Finding Support Through a Book

breastfeedingcafecarnivalWelcome to The Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival!

This post was written as part of the Breastfeeding Cafe’s Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to www.breastfeedingcafe.wordpress.com. For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Claire at clindstrom2 {at} gmail {dot} com. Today’s post is about non-traditional breastfeeding support. Please read the other blogs in today’s carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 18th-31st!

I love to read. I read for parenting, of course, but I also read a lot for pleasure. Generally I have to separate these two categories, but with the book Have Milk, Will Travel: Adventures in Breastfeeding, they intermingle quite nicely.

Have Milk, Will Travel is a book full of stories from nursing moms. Moms from all walks of life with all sorts of different nursing experiences. Moms who nursed for just a short period of time and ended switching to formula. Moms who pumped in order to keep their nursing relationships going. All sorts of ups and downs that we’ve all experienced in our years of breastfeeding.

My favorite story from the book is one of a mom who works for ESPN producing basketball games. We’re big NBA fans around this house, so I was immediately enthralled to hear a story from someone on the other side of things. She goes through what it’s like in a normal day working and pumping so that she can bring home milk to her little baby. Through the day she embarrasses former professional basketball players, gets walked in on while pumping by an intern, brings way over the limit of liquids (her breast milk) on an airplane, and a bunch of other funny stuff along the way. All this work to bring home her “liquid gold” to her daughter waiting in daddy’s arms.

We’ve all been in silly situations from nursing. The time when you don’t realize your breast is exposed as you’re greeting the UPS guy at the front door. The time when your toddler starts nursing her barbies in front of someone who may find it quite odd. And we’ve all been through rough times too. The time when you felt embarrassed because your dad wouldn’t stay in the same room while you nursed. The time you spilled a whole brand-new bottle of pumped milk. This book shares it all and it does it in a real and often humorous way.

In our fast-paced society, it’s hard to find time to sit down and connect with people. Of course there’s no substitution for going to a La Leche League meeting or calling up a friend who has been there, but this book makes a good attempt. So when you’re between meetings or up in the middle of the night nursing your teething 6 month old for the umpteenth time, check out this book. You’ll be happy you did.

Rachel, the awesome lady who put this work of art together, has offered a special discount to all of you today also. Of course you can find it at Demeter Press and Amazon. Or you can contact her directly and get at rachel {at} ddtr {dot} net and get $5 off and free shipping (US) in honor of World Breastfeeding Week, through August 7. What a wonderful deal!

Here are more posts by the Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival participants! Check back because more will be added throughout the day.

The Evolution of my Breastfeeding Goals

breastfeedingcafecarnivalWelcome to The Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival!

This post was written as part of the Breastfeeding Cafe’s Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to www.breastfeedingcafe.wordpress.com. For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Claire at clindstrom2 {at} gmail {dot} com. Today’s post is about how your breastfeeding goals have changed. Please read the other blogs in today’s carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 18th-31st!

It’s been about 6 years since I entered the realm of motherhood (including pregnancy) and one of my clear cut goals from the beginning was to breastfeed my child(ren). Such a simple thing has evolved through the years, gradually becoming more specific and then less.

I started off with wanting to breastfeed at all. Before Peanut was even here, I knew I didn’t want her to have formula at all. I also planned, as many moms seem to do in this country, to wean at one year. I had the logical-to-me plan that I would “have my body back” for a year or so before getting pregnant again.

After Peanut arrived, I realized a year simply wasn’t as logical as I thought. Why would I work so hard to establish this relationship and give myself such a useful parenting tool only to throw it out at an arbitrary age? So I decided I would let her decide when to wean.

It was around this time that I also set a “goal” of tandem nursing. I saw all these more experienced moms in La Leche League meetings tandem nursing and thought it would be wonderful. I remember expressing as much to one of these moms once and her reacting by basically saying I may not wish for it in the end.

Well I got my wish. I got pregnant with Twig shortly after Peanut turned two and nursed her all through pregnancy. While it wasn’t horrible to nurse through pregnancy, it also wasn’t my most favorite time period in our nursing relationship. I kept telling myself it would get better after Twig was born.

Well it didn’t get better, it got worse. Peanut’s intense personality combined with my postpartum depression and I was not only unhappy nursing her, I absolutely loathed it. What’s more, I loathed her for wanting to nurse so often. Four short (or long, depending on how you look at it) months into nursing two children at once, I weaned Peanut.

I felt horrible guilt over not letting her wean on her own, but I also felt immediate relief. Our relationship healed and Peanut didn’t even seem too disturbed about not nursing anymore.

Twig, of course, continued on nursing. I was sure she would wean on her own, just given the difference in personality. Twig always loved to nurse, but never with the intensity that Peanut did. Even when I got pregnant shortly before Twig turned two, I expected to continue nursing through pregnancy and possibly even try tandem nursing again. But around the beginning of my second trimester, Twig simply stopped nursing. It took me weeks to even realize it had happened and when I did realize, I felt pretty devastated. Had I taken away the chance to wean on her own again by getting pregnant (along with night weaning and delaying nursing during the day because it was so miserable in the first trimester)?

I realize now that there is no right time to wean. Yes, babies absolutely need their mother’s milk and even older children benefit greatly from it, but if my three year old doesn’t continue to nurse, that doesn’t mean I somehow failed. Every child will wean in their own time, but not just in their own time. Life will influence it. There’s more to a child weaning than some magical age at which they’re ready.

So now my goal is to nurse. Simply to nurse. Yes, there are more facets to the goal than that. I won’t give my baby formula (or likely even expressed milk in a bottle, though that’s not necessarily a bad thing). I will make sure my baby’s gut is mature before solids are introduced. I will work my hardest to continue my nursing relationship if my toddler “tries to wean” before two years. But, all of these are sort of givens at this point for how I parent. In the end, it boils down to I will nurse. When we are done, we will be done. Who knows when that will be, and it’s okay not to know.

I think that’s the thing about parenting. In our adult-only lives, we can nit pick every little thing. We can schedule ourselves to the minute and make decisions that are final. It’s only when we add children into the mix that schedules must be thrown out the window and goals must be revised. Children are so complicated and wonderful and unique, it’s impossible to come up with a one-size-fits-all plan for any facet of parenting, breastfeeding especially.

Here are more posts by the Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival participants! Check back because more will be added throughout the day.

Tandem Nursing

breastfeedingcafecarnivalWelcome to The Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival!

This post was written as part of the Breastfeeding Cafe’s Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to www.breastfeedingcafe.wordpress.com. For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Claire at clindstrom2 {at} gmail {dot} com. Today’s post is a Wordless Wednesday! Share your breastfeeding photos! Please read the other blogs in today’s carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 18th-31st!

We don’t have many photos of both of my girls nursing (it only happened for a few months and taking pictures while nursing two kids is hard), but here’s one I found I can share today.

Here are more posts by the Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival participants! Check back because more will be added throughout the day.

An Ode to the My Brest Friend

breastfeedingcafecarnivalWelcome to The Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival!

This post was written as part of the Breastfeeding Cafe’s Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to www.breastfeedingcafe.wordpress.com. For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Claire at clindstrom2 {at} gmail {dot} com. Today’s post is about products that have helped you to breastfeed. Please read the other blogs in today’s carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 18th-31st!

I’ve spoken fondly of the My Brest Friend nursing pillow in the past, but I’ve never clearly spelt out why, indeed, it is so amazing. Why I was willing to pay $10(?) per pillow in order to buy three for future nursing baskets (and why I’d do it again in a heartbeat and likely will if it’s ever offered again), even though I tend to be very cautious of the overall price of my baskets and am always working on reducing the price (budgets have to be considered, even for gifts!).

Well, it’s simply because this is the most universally useful breastfeeding item I’ve found.

Yes, there’s definitely the support aspect. The information. The specialty items that you may or may not need (I include both nipple cream and nursing pads in this list, as I somehow didn’t need either with my second). All these things are important, but just vary so much in how important they are for any particular mom. The My Brest Friend, though, is incredibly useful to all.

I’ve heard there’s somewhat of a debate between the Boppy, which is probably the most popular nursing pillow, and the My Brest Friend. But convinced that anyone who prefers a Boppy simply has not tried the My Brest Friend.

With my first, I had a Boppy. It was very handy for holding baby in place while on the computer or similar times, but it lost that use about a month in. You see, the surface of the Boppy is rounded, more like a traditional pillow. This means that baby has the options of either A. Rolling into you, or B. Rolling away fr you. It’s hard to keep a baby steady on it, let alone hands free or once they’re old enough to wiggle.

With the My Brest Friend though, it’s flat. Yes, there’s some shaping, but the overall landscape is large and flat. Baby isn’t going anywhere.

Then there’s the fact that it clips in place. This allows movement without having to hold onto the pillow (though obviously holding the baby) and it simply fits more securely. Even my husband was able to use the My Brest Friend while holding the baby. It’s as simple as loosening the strap. With how many different shapes and sizes people come in–let alone the variety of shapes and sizes you’ll experience postpartum–this is essential.

So, these are the main reasons my My Brest Friend pillow is my favorite breastfeeding product. This is why my Boppy lie forgotten whereas my My Brest Friend went from room to room and even outside of my house with me. This product is one thing I would recommend for any mom-to-be.

Disclaimer: My Brest Friend has not paid me in any way, shape, or form for this post. They don’t even know I’m posting it. Go buy one!

Here are more posts by the Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival participants! Check back because more will be added throughout the day.

My Little Helper

breastfeedingcafecarnivalWelcome to The Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival!

This post was written as part of the Breastfeeding Cafe’s Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to www.breastfeedingcafe.wordpress.com. For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Claire at clindstrom2 {at} gmail {dot} com. Today’s post is about people who have supported your breastfeeding goals. Please read the other blogs in today’s carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 18th-31st!

Traditionally, when thinking of breastfeeding support, one may think of an adult. A husband, family member, friend, organization that helped them succeed. I definitely had a lot of help from those people, but today I want to talk about my little helper, Peanut.

Peanut was almost 3 when little sister Twig was born. I had, at least what seems to me, pretty severe postpartum depression. I’ve spent a good deal of time feeling guilty about that time period and my relationship with Peanut because she took such a large amount of the anger and depression from me. Our relationship really deteriorated and I still sometimes feel like we’re working on getting back to normal. I am determined to not let that happen again and have a plan for this time around, which I’ll share later. Anyway, today I want to focus on the good parts of that time period in our lives.

When we discuss breastfeeding support, it’s often more of an emotional aspect. It’s who told you you’re doing a great job, encouraged you to keep going, and so on. Not that the emotional side isn’t a very important part of support, but there’s a big physical side to it also. Peanut took care of so much of that for me and I am incredibly grateful she was there for help. She brought me burp rags when her sister spit up (which was all the time). She brought me diapers. She helped me carry things up and down the stairs when my arms were full of baby. She went to go get me my water or phone when I sat down to nurse and realized that I had forgotten to grab them.

She was especially helpful when we were out and about. I remember one day when we were in the store and Twig was starting to fuss. I was feeling rushed and anxious and kept ignoring her cues. Peanut very calmly told me that maybe I should sit down and nurse. Isn’t it amazing how a three year old can put you in your place? I told her she was right and I found somewhere I could sit. Not only was Twig’s belly full afterwards, but I was much more calm. Sometimes it takes a tiny human just to remind you what’s important.

This time around, I’m expecting an even higher amount of help from Peanut. Not that I’m going to force her to be my little helper all the time, but I know that she loves to take on that role. She’s so excited for Banana to arrive and has already told me about all the things she wants to help me do. I’m sure this time it’ll extend into small chores (it’s her job to unload the dishwasher) and playing with her little sister to keep her entertained. She’s such an amazing big sister and in so many ways my best friend. I am lucky to have her support.

Here are more post by the Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival participants! Check back because more will be added throughout the day.

The Beginning

breastfeedingcafecarnivalWelcome to The Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival!

This post was written as part of the Breastfeeding Cafe’s Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to www.breastfeedingcafe.wordpress.com. For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Claire at clindstrom2 {at} gmail {dot} com. Today’s post is about your breastfeeding (when you were a baby!) story. Please read the other blogs in today’s carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 18th-31st!

I remember being told my breastfeeding story either before I was pregnant or pretty early into my first pregnant. The story of my mom having a natural childbirth and plans to breastfeed. How those plans were foiled by poor pumping conditions when she returned to work and a doctor who ignorantly told my mom I was allergic to her breast milk and that’s why I was spitting up. How I continued to spit up just as much on every formula on the market. The story of how my own mother was Booby Trapped.

At the time it probably just sounded like the sad story of how my mom didn’t get to nurse as long as she had liked to. Once I had Peanut though, the story got put into a different perspective. The perspective of how many moms want so desperately to breastfeed their babies and how our medical professionals, formula companies, and society work against it.

Really, The Adventures of Lactating Girl and her fight for breastfeeding started way back then with the lack of support to my own mother nursing.

Not only did I walk into my breastfeeding journey having learned from my mother’s story, but it made me that much more passionate about the work I do. My beginnings helped to shape me into the breastfeeding mama bear who is going to fight for myself and other moms because no one was there to fight for my own mom.

So thank you mom. Thank you for trying your hardest even when the system let you down. I will fight in your honor to make sure other moms never have to experience the same betrayal you did.

Here are more posts by the Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival participants! Check back because more will be added throughout the day.

Until…

breastfeedingcafecarnivalWelcome to The Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival!

This post was written as part of the Breastfeeding Cafe’s Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to www.breastfeedingcafe.wordpress.com. For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Claire at clindstrom2 {at} gmail {dot} com. Today’s post is about your personal breastfeeding goals. Please read the other blogs in today’s carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 18th-31st!

My breastfeeding goal, this time around with number three arriving shortly, is until…

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about the duration of breastfeeding, it’s that there’s no way to predict it. So, so, so many things go into the equation. Baby’s temperament, mama’s temperament, mama getting pregnant again, baby getting sick, siblings, etc. I would have never guessed I would nurse my first until she was over three, just as I would have never guessed my second would be done at barely two. There are just too many factors.

So, I’ve come to the point where I don’t really have a goal. Sure, there are the obvious ones like nothing besides mama’s milk for 6+ months and making sure mama’s milk is still in their system until AT LEAST 2, but beyond that it’s anyone’s guess.

I’ve just learned to go with the flow. And really, that’s what makes the most sense to me. Breastfeeding shouldn’t be this big thing we have to fight to protect (though obviously we’re not there yet) or make goals to continue doing. Breastfeeding should be, and is, just a normal and natural part of parenting. All babies should do it (not that it’s always the case, I know, but biologically all babies should get breast milk), but it also doesn’t need all the hoopla.

It’s my dream that one day we’ll get back to the point where breastfeeding is just feeding your baby. No one fighting for or against it, no one having to make goals to reach, no one even worrying about weaning because it just happens. A natural part of childhood like learning to walk, talk, write, ride a bike, and so on. I know we’re a far way off from that being realized, but I trust that we can make it there.

Here are more post by the Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival participants! Check back because more will be added throughout the day.