Tag Archive | Health

Breastfeeding social campaigns: a serious and honest analysis

World Breastfeeding Week

Year – Brazilian godmother of the campaign Slogan
1999 – Luiza Brunet (top model)amamentação Luiza Brunet cartaz1999 Breastfeeding is educating for life. Let’s re-learn!
2000 – Glória Pires (actress)Brazilian actress breastfeeding Breastfeeding. Good for the mother. Better for the baby.
2001 – Isabel Fillardis (actress)Brazilian actress breastfeeding Breastfeeding. A very special way of communication.
2002 – Claudia Rodrigues (actress)Brazilian actress breastfeeding Breastfeeding is giving your baby health in the form of love.
2003 – Luiza Thomé (actress)Brazilian actress breastfeeding Breastfeeding. Health and peace for a better world.
2004 – Maria Paula (actress and writer)Brazilian actress breastfeeding Until your baby is six months old, the shift from the right breast to the left one must be the only change in his/her feeding.
2005 – Vera Viel e Maria Paula (actresses)Brazilian actresses breastfeeding Until your baby is six months old, he/she only needs breast milk. After this, offer other foods and keep breastfeeding.
2006 – Cássia Kiss (actress)Brazilian actress breastfeeding Breastfeeding. Assuring this right is everybody’s responsibility.
2007 – Vanessa Lóes (with Thiago Lacerda) (actress and actor)Brazilian actress breastfeeding with her husband Breasfeeding in the first hour, protection without delay.
2008 – Dira Paes (and mother) – actressBrazilian actress breastfeeding Nothing is more natural than breastfeeding. Nothing is more important than supporting.
2009 – Claudia Leitte (singer)Brazilian singer breastfeeding Breastfeeding at all moments. More health, love and protection.
2010 – Wanessa Cristina and other mothersThree woman; two pregnant woman with another one breastfeeding Breastfeed. Give your child the best.

Social campaigns for donation of expressed breast milk – Ministry of Health Services – Brazilian Government

2008 – Camila Pitanga (actress)Brazilian actress breastfeeding and donating expressed milk Donate expressed milk, life thanks you.
2009 – Samara Fillipo (actress)Brazilian actress breastfeeding Donate expressed breast milk, life thanks you.


The posters aim:

  • Valuing (and even glamourizing) breastfeeding;
  • Enlightening the benefits for both mother and child;
  • Emphasizing the advantages of breast milk;
  • Expressly recommending exclusive breastfeeding until the baby is six months old;
  • Calling for the responsibility of all of the people involved: father, other relatives, employer.

Important, worthy, opportune, necessary, amazing, inspiring: all of those things were more than revered in those campaigns. However, there are other aspects beyond the UNQUESTIONABLE example of beautiful social marketing campaign, which deserve an analysis.

The poster in 2010 calls for attention because it is the first in a series, for 12 years, that shows mothers who are not celebrities. Also, there is a black person as the central figure. Images of breastfeeding are essentially “white”; the exception is Isabel Fillardis, in 2001.

Another new thing in 2010 is the presence of pregnant women, i.e., breastfeeding is an attitude to be embraced early in gestation.

The third different feature is the breastfeeding mother looking at the baby (even if in the smaller picture). Mostly, mothers are not looking at the babies, but at the spectator, reinforcing the appeal, when they act as spokespeople of the campaign (the exception is the poster with Vanessa Lóes and the ones for milk donation). This behavior also denotes an incisive pose for the photo, an artificial moment as well as the mother’s highlight, the hero who deserves be applauded and followed. Colors, environment, smiles, everything contributes to the atmosphere of serenity and delight, and leads to the understanding that breastfeeding is a natural fact/act since the beginning/always and has no difficulties – even when there are twins (Luiza Tomé) or big children (Maria Paula).

The mother who doesn’t see that atmosphere when she tries to breastfeed (she feels pain, sore nipples, breast engorgement, fissures, fatigue, lack of support, instead) thinks that something is wrong – with her.

Positive changes are a good beginning in the campaigns. Yet what really is absent in all posters is something beyond the phrase “for further information, please call…” with telephone numbers or websites. A crucial recommendation is not explicit on those posters: “In case of difficulties, please call…”

As in all good ads, nobody wants to talk about problems. This analysis intends to focus on the help, the support. The mothers may check the credibility of the campaign, when they cannot reproduce the perfect spirit in the pictures, and even give up, thinking that breastfeeding is only for celebrities (who enjoy a whole universe, which is not accessible for “mortal” women).

(Actually, that information is available, in the material for health professionals. It was not created for the public at large. Ministry of Health Services – Brazilian Government issued a great, honest and plural primer, with “people like us”; so different from the posters! It’s worth visiting it:   Cartilha de Amamentação –   in Portuguese.)


You can also see:

Because we are mammals – analysis

Because we are mammals – Marusia speaks

This post in Portuguese: Campanhas de amamentação – uma análise séria e franca

Letter to my children

Dear Kids:

If, in the next year…

… we have to spend a sleepless night, may we enjoy the rare opportunity to watch the sun rising.

…we have to deal with a health problem, may we learn to understand our body signs.

…we cry, may the tears come like the rain that fertilizes dreams.

… we get angry, may we comprehend the immense creative power of that energy, when channeled.

… we are forced to stop, may we know how to wait, like the seed that is never late and is never early to germinate.

… we find obstacles, may we take pride in feeling like students doing a test for an advanced level.

… we have a loss, may we discover strength in faith.

… we face unmannered people, may we remember Francis of Assisi and be instruments of Peace.

… we are instruments of Peace, may dreams, health, happiness, friendship, creativity, patience, victory, earnings and harmony come in addition.

… and may the year be good.

hand with an hourglass

Image: Desktop Nexus


You can also see:

The origami angel

This post in Portuguese: Carta a meus filhos

Advice I love

girls dressed as fairies

By Anne Guedes

Pregnant women and first-time mothers (and even the third-time mothers like me) are target for rains of advice. Sometimes, many interventions, from many sources and such varied contents can really cause confusion. But now I want to talk about “winning” advice, the ones that made and keep making the difference to me and I wish to share: advice I love.

From my sister Maria: “Don’t wait for your belly to grow to rub moisturizer.”

The skin must be previously prepared and hydrated, already in the beginning of the pregnancy, when the belly still hasn’t grown yet. So, you prevent sensibility and weakness that origin strias and stains on the skin. Actually, moisturizing is always important, for pregnant and non-pregnant women; we deserve this daily ritual.

From my friend Luciana: “The baby sucks with craving even in the first nursing.”

I had some idea about the difficulties of breastfeeding, mainly in the beginning, but I thought they were due to the nursing frequency, and not because of the suction intensity or the baby’s latch. Luciana’s statement was great and helped me not to be surprised.

From my sister Maria: “Everything goes away.”

In the post-partum, when we feel in the middle of a hurricane, with thousands of hormones under our skin, new incumbencies and never seen before emotions, we can be inclined to doubt that truth. However, if we allow ourselves to accept it, it makes us free. Everything goes away. And goes away fast.

From my friend Daniela, when I was expecting my second child: “When the baby is born, your oldest son will look very big.”

It is correct and valuable. My oldest son was only 2 years old when my daughter was born, but he looked like a giant in comparison to the new-born. The danger, wisely warned by Daniela, is acting as if he were grown-up and mature. The advice was great, to not demand postures and behaviors above his age. After all, he was a baby too, with needs, facing the absolutely new circumstance of his sister’s arrival, with whom he would have to share his parents’ attention.

From my brother Junior: “Children have happiness expiration times.”

Being aware of this wise tip avoids a lot of annoyances. When the “happiness expiration time” is up, it means it’s time to go home and rest. Insisting on doing anything else leads to suffering the consequences of an angry child, who will do everything to drive us crazy, and then the tour loses its purpose. It’s important to remember that, when you take kids to a “grown-up people event”, without activities that include or entertain them, their expiration time is shorter. It partially explains the fits in supermarkets and shopping centers.

From my kids’ pediatrician (who was my own pediatrician, too): “Hug your children.”

Shantala, massage during the bath, the need of being held in the lap, skin-to-skin contact: these things are largely recommended for babies. However, the fondling becomes rare as soon as the child begins to get big. Touching is not only for babies! 8, 9 year-old children, teenagers, even adults need a hug, being taken in the parents’ arms. This is therapeutic, prophylactic. Healing.

From my mother: “If you want to, you can keep your activities, you can work. But it’s very important staying home on your kids’ sleeping time.”

Sleeping time is sacred and has different representations in children’s minds – representations of tenderness, affection, shelter. It’s worth trying it.

And you? Do you have a “winning” advice?


This post in Portuguese: “Conselhos que amei”

My son needs glasses

Today, I found out my 8 year-old son must wear glasses. I wear them, my husband wears them, that’s a family thing. It’s so predictable that, since he was 4, we had been doing his eye examinations, which were up to now normal. This year, I have already been suspecting of a little difficulty for him to see well. Now, it is confirmed. Those beautiful and expressive eyes, which are his registered mark, are behind lenses. Just a little myopia; he can even dispense the glasses to play soccer. But suddenly a lot of worries came to my mind!

I wear glasses since I was 6. For a long time, I was the only one in my classroom. As a short, thin, introspective and nerdy girl, I was the perfect target for jokes. As my mom was. Although, just until a little while ago, that kind of joke was considered only a “child thing”, nobody took it seriously, nobody cared much.

Alvin and the Chipmunks - SimonAt least at home everybody would have to deal with the same troubles. And also with funny situations. When we would go to the beach, for instance, walking out from the sea was complicated. We were dislocated by the waves and simply couldn’t find the family’s parasol on the sand. Meanwhile, the others would be observing from afar, laughing a lot, the “Mister Magoo” brother, lost, tightening the eyes and approaching each and every beach umbrella, looking for a known face!

When I was 12, my mother gave me a pair of contact lenses. It was such a big revolution to me that I ended up abusing them. The result: a keratoconus has formed in my eyes, a problem in my corneas that contraindicates surgery and the use of soft contact lenses.

So, those memories overwhelmed me like in the day my son left the kindergarten to go to a “big school”. I thought to myself: “Oh my, he is going to live so many things there… experiences for his entire life. The first exam, the first date, the gang… The first low test score, the first disappointment… And now, he is going to deal with all of these things wearing glasses…

Associating a person wearing glasses with the “intellectual” is unavoidable. It discourages, in the beginning, the “flirters”. A Brazilian rock band, called “Paralamas do Sucesso”, has the song “Óculos” (“Glasses”). The vocalist, Herbert Vianna, sings about his bad luck with girls: “Por que você não olha pra mim? Atrás dessa lente também bate um coração. Atrás dessa lente tem um cara legal.” (“Why don’t you look at me? Behind these lenses, there’s also a heart that beats. Behind these lenses there’s a cool guy.”). I identify myself instantaneously with this song! All of a tribe, which had also identified themselves, felt betrayed when Vianna finally did the corrective eye surgery.

Thank God the day when I met my husband I had my glasses on! Nobody can say it was misleading propaganda hahaha!

Harry Potter with his owl EdvwigesSeveral things tranquilize me, though. Nowadays, parents and teachers are more aware, and many kids in my son’s school wear glasses, too (he is not the only different boy). Nowadays, the humiliation, formerly considered as a “child thing”, has already received a name: Bullying. Many studies, books and even law projects treat this subject, and the schools are concerned about banning this practice for good –  even though I know how kids can be cruel sometimes.

Afterwards, I hope he can do the surgery (and a cool technology can be invented in order to resolve my problem, too). Until then, my role as a mother (and an authority on this theme, who lives with it day by day), is to provide my son with such an invincible self-esteem that his glasses become just a mere detail; a useful object to improve his vision sharpness and that’s it.

I came to the following conclusion:

We cannot prevent our children from living some experiences, even the most difficult ones. Better, WE DON’T HAVE THE RIGHT OF preventing them from living some situations which can yield them to grow up.

Everything just depends on the way we prepare them.

Everything just depends on our points of view.

“Behind these lenses there’s a cool guy”, a pretty cool guy, who has a beautiful future ahead.

superman wearing glasses


You can also see:

The Tooth Fairy

From daughter to mother

This post in Portuguese: “Meu filho vai usar óculos”, originally published on March 11th, 2011.

The Tooth Fairy

Visited site: Katmary Gallery – Flickr


Teeth replacement is really an interesting phase in childhood. Before the loss of the first milk tooth, the child gets a little apprehensive. They don’t know when it will occur, if the loss will hurt, if the eruption of the permanent tooth will also hurt and so on. In order to ease the process, I think, they invented the Tooth Fairy story, as a little extra incentive.

Image: Katmary / Flickr

I, particularly, only learned about this story a long time after I had grown up; there was no such fantasy tradition as this, in my family. But I thought this approach was nice and decided to use this strategy with my kids.

Teeth replacement has been calm here at home. My children think the loose tooth is cool, they get happy with the Fairy’s monetary reward. But they grow up, don’t they? Then, they start suspecting the stories.

Once, my first-born son (at that time, he was six years old), asked me:

“Mom, does the Tooth Fairy really exist?”


“Because I want to know if she is true or if she is invented.”

I thought, thought, Gee, if I say she does not exist, I pass off as a liar, don’t I? And what’s the problem with one more fantasy? And if he, knowing the truth, ends up destroying the fantasy of his youngest brothers? I solved the question with this:

“Do you want her to exist?”

“I’m not sure, I think I do.”

“Do you want her to exist?” – I insisted.

“I do.”

“So, done: she exists for you, and that’s what matters.”

Image: Katmary / Flickr

Both of us, he and I, were glad with the resolution.

Some days later, one of his foreteeth fell off. He left it under his pillow, as usual, expecting the Fairy’s coming. In the next day, with the tooth in his hand, he said to me:

“Look, Mom, the sheets got in the way of the Fairy.”

“What do you mean?…”

“The sheets are white, Mommy, like the tooth. The Fairy didn’t see the tooth, therefore she didn’t take it and didn’t leave me a coin.”

I looked with “those eyes” to the father, the logistic responsible for leaving the coin (that he had clearly forgotten). He was laughing. I agreed with my son:

“You’re right, let’s leave it again, that Fairy is a little shortsighted.”

In the next morning, the child came again:

“Hey, Mommy, is a broken tooth worth less?”


“It is, my tooth was a little broken and this must be the reason why the Fairy, instead of giving me $1, gave me 25 cents…”

Of course somebody was laughing a lot in the room beside ours, who justified to me, later: “I didn’t have another coin in my wallet…”

Image: Katmary / Flickr

(I saw a tweet with a joke, saying that the Tooth Fairy teaches children, in a mercenary way, to sell human body parts, which is forbidden by law hahahahahaha!)

With this episode, I saw only gains:

I realized how clever my son is: doing mathematical calculations, applying financial education fundaments, practicing logical reasoning. The most important, however, was seeing him developing the fantasy, getting highly plausible reasons in order to keep it alive.

Fantasy forever! And, we, grown-up people, are the ones who need it more!

(My kids, up until now, still believe in the Tooth Fairy).

Image: Katmary / Flickr

You can also see: this post in Portuguese: A Fada dos Dentes

Where’s the big belly? It’s disappeared

Free translation of a report published in Veja magazine (Brazil), under “Beauty”

"Where's the big belly? It's disappeared

Where’s the big belly? It’s disappeared

Getting slim quickly is a dream of pregnant women – but an exaggeration is not necessary

Is there a pregnant woman who doesn’t dream about the moment of going back to wearing the “before” clothes and getting her body back after giving birth? It’s a perfectly natural desire, as long as it doesn’t become a unique and a no-parameter concern.

“Ten years ago, a fat woman breastfeeding was seen as healthy. For six weeks after the birth, nothing was demanded from a woman, even beauty. She used to stay there, “hatching”, Wladimir Taborda, the Gynecology and Obstetrics coordinator of the Albert Einstein Hospital in São Paulo (Brazil), says. “It’s different nowadays. Six hours after the birth, women are already walking. In the next day, the beautification process starts”, he complements. There’s no lack of examples – bad examples. […] Actresses, singers and models, that are already esthetically privileged, leave the maternity with their bodies virtually back to form.

For a new mother, it’s not easy (or recommended) to follow those examples, those exaggerations committed by the stars. “The celebrities reach the desired result with the help of a specialized team (that includes nannies, personal trainers and nutritionists). The majority of women don’t have the time or the professionals required for that effort”, the obstetrician Yehudi Gordon, who took care of the ex-models Jerry Hall (the mother of Mick Jagger’s 4 children), and Elle MacPherson (who has 2 boys), warns.

[…] “Sixty years ago, pregnant women had gained weight without any control, and it had been seen as cute. Nowadays, when we see a fat pregnant woman, the first thing that we think is: she isn’t taking care of herself”, the gynecologist Rubens Paulo Gonçalves, the author of “Pregnancy for pregnant women”, comments.


Subtitle of the photos of Kate Hudson:

Kate, still enormous 26 days after giving birth, and then three months later: goodbye to 30 kilos with a strict diet and a lot of gymnastics.


The report brings a big paradox: although it classifies as an exaggeration what celebrities do to get thin after giving birth and though it intends to emphasize health and not shape, it brings citations of gynecologists and a lot of expressions that strongly disqualify the bodies of pregnant women during the postpartum period. At the same time, it uses many eulogist words to those who auto impose the goal of returning to their good physical shapes:

Pregnant women, according to the report Goals, according to the report
Big Belly Beautification
Fat Excellent physical shape
“Hatching” Small body
Enormous Tall, thin and pretty
Immense Perfect shape
They had gained weight without any control Slimness and glamour
They didn’t take care of themselves Splendorous
Fat-belly woman Beautiful figure


You can also see:

Where’s the big belly? Marusia speaks

This post in Portuguese: Cadê o barrigão? Sumiu

Where’s the big belly? Marusia speaks

It’s curious: all the gynecologists mentioned in the report “Where’s the big belly?” are men. What caught my attention above all else was this statement:

“Ten years ago, a fat woman breastfeeding was seen as healthy. For six weeks after the birth, nothing was demanded from a woman, even beauty. She used to stay there, ‘hatching’ “, Wladimir Taborda, the Gynecology and Obstetrics coordinator of the Albert Einstein Hospital in São Paulo (Brazil), says.

He talks as if taking care of a new-born is “nothing”. Well, what nature spent 9 months to do is not undone in the next day. And it’s impressive how returning to being in shape at any cost is becoming a real obsession for both the celebrities and mortal women.

Respect your body, your rhythm, your health and your welfare. And, to those who say the opposite, tell them to go “hatch” a coconut (by the way, coconut water is very good for women in the postpartum period).


You can also see:

Where’s the big belly? It’s disappeared

This post in Portuguese: Cadê o barrigão? Marusia fala

From daughter to mother

Today, October 22nd, is my birthday. Every year, my mother reminds everybody she knows of the day when I was born, the going to the maternity… She has even kept the dress that she had worn at that date. In that time, in the colored and hippie seventies, pregnant women en vogue used to wear a very short trapeze dress, made of the same cloth as their panties – the idea was to show them!

A birthday is a day to remember a lot of things, indeed. It includes things that didn’t happen specifically at that day. And, the same way that my mother remembers my birth, I also remember the birth of my children and the things that we have been experiencing since I became a mother.

But today I’m going to talk about a particular aspect: the mother-daughter link.

A month ago, I woke up in the early morning. I had had a clear impression of hearing my five-year old daughter crying. I went to her bed, but she was sleeping calmly. In the next day, I woke up again. This time, she was sitting on the TV room sofa, in the darkness. When I got closer, I noticed she was crying softly, because of an earache. The dream of the night before had been a presage. I was surprised and said to her: “You can ALWAYS call mom, always.” She hadn’t wanted to wake me up. And I automatically remembered that I had done the same thing, the same way, when I was her age. I had had earaches in the early morning and had been crying inaudibly in the darkness of the corridor, beside my parents’ room door. EVERY TIME, my mother had opened the door. She had heard my crying with her heart ears.

So, I remembered another early-morning episode. My daughter was seven months old. My husband was travelling. I jumped out of bed, in dread. No sound. But, when I got closer to the cradle, I saw my daughter having a respiratory crisis. It was 1:30 A.M. I took her, wrapped her in a blanket and went quickly to the hospital’s emergency room. There, a doctor diagnosed her with stridulous laryngitis, a disease that usually scares parents because of the shortness of breath that the child has. She prescribed a bronchodilator. I didn’t dare to nebulize a baby so young. I decided to call my pediatrician, who is a homeopath, at 3 o’clock A.M. He asked me if I could stay awake the rest of the morning in order to give homeopathic medicines to my daughter every 30 minutes. It was what I did. In the next day, still in the morning, she hadn’t suffered from shortness of breath anymore.

Then, a new connection is created. On October 22nd 1972, my mother’s obstetrician was late and I was born 3 hours beyond the prediction. I needed to stay inside an incubator. In the early morning, my mother couldn’t sleep. She called a nurse and said that something was wrong. The nurse didn’t pay her attention, but the incubator had actually interrupted the oxygen flow. The nurse reestablished the flow and recommended that my mother slept. But who can rest, this way? Later, she called the nurse again, who replied saying that she had already solved the problem, and my mother was worried for nothing. For the second time, however, the incubator had stopped sending oxygen.

What can explain these facts? What does this link mean? I don’t know, I just feel. And, the more we give ourselves to this sensibility, the more accurate it is. This is a certainty that comes from inside. From God. From mother to child, from father to child, from a brother, from a friend, from people linked by ties as tenuous as they are powerful.

 After my children were born, I wished to receive the same lap that I had been giving them. The same lap my mother gave me. I wished to go back to being a little girl, living with her again; I wanted her to be more than a visit. I wanted to prolong the image of perfection of her presence in my childhood that I nourish even now. But, if I look forward to getting rid of the pressure of being a perfect mother nowadays, I found that I also must liberate her from the same demand. It’s a great exercise of comprehension, of self-forgiveness. As she is used to saying: “forgive me if sometimes I failed, because I didn’t know how to do it, because I couldn’t do it. It’s because half of me is love… and the other half, too.”

Today, on my birthday, I want to reinforce all of these links and repeat what I heard in a beautiful pre-birth ceremony:

“I want to honor the womb from where I came. The womb where I am. And the womb that exists inside of me.”


You can also see:

This post in Portuguese: De mãe para filha, originally published on October 22nd 2010