Over and Under and Through the Woods

Nursing in public.

We lump so many things into this one category. Nursing with or without a cover. Nursing in the middle of the store or finding a secluded place. Nursing from over the shirt or under the shirt.

It has taken me a long time to get where I am with nursing in public. I started by hiding in my car, then I used a cover, and I’ve gotten to the point where I nurse without a cover where ever and whenever my daughter wants or needs it. I walk through Target while nursing, I nurse Peanut when she’s fussy while I’m trying on clothes, I nurse everywhere I go and I’ve never had anyone say a word to me.

I’ve also gotten to the point that I’m not constantly paranoid of someone confronting me. Those of you who know me in real life know I am not the same person I am on the Internet. Online I constantly put out my activism messages, I confront those who spew breastfeeding hate on Twitter, overall I speak my mind without hesitation. In person, I stumble over my words while arguing, I get embarrassed when speaking my point of view, I forget all of my facts to back up what I’m saying.

That said, I am horrified at the idea of someone confronting me while I’m breastfeeding in public. So the fact that I am able to nurse Peanut while out and about and not have that fear on my mind is a big deal to me.

Even with this new found confidence, I can not get over this one thing–nursing over the top of my shirt.

It’s the way I nurse at home (and I’m guessing the most of you do too). In most of my shirts it’s much more convenient to nurse from over the top. Yet I can think of 3 times I’ve done it in public. It gives me that fear of confrontation and I know for a fact (because we’ve discussed it) that it makes my husband a little uncomfortable.

I know that if I did it around our male friends, they would feel uncomfortable. I know that if I did it with my dad in the room, he’d probably leave (to try to make me feel comfortable, not because he’s disgusted or anything). When people talk about “that woman breastfeeding in public” I’m guessing they’re referring to women breastfeeding from over the top in most situations. I make this assumption because half the time I’m nursing from under my shirt, no one even knows I’m doing it.

What’s so wrong with over the top? One time Peanut and I were on the bus and I was wearing my Sleepy Wrap (btw watch out for a review and coupon next month). She suddenly decided she Must. Eat. Now. and I’m frantically trying to get my shirt up from under the wrap and balance a baby and I’m on the bus where people are going to get angry that my baby is screaming and I suddenly think “f*** it” and easily pull my breast up over my shirt and she’s quiet. I have a sudden rush of relief and amazement that it wasn’t my first instinct—followed immediately by a panic that I might offend the man that just got on the bus.

Why am I worried about offending someone?

Seriously, have you met me? I am the queen of sticking my foot in my mouth (which I—and everyone close to me—have learned to accept and deal with). I live in a state with a very predominant religion and yet I still seem to flaunt the fact that I lack religion (often accidentally… refer to the last sentence). I should not be made to feel guilty for breastfeeding! It’s what my boobs were made for!

So now we start a brand new process. I will take it slow because that’s what works best for me. I will start nursing from over the top in La Leche League, then I’ll nurse from over the top in a crowded area where no one will notice, after that maybe I’ll nurse from over the top in front of people I know. Eventually even those guy friends that would feel uncomfortable. Eventually my dad, father, and father-in-law. Eventually it will feel natural to just nurse from over the top. Eventually—if we all work to make breastfeeding the norm again—no one will notice.

Healthy Living Saturdays: Home Cooking

My biggest goal this week has been eating at home. I love eating out and think it’s great to do on occasion, but it can’t be part of my regular routine. Eating out is reserved for special times. I’m not saying only birthdays and holidays, but not more than a couple times a week.

So as part of this eating at home thing, I’ve been meal planning. This week we have eaten at home every night—except Friday because that was a planned meal out for a concert we were going to—and it feels great! There were days when I had trouble getting the meal on the table at a decent hour. I’ve had struggles with Peanut letting me actually cook. There was one night that my husband decided that rather than the Italian meal I had planned for us, we should make his dad’s famous spaghetti. Honestly, I don’t see a problem with any of these things. It’s going to be a learning experience in the beginning and since I’m trying so many new meals there will be failures, but we’ll just keep going. I’ve even been planning things like casseroles and crock pot meals for the nights that I’m in class during dinner time (Monday and Thursday).

The biggest thing that has surprised me about meal planning is how fun it is! I feel accomplished every time I find a food that will work for a specific day. I’ve been using The Food Nanny cookbook for ideas with planning and recipes that are easy and healthy. While we don’t stick with having a specific type of food on specific days (like Mexican food every Thursdays), the book is still really useful. I’ve also been checking out cookbooks from the library and I have a subscription to Taste of Home: Healthy Cooking.

It’s less stressful to already know what we’re eating that day and know we have the ingredients. I always hated when I would finally decide on something for dinner and we have all of the ingredients except one. So if you haven’t tried meal planning, give it a shot. It seems like a big hassle, but I bet you’ll be surprised too.

I haven’t done so well with exercising this week. I’m still getting into the swing of things with handling a 10 month old and school. Luckily, one of my classes is a (required) work out class, so today I woke up at 6:30 and drove to class. We did kick boxing and weight training. The kick boxing kicked my ass (I had to use my inhaler twice), but felt good. The weight training was more mellow, but still worked me to the point where my arms hurt typing this.

Starting Weight: 163 lbs

Current Weight: 158 lbs (Hrm… whoever said that it’s difficult to lose those last 10 lbs while breastfeeding was right.)

Baby-led Weaning Wednesdays: Navajo Tacos

I have been looking for a good recipe for Navajo tacos since I was pregnant, so when I found one in The Food Nanny cookbook that looked like it could be it, I had to try it out. It. Was. It. OMFG they were so delicious. I ate leftovers for lunch today and was actually happy about it. Surprisingly, Peanut was too.

I love chili—particularly the canned variety. In giving up all of my processed food, that’s one I just haven’t been able to beat. The problem with canned chili (and processed food in general) is that it’s incredibly unhealthy. I’ve actually resorted to midnight chili snacks so that Peanut is asleep. Since she started eating food, she must eat everything I’m eating. She screams bloody murder otherwise. While it’s frequently inconvenient, it’s forced me to live up to my standards for her with myself.

This chili (that goes on the Navajo tacos) tastes really, really close to the same as the canned chili and I know it’s good for us! I used organic beans, hormone-free meat, etc. so I am confident that it is something I’m okay with giving to my Peanut.

Of course, I was worried about it being messy. Oh boy was it messy. If you’re planning on serving chili to your kiddos, don’t put them in their Sunday best—which I would think you would assume anyway.

I was surprised that she was picking up the individual beans and putting them in her mouth. She ate every little piece I gave her! If she were younger and not so pincer-enabled, I probably would have spoon fed individual chunks to her.

She really liked the scones too. We just used Rhodes rolls flattened and fried as the scones. Yet again, this is something that I would have been iffy about giving her in a restaurant for fear of whatever they fry their scones in, but since I did it at home (therefore, I know I used healthy frying oils) I feel great giving it to her!

Here’s the recipe for the chili:

1 (14.5-ounce) can diced [organic] tomatoes, undrained

1 lb [hormone-free, vegetarian-fed] ground beef

1 lb [hormone-free, vegetarian-fed] maple-flavored bulk sausage

1/4 medium [organic] onion

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1 (46-ounce) can [organic] tomato juice

1 (15-ounce) can [organic] black beans, undrained

1 (15-ounce) can [organic] pinto beans, undrained

1 (16-ounce) can [organic] kidney beans, undrained

3 tablespoons [organic] chili powder

1/4 cup packed [organic dark] brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon cayenne (optional-we didn’t use)

2 teaspoons salt (I didn’t omit this like I normally do because it’s such a small amount for how much chili there is in the end)

1 teaspoon [organic] paprika

Brown beef, sausage, and onion in a large pot over medium heat. Drain the fat. Add the vinegar and cook for 1 minute to reduce the liquid. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for 1 hour.

And the recipe for the actual Navajo tacos:

1/2 recipe of the chili or 1 (40-ounce) can chili with beans

2 cups canola oil

12 Rhodes rolls (thawed according to package) or 8-ounces of bread dough


[hormone-free] Cheddar cheese

[organic] tomatoes

black olives

[organic] romaine lettuce

[organic] sour cream


Flatten, stretch, and deep-fry the rolls (on both sides until they’re brown) in the canola oil to make scones. Top with chili and other toppings. Be forwarded that this recipe takes a lot of time (1 hour for chili to simmer and 3-4 hours for dough to rise) so start preparation way ahead of time. Don’t make the same mistake that I did! We ate at 10pm. :-/

Healthy Living Saturdays: Boring Week

This is going to be short and sweet because honestly, I didn’t do much. I don’t think I ran a single time this last week. I’ve been taking the dog for a (mostly) daily walk, but 20 minutes walking once a day isn’t going to do much.

Where I am improving is with portions. Before I started actively trying to lose weight I didn’t care if I ate one cookie or twenty. Now I’m not going to do anything drastic like no cookies at all, but I am paying attention to how many I eat. Sharing meals with my husband when we go out has helped a lot too.

Starting Weight: 163

Current Weight: 158

I’m not too surprised that I didn’t lose weight since last week, but I’m happy that I didn’t gain more. I’m going to start off this week right by jogging on the treadmill tonight.

Newsletter – 10 Months

Hello Ms. Dea,

This past month has been an exciting one. Last newsletter I said you finally had a tooth, now you’re at almost four (I say almost because it’s obviously about to irrupt).

Luckily these new teeth haven’t causes any pain with breastfeeding—though most of our friends don’t understand why I’m still breastfeeding you now that you have teeth. To them I say why would we stop when we’re enjoying it so? Even if your new pearly whites caused me pain we would work around it.

Remember a couple months ago when I urged you not to do this walking thing? Yeah, you didn’t listen. Though you’re still using crawling as your main mode of transportation, you’re able to walk. Mama was amazed when she set you in front of her just trying to get you to stand unsupported (which you kept doing while not paying attention and then would fall over the second you realized it) and you took steps towards her! Now how will we keep you away from the dog?!

When you were younger—as it is with most babies—you used your mouth as a form of exploration. Mouthing things still plays an important part in your scientific method, but you’ve come up with a new test—stepping. When you find a new toy it will inevitably be dropped on the ground so you see how it is for walking upon. Can I balance? Does it move? Is it painful? Every time I watch you use the stepping test with amusement I become more convinced of your brilliance.

Lastly, I wanted to mention your dancing skills. While you still don’t really bust a move, you can move to the beat. Sometimes you rock so hard that you almost fall over. You’re ridiculously cute.

Mommy loves you!

Baby-led Weaning Wednesdays: Spinach

Recently in an effort to eat healthier, I decided to cook chicken breasts stuffed with spinach and ham. I was not only surprised by how good they were, but also how Peanut reacted to spinach.Baby-led Weaning Wednesdays: Spinach

I love spinach and we’ve had it before, but never really as a separate thing. No, it wasn’t supposed to be separate in this dish, but it quickly fell out of the chicken when she started playing was very intrigued.

Spinach is for smacking, right?

Also for pinching and rubbing together.

After she got past the initial weird feeling, she decided it was quite tasty. She ate it all up and when it got stuck on her hand she even did her new cutesy maneuver to get it into her mouth. She holds the hand with the food she can’t get by her mouth and uses the other hand to push the food off of the first hand. I’m truly amazed at the innovation she shows when trying to get food in her mouth.

Nom nom nom!

We plan on making spinach one of our go-to foods. It’s incredibly easy to heat up some olive oil and toss around the spinach until it wilts then add some pepper (no salt because Peanut—honestly, I don’t really miss it). It’s also incredibly healthy for you!

Healthy Living Not-Saturday

I realize I have disappeared from the blogosphere for the past five days… the dog ate my homework? No really, everyone was sick. I mean Everyone. Was. Sick. We took Peanut to urgent care on Wednesday night because she had obvious stomach pain and vomited so the nurse told us to bring her in. Pediatrician said it was just a stomach virus going around. Oh, was it going around. Friday day my husband started vomiting (the first time in 15 years) and by Saturday I was sick too. We spend Saturday and Sunday being taken care of by my wonderful mother. I was luckily feeling better Sunday, but spent all day trying to re-establish my milk supply that had dissipated from the dehydration. Now that things are (kind of) back to normal, I figured I’d post my Healthy Living Saturdays update… two days late.

Without further ado: Healthy Living Not-Saturdays!

My school (final) semester started this week and oh boy is weight loss more difficult when busy! When trying to organize everything before leaving to class it’s hard to make eating healthy and exercising a priority. I need to make it a priority. So I’m taking this week and using it as the example of what not to do. Even when I’m only gone for three hours, there’s a lot of temptation when out and about by myself. So here’s my new plan.

Take healthy snacks every day—no matter how long I’m going to be gone. Considering that I’m already preparing snacks for my husband to give Peanut before I go, this one should be easy. Cutting cheese sticks? Pack a few for myself. Cutting apple slices? Cut an apple for myself! I also should always bring my water bottle with me. Water fountains don’t agree with my sensitive teeth and I almost gave in and bought a water bottle from the machine—bad for my wallet and the environment!

Exercise. Is. A. Priority. You see the four periods in that sentence? That means I’m serious! Really, I need to think of exercise as something that must be done rather than a little bonus. Something that will help this is the fact that I’ve been “assigned” by the dog trainer to take Kerri for a 20 minute walk every day. To be honest, we didn’t go over Saturday or Sunday because we were all so sick, but we went today and it felt fantastic! I also need to do some sort of heart pumping thing at least 3 times a week.

Starting weight: 163 lbs

Current weight: 158 lbs (to be honest, most of this was probably the illness)

Does anyone have good tips for keeping motivated while busy? I’m sure it’s just going to get more difficult as the semester goes on.

Baby-led Weaning Wednesdays: Product Review

I wrote this yesterday, but forgot to publish it because we took Peanut to after-hours care after she vomited. Luckily, she’s fine.

About a month ago my husband and I were wandering around Babies R Us and looking at toys when we stumbled upon this device.

I immediately turn to my husband and say “This is ridiculous! Yet another stupid thing people buy for their kids that they don’t need!” Then I realized that it might actually be really neat. It always kind of grosses me out that Peanut is eating off of tables at restaurants that are wiped down by those washcloths that aren’t changed often (I used to wait tables before I had Peanut), but I’m sure that if we tried to give her a plate she would just throw it off. Perfect solution? We decided to give it a try.

Yes, it is the perfect solution! When Peanut drops things they don’t go to the floor! At home since we put a table cloth under her it’s no big deal to pick it back up and give it to her, but out and about I don’t want to give her food off those floors (once again, I was a waitress). She even picks up the food out of it!

This is the first day we used it!

“Look, there’s a Barbara O in there. NOM!”

I am truly amazed at how much easier going out to eat is with this thing. It even rolls up so you can easily stick it in your bag! There is one kink in the design though.

There are suction cups on the three “lips” of the mat. These suction cups are awesome and somehow stay put while still being easy to take off when you want to. The problem comes in the number of them. The side lips have three suction cups like this:

This is a great design, but for some reason they didn’t do it with the top lip—it only has one suction cup. I don’t know what brainiac said “hey, we can cut 20 cents per mat in production if we eliminate these two cups” or something along those lines, but they should be fired. It’s not a deal breaker, but it’s pretty frustrating that the top lip is constantly trying to roll up. We can’t even put anything on it to make it go flat because Peanut can reach it (just barely).

Even with this annoying flaw, this mat is awesome. It’s BPA free and easy to wash. I definitely recommend it.

To Yell or Not to Yell


Welcome to the January Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting resolutions!

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month we’re writing about how we want to parent differently — or the same — in the New Year. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.




You all know how I feel about resolutions. Even though I refuse to call something “my New Year’s Resolution”, I still have things I’d like to change about my parenting—change about my person as a whole.

I am a very emotional person. Beyond that, I am a very outspoken person (at least to the people I know). I frequently put my foot in my mouth and I’ve been working on thinking about what I say before I say it—now I need to work on how I say it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not full of rage, I just let out every little bit of rage I get. Quite often I get it out through yelling.

There have been times when Peanut Just. Won’t. Stop. Screaming. and I end up screaming with her. Though it makes me feel better in the immediate sense, it just makes her scream more and therefore me feel worse. We obviously haven’t gotten to the point that I would yell at her because she did something wrong—she’s only 9.5 months old—but I don’t want to become that parent.

I don’t want to be the parent screaming at their kid in the store.

I don’t want to be the parent with kids that are scared of them.

I don’t want to be the parent that other parents think is crazy.

I’ve been working on not screaming when she’s screaming, not yelling at my husband, not yelling at my dog. I’m not doing this for the new year because it’s a lifetime thing. I need to keep a hold of myself.

I will be the parent who explains to their children what’s wrong.

I will not yell “No!” at Peanut and expect her to just stop.

I will eliminate the unnecessary guilt associated with yelling.

I will keep repeating these things to myself until I don’t feel like yelling.


I will be a happier person for this new year and every year on.



Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(All the links should be active by noon on Jan. 12. Go to Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama for the most recently updated list.)

• To Yell or Not to YellThe Adventures of Lactating Girl
• It Is All About Empathy: Nurturing a Toddler’s Compassion PotentialBaby Dust Diaries
• To my babies: this year…BluebirdMama
• Mindfully Loving My ChildrenBreastfeeding Moms Unite!
• January Carnival of Natural Parenting: ResolutionsCode Name: Mama
• Imperfect MotherConsider Eden
• ResolutionsCraphead (aka Mommy)
• FC Mom’s Parenting Resolutions 2010FC Mom
• What’s in a Resolution?Happy Mothering
• January Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting resolutionsHobo Mama
• Natural Parenting ResolutionsLittle Green Blog
• This year, I will mostly…Look Left of the Pleiades
• Parenting ResolutionsThe Mahogany Way
• I Resolve to Breastfeed In Public More Oftenmama2mama tips
• Moving to Two KidsMegna the Destroyer
• Use LoveMomopoly
• My parenting resolutionsMusings of a Milk Maker
• Talkin’ ’bout My ResolutionsNavelgazing
• Parenting ResolutionsOne Starry Night
• Invitations, not resolutionsRaising My Boychick
• No more multitasking during kid timeThe Recovering Procrastinator
• I need to slow down, smell those roses AND the poopy diapersTales of a Kitchen Witch Momma
• Resolutely Parenting in 2010This Is Worthwhile