Monday, January 31, 2011
Saturday, January 29, 2011
Friday, January 28, 2011
Every woman who has breastfed and returned to work has a story.
It is time to tell those stories.
The recent amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires employers to provide reasonable break time and a place for nursing mothers to express breast milk for one year after their child's birth.
It's the law.
Now, the U.S. Department of Labor wants your story and ideas. You have experience with what works and what doesn't when women combine breastfeeding and returning to work. The Dept of Labor seeks information and comments on various issues addressed in this notice as it considers how best to help employers and employees understand the break time for nursing mothers law.
Go to the U.S. Dept of Labor website to submit your comments (2000 characters or less). Want to read or comment on what others have written? Click here!
Make your story and ideas go further. How? Send a copy of any comments you have, whether or not you submit them to the U.S. Dept of Labor, to the Minnesota Breastfeeding Coalition c/o firstname.lastname@example.org
Why? The Minnesota Breastfeeding Coalition wants to gather your story and ideas as we advocate to make Minnesota's exemplary state laws related to breastfeeding in the workplace even more effective for you and other breastfeeding women in the state. Thank you, in advance, for your thoughtful input!
Wondering where to start? Be honest, be specific. Click here for some questions to help you get started.
Thursday, January 27, 2011
While the twins were in the NICU I pumped around the clock and was very pleased to be making enough milk for both of them. Their latch was weak and it would take sometimes up to an hour each just to get a full bottle down. At the hospital the boys were born in I worked with a lactation consultant and 3 nurses trained in newborn breastfeeding assessment. The boys were transferred after two weeks to a teaching hospital to treat a rare endocrine condition they had inherited, Pseudohypoaldosteronism. While at that hospital I worked with 2 more lactation consultants. During that time I was only successful once at getting a full nursing session with Connor and was never successful with Seamus.
So what have I recently discovered? Yes, you guessed it the thrush is back. But this time as I face yet another hurdle I do not feel the discouragement and the defeat I once felt. Why? Because I realize now that breastfeeding isn't always easy. I know that sometimes breastfeeding isn't always possible and that is ok. I know now that although formula is over used it is not only a necessary product but a wonderful blessing to those of us that can not provide milk for our babies and do not have access to affordable donor milk. I now understand that I can end up not being able to breastfeed my babies and the world is not going to end. Most importantly I have allowed myself to acknowledge that I can be a good mom and not breastfeed. I have ate not only a slice of humble pie, but the whole pie itself and survived. Personally I think I have became a better more understanding person because of it.
Does this mean I am going to give up?
No, not yet.
You see I still have a few tricks up my sleeve and things to try. I haven't tried probiotics yet. I also am going to start using a SNS that my wonderful and generous friend Liz sent me in the mail for Christmas. The boys have an appointment to get their tongues clipped and most importantly I still believe we have a chance.
So why keep trying? Why is this so important to me?
American Academy of Pediatrics
World Health Organization
Also because of things you can not find in peer reviewed research papers.
Things like the contended look of peace on a breastfeeding baby's face after filling their little bellies.
The improvement of diaper odor.
No running out in the middle of the night because you realize you are out of formula.
No more panic when you are out and about with your little one and suddenly realize you are feeding them the last bottle you brought with you.
The ease and natural rhythm that breastfeeding brings to a nursing mother and her baby.
Why wouldn't I want to give it everything I had in me to try?
Below are some links that I have found helpful in my breastfeeding journey. If you are also struggling you are not alone. Look for help and know that no matter what the outcome at the end of the day breastfeeding is not the sole determining factor of how much you love your baby. Love, like breastmilk, is far more complex than that.
and of course Dr. Jack Newman linked above
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
I debated about whether or not to write this post because this is a very difficult thing to talk or write about. You would think that it would be easier because this is a faceless thing, blogging, but for one, many people I know read my blog (I think?) and it's still this deeply personal thing to be experiencing and to talk about. For the first several weeks after Ella was born, everyone, including myself, was waiting with bated breath for post partum depression symptoms to show up in me. Being on bedrest, having a premature baby who was as sick as she was and the fact that I'm prone to anxiety and stress made me exceptionally high risk for PPD (PPD risk factors). I had a 4 week appointment and by then, I was so cheerful it was sick. I had an attitude that since Ella hadn't died those first 2 weeks when she was SO sick and on the ventilator that I could take anything that was sent my way. In fact, I was so disgustingly cheerful, it should have worried me. I went to the doctor for a check up since I had had such severe pre-e and they were shocked by my positive attitude. It seemed that I was in the clear.
It was about two weeks later when I started feeling different, give or take. I started getting crankier then usual. And not just, I'm tired and my baby is in the hospital cranky. Cranky like I was screaming at and spanking my 2 year old for the stupidest little things. Yes, spanking. I've been the occasional hand slapper and the very rare spanker but all of a sudden everything she did was setting me off. Somedays, I'd get up and just think that I was so sick of the same old shi* happening at the NICU, I didn't even want to go to the stupid place. I thought it didn't make any difference and I just didn't want to go. I was sick of it. I was stressed the heck out. I talked to my friends about it and I started retaking my placenta pills (yes, placenta pills. And yes, they are what you think they are) and I started evening out. I was still stressed and got irritated even more easily then usual but I calmed down a little.
One day after her due date, on December 17, Ella came home. I was SO happy. That first day was magical. We had big family cuddles and Olivia was so thrilled that Ella was home. Our family was finally complete and under one roof. My husband's work found a loop hole around FMLA (I don't even want to get into that) so he only had that one day off. It was the next day that the crying began. The hours...and hours...and hours of crying. Did I mention that she cried? And then...she cried some more. She would scream and cry and NOTHING I did would make her stop. For the first day or two, I rocked her and sang to her and loved her and it just didn't really bother me because I was so happy my baby was home. After that....my mind got to the point where the screaming was like nails on my brain. Sometimes she would nurse, sometimes she wouldn't. By the time Shane came home, I'd be sobbing that this baby was horrible and nothing I did made her happy. I felt like a rotten mother. I was failing. And then I started thinking things like, why didn't she act like this in the NICU? Why is she doing this to me at home? Why does she want to make me crazy? I hate this baby. I wish she'd stayed at the NICU. I would cry as I thought these things because I was a rotten mother for thinking it. It just got worse and worse. After about 2 weeks, I figured out how to stop the crying from lasting hours and hours but I had exhausted myself and was to the point where the smallest cry would immediately bring the stress from 0-100% in 1.5 seconds. I was a mess. I was yelling at Olivia and spanking her for no good reason again. Time out was like every 10 minutes at times. I would cry as I did it, knowing I was a mess but feeling like I was spinning out of control. I hated myself for how I was acting towards my girls, especially towards Ella who had spent 74 days in the NICU, fighting for her life and here I was acting like the crappiest mother ever.
The things I've thought and said to my girls during my episodes...I told them both that I hated them, that I wished I'd never had children. I fantasized about getting in the car and leaving my family behind. I didn't want to be around them. I can't even say everything I thought. It was putting a strain on my marriage too because I was uber sensitive to my husband as well. One time, I went to put Olivia (2 year old) in the car and went to the wrong side and my husband asked me why I did that. I LOST it. I screamed at him that I must be a loser and a horrible mother because I didn't know which side of the car Olivia sat on. It was at this point, after a horrible morning of me losing it and being on edge all morning, that I knew it was time to get some help. I wanted to leave my kids and go away. I constantly thought my kids didn't deserve this and they'd be better without me. A few days later, I called the doctor and made an appointment to be seen.
When I went and saw the doctor, I completely broke down. It was obvious to her that I was suffering from pretty bad depression. She prescribed me Zoloft and set me up with a psychologist. I've started the Zoloft and it wasn't long after that I started feeling better. It was like someone flipped a switch in my head. I could deal with my children easier, every word that came out of my husbands mouth didn't make me feel like I wanted to shoot him...and I just feel better overall. I have always had some issues with handling stress and anxiety so throw the fact that I had a traumatic pregnancy as well as a baby in the NICU and it was pretty much a guarantee that I'd have this happen. I could never have imagined that it would get as severe as it did and once it WAS that bad, I never thought I could come out of it. I went to the doctor and when they prescribed me Zoloft, I didn't actually think it would work because I didn't feel like I could ever feel better. I thought I would feel this psycho for the rest of my life and eventually I'd totally lose my mind.
Why am I sharing something so incredibly personal? Because I never, ever thought that PPD could be this bad. I never realized how deeply this can affect women. I was humiliated by my actions and my feelings. Absolutely humiliated. I didn't want to go to the doctor because I was afraid of what they would think, say or do. I wondered if having these kinds of thoughts could get my kids taken away from me. I had asked my husband to make a huge change in our lifestyle so that I could quit my job and stay home with our kids. I had asked for both my children to be conceived so how dare I feel anything but love and appreciation towards them? It seemed like a failure to ask for help from a doctor and even worse, to try medications. But I finally had to and now I realize that there was truly something going on that needed to be fixed. My patience has multiplied. When Ella cries, I don't automatically feel like screaming at her. When Olivia acts up, I don't feel like spanking her and when my husband drives his car into a median, I don't feel like stabbing him in the eye.
I wanted to share my struggles through post partum depression because if another woman experiences this I want her to get help. I want her to know she's not alone. So while it's incredibly hard to write this all, and share it, especially with strangers, I hope that other women know they aren't alone.
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Monday, January 24, 2011
So I decided to destroy a couple of my stretchy, ribbed, maternity tank tops to create NON-SHELF-BRA nursing tanks. It's simple, straightforward, and cheap, which I like.
using the old surged seam as a guide, I took this tank
in about an inch or so.
|The altered tank top laid out for ya. Shown with The Toddler|
Now you can wear the tank under any ol' shirt, you can have any color (ribbed tanks are inexpensive, as are plain ol' jersey knit tanks. When you are nursing in public, your tummy is covered for your own comfort, you aren't sweating like a pig because you're wearing too many layers on your chest, you're not fuddling with all the clasps, and you can wear a nursing bra that actually supports your boobs.
I know this isn't revolutionary...but it seriously only took me 30 minutes, and I like this better than the shelf-tanks A LOT!
Saturday, January 22, 2011
One of my favorite reasons for nursing a toddler is for the inevitable injuries they sustain while just doing day to day tasks.
Augusta, please email us at email@example.com with your address and we'll ship your nursing pillow cover and matching burp cloths out!
If you didn't win this month, we're having another giveaway right away in the beginning of February so keep an eye out. And of course, because we are kind of dorky and LOVE the rush of flash giveaways, we'll have more of those on facebook!! :)
Winner picked through www.random.org.
PS. In the original random generator, that DID say 1 and 38 but for some reason, it won't post that way on this blog posting.
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Not long ago, I wanted to quit. I was done forever. I was ashamed of myself and decided that I didn’t know what I was talking about, so I planned to “retire”. Then, with the birth of a baby….perfection! I was back in the game!
I’m not talking about my job, or my relationship, or even breastfeeding my kids. I’m talking about giving breastfeeding advice. I am known in the circles I travel in as the Breastfeeding Guru. Okay, usually I hear “Nazi” but I calmly explain that that term has such negative connotations and breastfeeding or helping another mother to breastfeed should never be seen as negative. Then I get an eye roll. Whatev, can’t win them all I guess.
I was ready to quit was because it seemed that every mother who asked for my advice or help with breastfeeding quit nursing. Even though I wasn’t pushy (at least I didn’t think I was pushy) and I gathered all the knowledge I could possibly find for these mothers, it still didn’t work for them. I figured it was my fault, they didn’t ask anyone else for help and I feel I’m knowledgeable about nursing. I’m not an IBCLC or anything, but hell I have experience with it and frequent breastfeeding boards like they are crack. Yet I just couldn’t seem to help my friends and family members to succeed. What was I doing wrong?
It all began back in July of 2003, when my son was born 8 weeks early. I had pre-ecclampsia and he was in the NICU right off the bat. He was healthy but little. I started pumping right away because he didn’t know how to suck-swallow-breathe yet. I knew I wanted to breastfeed when I was pregnant and we took the class the hospital gave on it. So, when the nurse wheeled in that pump, I was ready. I made milk. A lot of milk. Luke grew stronger and stronger. However, we were so excited to get him out of the hospital, we didn’t really think to ask if the bottle was the best way about it. It got him out of the hospital, but not attached to my breast. He did latch on a few times, but it was harder than a bottle and he was a preemie (with a later diagnosed motor planning disability) so he got tired and cried. I cried. It was miserable. After a few days of him losing (much needed) weight, I resigned myself to pumping for him. Day and night, for 13 months. He did need a little bit of supplementing with preemie formula around 7-9 months, before he was ready for solids.
I was proud of myself, but didn’t realize what the big deal was when people would tell me how wonderful it was for me to sacrifice for him. Well, first off, I wasn’t sacrificing anything-my body was meant to make his food and that’s what I was doing. If pumping was the only way I could do it, that’s what I had to do. It didn’t help that no one in my family breastfed. I have 3 half sisters and 3 step sisters and only one nursed her babies. In fact, until her first baby was born (when I was 13), I never knew that breasts made milk. Not joking-no clue. So my family thought I was a nut ball for nursing him (that and the fact that I didn’t allow my BABY to have candy and pop and….yeah that’s a whole different post).
Anyhoo, when we found out we were pregnant with my daughter, I knew it would be different. And it was. We hired doulas, I had a full term, naturally birthed baby and she nursed like a champ from the start. The only issue I had was after a week, my nipples were bleeding and I had to pump and use nipples shells for them to heal for two weeks. I instantly knew she would never return to the breast and I cried all the time. But after the two weeks, we went to see an IBCLC and she latched right back on! She didn’t leave the breast until she self-weaned at 27 months.
That brings me to my failure of family and friends. I had so many ask for my advice. They knew how hard core I was and I was more than happy to help out. I’m the one who makes a breastfeeding basket for showers, for goodness sakes! But all these relationships failed. I failed these women and their babies.
Then six weeks ago, my cousin had a gorgeous baby boy. She had to have a c-section and asked me how to make sure they had a good start at breastfeeding. I sent her so many links on facebook, I thought I would break her computer! But, within an hour after he was born, she sent me a text that he was nursing and it was perfect! She and I have talked a lot the past weeks and they are still doing great-I am pretty jealous that she never even had sore nipples! There have been ups and downs (like every new mom with a newborn has) but they are still going strong!
Now, I don’t credit myself. I credit a mama who was prepared and knew she wanted to make it work. I credit a wonderful staff of nurses at the hospital she delivered at. I credit a partner who is very supportive of her. Now, I will pat myself on the back, not because their breastfeeding relationship was my success, that is her’s and her baby’s beautiful success and theirs alone. I will pat myself on the back because I realized those relationships weren’t mine to save. They weren’t mine at all. I knew that I did what I could for them and that’s all I could do. And that’s good enough for me.
Interested in sharing your story? Submit a guest blog to firstname.lastname@example.org