Friday, November 26, 2010

Reader Contest

Already we are a little surprised by the number of people who are subscribed to our blog. 40 people is a lot for just a random blog, not to mention a lot of people who are not Followers but who read our blog regularly anyway. Thanks to all of you for stopping in and sharing your thoughts, feelings, and experiences with us and other readers. We've decided to start doing contests for giveaways to our readers. Our first contest starts this week!

The Challenge:
The Good Letdown needs a logo! Letters, words, images, or all of the above...if you're handy with graphic design, show us your stuff and submit a logo (no more than two submissions per reader please) by Friday, December 3rd at 11:59pm. You can e mail your image to birthwellsupport@gmail.com, please include a little blurb about yourself so when we post the finalists, if you're one of them, we can tell the other readers about you! Short and sweet please!

The Decision:
We will review all the submissions over the weekend and pick 3 finalists. Those finalists will have their logo and their short, sweet blurb posted on the blog on Monday, December 6th. Readers will be asked to vote for their favorite logo by Wednesday, December 8th at 11:59pm. The logo with the most votes wins!

The Prize:
The winner can select one of two available prizes. The first will be a custom nursing pillow cover made to fit the ever-popular Boppy with a matching burp cloth. The second choice is a hand made nursing necklace! The winner will need to provide their mailing address so we can ship the prize!

We hope you want to participate, and feel free to share our blog with others so that they can participate as well!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Events to Promote Breastfeeding

As a big advocate of breastfeeding and also as a person whom often thinks outside of the box... I like to think of creative ways to promote breastfeeding and normalize it. Something I did this past summer is host a "Boobs and Brunch" event at my home. We hired a professional photographer who gave us a fantastic group discount on individual mini-photo shoots capturing intimate breastfeeding moments. Here are the photos from that fun event; http://coopetphotography.blogspot.com/2010/07/boobies-brunch.html
This is something I certainly plan on hosting again, and this time I will step it up a notch with boob shaped brunch food, lactation cookies, and all kinds of other silliness.

Another fun idea is a nursing necklace making event. Gather together with girlfriends and shared supplies to make wonderful nursing necklaces that your nursling will abuse for months to come.

Maybe do a photo shoot and make a personalized calendar to showcase your breastfeeding achievement every month! Do the photo shoot with girlfriends and share photos, make collages, all kinds of fun things!

Have a "Milk, it's what's for dinner" party at a local restaurant. Meet other nursing mothers, bring the husbands, and enjoy a dinner party surrounded by like-minded people who will support you when the inevitable time comes that a nursling gets hungry.

Weekly or monthly meeting with other nursing mothers at a local coffee shop where you can chat and nurse in a supportive environment.

Not only are these types of events fun - they also help to build a breastfeeding community in your life and normalizing nursing in general.

What ideas do you have?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Guest Blog: Carmen's Story

Carmen talks about her struggles with being a teen mom and trying to breastfeed. Now she's married and expecting her second baby. She's way more confident with her ability to breastfeed this baby and is excited to have a positive breastfeeding relationship with her new baby boy! 


I would love to be a breast feeder! i have my hubby's support 100% so I'm excited. With my first, my dad had told me I couldn't go back to school until Jada was 6 months old because he wanted me to breast feed her that long. He was adopted at 4 days old, so he insisted that I give her 'the best". I would sit in their room ALL day and try to feed on demand, but for some reason, she NEVER got full. She latched ok, I just wasn't producing milk. It was heart breaking.. and it was hard because I was so young and missed my friends and missed being outside. I got very very depressed and Then school started and Jada was about 2 months old and My dad was making me go to alternative school so I could "breast feed" more.. I would come home crying.. the kids at the alternative school were ones that didn't care about their education, they didn't care what their grades were like, or if they would graduate, they went there so they could be in school less, and most of them were party-ers and druggies.. not me.. I had always wanted to be a nurse, my dream was to work in an OB. I wanted to graduate high in my class, I missed my friends... it was horrible..
Eventually my mom had talked him into letting me go back to school full time and just bottle feed Jada (with formula... at that time I had tried to pump, i even tried to pump before I went back to school, i'd pump for an hour and only get 2 oz. I felt like a failure)... 

Then with my second, I got pregnant right before breaking up with my long term boyfriend. we fought a lot, and it was during the second half of our senior year. When I graduated (about 4 months pregnant), I moved out and was trying to work full time and go back to college. I had pretty much made up my mind at that time that I was going to give the baby for adoption... I ended up dropping out of college because I was to stressed being on my own, a pregnant teen & mom.. In september of that year (7-8 months preggers) I met my (now) hubby. He was very supportive of everything, but was also 3 hours away from me... I had to quit working in October because I had unbearable round ligament pains... so my daughter and I moved down to live in a hotel close to the adopting family. eventually I was induced (a week early... for selfish reasons, like wanting to go back home, and starting to get depressed.) and she was born Oct. 24th 2008. I breast fed a little in the hospital, I was only in there for 1 night. and I told the nurses, if i'm asleep, just give her a bottle...

When I got back home, I went straight to my man and spent some time getting to know him and recovering for the delivery & adoption (which was surprisingly a lot easier then anyone would have guessed).. and during that time, it felt like my breasts had gotten very heavy.. i'm guessing my milk finally came in. and boy was it a lot. I didn't have a pump or the energy or emotion to even attempt to pump and donate (which now, I wish I would have done at least for the month that I was out of work).

Now with this last one, I have my hubby's support and encouragement. I hope my body is more developed and I'm hoping it's much easier to breastfeed. I don't think there's much for support groups up here for breastfeeding moms. I know there's not a LeLeche league up here, which would be SO nice to have... But it is nice to see all the support I have on facebook and through the blogs!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Rough Nights and Pacifiers

So I'm going to be really honest, in case you haven't noticed, I really hate my boobs. I hate them A LOT MORE at night. What a strange thing to say right? Except it does make sense...Chase gets super frantic at night about nursing, he's not good about latching, I have to fight his hands, and he's always tucking his chin down...so I can't have that nice, quiet, latch-on and nurse till we both fall asleep experience. I have to turn on some kind of light so I can see (cuz my nipple is not "perky" enough to just find it's way to his mouth), and usually either prop up on an arm or just sit up and nurse him. When we do manage to get PROPERLY and COMFORTABLY latched laying down...I still have to hold my breast away from his nose because of the shape of my breast and because of how he tucks his chin. I know we will grow out of this, he will figure it out. WE will figure it out. But in the mean time...


I had a really crappy night last night. Chase's tummy might have been bugging him, he seems happier today...but he woke up quite a bit last night. We're gearing up for his 3 week growth spurt so he's been nursing... A LOT. My husband is thoroughly annoyed and wants me to give him a pacifier so he'll sleep better. He's been pestering me for a couple of days. But some of you may remember I suspected that Aiden's early weening had at least partially to do with his love affair with his binkies. I'm REALLY struggling to stay away from the pacifiers this time. I'm hoping that by the time we hit about a month his sucking needs will have dropped, but in the mean time, there are situations where all I want is a binky...I almost bought one a few days ago. Not to mention pacifiers mess with the natural rhythm of newborns...all that sucking serves a purpose, after all. The baby has an intense need to suck because this is what stimulates milk production. A baby with a pacifier may not nurse as frequently as is necessary (of course all babies are different and it's not always a problem to have a pacifier...I'm just paranoid).


Last night in particular, because Chase was so crabby about...who knows what, he was also noisy and woke our older son up a couple times. I had to face my husband who doesn't have a good understanding of newborn behaviors, breastfeeding, nipple confusion, etc..."I wish you would just lighten up and give him a binky." Except that the problem last night was that he was genuinely nursing all those times...he really wanted to nurse...in addition to a suspected upset/gassy tummy. The pacifier was not going to solve either of these issues, but my husband knows EVERYTHING in the middle of the night <<eye-roll>>. So between our two boys last night, we just didn't get a lot of sleep...and this morning he STILL knew everything and needed to complain to my sister about my persistence on the pacifier issue. 


So let's talk pacifiers for breastfed babies...


So I've been planning to avoid bottles AND pacifiers in the first month. First of all, there are two critical growth spurts during this time (at three and six weeks) and giving baby a bottle or pacifier can decrease the frequency with which baby is at the breast, this can impact the milk supply. Second, a breastfeeding relationship is not TRULY established, strong, and secure until about 5 to 6 weeks. I advise clients to avoid pacifiers and artificial nipples until at least 3 to 4 weeks and to keep it minimal until after that second big growth spurt to ensure baby does not develop a preference for the artificial nipples, and that the milk supply does not suffer in these early critical weeks. 


Here's an excerpt from Kellymom.com about Pacifiers:

"It is recommended that pacifiers and other types of artificial nipples be avoided for at least the first 3-4 weeks. I'd personally suggest that most breastfed babies - if they get a pacifier at all - would be better off without a pacifier until mom's milk supply is well established (6-8 weeks, usually) and the 6 week growth spurt is over. That way you've established a good milk supply and don't lose any much-needed breast stimulation to a pacifier."


This page goes on to discuss why pacifiers should be used sparingly for breastfed babies. Did you know that pacifiers can increase instances of thrush? Pacifiers are also associated with nipple confusion which can not only impact milk supply, but cause sore nipples for breastfeeding mothers. In addition they are linked to increased ear infections. 


Specifically regarding "rough nights," it's important to understand the cycle of pro-lactin in the female body. Levels are at their lowest in mid-morning and mid day, but at night, pro-lactin levels are at their highest. Pro-lactin is the hormone that triggers milk production. So giving a baby a pacifier at night, especially in place of nursing, will impact milk supply. This is why when weaning most people begin eliminating their night nursings to avoid engorgement...it tells the body to make a little less milk if the baby is not at the breast at night! 


I don't think pacifiers are evil or anything, don't get me wrong. For sure they are handy tools. My mistake with Aiden was overuse and premature use of the pacifier. Aiden used it for sleep, used it in the car, used it when he was cranky...it was my super overused tool. Chase will likely eventually have a pacifier for using in the car...me jacking up my shoulder to reach behind my seat and into the car seat while I'm driving to let him suck a finger to settle down has got to stop. But it will be a couple more weeks yet and hopefully I can escape a rotator cuff injury during that time. 

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Judgement and the Nursing Mom

As a nursing mom, or especially a NON nursing mom, you may have noticed that sometimes...occasionally...every once in a while...some of those in the breastfeeding community can be a tad...ahem... judgmental. What? you say. No! Never! <<sarcasm>> You were unable to breastfeed and gave formula? You gave up on breastfeeding and gave formula? You CHOSE (gasp, sputter, choke) not to breastfeed and gave formula??? I'm not going to lie. I've judged people for using formula. Even though I had to use it with my first. Oh yes. If I see someone with a bottle you better believe I think, "Why isn't she breastfeeding?" I'll come right out and say it. I kick myself each time for saying it though because I had to exclusively bottle Olivia until she was 6 months old and even once she started breastfeeding, I worked full time and was a part time student.

Believe it or not, this post is not just about judging based on formula or breast milk. It's just judgement in general among moms for our decisions. Recently, I was judged harshly by some people I knew. I was told I was "unclassy" for posting up my breastfeeding pictures, I was told I wasn't protecting my children and that my pictures were a "pedophiles dream". I was angry. Very angry about the "not protecting my children" comment. But most of all, I was deeply hurt. I didn't want to admit that, but here I am, on our blog that we share with everyone admitting that when I was judged like that, I was deeply hurt. I'm not writing this blog post to lash out at those people, or to even talk in great lengths about that particular discussion on my facebook wall but to just talk about judgement and moms. We see it SO often, especially with breastfeeding and formula. Our choices on how we feed our children, when we feed them, if we choose to cover or not, what type of bottles we use..the formula we use...the  way in which we.....................


The list could go on and on. I judge. And I'm not saying I won't continue to do so because I'm human. But you know what? It effing HURTS and quite frankly, people need to GET OVER IT. If another mom chooses to do something you don't agree with, who cares? How is it your business to judge her? Now, I just want to clarify that I'm not talking about sharing information in a caring way. After all, that's what this blog is all about. This blog is about sharing our experiences, our feelings etc and trying to normalize and educate about breastfeeding in a positive, caring way. Absolutely, people should share their convictions with parenting (and whatever else). But to me, that's totally different then throwing stones and being cruel to people, calling them names, however it's gone about...it's just unnecessary.

Like I said, I see people and I judge them. I wish I didn't but there it is. And I'm not going to say that I'll never think to myself "what the crap?!!?" when I see a mother bottle feeding (or whatever else I judge on) but I'm making an effort to try and not be such a @#%$&. The way moms act towards each other these days is horrendous. We are regressing into middle school girls and what we need to be doing is support one another. So next time you feel word vomit bubbling in your throat and you want to puke your judgments all over another mama, why don't you sit there and think about how you'd feel if/when someone did that to you? I know I will!

Talk to me about judgments you've faced? Or how you've judged others in their parenting decisions?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Spreading the Love Through Eats on Feets


So now two of us are milk donors! I want to be in the habit of pumping regularly for when I start at the gym after the first of the year, my little man will need milk if he's in the kid's care place, and you never know when I might have a fun night with the girls. Well, I started pumping last week, and I already have 70oz of milk in my freezer...it's been just over a week. I only pump twice a day...I guess my boobs are overachievers like Christa's! So I found, through Facebook, an organization called Eats on Feets. Within just a couple of hours of posting on the Eats on Feets Mn Facebook Fan Page, I received a private message from a mother who was interested in taking the milk I have. She sent me her story about her breast cancer treatment and the pregnancy that occurred smack in the middle of it all. Her sweet baby Olivia, a TRUE miracle baby, was born at 32 weeks and is now 4 months old. Because of Sarah's cancer and the meds being used to treat it, she is unable to breastfeed and needs donor milk for her baby.

I'm really excited, not just about donating milk in general, but about donating to this family who has been through and is still going through SO MUCH. I'm just glad to be able to send them a little something to help. I'll be meeting with her on Monday with Mama Christa who is ALSO already in touch with her to donate milk. It feels good to reach out and do something, give such a precious gift to another family who needs it. I hope all of you will keep this family in your thoughts, and if you are pumping or would be willing to pump for a family in need of milk, visit Eats on Feets to get connected with your local chapter and a local mom in need. What a worthy organization!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Guest Blog: My Affair(s) with my Pump(s)

This is a guest blog post from another pumping mama. I (mama Christa) met Kristine on facebook before I had Ella. We met because we were both exclusive pumpers (she currently was and I had with Olivia). I'm really excited that she was willing to share her pumping story because it shows other mamas that there are so many ways to breastfeed and provide milk to your baby. It also let's other pumping mamas know that they're not alone!! Thanks Kristine!




I am proud to say that I am a working mother to two very healthy & active young boys. However, I am not the type that dreamt of marriage & kids when I was young so to be where I am at today was a total surprise to me. I never thought I’d find anyone that would put up with me or my selfish ways but I actually did find a wonderful man & not long after we met we got married. We went thru quite a few turbulent years early on in our marriage…he left his family business to come to work for my family business…& then we my family business to venture out on our own. We managed to make a go of it for just over 3 years before I found out that I was expecting our first child.

Because money was tight, my plan was to breastfeed my son for his first year so that we wouldn’t have to spend money on formula in addition to all of the extra expenses we would soon be incurring. Our business was struggling financially so we made the decision to close it down shortly after I delivered my son (via c-section). From day one, breastfeeding was very hard for me. I have VERY dry skin and to add insult to injury, I couldn’t get a good latch to save my life. I also had problems with forceful letdown. I was also given a pump in the hospital to “encourage my milk to come in”. Not sure if that was a blessing or not but my milk certainly came in! I tried desperately for 6 weeks to latch my son & nurse but cried thru most of the feedings because of the pain from a cracked/bloody nipple. I feared the thought of even putting him to my breast because I knew it’d be painful & often opted to just pump the milk & feed him from a bottle. It just made for a much easier & way less painful/stressful feeding for both me & my son.

BTW…my son did not have nipple confusion…he had nipple preference…& yes, even at such a young age they are able to make decisions on their own. ;)

All the while, my mom couldn’t help because she didn’t nurse me or my two sisters. My MIL, who’d nursed 7 babies, didn’t help because “it just wasn’t her place/style so she didn’t want to be intrusive” and my sister, who nursed her two LOs & was there to help for the first week postpartum, just kept telling me OVER & OVER that it “SHOULDN’T HURT”. OK…I get that it “shouldn’t hurt” but damn it…it hurt like hell! Nothing helped…not lanolin…not hot/cold compresses…hot showers…NOTHING! It seemed like time was standing still & I was to the point where I just couldn’t take it any longer. Nursing was just too painful & not at all what I’d expected it to be like for me to continue our nursing relationship as it was at that point in time.

About 5 weeks in & after battling mastitis several times, the Dr. told me to nurse & then pump so that I could keep them drained. What he didn’t tell me was not to pump too long or I’d over stimulate them & cause oversupply. Well, I did just what the doctor told me to do & wound up with WAY too much milk. Over supply can be a blessing but it can also be a problem if it’s not addressed +/ managed. That point in my nursing relationship was a turning point for me. It was all just too much & too overwhelming so I looked to simplify things & make it easier on me. So I did, I switched over to exclusively pumping…& it worked! It was do-able for me! While I felt like a failure for not being able to exclusively nurse, I knew I could at least do the next best thing & still provide him with my milk (& not have to dump money that we didn’t have into formula).
After switching over to pumping full time, feedings actually became a pleasant experience. My oldest grew really fast & thrived on that milk & I was overjoyed when we hit that one year mark so I no longer needed to pump. Well, because I oversupplied, I had a deep freeze full of milk that I’d tucked away for future use. Not knowing how precious it was, I forgot about it until long after his first birthday & had let it all expire. It tore me up to dump it but because it was well over the expiration, I had no other choice but to dump it. I made up my mind at that moment to do something better/more with the extra the next time around & stuck to my guns.

Approximately 3.5 years later, we found out that we were pregnant with #2 so I started looking around for a place to go to with the extra milk. My pumping “affair” had gone so well the first time around that I knew (especially since I’d planned on returning to work) that I’d have extra milk that I could donate so I got set up with the local milk bank in preparation for my next go round with my pumps. I also bought a second pump (secondhand but I’d be very cautious about doing this because it doesn’t take much to sabotage your milk supply when it comes to pumping) and kept this one in my vehicle with me so I could pump anywhere I needed to go for work/etc.

When LO #2 came along, he latched like a champ! Finally a normal/happy/easy nursing relationship…but again, we soon parted ways because I went back to working to support our double income budget. Even though it was short lived, I relish in the fact that I was able to nurse at least one of them without any artificial/high tech interference because it helped me let go of my feelings from my first nursling of not being able to latch which made me feel like I failed him. I knew that I could do it…but because pumping was so familiar to me, I opted to go this route again.

I was able to make several donations to the Austin Milk Bank & even got to meet a donor recipient mom in the process. If you oversupply & can donate, I highly recommend it. Per a phrase I’ve seen on TLB…I donate because it could be my baby. For some reason, even though mine weren’t preemies or sick, this was something that was very healing for me as both of my boys were c-sections & both of them were bottle fed (even though it was my milk). Long story short…if it hadn’t have been for my pumps, I would’ve never survived for the two plus years that I’ve been pumping for my boys because of the lack of support that I had or was able to afford during my pumping years.

Because of my experiences & my desire to help others avoid going thru what I went thru with breastfeeding, I have started working for WIC as a breastfeeding peer counselor. It just baffles me that there is so little support & information out there for new & breastfeeding moms. I really hope that I can help to change that…even if it’s only one mama at a time!

Kristine Keller
Mom to Grayson (5.5) & Jaxon (13.5 months)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Request for our Readers

We, here at The Good Letdown (sounds very official no?), want to always provide relevant topics for discussion. If you have an idea for a topic, or have a story (any story), please let us know! We're happy to do the research (or the bulk of it if you've already done some for us) and write up whatever interests you. We're always happy to see your comments and conversations on the posts, so keep it up and make sure you're sharing the blog all around...remember, our mission is to normalize discussion of nursing as a NORMAL and NATURAL thing...one person at a time, we can change the perception of a healthy mom and baby relationship!

Thank you so much for stopping in and reading!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Nursing and Body Image

I am a self-proclaimed expert in poor body image and self-esteem. It has affected my nursing relationship with Aiden, and to a lesser extent it affects my nursing relationship with Chase. it also affects my ability to go in for annual lady appointments, get sized for bras (a recent issue I need to address) and change my clothes at the gym.

I am a lactivist, and I am a supporter of nursing in public (obviously) but I cover up. Always. I think I must be letting my less modest, nursing in public, power mama sisters down by hiding what is so normal and natural to do: nursing my baby. Except, i'm not hiding the fact that I'm nursing. I'm hiding my breasts. I don't care if people know/see that I"m nursing a baby under my little blanket. That's not my problem. I don't even care if the IDEA of me or anyone else nursing a baby, covered or not, offends or bothers others when I am in public. What I care about is the image I have in my head about my breasts, my nipples, and my body. See, it's not about others seeing my breasts, it's about how I view my breasts.

Some women worry about what pregnancy and breastfeeding will DO to their breasts. Perhaps this is a concern if you've EVER had nice breasts...but I kid my audience not...my breasts came in saggy and at my waist...even when they were little a-cups...they were saggy: \o/\o/  <---those are my boobies, ladies. I wish I was kidding. When I'm not nursing, they resemble a tube sock with tennis balls in them...really...can't picture it? Put a tennis ball in a sock...and staple it to your chest...the tube part may be a little long...but you're getting the idea. When I'm nursing...it's like a tube sock still...but with a SOFTBALL in it now. I'm also not blessed with lovely nipples. They're mostly flat and at the bottom of my breast...seriously they do NOW and have ALWAYS pointed the way to my toes...in case I wasn't aware of where those were, helpful during pregnancy when I actually lose track of them...but sure makes for unattractive breasts.

Another huge factor for me when I was nursing Aiden was MY size. When I got pregnant with Aiden I was was 252 pounds of stuffed sausage. I lost 20lbs during that first pregnancy, but I was still a big girl, my breasts were 38DDDs, totally unweildy, heavy, and nearly impossible to hide while nursing in public...I had trouble getting him latched on under a cover cuz he was so little...and my boobs were so big...it's hard to do blind. I was also extra-sensitive about people seeing my belly or fluffly hips spilling out so I was always wearing weird layers (bra, nursing tank, shirt...that's a lot of clasps and juggling) to try and conceal the fluff overflow. I was just NEVER comfortable nursing in public because it was just too difficult for me and my crappy body image. When Aiden was only one week old I attended a doula training...in a room full of breastfeeding gurus...I waited until the lights were out for a film to try and get Aiden to nurse...by this point I was engorged as hell and we both ended up covered in milk! I was still weird about the doula sitting next to me...that she might see my breast in the glow from the film...silly, considering I was sitting at the BACK of the room.

My pregnancy with Chase, however, has wielded a 40lb weight loss. I've dropped over 2 pants sizes, and even at less than 2 weeks postpartum, I think I look GOOD! The boobs are also more manageable. I'm not sure what size I am now (please refer to description above of crappy self-esteem keeping me from getting sized) but I can tell the difference nursing Chase. I'm somewhere around a 36DDD (isn't that an F or an E in some brands? I don't know), but that's smaller than what I was before, and I don't have to struggle to NOT suffocate my baby anymore. I've even been able to nurse him in the cradle hold...something I was NEVER able to do with Aiden, even at 8 months. Shoot, last week at the Pregnancy Center I was nursing and chasing my toddler at the same time! What a difference my weight loss has made both on the logistics of nursing for me, and on my general body image. I got Chase situated on my boob in front of a roomful of women I don't even know.

My problem still remains that while I"m a lot happier with my body in general...my boobs are still tube socks with softballs in them, and I have big flat, dinner plate nipples. I still insist on covering, but it's MUCH easier to do this now, and I'm not as obsessed with no one having even the possibility of catching a glimpse of what's under my little blanket. Yesterday I sat at an indoor playground, reading Henci Goer's, The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth right in front of some strange man and his wife and a bunch of other people and nursing my littlest man-child right in my lap. I do have a tendancy to sit and think "I wonder if people are bothered by this...gosh I wish someone would come say something...what would I say back?" and then I have a whole internal dialogue. But the internal dialogue USED to be "gosh I hope no one can see my love handles, or my breasts, or my fat rolls..." It's incredibly freeing to have an improved, albeit still pretty shitty, self image.

Tell us, how has your body image, positive or negative, affected your nursing relationship(s)? If you are a proud and "whip it out" kind of mama, what advice do you have for moms who are more apt to cover...are you bothered by nursing mothers who cover? Why or why not?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Only a Matter of Time

Well...it happened. Mama Christa had a breastfeeding photo deleted from Facebook this past week. I'm sure most of you know that Facebook administration does this regularly, deleting photos of mothers nursing their babies. They cite it as a violation of the terms of use since the photos are "sexual or violent" in nature. Completely ridiculous! If you'd like to support nursing mothers, or are a nursing mother yourself, please "attend" this event tomorrow, consider writing a letter to Facebook telling them how you feel: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=155535221156710

Here at the Good Letdown we're building a Facebook page. Once it's up and ready we'll open an album called "the Daily Obscenity" for pictures of nursing mothers to be posted. Mother Hen is certain we'll be deleted in a heartbeat...exciting! I'll post here once the page is launched!


In the mean time, here I am nursing Chase outside a local coffee shop (we were in the drive-thru when the smallest man child decided he needed milkies RIGHT NOW). So obscene I think some of you may want to burn your retinas after viewing this SEXUAL and VIOLENT photograph.

OH, and the blanket isn't to suffocate him...I use that to prop my big saggy boobs up so I don't have to waste a hand holding it up myself...breastfeeding is a lazy woman's sport. :)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

One Boob at a Time - Guest Blogger

This nursing story is from Heather, a mom who Mother Hen and I both know from separate places. We asked Heather to contribute to our blog as I knew Heather had nursed Kaleb a long time and had encountered some resistance from family. In fact, one of the first times I met Heather she was nursing Kaleb at our toddler class! I was surprised to read her story...you see...Heather is a breastfeeding convert! Here's her story! Thanks for sharing Heather!!!

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If you know me, you wouldn't belive that I was actual agaisnt breastfeeding before I got pregnant. I had it in my head that the thought of having a baby suck on your boob was disgusting! When I was nanny, the woman I worked for breast fed and she gave me a whole new perspective on the subject. I started doing my research and decided that I would at least try. 

Kaleb was born February 20, 2009 at 1:51am and I couldn't wait to try nursing him for the first time. He was a quick learner. He did so well in the hospital, the nurses were impressed. I could tell though he would get a little frustrated with the fact nothing really was coming out and there wasn't much to suck haha. But he was an expert from the start. His favortie position to nurse was the football hold. 

As soon as we got home I started to pump right away so I could build up a huge supply incase I decided I didn't like nursing. My boobs were the milk money machine. I could easily pump 10oz out of each breast in 5 minutes. I had so much milk it was crazy. I was very blessed!

So as time went on and we were home, we started noticing that Kaleb may have some reflux/colic. (This was when he was around 4 weeks old) We took him to the pediatrician and he said Kaleb has a mild case reflux and gave him meds to help. Kaleb hated the medicine so we would put some in a bottle with pumped milk. That didn't work very well. My husband said that chiropractors can help fix reflux and against everything I have, I said I will give it a try. That didn't help either. Come to realize, Kaleb may have an allergy or an intolerance to something I am eating. Right away I started eliminating foods from my diet and slowly adding them back in. Soon enough, we found it was dairy. OH NO! I can't live without cheese and milk. I almost thought forget breastfeeding, this is nuts, I can't go without milk. I thought to myself that I had enough pumped milk to last a lifetime. Then realizing, the pumped milk had all the diary in it. Luckly, I have a very supportive husband who then convinced me to at least try. Breast is best! I was able to tolerate rice milk and no cheese and any of that. It wasn't that bad to not have it. And as every mother knows, you will do anything for your child. Since all the pumped milk I had had dairy in it, I decided to donate it. 

Now past the hard part, Kaleb loved breast feeding. He was never a cluster feeder but when he wanted the boob, he wanted it. He nursed every 2-3 hours a day for a few months and about 2-3 times at night. We never really bottle fed anymore and I just became and exclusive from the breast, breastfeeder. Make sense? LOL

Moving on, Kaleb was 6 months old and I still was eliminating dairy from my diet. We had decided to try Kaleb on solids. Once on solids, he didn't really slow on nursing that much. He maybe dropped a feeding. I always offered it to him and sometimes he would take it and others he wouldn't. He still wasn't sleeping through the night but would wake twice. Once around midnight and at 4am to nurse. I didn't mind becuase he usually just slept in the bed so I didn't have to 100% wake up. 

Around 10-12 months, Kaleb was eating more "people food" and less purees. About that time is when he started to wean himself from the boob. He probably only nursed about 3 times a day and once at night at 4am. He never would "ask" for it, I just always offered. It was starting to upset me that he didn't really want it. It was like he was such a big boy and didn't need mommy. I also started adding dairy back into my diet at that time and it didn't seem to bother Kaleb anymore. He didn't like when we started whole milk at 12 months. I guess the taste wasn't the best. But again, he wouldn't nurse very often and I know he needed the fat and the liquid. It was at 14-15 months when Kaleb decided he had enough boob. I was still always offering the breast but he would just play and flick it. He would only want it at 4am and that was just to hold it in his mouth. He wouldn't even suck. I could tell that I wasn't getting let downs very often anymore and they took about 10 minutes of Kaleb sucking on my breast for it (the let down) to happen. The joys of less feedings a day. Right at 15 months, he pretty much showed he had enough. He finally took to the whole milk and breast milk wasn't his cup of tea anymore. It was very sad for me, but I am glad I was able to breastfeed him as long as he would let me. 

Kaleb is 20 months now and I am expecting a baby boy in March 2011 and am very excited to get to go through breastfeeding again! I hope this new baby takes well to it like his brother did.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Normalizing Nursing in Public League (The NNIPL)


Little did I know how strong my feelings would become on a mothers right to feed her child anywhere until a friend was harassed at a local restaurant. I somehow had never heard of anyone being harassed before, and even after nursing my own child for over 18 months I had never experienced negativity. Her situation was a huge eye opener for me, and it turned out not to be an isolated incident. Once I got into the mainstream it seemed like these stories were happening everywhere and everyday! That's when I had to start up the NNIPL group on Facebook. I felt the strong urge to share stories of positive and negative experiences of family's breast feeding in public. Very quickly our 1000+ fan base let me know that I was not alone in wanting to rally together and support each other.

Check your state laws to know your rights! These statutes are there to protect a mother from being charged with indecent exposure or other violations, and if you live in a state that has no protection this DOES NOT mean it is illegal for you to breastfeed in public. It just means you are not excluded from some jerk ruining your day. If you are harassed, don't let it slide! File a report with First Right to make sure the next mom does not have to go through what you did. Taking a stand is not always easy, but it is always the right thing to do.

One of my favorite (giant eye roll of sarcasm) arguments is the "why can't you just cover up" one. Well, guess what folks... covered or uncovered you can't see anything unless you are trying darn hard to look. I called for a contest of fans to upload videos showing just how hard it is to cover up when your child does not want it, and this is one of my favorite videos by Kind of a Hippie Mom. Cracks me right up! Way funnier than my video;


Please join the NNIPL revolution on Facebook. You can purchase NNIPL-wear at two different Cafe Press shops. The first one is for logo only gear and the second one has slogans and other exciting things.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Our Third, and Final Nursling Has Arrived!

Just a *smidge* faster ok?

After dinner on Tuesday, I headed home, told the world (ie: facebook) that I was tired and crabby and headed to bed. I had some pretty sharp contractions that very much reminded me of Aiden’s birth a few times over the night that woke me up and I rocked through them, falling back asleep. I don’t remember this happening more than a couple times. I was tired, and crabby remember, so I just went back to sleep.

At 7:15am November 3rd, I had a contraction, rocked through it…then Aiden wandered into our room a couple minutes later and I had another contraction, rocked through it. While Aiden cuddled with us and played I rocked through a few more and told B it was starting. B went down to make breakfast while I putzed around upstairs getting a few things together for Aiden. I gave my doula and my babysitter a heads up and decided to hop in the shower. My hips were hurting pretty badly during contractions so I brought a stool in the shower so I would have something to lean over during contractions. This was pretty good foresight on my part…I hung out in the shower for a while, because of course it felt great and when I got out I decided it was time to start timing a few of these and see what was up, they felt close together and were strong. I timed for about 30 or 40 minutes, walking around in between contractions, getting things ready to go, munching on a piece of toast, etc. during that time the contractions were all 3 minutes apart and went from 45 seconds to over a minute in a snap. I was starting to feel an urge to vocalize a lot, and I was concentrating on not tensing up and letting my body work. I started feeling a little nauseous too and left most of my toast on my desk. Things were picking up a lot faster than they did with Aiden’s birth.

We called the midwife around 9, told her we thought we would be leaving in about half an hour. She asked where I was feeling the contractions, if I could answer questions or talk during them and I told her I couldn’t then told her to go away so I could have a contraction. I started needing B to put pressure on the back of my hips during contractions and at one point I told him, in the middle of a contraction “We need to go…soooooooon.” Our neighbor came to get Aiden for his big “sleepover” and we started heading out. I knew the trip to the hospital was a little long, and I knew that I did NOT want to have a ton of contractions in the car. I stopped on the stairs to wait for one more contraction and told B to get something for me to barf in while we were on the road because I could tell that was coming pretty soon. After that contraction I booked it to the van and got my pillows situated for the car-ride. I had probably 5 or 6 contractions on the way to the hospital, I think they spaced out just a bit when we got underway, which was a blessing. I did, indeed, barf in the car, it’s like I’m psychic.

I had a contraction as we were parking and thought “good timing, maybe I’ll make it in the door before I have another contraction!” Think again, we barely made it 50 feet from the car before I had to stop. I tried really hard to walk until the peak, then I stopped, leaned over a bench and rocked and swayed. Before the contraction was done I started moving again, not wanting to be out in the cold too long and the damn contraction peaked again so I had to stop. We got inside and got in the elevator…I actually managed to make it to the L&D desk before having another contraction! This was a good thing since we noticed a bunch of suits (turns out it was the Joint Commission) as we were walking in and while I SORT OF wanted to assume a squat and start vocalizing in front of them…I’m a little more modest than that. J

The nurses at the desk of course wanted to ask me questions during contractions and I had to tell them to please wait…then we headed to the triage room to wait for K, our midwife, and have a listen to the baby. I declined the charming pink hospital gown, much more comfy in my cotton skirt and t-shirt. Then the door opens and in puffs our midwife, B asks her how she is “out of shape!” haha! I’m checked, at 3cm, 70% and I’m pissed cuz this is how it was with Aiden too. We’re still trying to get a good strip on baby (you know how these things are) and K wants me up over the top of the bed because of Chase’s craptastic position (ROP, if you’re wondering) while we listen some more. We weren’t in triage long, and I didn’t get asked a million questions while we were there which was so nice. Then we move to the room. Which…I have to say…is freaking amazing. Even in my laboring haze I could appreciate the fantastic room. I should go back and get pictures…easily as big as the upstairs of my house between the room itself and the attached birthing tub room. 

My doula was awesome putting just the right amount of pressure on my hips and dancing with me (the doula hula you know) during my contractions. Once we got into the room they needed to get one more accel from chase who had decided that NOW, of course, was fetus nap time. Thanks buddy. I tried to lean on the bed and it rolled away from me to which I exclaimed “F--- THAT,” and everyone laughed while I carried on through that contraction and they put the breaks on the bed.  At some point we were trying to listen to baby and K wanted me upright so she could get his heartrate on the waterproof telemetry (these, were also the coolest little things I’ve ever seen) and I ended up leaning on 3 people simultaneously through a contraction while this was going on. K was patient with me while I kept telling her “just give me a minute. Please? Just a minute,” as if I thought she could make my labor slow down long enough for me to catch my breath. Not so much.

So off to the bathroom with us, hubby, doula, and midwife…I informed them I couldn’t pee with an audience and they all laughed and walked out. Not much luck with peeing, which was frustrating because I felt like I genuinely needed to pee, but I let it go and got in the tub. The whole time I was in the tub (which wasn’t long) I really felt like it needed more water…like enough to go over my head because the pain was SOOO intense. Sharp through my abdomen and all across my hips and lower back with every contraction. I thought my whole body was going to snap in half. I think I had 2 or 3 contractions in the tub before I informed K that I was feeling “pressure! Pressure! (insert involuntary grunt here…).” Now, remember how I said the Join Commission folks were there? Yea…so K had to play by rules she generally doesn’t play by. She had told me before we got in the tub that she would need to break my water before baby came to be sure there was no meconium. I really didn’t care. So when I told her I was feeling pressure she had to run and get the hook. Fun fun! Through another contraction I was grunting again…then she checks me…wait for it…

Here’s where stuff gets crazy.

I’m 5cm. Yea…grunting at 5cm. So I’m crying and wailing to her “I don’t want to be 5! This is terrible! NO NO NO!” bring on another contraction and MORE grunting. All the while my doula and K are reassuring me that baby is coming, K even tells me I can push if I feel like I need to push. To which my doula brain responds “WHO PUSHES AT 5?!” I’m begging my doula in between contractions to make it stop, telling her I don’t want to be 5 and K comes over with the amnio hook, informs me that I’m 8, now 9…and I’m FREAKING OUT. The contractions were SOOO intense…and we’re talking in a matter of just 5 minutes I went from 5 to 9 and now we’re pushing.

I can feel him moving down…so different than Aiden, I felt Aiden stuck on my pubic bone when I was pushing, but not this time…this time I can feel him moving down, I can feel everything opening and I simply can’t stop pushing. My logical brain, still checked in since there was no transition time to send it away, is telling me to keep bearing down, but not too hard and telling myself not to arch my back…which I’m doing anyway. But still I can feel him moving down. I wish I could say this was a peaceful, controlled, quiet thing…but no. It wasn’t. I was roaring, this baby was coming way faster than I was prepared for and I totally didn’t know what to do with myself.  My husband is trying his best to ground me, and I tell him “don’t you do that take control shit with me,” and turn to my doula. K knew what I needed though and she just told me to listen to her “Meghan, you need to listen to me! BLOW!” I instantly was focused on her and did what she told me to do as baby crowned. When I start pushing again I feel his head out and just stop, like “holy hell that feels so much better,” and the nurse standing there (I have no idea when she entered the picture) says “his head is out…see?!” I think I actually told her “that feels better!” Then it was time to push again, I think they were nervous because they hadn’t heard heart tones in a while and needed to be sure he was OK. I’m still flipping out, arching my back and K says again “Meghan, lISTEN to me, you need to push him out, don’t arch your back!” So I tuck my chin as much as I can stand and out he comes.

He was pretty floppy and grey when they put him on me and needed some good rubbing. K was about to clamp his cord and I begged for her to “give him a minute, just give him a minute, please just give him a minute,” and I blew on his face while the nurse was rubbing his back and he started to squawk. Big sigh of relief. We found out later his 1 minute APGAR was only 4, not pretty. They are pretty sure it was because he was wearing his umbilical cord around his body, cute necklace Chase…(My instincts about this had been right all along. I had suspected he was tangled in his cord and that was why I couldn’t get him to rotate out of ROP for weeks).  So he got to stay attached and cried and pinked up and did well from there. Then we moved (I got to hang on to him getting out of the tub and everything) to the bed for the placenta. My sacrum and bottom hurt SO BAD that I could hardly put myself on the bed at all. I was pretty convinced at that moment that my tailbone was broken…but now I’m confident it wasn’t…though I’m pretty sure my sacrum is royally jacked up.  K got us situated and we waited a good while before the cord was clamped. B made Chase a free man, and it was so nice to just have that sweet little dude with me the whole time. I was thoroughly unimpressed with delivering the placenta, not sure why it was so uncomfortable, but it actually stands out more in my mind this time around. Just some minor abrasions and skid marks that didn’t require any repairs, and they cleaned me up and I got situated to nurse my little man. Fundal checks weren’t so great, my uterus was a little boggy and I was passing quite a few clots. We talked about IM pit if things didn’t start to improve but with a little massage, some skin to skin, and nursing, it got better. Probably just from the super fast birth…though I was NOT impressed with having fundal massage, it was necessary I think, and I prefer that to a shot of medication following my totally awesome (insane) unmedicated water birth.

I know I took a lot of space and time up telling the end of that…but the reality was that I was 5cm, and 90% effaced 1 minute, and less than 10 minutes later my baby was on my chest. There were a lot of details to share because my mind was still totally there…I didn’t get to find my way to that hazy place…for some reason I was keenly aware of my thoughts, of things people were saying to me, and of where people were around me. Really an interesting experience.

SO, Chase was born at 11:32am (4 hours, start to finish, 10 whopping minutes of “active labor”), he weighed 8lbs 3oz, is 20.75 inches long, and has a 13inch head (an inch smaller than Aiden’s!), which is covered in dark hair. He nursed like a CHAMP from minute one and continues to do so. We went home the next day after I visited with K and informed her that “that was f---ed up. Seriously. F---ed up.” I love having a midwife I can be straight with…LOL!


Friday, November 5, 2010

Apparently, I'm a milk missionary

I got to nurse today. A full, empty both breasts, belch her head off nursing. It was so amazing! And it wasn't my baby.

Whatttttttttttttttt? Did you read that right?

Why yes, you did read it right! Meg hooked me up with a mama who feeds her baby almost purely donor milk from another state. She was coming into town and didn't want to bring her stash in case something happened to it and wanted to know if someone would be able to donate about 60 oz to get them through. Christaaaaaaaaaaa to the rescue. Of course, as you all know, my supply is I-N-S-A-N-E so I was more then happy to be able to help them out. They came over today and it was time for their beautiful 4 month old daughter to eat. I offered to pump fresh milk for them and the mama told me if I wanted, I could just nurse her. I was more then happy to do so (elated might be a word to use....I wanted to nurse a baby with a good suck!!). The mama said baby would LOVE it if she got to nurse since the mama wasn't able to nurse her (or wasn't able to nurse her much, I'm not totally sure). She latched right on and emptied both breasts in a record time. It was pretty fabulous!

I think this probably occurs more often then we would think. As you all read in our previous post Nursing Babies in Event of What If, the three of us have a plan for sharing milk or nursing each others babies if needed. It doesn't even phase us to think about nursing each others babies. This mama was taking my milk and her baby needed to eat...it never occurred to me NOT to breastfeed her baby, even though essentially, she was a stranger. In a way though, we aren't. We're connected by our motherhood and by the desire to feed our babies breastmilk no matter what. I can't describe it but there was something so special and amazing to have this mama there who was unable to nurse her baby and to be nursing her baby. I wish I could think of how I want to say it but it just connected me to this mama immediately. It was very special. :)

(On a funny note though, I have to tell you what Olivia said. She was giving us the weirdest look and got a little upset, then said "Mama! She BITE!!!" hahahaha)

What do you think? Would you donate milk? Would your nurse someone elses baby? A friends baby? A strangers baby?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Liar, Liar, Bra on Fire

So... I lied this week about nursing my two year old son. Typically I am a big advocate of normalizing everything about breastfeeding... but because it was my husbands co-workers I froze and didn't boast about my achievement.

We were at his work to show off new baby sister. He has co-workers who have a daughter a month older than Chicken Little and they are pregnant with their second - due to be born just a few weeks after Chicklett. Funny how that lined up... must be something in the water at work. In any event, she asked me how long I nursed Chicken Little for and I replied, "A long time." Not exactly a lie... but I didn't really answer her question either. She went on to say how she had hoped to nurse their first child to two years, but that the child self weaned around 14 months. Feeling silly about 'lying', especially now that I knew she was someone who understood the importance of the 2-years of breastmilk, I backtracked a little and explained that my milk went away around 5 months pregnant so he hasn't had any since then. A little closer to the truth... but still not going all the way. Sure he wasn't getting milk anymore... but he still nursed for comfort atleast once a day and eventually he started getting colostrum (cat nip for toddlers). And the final truth that ultimately I continued to nurse him after delivering my daughter and that he is now getting breastmilk 3-4 times a day.

Sometimes in our society of "12-months of nursing is long enough" it is difficult to stand out and be proud of being an "extended" nurser... not only that... but a tandem nurser to boot! I think had this not been my husbands co-workers I wouldn't have hid the truth. Or maybe if it was just me and the one mother talking privately rather than being at a table with 7-8 co-workers.

I get lots of comments, "That's cool what you're doing, but I couldn't see myself doing it," regarding the tandem nursing. I have lots of online acquaintances of tandem nursers, but only know one or two in real life. I wonder if there is a support group? Ha! I've felt a little alone in the venture (I know you WANT to do it Christa) not knowing people in real life.

Have you ever lied about it? What would you have done?

P.S. I had random silly thoughts about how funny it would be if my husbands co-workers are a fan of this blog and recognized me from pictures so she knew the truth before even asking me. Oops!