The CRAAP Detector—A Tool For Evaluating Information Resources

by Kari Swanson, illustration by Jennie Bernstein 

What is research

This post doesn’t have anything to do with what’s in your baby’s diapers… unless you’re looking for valid information about what’s in your baby’s diapers, in which case it might be a very useful tool for you. The CRAAP test doesn’t have anything to do with crap and a whole lot to do with determining if the information you’ve found, regardless of whether that information is in a print resource or online, is valid, partly valid, or if it’s… well, just plain crap.

What is the CRAAP test? The CRAPP test is a tool that can be used to facilitate evaluating information resources. It was developed by librarians at the California State University at Chico’s Meriam Library (www.csuchico.edu/lins/handouts/eval_websites.pdf). CRAAP is an acronym that stands for Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, and Purpose. The CRAAP test poses questions in each area that it assesses to help you to determine if a particular source is more or less valid—it’s really a fluid scale not a black or white answer.

While the CRAAP test was developed by librarians for use by college students in evaluating resources to support research papers, it can be used by anyone to evaluate the validity of any resource used to answer a particular question.

Currency

The first questions in the CRAAP test are about the currency of the source. They ask questions about the timeliness of the information:

  • When was the information published or posted?
  • Has the information been revised or updated?
  • Does your topic require current information, or will older sources work as well?
  • Are the links functional?

It is very important to think about whether the answer to your question requires current information and, if it does, to determine if the source you are evaluating is current, has been revised or updated and (if it is an online resource) has functional links. An online resource that contains a bunch of broken links is almost certainly not up to date. And if a print resource has a copyright date before your grandparents were born you might want to consider more recent material.

Relevance

The next set of questions in the CRAAP test are about how well the resource relates to your information need:

  • Does the information relate to your topic or answer your question?
  • Who is the intended audience?
  • Is the information at an appropriate level (i.e. not too elementary or advanced for your needs)?
  • Have you looked at a variety of sources before determining this is one you will use?
  • Would you be comfortable citing this source in your research paper [or to answer your question]?

If you are using the CRAAP test to evaluate a resource for answering a particular question, but not necessarily for a research paper, it is important for you to think about what kind of information resources you think will answer your question and if the resource you are evaluating is that kind of resource. For example, if you have a question that you think will best be answered by a scholarly research article and the resource you are evaluating is a newspaper article about the research the newspaper article will probably not thoroughly answer your question, because it will probably only provide a very brief summary of the research. And, some newspaper articles and blog posts about scholarly research are notoriously bad at summarizing scholarly research and occasionally present conclusions that the research does not actually support.

Authority

The next group of questions in the CRAAP test relate to the authority of the source of the information in the resource:

  • Who is the author/publisher/source/sponsor?
  • What are the author’s credentials or organizational affiliations?
  • Is the author qualified to write on the topic?
  • Is there contact information, such as a publisher or email address?
  • Does the URL reveal anything about the author or source? Examples: .com .edu .gov .org .net

Again, even if you are not writing a research paper it is still important to think about the authority of the source of information in a resource. Anyone can publish anything on the Internet, so it is important to understand who the source of information is when evaluating a resource in order to determine if the resource is valid. URL’s can reveal information about source, because some URL’s can only be used by certain kinds of organizations. For example, only academic institutions can have a .edu URL and only government agencies can have a .gov URL.

Accuracy

This set of questions pertains to the reliability, truthfulness and correctness of the information:

  • Where does the information come from?
  • Is the information supported by evidence?
  • Has the information been reviewed or refereed?
  • Can you verify any of the information in another source or from personal knowledge?
  • Does the language or tone seem unbiased and free of emotion?
  • Are there spelling, grammar or typographical errors?

The type of resource provides clues to whether information has been reviewed or refereed by other experts. Scholarly articles are usually peer-reviewed, which means experts in a field have reviewed the research and determined that it meets rigorous standards. Even if a resource isn’t peer-reviewed, the information it presents can be supported by evidence in the form of citations or links to other sources of information (which may or may not themselves be valid). Be wary: satire, spoofs and intentional falsehoods abound on the internet. There are whole web sites dedicated to non-existent species of animals that unfortunate people have been tricked into believing are real (e.g. look up “tree octopus”).

Purpose

The last set of questions in the CRAAP test pertain to the reason the resource exists.

  • What is the purpose of the information? Is it to inform, teach, sell, entertain or persuade?
  • Do the authors/sponsors make their intentions or purpose clear?
  • Is the information fact, opinion or propaganda?
  • Does the point of view appear objective and impartial?
  • Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional or personal biases?

Knowing the purpose of a resource can help you to determine whether it is valid or reliable. You may find good information on a commercial site that sells products related to your question, but it probably shouldn’t be the only resource you use to answer the question since it is quite likely that they will present information that is biased in favor of their products. Sometimes it is easy to determine bias and sometimes it is much more difficult. Sometimes to answer these questions you have to consider answers to previous questions. For example, you may need to consider an author’s affiliations and expertise to determine if there is bias of some kind or whether a resource he or she wrote is fact, opinion or propaganda.

Answering all of the questions in the CRAAP test will help you to determine if a resource is more or less valid for the purposes you need it. If you are not confident that a resource meets the level of reliability or validity that you need to answer your question you can move on to other resources. If you find a resource that meets the level of reliability or validity that you need, but you want or need more information you can use that resource as a means to find related resources by looking for other resources that it cites or that cite it. When you’re doing your personal research to assist you in your decision making, it is a good idea to ensure it all passes the CRAAP test even if you won’t be publishing it anywhere.

And, if you aren’t sure or you get stuck, ask the expert searchers: your local public or academic librarians. We excel at knowing the difference between CRAAP and crap!

_______________________

Kari Swanson

 Kari Swanson is a college librarian, editor, photographer who invests much of her free time supporting other women in their breastfeeding journeys. Kari lives with her two children and husband in beautiful Northeast, USA.
Share

#TLBmoves Playful Fitness

by Bryan Jarrett

To express ourselves through movement we can help heal, strengthen and maintain the integrity of our physical bodies. Staying active is not just about burning calories and shedding unwanted pounds—it’s about the overall impact it can have on our lives. Even as a fitness coach, I love to keep my workouts varied and, most importantly, playful! Here are four ideas that will get you moving without the use of dumbbells, barbells, or treadmills!

1. Raid the toy aisle at your local drugstore! The other day I was at my local drugstore to buy charcoal for the grill. I spotted all of these summer toys for the backyard on clearance. My intuition drove me to say YES to a $4 Skyball game and the result was a lot of fun! Any game will do for this idea (Badminton, Horseshoe/Ring Toss, etc.) Play a few rounds for 20-30min. Then say hello to your elevated heart rate, improved coordination, and have fun!

2. Walk to your local park and add a sensible workout: The walk to the park can be part of your workout. The other part can be a resistance band workout once you get there. All you need are a couple of resistance bands and something secure to wrap your band around. Circuit these four exercises as one round. Aim to perform 2-3 rounds.

  • Wide Grip Rows: These are awesome for our posture and alignment of the spine. First, secure the band. Then, take the handles and walk the band back until it is tight. Pull the handles apart and bring the elbows to the side into a table top position. Make sure the shoulders stay down the entire time to minimize neck tension. Do 15-20 reps.TLBmove Bryan Jarrett Resistance bands
  • Chest Press: Place the band in the same position as the Row. This time face a way from the handles. Start with the band at shoulder height with elbows flexed into a table top position. Then push the handles together while keeping your shoulders down. Do 15-20 reps.TLBmoves TLBmoves Bryan Resistance Bands stretch
  • Core twist: Insert one handle into the loop of the other. Pull one handle away from the pole to create a knot in the band. Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Facing to one side, grab the handle and hold it away from the body with the elbows flexed. Then twist to the side. Control the band as your arms come back to center. Limit your range of motion if you have any limitations in your back/spine. Do. 8-10 reps on each side.TLBmoves Bryan Jarrett
  • Bicep Curl: Stand with feet together on the band for lighter resistance. Stand with feet shoulder width apart for heavier resistance. Keep your elbows tucked into the sides of the body while maintaining a strong grip on the handles. Do 15-20 reps.TLBmoves Bryan Resistance bands arm curls

3. DANCE. A simple step-touch can put you back in touch with feeling good. You owe it to yourself to play your favorite album, lower the blinds (or not), and just dance. Challenge yourself to dance with no judgment for at least 15-20 mins. You don’t need to be great. Participation is the new winning!! Also, video dance games (ie: Dance Central) provide great opportunities to laugh and move together with the whole family.

4. The Fitness Toy Chest: Try these fitness toys to get your heart rate up. You could even circuit these items for a fun and treadmill-free cardio workout!

Gliders: These look like giant furniture movers! You can slide around your house as your do squats, lunges, and core-training work. I recommend the ones here.

Hula hoops: Go ahead and dig it out of the garage and get those hips moving!!

Agility Cones and Ladders: These are great and inexpensive. Although, you could use anything around the house as distance markers to create your own challenge course.

Jump Ropes: These are very effective at getting the heart rate up with very little equipment. Jump in!

However you do it, get moving and model for your children how being active can be fun and healthy. Taking care of your health is an important part of taking your family, they deserve to have you healthy!

If you want encouragement in your own journey of developing and maintaining healthy active family habits, join the #TLBmoves Facebook group and don’t miss out on the Joovy, ThinkSport ThinkBaby, and Tula giveaway to help you get moving!

______________________

What fun ways do you find to fit some fitness and physical activity into your family routine? Any playground or at home workouts you enjoy?

______________________

Bryan Jarrett is a certified personal trainer through the National Council on Strength and Fitness. He is a Corrective Exercise Specialist and a Sports Performance Specialist through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. He also holds a Pre-Post Natal certification from the American Council on Exercise. You can follow him on Instagram @BryanJarrettNY.
Share

Baby Weight Workout

I hear often from moms wanting to get back in shape after having a baby but concerned that exercise and dieting could harm their milk supply.  IBCLC Star Rodriguez helped clarify the questions we see frequently from moms on breastfeeding and fitness in this article here.  Be sure to check that out and don’t forget that it is always best to work with your health care provider in determining a healthy activity level and nutritional plan.  

Once you are certain that adding working out and increased physical activity is a healthy choice for you (and evidence supports that it’s healthy for most of us!) the challenge many parents face is when to find the time, space, and right activity.  Having children around it can be difficult to make some space for yourself and your health.  You are worth it though and your children deserve to have healthy parents, plus, when your children see you making physical activity and your own health a priority, you are modeling how important it is for them as well.  The best way for your children to develop healthy habits is for you to demonstrate healthy habits yourself.  Happy health to you and your family!  ~Jessica

 

Jennifer from Fit For Expecting has offered up a workout to help make it easier to find some time to take care of you.  Check out this Baby Weight Workout that you can enjoy WITH your baby.  I think it’s a great springboard for customizing and creating your own workout that fits your family’s unique makeup.  For more support, be sure to check out Jennifer’s website and like the Fit For Expecting Facebook page.  ~Jessica

Most moms know that exercise is good for them physically, mentally and emotionally. But, when life gets busy, exercise often gets put on the back burner. I designed a workout specifically for Leakies, that’s quick (5 minutes total) and incorporates baby into each exercise. I’m calling it the “Baby Weight Workout” because, that’s right, baby functions as the weight.
A few general exercise tips to keep in mind:
  • For your comfort and for a content baby, you might want to breastfeed before exercising.
  • Stay hydrated – drink water before, during and after exercising.
  • Eat a snack 1 1/2 – 2 hours before exercising.
Enjoy!
TLB Workout - Exercising with Baby
Share

Pumping 201- working, exclusively pumping, volume, and weaning

Breast pump, Hospital grade breastpump

Hygeia EnDeare

by Star Rodriguiz, IBCLC
Previously, in Pumping 101, we talked about some basic pumping tips.  In this article, we’ll look at pumping when you return to work or school and pumping exclusively, either by choice or for a health condition. Hopefully, these tips will help anyone facing these situations to successfully provide breastmilk for their child(ren).  Just like before, if a certain situation applies or doesn’t apply to you, feel free to skip to or past it.  

 

Working

This is probably the most common reason that I see for pumping.  Although we touched on it a little in the last article, we’ll go a bit more in-depth here.

First, know that federal law provides all overtime eligible workers (so, typically, anyone on an hourly salary) with the right to pump at work.  You are required to be given a private place that is not a bathroom to pump and reasonable amounts of time to do it until your baby is a year old.  If your state has a better law than the federal one (and you can find breastfeeding laws by state here) then employers have to go by that instead of the federal law.  Most moms should pump for 10-15 minutes every 2-3 hours.  To build up a store, I usually tell mothers that they can pump one time a day when their milk first comes in.  If moms do this fairly regularly in the beginning, even the mom returning to work at 2-4 weeks can have a decent store built up.

Most women pumping in the workforce should be utilizing at least an electric, double sided pump.  If you are pumping for twins, a hospital grade pump may be worth your while since you are pumping for two.  Pumping breaks aren’t usually very long, so you want to pump quickly and efficiently.  However, some women find that their schedule makes it difficult to take full 15-20 minute breaks at a time.  For those mothers, a swing pump or hand pump might work better, just because they can be taken out quickly without a lot of set up required.  For instance, some of my clients have been waitresses that have limited time some nights to pump, law or not.  Those clients sometimes find that using a hand pump for five minutes at a time can help.  Since this does not pump as efficiently and probably will not empty the breast, you will probably need to pump more often than every 2-3 hours, and I always advise that you do pump with a good electric pump at least once a shift.  If you are part time and working 4-5 hour shifts, you may be able to get away with just hand pumping as long as you are nursing often at home.

Many moms wonder how much milk to leave when they are away from their babies.  This can be a hard question to answer.  Some babies will eat as little as possible while separated from their mothers (and will make up for it when they are with their mommy by nursing more often), but some will want to eat more often – usually because they miss mommy and are comforted by her milk and sucking.  It’s good to remember that from 1 month to 6 months, your baby’s stomach is around the size of a strawberry and holds 2-3 ounces at a time.  Most babies will take in around 25 ounces a day until 6 months.  Therefore, store milk in 2-3 ounce increments, use slow flow nipples, and instruct your provider in baby led bottle feeding.  To get a rough estimate of the amount your baby will need, divide 25 by the number of times the baby nurses in a day, and consider about how many feedings your baby usually takes in during the time you will be apart. Most people will try to ensure that they have a couple of extra 2-3 ounces bags per day, too, just in case.

You may be thinking, “Well, MY baby eats/ate WAY more than 3 ounces at every feeding!”  And your baby may have been an exception.  However, a lot of babies are simply overfed by faster flowing bottles or are wanting more milk or to suck out of comfort.

 

Exclusively Pumping Moms/ Moms Separated from Babies

There are many reasons to exclusively pump.  Some moms have babies with issues that cannot latch. Some moms have a history of sexual abuse that makes latching difficult.  Other moms simply prefer to pump rather than latching.

In the colostral phase, when your body is producing small amounts, using hand expression can really help out.  Hygeia has some really awesome hand expression cups that I love (and a great article on hand expression), but you can also express into a small cup or spoon.  Babies take in a very small amount at birth (their stomach size is that of a marble) and colostrum is sticky and can cling to pump parts, making you feel like you’re not getting a lot.  Moms who are pumping should pump about 8-12 times a day (or the amount of times a baby typically nurses.)    You should pump for 15-20 minutes.  Some women can decrease their amount of pumps after awhile, but most have limited success when they pump under 7-8 times a day.

I prefer to have exclusively pumping moms use hospital grade pumps.  You can buy them, but they are quite expensive.  Renting is often a better option.  They can be found for rental in many drug stores, and many WICs also have them.  WIC can be a great pump resource, and lots of women are WIC eligible even if they aren’t aware of it.  Hospital grade pumps have the best control on suction and speed.  Do not assume that cranking up the suction and speed will get you the most milk.  You should start on a low to medium setting and play with it to see what your body responds to best.  Regardless, a double sided electric pump is pretty key to an EPing mom.

If you are pumping for a preemie or a baby with health conditions that might compromise immunity, be sure to ask your child’s provider how they prefer for you to store your breast milk.  Otherwise, many moms use reusable bottles, ice cube trays, or plain zippered storage bags to store their milk.  It can be less expensive than purchasing the breastmilk storage bags themselves.

Another good idea is to get, or make, a handsfree pumping bra.  You can buy some neat ones including PumpEase hands-free pumping bra or a Rumina Pump and Nurse tank or you can make your own by cutting slits into a sports bra.  The handsfree ones have the advantage of being able to be quickly snapped on and off.  They also tend to be prettier.  That sounds like a silly reason, but can be helpful, especially if you are pumping when you intended to actually nurse your baby.

Exclusively pumping moms can sometimes find that they have some chapping of the breasts.  Sometimes this is from the flanges sticking to the skin.  This can be alleviated by using something to lubricate the flanges.  My favorite thing to use is olive oil.  You can also apply lanolin to your nipples between pumpings to help the chapping.  The lanolin used in breastfeeding products will not need to be washed off of the breast when you pump.

 

Weaning Off Pumping

If you’ve been pumping for your baby for some time for any reason and you decide you want to stop, it can be confusing as to how.  Unless there is some medical reason, you never want to stop pumping “cold turkey.”  This can lead to engorgement and sometimes plugged ducts and/or mastitis.  There are a few ways you can stop pumping.  You can cut out a session at a time, every few days (usually, I say every 2-5 days.)  You can also decrease the time spent pumping in all of your sessions.  For instance, if you pumped for 15 minutes every session, you might decrease it to 12 minutes each time, and then, in another 2-5 days, decrease it further.

Please keep this is mind: not all of these time frames will work for all women.  Some may need to decrease more slowly; some can decrease more quickly.  Pay attention to how you feel.  You don’t want to compromise your health by trying to wean too fast.

Some women find that using cabbage leaves, peppermint, or taking over the counter cold or allergy medications can help to dry up their milk more quickly, if you are weaning altogether along with weaning from pumping.

 

 

 Star Rodriguiz, IBCLC, began her career helping women breastfeed as a breastfeeding peer counselor for a WIC in the Midwest.  Today she is a hospital based lactation consultant who also does private practice work through Lactastic Services.  She recently moved to the northern US with her two daughters and they are learning to cope with early October snowfalls (her Facebook page is here, go “like” for great support). 
Share

Got Leaky Boobs? DIY Breast Pads

homemade breastpads tutorial

Submitted by The Leaky Boob reader Krista Canfield


Got Leaky Boobs? Need some help so you don’t soa
k through your shirts and end up with two awkward wet spots on the front of your shirt? Have no fear, DIY Leaky Boob pads are here!

Each pad is made out of 3 pieces of 4×4 flannel. If you find you need more absorbency you can add one or two more layers. I have always found that 3 layers keeps the pad thin enough that it can’t be seen through your shirt. You can also use one layer of broad cloth as the outside layer and this helps prevent leak through. The best thing is that you can use leftover scraps of material. I usually use leftovers from blankets or diapers I have made. Make sure you pre-wash the material so it doesn’t bunch up in the wash later.

How to sew breastpads
Draw a circle 3 1/2 inches in diameter either on your cloth or on a piece of paper you can cut out and use as a pattern. I use a protractor, but you could trace around a cup or glass easily enough.

cloth breastpad pattern

Stack your material and pin together . Cut around the circle and straight line stitch them together as close to the edge as you can. If you have serer you could go over the outside edge as well. I only have an old 2 stitch machine so I do a zigzag stitch around the outside edge. This will fray a bit when you wash it, but I find it just makes the pad softer.

breast pad sewing pattern tutorial

This is so easy and quick you may wonder why you ever bought nursing pads.
Share

Got Leaky Boobs? DIY Breast Pads

homemade breastpads tutorial

Submitted by The Leaky Boob reader Krista Canfield


Got Leaky Boobs? Need some help so you don’t soa
k through your shirts and end up with two awkward wet spots on the front of your shirt? Have no fear, DIY Leaky Boob pads are here!

Each pad is made out of 3 pieces of 4×4 flannel. If you find you need more absorbency you can add one or two more layers. I have always found that 3 layers keeps the pad thin enough that it can’t be seen through your shirt. You can also use one layer of broad cloth as the outside layer and this helps prevent leak through. The best thing is that you can use leftover scraps of material. I usually use leftovers from blankets or diapers I have made. Make sure you pre-wash the material so it doesn’t bunch up in the wash later.

How to sew breastpads
Draw a circle 3 1/2 inches in diameter either on your cloth or on a piece of paper you can cut out and use as a pattern. I use a protractor, but you could trace around a cup or glass easily enough.

cloth breastpad pattern

Stack your material and pin together . Cut around the circle and straight line stitch them together as close to the edge as you can. If you have serer you could go over the outside edge as well. I only have an old 2 stitch machine so I do a zigzag stitch around the outside edge. This will fray a bit when you wash it, but I find it just makes the pad softer.

breast pad sewing pattern tutorial

This is so easy and quick you may wonder why you ever bought nursing pads.
Share