Friday, January 27, 2012

Yay Take Home Chef!

One of our lovely fans on The Normalizing Nursing in Public League (The NNIPL) reported casually seeing breastfeeding on TLC's show Take Home Chef. I rushed right to netflix to check it out. Thanks Shannon!

Season 1 Episode 43 - Eva.

I know, I think so too. :P
The show's premise is that the chef Curtis Stone surprises someone at the supermarket and comes home with them to cook a fabulous family meal. In this episode he finds babywearing* Eva at the market with two of her three children. On the way home the baby begins to cry, and while they make a pit stop off for Curtis to pick up more supplies Eva takes the opportunity to breastfeeding her baby in the parked car. They casually show it in the background as Curtis is getting out of the vehicle. It is subtle, and wonderfully normalizing. The show could have easily shot from a different angle or edited that little scene out - but the left it.

Hip hip hurray for the Take Home Chef! Thank you for having breastfeeding be a part of your show as it is a part of our daily lives and is nothing for the editing room floor.

This made me super happy to see, and just affirms even more one of the ways of exposing breastfeeding I'd like to see on Sesame Street. It doesn't need to be a segment dedicated to talking about breastfeeding, but throw us a bone here Sesame Street.... alternate in nursing and bottle feeding mothers into the backgrounds. Nearly 34,000 petitioners have signed saying they want breastfeeding included in the program, and that number grows daily. Sesame Streets only response is to say that it hasn't fit in with the natural storyline plot. Really... in 25 years there hasn't been one opportunity to showcase or even just having a nursing mother in the background? Pretty weak argument there folks.

P.S. Hey, have you signed the petition yet??

*Eva - please take a lesson in babywearing from  your brother-in-law... "crotch dangling" babywearing can be damaging to your baby's hips. Very easy mistake to make and one I definitely made myself.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Guest Blog: All Things Diapers

Liz Wickoren is a breastfeeding and cloth diapering mom of four who works at All Things Diapers in Blaine, Minnesota. Being at a store like this gives her a unique opportunity to observe things from the other side of the nursing world. She gets to experience and embrace all kinds of mamas that come through her store. What a treat! Thanks for sharing a peak of your world with us Liz! 

Monday, January 23, 2012

STOP oversexualizing everything!

I made a status on The Good Letdown on facebook that said "There is nothing that Ella (15 months old) finds funnier then when I drink her milkies. I suck her "boobie" in my mouth and make a loud smacking noise and say "Nom nom, I'm drinking Ella's milkies!" she giggggggglessss her little butt off. The other day, I asked her if I could have some of Ella's milkies and she pulled her shirt down and leaned forward! It was HILARIOUS!"

Apparently, some moms took that to mean I was molesting my child's chest and giving her hickies all over her chest. Okay, they didn't say that precisely but someone commented about how "weird" it was that I was "sucking on my baby's chest"..and 8 people "liked" her comment. Then some other people started bringing out words like "molestation" and "inappropriate". Okay ladies. Really? REALLY? Because I used the word "sucked" and didn't specify that I wasn't actually sucking on it like a friggin' lollipop but just playfully doing it, you automatically turn it into something weird? It's like, if we use any word that can be used in a sexual manner, it automatically must be about sex.

This is the type of thinking that causes the oversexualization of breastfeeding in general. Because breasts are involved, it automatically MUST be sexual, right? Well because I used the word "sucking" and said I was "sucking on my baby's chest", it has to be weird and sexual. Did I truly need to sit there and explain precisely what I was doing in order to appease all of you people out there who are so desperate to jump on someone and point fingers? And do you not see the correlation between you sexualizing the playful interaction between myself and my 15 month old baby and the sexualization of us nursing our babies?

So ladies, let's lay down our swords. We're on the same team. Think about what you're actually saying. I know we all have brains and I know we're capable of using them. I know, on the internet it's fun to sit behind out computers and find people to attack but if you really feel like leaving ridiculous comments over something that is OBVIOUSLY completely innocent, please feel free to move on or go over to any of the breastfeeding articles in the mainstream media and use your venom there. Don't use it to attack the adorable little game my baby and I play.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

In Response ...

I have a few things to say about the words written in the comments of Mother Hen's blog a while back: I'll Show You Classy

No one is attacking anyone. We all respect those who choose not to nurse their babies in public, but those mothers have no place going around telling those who choose to fight for their LEGALLY PROTECTED RIGHT embarrassing. And no, we are peaceful bloggers, we did not send anyone to your blog, Nonnie, we would not ever do such a thing. We don't control the masses, we don't make foolish requests that our followers go spam anyone's wall or blog with hateful remarks.

Our purpose here is simply to inform, share OUR opinions (and yes, sometimes we review other blog posts in doing this, but not in a malicious manner), and engage in conjecture with our readers. We do not pass judgement on other bloggers or send our readers over to do so. In order to reference a post and discuss our opinion of it (be it positive or negative) we have to post a link though, and we cannot control what others do.

To the poster who said "maybe she wants others to cover to protect them from perverts," while I don't believe this is the case, it doesn't matter. If it WERE the case, it's up to each woman to choose to "protect" herself or not. The fact is, you can't even see a breast most of the time when a mother nurses in public, and who's to say some fetishist out there isn't still drooling and jerking off to the idea of a nursing mother?

Lest we not forget that women get harassed even when they are being discreet, when they are covered, and when they are not. Women get dirty looks and glares regardless. Our society is so sexually saturated that people cannot even handle the IDEA of a mother nursing her baby out in the open...covered or not.

Mother Hen did NOT attack the blog, she did not "vilify" another mother, she did not throw stones. She simply is speaking to a greater issue in our culture of shunning nursing mothers, and saying "funny" things at their expense when they go to fight for what is their right: To nurse their children. Regardless of whether or not YOU or any one else would choose to sit on a park bench, grocery store bench, restaurant chair, covered or not to nurse your baby is not the's a society that prevents mothers who DO nurse this way (discreetly) from doing so.

I am not Jewish, but I would support the fight against anti-semitism. I am not black, but I support the fight for equal treatment. I am not hispanic, but I support the fight for equal treatment. I am not muslim (though my husband is) and I support the fight for understanding of the culture and for equal treatment. I am not poor, but I support the fight against poverty.

SOME mothers do not nurse in public, and that's fine, but the least we can do is support each other as mothers, because that is what matters.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Bonding in the NICU

In Dr. Sears The Attachment Parenting Book, he talks about Birth Bonding. There are 8 "steps" he gives and I know that personally, I would have loved to more than anything to be able to do these immediately after birth with my babies but it wasn't possible. They were rushed to the NICU immediately after I briefly got to lay eyes on them. However, that doesn't mean you can't still have the experience of bonding with your baby and attaching to each other. I'm going to go through each "step" or tip that Dr. Sears gives and talk about how you could still do these while having a baby in the NICU. His suggestions are meant for the first hour after birth and while this generally isn't possible with preemies, these tips can still be incredibly helpful as you struggle to get to know your baby and bond with him/her while you're in the crazy world of the NICU. Some of these tips that Dr. Sears offers are nearly impossible to do with a preemie that is rushed to the NICU, but I will offer possible alternatives or suggestions that can still help.

Dr. Sears *does* talk about premature babies and I highly recommend checking out his book The Premature Baby Book.

1. Hold your baby skin-to-skin immediately after birth.
Dr. Sears says: "The needs of your newborn after birth are...:peace, quiet, warmth and the arms of someone who cares. This is not just good psychology, this is good medicine. Draping baby over the mother allows natural heat transfer from other to infant that is at least as effective as putting baby in an artificial warmer. Skin to skin contact also soothes the newborn."

In the NICU, this is known as Kangaroo Care (from here on out, I'll refer to this as K-care). The benefits of K-care are plentiful.

For baby, they include:
Stabilization of the baby's heart rate 
Improved (more regular) breathing pattern/ less episodes of apnea (75% decrease!)
Improved oxygen saturation levels (an indicator of how well oxygen is being delivered to all the infants organs and tissues)
Gain in sleep time
More rapid weight gain
Decreased crying
More successful breastfeeding episodes
Earlier hospital discharge

For mom:
Improved bonding, feelings of closeness with their babies
Increased breast milk supply
Increased confidence in ability to care for their babies
Increased confidence that their babies are well cared for
Increased sense of control

All of these benefits have been proven time and time again by research. In fact, in countries without as many medical resources, this is often the only option for many premature babies to be kept warm. While preemie parents are often unable to have baby placed upon them immediately after birth, you can usually start K-care very soon after your baby is born. There are some instances when baby is too ill to be taken out of their incubator. These instances are much less than some NICU's would have us know but if this is truly the case, you can lay your hand firmly, but gently on your baby's body so that they can experience your touch at the very least. If mom isn't available right away, dad can and should do skin on skin with baby as soon as possible!
For more resources on K-care, see the end of this article. (Note: If you're having a difficult time getting your NICU to allow K-care, these resources are research based and supported. Bring them to the NICU and fight for your and your baby's rights!)

2. Notice baby's state of quiet alertness.
Dr. Sears says: "Within minutes after birth, the newborn enters a state of quiet alertness, the state in which, researchers have discovered, a baby is most able to interact with her environment. it's almost as if she is so enthralled by what she sees, hears, and feels that she doesn't want to waste any energy squirming. During this alert stage, the baby looks directly at the mother's eyes and snuggles at the mother's breasts....The quiet, alert phase lasts only an hour or so, and then the baby contentedly drifts into a deep sleep. You'll see this state again in the days to come, but for shorter periods of time."

At first, preemies spend only very brief periods of time with their eyes open, and do not focus on anything. Assuming your preemie does not have any eyesight issues like ROP, your preemie will only have a few periods a day, for possibly only a few seconds, when they are in a quiet alert state (The Essential Guide for Parents of Premature Infants). When your preemie is in this quiet alert stage, bring her about 8 inches away from your face, and interact with her. Smile, talk softly, change your expression often and allow her to enjoy this time with you. Do not let anything that isn't vitally important inturrupt these moments. If a procedure or medication needs to be done but it can be held off for a few minutes, do so and use your preemie's quiet alert time to interact with her. If for some reason you are unable to hold your preemie, get close to the incubator and put your face level with hers. Open the door to the incubator, place your hand on her and talk softly.

*NOTE: Even if your baby has eyesight issues, you should obviously still do these kinds of things with your baby! :)

3. Touch your baby.
Dr. Sears says: "Gently stroke your baby, touching her whole body. Besides feeling good, stroking has medical benefits. The skin is the largest organ of the human body, and it is very rich in nerve endings. At a crucial transition time in a baby's entry into the world, when breathing patterns are often very irregular, stroking stimulates the newly born baby to breath more rhythmically."

This is one of the things that almost ALL preemie parents can do with their preemies. There may be times when your preemie is too delicate or too sick to hold, but you can almost always touch them. Depending on their gestational age and health, there are different types of touch that should be utilized.
Still Touch is exactly what it sounds like. You lay a hand gently, but firmly on your preemie and do not move it around. Some preemies are very sensitive to being stroked and with the very earliest preemies, stroking their skin can cause damage. It is important to pay attention to your preemie and notice their reactions as you're touching them. It's also important to talk to your nurse about the condition of their skin and what is and isn't safe. If you feel your NICU nurse is not receptive to your needs and wants as a parent, ask to speak to the charge nurse.
Containment provides your preemie with a secure and nurturing human-boundary. Use your hands to provide containment by holding baby's arms and legs in a flexed position. This method of providing stability and predictability enables parents to gain confidence, especially during the early days in the NICU. Containment is useful for preemies who are medically unstable, fretful, or recovering from surgery. It can also be used during procedures where your prem needs support and comfort.
Movement: If you have an older preemie or as your preemie gets older and can tolerate movement, try a firm stroking on the bottoms of their feet or palm of their hands. If they are tolerating that well, you can try other movements. You can also try patting their butts. Keep a very close eye on them to see how they tolerate the movement. If they don't like it, stop and try again later.

4. Gaze at your baby
Dr. Sears says: "Your newborn can see best at a distance of about ten inches, which, incidentally, is the approximate distance from a mother's nipple to her eyes. During the first hour after birth, a baby's eyes are wide open, as if wanting to relate to his new world."

Once they start getting quiet alert times, gaze at them often. Direct eye contact with them so they can see you and learn your face. Even if they're asleep, which preemies sleep far more than regular newborns, it is comforting for mother and father/partner to gaze at their newborn. As soon as you can get up to the NICU after your baby is born, spend time just looking at them. It can be difficult to see past all of the monitors and wires hooked up to your baby so look at their face. Absorb their tiny eyes and nose, see their ears, their sweet baby cheeks. Breathe deeply and just gaze at your baby.

5. Talk to your newborn.
Dr. Sears says: "Studies have shown that newborns can distinguish their mother's voice from that of everytong else very early in life. Baby can also recognize Dad's voice, as well as siblings'. Mother's voice comforts her baby and helps baby feel at home in the world."

Your baby has heard your voice from the time their ears were developed in utereo. They know your voice, as well as their fathers voice. Talk to your preemie all the time. Read to them. Sing them songs. Tell them about your day. Tell them what their big sister or brother is doing. Tell them how much you love them and how proud you are of them for being so strong and brave. They will be comforted by your voice.

6. Delay routine procedures.
Dr. Sears says: "Often times the attending nurse takes care of routines first, such as measuring the baby, cleaning him up, giving him vitamin K and putting ointment on his eyes...Ask the nurse ahead of time to delay these procedures for an hour or so, until you and your new baby have enjoyed the initial bonding period."

Procedures that are done on preemies right after they are born can almost never be delayed. Many times they are life saving things such as providing oxygen etc. However, you can ask that the blanket or towel they use to clean your baby off be given to you. The smells from the womb will help stimulate the mother's milk production. Also, speak to the nurses and doctors ahead of time and impress upon them how vital it is for you as a new mother to be able to at least briefly touch and look at your baby after they are born. Depending on how well they are breathing on their own, you may be able to spend time gazing into their face. Of course, this may not be an option but let your medical team know how important it is to you if it IS possible.

7. Breastfeed your baby in the first hour after delivery.
Dr. Sears says: "The baby's sucking and licking of the nipple releases the hormone Oxytocin into the mother's bloodstream. Oxytocin causes the uterus to contract and lessens postpartum bleeding. It also produces feelings of affection. Your baby's first sucking experience should take place at the breast. Newborns need to breastfeed early and often in order to learn correct sucking based on the sucking instincts they are born with."

Most preemies cannot be brought to breast right away. If they can, great! But in almost all instances, this simply isn't possible. What you can do however is start pumping as soon as possible. If you know ahead of time that you're going to deliver, have a pump brought in your room. If not, have a nurse bring you a hospital grade breast pump right away. You should start pumping as soon as you can, preferably within 3 hours after your baby's birth. Even if you get nothing at first, keep pumping to stimulate your breasts. It is imperative that you pump often, at least 8-10 times in a 24 hour period. If you're not responding well to the breast pump, try hand expression. Many moms respond to hand expression far better than they do to a breast pump. In fact, there is very new research that demonstrated that mothers who followed each electric pumping session with hands-on compressions of the breast extracted more milk and boosted their long-term milk production.

Human milk is far easier on a premature baby's digestive system. It contains lipase, a hormone that helps with fat digestion, which allows babies to be able to use more of the calories available in the milk. In fact, studies have shown that the milk of mothers who deliver a premature infant is higher in protein, fat, and other nutrients for catch-up growth. (Dr. Sears)

By 32-34 weeks gestation, most preemies can start attempting to breastfeed. That doesn't mean they'll catch on and start breastfeeding immediately (although some may!!), it just means that their suck/swallow/breathe reflex is usually mature enough to start trying to breastfeed. They may just nuzzle or fall asleep but keep trying! And I STRONGLY recommend not giving preemies any bottle feedings until breastfeeding is established. If the NICU insists on mouth feedings, you can try alternate feeding methods.

8. Ask for privacy.
Dr. Sears says: "This first hour after birth should be a quiet one in which Mother and Father/Partner focus on their new baby. Ask that you be left alone as much as possible during this time, so that your attention is not diverted from your baby by the hustle and bustle of nurses and other hospital personnel."

Again, this is something that you probably will not be able to have with your preemie. Most preemies have to go to the NICU right away, even if it's just for observation. However, once you can get to your preemie, unless your baby is having procedures done, there is no reason why you cannot have privacy. Even if you're in a NICU where there are multiple beds in one room, there are usually curtains or room separators that are offered for your baby and you can ask for privacy. Spend time with your preemie and try to focus on them as opposed to the machines and wires. It can be difficult to celebrate the birth of a baby if they are premature and sick but remember, you just had your baby and try to enjoy and celebrate the birth of your baby.

Kangaroo Care Resources and Articles
Midwifery Today: Kangaroo Care
Kangaroo Care Benefits
U of Michigan: Kangaroo Care

Pumping Resources
Pumping for your Preemie
More Nutritious Breastmilk for Preemies
Breastmilk for Preemies

Other Preemie Resources
Bonding with your Preemie
"The Premature Baby Book" by Dr. Sears
Ella's Halo

Works Cited:
"PREEMIES: The Essential Guide for Parents with Premature Babies" By Dana Wechsler Linden, Mia Wechsler Doron, Emma Trenti Paroli

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Case Against Breastfeeding on Sesame Street

I keep doing it... reading those COMMENTS on articles and blogs regarding the movement to bring breastfeeding back on Sesame Street. It's almost laughable the ignorance and hate spurting out of these anonymous computer entities. Maybe if they saw breastfeeding on Sesame Street growing up they would know what it is actually about. LOL.

"I don't want Sesame Street teaching my children about sexual education."

Okay... I don't know what goes on in your bedroom... but here's a newsflash for you... breastfeeding is not sexual. THINK about it for a minute... No, seriously... stop your anti-breastfeeding hate brain for a minute and think. Do you believe that all those women who are feeding their children are performing a sexual act with their infants? Was Mary having sex with Jesus for the three years that she breastfed him? Just because a part of the body can be used for sexual pleasure doesn't mean that's its only function. When you wipe yourself after going to the bathroom are you masturbating? How about when you change a diaper on your baby, are you molesting them? Yeah, I didn't think so. Calling breastfeeding "sexual" is just as ridiculous.

"What's next, having Sesame Street teach our kids about sex, abortion, and other adult topics?"

Breastfeeding is not an adult topic. If you are alright with your child seeing a mother feeding a baby with a bottle, then you should also be okay with a mother breastfeeding. Both mothers are accomplishing the same task, and neither one is taboo or something that should be hidden from a curious child. Would you shield your child's eyes at the zoo if they happened to catch a nursing mammal with cute springtime babies? Run in horror the other way? Somehow it seems when it's another mammal everyone *gets* it. But put a human in the picture and suddenly the comments turn nasty and mean.

"Next thing you know they'll be showing poop and peeing on Sesame Street."

Pay attention, Elmo has potty trained your child before. They might not SHOW the poop, just like how when they show breastfeeding you don't actually see the whole breast, but it is implied.

"We just expect TV to teach our kids about everything."

Having breastfeeding featured again on Sesame Street is not going to be the downfall of our culture. Do some kids watch too much TV - absolutely. That's a different topic for a different day folks. Get yer own petition if you want to start limiting children's programing. Mmmmm K? K.

"i downt wunt them nasty tittys on Seasame Streete for my kidz to c. Dats be gross."

Sigh. Parents like you are exactly why we NEED your children to see breastfeeding on Sesame Street.


Children are curious about breastfeeding. How do I know this? I know because almost every time I'm nursing in public a curious child wanders over and takes a gander. Sometimes they ask me questions, sometimes they smile and run back to their mom to ask her about it, and sometimes they are just plain confused. I've been asked before if I drink [cows] milk and then it fills up in my boobs for the baby to drink. Seriously your kids WANT to know what is going on in there. And if you think breastfeeding is "disgusting" or "sexual" then you obviously shouldn't be the person teaching them.

You may have your hang-ups about breastfeeding, but this all really isn't about you. It's about THEM. The next generation. Why do you want to stand in the way of the next generation of children becoming breastfeeding parents who will improve health, decrease risks, and keep our IQ levels where they should be?

Friday, January 13, 2012

Can You Tell Me How To Get... How to Get Breastfeeding Back on Sesame Street...

There's a big of buzz going around the web on bringing breastfeeding back to Sesame Street. Our first steps are to get Sesame Street on board and drive up public interest in the idea. After that, finding a willing star or two for the video. That's a ways off, but there are things we call all do now to help keep the momentum going. And just as a reminder, we're not asking Sesame Street to take away any bottle feeding scenes, we'd just like to see a mix of how children are fed - as it is in reality. And it's nothing new, breastfeeding has been on Sesame Street in the past..... but has been mysteriously missing for almost 25 years. Sesame Street says that it just hasn't come up in the storyline to have another breastfeeding message... I have to throw a big fat BS flag on that, but atleast they seem receptive to adding some in the future. 

What you can do to help:

First - Please take a moment to sign this petition to bring breastfeeding back to Sesame Street. Back in the 70's and 80's nursing was tastefully shown on the show but now they have replaced their nursing videos with bottles. If we normalize breastfeeding in our community, especially with our children, we can help raise a generation of breastfeeders which will support our economy, make for healthier children and lessen the risk of breast cancer for many nursing mamas!

Second - Share the petition with everyone you know! 

Third - Tweet Tweet Tweet! Here is a blog with some great step by step instructions on how your tweeting and using specific hash tags will help; Retweet is SUPER EASY. Literally you can click on the #BFBack2SesameSt hash that will take you to the list of everyone else's tweets and you can just go down the list retweeting them all!

Some ideas for Sesame Street.... they are constantly remaking and updating classics, I think it's time for an update on this old mammals nursing video; 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Guest Blog: Lucky Duck Gets A Boob - Natalie's Story

Natalie is a busy single mom who is in nursing school and living on a strict budget. Using her skills of saving money she runs the blog Lucky Duck Saves A Buck which shares lots of money saving tips for folks. Who doesn't like to save money??!? You can also find her on Facebook; She is a breastfeeding mother to her boy "Kitty" and she outlined their breastfeeding journey (thus far) for us. Enjoy! Thanks for sharing Natalie! 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Children of the Village

There is this old saying, we know you've heard it:

"It takes a village to raise a child."

So, if that's the case...WHERE THE HELL IS THE VILLAGE?! Women and families have been left on little islands by the development of our society, separated from the villages we were meant to be living and bringing our families up in. Women and children are suffering because of it. So many of the baby/child training techniques from sleep to discipline are shaped by the fact that women do not have enough support, they have no village, and thus no relief from the riggors of raising secure, well rounded children. They don't have a village of women they trust with their children so they can take a nap whenever to catch up after that rotten night of teething, or women who trust them to do the same. They don't have the benefit of being surrounded by other mothers parenting from instincts to reassure them that their joys and their frustrations are the same across the board.

As women, what we do have is plenty of articles, books, and other moms telling us that our instincts will ruin our babies. Allowing them to nurse/feed on demand, picking them up when they cry, cuddling them all day because it feels good, responding to their needs in the night and around the clock as we were meant to will all spoil our little humans. Does it really? Because research has shown that babies who cry less in their first six months cry less in their second six months. Interesting right? So if we follow our urge, our instinct in being mothers, it generally produces good results.

Here's the catch...filling an infant's needs is demanding's hard. Nature did not intend it this way. In fact western culture is about the only culture that does this the hard way...isolates women, prevents them from healing and bonding, and gives them tools to detach from their babies, encourages them to go against their instincts, and puts huge pressure on them to get back to normal and be perfect. We were meant to raise our children IN COMMUNITY with others. The adults in the village took responsibility for supporting each other, caring for each other and their children, even their families. It is a wonderful system, you know you can count on these people because they are simply family for you. A well cared for mother can better care for her baby, and a well cared for baby is, by and large, a happy baby.

Dr. Karp cites in his book, Happiest Baby on the Block, that many cultures outside of the Western world don't have "colic." Babies are held and cuddled all day every day by their mothers, other mothers, women in the community...their need for attachment and closeness is met every minute of every day. They feel safe, secure...and their mothers? What about their mothers? Their mothers are not burnt out. They aren't burnt out because sole responsibility for life and baby is not placed only on falls to the village and the village has many many hands.

What's my point? Build a village...both virtual and in person. Seek out mothers who share your parenting goals overall, who are dedicated friends; women who you can count on. Build strong relationships with women you can trust to not look at you cross-eyed when you've had a bad night and you tell her "I just wanted to toss him out the window." Your friend should totally get that..."yea...I have had those nights. Let's have coffee in our pajamas...I'll buy this time." See...I miss this. All our co-bloggers here used to be that village for me. I found in the first six months following our move that I just didn't know how to parent the western way anymore...I was still giving it my all, doing the things I always thought were right...but something was off. My village was empty. So speaking from the perspective of a mother who has experienced parenting the western way, the village way, then the village way without the village...I'm telling your village. it's so much easier to be the parent you want to be if you have your village. Your children will be like siblings, they will grow and learn together and will learn a fast respect for other adults as trustworthy authority figures. The village is a wonderful place to raise children!

But where can you start? Well I, for one, love to start with the internet.

Find your local LLL chapter. I know that sometimes LLL doesn't sit with all moms because they think LLL is a bunch of birkenstock wearing hippies with 7 year old nurslings tagging along everywhere they go...but it's not, and you may find you like it if you attend a few meetings, get to know your leaders, and start connecting with other mothers in the group. I know for me, it's been very rewarding!

Even if you don't consider yourself an Attachment Parent (I think I mention every time I use this term how much I hate the phrase "Attachment Parenting" but it bears repeating. I hate that phrase/label/term) you will find much support through Attachment Parenting International...members of this organization come in all shapes and sizes and your local chapter is likely to connect you with more moms just like you.

Again, even if you do not consider yourself a "Hollistic Mom" check out the Hollistic Mom's Network...I feel like on this topic in particular...the more you know, the more you grow. I've come to really appreciate a more hollistic lifestyle, personally. This is another arena where the members come in many shapes and are bound to connect with someone who is right on your wavelength and with people who may be further to one end of the spectrum or the other than you are who are quality members of your village!

Find a postpartum doula! A postpartum doula is not just for women who are struggling with breastfeeding. She is there to nurture and mother you. She can help with cleaning, provide you with resources, play with big brother or sister while you rest with your new baby...she is a vital person to have in a culture that keeps us separated from the village mentality. 

In closing...go your village. You do not have to have all the same ideals but it's so valuable to have mom friends who share your commitment to children, who care about your children, and who will hold you up to be the best mom you can be. We're all better together than we are alone.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Guest Blog: The Target Nurse-in - A Vital Event

I'm a Mommy of 3 boys- Isaac is 3, Jared is 2, and Grayson is 2 months. I started a blog after the amazing home birth of Grayson (all 10 pounds, 8 ounces of him!) to have a place to get out all the feelings and thoughts I have about birth, cloth diapering and more. We are the prime example of a family who found out that the "traditional" ways of parenting didn't work for us and we are loving our exploration of a parenting style to call our own!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Mutually Beneficial

So the last two months of my life as an overnight parent have been a whirlwind. Chicklett had been a fantastic sleeper, only waking 2-3 times a night for a quick boob and being in bed for about 12 hours. Right after her first birthday she started to have nightmares and waking periods of up to FIVE HOURS in the middle of the night. Every night. It was painful for me... super happy fun times for her. From what I've heard, the nightmares/night terrors are pretty normal for stage development at that age. My son did it for about a week and then never again.

Chicklett brought it a whole new aspect by waking up perky and excited. She would sleep from around 8pm-10pm, then be wide awake from 10ish to midnight, take a 5-10 minute nap, and then wake up ready to party for another couple hours. Anyone who follows us on Facebook was probably tired of my "midnight party" posts of insanity. I know I was!

She had these five hour parties atleast five days a week for six weeks. Then I hit my breaking point.... I would start to think "Is it possible to get postpartum depression 13 months later??" Crying at her to JUST GO TO SLEEP. Something had to give. And as much as I enjoy my little snuggle bug at night... ending co-sleeping seemed to be the most obvious solution. She is a pretty light sleeper and it occurred to me that I might be snoring at night and that possibly *I* was actually the one waking her up. One way to find out... I brought in my back up help. It is hard for me to ask for help, because being mom is my job 24/7... and especially with overnights I feel it's my job since my husband has to be functional for work in the morning. But this was getting unhealthy for me, and the idea that perhaps co-sleeping was no longer mutually beneficial was ringing in my ear. Gotta trust your instincts.

I have the best husband EVER! After many talks about the importance of not letting baby cry out I dropped my guard and let him be in charge. I moved into the guest bedroom and my husband completely took over night wakings. Sometimes he slept in bed with her, and sometimes he slept out in the livingroom and listened on the monitor. But he would only bring her to my boob every three hours. He's been doing this for about a month now, even on work days. The night of December 23rd a miracle happened... she only woke up once the whole night! We called it an X-mas miracle. Ha! Then for the next week she was back to 2-3 boobs a night... but now the last three nights she's only woken once.

I'm not sure what 2012 is going to bring for our sleeping arrangements, but we sure did end the year on a happy note.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Guest Blog: Maggie's Story

Until I became a mother I never knew who strongly people felt about breastfeeding. Somehow I missed this even all through my pregnancy. The only formula and bottles I ever had were the samples I was given at my ob’s office. I just thought “breast is best; so, people must breastfeed.” I never realized that some people are so vehemently opposed to it. And that it’s hard to openly breastfeed your child without being adamant about how important it is; because it seems you often need to defend your choice.

I learned quickly though. The pediatrician at the hospital where my first daughter was born attempted to tell me that breastfeeding would poison my baby because she was jaundice. Luckily, I knew better. I saw how he could have easily convinced a less-sure mother to formula feed, but I could tell from the look in my baby’s eyes when she nursed that she was born to breastfeed. And I fought the pediatrician the entire four days he kept my baby in the hospital, going as far as to pour the bottles of formula he sent for my baby down the sink.

We changed pediatricians three times in the first six months of my oldest daughter’s life before finding one that had a rather neutral opinion on breastfeeding. Obviously “supportive” was not an option and neutral was going to have to do. I learned to just give the “right” answers at well-baby visits. As in “my baby nurses for 20 minutes on each side every 3 hours and sleeps on her back in her crib.” Even though my baby ate every 60 to 90 minutes for about a total of ten minutes and seldom left my arms in the early months.

The two behaviors seemed to complement each other (breastfeeding and co-sleeping.) Keeping my baby close to me seemed to naturally be part of breastfeeding. How could I possibly feed her every hour if she was in the other room?

The part of breastfeeding that goes on between mom and baby went well. Baby and I had a few minor problems with latch, but nothing serious and it was resolved fairly easily after we knew what the problem was. We developed a strong bond and both enjoyed nursing.

The social part of breastfeeding was a different story. I had support from my family, my mother breastfed, her mother breastfed and so on, but I encountered varying levels of disapproval elsewhere, including from the baby’s father. He did not come from a family of breastfeeders and until I breastfeed our child it was something he had never seen before.

When my oldest daughter was eleven months old I encounter the most public disapproval of breastfeeding. I was told that I could not breastfeed in the dining room of the Olive Garden in Michigan City IN. The assistant manger informed me that I need to stop breastfeeding or leave. So we left. And with the help of a friend took the story to the local paper. And then the local radio station picked it up, and then a TV station in South Bend IN, and then several other stations across the country and then another friend sent me copies of an article that ran in Canada and another from Germany. And I made shine magazine’s “Top 10 Breastfeeding Incidents of the Year” in 2009. WOW.

So when I heard about the incident with Michelle at Target I understood how she must have felt. I felt a special duty to go out and participate in the nurse-in since I am currently nursing my second child, who at seven months refuses every bite of solids I offer. I hate to hear about this happening to other women. It isn’t a pleasant thing. And I hope Michelle can stay strong throughout the process because the worst part is what strangers have to say after the story gets out there.

I would like to say that I will be nursing my baby anywhere and everywhere. I probably won’t ever be using a cover. I don’t like them, and they are supposed to be for the comfort of the mother; so if I don’t like then what’s the point. I like to be able to see my baby. My baby is more important to me than someone’s ideas about what’s “proper”. Do I really look like a woman who worries about being “proper?” With four tattoos, facial piercings and black nails and ripped jeans do I really care about being “proper?” I put my baby first without apology. I’m not sorry I breastfed in your restaurant. I’m not sorry if your kid saw. Maybe now is the perfect time to teach your child about the human body and explain that breast are for feeding babies not just for men to gawk at. I truly believe that the best way for me to help the next generation of babies to be breastfeed is to make sure that mothers-to-be see babies being breastfed.

I have to stand up for what I believe in or I might see my daughters or even my little sister not able to breastfeed their children in public. I would like to see every mother as oblivious to how critical people can be of breastfeeding as I was before I had kids; only I would like them to be able to keep believing that breast is unanimously best when they wean their children after years of happily and peacefully nursing. I don’t see why this has to be such a polarizing issue, but as long as it is I will stand up for what I believe. And I will fight even a little harder than those on the other side because I have the well-being of my children and my own freedom to use by body as I choose to motivate me.

 Maggie Naas

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

These Are a Few of my Favorite Things

Being that this is the first time I have nursed a 1 year old, I'm finding there are some really fun and funny things about nursing an older baby!

One of my favorite things is the nursing gymnastics...he likes to stick his feet in my face so I can smell his stinky feet while he nurses, it's really sweet, and yes...stinky. I love that he will nurse in any old position; laying on top of me, standing on the bed, sitting on the counter, sitting next to me so he can turn his head and look out at all the interesting things his brother is doing, even standing next to me while I lie on the couch. He also seems to think this is terribly funny...haha.

I also just love that he will laugh his little baby booty off at me if I kiss the palms of his hands which are always reaching all over the place.

Even though I crab about it, I really love how he tells me he wants to nurse. I crab because it's generally socially inappropriate to reach down a woman's shirt so boldly. When Chase wants to nurse he pants, presses into me, SHOVES his hand down my shirt, and sucks his fingers. It's pretty hilarious, however embarrassing it might be in public, it's still one of my favorite things.

I especially love the ease with which things flow at this age and stage. I don't give it any thought at all how much he has nursed, if it's been less than an hour before I give him solids, etc. There is no more counting diapers, worrying about his weight, second-guessing. It's great.

I love that he still loves "milkies" more than pretty much any other food and definitely more than any other drink (unless it's in a Klean Kanteen with a sport top...some things you just can't compete with). It's sweet. :D


I love how Ella looks at me and signs "milk" while having her milkies. It warms my heart and absolutely tickles me. It's simply the sweetest thing and probably my favorite thing she does while nursing.

I also love how she giggles when she knows she's about to have milkies. If I ask her if she wants milkies, she'll sign "more" or "milk" and start giggling. Another thing that cracks me up is a silly game we play sometimes. She'll go to latch on and I'll move my breast just a fraction of an inch so her mouth lands on the breast, not the nipple. She pulls back and starts giggling SO hard. It's ADORABLE. We do this several times and she's even gotten to the point where she'll fake me out by pretending to lean forward but then pulling back and laughing at me. That is definitely one of my favorite things about nursing an older baby...the interaction we have.


I love tandem nursing when the true sibling spirit comes forward. They are either peacefully holding hands... or kicking and pinching each other in a whole "who can stay on the nipple longest" show down.

I miss when my son was just a newborn and would raise his eyebrows with each suck. I thought it was something all babies did, but between my two he was the only one. It was melt-your-heart cute.

I love the milky drool smiles and the milk drunk eye rolls.

I love how my toddler treats breastmilk like coffee... he can't function in the morning without atleast two "cups." Don't even try to talk to him, you'll be sorry.

I love how nursing takes a crabby child and makes him/her disappear. Boobie mind eraser works fantastic for defusing a tantrum and just making for a calmer day.


So, what are some of YOUR favorite things? :)

Monday, January 2, 2012

Retweet to ask Sesame Street to redo Breastfeeding Scene

This came across the breastfeeding groups on Facebook and I had to copy it here for our fans that might not have Facebook. I think this is a fantastic idea! 

"Can as many of you re-tweet this it about getting Kourtney Kadashian to redo the Sesame Street BFing seen... I know a lot of people think she isn't the right Celeb but here's why I think she is... The reason I think Kourtney would be great is, she is very pro breastfeeding, co-sleeping and general AP... They have such a large young following that it would really help the next generation realize that breastfeeding is natural... Its easier to send a positive message to a younger generation then to try to change people who already have there minds made up... There are plenty of other celebs that could do it but I think she would make the biggest positive breastfeeding impact on the youth. here's the tweet!/NatalieDoula/status/153703500361105412"

It's been 24 years since breastfeeding was shown on Sesame Street.... I think it's about time for another remake! Don't you?? Let's not just try for Kardashian... let's tweet about all current and upcoming breastfeeding celebrities... I will link them here as they come;!/TheGoodLetdown

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy Hooter Days and a Nursing New Year!!

Click to Enlarge

Happy Hooter Days and a Nursing New Year from The Good Letdown!!

What's New for 2012? You Tell us!

Dear Readers,

Have you ever noticed that there are no ads, sponsored or otherwise on our page? This is a great way for blogs with high traffic to make money, Google AdSense could be paying us for you clicking on ads on our sidebar. We could be making money doing this.

Have you ever noticed that we don't sell you anything at all here? We don't sell products (though we do recommend some here and there and have given away a few clever wares) or subscriptions or encourage you to join a paid forum, all things we COULD do to make a little money.

We don't do this because we aren't in this for the money. We are willing to spend a few hours a week writing blogs, answering your questions on the Facebook page, and supporting breastfeeding mothers and the overall cause of breastfeeding as volunteers. Between the three of us and our extended "nursing nerd" friend network, few moms would walk away from us with an unresolved issue. We're pretty good, and yes, we'll pat our own backs for that because we have worked hard to learn, read, research, ask questions, get real, reliable answers. We didn't (and don't) do all that hard work in the effort to make money though. Strange isn't it? Even some of our favorite breastfeeding support blogs have ads, sponsors, and other streams of income.

So, why DO we have this blog? I mean, it DOES take time from our day to do, and it does require a fair bit of effort, since their are opportunities to make a little green in the process...shouldn't we? No...not at all. We created this blog with one thing in mind:


That's it. We just want to talking about the crazy to mundane, the simple to complex things that come up in our lives with our nurslings and in our interactions with other mothers. We believe that by discussing these things with a broad audience, we can not only normalize breastfeeding a little at a time, we can also reach women who might otherwise have fallen into countless "Booby Traps." We do it because it gives us a thrill EVERY SINGLE TIME we make the smallest difference. If it was because we helped a mom advocate for herself with a care provider pushing formula, helping a mom trouble-shoot a slow-gainer, or even just reassuring mom that she is right about an instinct...we are thrilled to pass along a little wisdom, encouragement, wit, or advice. It literally puts wind in our sails.

Over the last year we have talked a few times about "monetizing" this blog, seeking sponsors, and expanding in different ways...but we have decided none of this will help us help mothers, so it serves no purpose. What we DO think will help mothers is to get your input on the value of different things we are considering doing in the new year.

1. Are you loyal readers interested in the occasional VLog (video blog) from us homely breastfeeding mothers? If we did do VLogs, what would you like to see/hear?

2. Are you interested in more giveaways and winning stuff? We haven't done a lot of giveaways the last half of the year, but if it's something you would like us to invest some more time in speak up. And if you make a product and would like to participating in a giveaway - even better. Saves us the effort of seeking you out. This may lead to larger product sponsors, meaning we would be plugging for certain corporations and possibly showing ads for them...would you be OK with this?

3. Are you interested in topics other than breastfeeding? What other topics would you like us to blog about?

4. Expanding on our Guest Blog tradition, how would you feel about "Letters to..." series from readers...submitted letters to providers, family, children, or friends about specific situations, "wish-I-had-knowns," etc?

5. Are you interested in monthly collages as we did in the first half of last year?

What else would you like to see from The Good Letdown? We blog for YOU, our readers so it's only right that we find out what you want from this blog and our Facebook page.

IF we do monetize at some point and ad in sponsors and advertisers, we would be *very* selective about the ads on our page. And the money would not go into our pockets. We discussed at great length the possibility of monetizing and decided that if we, at some point, decided to dip our toes into that, all of the money would go towards events (such as The Big Latch On or Boobs and Brunch...because those events came totally out of our own pockets), giveaways, contests, a little bit of advertising etc. Again, that's a BIG if and it's not happening now.

What's already in the works?
So with our new look (have you noticed? We kinda heart it!!), comes some new plans! In the coming weeks you will start to see additions to our new page up in the tabs, A Little Bit Green, a place for us to talk about some of our experiences going greener in our households in the interest of our families' health and a brighter tomorrow. You will also see a much awaited addition to the "Early Breastfeeding Obstacles Series" about pregnancy and birth choices, we have waited to delve into this to make sure we had good sources, excellent back up for everything we write. With that you will see us open up into talking more about birth, because here at The Good Letdown, we believe that birth impacts breastfeeding so greatly that it should be written about.

Additionally we have added two new authors to the blog, they will both be administrators on the Facebook page as well. Keep an eye out for our new author introduction post and some new posts, most anticipated being the ones upcoming about nursing an allergic baby! We are always striving to provide a wide range of support for nursing mothers of all kinds!

Two existing authors are currently in the process of becoming accredited/certified in a couple different ways. We can't fully disclose, but what we can disclose we will. Just know that we are working hard to be the best and most qualified web-support possible.

Watch our Resource page for links to excellent articles about some of the most frequently asked questions we get. We will be filling that out in the first half of this year, as well as adding links to some of our favorite mom-support pages on Facebook and the rest of the web.

Thank you for celebrating our second New Year's with us...we hope changes and growth bring more support and resources for moms. Keep spreading the word, don't be afraid to talk about breastfeeding to new people, we will turn the tide and get breast milk to more babies!