5

It’s World Breastfeeding Week — and these moms are using social media to fight the stigma 

From Aug. 1 to Aug. 7, moms who DGAF about the old hangups will be celebrating World Breastfeeding Week, a global initiative aimed at supporting women “to combine breastfeeding and work.” Moms are already posting empowering breastfeeding selfies on Instagram and other platforms to commemorate the movement. These photos, though rare, matter.

Happy Breastfeeding Awareness Week!

An obvious thing I will do as an NFP blog is talk about the Lactational Amenorrhea Method, sometimes associated with ecological/intensive breastfeeding.  These practices suppress ovulation naturally through the act of constant nursing of an infant, thus causing an extended period of natural infertility.

Combined with charting your fertile signs in case ovulation returns, LAM/intensive breastfeeding can be an effective form of child spacing (some couples choose to space their children through breastfeeding alone!).  And not only do you get the benefit of natural infertility, but there are many other benefits for mother and child as well through breastfeeding.

But there may be obstacles that make breastfeeding more difficult than it should be.

Because there are special guidelines that must be met to make breastfeeding effective in suppressing ovulation, it may be hard for some mothers to fulfill them due to societal pressures surrounding the act.  Some women are shamed for nursing uncovered, or in a group of other people, causing them to either nurse uncomfortably in a grody bathroom stall or overheated car, or to avoid conflict altogether and not bother leaving the home.  Because of this, other women may be put off from giving breastfeeding a go and either don’t nurse their child for long or don’t bother with it at all.

So I ask that you respect a mother’s right to nourish her child – and practice her method of family planning! – by not pressuring her to “cover up” and smother her child, or embarrass her for nursing a toddler.  Treat her like a normal human being and let her be, or go up and thank her for nursing her child if you want to show some support.

Breastfeeding is normal.  Feeding your child is normal.  Using the breasts to do this is normal.  So lets overcome social stigmas and embrace the way God lovingly created the female body. :)

Breastfeed on, Mommas!

It’s not often I share my personal posts here but this one felt apropos #Repost @ashleewellsjaxn with @repostapp.
・・・
Happy world Breastfeeding week friends!
I always knew I would nurse my children but never expected our journeys to be filled with so much loss and grief - or so many breast pumps and feeding tubes. It has been difficult. Amazingly so. Pumping for weeks before being able to even attempt nursing, having to ask permission to try. Struggling with supply issues because your body doesn’t understand. Staying up around the clock to managing nursing attempts, pumping schedules and Ng feeds until you realize it’s impossible. At least almost.
Still, I am amazingly grateful to have nursed my two living children for a running total of 70 months and counting. Nearly six years of my life spent providing Breastmilk as medicine then sustenance and comfort and bonding for my babes and several other children. It’s not often I pause to recognize how awesome that is but I’m allowing the intentions of this week to encourage myself to take a moment to celebrate and I hope you can do the same.
I also feel the need to echo the message I posted for the week on my 4th Trimester Bodies page here as well, “The presentations and durations of breastfeeding and breastfeeding experience are vast. This week we celebrate you all. Attempted nursers, exclusive pumpers, special needs breastfeeders, long term nursers, tandem feeders, SNS'ers, those struggling through the early days, those who fought hard and found their stride, those to who it came easy. Those who fight to normalize, those who feel best covered, those who feed. There isn’t a wrong way. We celebrate and support you all. Feed on mamas.” It hasn’t always been easy but it has been so worth it. #worldbreastfeedingweek #4thtrimesterbodiesproject #specialneedsnursing #novagram #savingsupernova #micropreemie #ttts #twintotwintransfusionsyndrome #cp #hydrocephalus #survivor #4thtrimesterbodiesproject #fourthtrimesterbodiesproject #4thtrimester #fourthtrimester #postpartum #breastfeeding #childbirth #bodypositivity #stopcensoringmotherhood #motherhood #bodypositive

Dream

I dreamt I had a surprise baby because I didn’t know I was even pregnant. I named her Sadie. She was only ten ounces. At first they brought her to me and the nurse was all, “Do you want to hold your baby?” and then I knew she wasn’t doing well because they stopped calling her my baby. The father was this super macho guy who wanted to wear her on his back in a camouflage baby carrier. I explained to him, while we were standing in line at Silver Dollar City, that I needed to have her on my chest and have her latched on constantly, so she could get every single drop of my colostrum, so he let me wear her. The nurses were amazed that she started doing better. When I asked my favorite nurse what had happened, she said I thought I had to go to the bathroom and I pushed the baby out into the toilet. A male nurse that I didn’t really care for said I should name her Flo Rida. All of the nurses were amazed when I told them about colostrum and breastfeeding. When Sadie took a turn for the worse, I asked the doctor to order her some human milk from the local milk bank and she did so I wrote her name in really big letters on the dry erase board that the nurses use to pass information between shifts.

Information is Your Ally in preparing to breastfeed: 10 Tips for Success

One of the most common questions a breastfeeding support person gets asked is “How do I prepare to breastfeed?” In the bad old days, sometimes moms were told to toughen their nipples – descriptions of which were enough to make even the most breastfeeding inclined mom shiver and reach for a bottle. Scientific research has shown, to our relief, that no toughening is needed. But there is still a lot to do in order to prepare –

Before Delivery

NOTHING BUT THE MAMA: Specify on your birth plan that no artificial nipples, pacifiers, sugar water or formula be given to your baby unless medically indicated, prescribed by your pediatrician and approved by you. (If supplemental feedings are needed they can be given via oral syringe.) Make a sign for your baby’s hospital bassinet that says “I AM A BREASTFED BABY… no artificial nipples, formula or pacifiers please!!” I made mine with a bunch of breastfeeding related cartoons so the nurses got a laugh out of reading the sign, too. Keeping everything EXCEPT your nipple away from baby’s mouth will help prevent nipple confusion.

NATURAL WOMAN: Babies born via unmedicated labor often breastfeed more easily than those born via medicated labors – medicated labors aren’t a problem for all women and babies, but you improve your odds for successful breastfeeding if you can reduce or limit interventions during labor. IVs during labor can also cause or increase engorgement, so are best avoided if possible – even if you can’t avoid using them completely, try to limit the amount of fluid used. Moms whose births include more interventions have lower rates of breastfeeding – but there are plenty of exceptions! An excellent resource for information on childbirth is The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer.

SUPPORT YOUR BREASTS: Educate yourself about breastfeeding and have a support network ready to answer questions and support you in breastfeeding. Check out a LLL meeting if you get a chance! La Leche League welcomes pregnant mothers at their meetings. You can locate a group near you at the LLLI website. Here are some recommended books and a list of books to avoid. Does your hospital or birth center have a lactation consultant on staff? If not (or if you birth at home) arrange to be able to see one within the first 24 hours if things aren’t going well. Here’s info on how to find a lactation consultant. Call a few before your baby comes, select one you like and keep her contact info with you in the hospital in case you need it. Hopefully everything will go really well and you won’t need to call, but that way you’ll have the info if you need it.

STOCK UP in advance: at least 2 good supportive nursing bras, nursing pads, 100% purified lanolin for sore nipples, pajamas with easy access for nursing (not necessarily expensive nursing pajamas, even pajamas with button up or pull up tops will do), and frozen peas/gel packs and cabbage to ease any breast engorgement/soreness/inflammation. This is the bare minimum equipment; some moms also find it helpful to have a rocker, a sling, a pump, breastmilk storage bottles or bags, a nursing pillow, or other items, but you can do fine without these, too.

PLAN YOUR WORK & WORK YOUR PLAN: Writing up a birth plan and reviewing it with your doctor, midwife, doula and pediatrician to make sure that there are no issues with it prior to the birth is an excellent step. Note, a birth plan is not something that just granola-eating, Birkenstock wearing nudist hippy moms use! Plenty of moms use them to help identify what would make a good birth experience, and allow them to plan for and work towards it. In this day of the professional, educated working mom, birth plans seem to many like a natural extension of the analytical process used for event planning. Many of us had wedding plans, which is usually a less stressful event! Clearly, a birth plan should not be a document that you confront your health care providers over, but something you agree to work together on.


Immediately After Delivery

GET IT ON: Breastfeed your baby as soon as possible after you deliver. Babies who are breastfed within the first hour generally have more successful breastfeeding experiences than those who aren’t. Any medical procedures that aren’t urgent may be delayed to accommodate this important first step, and many procedures can be done while the baby is breastfeeding.

LET’S SPEND THE NIGHT TOGETHER: Room in with baby, so that you can breastfeed frequently and also ensure your wishes aren’t ignored with regard to baby. (For example, they tried to take my 1st son three times for medical procedures; I had to keep defending him from eager residents!)

OUT OF YOUR SHELL: Nipple shells can be useful immediately postpartum to help draw out the nipple and to shield sore nipples from contact with fabric. These are different from shields, which CAN be useful but are often overused, and used in the wrong place at the wrong time. Also, purified lanolin ointment can help if you have sore nipples. Have some on hand or know where you can get them right away, if needed.


Postpartum Period

ZZZZZZZZZZZZ: When they say to sleep while baby is sleeping, it is definitely true that you should! This is NOT just a friendly piece of advice to pamper the new mom – it is a necessity. Your endorphins/adrenaline will carry you for about a week before you crash – hard. Don’t let that happen – get help from family and friends, and focus on recovering from childbirth and on breastfeeding.

WHO’S NORMAL ANYWAY: Understand what normal breastfeeding is like. See What is Normal? and Breastfeeding as Baby Grows and the wonderful descriptions of normal breastfeeding in The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by LLL International. Hang out with a breastfeeding friend for a while, or visit a La Leche League meeting and see nursing moms in action.

Good luck, and enjoy your new baby!

Getting there vs. Getting by

Things around these parts are going really well. Sure, every other day I’m bombarded with a spit-up attack and my hair has been in a low, wet ponytail for 4 weeks straight, but for the most part, we’re all relatively happy and mildly rested in this house.

Gus is a sweet little lady in that she allows us to sleep at night. She makes up for that during the day by cluster feeding, which means that I’m constantly yanking up my shirt while also attempting to breastfeed more in public or on-the-go (something that I’m working on getting more comfortable with, because otherwise nothing would get done and I would go stir crazy). Oh, and as for catching up on sleep at night…I still have to get up and pump because her cluster feeds tell my body to make crazy milk and then she sleeps for 5 hours and I wake up super uncomfortable and practically cross eyed.

Wells has entered a new phase of big brother adjustment in that he is ALL IN with Gus. He asks to hold her every day, he cheerfully calls hello to her when he walks into a room, and he enjoys picking out a diaper or fetching a burp cloth when needed. The other day, when he was acting extra dramatic and emotional over something, I asked him if it was because the baby made him feel upset. “No!” he protested in dismay. “Gus makes me soooo happy!”

(I have to admit, his statement made me feel all dreamy for matching sibling Halloween pajamas, bedtime story sharing, and the swell my heart will feel when I snuggle up with each of them in my arms)

I’m starting to get into a nice groove with juggling these two. I can manage the kids, the double stroller, and a Boston Terrier on our neighborhood walks. We’ve ventured out to restaurants, driving ranges, family brunches, and art festivals as a family of four. I survived the very first grocery store trip. I’m sneaking in time with Wells at the library and taking over bath time so that he feels like he still has one-on-one time with his mama.

And with all of those adventures, I’m learning. As much as I thought I knew, I’m understanding there is more to glean with two kids. I’m getting swifter with diaper changes, burping techniques, breastfeeding while reading stories, breastfeeding while eating breakfast, breastfeeding while writing emails, etc. I’m forgiving myself for making silly mistakes and I’m choosing to laugh when the spit up showers my nursing tank, neck, shoulder, back, nursing pillow, and swaddle blanket at 5:30am.

I’m getting by because these first few weeks with a newborn can send one into survival crisis mode. They can make you feel like you are treading water while being swarmed by sharks while crying your eyes out (HORMONES! So glad that part is over). But in terms of this learning curve, I’m getting there. I’m not apologizing for choosing to snuggle Gus extra and rely on the help of our postpartum doula (something that has allowed me a safe and enjoyable recovery). I’m reminding myself not to stress, that the rest of this baby weight will come off as soon as I’m cleared to workout again. I’m savoring all the little moments with my girl that allow me to kiss her sweet head, squish her chubby cheeks, and marvel at how tall she will be.

I have been dreading these early newborn days…
But I couldn’t have been more wrong.
I have LOVED these early newborn days.

They have felt like a gift. I know I will continue to fumble and mess up. I KNOW I am due for some shitty, sleepless nights. But there is something to be said for allowing yourself some time to grow and stretch, and acknowledge the bumps in the road. Being gentle with yourself is the best kind of postpartum care.

Last night, me and Fitz actually stayed up past 8pm to watch a few episodes of Wet Hot American Summer (soooooo damn funny). We joked and belly laughed and just chatted about general things. Laundry was folded. Gus snuggled up in my arms. The thunderstorm roared along outside. Dark chocolate peanut butter cups were eaten. It was really, really nice to feel a piece of normality.

Sometimes in the heat of the moment, it can feel as though I’m just barely getting by. But in terms of figuring out this brave new world, I’m excited to see that slowly but surely I am getting there.


Target Just Did Something Huge For Breastfeeding Moms

“Guests may openly breastfeed in our stores or ask where they can go to breastfeed their child. When this happens, remember these points:

  • Target’s policy supports breastfeeding in any area of our stores, including our fitting rooms, even if others are waiting
  • If you see a guest breastfeeding in our stores, do not approach her
  • If she approaches and asks you for a location to breastfeed, offer the fitting room (do not offer the restroom as an option)

If you have any questions, partner with your leader.”

I recently was given the opportunity to have my son and I photographed while breastfeeding. Some may find this uncomfortable but you can’t see anything here and it’s the most natural thing I have ever done. My son is 19 months old and still nurses daily. 💙I will cherish this picture for the rest of my life. Such an innocent and sweet moment captured💙

15 Totally Normal Things You Do That Guys Think Are Gross

Earlier this week, we learned that Donald Trump called a woman disgusting for breastfeeding. Yup, a man, who was probably breastfed by his mother, called a woman disgusting for doing something totally natural with her body. Lawyer Elizabeth Beck was deposing Trump back in 2011 and needed to take a break to pump, but Trump wouldn’t allow it. So she took her pump out, and he said, “You’re disgusting.” He responded to the story this week saying, “I may have said something else. I thought it was terrible.”

youtube

4 Reasons Women Should NEVER Breastfeed In Public!