The Best Start Possible

Welcome 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 things we’d like to share with our nurslings about what it means for us to breastfeed. Please read the other blogs in today’s carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 18th through the 31st! 


 
Breastfeeding you is just the beginning, but it’s the best start I can give you.

As you grow older, breastfeeding will become just one of the many parts of your life. More important things will happen in your life. Breastfeeding will fall into the background. Breastfeeding will not be something you think about every day as you do now. Breastfeeding will be part of what made you, but no longer immediately important.

You may not care whether or not you breastfed when you are 10 or 20 or 30, but one day you will. One day you will come to me when you are pregnant and want to know. You will want the full details of problems we faced, how long you nursed, why I we nursed to begin with.

I will tell you that even though it was such a short period of time in the grand scheme of things, it was a very important part of your life. It helped you to reach your full potential and be as happy and healthy as I wanted you to be. It was only the first few years of your life, but it was important to me. It made you happy. It made me happy. It made the world around as just work. I will tell you that you were a very happy baby and toddler and that even the times you weren’t very happy, breast milk made you happy again. I will tell you that there were difficult times too, but we worked hard and fixed our problems because I knew it would be worth it.

One day, I will help you to have this same special relationship we have with my future grandson or granddaughter. You will understand why I fought so hard to keep our relationship going and give other women the opportunity to have this relationship too. You’ll understand that while it’s only the first 1/20th of your life or less, it’s still incredibly important. It is giving you the best start possible.

 


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Facing It As It Comes

Welcome 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 child-led weaning. Please read the other blogs in today’s carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 18th through the 31st!


I obviously haven’t had a child wean yet. Peanut is 16 months old and we have no plans of stopping. I’ve written before about how I used to think I’d stop when Peanut was one year old. Of course, that was before she was actually here. Stopping now would be way too much strain on both of us both emotionally and physically. I don’t even know how I would parent without breastfeeding!

Weirdly enough, I got more questions about when I was going to stop before Peanut was a year old than I do now. Maybe it’s because I’m more confident now? Maybe it’s because they figure that if I’m still going, I’m probably not stopping soon? Maybe it’s just that I’m lucky so far.

I am lucky actually. I’m lucky enough to have the people around me support our breastfeeding relationship. This extends to my friends too. The friends who I was afraid to breastfeed in front of when Peanut was tiny don’t even bat an eye now. These people just see it as part of who we are.

Peanut doesn’t nurse much in public anymore. Not because I’m against it, but because she’s too busy. When she does nurse in public, I try to view every time as a teaching moment. Not for me or her, but for the people around us. I feel that every time that I breastfeed in public that I’m helping to normalize breastfeeding for the people around me.

I’m sure it will get more difficult as she gets older—we’re not even past the World Health Organization’s minimum. I am already expecting some backlash from certain family members. I’m sure that I’ll get more complains as she gets older when she nurses in public. I’m sure that it will bother my friends more.

I’m also hoping that the people around me will see her breastfeed regularly enough that it won’t be a big deal to see her nursing as she gets older. I also know that if they can’t respect our breastfeeding relationship enough to not try to interfere that they’re probably not worth it. Of course questions are always welcome, but I hear of other moms being told they need to stop and that is simply wrong. People like that just won’t have a place in our lives.

Guess we’ll just have to face all of that when it comes.

 


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Breastfeeding In My Family

Welcome 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 family and breastfeeding. Please read the other blogs in today’s carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 18th through the 31st!


My family dynamics in my immediate family have worked to my advantage for breastfeeding. It may seem weird from the outside,  but my husband gets me stuff a lot. Not going out and buying stuff, but if I’m sitting down he’ll get up and get me things I need. I’m not entirely sure how this started, but it’s just what we do. Of course, I’ll get up and get most things for myself, but when I’m otherwise occupied, he’ll get them for me. I do it for him too, but not nearly as much.

This became very important when I stared breastfeeding. Especially in those early days, it was very, very useful for me for him to bring me a glass of water or something to eat or my cell phone or my book. It meant I could focus on the task at hand and not really have to worry about my other needs so much. Even now, 16 months into the breastfeeding relationship, he still takes care of me a lot. A few nights ago I forgot to turn the light off when I was trying to nurse Peanut to sleep. Yes, I could have gotten up and walked across the room and turned off the light myself, but that would have ruined all of the progress I had with getting her to sleep. My husband came all the way upstairs and turned the light off for me without a single complaint.

Breastfeeding has also changed my extended family’s dynamics. As far as I know, I am the first person in my family who has breastfed for a long time and the only person in my husband’s besides one cousin who lives across the country. When I first started breastfeeding Peanut, you could easily see how uncomfortable everyone was—myself included! I would leave the room to feed her. Even after I felt comfortable enough to stay in the room, others would leave when I started breastfeeding. Now it’s just become normal. Everyone stays where they are an acts like Peanut isn’t even nursing. Some of them will even continue to play with Peanut while she nurses!

I think a big part of it is how you look at breastfeeding. Many of the complaints that your family may have about your breastfeeding and the awkwardness that it can create even if they don’t complain is due to thinking that breastfeeding is sexual. No, they don’t think “breasts are for sex so babies eating is sex!”, but there is a mentality there. Breastfeeding can not be gross to see in public if it is not sexual. Breastfeeding can not be inappropriate if it is not sexual. You do not need to leave the room if it is not sexual. There is nothing to hide.

If you can keep this mentality and display it to your family, hopefully they can be more accepting of your breastfeeding relationship. Even if you’re afraid, just try to pretend you’re confident. When you’re confident, people are less likely to try to make you feel awkward. This goes for family as much as it goes for people you don’t know.

 


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Wordless Wednesday: Every Babywearing Photo

Welcome 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 Wordless Wednesday: Babywearing Photos! Please read the other blogs in today’s carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 18th through the 31st! 


 

I would have thought that wearing her nearly every day of her life would produce more photos. We also don’t have any from our non-Sleepy Wrap carriers. Guess I have a new assignment for myself!

 


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Mothering in Second Place

Welcome 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 mothering through breastfeeding. Please read the other blogs in today’s carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 18th through the 31st!


There are many benefits of being a stay-at-home parent. One of which is not favoritism. I go to school in the fall and spring, but in the summer I am a full-time SAHM. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love it. If I weren’t setting back my education by years and consequentially going into repayment of my student loans, I would stay at home 100% of the time all of the time. One of the downsides to staying at home is that I am no longer the preferred parent. When my husband leaves for the day, she’s following him out the door crying. When he gets home at night, she’s ecstatic. Most of the time lately when I ask her to say “mama” she says “dada” instead.

Daddy is the favorite—except when it’s time to nurse.

When it’s time to nurse, she is all over me. She wants me and only me—daddy simply will not do. Daddy can’t even distract her for a few minutes. She. Wants. Mama. NOW! When I’m sitting down preparing myself, she comes running across the room squealing. When she’s nursing, she wants to play with me. She loves me to kiss her on the forehead. She laughs the hardest when I tickler her while she’s nursing. Nursing is probably her favorite thing in the world right now and I am glad for it.

Sometimes on days when I feel like all she can do is whine at me, I nurse her and feel the rush of happiness hormones and suddenly forget my bad mood. Sometimes I nurse her just because I need to sit down for a minute instead chasing after her. Sometimes I nurse her just because I want to play while she’s doing it. Often, I just nurse her to reconnect.

There are many reasons why I started to nurse her. There are many reasons why I keep nursing her. There are many reasons why I plan on nursing her as long as she’ll let me. Within all of these reasons, there is one resounding theme—breastfeeding makes mothering easier.

 


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Our Babywearing Journey

Welcome 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 babywearing. Please read the other blogs in today’s carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 18th through the 31st!


I had something of a high-needs baby. Actually, that high-needs baby has turned into a still relatively high-needs toddler. From the day she was born, she wouldn’t tolerate being set down. When she was two weeks old, I took her to The Lactation Station in Salt Lake City, Utah and bought our first Sleepy Wrap.

She pretty much lived in that thing for the first few months of her life. It was how I kept blogging, playing WoW, cleaning my house (sometimes), and especially leaving my house. I remember seeing moms carrying around babies in their car seats before I was even pregnant and thinking of how inconvenient it looked. Actually, it turns out that carrying your baby in their car seat lowers their oxygen levels. So every time I was going somewhere—which was very frequently as I tried to leave the house every day to keep myself from getting depressed—I would put on the Sleepy Wrap before I left the house and she would go in when we got to our destination.

For a long time, I didn’t use anything besides the Sleepy Wrap (and I actually still use it when she’s asleep and we’re out and about). I even got a second Sleepy Wrap (organic even!) to review for my blog and it’s seen quite a lot of use itself. I made a sling from the Maya Wrap website (which was really easy by the way), but didn’t use it while she was still little. Now that she’s older, I use it all the time for a hip carry and occasionally for a back carry. I also have a pouch sling I use for hip carries too.

I would like to do more back carrying, but I can’t really figure out my Mei Tai. There’s a babywearing class at the Cafe this year that I’m going to go to and get some help. I’m planning on getting a Boba carrier soon. I think that now that Peanut is getting older and bigger, back carrying will become our main carrying position. Hopefully I can figure it out soon.

It’s such a shame that babywearing has gotten such a bad rap lately. I like to take every opportunity to teach other moms about babywearing so that they can do it right and safely—which definitely includes avoiding carriers sold in big box stores.

All-in-all, babywearing just makes sense. If I didn’t babywear when Peanut was little, I would have never gotten anything done and would have had a screaming baby much more often because arms can only hold eight pounds for so long. Babywearing has kept me going on nights where Peanut just wouldn’t sleep. Babywearing has helped me to continue to have a life with a high-needs infant. Babywearing has even made taking mass transit more convenient! Babywearing rocks!

 


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Co-sleeping and Breastfeeding to Function

Welcome 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 nighttime parenting and nursing. Please read the other blogs in today’s carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 18th through the 31st!


At Peanut’s 12 month check-up, the Pediatrician asked how often she wakes up at night. My honest answer? I don’t know.

That’s the beauty of co-sleeping while breastfeeding, isn’t it? She stirs, I “wake up” (which is totally not waking up at all), plop her on, and go back to sleep. I don’t even remember this “waking up” the next day.

I’ve always been big on sleep. Like, I’m one of those people who can sleep 12 hours and still feel tired. I am one of those people who can not live on 5 hours of sleep. There is no amount of coffee that can cure my tiredness when I don’t get enough sleep.

I’ve also dealt with insomnia my whole life—at times being bad enough that I’ve had to resort to a certain prescription that people basically black out if they take it and try to stay awake and it still didn’t make me go to sleep. I’m fine with staying asleep once I’m there, but if I’m awake, getting to sleep is nearly impossible.

I was convinced I wouldn’t co-sleep with Peanut. I bought a crib and tried on multiple occasions to put her to sleep in it, but me staying awake through the nursing and getting her deeply enough asleep that she wouldn’t wake up when I set her down just ended up with her sleeping in the crib next to me, me lying awake for an hour, then her waking up a half hour after I finally fall asleep to eat again.

Yes, she woke up every 90 minutes all night long—for the first six months or so of her life. She nursed every 90ish minutes 24 hours a day until she sat upright and started solid foods. Even after that, it was every 2-3 hours. She had really bad reflux and the few times she slept longer than that, she would wake up screaming in pain. There was an adjustment period where my body got used to waking up and going back to sleep so often, but when I look back at those days now, I have a sneaking suspicion that I was much more rested than other moms of newborns.

16 months later, we’re still co-sleeping. Even now, I do not think I could function without co-sleeping and breastfeeding.

 


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Breastfeeding Twins: What I Wish I’d Known

Welcome 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 nursing in special circumstances. Please read the other blogs in today’s carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 18th through the 31st!


This post is a guest post by a lovely lady named Angela. Angela is mom to two 22 month old twins and an 8 month old boy. You can read Mrs. LaLa’s blog at www.emptyuterus.wordpress.com. Thanks to Angela for letting me publish her story!

On September 23, 2009 I became a mother for the very first time. After over four years of infertility, I finally had my twin girls. They were ten weeks early and very sick so I knew how important it was to breastfeed them. The first thing I asked for when I got out of the recovery room after my c-section was a breast pump. The next two months while they recovered in the NICU were a haze of waking up at all hours to pump, living at the NICU and dreaming of the day when my daughters would be healthy enough to nurse from my breast. When I was pregnant with them I used to day-dream about sitting in a quiet room, rocking them softy and nursing them to sleep…it just seemed like such a “mom” thing to do. Something I had wanted for so long. Unfortunately, that dream was not realized until more than a year later when my son Nolan was born (full term and healthy as can be).

Evelynn and Lennon, because of their small size and numerous heath issues, never latched well. I was told repeatedly by doctors and nurses whenever I did put them to the breast that I needed to do it AFTER they had already been fed from a bottle and that it was “non-nutritive sucking”. I pumped milk for my daughters for four months and tried everything I could think of to get them to nurse but it never worked out and I was always too worried about them getting enough milk to ever relax and trust that my body could provide for them.

When the girls had been home for a month or two I began suffering from debilitating migraines and was told that in order to treat them I would have to give up pumping breast milk for my girls because the only medications available for treating the headaches would be passed through my breast milk and were harmful. I cried when I came home from the doctor’s appointment and told my husband that we were going to have to put the girls on formula. I felt so guilty because I was secretly relieved – pumping milk for 45 minutes at a time (to get enough for two babies) 8 times per day while also trying to care for two very sick little girls was really more than I could handle anyway.

At four months of age the twins went on formula full time. They struggled with constipation and began catching frequent colds (neither of which were an issue while on breast milk) but otherwise did well on it.

It was about this time that I found out that I was (VERY unexpectedly) pregnant with my son. When he was born 9 months later – healthy and full-term – I wanted to try breastfeeding again. My son was born in a different hospital then my girls were—a “Baby Friendly” hospital. What a difference! Although I am disappointed that they took my son from me immediately following my c-section and did not bring him to me to nurse for over four hours after his birth because they were “low on staff”—the rest of my experience with this hospital and with breastfeeding my son have been wonderful. This hospital made sure to facilitate breastfeeding in any way possible. They offered as much assistance as necessary (they even have a free breastfeeding clinic that my son and I can go to, anytime, for as long as I continue to nurse him).

Gone were the sore nipples I experienced with the girls. Gone are the insecurities. Gone is the sink full of crusty, stinky bottles that need to be washed and steamed on a daily basis!

The bottom line, what I wish I’d known: Breastfeeding is not supposed to hurt. If it hurts, your baby is not latched right. A bad latch is surprisingly easy to correct and most newborns do latch poorly because they are just so tiny. Whenever I would begin feeding Nolan as a newborn I would make sure that his lips were not tucked under his gums. IF they were, I would slide in a finger to “unhook” them. I would then gently pull down on his jaw to widen his latch. Voila! No more pain.

Secondly: I wish I’d known with the girls that non-nutritive sucking is BS. If a baby is sucking on a breast, they are getting milk (this may not ALWAYS be the case, but it is true more often than not) and a baby does NOT swallow if they are not getting milk. (It’s true, pay attention the next time you give your little one a pacifier, NO swallowing sounds.) If your baby is sucking and swallowing (at least every third suck they should be swallowing, if they are not you may have low supply) then they are breastfeeding successfully.

You can re-lactate. All you need is a breast-pump and Fenugreek. I wish I had known about Fenugreek earlier. I tried Reglan to bring up my supply with the girls and it gave me horrible panic attacks (which it does for many people). Fenugreek works just as well with no side effects.

A baby, full on breast milk, will usually still drink a bottle of formula. Babies like to suck. It’s what they do. It does NOT mean that your baby didn’t get enough milk from the breast or that they are still hungry. My younger twin used to breastfeed and then take a bottle and then she would throw up. We thought she had reflux. We were over-feeding her.

Nolan is 8 months old now and, because of a new position that I took on at work, I had to partially wean him to formula. Since I can no longer pump 2 or 3 times a day while at work to produce enough milk for him to have while I am not at home, my husband gives him formula during the day. When I get home from work, before I leave in the morning and all weekend long, he nurses. I do not have supply issues and this is working out just great for us.

 


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I Breastfeed For Me

Welcome 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 the importance of breastfeeding. Please read the other blogs in today’s carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 18th through the 31st!


I didn’t even contemplate the benefits of breastfeeding when I was pregnant.

It was simply a fact of life that I would birth naturally, breastfeed, and do many other things which I quickly learned fell into the “attachment parenting” genre. Why wouldn’t I do the things that my body was made specifically to do?

Then the negative comments started.

Women telling me about how they wanted to give birth naturally, but it just hurt too badly. Women telling me about their cracked, blistered nipples. Women telling me about their low milk supplies. To me, all of these comments were implicitly (and actually sometimes explicitly) telling me that I would fail.

A little background here—I have trouble following through with things. I don’t consider myself flakey because I have full intentions to follow through with things at the time I commit to them. I just tend to talk myself out of things and make excuses not to finish what I have started. I am a quitter. I am also incredibly stubborn.

I took every one of these comments as a person attack (though I know that none of them were meant that way). Even from people that didn’t even know me, I took these comments as them telling me that I lack the ability to do what is best—or more correctly, what is biologically normal—for my child.

So parenting in my natural ways became something of a vendetta for me—the most so with breastfeeding.

By succeeding in breastfeeding, I was proving that I am so much more than anyone—especially including myself—thought I could ever be. I breastfeed to prove that I am able to do something 100% for someone else and devote myself entirely to it. Breastfeeding is helping me become the person that I have always wanted to me.

I breastfeed for me.

 


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Dealing With the Opposition

Welcome 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 birth experiences and breastfeeding. Please read the other blogs in today’s carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 18th through the 31st!


While unusual, I didn’t have the most traumatic of birth experiences. Peanut certainly did not come how we had planned, but all in all, things went well. The first thing I tried to do after getting over the shock of birth a baby in my bathroom was breastfeeding said baby. I specifically remember taking off my dress (did I hand her to someone? I must have) because it was getting in the way. Never mind the 10+ paramedics all standing around me—I’m trying to feed my baby.

Sadly, I couldn’t figure it out at home. So we went to the hospital and I had a lovely nurse help me nurse her for the first time while I was waiting to get stitched up. She immediately latched and latched well. We had a few hitches with her not wanting to wake up to latch and not being able to get a lactation consultant to help (grumble grumble), but breastfeeding was going very well in my eyes.

But there was an unexpected consequence of our birth experience—the change an “emergency” situation makes in the doctor’s eyes. (I’m going to insert here that this is my opinion and is based on very little actual research.) When Peanut’s hematocrit levels were slightly high, the pediatrician immediately said we needed to give her Pedialyte. I remember it feeling so wrong to me, but this was back before I learned I could disagree with a doctor, so I gave it to her. I knew it was important that she didn’t have bottles (to avoid nipple confusion) so they let me use a syringe while I was breastfeeding.

It immediately felt like every breastfeeding session was a huge ordeal. Not only did I have to get her latched correctly, but then my husband needed to help me get the syringe ready and in place. They did a second test that came back normal, but still insisted on us continuing the Pedialyte. Finally when they tested her hematocrit again they said it was normal now and we could stop. Honestly, I had already pretty much stopped by that point. I was starting to feel like her hematocrit levels weren’t really high to begin with, but again, just my opinion.

In the end, the whole mess with the Pedialyte didn’t hinder our breastfeeding relationship. I felt bad about the fact that she had something besides breast milk for a long time (like when people tried to tell me that she wasn’t exclusively breastfed, which I believe she was), but that has quickly dissolved into a worry of the past. She threw most of it up anyway.

I still feel that if we weren’t classified as an “emergency” situation that they needed to “fix” straight from the get go, that maybe they wouldn’t have jumped to the Pedialyte so quickly. While it took me time to get over not having my ideal birth (ha!), I still do not believe that it was such a bad thing for Peanut to have been birthed that way. I don’t think that they needed to put the IV I didn’t want in, I don’t think they needed to give me a Pitocin shot from my supposed bleeding issue (which magically turned into “wow, you’re hardly bleeding at all” after that shot. yeah, I think not), I don’t think that Peanut needed to be bathed the instant that we entered the hospital.

All of this just confirms the fact that I want to have a planned homebirth next time around. Next time, I will surround myself with only people who support my choices for birth and breastfeeding. I will not deal with a nurse who can’t or won’t help me, I will not deal with a lactation consultant who doesn’t really help, and I will not deal with doctors who aren’t doing everything in their power to help my breastfeeding relationship. I shouldn’t have to deal with anything when I am giving birth to and breastfeeding a baby.


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