Friday, December 31, 2010

HAPPY NEW YEAR

As this year comes to a close- I just want to send out well wishes for the new one.
Remember- if you are a nursing mom who chooses to drink, be responsible with your breast milk by either pumping and dumping or testing your breast milk to make sure it is alcohol free.
Looking forward to the new year and everything it may bring!
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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Breastfeeding Myths


There are so many misconceptions when it comes to breastfeeding and why women can't do it.
I honestly feel that education for women is lacking. I remember thinking I was ready to breastfeed after taking the class offered by my hospital. I see now, how uninformed I was. I am the first to say, that lack of education and support are the main reasons I feel I was never able to establish a full supply. I think most things are "obstacles" that are overcome with those 2 keys- education and support.
I in no way want to say that there are not women who truly can not make enough...for all I know, I may be one. I feel though, that often times, women do not realize how to approach breastfeeding and the obstacles they will face, and therefore, do not succeed, or do not get a supply established.
I have found this to be a true passion of mine. These obstacles in the cartoon above, are reasons that women truly feel keep them from breastfeeding, but with the right support, could be overcome.
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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

How I Became an "Extended" Breastfeeder

In spite of having been formula fed myself, I always assumed growing up that I would breastfeed my babies. I had only the vaguest idea of what that entailed, given that for the first twenty or so years of my life I saw babies being nursed on exactly two occasions – once when I visited my aunt and once when a Mennonite woman was discreetly nursing her infant in a craft store. I think it’s a sad commentary on today’s society that both times left me feeling awkward and embarrassed.

As a college student, I had the good fortune to take an anthropology class which was frequently taught by Kathy Dettwyler – the world’s foremost expert on extended breastfeeding and weaning. (Her website is well worth checking out: http://kathydettwyler.org/dettwyler.html.) Prior to her lectures, I had never dreamed of nursing a baby after his teeth came in (roughly six months is what I was thinking). Afterward, I was sold on the benefits of nursing well past a year or two, but I wasn’t too sure about wanting to nurse much past the first birthday.

Several years later I became pregnant with my first child. In the hopes of improving my chances at successful breastfeeding, I started attending La Leche League meetings in the beginning of my third trimester. I was taken aback when a handful of women there were nursing toddlers – and really blown away by the tandem nursers (women nursing two children who are not twins). After a couple of meetings I was accustomed to the sight and began to think that perhaps I would do what a friend said she was planning – “don’t offer/don’t refuse” at around 18 months with the hope that weaning would soon follow.

Unfortunately, I had a very painful, negative experience with nursing during the first several months after my son’s birth. My midwife later told me that this was because I had flat nipples, although she didn’t mention it to me at the time! I’m sure that my son’s bad reflux, which was causing him to extend his neck and thrash around while feeding was complicating an already painful situation as well. As a result, I did not have the natural, relaxed nursing relationship that I had dreamed about during pregnancy – the reality was that I had to have him tightly swaddled and totally immobilized on my nursing pillow at every single feeding until he was nearly nine months old. It took every ounce of determination I had to continue nursing him and I didn’t enjoy a single moment of it.

It was a huge relief when I was finally able to hold my baby in my arms to nurse him at around nine months – it felt so much snugglier and more natural. I still felt a fair amount of discomfort while nursing, but I finally began to see why some women loved nursing so much. At least I no longer hated it! As each month passed, I enjoyed nursing more and more. The thought of weaning was very far from my mind as his first birthday came and went – we had both only recently gotten the hang of it, and we were enjoying it more and more as time went by.

When I originally pictured nursing a toddler, I thought it would be the same as nursing a baby – on demand with very long feedings, many times a day. It can be like that (and for many nursing pairs that arrangement is satisfactory), but it doesn’t have to be. In our case, my son had much bigger fish to fry most of the time, and by the time he night weaned at fourteen months it was a rare day that he was nursing more than first thing in the morning, prior to each nap, and before going to bed at night. The thing about nursing a toddler is that he is old enough that you can set limits that you can live with – after all, if you can’t handle nursing more than once a day, that’s still better than weaning entirely. There is a middle ground between complete weaning and nursing on demand!

Throughout his second year of life, I envisioned gradually encouraging weaning with a cut-off on his second birthday. To my surprise, I became pregnant during my husband’s mid-tour leave on a fifteen month deployment to Iraq. My son was 17 months old. Although I had never dreamed of nursing during pregnancy, I decided to continue, partly because it was fall, and cold and flu season were beginning. I wanted him to have the benefit of an immunity boost as long as possible. Also, according to Adventures in Tandem Nursing by Hilary Flower, the majority of nurslings wean during pregnancy. As the months went by, I realized that he wasn’t in the least interested in giving up his three-times daily nursing routine. My husband was due back from Iraq within days of my son’s second birthday, and within weeks we would be having another baby. That is a lot of change for a small boy to go through at once, and I couldn’t bring myself to remove a major source of security and comfort for him during such a tumultuous time. I committed to going past two years and tandem nursing if that was what he wanted to do, even though I had said many times before that I would never want to tandem nurse.

That’s exactly what happened. Even after his sister was born (at 39 weeks 5 days gestation and weighing 8 lbs 5 oz, for those who might be concerned about low birth weight or premature birth due to nursing), he continued nursing three times daily. It turned out that my son gave me a beautiful gift in return for nursing him during pregnancy – I was able to nurse my new daughter completely pain-free. I didn’t even experience normal newborn nursing soreness! (I know that it was nursing during pregnancy that caused this because I have since had a third baby under different circumstances, and breastfeeding was quite painful for two weeks after his birth.)

Weaning was a gradual process with my son. I never managed to juggle both children at once, so they nursed separately. As a result, the naptime feeding was the first to go because his sister always cried at that time of day when I put her down. I tried to nurse him anyway, but we were both upset by her crying and we agreed to stop nursing then. Morning worked better, but that gradually tapered off as well, in part because I started offering exciting distractions. We were lucky to have my husband home at bedtime most of the time during those early months, which meant that we could have a nice snuggle and nurse every night at bedtime. My son was 29 months old the first time he didn’t ask about nursing at nighttime, and he started nursing less and less frequently and for much shorter durations after that point. He was only nursing a couple of nights a week for about 30 seconds at a time by the time he was 31 months old, and he stopped asking entirely when he was 34 months old. I can’t remember the last nursing session because I didn’t know it would be the last. I encouraged a certain amount of slowing down in nursing, but the final decision was his, just as I eventually wanted it to be.

Just to show that every nursing experience is different, I will share my daughter’s story. Unlike my son, she was extremely slow to eat solids in spite of regular and enthusiastic offers. She was still almost exclusively breastfed and very much a mama’s girl at 13 ½ months when I became pregnant for the third time. I was certain that I was in for another tandem nursing experience, but to my shock, once my vanishing milk supply forced her to get the hang of solids, she would only nurse with encouragement and reminders. By the time she was 19 months old, she was only nursing a few times a week in the morning and then only for a few minutes. It tapered to a few seconds once a week or so until she refused to latch on again about three weeks before her younger brother was born. She was only 22 months old when he was born, but she was utterly uninterested in coming back to the breast.

So there you have two different toddler nursing/weaning stories. In both cases, I was gently encouraging them one way or the other (my son toward weaning, my daughter toward continued nursing), but both made the final decision on their own.

I guess extended/tandem nursing is just something we arrived at gradually. We didn’t plan it, it just happened. When you have a little baby, 12 month olds look so big that you can hardly imagine what it would be like to nurse one. When your baby gets to 12 months old one day at a time, he is still your baby, and it’s no big deal to you. Many women, especially in places where there isn’t such a powerful cultural taboo against it, are happy to nurse past that arbitrary point. After all, many women (myself included) find nursing an 18 month old much more rewarding than nursing an 18 day old or an 18 week old. We become “extended” breastfeeders one day at a time, and just like other mammals, we can feel it when it’s time to start supporting our little ones in the gradual weaning process, however long that takes.

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Monday, December 27, 2010

A Special Guest Blogger

Years ago, when I was first starting the infertility treatments part of TTC, I was on a pregnancy site and *met* a gal who was also trying to get pregnant. She has since had three children. Her last was born on the same day as Lil Man even!
She is an admin on a great parenting site for *crunchy* mamas. She is my go-to person when I have a question about AP parenting (Although I prefer the term *Natural Parenting*). She has not only breastfed all three children, she tandem nursed her first and second.
She will be coming on here in the next few days and doing a post. I hope you will read her story and see how breastfeeding is a natural, beautiful bond between mother and child, the best source of nourishment, and something that is not meant to end just because your child reaches a certain age.
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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Just A Small Laugh!

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Happy Holidays!

In case you have not noticed, posting is a little slow! I have decided that this year I was going to be very frugal and make most of my Christmas Gifts, which has kept me quite busy. (As part of the Holiday Spirit- this post is being brought to you in the color RED!)
I just wanted to pass along a thought and let you know that posting will resume a more normal frequency after the holidays.
Often times, during the holidays- be it Christmas, New Years, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Yule- we end up in this fast pace hyper drive. We are on the go constantly, shopping, baking, party going, the list never ends. So, two thoughts (yep- I said one before...I guess you get a BONUS thought today!)
Thought One~ I read a post somewhere about unexpected Holiday Weaning....I thought I would just touch on that. In the hustle and bustle it is easy to go to a bottle of formula, skip a nursing session, push the solids, etc and in doing so begin the weaning process much earlier than we ever intended. So, please be aware of your nursing "schedule."
Thought Two- the original thought- goes along with thought one~ Take the fact that you are a breastfeeding mother, or even just a mother (if your children are already weaned), to slow down. Enjoy a nursing session, reading a book together, sitting and playing a game, anything...just slow down. Don't let these moments get lost while trying to finish the to-do-list that appears never ending. Breastfeeding is the perfect reason to just take a breather- let the world slow down for a minute- or twenty- and enjoy some precious time with your child(ren).
No Matter what holdiay you may be celebrating- Happy Holidays! May you take this time to enjoy family, friends, community, reflect on your blessings, and look forward to the New Year!

Becca
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Monday, December 13, 2010

Extended Breastfeeding Views

HERE is a story about how extended breastfeeding is viewed by people/media. Granted, I personally can not see myself nursing a 6 year old...but this lady is not a freak. She only nurses her son 1-2 times a day and it is only because he asked for it when he saw his younger sibling nursing.
In western culture we somehow think that children suddenly see the breasts as sexual. Our culture puts the breasts as sexual first and food sources second, the opposite way most the world does. Not only do we scoff at anyone who chooses to nurse past a year or 18 months, but we think nursing in public is dirty and want to banish nursing mothers and babies to dirty bathrooms. Our cultural views towards breastfeeding need to change in order for change to begin. After our views are changed, then education and support need to improve and then we will hopefully see an improvement in the success rates of breastfeeding.
In many countries it is normal to breastfeed to 3 years and beyond.
What are your thoughts?
This came perfectly to fit in with our how old is too old posts.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

I Never Imagined

This is not really about breastfeeding, well, not completely....
I just was thinking, I never imagined in my wildest dreams that this is the kind of parent I would be. I was sure that while my son would sleep in our room (in a bassinet) he would be moved to his crib around 6 months. I would breastfeed exclusively, but I was not going to be that supper crazy breastfeeding advocate. I was going to wear my baby, but the stroller would get more use than any carrier. I was sure I would go the normal route of rice cereal, oatmeal, veggies, fruits, etc with the purees before adding any table foods.
Well, I have found I am the super crazy breastfeeding supporter, I LOVE wearing my baby (as does Hubby) and hardly use the stroller, I am basically skipping purees and going the Baby Led Weaning route (not weaning from nursing- a form of starting solids), I combo feed- though not by choice, and mostly, I NEVER EVER imagined we would co-sleep and we do! While I don't see it continuing into toddler hood (unless we invest in a king size bed) we found the best thing for our family was to bring our son to bed with us. He is a super alert baby and has always hated sleeping, so the only thing that kept us sane was going the co-sleeping route.
Here is a picture of Lil Man enjoying some play time on the bed after we changed the linens. Such a precious moment that I can't imagine going a different route with him. While we may not take this route with future children, this is what was best for Lil Man, and us.

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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A Whole New Meaning

This holiday season I have found that all the Christmas songs about Christ have a whole new meaning. "Mary Did You Know" puts me in tears. Any song that addresses Mary or Joseph holding the baby Jesus and just wanting to think of Him as theirs and not worry about what will happen to him makes me sob. Especially if I am holding my son.
The other night, my teething son was fussy at bed time so as I held and nursed him I sang "Silent Night" to him. Suddenly, my eyes watered up and this thought occurred~ I bet Mary had nights where she was up nursing baby Jesus, rocking him to sleep and singing to him.
Isn't it crazy how differently you see everything when you become a mother?
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Sunday, December 5, 2010

How Old is Too Old? Part 1- 12 months?

When we did the poll for what subject you would like to hear about, I was suprised a little that this subject was the winner. I am not sure why I was shocked though. It is a big topic when someone decides to breastfeed.
So, I thought I would share a little information and opinion on this. Since this is a long topic, I will simply address 12 months first. I am not going to address 6 months, biting, etc at this time. If a baby must still have formula when weaned, then in my personal opinion, there is no way they are too old to breastfeed. Biting is just a small obstacle and simply about nursing manners, not a reason to say a child is too old. The AAP doesn't reccomend weaning before 12 months, so we will start there.
When I used to think of breastfeeding, I always thought that a year was a good weaning age. Not sure why I thought this. I think because I was young, naive, and didn't quite understand breastfeeding. It had nothing to do with the fact that a year is when the AAP says a child can start cows milk. I don't think I even knew that. I wasn't against breastfeeding past a year, but I thought it was probably when I would personally wean my children.
I became really good friends with a breastfeeding mom. I never thought it strange that she was breastfeeding an 18 month old child. However, I started to think that the fact that this child would reach over and tug at her shirt was a sign that maybe this particular child was ready to be weaned. Looking back, I see that once again, I was not well educated. We expect a baby to hold their bottle, pick up bites of food to eat, etc yet not know how to access the breast? I realize now that even my nearly 7 month old son is starting to realize how to access the breast and he is nowhere near ready to wean.
Then, my friend weaned her last child. This child was nearly 2 years old. They had moved across the country from us and I thought in my mind how yes, it was time to wean. They headed our way for a visit and when I saw her youngest child, I once again re-examined my line of thinking. This child did not seem too old to be nursing to me. At least not at night or first thing in the morning.
So, how old is too old?
Well first, let's start with some "common" information.
The AAP reccomends EXCLUSIVELY breastfeeding for the first six months and then continued breastfeeding to a year and beyond. The WHO (World Health Organization) reccomends breastfeeding to age two and beyond.
Calfs drink cow milk, foals drink horse milk, and human babies are made to drink human milk. Their immature digestive system simply is not ready to handle cow milk. Human breastmilk is more easily digested by their cute, tiny tummies. The AAP suggests not introducing cows milk until at least one year of age.
Is one year a good cut off then? After all, you now have met the AAPs reccomendations, your baby can now drink cows milk according to the AAP, and your little one's immune system is built up some from birth. They are also more then likely eating solid foods for the majority of their nourishment.
When this topic was the winner, I went to an online group of breastfeeding mothers and asked what age was too old to continue breastfeeding. 18 women were kind enough to respond. I was SHOCKED that 7 of them felt that anything past a year was too old!
First, I think to see if 12 months is really the age to wean, we need to look at the different factors.
In the United States, extended breastfeeding is anything past a year. However, in most countries of the world, it is normal to breastfeed to age 2 and beyond. So why do we as a nation consider 12 months the appropriate age to wean a child? I personally believe that it has to do with our sexualized image of the breasts. Our culture seems to think that it is perverted or wrong to breastfeed past a year. Does the baby somehow have a lightbulb come on at one year of age that says breasts are sexual? No. Do they suddenly not need the antibodies, have perfectly mature digestive systems, or no longer need the comfort that nursing brings them? No. There is no magic age that suddenly a child has these things happen. Will some children be ready to wean at one, sure. Will some moms be ready to wean their child at 12 months? Of course. That does not mean that 12 months is too old. It simply means that if the child and/or mother is ready, 12 months is an age where weaning is possible without having to switch to formula.
To read about benefits of nursing past a year visit THIS site.
So what is the next milestone? 18 months. That will be the next age we will look at. In our next How Old Is Too Old post.

Becca
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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Just A Small Laugh!

Want to contact My Breast Thoughts?

For those who are interested in guest blogging, topic suggestions, and more- My Breast Thoughts now has an email address for these things. PLEASE DO NOT SEND SPAM as it makes it hard to receive regular emails if we have to start trying to skim through a lot of spam messages. However, do send links to new articles regarding breastfeeding, topic ideas, if you want to be a guest blogger send story ideas, and if you go to our FB page- we will have a BREASTFEEDING ALBUM OF FAME! This is the address you will use to send in pictures for that.
So here it is- the email address~
Thanks- and keep suggesting this blog to all of your friends who support breastfeeding. And follow us using google connect (on the side column) so we can get our 50 followers before Christmas for the gift card giveaway.
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Friday, November 26, 2010

Nursing and Travel

Hey all! Back from vacation! It was a lot of fun and I enjoyed the warm weather in San Antonio, TX this last week. I am home and adjusting to a 70 degree change in weather.
This trip made me realize just how much I wish I was able to exclusively breastfeed. While I didn't have to worry about taking prepared formula through security as I knew I would be able to just nurse during the flight, I had to travel with bottles, formula, and my pump. It took up a lot of extra space.
I wish, that as we had planned each days activity, I would not have had to plan on if I would need formula with me. If only my biggest concern was making sure my clothing was nursing accessible and that I had a cover in the bag.....
But, I am grateful that I was able to often not even use the formula and bottle with water in it that I brought along. I am thankful that I had a wonderful friend, who nursed 5 children, who was a support and would take Lil Man so I could go pump.
I am grateful that, for the most part, I am able to take this perfect food with me and feed my son so easily on the go. That during the flights, when he got a little anxious, I was able to calm him without having to prepare a bottle.
I hope that the next time I travel with an infant I will not need the bottles and formula I had to take this time. But I am so grateful that I was able to pack minimal amount of these items this time. I am grateful to be home and hopefully settle back into more of a routine.
Here is a picture my friend captured of me nursing Lil Man in La Valitta. I love how under the cover I can tell that his hand is straight up in the air (this is his new thing).

Becca

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Job Support MATTERS

I wrote in my story that I worked for a very popular baby store. Day in and Day out we were constantly reminded that breastfeeding mothers were customers in our store and could breastfeed WHEREVER they wanted. If we were to tell a BFing mother anything negative or ask them to stop we would get written up. Plenty of my coworkers complained of course none of them were parents or they didn't BF their children, but I was excited. I thought that finally with "B" I would be able to BF until she weaned herself. I never thought that the same place, where we needed to embrace and thank Bfing mothers for coming in, would give me little to no support what so ever for my own breast fed child. I mean come on it was a BABY store. Every time I would ask for my 15 minute break to go pump I would get the same roll of the eyes and be told to do it as fast as I could. Even clocking out for my own lunch to eat and pump I would get that roll of the eyes. It was so discouraging. It made me stress more and made me worry that I would get let go for me taking my 15 minute break and my 30 minute lunch to pump. I needed that support there. I needed someone to encourage me. I did on occasion get to work with one person that was always supportive of me and my BFing. Every time she was there I would get tons more breast milk out than I would with anybody else because I didn't feel rushed and I didn't feel like i was bothering anybody. Why is it in our place of work, where we spend 8 to 9 hours a day do we get the funny looks and the surprised glances when we tell them we want to pump? Given the high amount of mothers in the work force, there is a strong need to establish BFing support in all workplaces. Even though women are given the right to pump under the new health plan (if their place of employment has 50 employees or more), and are to be given a place, other than a bathroom to do so, the attitude of how their pumping breaks are addressed can make a huge difference. Mothers who continue breastfeeding after returning to work need the support of their coworkers, supervisors, and others in the workplace.

Toni
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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Wiski...Part I, Exclusive Pumper Extraordinaire

Before I became pregnant with the kidlet I never thought twice about breastfeeding. It wasn’t something I was exposed to and it wasn’t on my radar. Early in my pregnancy somebody asked me if I planned on breastfeeding and I was ambivalent. I think I shrugged my shoulders and responded honestly. It was something I hadn’t thought about. The hospital I was delivering at offered a three hour breastfeeding class and I figured it would be a good idea to take. I left that class feeling inspired. During that class I was introduced to a whole new world. The simplest statement made the most sense to me, “Human babies were made to drink human milk.” Well, duh! So simple…and yet I never thought about feeding my child in those terms.
I will never forget nursing the kidlet for the first time. In her birth story I described it as simply magical. Here was this beautiful being that my husband and I had created. I nurtured her inside of me for months and all of a sudden she was a part of this big overwhelming world. She latched on like a pro and it was as if she already knew me, already knew what to do. Unfortunately the kidlet was admitted into the NICU when she was about 8 hours old and I was unable to nurse her for the next 36 hours.
When the doctors finally determined she was strong enough to nurse I was delighted. I craved feeling that “magic” feeling again. She didn’t miss a beat and latched on. She spent 10 long days in the NICU. From the very beginning I began pumping every 2/3 hours. I made it to about 5 or 6 feedings a day. I recall sitting in the rocking chair and nursing her. She’d look into my eyes and we’d rock. I’d tune out the beeps and buzzes of the machines all around me and the fear I held inside would melt away some. Instead of waking up to late night feedings I woke up to the buzz of my cell phone beeping me reminding me it was time to pump…and when I sat there with tears streaming down my face from missing my baby, I focused on the pump and I knew I was doing the best thing I could do for my baby. The next morning I would show up at the hospital with small bottles of milk carefully packaged and labeled and the NICU nurses would smile and tell me I was doing a good job.
In some ways I was lucky that the kidlet would easily switch between the breast and bottle. We would begin each feeding with her at the breast and towards the end she’d poop out and I’d supplement with a bottle of expressed breast milk. As a NICU baby I was reminded time and time again not to “wear her out”. Compared to bottle feeding, breastfeeding takes work and often times weak babies will quickly become tired. In order to keep up with the demands of supplementing with breast milk I had to continue the strenuous pumping schedule. It was a cycle of necessity. Nurse, pump, repeat...repeat.
In the beginning the kidlet would nurse at the breast about 50% of the time. Hindsight is typically 20/20 and looking back I should’ve fought more. I should’ve encouraged her more, but I didn’t. I didn’t have the tools I needed, and simply put, I didn’t know any better. When she was about 3 and a half months old (after I had returned to work) she stopped nursing at the breast and rather than fight, I gave up.
Breast milk was still extremely important and I began the journey as an exclusive pumper. I was able to exclusively provide breast milk for the kidlet until she was just under a year. To be honest, exclusively pumping was the single most difficult thing I’ve ever done.
In the beginning I pumped 8 to 10 times a day for 15 to 20 minutes. My pump traveled with me everywhere. I pumped in conference rooms in hotels without locks on the door, a resort in Mexico, my car, storage rooms and even theme parks. There wasn’t a place I went to during that year that my pump did not go with me. There were moments when it felt like a ball and chain and there were moments when it was the tool that gave me the mommy confidence I needed to get through the day. Keeping a pumping schedule like that is insanity…but breastmilk was and is extremely important to me.
Part of being a mom is learning as you go. I get that, only I sincerely wish new moms had the resources so desperately needed when it comes to breastfeeding. The benefits the mother and child are immeasurable. I didn’t know how to foster a successful breastfeeding relationship so I did the next best thing and while I’m proud of the next best thing, moms shouldn’t have to have the tumultuous relationship with their breast pump that I did.
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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Motion Sickness

So, Here I am, ready to go to the airport for our vacation. Lil Man is napping and Hubby is playing a video game while we wait for it to be time to go. I thought I would hop on here and do a little post.
I get motion sickness when I fly. So, this caused a call to the LC (since my OB was out of town) this last week to ask about Dramamine, or like OTC drugs. My motion sickness is extreme enough that I had decided if I was told I couldn't take it, my son would get EBM or formula and I would pump and dump when I reached our location.
Luckily, for me, the LC said since my son is a little older, Dramamine is fine. She did warn that sometimes it can cause a decrease in milk supply. Because of this, she asked me to up my fenugreek while on vacation to 4 pills 3 times a day!!! I will most definitely be smelling like a waffle house!
So, Today, I went to the local health supplement store and purchased a big ol' bottle of fenugreek. I also packed in some shatavari, my pump, and of course, bottles (and formula since I combo feed). Luckily, we are staying with friends, so a dishwasher will be easily available. I have washed bottles and pumps in a hotel room before, and it was not fun so I am grateful that a kitchen with running water will be available to me.
It is times like these that I wish I had no supply issues. That I didn't need to worry about my supply from a does of Dramamine for a plane ride. I envy the mother who would not be packing bottles or a pump in her suitcase, because her breasts would be all that are needed. However, the extras I must take are worth it. It is so much easier then needing enough formula for all feedings, or more bottles then I am needing now.

I am excited for the guest bloggers who will be posting next week! Please enjoy, and if I am not on before then, have a great Thanksgiving.
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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Going on vacation

I am heading on vacation in a few days. This has caused the recent slow down in posts. Also, if you have commented that you would like to guest blog and not been sent the information- this is why. While I am on vacation, I may pop in with a small post here and there. I also have at least one guest blogger lined up...hopefully a few more.
I am excited to go on vacation but a little nervous about the plane ride. Lil Man is quite stubborn about if he will or will not nurse so I hope that he will be willing during take off and landing. Also, that he won't throw a fit wanting to look around rather then nurse. I am sure everything will go smooth, but I have some anxiety issues and they are just showing up here.
I hope everyone is enjoying cooler weather and that you will all keep checking in. This is a stressful time of year, but try and relax....we don't want that stress stopping the flow of milk.
Becca

Friday, November 12, 2010

What A Pain!!!!

I never would have thought this would happen to me. As someone with low supply, I never imagined it. Yet, as I lay on the couch the other night, shivering, cold sweats, and a fever- wondering if I was going to vomit....I thought to myself "Could it really be?". I had just nursed Lil Man and had found myself in tears.
The next day, I already had a meeting set up with the LC at the local hospital for something we are working on together. When I went in, still feeling ill, I asked her what she thought. She agreed....indeed, even with my low supply, it looked like I was dealing with the beginning stages of mastitis. I still am not sure it was really mastitis...so I am calling it a clogged duct.
I never thought I would be dealing with that. After all, I have a low supply! It seems that even with less then ample milk jugs- the fact that my son has not been very interested in nursing, plus my taking herbs to increase my supply, and finally a breast that does not respond to a pump well- I indeed was suffering from this awful, painful issue.
So, I have spent much time heating, nursing, hand expressing, and more.
I send this warning out- if you start to feel a clogged duct- take care of it as quickly as possible because Mastitis is not just a pain in the boob but a pain in the......

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Sesame Street - Buffy Nurses Cody

I thought this was interesting. If we make breastfeeding a normal thing, even around children, it will teach our little ones what the breast is for and taht breastfeeding is natural and a beautiful thing.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Toni's Story

3 short months after getting married my Husband and I were surprised with a positive pregnancy test and in July of 2005 we were blessed with our first little girl. Being raised in a Latin family and married to a Latin man it was just automatically assumed I would breastfeed and I knew I would. There was no doubt about it. I didn't take any of the classes or read any books, I just pretty much thought everything was supposed to come NATURALLY. I had no idea that it would be soo hard, hurt, and that making milk was NOT EASY.
When "A" was born she had the cord wrapped around her neck which caused some breathing issues. She was rushed to the NICU and I didn't see her again until 4 1/2 hours later. During those hours they gave her a pacifier. When she was finally brought to me she was STARVING and all I was told was "she's pretty hungry" and the nurse left. I looked at my husband and all he said was "well feed her." 45 minutes later, after tears, blood and bright red nipples the same nurse came in and asked how we were doing. I lied told her fine and let her take "A" to the nursery for some tests. 30 minutes later she came back and asked if they could give the baby a bottle because she was acting hungry again, feeling like I had failed I told the nurse yes because I didn't want my child starving. "A" was pretty smart and picked up fairly quickly that the bottle was way easier than the breast. So for 5 months I fought with her to breast feed, 5 months of tears and always coming to the end result of her getting a bottle. I finally gave up and "A" was FF until she turned one. I felt like a failure as a mother and I swore that with my next child I would breast feed no matter what.
After 15 months of trying for our second we were finally blessed in May of 2009 with our second little girl. Through my whole pregnancy I stressed about being able to BF and when "B" was born it came super easy. She latched on right away no issues whatsoever. I loved it. She was a good eater and definitely loved BFing. Unfortunately with "B" I had to go back to work. I stressed about that, I hated thinking she was going to have to get a bottle. She had gone 2 whole months without it. "B" transitioned fine back and forth from bottle to breast. I bought the highest recommended pump and off I went back to work. Working for a popular baby retail store I thought I would easily be able to pump. Unfortunately my job wasn't that good about giving me my breaks to pump and I started to stress. My supply was going down and "B" had gotten her first formula bottle at 5 months. I felt like I was failing. I thought I have to get her to at least 6 months. I was so stressed at work that it caused me to have to start combo feeding. During that same time I got extremely sick. My supply went down to "B" getting maybe 4 oz a day from me and the rest was formula. I called my LC and asked her what I could do and she told me to get on fenugreek. It helped me get my supply back up a bit but not enough to not combo feed. At 8 months "B" got some teeth in and started biting me. Not being at home and not knowing how to get her to stop biting I stopped BFing and exclusively pumped. Unfortunately for me I didn't succeed because of my job not supporting me. It got in the way of me properly feeding my child and at 8 almost 9 months "B" got the last of my mommy milk and was FF until she turned one.
Looking back now I know that I did the best I could for both of my girls. They are both happy and healthy. If I had received the support and the proper knowledge I have and know now, I believe "B" would have been BF'd until she weaned herself off. I know with my next child I will BF and I will do it until the baby decides she/he is done. Until then I'll enjoy being mommy to two beautiful girls.

Toni

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Will I Get Less Sleep If I Breastfeed

I thought I would. I would not be able to simply have my husband take over a night time feeding session. I knew that as newborns, babies would often eat every 2-3 hours around the clock for 2-3 months. I had heard that formula fed babies often slept through the night sooner. It was a sacrifice I was willing to make. Well, A study published today says there is actually no difference between the rest and sleep that mothers of breastfeeding, formula feeding, or combo feeding moms get. Sleep Study is the link to check it out.
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Voting is Over

Voting is over for the topics you want to read about. I hope we will eventually talk about all of these topics. I am working on getting a lot of peoples input on the How Old Is Too Old post. Until then, enjoy other posts that will be coming your way. We are about to have our first Co-Author. Toni! Toni is an amazing mom. She worked quite a while at a popular baby store and has two beautiful little girls. She comes from a Hispanic family/background and is just AMAZING! She will be posting soon.
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Thursday, November 4, 2010

What Are Your Thoughts?

I wasn't going to share my religion on here...but I have decided to because it would partain to this post.
I am LDS (aka Mormon). Breastfeeding is pretty much the normal route a mom takes in my religion
I was reading a thread on a parenting site that has a group for LDS families. It talked about where you nurse in church. Many of our churches have Mothers Lounges or a Comfy chair tucked away for moms to nurse.
However, in my previous ward (time and place we meet), my best friend always nursed her children in the pews, during Sunday School, and in the Womens Class (Relief Society- RS) just using a cover. I moved to a new location and we have several babies in this ward. Yet, I have never seen any of the mothers nurse in the pews. As a nervous, first time mom, just nursing her first child, I was weary to be the one who is different and nurse my child in the pew. I felt I HAD to go to the Mothers Lounge. 
I can understand the main meeting, maybe....what I don't understand, is why women feel they must leave Relief Society to nurse their child in the Mothers Lounge. It is a class with only women in it. Especially if you are going to use a cover. My son has not needed to nurse during this time frame so I have not ever thought about it, until I was reading this thread on the parenting site.
I was just curious other people's thoughts on NIP in church.
Becca

I Smell Like IHOP

As I posted earlier, Lil Man was going through a phase where he was not too interested in nursing (or even taking a bottle really). Even though he woke more at night to nurse, I could feel my supply was dipping. Then, both Lil Man and I got the nasty cold I mentioned. YUCK! As many nursing moms know- sickness can also cause a dip in supply. Lucky me to have both these things happen at once!
I had a day or two where I just thought- please, just let me make it to 6 months! If I can at least nurse him some until 6 months I will be happy.
Well, then I realized, 6 months is only a few weeks away and I am no where near ready to stop this nursing journey. I was renewed. I started pumping like crazy. The fact that my son is older, and can now play by himself sitting up, in an exersaucer, etc, has made pumping a lot easier then it used to be. I feel so much better now. I even decided, if he won't keep nursing, I will pump to give him what I can for as long as I can.
I am going to start back up on my 2 favorite herbs that support lactation. Fenugreek and Shatavari. I love Shatavari as it also has helped my let down become quicker. Fenugreek works faster though, so I start them together and then wean off the fenugreek.
The only down side to these herbs- they make me smell. Fenugreek- I start to smell like Maple Syrup. Yep, maple syrup. I start taking it and the next morning, I usually wake up and think "Are the people in the apartment above us making pancakes or waffles?" I start craving IHOP. Then I realize...that smell is me.
The first time this happened, I thought it was funny. My sisters, who are single and do not have children yet, got a huge kick out of me sticking my arm under there nose and having them take a big whiff. They agreed- maple syrup....YUM!
So, as I start back up on Fenugreek...I expect that come Saturday morning, I will be asking my husband to please take me to IHOP for breakfast. That is ok...IHOP for breakfast is a small sacrifice to make in order to keep nursing my son.
Becca
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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Sorry~

I apologize for a slow week. Both Lil Man and I have had nasty colds, I have been busy with my side business (photography), and we had Halloween. Plus, Lil Man has his half birthday in November, Thanksgiving is coming, Hubby and I both have our birthdays in November, and we are taking a long awaited vacation to Texas to visit some close friends!
I promise- I am working on some stuff for here, I just have not been able to sit down and post.
Please keep following- and keep voting on what you want discussed.
ALSO- I apologize. It was thought that anybody, google/blogger account or not, could comment. Come to find out, it was not set up that way. I have fixed that issues- so please comment. Comments are moderated however, and will not appear automatically after you leave them.
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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

One Week Old!!!

As of Wednesday, October 27th- My Breast Thoughts is ONE WEEK OLD! The response has been amazing. Over 650 views! 20 followers without much word other than a few mamas posting on facebook! WOW! SO- to celebrate- Leave a comment about how you support breastfeeding mothers. I am excited that I have many women who are wanting to guest post or become authors and am hoping they will be set up within a week or so.
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Monday, October 25, 2010

Mindset Matters

I mentioned in my (Becca) story about how when I was pregnant I said I would "try and breastfeed." Reflecting back on that- I wonder why I, and so many other women do this. When I hear other women say this- I always suggest they change the wording to "I WILL breastfeed."
I will try means you are already thinking that there is a chance you will fail. I think we, as women and mothers, want this "out" in case we for some reason are not able to breastfeed. But, what we do not realize is the importance of thinking positive, having confidence in our body's ability to do what it was intended as far as nourishing our baby.
I am in no way saying that supply issues are not real. As hormone issues are on the rise, so are supply issues. I myself have a low supply. Yet, I can not help but wonder- if I had gone into this pregnancy with the mindset of I WILL breastfeed, if it would have changed it. I think, if my mindset had been such, when I was told to supplement (which I feel was INCORRECT) I would have had the confidence to say no- I was not going to supplement my baby who only lost a few ounces more than the "acceptable" amount when he was in the hospital a day longer than most babies at discharge and had 0% jaundice. I would have not have had formula in my home "just in case." Women think it is no big deal to have the formula in the home as back up. That can of formula is very tempting after struggling to get your little one to latch for 10 minutes. Having it in the home makes it that much easier to just make a bottle. Not having formula would have meant having my baby on my breast even more (even if it was a struggle) during those first few weeks. That may have made all the difference in my supply. Maybe I still would have needed a little help but maybe I wouldn't have.
So often I think we as women doubt ourselves. We don't want to disappoint those we care about, but we don't want to disappoint ourselves. So instead of saying we WILL do something, we say we will TRY and do something. It may be losing weight, getting organized, or breastfeeding- but it is all the same. We are doubting ourselves before we begin, giving ourselves an out, and not having confidence in ourselves. My next child- I WILL breastfeed. No trying about it.

Becca

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Vote On What You Want To Read About

On the right side of the page, under the blog logo, you will find a poll asking what you want our next topic to be. Please vote. You can only choose one answer, but we will discuss all these things at some point. Voting closes on Nov 8th at 1:00 PM so vote now.
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Saturday, October 23, 2010

When He Doesn't Want To Nurse

When I consider how I felt the first few months of Lil Man's life (like a giant cow- nurse and pump, nurse and pump) I never thought that in 5 short months my feelings would change so much. Since I have a low supply I find that I have really began to cherish nursing sessions.
But what about when Lil Man doesn't want to nurse? These last few days he just hasn't wanted to nurse much. There is too much to see and do. Add to that the fact that he is starting to teeth and the pain that goes along with trying to nurse, and he is as close to a nursing strike as one can be, without actually having a picket line.
For many moms, while they may be sad, they would simply pump and feed their child from a bottle. Or, if their child does not take a bottle, they would suffer through a few days of hard nursing sessions. For me, however, this poses yet another problem. My supply...my delicate supply...hanging by a thread. What will happen to my supply? I can almost feel my supply getting less and less and I find myself extremely frustrated with myself and my son as we fight through each nursing session, only to end with a bottle of formula or expressed milk, and me going to the pump during his next nap.
Some would say- don't give him the bottle after-however, after the scare we had with my son going through two separate weight loss spurts, we can not simply tough it out. We have to make sure he eats, even if he would be willing to go without. I would never let him go hungry in order to try to force him back to nursing. I, as a mother, can not do that. No matter how much I believe he needs to be, should be, and could be (if he were willing) on the breast, I can not as a mother leave my son without the nourishment he needs to grow.
So here I am, supplementing a little more than normal, and in the back of my mind, worrying about that supply. Each time we have a couple days where he seems to prefer playing to nursing I wonder if this will be the time my supply will not come back, but will deplete down to nothing. I pray and pray while he takes his bottle that I will be able to recover, while I make a mental check list of the herbs I still have in stock in my cupboard to help try and help keep it up.
If this is the time that my supply can not recover, I will continue to give Lil Man what I can. Even if it is only a few ounces a day. I will know I have given it my all, that he is still getting the benefits of breast milk for as long as I can give him something, and that he has gotten a great start to life. The short time we nurse is just that- short. While the benefits of breastfeeding can not be denied- the rest of his life can still be filled with health if I am not able to continue this nursing relationship any longer. Only time will tell if this is just another bump in the road or if we are heading to a dead end.

Becca
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Now On Facebook!!!

After having such a response from friends on a local parenting site- I was excited to start talking to those on facebook about this site. To help get the word out My Breast Thoughts is now on facebook. Please, go to our page and press the like button. Suggest it to all your mom and soon-to-be mom friends. Let's use this as a tool to support each other, no matter how we choose to nourish our precious little ones.
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Friday, October 22, 2010

Just A Small Laugh!

This made me smile- click to enlarge

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United States Breastfeeding Report Card

Here is a link if you are interested in finding out your states breastfeeding rates. How is your state doing? How can you help make a difference? Photobucket

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Give Your Input!

This blog has been created so that women can openly share their feelings in support of breastfeeding and breastfeeding education. This includes formula feeding moms who still support breastfeeding.
I am excited for this blog and have already received emails and messages from many women that are excited to be apart of this blog. I am overwhelmed by the positive response that has been shown.
So- What do you, the reader want from this blog? My vision includes giving the reader what they need in order to succeed at breastfeeding, or being a breastfeeding supporter. Leave a comment and let me know what you want from this blog.
Also- next week we will be adding authors. I look forward to these women sharing all their experience and knowledge. Each woman has a unique experience. Some who exclusively pumped in the past, others who pump at work and nurse at home, some who have combo fed and then succesfully nursed a second child with no supplementing, and those who exclusively pumped but then were able to bring their child back to the breast. Some suffer from oversupply, others have the perfect amount, and some have a low supply. Each woman has something special to bring to this blog.
Please spread the word. Post this blog on your facebook. Women need to be able to talk as openly about breastfeeding as they do about pregnancy, sleeping through the night, and teething.
Welcome again and I look forward to getting to know those who read this blog.
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Becca's Story

After nearly 8 years of infertility, I was ecstatic to be told I was expecting. As I went through my pregnancy I knew I would "try" and breastfeed.
"Try and breastfeed" How many moms say this? Why don't we just say "I will breastfeed." For me it was because I had PCOS and I had read a comment on a blog somewhere that this effects supply. That got me worried. I began researching it. Reports on this varied- some claiming as many as 1/3 of moms with PCOS "reported" having low supply (not verified by a doctor or LC).
So, I decided that just in case, I would have some formula in the house. Lucky for me (not of sarcasm here) I was sent some by the formula companies who got my name off some mailing list from a pregnancy site, maternity store, or something.
During my pregnancy I went to the breastfeeding class offered by the hospital. I bought a boppy, did some online reading and thought I was ready.
My son was born after an induction (8 days past his estimated due date) that resulted in an emergency c/s- not because of the usual "failure to progress" but due to his heart rate dropping to 33 bpm.
Nursing seemed to come pretty naturally for us in the hospital. However, when we were discharged I was told he had lost more that the "acceptable" amount of weight. I later learned that induction and c/s babies will often lose more because the mother receives more fluids during labor and delivery. Had I known this I may not have done the next thing.
So, we began to supplement. I remember going home the first night and suddenly, my son, who had been attached to my breast for 3 days, wouldn't latch on. It was so easy to just give him the bottle at that point. However, being stubborn, I knew I wanted to make breastfeeding work. I called the LC first thing in the morning and got in.

I continued supplementing as my milk took longer to come in (5 days) due to the c/s. I had the misconception that I needed to feel engorged when it came in if I had a well established supply. So, I still supplemented. When we took my son in to the doctor at 2 weeks, he had not only reached his birth weight- but had an extra pound on there. I was told I could stop supplementing.
As the next two weeks went by, my son, alert from day one, didn't seem to have an interest in comfort nursing. He also was not a fan of eating in general (really, he still would rather do something else than eat). I felt like my supply was low and also I felt like Lil Man was not gaining weight.
I went to the LC who said it appeared I did have a low supply. Also, it was found that Lil Man had lost weight. Back to supplementing.

It was a long struggle. I tried everything, reglan, fenugreek, shatavari, more milk plus, tons of water, lactation cookies, and more. I finally thought at 3 months that my supply was up enough that I could stop supplementing. I had purchased an infant scale so I was able to monitor my sons weight (back after he had lost all the weight). About a month in, Lil Man was losing weight again- so now, I supplement. My son has a few days where he doesn't get any formula- those are joyous and keep me going. He also has days where he eats constantly and ends up getting 6-10 oz of formula. I try and keep the perspective that some breast milk is better than none, and that more than half of his nutrition is yummy mommy milk.

Looking back- I feel I did not get enough education or support. I feel I was given bad advice. I never should have been told to supplement as we left the hospital. I should have just been told to put him to the breast more often and had it explained why his weight loss was only a few ounces over the acceptable amount. I was not taught at all about comfort nursing or cluster feeding in the class I took. I was never told a newborn can nurse every hour for 30-45 minutes each hour. I felt like I educated myself as I went along. Maybe with my next child I will be able to exclusively breastfeed....for now though- I will give Lil Man what I can.

Becca

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