Sunday, May 29, 2011

Nursing necklaces...and a surprise!! ;-)

::Abstract:: {Indie Mama} is donating a nursing necklace as a givaway for June! I got one from her and I have to say, it's great! There are all kinds of types of nursing necklaces. The purpose of a nursing necklace baby's just play with to distract them from pinching and scratching the crap out of you. "They are a safe necklace or piece of jewelry that can be worn by moms with breastfeeding babies.
When little ones turn about three months old they begin to get distracted while nursing and may like to pinch, scratch, poke, and yank mom’s hair while breastfeeding. When wearing a nursing necklace (breastfeeding necklace), you can help your baby's focus on breastfeeding while encouraging him or her to explore the necklace beads that are appropriate and safe for little hands. They also provide something fun and pretty to grab without hurting mommy." Breastfeeding Magazine

Personally, both my kids are very active breastfeeders. Olivia (2.5) likes to play with her feet and squirm all around. Ella likes to scratch and smack me. When I put the nursing necklace on, Ella immediately started playing with it. It was perfect for her to wrap her fingers in. I was also wearing it while we were at Perkins once and she was able to gum it because it's made of natural wood and was safe for her to put in her mouth (note that not all nursing necklaces work for this!!).

::Abstract:: {Indie Mama} is donating a skinny-ring nursing necklace to a lucky mama on The Good Letdown. They come on an adjustable hemp string and is customizable, so the lucky mama gets to choose what her necklace looks like!

  • You must be have a United States address.
  • You must be a follower of the blog.
  • You must like ::Abstract:: {Indie Mama} on Facebook.
  • Selected winners must provide a valid mailing address. (don't provide an address until we ask for it)
  • Contest ends at 11:59 PM on Friday June 3, 2011. We will announce the winner on the blog on Saturday June 4, 2011 and the winner must email us at and claim their prize within 72 hours or a new winner will be selected.
  • Winners will be selected from all eligible entries by the use of the random integer generator.
Entries: You may have up to 4 entries (and remember, you have to be a follower of the blog AND you have to have liked ::Abstract:: {Indie Mama} on facebook!). Each entry must have it's own comment.
  • Entry number 1: Comment on this blog post and tell us why you'd like to win the nursing necklace. All entrants must do this and then may do the subsequent entries for the giveaway.
  • Entry number 2: Get a friend to enter in this giveaway. Make sure they mention in their entry who sent them! Make a separate comment on this blog post letting us know that did this.
  • Entry number 3: Blog about our giveaway on your blog. Make a separate comment on this blog post sharing the link to your blog!
  • Entry number 4: Tweet about out giveaway on Twitter. Make a separate comment on this blog post sharing the link to your blog!

Friday, May 27, 2011

February Flanges Monthly Collage

Thanks to all the moms to submitted pump related photos for our February Flange collage!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Boobs N' Brunch or Boobs N' Brinner

Tired of all your nursing photos looking like this? Or how about not having any breastfeeding photos at all because there is never a camera around and/or your partner is horrible at taking pictures?

Last year I hosted the first Boobs N' Brunch in my home and it was a lot of fun! We had about 10 moms with nurslings of all ages come for some intimate portraits capturing that special moment between mother and child. I encourage you to host an event like this in your area! It's easy! If you use my idea, please credit back to our blog. :) 

Here are some basic steps:

Find a photographer - negotiate bulk discount rate. Something in the single digits is pretty reasonable considering how many folks the photographer will be seeing in such a short amount of time. It's also a great opportunity for a photographer to make some contacts and build future business. They'll be seeing about four people an hour, if not more, all in one location for something fun. I personally like to ask around LLL meetings or mommy groups and find a local boob enthusiast photographer. If you find your RSVPs are going through the roof you may need more than one photographer.

Set a date and location - local park, in home, whenever! "Open house" seems to work best, so set up a 2-3 hour window and ask folks to RSVP with their approximate time in 10 or 15 minute increments. The photographer will take folks aside one at a time as children are ready for a boob meal. The photographer probably only needs about 10 minutes with each client to get a good amount of nursing photos. Encourage people (especially those towards the end of the session) to call if they are running late so you don't close up shop without them getting their pictures done. We all know how easy it is to run behind when you're dealing with children.

Food? Not necessary, but who doesn't like a good meal while you sit around and chat. You could do potluck and ask everyone to bring something to share, have people bring their own meals, or cater the event and ask for donations. Lots of options! We always do breakfast food because... well... it's delicious. So, brunch for a morning event and brinner for an evening event. Plus it makes for a fun name. I suppose Lactating Lunchies would work too.

Not interesting in a nursing photo? We have lots of other ideas for promoting breastfeeding in a previous blog. Do something fun in your neck of the woods.

If you live in the Twin Cities area and are interested in attending my Boobs N' Brinner event on Sunday July 10th please let me know! More details coming soon!


Monday, May 23, 2011

Weightloss Class

So I got this awesome coupon for a free weightloss class in the mail. Having gone through two pregnancies now I have about 20-30 pounds I'd love to shed and maintain at, so the brochure and offer of free information sounded very appealing to me. Then I looked a little closer and saw that the class is sponsored by a plastic surgery clinic. That's a little weird, right? I wasn't totally turned off by that, because, let's face it... even when someone does loose weight they sometimes need a little nip/tuck to get rid of all that loose skin.

So, I'm at the class getting all this free information on weight loss... and they start handing out free samples and coupons for a donut shop! Can you believe it?? DONUTS at a weightloss class? What kind of crazy universe do we live in? Were they diet donuts? Most definitely not.

My goodness, that is as crazy as a quit smoking class where you get free cigarettes. Or a get-out-of-debt seminar where they hand out free credit card applications.

Okay, so I lie. There is no class I went to on weightloss sponsored by a plastic surgery clinic where free donuts were handed out. But, how is that scenario any different than the breastfeeding 101 classes offered at Babies R Us sponsored by Medela where they reportedly hand out formula coupons?

Now do you get it?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Tandemville Part 2

When I was nursing Olivia, we decided we wanted to have another baby. We were told that we couldn't take fertility drugs while I was breastfeeding (not true, by the way, there are some you CAN take!) and that we would have to wean. I was disappointed because I'd wanted to continue nursing Olivia through my pregnancy and hopefully tandem nurse. It took me 3 months, but I very gently weaned Olivia and 3 weeks later (without fertility drugs :facepalm:) I was pregnant.

When Ella was born 11 weeks early, I was pumping again, as I had done with Olivia. I half hoped that Olivia would want to nurse since it had only been 7 months since she'd weaned. She really had no interest. When Ella came home, I again hoped that maybe she would want to nurse because she saw her baby sister doing it. A few times she would ask to try boobie but she would just plop her lips off my nipple and say she was done. It was okay, I wasn't going to try and force the issue obviously. I came to the conclusion that she wasn't going to breastfeed again, which was a little sad for me because I had cut our breastfeeding relationship short but it was what it was.

Then, a few days ago, out of no where, Olivia said she wanted boobie before bedtime. We sat down on the floor and cuddled and she just put her mouth on it and snuggled. It is a nice way for her to feel like she's getting the same treatment as her sister and give her some one on one time with mama. Then all of a sudden, she started sucking! She pulled back, smiled and said "Mmm...that's nice!" then went back! She popped off and on several times, taking little sucks and getting just a bit of milk. Ella nursed as well and my dreams of tandem nursing came true! :) (Of course, I called Mother Hen on the phone IMMEDIATELY and texted Megz because I had to share the wonderful news with my BFFs!!)
The next day, Olivia was stuffed up and she asked for boobie but she couldn't really nurse because she was so stuffed up.

Today (the 4th day of nursing Olivia), she latched on and nursed EXTREMELY well. Not just this popping off and on and sucking, but honest to goodness latching and nursing. She was so excited, she pulled back and said "Mmm! I like breastmilk! That's GOOD!!" and continued nursing. Today, she breastfed three times. She's very sweet about sharing with Ella and she is patient about waiting if needed. Tonight she was having a bedtime boobie and she pointed to the other one and told me it was Ella's turn to have boobie.

I have a lot of emotions about her nursing. I'm so pleased and happy and I'm also thrilled that she'll start getting the antibodies her sister is getting. It's so important to keep my two kiddos as healthy as can be and it thrills me to no end that she wanted to and was able to latch on and nurse again. I know some people would view it as odd that we've returned to breastfeeding after over a year of not breastfeeding, but this is what works for us. We are happy with this and just as I will do with Ella, I will nurse Olivia for as long as she feels she needs and wants it. <3

Eff You Fenugreek!

Herb Pharm Fenugreek Liquid Extract 1 oz liquid
Okay... so... I picked up some fenugreek last weekend. Why? Well, my daughter only gained 2 oz from her 4 month to 6 month appointment would be reason number 1. Number 2 is that I am tandem nursing her and Chicken Little, so I wondered if increasing my supply would get her more of the good stuff as I felt bad about limiting him. And Number 3 is I wanted to continue pumping milk for donation. I
know that nursing is a supply/demand situation, so my children and pumping once a day should have my body make enough milk... but I couldn't help but wonder if a little herbal assistance would do us some good. Did I think I had a supply issue? No. Everyone seemed happy and healthy, and I just about always got 3-4 oz out of a pumping session. But, I figured it couldn't hurt to try some fenugreek.

Sunday I picked up a liquid form of fenugreek. Instructions say to use 2-5 drops in some water and drink it. Saying to myself "It's just a couple drops" I immediately went to the max 5 drop dosage and did this Sunday through Tuesday.

Sunday through Tuesday both of my children, who are normally fantastic sleepers (we're talking angels of awesome here) were up every 1-2 hours. I was quickly losing my sanity. I didn't know what my toddlers problem was, but I assumed that my baby was teething (because aren't they always teething???) My baby was also going on some nursing strikes. She'd nurse for 1-2 minutes and just arch back screaming and upset. I was getting frantic because her eating habits are already first and foremost on my mind as I have been trying to fatten her up. She was also refusing to sleep on her tummy, to which she normally insists on sleeping that way. So, I was totally confused and messed up.

Wednesday and Thursday I was so tired and out of it that I forgot to take my fenugreek. Guess what... the children slept AWESOME. Not having made the connection yet I took fenugreek on Friday. Then it all clicked. Could the fenugreek be upsetting my children somehow?? Well, Friday night SUCKED... so I'm gonna have to say yes! I'm wondering if a smaller dose would be okay? Whodda thunk that a couple drops of liquid could cause so much trouble! Now, I'm thinking this is all because I don't really have a supply issue... so maybe someone who really does need fenugreek these issues don't show up. But then again I'm just taking a stab in the dark. BUT, I had no clue this was even a possibility and upon asking around I'm not the only mom to have this experience.

"Possible side effects for baby

Most of the time, baby is unaffected by mom's use of fenugreek (except that more milk is usually available). Sometimes baby will smell like maple syrup, too (just like mom). However, some moms have noticed that baby is fussy and/or has green, watery stools when mom is taking fenugreek and the symptoms go away when mom discontinues the fenugreek.

Fenugreek can cause GI symptoms in mom (upset stomach, diarrhea), so it's possible for it to cause GI symptoms in baby too. Also anyone can have an allergic reaction to any herb, and fenugreek allergy, though rare, has been documented.

Another reason for these types of symptoms --and perhaps more likely than a reaction to the herb-- may be that mom's supply has increased due to the fenugreek and the symptoms are those of oversupply, where baby is getting too much foremilk. Fussiness, gas and green watery stools are classic symptoms of an overabundant milk supply."

So, lesson is... don't mess with a good thing. My daughter looks healthy and happy... and is having plenty of wet diapers. Why did I even worry? I caused more of a problem now because of her nursing strikes and sleeplessness. Bah!!! And it's not really fenugreeks fault. It's mine for having doubting my boobs. :-/

Friday, May 20, 2011

Why Didn't I Wean?

Before I was pregnant with my first child I had known plenty of folks who breastfed, but really hadn't gotten into semantics about it. For all I know they only did it for a few weeks. During that pregnancy I talked to several girlfriends and the longest anyone had nursed was about 10/11 months. She stopped after being bitten. Made sense to me! I thought she was amazing and I immediately set a lofty (or so I thought at the time) goal of making it atleast that far.

When my son was just a few weeks old we went to visit a family member who had her second child about two months earlier than me. Through emails during our overlapping pregnancies I had learned that she was a breastfeeding advocate, so naturally it came up in conversation when I was at their home after the birth of my child. She causally mentioned that she had nursed their older child until she was 4 years old. I wasn't grossed out, but I sure was surprised. I had never heard of such a thing! I talked to my husband about it later that night, and he pondered if the toddler was nursing straight from the breast or if she was just getting pumped milk. I remember feeling like "oh yeah, duh, she probably is just getting pumped milk." Ha ha ha... oh how naive and just plain dumb I was on the whole topic. ::face palm::

When my son's first birthday came and went I'm really not sure why I didn't wean him. We started cows milk, he barely drank any of it. I think had he really taken to it our breastfeeding relationship may have taken a different course. Maybe? Who knows. At 12 months old he was 18 pounds, so still pretty little. Part of my concern was his size and taking away breastmilk made no sense if he wasn't going to be getting fatty nom noms from something else. Also, I was in a parenting class with about five other moms who all had boys roughly the same age and no one else was weaning. I certainly didn't want to break ranks! I did have a handful of disapproving comments from family members, subtle mentions about how they knew someone who nursed their child to an age where the child could basically 'help themselves' to the breast and how creepy it was. I think my motto at the time was "when he can spell it he's too old for it". Oh, and for the record... children can 'help themselves' straight out of the womb.

Once we got past 15 months the thought of weaning was a distant memory. I just nursed whenever he asked for it. It was winter, cold & flu season was rampant. I had read somewhere to never wean a child during cold & flu season. The antibodies help protect them from getting sick and/or if they do get sick the cold won't last as long. Seemed like a good idea to me!

When he was 17 months old we started trying for another baby, and it didn't take much trying. This added a new twist onto things! The first trimester was sensitive and painful some nursing sessions, and others we were just dandy as though nothing was different. Several times I thought we were going to stop, but I kept him on atleast once a day hoping that it would get better and that he'd be around to help me through engorgement once the new baby was here. I know, I'm selfish.

Around 22 months I'm pretty sure my milk was gone, but he was perfectly happy comfort nursing and getting a little colostrum (cat nip for toddlers). I remember thinking that I'd "let" him nurse until 26-27 months to make up for the 2 months he was robbed for the full 2-year minimum recommendation because by then my milk would have returned with the new baby.

At 25 months tandem nursing was introduced into my world. I was overwhelmed and a little touched out at times... but the majority of it was amazing, wonderful, and made our bond even stronger.

27 months came and went... weaning just didn't make sense. 2 years old was the MINIMUM. Right?? Why on earth would I take away my tantrum tamer, booboo fixer, and chill pill at such a fragile time when his world had just been rocked with the introduction of a baby sister?

Now we're 4 months shy of his 3rd birthday and no signs of stopping. I am now in a strong community of friends and family who support me. Chicken Little is now getting in the range when children naturally wean, although I could only be at the halfway point. Only he knows. I'm happy we stuck with it. Was it learning that someone nursed their child to the age of 4? Was it being in a peer group where no one else weaned? Was it just that my son wouldn't drink anything else? Probably a combination of everything I've been through. It might just be mentioning it to that ONE person that changes their breastfeeding relationship forever.

So, thanks to everyone that normalized nursing and full term nursing for me. Look at the monster you helped create. :)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Forest Lake Georgia.... Meet Real World Please

Days like today I feel like I must have traveled through time or am in a parallel universe… but no… we live in a time and place where a city council can pass an ordinance that tells moms they are no longer welcome to feed their children in public. At 729 days old it is perfectly acceptable… and then magically at 730 days it becomes some horrid indecent act that must be hidden away.

FOREST PARK, Ga. -- A new law in metro Atlanta will limit breast feeding in public.

On Monday night, Forest Park passed a public indecency ordinance to prevent public nudity. Previously, the city only had a public indecency ordinance that covered adult entertainment businesses.

According to the law, no woman can breast feed anyone older than 2 years old in public. City manager John Parker called the law a proactive step.

“It sets up a process whereby we can try to control nudity throughout the entire city," Parker said.


HOW did this even end up to be a city council issue? My brain must imagine there are one or two brave toddler nursing mama’s around town and a whole lotta loud complainers about it. Now these mothers are being shamed into hiding their nursing at home. Why is it even slightly questionable? Well, Georgia state law is: Ga. Code § 31-1-9 (1999) states that the breastfeeding of a baby is an important and basic act of nurture which should be encouraged in the interests of maternal and child health and allows a mother to breastfeed her baby in any location where the mother and baby are otherwise authorized to be. (1999 SB 29, Act 304; 2002 SB 221). – That pesky word ‘baby’ is probably what people will try to stand behind. Now Georgia gets to wastes tons of taxpayer money to get the word ‘baby’ changed to ‘child’ just like now Tennessee had a limit of 12 months on their law which was recently changed to express no limit. It was reported that the 12 month limit was not meant to restrict, it was just simply an oversight when they wrote the law. Can’t we just change them ALL in one swoop and move on to more important things like creating jobs and stabilizing the economy???

Contact Forest Park and let them know what you think:

Or better yet, there is a nurse-in scheduled for Memorial Day May 23rd 10am. Meet at the city park behind city hall and follow everyone to the building. If you aren’t nursing you are still welcome to come and show your support. City Hall 745 Forest Parkway Forest Park, Ga

In the meantime… I have a feeling there are going to be some really old looking 23 month olds running around Georgia.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Guest Blog: Boobies for Babies Part Two

Breastfeeding is a very important topic to me, and I would love for the public opinions to change into a more positive way. I have two older sisters and a younger sister, and my mother breastfed all of us. Just like studies have shown, we turned out to be very healthy. None of us have had any major diseases or infections, and I thank my mother for that. I come from a family where breastfeeding was the only option, and my mother would not feed me any other way. It did not matter how sore I might make her, or how many people stared at her with disgust in public, she was going to breastfeed and make me a healthy baby.

Obviously, mothers breastfeeding their babies is a very important part in life; it can make a major impact on the baby’s future. President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on March 23rd and the Reconciliation Act of 2010 on March 30, 2010. Written into these laws is an amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of 1938; this amendment requires “an employer to provide reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for one year after the child's birth each time such employee has need to express milk.” Like stated before, bathrooms are disgusting and no place for a baby to eat. The amendment also requires the employer to provide a place, other than a bathroom stall, for the mother to express her milk. Although the employer does not have to pay the mother for these breaks, it is still a very important law. This law shows that breastfeeding is becoming a very important topic that has to require a law (Breastfeeding Laws).

Although I am happy President Obama signed these laws, I am upset by the fact that he has to. It is a terrible thought that there has to be law set in place for breastfeeding to be viewed as legal in public. A mother should be able to breastfeed her child whenever that child is hungry, whether it be at home or the shopping mall. There should be no debate over where she must go, because she should be able to sit down wherever she is and nurse her hungry baby. Although it is nice to see that forty-four states have laws allowing women to breastfeed in any public location that the law allows her to be, it should be in every single state (Breastfeeding Laws).

Although it is set in law in many states, women still get criticized in multiple places about breastfeeding their baby in public. I know too many young mothers that are too afraid to even try to breastfeed their babies because the way public makes them feel. I have seen too many people give dirty looks and make snide comments about a mother just quietly nursing her baby in public. The laws are important, but it is more important that the public’s view changes along with them. There should be a more positive outlook on women doing the right thing for their babies, instead of forcing them to give it up because of negativity.

Unfortunately, I have seen situations where a break to express milk was not provided. When my oldest sister had my first niece three years ago, she was working at the Indiana Youth Village in Vincennes, Indiana. Unfortunately, she worked twelve hour shifts, and they would not allow her to bring her breast pump in. Breast pumps are what women use to pump out milk; the milk can then be put into bags and frozen to use at a later time. If a new mother has to go very long without nursing, her breasts will be very full and sore. Since her employer did not allow her to have breaks to pump her milk, she had to switch to feeding my niece formula. Without these laws, women are discouraged from doing the right, healthy choice for their babies.

Telling a mother she cannot breastfeed her baby in public is viewed as a form of discrimination based on sex. As women fight to have equal rights, they fight for the right to breastfeed. It amazes me how many stories I hear that women were asked not to breastfeed in public. There was an incident at an Olive Garden in the town of Michigan City, Indiana where a mother was asked not to nurse her eleven-month-old baby in the public eye. After she had ordered, her baby was hungry. She did what was natural, pulled her shirt down enough for her baby to nurse and let her eat. Unfortunately, the manager approached her stating that she had numerous complaints about her being exposed and asked her to take her baby to the bathroom to feed her. You would think the manager would then have conversations with all the “women who show too much cleavage, men with sweating problems, and people with poor table manners.” Although I do not want to see that while I am trying to sit down and eat, it seems perfectly acceptable not to send them to the bathroom according to these managers (Eco Child’s Play).

Too many women are asked not to breastfeed in public because other people are complaining; when do people not complain? I am in an interracial relationship. I get looks sometimes that make me realize people still are not accepting a black man to be with a white woman. Of course, some people are offended that we are together. Does this mean that if they are not happy and uncomfortable, I have to leave the store or restaurant? Why can racists not ask an interracial couple to leave the building, but some ignorant customers can get a breastfeeding mother kicked out?

As you can tell, many new mothers experience a wide range of different problems with breastfeeding their newborn babies. Luckily, there are support groups that help new mothers overcome these problems and help them answer any questions they might have. One of the main groups is the La Leche League. If you are ever discussing support groups, this one is one you will not forget. Their mission is “to help mothers worldwide to breastfeed through mother-to-mother support, encouragement, information, and education, and to promote a better understanding of breastfeeding as an important element in the healthy development of the baby and mother.” In other words, they have information on anything related to breastfeeding and they are a great source to new mothers and anyone interested in breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding is a very important part of a baby’s life and can really make a difference in how their future turns out. Unfortunately, our society has changed the idea of breastfeeding into this thought that disgusts people. This natural, healthy way of feeding a child should not make someone turn their head in disgust. I understand that some people may not be comfortable around a mother breastfeeding in public because they have never been exposed to it, but this needs to change.

Our society has changed the way the woman’s body is viewed, and it is absolutely disgusting. Our breasts were made to nurture our children, not to show them off to the public for men to stare at. Breastfeeding is the best choice for a newborn baby, and mothers should not be afraid to do this in public in fear of negative attitudes toward them. They should feel comfortable to feed their children anywhere they are, and they should not be forced to go make their baby eat in a disgusting bathroom. It is time our society gets back to the way things used to be. Mothers breastfeeding their children are brave, strong women; society and public views should not take that away from them.

Check out Part One

Friday, May 13, 2011

Guest Blog: Boobies for Babies Part One

Arynn Reece just finished her freshman year of college. She was breastfed as a baby, as were her other three sisters. Breastfeeding has always been an important topic to her and her family. For her final, they were able to pick any topic they felt was a problem in our community/state/hometown. She had to write a 9-12 page paper on whatever topic she chose. She chose to write her paper on the views of breastfeeding being so negative, making a point that society's views need to change.

Boobies for Babies

As we were walking around the crowded Target, all my sister’s children were getting cranky. Fortunately, there is a food court there that we could all sit down and relax at. As my brother-in-law took the two older kids to get food, my sister prepared to nurse her newborn baby. Of course, she always carries her soft, plush pink blanket to cover herself up while she is nursing my niece.

As we sat there, a little blonde headed girl noticed two little baby feet peeking out the bottom of the blanket. As soon as she realized there was a little baby under there, her eyes were big with excitement, much like a kid on Christmas morning, and she came to see her up close. The moment the little girl’s mother saw what her daughter was gazing at, she snatched her up so quick the little girl had no idea what was going on, nor did any of us. Then it all came out, as she scorned her daughter for looking at a woman breastfeeding a baby.

The way the woman reacted, you would have thought my sister was stripping in the middle of the food court for everyone to see. Instead, she was calmly, naturally feeding her hungry, newborn daughter. The mother obviously was on the society bandwagon of viewing breastfeeding in public a disgusting thing. As girls were walking around the store wearing very provocative clothing, I did not see this mother pulling her daughter away from all of them. Unfortunately, she was in the mind set, as are so many others, that has turned the idea of women’s breasts into sexual things for men to drool over; as soon as a baby is attached to eat, they automatically become a disgusting sight to see. Why? I do not understand the reasoning. As long as babies have been born, breasts have produced milk for them to eat. Why has our society changed our views to such a negative outlook on this natural, healthy process?

Breasts are a natural part of a woman’s body, and they are the best source of food for a newborn baby. Before formula was processed, breastfeeding was the only way a mother could feed her child; why has our society turned this natural way of feeding into such a disgusting thought?

The new style for women is to show as much skin as they possibly can and flaunt every part of their womanly bodies. We see women on TV, in magazines, or even just walking through the store, in short shorts with their butts hanging out and their shirts barely covering their nipples. So why is this accepted in society? Why does a mother rip her daughter away from viewing a breastfeeding mother but does not make her close her eyes everywhere she sees these obscene clothing styles out in public? Our society has turned women’s breasts into a showcase for men to stare at, instead of them being the natural food bearing parts they are.

Why is it that all these young girls and grown women can upload and display almost nude pictures all over their internet pages, such as Facebook and MySpace, while responsible mothers who have pictures of their children breastfeeding are flagged as inappropriate? This sends the message that women’s breasts are only viewed as pieces of meat that all the dogs drool over. There is a site on Facebook called The Normalizing Nursing in Public League. The NNIPL has about two thousand members that follow it; this site was formed for people, specifically parents, to share ideas, support, and information to help breastfeeding become normal in public. They, just like many others such as myself, believe that many women turn to feeding their babies formula instead of breast milk because of the negative views of society. Their whole purpose is to make nursing in public a normal thing so that our future generation mothers will not have to hide their choice to breastfeed their newborn babies. If you were to look at their site, you would see multiple stories of mothers who have had pictures deleted by Facebook administrators just because they were nursing (NNIPLE). Although, I have flagged multiple almost-nude pictures of young girls that I have seen online, and nothing has been done about them. Why are we so quick to remove a photo of a woman doing what nature intended?

I have been to multiple stores that now have “family restrooms” and “nursing restrooms.” Why should we force these mothers into feeding their newborn babies, who are more susceptible to diseases their bodies cannot fight off yet, in nasty, dirty, disgusting restrooms? I do not see all these people who view breastfeeding as something that should be done in a bathroom eating their cheeseburger-and-fries lunch while sitting on the toilet; therefore, why should these babies have to eat there? Newborn babies have immune systems that are not developed like a grown child or adult. As we grow, we come in contact with bacteria that cause diseases; our bodies then form antibodies that know how to fight them off next time. Everyone knows that bathrooms are one of the dirtiest places a person can be, so I feel as if forcing a mother to breastfeed in a bathroom is just asking to have her child catch diseases that he or she may not be able to fight off yet with his or her underdeveloped immune system (Neonatal Infections).

Breast milk is a major part in keeping a baby healthy. While the baby is in the mother’s womb, she passes on her antibodies to help the baby fight off any infection or diseases. After the baby is born, the mother can continue to pass on her antibodies to her newborn baby. Also, when the mother is sick, the antibodies that she uses at the time are passed to the baby through her breast milk; therefore, when a sickness is going from one family member to the next, it is more likely for the baby to stay healthy and not catch the bug (Newborn Immune System).

It is easy to mix up formula and warm water and have food for a newborn. Instead, the breastfeeding women are taking the hard route. They have to teach their newborns to latch onto their breasts, because, believe it or not, not all newborn babies can get the process down right away. While teaching them how to latch on, the mother has to take the pain of every suck the baby takes while not latched on correctly. Since a mother produces milk in her breasts while pregnant, it makes her breasts very full and sore. If a baby is not eating enough, they have to pump milk out and save it for later. Also, these breastfeeding mothers have to endure the embarrassment of maybe leaking breast milk all over their shirts while in public. So why do they endure all of this hardship? They do it because they know it is what is best for their babies.

Formula gets the job done, but just because the job is done, does not mean it is done right. Anyone who does any research would find that natural breast milk is much healthier for a baby. Of course, natural is always the best, most healthy, way to go. Why pump unnecessary toxins and products into your newborn baby when you do not have to? Studies have shown that exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months of a newborn baby’s life help lower the risk of death rates (Palmer).

Not only is it not natural, but formula can be very expensive. Why pay for it? Breast milk is free and ready to use at all times. Why spend fifteen dollars on each can of formula for your baby, and more if they need a special type? If a baby drinks about four cans of formula each month, it costs about sixty dollars each month; this averages out to be about seven-hundred twenty dollars each year that a new mother could save. Everyone knows a newborn baby can be very expensive with diaper costs, new clothes costs, car seat costs, and more; why not save the money?

If anything, breastfeeding could cut down on the amount of government spending. WIC is a government program that supplies “supplemental foods, health care referrals, and nutrition education for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding women, and to infants and children up to age five who are found to be at nutritional risk.” Therefore, they help new mothers provide for their newborns, infants, and children (Women, Infants, and Children). The government spends millions of dollars on the WIC program each year. With each baby eating an average of four or five cans each month, this would be a cut of about sixty dollars a month per baby on WIC. There were 9,175,478 women on WIC in the year 2010; therefore this would save millions of dollars each year if women were breastfeeding (Program Data). With our federal deficit at four-trillion dollars, I believe the government could really use the saved money.

While saving money with decreasing WIC vouchers for formula, breastfeeding could also help lower the cost of medical care bills. Many people complain that lower-income families do not have to pay their own medical bills and it comes out of the more fortunate people’s pay checks. If more mothers breastfed and had healthier babies, there would be less hospital visits while the baby is a newborn and throughout the child’s life. Therefore, less money would go into the Medicaid program.

Not only is our country trying to lower the debt, but it seems as if we are trying to make children smarter at an earlier age. Teachers are teaching kids how to read and write at an earlier age. My two young cousins could both outsmart me when it comes to anatomy and astronomy. The older boy is not even ten years old, and he can name every single bone in the body and tell you how far away the planets are from the sun. When did we start teaching kids these subjects this early? Obviously, we are trying to make them smarter, faster. Breastfeeding is a major way to help with this. Breastfeeding is linked to smarter children if they are breastfed when they are babies. A study done “by the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research in Perth, Australia, children breastfed for more than six months garnered higher grades in math, reading and spelling.” The fatty acids in a mother’s breast milk helps the baby’s brain grow. The study tested one thousand children that were breastfed for at least six months when babies, and their results showed that the kids tested ten percent higher in math and seven percent higher in spelling (Smarter Kids).

We also like our children to be able to become independent at some point in their lives. Luckily, breastfeeding can give party in this process. To wean a child off breastfeeding is to offer them other forms of nutrition or comfort that is not breast milk. The average age of weaning is four years old; although, many children self-wean, which means they decide when they are ready to quit nursing. To allow a child to do this, it allows them the “confidence that they can be independent as they are ready” (Ballard).

Part Two coming soon!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Should doctors give advice on breastfeeding?

How many times have you heard someone say that they had to stop breastfeeding because of something a doctor did or said to them? I can't even count the times I've seen or heard it. Formula is pushed on moms more then cigarettes are pushed on people (personal opinion...I have no backing for that!). I'm not saying formula feeding is bad. That's now what this post is about. This post is about the misinformation and bald faced lies that are shoved down moms throats in the medical community by many doctors. It infuriates me how little doctors know about breastfeeding. I have heard that doctors don't even get a full day of lactation information in medical school. How long are doctors in medical school? EIGHT years. And in EIGHT years they get a day of breastfeeding training? ::barf::

There are VERY few cases where moms can't actually breastfeed. VERY few. I'm not saying it doesn't happen, it absolutely does but so many times moms quit, don't even do it to start out with or "fail" (I hate that word) at breastfeeding because of what their doctors tell them and that's simply not right. So many moms depend on what they are told by their doctors and don't even KNOW they can question them. There just isn't enough education and correct information out there and so many doctors don't help the situation.

I truly believe that each and every clinic that deals with mothers or babies (sooo...pretty much every clinic and hospital there IS) should be REQUIRED to have lactation people available for moms to ask question to.Whether this be doctors who have had lactation classes, lactation counselors or lactation specialists it should be a requirement for all clinics. If a mom asks her OB, family practitioner or pediatrician a question about breastfeeding and they haven't had that training they shouldn't be allowed to answer it. Plain and simple. Think about it. When you get an x-ray, can just anyone tell you the results? Um, no. It has to be the SPECIALIST. Which should be the requirement for breastfeeding as well. Doctors and nurses are constantly having to go through classes to brush up on information and recertify in stuff so why not lactation?

I can't even begin to imagine how many moms would be able to successfully breastfeed if they had support from their doctors offices. I did a quick look up and it costs somewhere around $500 for someone to become certified in lactation training. I bet if clinics had a huge course where they had multiple people taking it, it would be even cheaper. Now, how much money would be saved if more moms breastfed? Let's think about this. WIC gives out formula, food shelves, overall babies are healthier and have less infections and diseases if they are breastfed, moms have a decreased risk of multiple illnesses and cancers if they what's a measly $500 compared to the millions of dollars in savings that would occur if more moms breastfed?

This would be SUCH an easy thing to get going in clinics. It doesn't take long to do breastfeeding education training. I have a dear friend who recently became a certified breastfeeding counselor. It took her a week. I'm sure it would take even less time for a doctor or nurse to go through this training because they already have medical training. And if a clinic employed lactation counselors or lactation consultants, even though they would have to hire more people and that would cost them, again I go back to the fact that breastfeeding saves MILLIONS of dollars and COUNTLESS lives so the cost of hiring lactation specialists is nothing next to that.

I really believe that doctors who don't have training shouldn't even be allowed to say the freaking word breastfeeding much less give out information about it. I was once at the doctors office for a check up and asked my practitioner if she could take a listen to Ella to make sure she didn't have anything in her lungs. She couldn't because she didn't have training in pediatrics. So why can just anyone give any information they want on breastfeeding?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Increasing supply

A lot of mamas have questions about how you can increase your milk supply. First, I want to say that often mamas do not have supply issues, but they think they do. If baby is having wet diapers and gaining weight, you are producing enough! However, in the instances where you truly do have milk supply issues, there ARE many things you can do to increase your supply. Some of these are well known and some I've just recently learned about from a book I recently purchased, "Herbs for a Healthy Pregnancy" by Penelope Ode. 

The most well known ways to increase your supply are taking fenugreek, eating oatmeal (especially steel cut oats) and making sure to drink plenty of water. Fenugreek is the herb that is used most often to increase milk supply. It is a galactagogue and has been used for hundreds of years to increase milk supply. It is very safe and usually works within 1-2 days after moms starts to take it (see Kelly Moms fact sheet on Fenugreek for more information). It's very important to make sure you're eating and staying hydrated while breastfeeding as well. Oatmeal, especially steel cut oats, is another common way to increase supply. While there isn't necessarily any scientific evidence that supports it, it's recommended by many breastfeeding support groups and lactation consultants and many moms notice a difference when eating oatmeal. 

Other herbs that are used to increase milk supply are borage, goats rue, milk thistle, stinging nettles and vervain (check out this fact sheet about different herbs that can increase supply at Holistic Herbalist). Some more commercially used herbs that are thought to help are fennel, dill, caraway or anise. 

Other then herbs you can take, it's very important to breastfeed your baby on demand to keep your milk supply up. Babies go through periods of cluster feeding when they are experiencing growth spurts (check out TGL's post about Early Breastfeeding Obstacles: Cluster Feeding and Growth Spurts). When they are cluster feeding, it's important to let them nurse as much as they need which will tell your breasts to make more milk.

Like I mentioned earlier, low milk supply is not nearly as common of a problem as we are led to believe. Kelly Mom has a great list of things babies often do but do not necessarily indicate low milk supply: 

  • Your baby nurses frequently. Breastmilk is digested quickly (usually in 1.5-2 hours), so breastfed babies need to eat more often than formula-fed babies. Many babies have a strong need to suck. Also, babies often need continuous contact with mom in order to feel secure. All these things are normal, and you cannot spoil your baby by meeting these needs.
  • Your baby suddenly increases the frequency and/or length of nursings. This is often a growth spurt. The baby nurses more (this usually lasts a few days to a week), which increases your milk supply. Don't offer baby supplements when this happens: supplementing will inform your body that the baby doesn't need the extra milk, and your supply will drop.
  • Your baby nurses more often and is fussy in the evening.
  • Your baby doesn't nurse as long as she did previously. As babies get older and better at nursing, they become more efficient at extracting milk.
  • Your baby is fussy. Many babies have a fussy time of day - often in the evening. Some babies are fussy much of the time. This can have many reasons, and sometimes the fussiness goes away before you find the reason.
  • Your baby guzzles down a bottle of formula or expressed milk after nursing.Many babies will willingly take a bottle even after they have a full feeding at the breast. Read more here from board-certified lactation consultant Kathy Kuhn aboutwhy baby may do this and how this can affect milk supply. Of course, if you regularly supplement baby after nursing, your milk supply will drop (see below).
  • Your breasts don't leak milk, or only leak a little, or stop leaking. Leaking has nothing to do with your milk supply. It often stops after your milk supply has adjusted to your baby's needs.
  • Your breasts suddenly seem softer. Again, this normally happens after your milk supply has adjusted to your baby's needs.
  • You never feel a let-down sensation, or it doesn't seem as strong as before.Some women never feel a let-down. This has nothing to do with milk supply.
  • You get very little or no milk when you pump. The amount of milk that you can pump is not an accurate measure of your milk supply. A baby with a healthy suck milks your breast much more efficiently than any pump. Also, pumping is an acquired skill (different than nursing), and can be very dependent on the type of pump. Some women who have abundant milk supplies are unable to get any milk when they pump. In addition, it is very common and normal for pumping output to decrease over time. (Check out Kelly Moms fact sheet on low milk supply for more information.)
Have you struggled with supply issues? What things have you done to increase supply? 

Toddlers are SO funny!

I think there are few things cuter then when toddlers respond to their mamas breastfeeding their younger siblings. When Ella was in the NICU. every morning Olivia would pump before I would. She pumped juice and mama pumped milk. It was A-DOR-A-BLE! This morning I was nursing Ella and Olivia went into my room and got my bra and put it on. She came out and crawled up on the couch saying, "have boobies!" I asked her if she wanted boobies too (she likes to try) and she said "NO! Mama have Olivia's boobies", and she lifted her shirt. So I pretended to nurse from her because that's what she wanted me to do. Then she got down and squeezed her belly button and said "See? No breastmilk! Where'd my breast milk go??" She was absolutely panicked. She started searching around the house saying "Breastmilk? Breastmilk?! Where you go? Where my breast milk go? It in the closet? On my toys? Where my breast milk go? Oh breast milk where are you?" (so on and so forth) I honest to God was just about throwing up I was laughing so hard.

It was so darn funny, I knew our readers would appreciate it!!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Vote for Mom's Breastaurant

ETA: From Mom's Breastaurant:

"Okay folks, I've got good news and bad news. Bad news is that MB is NOT eligible for this round of the Chase contest. Good news is that it's because they plan on running TWO contests, the first for charities with operating budgets of $1-$10 *million* (not us), and the second for charities with operating budgets of less than $1M. I love the fact that when competing with the 'big boys' we still manage to climb the rankings as high as we have. :) Thank you so much for your support, and your patience with me as I beg and nag for votes. Sadly, this means that I'll be begging and nagging again in a couple months (the contest for us little guys is scheduled for the nebulous 'some time in the fall'), so you'll have to be patient with me again. At least you know it's coming, right? :)"

Mom's Breastaurant is a 501(c)3 non-profit org providing parents with a dedicated space to care for their babies while attending outdoor events.

Their Mission: We strive to make life just a little easier for parents attending outdoor events by making those events more baby-friendly. MB sets up a 10 x 10 infant care station and provides parents with access to a fully-stocked changing table, and offers mothers a comfortable seat out of the sun and away from distractions so she and baby can focus on each other and feeding. Additionally, we have a small table and chairs where older siblings can be occupied with crayons or clay while baby is being cared for. Our service is offered at no charge.

They are currently attempting to get funding so they can open up more booths in additional states. This is an excellent resource for parents. Please vote for them here. You only have until Thursday at midnight to vote for them.

Disclaimer: The Good Letdown did not receive any monetary or gifts for this endorsement. The Good Letdown supports the group Moms Breastaurant because of what they stand for. :)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Why Cloth Diapering - Off Topic Tuesday

"Why on earth would you CHOOSE to cloth diaper?" and "Why would you ever use CLOTH PADS?!"

I asked these two questions to my online doula community colleagues 3 years ago. Today, I'll tell you why I chose cloth diapers following lots of discussion, contemplating, researching, and eventually...convincing of my husband. 
When I was three or four months pregnant I asked my doula friends in-the-know, why they used cloth diapers...wasn't it outdated? hard? messy? nasty? stinky? gross? come to find out, I was thinking of the wrong cloth diapers my friends! 

These are your grandmother's cloth diapers!
This is what I was picturing...fluffy, bulky, cotton squares which I would have to twist, fold, pin, put plasticky covers over, and stuff onto a squirmy baby. These were the diapers my mom wore...prefolds and flats...pinned onto the baby. I have a picture of my mother, probably about 1.5 years old, with one of these beauties hanging half off her toddler booty. The picture is 63 years old...why would I put such outdated digs on MY modern day baby? Because, unless you PREFER these diapers...diapers have come a LONG way in the 63 years since my mother toddled her Wisconsin sidewalks in these.

Cloth diapers are better for baby's skin. I'm sure it's hard to imagine that all of the mystery chemicals in Pampers, Huggies, and Luvs, that make that paper thin diaper soak up loads of baby pee without leaking and turning it into a squishy beast 6 times it's original size. Chlorine, plastics, chemicals, name it, it's in there. There are compounds in disposable diapers that were banned in the 80s from being used in tampons because it was causing Toxic Shock Syndrome. This is what is against your baby's butt. Babies have a higher instance of diaper rashes and allergic reactions in disposable diapers. But cloth diapers, my friend, are just cotton, some have fleece, and some have PUL as a waterproof layer, but they are all just goofy, potentially dangerous compounds, no fragrances, no paper or plastic. Cloth Diapered baby bums have fewer rashes, don't get chemical burns, and are waaaaay cuter. That's the last reason on our list...we'll talk about it later. 

Cloth is cheaper as long as you don't get sucked into that last reason of "cuteness" which is entirely possible. I'm in no mood to crunch numbers for you...but look at it this way...a small size fuzzibunz as been on my 6 month old's bum since he was 1 month old. I own 15 of them. That's $270, divide it by 2 because Aiden also wore fact he wore them for 8 months...figure that Chase will do the same, that's 16 months of diapers for $270. Shoot, add in that I loaned them to a friend who also cloth diapered HER son for 8 months and we have 24 months of diapering for only $270...that sounds pretty good right?! Now go add up an average of 8 to 10 of your preferred diapers per day, and figure 24 months of that, for me it would be huggies and 24 months of diapers would cost me about $1700. Big difference right? Ok, but let me be honest, I have 6 bumgenius diapers as well...but those are one size...Aiden wore them from age 1 month until a few weeks ago when I potty trained him. So 21 diapers for 2 years, and now Chase is wearing them...I'm not good at compound math, but what I DO know is that I saved a ton doing it...and so will you. Switch to cloth wipes (pretty easy!) and you'll save even more. Some argue "What about the cost of washing/drying the diapers," but it's not $1400, not even close...some website I found while researching broke it down per load...but I don't remember what it was or where to find it so you are on your own. The energy cost is just as low and has a lower impact on the environment than disposabales. That brings me to a third point...

Cloth is better for the planet. Regardless of whether you think Global Warming/Climate change is a political issue to be believed in or NEVER hurts to think about the future. Disposable diapers with all their plastics and gels take 500 years to decompose...then add that they are almost always bundled up in some kind of plastic bags...pretty much indestructable by the time it's all said an done. So when the argument that the use of water (hot water specifically) and detergents offsets the environmental benefit of cloth diapering, I beg people to consider those  numbers...500 years! Do I need to say more? In my house we use 7th Generation Free & Clear Detergent and HE washer and dryer. I know Mama Christa uses green laundry detergents, and that she hangs hers to dry on a clothesline during the summer. Even if we were using Tide and old machines, there isn't 500 years worth of impact in that.

Cloth is easy! Surprisingly, it's not that hard...people ask me..."WHAT ABOUT THE POOOOP?!" Here's the short story: if it's not solid enough to just be knocked off into the toilet, then it's soft enough to just dissolve in the wash. I know this grosses you out...but it shouldn't. The wash routine breaks down to a cold rinse, a hot, heavy wash, and two me...your delicates won't be swimming with poop. If you still are unsure there are biodegradable and flushable liners to lay inside the diaper...pee passes through, poop stays on top! Then you just put the diaper in your pail...this is no different than putting a disposable in a diaper genie or the trash. In the life of a mom, what's a couple or three extra loads of laundry per week huh? So no dunking, scrubbing on a washboard...none of that! It's super easy and...

Cloth is CUUUUTE! Who ever saw a baby in a pampers and said "wow, what a cute diaper?!" No one. That's who!

I'm totally buying this...
and probably this...
if I had a girl, I'd get this...
and I totally love this
Do I need to share more? Why don't you take some time to check out some of our favorites until our next cloth diapering post about types of diapers. 

Kawaii Diapers - probably our top choice right now...pocket diapers with cute prints, snap closures or hook & loop closures, one size...all as good as Fuzzibunz and BumGenius but at less than half the price. Thank Mama Christa for this one!

BumGenius - one size pocket diapers, easy to use and popular!

Fuzzibunz - both one size and perfect size cloth diapers, snap closures...super soft, nice fit, fun colors. 

Green Mountain Diapers - Mama Christa LOVES their pre-folds (yea, she uses pre-folds and each her own eh?!) 

So stay tuned, another OTT post will go further into this!