Thursday, August 29, 2013

“If I can just make it to 3 months of breastfeeding my baby, I’ll be happy…”

         We are just about coming to the conclusion of National Breastfeeding Month and I hope you have all enjoyed the giveaways and stories as much as I have. I still have a few more posts to put up that may spill over into next month so stayed tuned for more fun. Today, we have a guest post from Anna, who really loves nursing her almost two year old daughter.


“If I can just make it to 3 months of breastfeeding my baby, I’ll be happy…”

          My baby is turning 2 next month, and I am surprised, excited, and proud to say that I am still exclusively breastfeeding her! I honestly did not know much about breastfeeding before having my daughter and didn’t really care to know anything. I just knew two things: I wanted to try to breastfeed her until she was at least 3 months old, and I didn’t want to be one of those weirdos who breastfeeds their toddler! Who does that!?! Well, I do—that’s who!

         Breastfeeding is a challenge and can be very hard, and worse, people don’t talk about how hard it can be. I can remember standing in the shower day after day saying, “I can do this. I can make it to 3 months.” Those first couple months are hard. You’re getting used to the actual act of breastfeeding, you don’t sleep, your nipples bleed or crack, and you are on demand all the time! But I would lay on my couch and breastfeed her for hours on end and feel like I had the best life anyone could ask for. Breastfeeding made me happy, and I knew it made her happy and healthy too. The first time you look down and see your baby smiling at you while she is being nurtured is a high you never forget. After getting over this “hump,” I fell in love with breastfeeding. I was sold! To this day, I always tell people, “You just need to get over that hump and I promise that you will never look back.”

          Being able to breastfeed my daughter has been one of the greatest gifts that God ever gave me. It has contributed to an indissoluble bond between us that I believe will stay strong till the end of time. I promote breastfeeding not only for this bond and for the unbelievably amazing, natural nutrients, but because it makes you stop and enjoy your time with your child. There’s really no way to rush a breastfeeding session. You must pause, sit, and look down into your baby’s eyes. . . and smile. Then, as she got older, I also learned ways to multi-task while breastfeeding! At least 75% of my emails sent are with my daughter suckling away in my lap as I communicate with clients. Who knew this was possible! However, I still sit down several times a day with her in my lap and focus on her as she nurses. Just us, mother and daughter. It teaches me to slow down and enjoy the time I have with my baby.

          I am not a die-hard advocate of breastfeeding, nor do I think it’s always the best way to care for one’s baby. I am just a mom who has had an amazing time breastfeeding my daughter for the past 2 years and watching her grow bigger in my arms each month. People ask me when I plan to stop breastfeeding, but I don’t have an answer. When it feels right, when we are both ready to move on, then we will. Until then, I will continue to cherish these sweet moments I get to have with her, because, before I know it she will be in high school, and, no, I don’t plan to be breastfeeding her in high school. 

About the Author:  

Anna is a single mom who lives in Tampa and works full time from home for a process serving company. She has one daughter who will be two in September. She is passionate about fitness, boxing and keeping both herself and her daughter on a Paleo/Primal eating plan.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Wean Me Gently

          As you all know, I am tandem nursing my 2.5 year old and 16 month old boys. I get the questions all the time, "You're STILL breastfeeding?", "You nurse BOTH of them?" "When do you plan to wean them?", "Why do you still nurse them?", "Don't they drink from a cup yet?", etc. The answers of course are, yes, I am still breastfeeding,yes, I nurse both of them, and yes, they both drink other liquids from cups. Nursing the both for this long has been hard work but well worth it. I nurse my boys for so many reasons. In so many ways it is good for them and for me as well. I plan to allow both of them to self wean when they are ready. Although I get overwhelmed at times and, sometimes, in a fit of desperation, tell my husband I feel like weaning them, I know what is best for them and fully intend to provide it. In reality, I don't want to wean them until they are ready and they are still so small, still my babies. The thought that one day they will no longer need me as much and will no longer nurse is bittersweet, Yes, I'll have more time for me, I won't be as overwhelmed and touched out, and my boys will be growing up and becoming independent, but, at the same time, it is sad to think that we will no longer have these sweet moments. I know our bond will outlast our nursing relationship and we will find new ways to connect, but, for now, I will cherish these sweet moments nursing my precious babies.

          I found this poem a while ago and, every single time I read it, it makes me tear up. It puts into words exactly how I feel when I think about our nursing relationships coming to an end. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.


Wean Me Gently
By Cathy Cardall

I know I look so big to you,

Maybe I seem too big for the needs I have.

But no matter how big we get,

We still have needs that are important to us.

I know that our relationship is growing and changing,

But I still need you. I need your warmth and closeness,

Especially at the end of the day

When we snuggle up in bed.

Please don't get too busy for us to nurse.

I know you think I can be patient,

Or find something to take the place of a nursing -

A book, a glass of something,

But nothing can take your place when I need you.

Sometimes just cuddling with you,

Having you near me is enough.

I guess I am growing and becoming independent,

But please be there.

This bond we have is so strong and so important to me,

Please don't break it abruptly.

Wean me gently,

Because I am your mother,

And my heart is tender.

Nursing my boys at Busch Gardens
while waiting for the fireworks show

Thursday, August 22, 2013

CheekyChewy Nursing/Teething Necklace Giveaway


          Tonight we have another awesome giveaway from my friend Wilda, who owns the Esty shop, CheekyChewy. Wilda is an elementary school teacher and mother of two beautiful children, Isaac, 2, and Joanelly, 7 months. Wilda likes to craft and crochet in her spare time and started her Etsy shop to make some extra money while doing something she enjoys. She makes beautiful bows for little girls as well as nursing/teething necklaces made with all natural wooden, fabric, and crocheted beads. These necklaces are the perfect accessory for keeping your little one entertained while nursing or babywearing. Not only can they be used as teethers for your little one to chew on, but they also keep twiddling hands in check and keep little one from unlatching to look around while nursing. I can't wait to get my hands on one and, when she isn't so busy and we finally get together, I will definitely be buying one! For more information, or to buy, please visit Wilda's shop by clicking here. One lucky reader will one of Wilda's beautiful necklaces. Please see Rafflecopter form below to enter. Giveaway ends Tuesday, August 27th, 2013.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Kirstan's Nursing Journey

          Today, we have a guest post by Kirstan, who was unable to breastfeed her first baby but is happily still going strong with her second, who is almost one.


Kirstan's Nursing Journey

         I always knew I wanted to be a breastfeeding mother, the mother with no shame to feed her baby anytime, anywhere. Maybe it was the rebel in me, but I knew it would happen. What I didn't know was I'd be a mother so soon in my life and be pregnant by 16. Being a young mom, as many know, is hard. The world is hard enough without having a baby to take care of while still being a baby yourself. I failed, I didn't try hard enough to nurse and there were too many people in my ear who 'knew better'. Formula won.

          Fast forward 5 years and I found out I was pregnant again. I had another opportunity to breastfeed, I WAS GOING TO BREASTFEED! My 2nd son was born and it was my chance to make it all right, to be the mother I wanted to be! I never really had breastfeeding support, in fact, my in laws think it's gross. None of that mattered. He was a champ from the second he was put to my breast, perfect latch and all. IT WAS REAL. I was nervous and a million questions ran through my head,  "Can I do this?", "Am I capable?", "Is he getting enough?" Once my milk came in, I was  MISERABLE! My breasts were so engorged that my poor baby couldn't even latch. IT HURT! It got to the point where he couldn't eat and I was losing my sanity. My mom, who was there with me on a particularly bad day, rushed to the store and bought a nipple shield and I FINALLY HAD SOME RELIEF! He could get his belly full and I could get a break from the pain! We used the shield for about 3 weeks total because he seemed to have an easier time with it then with having to 'work to latch'. It was a pain, I hated that damn thing. What I tried to do was only use it every other feeding but, at times, he just was too lazy. Finally, one day, we just didn't need it. SWEET FREEDOM! We had reached our 1st month and it was all smooth sailing from there.


          I never really had a goal when thinking I was going to exclusively breastfeed. It was always "I'm going to follow his cues". If a month, or 3 months, or 6 months, I was not the leader in this journey. My body knows more than any textbook and it's just what has always felt right. We are coming up on a year now and, honestly, there is no way I could wean him at this point in our lives. I never knew how truly amazing this experience could be. It's been a very challenging and trying road, full of ups and downs. I think formula feeding  babies has its advantages, (with my first, I was able to have more freedom because he wasn't solely dependent on me for food) but I think that having a little less freedom is worth it for the bond we've created. I'm lucky enough to say that Phoenix has never had formula and never will. I am fortunate enough that I've been able to be with my babe for his entire first year and have never had to pump. I PRAISE THOSE WHO HAVE TO PUMP because it's hard and I honestly don't know if I could do it  full time. When I'm old and gray and my babies have grown into fathers themselves, I will look back on these days as some of the best of my life, I am truly blessed.




About the Author:


Kirstan is a 23 year old Stay-at-home mama of 2 boys, ages 6 and almost 1.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Breastfeeding: From a Husband’s Point of View

          Tonight, we have a very special guest post.... from MY HUSBAND! Here is Dan's take on breastfeeding from a man's perspective. 

Breastfeeding: From a Husband’s Point of View

          My wife has been breastfeeding our oldest son, Daniel, for nearly 3 years now. To be completely honest, I was very paranoid when my wife first started breastfeeding. I felt that every single guy that passed by while she was breastfeeding was trying to get a look at her breasts. I mean men will be men, right? You see a woman, shirt pulled down, breast out in the open, you can’t help but look, right? WRONG!!! Let’s be real men, if you find breastfeeding to be even mildly sexual, you have issues. All breastfeeding is, is your baby eating/drinking the most nutritious, healthy food they possibly can be. Not only is it good for the baby but it is good for the mom as well. In fact most people didn't even realize that she was breastfeeding. I think me looking so paranoid caused more attention to us as a couple than our son actually being latched on.

          The reason that most people feel uncomfortable around breastfeeding is because they didn't grow up around it and it wasn't part of their everyday lives. The first time I can remember seeing a child being breastfed was when Taisha was pregnant and she and I were sitting in an office waiting for an appointment. The woman was sitting about 4 seats down from us when her son started to fuss. She looked at her husband for approval and then she pulled that whopper out. I mean her breast had to be an F Cup (it was bigger than the baby) and she started to breastfeed her baby. I felt very uncomfortable but at the same time compelled to look. If I felt that way, I would imagine that every guy would.

          Today, Taisha tandem nurses both of our sons Joshua and Daniel. Although it is rare that she has to nurse both at the same time in public, it does happen from time to time. I am now 100% for breastfeeding anytime; anywhere. Being that a lot of the people we know now breastfeed, I am around it all the time and don’t even notice when women are breastfeeding. I think that if our society stops making breasts such sexual objects,(don’t get me wrong, I like my wife’s breasts) and helps people understand what they are really intended for, breastfeeding will be part of normal everyday life and that is the way it should be. 

Photo courtesy of Psalm 139 Studios

About the Author:

Dan is a husband to his wife, Taisha, for 6 years and has 2 wonderful boys. He also owns a water treatment company called United Environmental Solutions. UES is a distributor for multiple different types of water treatment equipment. For more information, visit their website at http://www.waterpurificationfiltration.net.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Amber's Nursing Journey

          I hope you are all enjoying these special posts and that you are inspired by the stories that have been shared so far. Tonight we have a guest post from Amber. Here are her two very different stories, marking her journey from feeding her daughter her pumped milk in a bottle for 12 weeks, following a medicated hospital birth, to having a natural, out-of-hospital birth and exclusively breastfeeding her son.

Amber's Nursing Journey
I'm a stay at home mom of a 2.5 year old daughter named Kenady and a 13 month old son named Jaxon. Motherhood has turned me into quite the crunchy mama. I'm a huge advocate of natural birth and breastfeeding. I believe in natural healing and a traditional, nourishing diet. I enjoy cooking from scratch for my family, exercising, and being around my family. I have an extremely lovingly and supportive husband. I wouldn't have accomplished many of my goals without his support.
When I got pregnant with my daughter it caught us by surprise. We were planning a wedding that was 7 months away, I was finishing up nursing school, and was focused on studying for my state board exams and applying for an internship. I had a lot on my plate to say the least. I was interested in natural birth and had my heart set on breastfeeding! Since I had so much going on, preparing for a natural birth was not a priority. We found out at 34 weeks gestation that Kenady had an issue with her left kidney. The doctors weren't sure how serious of an issue it was, or if I needed to be induced or have a c-section. Anyway, this was my main concern the rest of the pregnancy. Switching to a midwife at that point was out of the question and so was my natural birth plan (since my OB wasn't on board with it). I ended up having Kenady in the hospital (vaginal birth with an epidural) and every thing went well with her delivery. Being a new mom and totally clueless I got caught up in the moment with a lot of family being around visiting in the hospital, new feelings (some baby blues/depression) setting in, and nurse after nurse coming in to check on Kenady and me. I forgot to nurse her for the first 3 hours. When I went to try the first feeding she was so sleepy and would barely open her mouth. I missed that precious 2 hour window after her birth. She wouldn't latch on for anything. I had lactation consultants helping every hour and no success. I panicked thinking about being alone at night without the lactation consultants to help and not being able to feed my baby. A breast pump was offered and I jumped on that! I ended up pumping and Kenady ate like a champ! I had a great supply and was so relieved to be able to feed my baby. 

Me and Kenady
I ended up renting the pump when we went home and on night 2 I was having a hard time keeping up with pumping and feeding Kenady. I hadn't built up a stash at that point. I remember thinking of giving up and staring at the sample pack of ready made formula the hospital gave me. Luckily, I stayed strong and got past that bump in the road. I ended up building a stash quickly after that. I attempted to nurse Kenady frequently but she already had nipple confusion. She would scream and shake her head back and forth when I attempted to nurse her. This was the most stressful thing I had ever done. I was so depressed that I couldn't nurse my baby. I felt so alone, clueless and helpless. I pumped every 3 hours, including through the night. I was completely exhausted. Getting up for middle of the night feedings didn't just mean feeding my baby and going back to sleep. I had to feed her, usually change her, rock her back to sleep, then stay up to pump for 20 minutes and wash my pump parts, just to get up and do it again 2.5 hours later. I felt like I was bonding with my pump instead of my baby. I remember so many nights pumping while bouncing my crying newborn in her bouncy seat with my foot. I did this for 11 weeks to the day. I started to space my pumping sessions out to get more sleep at night and that quickly made my supply drop. I tried some natural ways to increase my supply but that ended up stressing me out more which increased my depression. I finally accepted that I was going to give up and was okay with that choice. I feel good that I could at least give her a solid 12 weeks (pumped for 11 weeks + 1 week worth of frozen) of nothing but breast milk. If I could start over I would've educated myself much more, reached out for help, and most importantly gone with a natural birth. I strongly believe that would've set the foundation for a much better breast feeding experience. I never would've been introduced to the pump! I was very hard on myself and still regret not trying harder but I learned a lot from my experience and am thankful for that.

Kenady nursing Minnie Mouse
Fast forward 18 months and we welcomed our baby boy Jaxon! I did not want to make the same mistakes so planned a completely natural birth out of a hospital. I fully prepared myself for a natural birth and breastfeeding. I didn't have nearly as much going on this time around as I did with Kenady. I ended up having the most amazing birth experience I could've ever dreamt. I nursed Jaxon not even 5 minutes after he was born and he nursed like a champ! I was so happy that things went the total opposite than they did the first time around. I feared that I would have many challenges again. I avoided pacifiers and pumps at all costs and never ran into any issues with nursing Jaxon. He is 13 months now and we are still going strong with no intentions of stopping anytime soon. I listened to his cues and still do as to when he wants to nurse. Nursing on demand is very demanding and exhausting in the beginning, but its so worth it and the bond is indescribable. I love both of my babies the same but felt an initial closer bond with Jaxon because of nursing. I wish I could've had the same start with Kenady as I did with Jaxon, but I'm grateful for what I learned from my experience with her as a newborn.

Our first minutes as a family of four


Me and Jaxon
About the Author: 

Amber is a Stay-at-home mom to two beautiful children, Kenady, 2.5, and Jaxon, 13 months.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

United Environmental Solutions Big Berkey Giveaway

         
         Tonight, we have an awesome giveaway from my husband, Dan's company, United Environmental Solutions (UES). United Environmental Solutions is going on its second full year in business. They have well over 1,000 satisfied customers in four different countries. UES is a water treatment distributor for multiple manufacturers, including Berkey, Propur, Kooltek, Vitashower, Aquacera, and Leveredge (through Southeast Water Systems, Inc.). They are passionate about providing families with clean water and carry shower filters, water coolers, countertop purification systems, sport bottles, and whole house purification systems. To learn more about these awesome products, be sure to visit the UES website by clicking here. Also, like them on Facebook here. We all know every nursing mom needs to stay well hydrated so one lucky reader will win a Big Berkey countertop water purification system with two Black Berkey elements. Please see Rafflecopter form below to enter. Giveaway ends on Sunday, August 25th, 2013.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wilda's Nursing Journey: Two Very Different Stories

          As we all know, every baby and every nursing relationship is different. Some babies are calm and easy going, others require a little more attention. Some babies latch on like professionals and mom and baby have no trouble nursing, others have every problem under the sun. Here is a guest post from my friend, Wilda, about her very different nursing relationships with her two children.

My breastfeeding journey started on April 22, 2011, when my son was born via emergency C-section. He was then taken to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for being non-responsive and I didn't get to see him for the first 36 hours of his life. I "wasn't allowed" to try and nurse either because of all the medications they had me on. Of course, they gave him formula via feeding tubes to "keep his sugars up". After we were out of the hospital, our struggles continued. He never latched at the hospital and he didn't latch when we got home. In fact, he didn't latch until he was 6+ weeks old. Those first six weeks were full of tears from both of us as well as pain, engorgement, physical healing, and, to make it all worse, my body did not respond to the pump and nothing would come out when I pumped. I tried my hardest to help him learn how to latch. During that time, I met the most caring state worker I have ever encountered. Lauren Johnson helped me daily by answering questions, meeting with me, showing me new nursing positions, telling me what the best choices were if I needed to supplement, and just saying ''Good job Mama, keep going. You're almost there''. Honest and sincere support, that is all you need when you struggle during those first months with breastfeeding, which I did not receive at all from family or other friends. I just kept receiving comments like "Why don't you just leave all passion for it (breastfeeding) aside and just give him formula?", "You had formula too and you're fine'', "Stop wanting to expose yourself to people, feed him at home so he's not hungry when you go out.", or "Wait until you see a bathroom so you can feed him in there". But I was determined to help my baby learn how to latch. Around 6 weeks he just suddenly latched on and he didn't stop doing so until he was almost 20 months and I was pregnant with baby sister. He weaned himself by choice and I still miss those days but I will always treasure each and every memory I have from his breastfeeding months.
With my second pregnancy, I was even more determined to make breastfeeding the only way of nourishing my new baby. I read more literature and still kept in contact with my now amazing friend, Lauren, who never ceased to say "You got this mama". Our new baby arrived in a beautiful planned home birth and latched within minutes of being born. From that moment on, I knew she was going to be a "boobie monster". However, she had a bad latch that started hurting my nipples and, for the next two weeks, we would work on her latch during every single nursing session to make sure she was doing it right. We went through many nights where the pain of her latch was unbearable and to the point of being completely raw and bleeding but, again, if it wasn't for all the support, we wouldn't still be breastfeeding. This time around, Lauren had her hands a little more busy with her new baby boy but never stopped communicating with me to make sure I didn't quit on a bad day. I also had my husband completely on board as well as my midwife and another friend. Around 8 weeks postpartum, I suddenly did not feel any discomfort when she was nursing, she had finally latched on properly.
A month ago, I was offered a job and I took it so we had to start preparing for my going back to work. We tried so hard for J to take a bottle of breast milk or even a sippy cup. We tried and tried and tried and nothing worked. My first day of work arrived and baby girl had a rough first day but we survived. That was on Monday. Today is Friday and she's already taking breastmilk from a bottle from her caregivers and shenurses almost non stop when we are together. This whole journey has had a lot of hurdles and rough moments but we were always determined to make it work. Today baby girl is 31 weeks and we are still breastfeeding without plans to stop anytime soon. I want to say thank you to those of you that made this possible. To my husband and best friend, who was there keeping me hydrated and nourished, and would take care of toddler during those hard first weeks, my two friends, Denise and Lauren, and to every other mama that has crossed my path and has become an inspiration. Thank you. Our babies and I are really grateful for you.
My two nurslings

About the Author:

Wilda is 31 years old, is married and is mom to two beautiful babies. She is passionate about life and is against abortion. She loves to laugh, cook, and go to theme parks. She also loves music and dancing and would love to have more babies some day.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Teach Me How To Breastfeed

          I just came across the following video and I absolutely LOVE it! Inspired by the many clients she has helped as well as her own nursing experience, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) TaNefer Lumukanda decided to teach new moms how to breastfeed using a fun, catchy song. The lyrics to song, "Teach Me How To Breastfeed", consist of facts on the benefits of breastfeeding and tips to make nursing easier such as how to properly position baby, nursing on demand, etc. I really love that the video shows women of color nursing, as rates of breastfeeding tend to be lower among them and it is time for that to change. Although this song won't change everything, with it's catchy tune and fun video, I think it is a positive step towards promoting nursing as a normal and healthy part of everyday life. This is definitely a video I would love to share with all of my new mom friends, even if only to make them laugh and forget any troubles they may have in those really intense first few months.


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Wearing Is Caring Breastfeeding Advocacy T-Shirt Giveaway



  Tonight, we have a fun giveaway from Wearing Is Caring, a babywearing apparel company owned by Tiffany Rhodin. Tiffany is a teacher turned Work-At-Home Mom (WAHM) to stay home with her sweet high needs baby. She decided to venture into babywearing/ attachment parenting apparel as these things have been such a blessing in her life. She decided to share her passion for breastfeeding, babywearing, cloth diapering, and planet saving through tee shirts, tank tops, and onesies (to start with). Her business opened July 1st and has been growing ever since. She custom makes everything so we can be flexible as well! Her shirts range from around $13 for a onesie to around $23 for a woman's tee shirt with rhinestones. To check out her designs, make sure to visit her website and like her Facebook page. One lucky reader will one one of Tiffany's breastfeeding advocacy shirts. Please see Rafflecopter form below to enter. Giveaway ends this Saturday, August 17th, 2013.



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Embarassed by Hollie McNish

          For the past few weeks, the following video has been flooding my Facebook news feed. Telling the story of a mom who spent the first few months of her baby's life nursing in public bathrooms out of embarrassment, this is, by far, one of the best arguments I have heard in defense of nursing in public. The language is a little strong (not suitable for children) but her words are powerful. I loved this video so much that I did some research on the author. It turns out that Hollie McNish is not just a mom who is passionate about nursing and decided to write about her experience. She is actually a pretty talented poet and spoken word artist in the United Kingdom. She has released two poetry albums, published a collection of written poetry, and won multiple awards. Besides her own poetry performances, Hollie also runs poetry workshops and recitals for youth. Hollie doesn't just write about breastfeeding either, she speaks about other important topics such as the issue of immigration, covered in her very powerful poem, Mathematics. If you haven't yet, you should definitely check Hollie's work out at www.holliemcnish.com. Also be sure to check out her YouTube channel for more videos.


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Gissele's Second Nursing Journey

             Last year, my friend Gissele shared the story of how she was failed by the hospital staff and  that, coupled with her lack of knowledge, made her unsuccessful at nursing her first daughter. You can read that story here. She was pretty determined to do better next time. Tonight, she shares the story of nursing her second daughter.     
           On December 24th, 2012, God gave me a precious gift ! I gave birth to my beautiful daughter Kaylee. Since I became pregnant with her, I knew that I was going to breast feed. Well try to do it longer than with my first daughter and not give up. This time around, I had a better experience at the hospital and I had a lactation consultant or baby nurse. She helped me during my first few hours with Kay. She was so sweet and answered all of my questions without a problem. Kay latched on easier than Lily. Right away, I thought and said to myself "this is going to be a success!" 
          The next evening,  there was a new nurse. She had started to get her on my nerves, saying to give Kaylee formula because, if I didn't, she could become jaundiced. In my head, I just thought, "Oh boy, here we go again! Ugh!" I didn't listen ad kept nursing . Kaylee was a healthy baby. 
             When I got home, I kept nursing . It had become a little bit more of a challenge for me because I had to take care of Lily and she required so much attention as well. She missed me while I was in the hospital and had already started getting jealous. I also had people saying "You are not producing enough milk", "the baby is skinny", etc. I respected other people's opinions but I did what I thought was best for my baby and, as long as she was gaining weight and the doctor said she was perfect, nothing else mattered.
        Well, as the days passed by, I was exhausted and I was pumping more than latching. Unfortunately, 2 months later, I became lazy.Feeling exhausted and overwhelmed, I just couldn't bring myself to pump all the time and I switched her to formula. I sometimes feel like a failure because I quit once again but I did it for longer this time and I didn't quit right away like I did with Lily. All I know is that, if God decides to give me another baby, I am definitely going to try to breastfeed longer. This experience was amazing!
About the Author:

Gissele and is the mother of  two beautiful girls, a soon to be 5 year old named Lilyanna and a 6 month old named Kaylee. She's been married for 9 years to her wonderful husband and is a stay at home mom.  

Monday, August 12, 2013

Kristi's Nursing Journey

          I hope you have all been enjoying the inspiring and heartwarming stories I have been posting so far. Tonight, we have a guest post by Kristi, whose baby was admitted to the hospital shortly after birth. Here is her story of how they overcame nipple confusion early on and went on to have a beautiful nursing relationship.

I was induced on March 14th of this year at 4 days past due. We started out rough with an irregular heart rate and I was threatened with a c-section if my baby's heart rate didn't fix itself. About 13 hours later I became 10 cm and was left unchecked in excruciating pain for an hour and a half waiting on my midwife. I went on to push 15 hours into labor. Nine times and 11 minutes later my 8lb 5.5oz bundle of joy was here with us. It was so sweet to snuggle him so closely after 9 long months. We breastfed on the way to our recovery room. Breastfeeding went very well the first 2 days. He took better to the right side over the left but was thriving very well. On our second afternoon, they let us know that he was jaundiced but they weren't doing anything about it. They waited until I had discharge papers thrown in my face to tell me, "Oh, by the way, we need to admit your son to the nursery for light therapy but you are going home and there's really not a place for you to stay with him". I cried for hours and my husband brought a wad of cash to the hospital to pay cash for me to stay another night. When I asked the nurse how much it would cost to keep the room for the night, she said "Oh, you cant afford it. You need to make a college fund for your son instead". I was livid. Right then, he didn't need a college fund. He needed his mommy. 
In the end, they let me stay free of charge and with medication and meals. They told me I was only allowed to feed my baby every 3 hours and for only 45 min each. And THEN the real heartbreak set in. They forced me to bottle feed my son. He was stuck on the bottle for a week after we came home. I cried every time I tried to get him to latch. My milk had come in as we were being discharged from the hospital (day 3) and by the time I had gotten home (15 min) I had grown 2 cup sizes. I stayed engorged like this until I pumped everything. On the 5th day, I was able to feed him breast milk from a bottle and I just kept pumping every 2 hours until I was empty. On day 7, I tried to latch him again, AND HE DID IT! I cried like a baby I was so happy. He has refused a bottle and pacifier since that day.
Recently, from July 16th through July 27th, he went on a nursing strike. He refused to eat until he was completely famished. It put a really big rift in my relationship with my husband. I wanted to cry all the time and had to leave Aden with his father a few times just to go outside and cry. I wanted to give up so badly but I didn't because I knew I was giving him the best no matter how hard it was for me. Being a mother is about sacrificing yourself for your child and that's exactly what I was doing. On the 27th, it all ended and he hasn't refused since! He is actually a much happier baby now too!
The first time he latched back on after the nursing strike
About the Author:


Kristi is a 23 year old mother of one amazing boy, Aden, who is 4 1/2 months old. They enjoy their babywearing and breastfeeding adventures.

Cute Tooties Crocheting Boobie Beanie Giveaway

Stephanie
My children and I had a late night last night and I fell asleep while putting the kids to sleep and forgot to put this post up. Oops! Well, I promised today's post would be fun so here goes.... We have a giveaway today from Cute Tooties Crocheting, owned by Srephanie Otero. Stephanie is an Air Force wife and stay at home mom to 3 boys. She started crocheting during her third pregnancy, thinking she'd finally have a girl and wanting some cute handmade items for "her". Now she loves crocheting during her free time to relax. Stephanie is giving away a boobie beanie in honor of National Breastfeeding Month. Please see Rafflecopter form below to enter. Giveaway end Wednesday, August 14th, 2013. Boobie beanies can be purchased for $10 and are available in different "skin" tones. Stephanie can also make custom items at customers' request.

Stephanie's youngest son modeling
one of her creations
One lucky reader will win the boobie beanie on the right
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, August 10, 2013

From Bottle to Tap: Carol's Nursing Journey

As part of my ongoing National Breastfeeding Month celebration, today we have a guest post from Carol. Here is the story of how she persevered and, after months of exclusively pumping, finally got her baby to latch.  
I thought nursing was going to be easy. After all, we wouldn't have survived as a species if it wasn't simple, right? So, when my son was born, I hadn't bothered to do much research about it and I was in for a rude awakening. Latching was an issue from the very beginning and everyone seemed to have different advice on how to breastfeed. I went home hopeful that everything was going to work like it was supposed to. I don't know how many times I called the lactation consultant in tears the first couple of days but I finally figured out to express milk before nursing to make it easier for my son to latch. I was soaking cloth diapers before every feeding and decided to utilize those bottles they send home with you (for formula I suppose) and offer breast milk in a bottle to my fussy frustrated baby. It was like night and day, the contented, quiet, happy baby that was finally satiated. I would have done anything to keep him happy so off to the store we went for a pump. I figured it was only going to be temporary since I was determined to make breastfeeding work. 

I started pumping and giving my son a bottle, it was hard work but I knew he was getting what was best so it was worth it. Soon, I was cursing the bottles that had to be washed and dreaded being hooked up to a pump for over 5 hours a day rather than snuggling my little newborn. Why, oh why, hadn't I gotten that double pump? Baby was also sleeping longer and I had to set an alarm to wake up and pump and it seemed that no sooner had I fallen asleep than baby would wake up and want a bottle. I decided to do my research this time but I didn't find a whole lot of information on getting an older baby to latch. I had also developed a huge over supply issue as I was pumping enough milk to feed twins and then some. So, armed with what info I did find, I started trying to relearn how to breastfeed. 


I slowly worked on our latch and, once that was decent, I started to wean off the pump. It took almost two months to transition from exclusively pumping to nursing and I found I had to nurse in positions I never had thought possible to make it work. After 3 months of exclusively pumping and another 1.5 of transitioning I finally pumped my last on Jan 7th. We have faced more normal challenges since then of course: biting, distractions and of course nursing a soon to be toddler that likes to stand on his head. Just recently it was discovered that my son is lip as well as tongue tied and, as I look back, I suspect that this was the root of our troubles in the beginning. My baby is almost a year old now and I don't see weaning in our future. Breastfeeding was a bumpy road but I am so glad we stuck to it and persevered in the end.

About the Author:


Carol is a 30 year old stay at home mommy to a wonderful almost one year old boy. She loves to craft and sew and is also active in her local La Leche League and babywearing groups.




Friday, August 9, 2013

Jamie's Nursing Journey, Times Two

         Today, we have an inspiring guest post by my friend Jamie, mother of beautiful twins, Annie and June, who have been fighters from the start. Here is the story of their nursing journey so far.

          November 2011:  I was pregnant and had a beautiful plan involving a birth center, Bradley classes, doulas, midwives, a natural birth in a tub, and going home hours later with my baby. Then I had an ultrasound and saw the two sweetest blobs you've ever seen and threw all those plans out the window.

           I did not get to carry my twins to full term; I made it to 34 weeks before complications from Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome almost took the life of one of my girls. I did not get to have my natural birth; my babies were both breech. I did not get immediate skin-to-skin; baby A was born with breathing difficulties, her lungs not ready for this world, and baby B was growth-restricted and weighed just 2 pounds 4 ounces, and both were whisked to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).  Not only did my babies leave my sight during my hospital stay, but they had their own room for almost a month. But I had given up enough of my wishes during this experience, so when I was discharged, I moved in with them.

          I pumped from straight out of recovery to bring my milk in, though I ached for my babies instead. I bottled and stored, washed and sterilized. I watched, every three hours like clockwork, as my colostrum, and soon enough, milk, left a syringe and traveled through feeding tubes to two tiny tummies. Watched my tiniest baby struggle to digest it, while thanking God she had the most digestible substance on Earth to learn from. I held them close as soon as I could, carefully maneuvering many wires and tubes, and pumped while gazing into their beautiful little -- oh, how little -- faces. Upon laying them down, I went from Mama Lamb to Mama Lion  as I faced incredulous doctors, insisting on speedy weight gain and calorie counting. I advocated for my children and pushed my body to new limits: sleeping in a plastic recliner while healing from surgery, my circadian rhythms accounting for the difference between a normal beep and an alarm on the monitor; showering in the NICU lobby washroom; watching my girls being poked and prodded and all the while being loved and adored by the nurses. I sat patiently by with my pump and my jug of water, and asked and waited for the chance to breastfeed. It came at 7 days old.

Syringes filled with pumped milk
for the girls' feeding tubes

          I remember the first time I fed Annie, my big baby A, at the breast. I was ready for a fight - we WILL do this, my love - but when I placed her to my breast I melted. She was a pro, a natural; all the interventions had nothing on this little person's instinct. In that moment, she changed me, and for future moments, she saved my breastfeeding relationship with her tiny sister, June. Oh June --  it wasn't quite so easy for June. She struggled much more when it was her time at the breast. She had the most delicate flutter of a suck -- both pounds of her trying to follow Annie's lead. And then the cry. And my fear of over exerting a two-pound baby. So the tube stayed in. And when Annie and I had to go home, the bottle replaced the tube. Progress towards home, but not so much towards breastfeeding. So as scared as I was to bring this peanut of a baby home, I pushed to have her out of there. One week after Annie, at 24 days old and 3 pounds 5 ounces, June joined us.
Nursing Annie in the NICU
         While more comfortable in my element, having two babies at home was difficult, and nursing did not progress with June for some time. I missed the constant reinforcement of the nurses that I could do this and it would happen in time. Thankfully, I had endless support from friends, family, and the La Leche League, but when it came down to it in the middle of the night, it was my personal struggle. As I continued to exclusively breastfeed Annie without bottles, I would attempt to nurse June, and follow up with a bottle and a pumping session. But I was not pumping enough daily to keep up with her, and dipping into my almost depleted freezer stash would not be possible much longer. I contemplated having to make a choice to continue to nurse Annie and pump for June while also supplementing with formula. I couldn't bear the thought until a conversation with my sister left me with the mantra, "Make every drop count. Do all you can until you can't." So I relaxed and focused on what I could do right then. I held my girls constantly. I wore them. I nursed Annie and encouraged June to nurse. I poured love onto them, thick and rich.

        On July 12, everything changed. June nursed at 10am, and did not follow up with her usual hungry cry 30 minutes later. She made it 3 hours, in fact! So I just nursed her again at 1:00. And then again at 4:00. And coincidentally we were attending a La Leche League meeting that night at 7:00. I had my backup bottle of pumped milk but I did not need it -- June nursed 3 times in that meeting, and as sad as it is that I had to throw away that bottle of milk, it is because June had had her last bottle ever. She was 6 weeks old, and July 12 was my due date. And like that, our breastfeeding relationship was born.

Attempting to nurse June in the NICU
          I had other breastfeeding challenges along the way,  but they all paled in comparison to the joy of our journey, and the knowledge of the gift of breast milk. Choosing to forgo bottles gave me a unique opportunity to commit to my daughters' survival needs 24/7, which has shaped our relationship to this day. And boy is it more convenient these days! They exclusively nursed (Annie for 7 months and June for 9 months when they each took to solids in their own time) and continued to nurse just as often even with the introduction of solids until 12 months. They now nurse whenever their little hearts desire. They are beautiful, healthy, bright, and hilarious 15 month olds. They are independent but cautious. They love animals and instruments and making new friends, and at the end of the day, they are comforted at the breast. 

          I  have a deep respect for every mother's choice (because I certainly know the physical and mental strain of breastfeeding, and lets face it, motherhood in general), but that makes me no less proud -- fiercely proud -- of what I've given my children. It was the most challenging, and most fulfilling role I will ever play. And I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.I return to teaching full-time next week -- for the first time since bed rest began. I will miss the days with my girls, no doubt about it. But I don't worry about them. They are strong, they are adaptable, and best of all they have each other. And at the end of the day, they will still be comforted at mommy's breast, long after they wean.

About the Author: 


Jamie is a kindergarten teacher with a degree in cultural anthropology. She practices most aspects of attachment parenting with Annie and June and is a devoted follower of Dr. Sears. She loves animals, the mountains, singing, and playing Irish music. She lives in Riverview with the twins, her partner Neil, and her first-born babies: boxers Gabby and Ava.

Seeds of Mommy Soul Gift Certificate Giveaway


         I hope you have been enjoying my special World Breastfeeding Week and National Breastfeeding Month posts so far. To continue the celebration, today we have a giveaway for a gift certicate towards doula and/or lactation counselor services from Gaetane Joseph of Seeds of Mommy Soul
         
Gaetane Joseph is a mother of 3 who started her journey into birth during high school where she volunteered at her local hospital's Labor & Delivery. After the birth of her son in 2008, she began to provide support to mothers who had breast feeding challenges by becoming a Breastfeeding Peer Counselor. In 2010 she had a successful HBAC (home birth after cesarean) which she credits her midwife and Doula. Gaetane felt empowered and that every woman should also feel supported through such a beautiful journey in their life; thus becoming a Doula and Certified Lactation Counselor. She provides  tDoula services in hospitals, birth centers, and homes. Check out her website over at www.seedsofmommysoul.net for details on her services and to schedule your free consultation. Also, make sure to like her Facebook page here

          Gaetane has generously donated a $200 gift certificate which is good towards her doula and/or lactation counselor services. One lucky winner will receive this wonderful gift which includes a consultation, 2 prenatal visits, unlimited communication, labor support, breastfeeding support, and one postpartum visit. See Rafflecopter form below to enter. Giveaway ends Saturday, August 10th, 2013.·       

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Our Big Latch On Shirt Fiasco

          At last year's Big Latch On (the second one I participated in), I noticed a few moms and even some babies that had cool breastfeeding advocacy shirts on. I thought this was a great idea and wondered why I didn't think of doing that myself. I decided that I wanted to have cool shirts for me and the boys to wear this year. I was going to order a set of Supply (me) and Demand (the boys) shirts from Mestina's Chic Boutique but ended up having to spend the money on something else. I resigned myself to not having shirts again this year. Until I went on Facebook and saw all the pictures being posted by girls in one of my mom groups of the shirts they had made or bought for themselves and/or their children for the event. On Friday, my husband, Dan,  checked with a print shop near his work and they wanted $45 for my shirt and $35 for the boys'! I also checked with Wearing Is Caring, since I was informed that they have a new breastfeeding design. I am not fond of the "Keep Calm..." stuff going around but she also had the International Breastfeeding Symbol. However, it was just too late to order from anywhere (for a reasonable price) being that this was the day before the event. There was no way she could get me a shirt printed on time.

          Since most of the girls I knew were making their own shirts to save money, I thought maybe I could do the same. I had considered it when I realized that I wouldn't be able to order the shirts from Mestina's and we even had some iron on printer sheets but our printer was low on ink. After realizing that I would not be able to buy a shirt, I decided to give making my own another chance. I posted in the mom group and asked if anyone could help me. A really sweet girl named Yadi, who had made really cute matching shirts for her and her daughter, responded that she could make the iron on patches for me for $5 a sheet. She also told me Michael's had some plain shirts on sale for about $3. I got super excited! Daniel helped me choose which variation of the International Breastfeeding Symbol to use and what text to put on the shirts. We ended up going with the tandem nursing symbol for all three shirts. For the text, mine would read "I make milk for two, what's your superpower?" and the boys' matching shirts would read "I <3 My Mama's Milk". 

          We were meeting my friend Ashley at the children's museum that afternoon for a meeting and then to let the kids play a bit. I also had to pick up my sister from her friend's house afterwards and let my boys nap. Ashley decided that she wanted to make shirts for her and her daughter as well so we messaged Yadi what she wanted on hers. We decided the best plan would be for Ashley to meet with Yadi to pick up the iron on patches while I picked my sister up from her friend's house. We would then meet at my house to have a snack and let the kids sleep. From there, we would head to Michael's and buy the shirts and go eat at Sweet Tomatoes, then head back to my house to iron the patches onto the shirts and maybe do some crafts with the kids. Or so we thought.....

          On my way to pick up my sister, I got a call from Ashley. She was lost and couldn't figure out how to get to where she was supposed to meet Yadi and her phone was dying. She had no car charger and would have no way of communicating with me or Yadi. Ashley wanted to go home and charge her phone but Yadi was about to head out to meet her and I had to very tired and cranky kids in the car. Ashley did find her way and made it to the meeting lace but then her phone died. Yadi couldn't find her in the parking lot and we had no way to contact her. My boys ended up falling asleep in the car and, after turning down the wrong street myself, I finally picked my sister up and headed home. I was glad to receive a call from Ashley saying she bought a car charger and was able to find Yadi. We met at my house and took the kids inside once they woke up. We had some snacks to hold us over until dinner and headed out to buy our shirts. However, it was pouring outside! I mean like torrential rain! We couldn't take the kids out in that, we would all be completely soaked and freezing at the store and restaurant.

          We headed back inside to wait it out but soon it was after 9pm and Michael's closed. We ended up going to Walmart, where we thought it would be easy to find shirts. Well, it wasn't. We almost left with nothing. All the kids were tired and hungry and fussing a lot. Daniel kept running away through the store and started screaming loudly when I made him sit in the cart and we couldn't find plain, light colored kids' shirts. Finally I found baby blue t-shirts for the boys and Ashley got her daughter a white camisole and on we went to the women's section of the store. After searching and trying several shirts on, I decided on a white scoop neck shirt and Ashley got a white tank top. I wanted to match the boys but they didn't have blue in my size. Plus the white shirt seemed somewhat see-through so I ended up getting a white tank top to wear under it. Because it was so late, we decided that Dan, who met us at the store, would just buy some stuff to cook at home and we would just go to Sweet Tomatoes the next day after the latch on.

The boys' shirts
         When we got back to my house, Dan made us some really good mac and cheese. He also volunteered to iron on our patches since he had used that type of paper before and we hadn't. He did my boys' shirts first and they turned out awesome! My shirt was next and it was looking good until he peeled off the backing on the text and realized that he had ironed it on upside down! My shirt was ruined and I was disappointed but also tired and hungry so I just figured I'd wear a regular shirt. Well, my husband felt really bad and he wouldn't give up. I made a new design and he went to Walmart and bought two new shirts (in case he messed another one up, lol) and headed to Kinko's with the iron on paper to print the design. It turned out that Kinko's didn't have the right printers for that paper and couldn't do it (not to mention the weird looks he got for what he was trying to have printed!) so he decided he would just buy new ink since we need it for other things anyway. Well, they didn't have the right ink for our printer either so my husband headed back to Walmart and bought the ink there.

Oops!
         We thought everything was great until Dan tried to print and our printer wasn't working. It kept saying it was out of paper even though it wasn't. It turned out that there was a crayon stuck in it! Well, then it wouldn't suck the paper in properly and the ink was getting smudged, I'm not sure how many pieces of paper we wasted! At this point, we gave up. Then Ashley said if I emailed her the design and gave her a couple of the iron on sheets, she would try to see if her printer had enough ink to print them for me and then come bring them to me really early the next morning. My husband finally got back to finishing the other shirts. Ashley's and her daughter's shirts turned out great too. I was still the only one with no shirt and Dan felt bad. He decided to try once again before Ashley left since she would be taking our last two iron on sheets. He found another crayon jammed in the printer (thanks kids!) and removed it. Now our printer worked just fine! He was able to print out my design and even made a really cool one for himself with his company logo, stating that his company proudly supports breastfeeding! Ashley and her daughter went home at around 2:30 am and Dan finished ironing the patches on our shirts. Then I finally put my boys to sleep (they refused to sleep while we had company!).

My good shirt
Dan's shirt
          The shirts turned out super cute but the patches were pealing off of mine the next day. Yadi's shirt was peeling too. I think our big boobs were stretching it because the kids' shirts are fine. They probably won't last us very long after we wash them but I still love them. I am very, very grateful to my husband for going way out of his way to make sure I had a cute breastfeeding advocacy shirts for the Big Latch On this year. He said he will buy us screen printed shirts with the same designs for next year since these will most likely fall apart in the wash. It was super sweet and shows how supportive he is of my breastfeeding the boys! I made sure to tell everyone who asked about my shirt that my husband was up until 2:30 am making it for me.  I am so thankful to have such a supportive husband!

Us wearing our shirts
(although Joshua is blocking Dan's patch)
This is a bad picture but you can see Dan's shirt better
(this is Daniel saying "cheeeeeese!!!!")