can manufacture milk. The rest of the breast is filled with fat, muscle, lymph, and blood vessels. 

Women can obtain orgasm from nipple-based foreplay — or from breastfeeding. And no, that’s not sexual. It’s just nature at work.

Sometimes, men can produce milk when a condition called “galactorrhea” is present. 

Breasts change from the moment they develop until a person’s death (we say “person” because men have all the correct pieces to the breast puzzle as well, and can even develop breast cancer — but they don’t usually produce the right hormones to manufacture milk). Breasts can go up or down a cup size during a menstrual cycle, making it extremely difficult for women to fight the right bras. 

Belly buttons get all the attention for their diversity, but there are actually four kinds of nipples: normal, flat, puffy, and inverted. The last classification means the person’s nipples are somewhat dimpled. Awwww, adorable!

Breasts are scientifically awe-inspiring. In other words, we can’t figure out why they exist at all. We’re the only mammalian species with chests that expand even without milk production. And in fact, we don’t need as much space. 

Breast development might begin during puberty, but for some people it can take up to ten years. The most usual timeframe? Three to five years. That’s a long time for a pubescent kid trying to adapt!