Friday, August 10, 2012

National Breastfeeding Month Guest Post: Leading Lady Bras

         As many of you know, a few months ago, I reviewed a few Leading Lady nursing bras and a nursing tank. You can find that review hereLeading Lady has a lactation consultant, Amy Berry, IBCLC, on staff and they were kind enough to share this post written by her with my readers in honor of World Breastfeeding Week. Since I was committed to posting breastfeeding stories for World Breastfeeding Week, I decided to post this one now, as it is still National Breastfeeding Month. I hope you will find this helpful.


Happy World Breastfeeding Week! In celebration of this special week, Leading Lady would like to share some fun, interesting and useful facts about breastfeeding and nursing bras. Whether you are currently breastfeeding, plan to, or have nursed your babies, read on! We encourage you to put these tips to use, and share with those who have supported your breastfeeding journey. 

Did you know…

1)     As early as your second trimester, your breasts are capable of producing milk. This is why many women feel their breasts are heavier and larger during pregnancy.

2)     You can wear nursing bras during pregnancy. By the third trimester you should shop for nursing bras to be prepared for the baby. But don’t be shy about wearing your new bras during pregnancy since they should be comfortable and support your current size. Look for stretchy leisure styles with give-and-take. Nursing camis are also a great choice once the baby arrives because they allow easy nursing access while still covering your post-bump belly.

3)     Studies show that moms who breastfeed within the first hour of giving birth are more likely to have long-term success. So bring your nursing bras to the hospital because you will need them right away! If you experience any difficulty, ask to see the hospital’s lactation consultant. And hang in there – you are giving your baby a wonderful gift!

4)     Your milk levels will stabilize about 4 to 6 weeks after delivery. You should re-measure yourself for nursing bras around this time, and you may be able to transition into more structured styles
5)     Your bra size may continue to fluctuate somewhat throughout the course of breastfeeding. Bra styles with 4 hook-and-eye closures in back and adjustable straps allow for these common differentiations.

6)     You should not be afraid to try underwire nursing bras if that is the style you find most supportive. Just as you would with all other bras, you should ensure a proper fit. A proper fitting bra will allow your breasts to sit upright and centered on your chest, and the straps will remain in place while you are moving.

7)     Your breasts will need constant support while breastfeeding, and you will likely want to sleep in a bra while nursing. Sleep brasleisure brasnursing camis or a nursing chemise made of soft, stretchable fabrics will keep you supported day and night, and make night time feedings easier.

8)     Nursing bras can be cute and sexy too! You (and your partner) will be pleased to know that nursing bras are not all plain and matronly. From lace cup to lace trim, your nursing bras can be just as flirty as your regular bras!

9)     Accessibility is one of the most important factors in a nursing bra. There are a variety of closure styles including cup clasps and hook-and-eye front closures. Play around with which style best suits your needs.

10)You should replace your nursing bras about every six months or when they have lost their shape and support.

For more information about finding the right nursing bra fit, breastfeeding tips & advice from Leading Lady’s lactation consultant, a downloadable breastfeeding handbook and our nursing blog, visitLeadingLady.com and follow us on Twitter @LeadingLadyBras and Facebook.com/LeadingLadyBras.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

National Breastfeeding Month Guest Post: Leticia's Breastfeeding Story

           As you all know, August is National Breastfeeding Month. I was originally planning to post just seven breastfeeding stories in honor of World Breastfeeding Week. However, I received more than seven stories so I have decided to continue the celebration for the rest of the month. Yesterday, I posted Jo Ann's story here. Today, we get to hear from one of Jo Ann's daughters, Leticia. Here is her story:

It was just the three of us till fairly recently….Just the three of us….for the first three years of motherhood it was my breasts and my daughter AlmaLuna….then for another eight years my daughter and me. I say this in this way because truly for the first three years it was all about the breasts and Luna…in the most natural of ways, mind you. Other than the fact that I became a single mother during this early period, it was also because I breastfed on demand…so yes, it was about my breasts on and off all day long….naturally and subconsciously. But this was also perhaps because it was part of a whole style of early child rearing that had been more of a conscious decision to begin with. I had decided after much self-reflection during what proved to be a very trying pregnancy, that I not only had to find a method or combination of methods that I was comfortable with but also find one that would suit what could be potentially (and became) a lone parent experience away from direct family as I was to live across an ocean and sea from direct and extended family. I decided to do what I called the tribal method…that I had witnessed in my travels and in my studies…but that had a more academic name, The Continuum Method, championed by Jean Liedloff in her 1975 book The Continuum Concept.

           This concept is based around studies into evolutionary psychology, hunter-gatherer culture, sociobiological behaviour etc… It outlines that baby humans should, amongst other things, be given immediately to their mother (or in her absence a mother figure-could be male too!) and breastfed , held and carried around till they can climb down and crawl away of their own volition. Co-sleeping, responding to  the child´s body signals without judgement and instilling by example a sense of elder expectation in the child to form part of the social habitat they have been born into are all essential parts of this “method”. I agreed in most part and, though I believed it a hard one to follow in the modern dog eat dog world of individualistic society, I thought it would suit me and the kind of life I would lead, especially as a single parent…my social circle would be like a surrogate family and my adult life would not be able to simply stop, we would both have to adapt.

         So I just did what came naturally…I was child led possibly to the eyes of others who only saw me breastfeed on demand and not have a socially acceptable baby routine or set nap times etc…but, in actuality my life was very adult led…it was real…a combination of both. Luna breastfed when she asked for it as long as it was humanly possible…she got herself into a routine but would comfort feed between regular feeds. She ate mushy solid food earlier than other babies we knew on formula, but was still avidly breastfeeding. Needless to say she had a laughing Buddhist monk statue quality about her persona…physically and personally. And so many people thought she was bottle fed because she was so strong and healthy looking. They were often shocked to see or know that she was breastfed. I in turn was shocked to think someone would think breastfed babies would be emaciated! Even the “health visitor” (in the UK this is the lady who takes over after the midwife and gives wellness checkups and advice to new infants and mothers) said after 6 months that maybe I should consider giving up the breast as she was already eating solids and seemed so healthy and maybe to supplement with a bottle, that demand feeding was spoiling her!! I was horrified and quickly brought her a stack of Breastfeeding Coalition pamphlets and a copy of my continuum method book. I ended up not ever going back to her…she, I believe, was secretly glad.

          So here I was, co-sleeping, breastfeeding on demand, and carrying my child around in a sling or tribal band all day long wherever I went (only using umbrella buggy when shopping in order to use her as a counterweight to carry bags home!). Needless to say most people, even fellow mothers at the baby and parent groups I frequented, thought I was some sort of self-righteous massoquist anarquist though I never tried to indoctrinate anyone, in fact I was very supportive of everyone´s choices…but it seems that even just setting silent examples are often louder than one thinks or others want to see and hear! They were shocked I didn´t pump and that nobody had fed her a bottle EVER. They were shocked that I only had one cupboard with a child safety lock (the meds and poisons) and that other than a mesh gate at the top of the stairs and safety plugs in the sockets, the house was just a landmine of potential disasters….to them mainly breakables of course! I tried to explain that Luna only played with, chewed up and promptly spit out rubber nipples so bottle feeding was out whether expressed or formula. As to the house,  I just preferred Luna to learn that some things needed a careful touch, or that they needed to be respected as someone else´s  belongings or treasures, and only to be touched with permission than to just have everything put up on the top utmost shelf and for the child to think they were brought up in a museum. She also had to learn by making mistakes, letting curiousity lead her to breaking something, and I had to be ok with that too. As to safety, I felt she needed to learn what household danger was and to avoid it as this was her environment. Children who know how to use kitchen knives won´t run around with them pointed at their faces going “mommy what´s this!”. If I had lived on a farm then she would have been exposed to those dangers in a guided way and taught how to avoid them. A house was no different. Fencing a kid in, is not helping them survive.

          I took this same view on breastfeeding… I figured, if it is not bothering me to feed when she needs or wants it, then why not? It was funny to me that some people, very educated people even, would say to me that what I was teaching her was to be demanding. Implying that demand feeding would automatically raise Verruca Salt, an I want it and I want it now type child. This could not have been farther from the truth. She was independent and polite from the get go…and has continued to be so. As soon as she could climb down and crawl away she did….even if she crawled back as soon as she needed just a sip for reassurance and then back off again! She walked before she was one and then still slept on my back or helped out while I did errands or accompanied me to (decaf) coffee with friends or to the cinema screenings that they would do at noon for mothers with infants at our local picturehouse, or breastfed to sleep into the late night council meetings when I campaigned for recycling collection in my neighbourhood. She learned to be a human in the world because of her inclusion into it. Through those activities alone, she learned by osmosis how to hang out with girlfriends and be supportive, to love film and be an activist, for example. Things she enjoys to this day!

          She never had separation anxiety when she did her first days at the Montessori inspired preschool she attended in the mornings. I had taken her there BECAUSE of her independence and her strong social character that really sang out for other kids and grownups. All of her friends went there too and we were all, parents and kids, her tribe. She was 2 and a half then and still “on the breast” as I breastfed her till she was about three. The end happened like it started, naturally. She was co-sleeping , remember, so it had to be combined “sleep on your own and wean yourself”…no easy feat! In the end it was also, sleep dry through the night  (as she had potty trained herself by just after one but was wearing pull up terry cloths at night)…it happened all at once it seemed…or within weeks of each event. Being a single parent was hardest at this stage because in the middle of the night she was used to rolling over and helping herself…hence allowing me to sleep relatively undisturbed or at least not to have to fully wake up in the night. I could go to bed late and sleep in late, that was the beauty of co-sleeping and breastfeeding on demand. While taxing on my body to some degree, of course, I did not feel as sleep deprived as my fellow parent friends, that was for sure. She slept in her own bed on the floor in her own room much easier than anyone would have had me believe…she then promptly decided she would only have a sip of milk late at night before bed and if she hurt herself really badly…but that only lasted a few weeks. And then BAM! My boobs were mine again!! Though every time I walked into her room naked I still felt like a girl walking past a building site in a bikini. Her eyes would flicker with longing melancholy for a few seconds…and then she would just get on with what she was doing.

         And now as I write this I am forced to look back and think…would I do anything differently? Would I have been more professionally independent had someone else been able to feed her for me? Would I be richer? Would she be different? The answer to all of those is yes. I would not have sacrificed my career goals perhaps as much. Breastfeeding meant I did not tattoo for three years. But I did a lot of other things, important things. Community oriented things that really mattered. I mothered. I nurtured.  Richer? On an economic level, yes! On a human level, no! And yes, Luna would be different…she would be ok…she would be maybe even marvellous…many, many kids who are not breastfed on demand and have not co-slept, whose parents have not followed some bonkers evolutionary method of early childrearing have grown up to be just fine…more than just fine, great! But she would be different for sure…I believe that in my very gut. She is empathetic and mature like few kids of her age that I know, she knows how to use a knife and to take care of herself, she knows how to shop and to manage money, she is tactile and has great control of the senses, she is independent and is able to maneuver now as a teenager in an age appropriate manner in the world around her…which is largely an adult world. She was slowly and naturally inducted, initiated, into the human race…at a combination of paces, her own age needs and the environment´s demands… Back then she seemed clueless to the horrified stares and oblivious to the admonishments of other adults to my style of breastfeeding etc.. Now, she is properly mortified when anyone finds out she breastfed that long, slept with her mother, and was carried on her back till she was three…but secretly I think she is proud…and even at 13 she still cuddles and crawls into bed and holds hands when she walks down the road with me…so, it couldn´t have been THAT bad.

About the Author:

Leticia Molera Vasquez is mother to a teenager, anthropologist, tattooist, writer and teacher.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

World Breastfeeding Week Guest Post #7: Jo Ann's Breastfeeding Story

          Today is the final day of World Breastfeeding Week, I hope you have all been enjoying the stories shared in celebration of this wonderful week. The following story was submitted by a friend of my mother-in-law, Jo Ann, who also kindly sent me the book, Breastfeeding Made Simple: Seven Natural Laws for Nursing Mothers by Nancy Morbacher and Kathleen Kendall-Tackett, when Daniel was born. This book was amazing and helped me a lot in the beginning, especially since I had no nursing family members or friends to ask questions of at the time. Thank you very much for the book, Jo Ann, I now recommend it to all of my pregnant friends who are considering breastfeeding. Without further ado, here is her story:       

          Four out of five of my girls have had children and all four of the moms have breastfed their children.  Back when our youngest was in college and got the opportunity to study abroad for one semester, she emailed for a bunch of articles on breastfeeding, the cultural influences mothers, the anthropological angles, etc. She was writing a paper on breastfeeding, of all things.  During this particular email sojourn, I remembered thinking back to when I became pregnant with my first child and whether nursing was a conscious decision or just one that came about naturally.  

          I did not have any recollection of weighing the pros and cons of formula vs. breast milk.  I also did not have the advantage during the first seven months of my first pregnancy to hit my mother up with a million questions.  We lived overseas and my parents lived stateside---snail mail was the principle means of communication as there was no internet, cell phones, etc., and overseas calls cost a fortune.

         In hind sight, I think ignorance was bliss.  By the time we moved home two months prior to the birth of our daughter, I had already determined to nurse.  I think I thought that MOST moms did---that's why I say "ignorance is bliss."  It was only after I was well past the early days of being a new mother that I quizzed my mom on her breastfeeding experiences.  Our daughter was born with hip dysplasia, so my focus in those early days was eating, sleeping, nursing and regular trips to the pediatric orthopedist for fittings for a hip brace and check ups.  

          When my mother was having her babies, the trend was:  nurse about six weeks and then change over to the "pre-formula" concoctions they use to make at home which was some combination of Karo syrup and Pet Milk  (canned, condensed milk).  Holy mackerel, it's no wonder some of us grew up to be "chunky"!!!!!  Physicians were not particularly encouraging of breast feeding---moms were encouraged to do what was convenient for them.  I truly believe that if they had had access to the information we have today, more moms would have breastfed.

          Keep in mind, too, that having a wet nurse was a practice that came out of aristocratic European cultures, and I think that concept was what gave birth to generational ignorance in the breast feeding department.  So called "wealthy" women didn't "nurse".  That was a "primitive" practice used by the lower classes.  After World War II, with so many women having gone to work in factories or volunteering in hospitals during the war, nursing took an even bigger hit.  That's when all my siblings and I were born---I guess we are officially baby-boomers!!!

          But, like any trend, the pendulum always swings way to the other side when things begin to change.  The pendulum never stops in the middle ground, initially.  So, when I was nursing my children, there were some pretty rabid types out there making lots and lots of folks uncomfortable.  I never ran in to too many of the real radicals, but I knew of them.  And I think, in their enthusiasm to correct society's way of thinking, they made lots of moms feel guilty.  

          I am truly passionate about the "rightness" of breast feeding, but I have tried very hard to just lead by example...and occasionally giving new moms breastfeeding books!!!!   It is interesting, but my youngest daughter, Gillian, who has a whopping 2.5 month old BIG BOY, is changing the mentality of her mother-in-law and grandmother-in-law.  Oh, they are very supportive of Gillian, and recognize that she is a fabulous mother.   But they actually have commented to her on several occasions that they wish they had nursed their children, seeing how efficient it is, how content the baby is, and just how appreciative they are of the maternal bonding they are witnessing.  They also see how supportive dad can be doing lots of other things that can help mother and child.  (That dad has to give the child a bottle is one of those excuses that really burns me up!!!!)

          Another one of my daughters used to regularly inform people, usually when they were commenting on a bumper sticker I used to keep on my kitchen cabinet, that Jo Ann Molera's daughters WOULD all nurse their children.  I never put pressure on my girls to nurse....but they knew my thoughts on the subject very well.  I used to be part of a breast feeding task force here on the Eastern Shore of Virginia but that kind of went by the wayside when the physician who organized it moved to Charlottesville, VA.  I tried to keep the task force going but I had no real credentials to be the driving force behind it other than the fact that I had been a nursing mother.

          Our local hospital still gives the new moms a diaper bag with a can of formula in it----happily supplied by some formula company.  I don't think any real organized effort has been made to point out to them that supplying a new mom with formula is a great way to get her "hooked" on the practice, even when she has originally said that she wants to nurse her baby.  Also, the practice of sending moms who want to nurse their children home after 24 hours  (barring any complications), with no lactation support, is the death knell for a successful breast feeding experience for that mom.  It takes a lot of perseverance to hang in there, especially if the new moms do not have any support from their mothers, either because their mothers didn't nurse, or because they actually have cultural prejudices against nursing.

          We are having a disposable diaper drive at our church for our local health department and Rural Health clinics.  The cost of using disposables is astronomical, as you well know---as is the cost of formula.  It blows my mind that there is no public campaign putting two and two together:  Using formula and disposable diapers is THE most expensive route a young family can take----so why take it?  Children are NOT convenient---get over it and get on with the raising of them.  That's my story and I 'm sticking to it!!!

About the Author:

Jo Ann is a mom to 5 grown daughters and enjoys spending time with her many grandchildren.

Monday, August 6, 2012

World Breastfeeding Week Guest Post # 6: Veronica's Breastfeeding Story

          The following story was submitted to me by one of my readers, Veronica, who also blogs at Squigles & Wiggles. It is the story of her experience nursing her baby boy, I hope you all enjoy it.

Free Range Baby


I found out I was pregnant with my little bundle of joy in January of 2011. My husband & I were beyond excited! I knew long before we even thought about having kiddos that I would be a nursing mama & that there would be nothing to get in my way.

Growing up I had a stay at home mom & my parents emphasized a natural & healthy lifestyle. To me, nursing goes hand & hand with exactly that! My son is the most important thing in my life, so why wouldn't I want to give him the best? He sure deserves it!

I made it well known through out my doctor visits & once we were in the hospital that I would be solely nursing my son. I nursed my son within about 30 minutes of giving birth & he latched on fabulously & ate like a champ. I thank my amazing nurses for helping me out & I'm glad I did my own research on it as well. Sadly, shortly after being transferred to a postpartum room, I had difficulties. I honestly contribute a majority of that to the horrible horrible nursing consultant. She was rude, very pushy, rough & rushed me. After having her come into my room 3 times, I told my nurse that I didn't want her anywhere near my son, my boobs or room again! I decided that I would figure this out on my own because it was my body & my baby to start with, so I knew what worked best for us. I found a comfortable position for my son & I after a couple tries & it was a success! He was an eating machine from that point on!

After we returned home I continued to nursing my son & being a newbie mom, the experience was amazing, difficult & emotional. I would've never expected it to contribute so much to the strong bonding experience for us, nor did I expect the pain of it. The first few weeks were the most difficult but worth every ounce of nipple cream & shields. My husband doubted my milk supply because we went through many stages of cluster feedings. I knew that he had PLENTY of milk, mainly because he had normal wet diapers & I couldn't use nursing pads in my bra, but had to wash clothes because of how much I was making.

My bouncing baby boy is a boob baby all the way! Most of the time I feel like an open buffet but he's getting the best possible in the world & that is all that matters. He still goes through spurts of cluster feedings, short feedings, long feedings, & every other kind of feeding that you can think of. He is free to eat as much as he wants whenever he wants & that is perfectly okay with me. He never took to a bottle & is with me 24/7, so I know he is always getting exactly what he needs.
I know in my heart that I am giving my son the best I have to offer, after all he'a human so he needs human milk! I would've done everything in my power to give him his baby milk (that's what we call it).

I really encourage new moms to not give up on nursing. It is hard but it's so worth getting through those first rough weeks. There are so many amazing services that can help you out if you are having problems or even have questions. All I have to say is don't doubt yourself, your supply or your baby. Nursing babies don't eat on a normal schedule & never will, so don't listen to what others are telling you. If your little one is having plenty of wet diapers then they are getting enough. Most importantly find what works for you, positioning your little one is key & when you both are comfortable then it'll be a peaceful & amazing experience. There is nothing better than bonding with your little one!

NEVER give up on what is best for your little one! They are so important & worth it XOXO


        This story was also posted by Veronica at Squiggles & Wiggles, you can find it here. Thank you very much for sharing your story with us, Veronica.

About the Author: 

Veronica is a wife and stay-at-home mom of one precious baby boy. She enjoys making crafts and sells handmade items. Veronica also blogs at Squiggles & Wiggles. Please check out her blog.


Sunday, August 5, 2012

World Breastfeeding Week Guest Post # 5: Amanda and Noah's Breastfeeding Story

          The following is my friend Amanda's story about her experience breastfeeding her second child, her son Noah (you may read about Amanda's experience nursing her daughter here): 


                     The Story Of Noah.  

         Fast-forward 16 months after my first was born and we were welcoming our second blessing,my son! his birth experience was just as beautiful AND I was even able to have him at the birth center.   Let me tell you about patience, you really learn it so much when you have your second.  Since I was more experienced at nursing (unlike when I had my first) I had that part down, no more long frustrating nights.We started off wonderfully, just a little while after his birth, he was nursing effectively!

          Three Days into nursing,everytime I would nurse him it would be SOOOO painful on my one side.  It was so cracked and sore, oh my gosh, worst pain ever! Thank God it was only on one side. I'm so thankful this was my second and I had already attained so much information on nursing that I sucked it up for a few days and, when he was about 2 weeks old, it was such a pleasure to nurse again.It was so worth the pain because now he is still nursing strong and he will be 1 year old on August 14!  I really do hope that he will continue until at least two or three with nursing as I just love the attachment I have.  He always wants me and I personally LOVE that.  

          Thank you again for taking the time to read my story!  I hope it encourages you, if you are struggling with nursing or planning on nursing, to push through the hardest time, the first few weeks.  Have support from other Breastfeeding Mama's and a firm set answer of YES I WILL NURSE and be that woman of your word, you are/will do great!



About the author:


Amanda is wife to Pete and mother to Ava, 2, and Noah, 11 months.



Saturday, August 4, 2012

World Breastfeeding Week Guest Post #4: Amanda and Ava's Breastfeeding Story

          The following is my friend Amanda's story about her experience breastfeeding her first child, her daughter Ava:
         
          This is my story of breastfeeding.  It will be short, sweet and simple, because when you have 2 children under 2 that is all you can do.  

          My daughter, who is now 2 years old, was born in April.  What a beautiful birth experience I was able to have in the hospital (although I was supposed to have her in the birth center, but that's another story for another day. Overall, I am very thankful I had great care.  

          I remember when we were planning for her welcome into this world, I made sure I was going to nurse.  I heard so many stories of women who chose to stop, couldn't nurse, didn't even want to try…the list goes on. I would slowly get "discouraged" but made it a priority that I wasn't even going to have a bottle in my home.


         The day she came was so amazing.  I was able to nurse her pretty much within the first 30 minutes after birth, it was such a special thing.  In the hospital I remember the nurses would tell me all the time, "wake her up even if she doesn't want to eat, offer her the breast every 2-3 hours."  We didn't have too many issues in the hospital since we had the lactation consultants only a room away.


          When we brought our sweet little blessing home, the first few nights were pretty rough.  I remember just getting SO frustrated because she wouldn't latch on for what felt like 10 minutes and then she would just start screaming.  My husband and I would get so upset with each other.  Thankfully that only lasted a few weeks and then we pretty much had it down.  I didn't even know what it meant to have sore/cracked nipples.I never had to use lanolin, I DID have to use nursing pads,a lot of them!  Pretty much, my experience was wonderful with nursing and I was so upset when she self weaned at one year due to my pregnancy with our second child.  (I really wanted her to nurse until at least two -three).  

Thank you for taking the time to read my story!  


About the author:


Amanda is wife to Pete and mother to Ava, 2, and Noah, 11 months.



Friday, August 3, 2012

World Breastfeeding Week Guest Post #3: Jennifer's Breastfeeding Story

          This is my friend Jennifer's story about how breastfeeding her daughter, Kennedy, taught her that things don't always go as planned. Jennifer stuck to her beliefs and fought really hard to make sure Kennedy had only her milk. Here is her story:


         While I was pregnant with my first I was dead set that I would breastfeed my daughter, Kennedy.  In my mind, there were no other options.  Someone gave me a bunch of bottles and a pump, which I gratefully accepted and put in the closet, thinking that I may pull them out in a few months when I was ready to leave her with Grandma for a few hours.  

          The day she was born, my world was turned upside down.  My midwife told me she suspected that my daughter had Down syndrome.  She was transferred from the birth center to the NICU.  This was not part of the plan.  From the moment I got to the NICU I was told things like "babies with Down syndrome can't breastfeed" and "you'll have to supplement with formula." I was shocked and discouraged.  The nurses and even the lactation consultants were not very supportive of my determination to breastfeed.  Hours after being admitted Kennedy was diagnosed with a heart defect, which would require open heart surgery just months later.  I set to work pumping and breastfeeding around the clock from the day she was born.  The nurses in the NICU continued to push formula to *get us home sooner.*  I never gave in.  My daughter could breastfeed, and at the very least, she would get my milk.  I pumped and we fed her with bottles in the NICU, to get home faster.  Once home, it was a battle to get her to breastfeed, but one I did not give up on.  I continued to pump and breastfeed.  Fortunately my milk supply was amazing.  By the time Kennedy was two weeks old she wasn't gaining much weight.  Her heart was working harder and harder and she needed more calories.  The doctors wanted us to add formula to her breastmilk.  I fought and fought.  I did everything I could to increase the calories in my milk, through dietary changes.  And when that didn't work, I fought hard against the cardiologist to find some other way.  We agreed to using oil to increase the calories she was getting.  So I used coconut oil, and protein powder.  I still breastfed a few times a day and she got bottles with the "extras" the rest of the time.  

           By the time she was three months old she had been in heart failure for 2 months and her surgery date was quickly approaching.  It was critical that she gain as much weight as possible.  It was a difficult decision, but I knew I had to do what was best for Kennedy.  I stopped breastfeeding, and continued pumping, she moved to a level 2 nipple and received all her feelings by bottle.  She didn't have to work as hard to get the milk.  She took in more ounces per day this way, burned less calories, and she would be better prepared for surgery.  I never imaged that the hand me down pump I received, and pushed into the closet would have been such a life line for us from day one.  I continued to pump and pump, making triple what she was eating in a day.  When Kennedy was 4.5 months old she had open heart surgery to repair her heart defect.  She was a superstar and in less than two weeks she was eating twice what she used to and gaining weight in record amounts.  We no longer needed to supplement her milk.  I tried so hard to get her to breastfeed again, with out success.  

          I was determined that I would continue pumping, and that I did.  Until she was eight months old and I got pregnant again.  I planned to continue pumping, but after experiencing complications early on, I was advised by my midwife to stop.  I was heart broken.  Though I had no reason to be.  I had two deep freezers full of 5,000 ounces of breastmilk.  I knew i had enough of a supply to get her to at least a year, and as it turned out, she was able to have my milk until she was 16 months old.  

          Kennedy quickly taught me that life doesn't always go the way you plan for and things change.  I had to do things differently than I originally wanted to.  I never would have imagined myself exclusively pumping, and I was sad that we didn't get to have the strong breastfeeding relationship that I had dreamed of.  I'm still disappointed in all of the doctors and nurses who tried to push formula and said that she "couldn't breastfeed" or that I would never be able to pump enough to give her all the milk she needed.  Kennedy and I proved them wrong.  I'm thankful for the support of my midwives and doula, especially in those first few weeks.  They were a huge source of encouragement and support during the time we spent in the NICU, the first few weeks home, through providing her with additional calories alternatively and in trying to resume breastfeeding post-op.  


About the author:


Jennifer is a wife to her husband Marlon and stay at home mom to her sweet little girl named Kennedy. She is expecting a little boy named Caleb any minute now. Read more about Jennifer and her family on her blog at http://lifeasweknowit-jenniferm.blogspot.com/ (you'll get to see adorable pictures of Kennedy).

Thursday, August 2, 2012

World Breastfeeding Week Guest Post #2: Gissele's Breastfeeding Story

        The theme for World Breastfeeding Week this year is "Understanding the Past, Planning the Future" and I feel my friend Gissele's story is a good illustration of this. The system failed her with her first child and that, along with her lack of knowledge, caused her to turn to formula to feed her child. She now understands what went wrong in the past and is seeking to arm herself with the tools needed to successfully breastfeed her second child. Here is her story:


          This is my experience with breastfeeding my daughter Lilyanna. Giving birth is one of the most beautiful experiences a woman can go through. When I saw my daughters beautiful face after I gave birth, I just fell in love. I didn't know then that it was important to breastfeed as soon as I gave birth. The hospital waited forever to let me hold my daughter because I was in recovery  for a while. When  they brought me upstairs to my postpartum room and they brought me my little girl, I decided to give it a try . 


          Well, this is how it went. Lily had a hard time latching on. When she did, it hurt and I was so tired and sore. The hospital staff wasn't really good help with breastfeeding, or anything else for that matter. When I asked for help with anything, it took forever for a nurse to come to my room. One time, I dropped the baby's hat on the floor and a nurse refused to get me a clean one. I had to speak to another nurse, who happened to be her supervisor, in order to get a new one. I remember one nurse telling me that I could sit my baby up and feed her from an open bottle. I felt so overwhelmed that I  kind of gave up and decided to give her formula. I remember they sent a lactation consultant  and I tried again but I just didnt know how to position her. It was too hard and the help I received was minimal. My whole hospital experience was a nightmare. I was in a lot of pain and requested that they check me at Lily's 2 week appointment and it turned out they had left 3 pieces of gauze inside of me!

          When I got home, I tried pumping a few times. My breasts felt engorged and sore. I kept  trying to latch Lily but it was just too painful. My family didn't know much about breastfeeding as they raised children in a time when breastfeeding wasn't common and they were not very supportive of my breastfeeding either. I sometimes feel like a failure for giving up. I should've gotten more help but I all I know is that I tried! I didn't have all the information, help, or support that I needed at the time. I also felt like I was in a kind of stressful environment and I know that babies can sense everything so maybe that affected our breastfeeding as well. 

         I am pregnant again with my second child now. I'm doing my best to get well informed because I am definitely sticking to my guns this time and not giving up because I know my child needs all the nutrition he or she can get! I have been asking my breastfeeding friend questions and doing my research on breastfeeding and what help is available in my area in case I need it when the baby is born. I understand how important breastfeeding is now and I won't fail my baby this time. Without a doubt, if I feel overwhelmed or like I want to quit this time,I will seek help and not give up.





About me:


My name is Gissele and I'm the mother of a soon to be 4 year old daughter name Lilyanna. I've been married for 8 years to my wonderful husband and I'm a stay at home mom. I recently lost 50lbs and then found out I am pregnant with my second miracle. I'm currently around 19-20 weeks pregnant and anxiously waiting on his/ her arrival. I'm willing and  totally ready to  take the challenge of raising a toddler and a newborn.  Im also willing to  try breastfeeding once again. I feel it is so important for babies to receive the best possible nutrition there is and all of that can be found in breast milk.I feel so blessed because God has given me the opportunity to become a mother once again. I didn't think I would be able to conceive again but, thanks to God and my weight loss, my prayers have been answered. 

World Breastfeeding Week Guest Post #1: Paula's Breastfeeding Story

          August 1st-7th is World Breastfeeding Week and the month of August is National Breastfeeding Month. To celebrate, I will be posting some of my friends' and readers' stories about their breastfeeding experiences here everyday. To kick this series off, here is my friend Paula's story:


                                       My Breastfeeding Struggles

          After 8 hours of labor and four hours of pushing, Rafael was born 12/22/11 at 09:51am, a beautiful baby boy-6lbs 5oz, 19.5 inches. What else could we want from life? Chris and I were the happiest we have ever been. We already had so many plans, I was going to breastfeed and do everything the natural way. Anything I decided, my husband always had my back.

          Due to my gestational diabetes and the water being tinged with meconium Rafie had to be checked by NICU. It was just a few minutes but it felt like a lifetime not knowing if my boy was okay or not.  After being checked, my baby was handed to me and our skin to skin time started. For some reason, Rafie didn’t latch on but I got to spend precious moments with my child. After skin to skin time he was bathed and we were transferred to our postpartum room.

          Once in our room, I immediately started breastfeeding Rafie but, for some reason, he only seemed to grab the nipple. I asked the lactation consultant in the hospital about this and she said it was okay and that babies take time to learn how to suck appropriately.  I breastfed my child every 2 hrs for 15-20 minutes like I was told to do, the last thing I wanted was to give my baby a bottle.

         That night, the baby wouldn’t stop crying. I tried latching him on but he didn’t seem to want to eat. He was just crying and crying. Finally, we decided to call the nurse because something may be wrong with the baby. The nurse came in and said I probably wasn’t producing enough, that some babies need more than colustrum to be satisfied. She grabbed a bottle and the baby started drinking like there was no tomorrow. It totally broke my heart!!! That’s the first time my eyes teared up, I had no idea what was coming.

         The next day 12/24/11, we went home. Once home, I kept offering Rafie the breast and he would barely grab it but I thought he was getting enough. He had enough wet diapers and he would fall sleep after 15-20 minutes of nursing.That night he started crying and crying. I thought he had gas or colic. But nothing seemed to help. My husband said maybe he’s hungry but I said he had just breastfed. He asked me if he should make him a bottle, and I agreed and once again he started sucking like there was no tomorrow. I hated to see him sucking that bottle like that. That night we had to give him another bottle and we gave him some more as the days went by. However I would always wake up and try breastfeeding him first before giving him the stupid bottle!

         The 27th was his first pediatrician appointment. I told them the baby was having problems latching on. The physician's assistant (PA) told us it was normal and that we had to supplement with formula because he was too small at only 5lbs 15oz.  It was heartbreaking to know I wasn’t making enough for my boy. We had to go to the pediatrician almost every other day. They kept changing his formula, he didn’t seem to tolerate any of them well. He went from Similac to Enfamil to Gerber Good Start and, finally, Similac Sensitive. It was a nightmare! All I wanted was to give him Mommy's milk!

          The next day, my milk came in. I tried pumping but would only get 2-5 mls. It was the most frustrating feeling I ever had. Before every bottle, I would try to nurse Rafie but he wouldn’t take the breast. Two days later, we went to a follow up with the pediatrician, and they told us to keep supplementing.Every night, when he wouldn't latch on, I would cry my eyes out because of what a horrible mom I thought I was.

          After having all of these problems, I decided to call my friend Taisha. She had a baby that she was happily breastfeeding, maybe she could teach me a thing or two. She told me about the nipple shield and explained how to use it. She also told me what things to drink and to eat to increase my milk supply.  My baby finally started laching on with the nipple shield.

          That Sunday, I called my local  La Leche League leader. While talking to her I began to cry and couldn’t stop.  She told me to start drinking tea  and to go to the meetings.

         At my two week postpartum appointment, on a Friday, the midwife asked me how things were going with the baby and I broke down crying because he wasn't taking my breast and I was supplementing more than I wanted to. She recommended a lactation consultant. That Friday afternoon, the lactation consultant, Maria, came to assess me and the baby. Everything looked okay, he had a beautiful suck but just didn't seem to grab the breast like he should. She ask me if I had ever seen the baby stick his tongue out. Come to think of it, I hadn't! She said the baby was probably tongue tied and to have the pediatrician assess him and get me a referral for a Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) doctor. That Monday, we went to the pediatricians office and got our referral. That day I called every ENT office and got an appointment for Wednesday. That Wednesday, Dr. Sugrue took a look at my boy and said there was no doubt, he was tongue tied. He said he would clip it a bit but, later on, he may need surgery. That day, he clipped the baby's frenulum. It broke my heart, my boy was so small and already suffering the pains of life. He cried and cried and so did I.

          When we got home that day, his latch was already better so I threw all the nipple shields in the garbage. I thought all my breastfeeding issues were solved, but boy was I wrong! Every time Rafie would latch on, it would be so painful that I thought I was going to die. It literally felt like somebody was stabbing me in the chest. I would bite my lips in pain and tear up. At least my baby was now getting my milk. He used to tuck his bottom lip in, which made it worse. The lactation consultant came once more and taught me how to breastfeed more effectively. Everything was wonderful and worked perfectly while she was here but, once she was gone, the pain came right back and his latch sucked again. Lanolin became my best friend. My breastfeeding friends told me to be strong and patient, that it would get better. My non-breastfeeding friends just told me to give him formula, that he would never know the difference! 

         I rode the pain out but my boy still wasn’t getting enough. I found myself supplementing more and more. At that point, I was about to give up. Nothing seemed to work. I was nursing Rafie every two hours, drinking mother's milk tea 4 times a day, eating lactation cookies, drinking fennel water, malta, Gatorade, fenugreek, blessed thistle, buttermilk pie, you name it, I tried it, anything to increase my milk supply. So I decided to call the lactation consultant one last time. She said I could rent a scale to see how much milk the baby was really getting and a hospital grade pump to increase my supply. So I did. The first time, after enduring 40 minutes of pain, my boy only took in 0.5 oz! It just wasn’t right! I cried out of frustration and my boy cried from hunger. He was just pacifying. While my husband fed him a bottle, I pumped using the hospital grade pump.Two hours later, I tried to feed my child again but, every time I would get him close to the breast, he would automatically start crying. It just tore me apart. While my husband fed him another bottle, I pumped once again. Every time I would feed him, he would get no more than 2-3 oz after 30-45 minutes. While I would feel like someone was stabbing me from the inside the whole time he was latched on, I tried not to stress because I knew that could also decrease my supply. On the verge of giving up, I called the lactation consultant one more time and asked her for a suggestion. She said if I wanted to I could use a supplemental nursing system (SNS) to increase my supply while baby was at the breast so I ordered it. In the mean time, I had a few blisters on my breast. They were so painful I found myself walking around the house topless because the bra would irritate them more.

          When I got the SNS, I immediately put it to use. Rafie was not too happy about it. By this time, I had changed all his bottles to slow flow bottles, he had started getting used to the breast, and I started producing a little more milk. I couldn't be happier. When thehe time came for his two month appointment, I once again saw the PA at the office but this time I was armed for her incompetence. She had previously told me that I would always have to supplement and that fixing Rafie's tongue would not fix our situation, to just give up and feed him formula! The first words out of my mouth were "He has been exclusively breastfed for the past 3 weeks! You were wrong, my baby does not need formula, I make enough for him!" She looked at me with a blank stare on her face and I had no problem reminding her of what she had said to me 5 weeks before. I guess they don’t keep notes on what they tell their patients. She just said "You’re going to have to bring him every other day so we can make sure he’s gaining weight appropriately. I told her I had my own scale, where I weighed my boy everyday at the same time and he had been gaining like a champ. Anyway, I made sure to never see her again.

          The following weeks were very, very painful. Somehow Rafie managed to make me bleed from both nipples. His latch wasn’t that good, he would tuck his bottom lip in while eating which made feeding him extremely hard. At this point, I knew what was coming and I would have a towel to grip on or I would bite my bottom lip, trying to remain calm for my boy. He would eat while I would  tear up. I was very sore, trying to keep up with a very hungry child that had been overfed with formula and now my poor breast was all he was getting. It was so bad that, sometimes, I dreaded the moment that he would be hungry again but I just kept saying to myself “this too shall pass and I will never be able to breastfeed him again, I'm doing this for him”.

          At this point, I started taking a class every Saturday and I would pump every night at 2am while the baby slept to build a frozen supply. Finally things were starting to look good, Rafie was eating and gaining weight like a champ and my pain was slowly diminishing. The time came for me to go back to work. This is the day I was dreading the most. Luckily,  my mom was the one to take care of Rafael. I had 45 oz of frozen breast milk and, after all I had gone through, that was pretty good. 

          Shortly after I returned to work, Rafael decided he didn’t want the breast anymore and he went on a nursing strike. He would not latch and he only wanted the bottle. I became a slave to the pump. I would pump every 3-4 hours after first offering Rafael the breast, of course. He would only take it at night, but I kept at it. Every day for 3 months I kept offering my son the breast in the morning, at noon, every time I was home, and when I came home from work, hoping that he would, once again, latch on. Rafael was 6months now. This is when more and more people told me to just give it up, he had already had it for 6 months. But I was not ready to give it up! 

          One morning, to my surprise, Rafie latched on for a whole 5 minutes. I was so excited I called my husband and told him all about it! Since that day, my boy has been nursing again. He nurses for a few minutes at a time because he is too busy exploring the world. He waits for me to get home from work and he falls sleep at the breast. He's now 7 months and I'm a proud breastfeeding momma. The pain has totally gone away and I will keep breastfeeding him until he's ready to wean himself off.



About me: 

My name is Paula. I'm  28 years old. I was born and raised in Medellin-Colombia and came to the USA when I was 13 years old. At the age of 23, I married the most wonderful and understanding man in the world, my husband Chris. We welcomed our first baby in December 2011, the biggest blessing of our lives. Also, in November 2011, my mom came from Colombia and she lives with us. She takes care of our son while we are at work and she is a great help. I work full time as an RN, and my husband also has a full time job. It's hard leaving the baby while going to work but we know he's in great hands. No one is better than grandma to watch and spoil her grandchildren. Family is truly the greatest gift in life.