Archive for the ‘Breastfeeding’ Category

Getting Over the Fear of Not Making Enough Milk While Breastfeeding

Monday, November 21st, 2016
getting over the fear that you aren't making enough milk

“When a baby is hungry, he tends to clench his fists tightly and bring them toward his face. If he falls asleep hungry, his fists usually stay clenched. But when he gets milk, he relaxes starting with his face. Then his shoulders relax, and finally those fists unclench. Eventually they’re as limp as the rest of him. Thing of his hands as a built-in fuel gauge.” p.120 Womanly Art of Breastfeeding

When my son was first born, we had a difficult time figuring out breastfeeding. It was challenging and stressful for both of us. In the very beginning, he lost weight instead of gaining and was extremely fussy. I contacted my acupuncturist and told her I thought my milk supply had decreased significantly. I didn’t think that I was making the amount that my baby needed and didn’t know what to do because my goal was to breastfeed until he was 12 months old. She had me come right in and she worked her magic with her needles to help get the milk flowing again, if it was true that I was having issues with my milk supply.

The amount of milk that a baby consumes while breastfeeding can be such a mystery, especially if they are exclusively breastfed like both of my children who refused bottles. It can be nerve-wracking wondering if an extra fussy baby means that they are actually starving because they are not getting enough milk. Since it was my first experience with breastfeeding, I was always seeking proof that my body was making the correct amount of milk that my baby needed.  These are some ways that eventually helped me feel confident that body was doing the job that it was supposed to, so I could get over my fear that I was not producing enough milk:

  • At breastfeeding support groups, lactation consultants weighed my baby right before I breastfed him and then immediately after.  The number of ounces that he gained was proof that he was consuming a good amount.
  • Regular wet diapers proved to me that the process was working.
  • Appropriate weight gaining was on track and was proven at regular doctor check-ups.
  • Pumping milk into baby bottles to maintain a back-up supply showed me the number of ounces that my body was producing.

With my second baby, I learned to trust the process and reminded myself regularly that my body knew how to do it and would get the job done.

Sarah Cole is a stay at home mommy to two busy toddlers.  She nursed both of her babies until they were almost 2 years-old.  Now, she wonders if her picky eaters are getting enough food at each meal.

Best Places to Breastfeed in Denver

Monday, November 14th, 2016

Denver is one of the most breastfeeding friendly places I have been.  If there’s babies, there’s moms breastfeeding!  The following are my favorite places to take my girls (and while they were still nursing, to breastfeed).

Denver Zoo 
Our favorite place to stop for a snack at the Denver Zoo is a bench watching the giraffes. I spent many breaks feeding my younger daughter while my older daughter enjoyed the giraffes and her crackers and fruit.  If you’re looking for a less public location to breastfeed, there are many less-traveled exhibits that you could nurse by. The zoo offers large family restrooms in a few locations that have chairs inside that they advertise as being breastfeeding friendly.  As I refuse to nurse in a restroom, I can’t speak on the usefulness of these areas for breastfeeding. The family restrooms are, however, great when you have a potty-training toddler and a baby that needs a diaper change!

Denver Botanic Gardens
When I was a new mom to one, I enjoyed exploring the York Street Gardens. There’s plenty of benches in the shade and off the main trails to take a quick nursing break, while enjoying the landscaping. There’s a “secret” bench in a bamboo patch that was my favorite place for a break. Across the street, the Mordecai Children’s Garden is a perfect place to go if you have multiple children. My older daughter enjoyed running around and exploring while I was nursing my younger daughter. There are multiple areas that offer benches or picnic tables in the shade.

Storytimes at the Denver Public Libraries
Denver Public Libraries have four levels of storytime (Baby storytime, Toddler storytime, Preschool storytime, and All Ages storytime).  Not only did I meet many of my mom friends through Baby storytime, no one bats an eye if you start nursing your child. With 26 locations across the city, it’s easy to find a storytime that meets your scheduling needs.

JeffCo Open Space Parks and Trails
One of the best things about living in Denver is how quickly you can get out of the city for a hike.  Many of the JeffCo Open Spaces are only a half an hour to 45-minute drive from the city.  You’ll see all kinds of people taking advantage of the trails, including many moms and families.  Whether you choose to nurse at the trailhead at a picnic table or during your hike, you’ll be able to enjoy beautiful scenery while feeding your baby.

These are just four of my favorite places to take my kids and some of the best places to breastfeed in Denver.  Denver also has a great Children’s Museum, Museum of Nature and Science (that has an awesome kids zone), plenty of shopping, and lots of restaurants to enjoy.  No matter what you feel like doing, you’ll easily be able to find a good place to nurse your child.

Becky Nagel is a stay at home mom to two girls, a three year old and a one year old, in Denver, CO who enjoys cooking for her family, running, and hiking.

Nursing Through A Growth Spurt

Wednesday, November 9th, 2016

nursing through a growth spurtI quickly realized my place during a growth spurt. According to my breastfed baby, I had one job. That job was to make milk, feed him, and repeat often.

Before I learned my place, thoughts like “Is this normal? When will this end? Will I survive?” ran through my mind as I sat nursing my baby in the same rocking chair for what seemed like endless hours. I was challenged to be strategic with bathroom breaks and with feeding myself.

Here are warnings that I wish that I would have received about nursing through a growth spurt:

  • You will be off your normal schedule and will not be informed about this new temporary schedule ahead of time. There will most likely not be room for things like making meals, eating meals, cleaning the house or any of that kind of productive stuff.
  • You will be starving. Eat! Your body will be working overtime to increase your milk supply to feed your baby during a growth spurt. So, keep snacks nearby and ask someone to bring you dinner on their way home because you won’t be cooking it.
  • You will need to drink a lot of water. Keep drinking it.
  • You will be tired. Even if your baby has become a decent night sleeper, they may wake often during a growth spurt for multiple snacks.
  • You will be confused. You may think that there is something wrong with your supply. A growth spurt is a baby’s way of increasing your milk supply. Don’t stop breastfeeding or start supplementing during a growth spurt because you think something is wrong.
  • This too will pass. Growth spurts often stop as suddenly as they come on. By the time it ends you may actually be worried that your baby is not eating enough! But relax. Apps like WonderWeeks are helpful for somewhat predicting these phases and can help you keep your sanity with that simple heads-up.

Good news: growth spurts only last a couple of days. And, once it is over, there’s a good chance you’ll soon need to get out some larger sized clothing for your hefty eater. Not only will a growth spurt increase your milk supply that your baby needs, but it will increase the size of your baby, too!

Sarah Cole is a stay at home mommy to a 3-year-old and a 2-year-old. She enjoys writing, playing with her busy toddlers and watching them grow.

When You Haven’t Lost the Baby Weight

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

When baby comes and you find yourself still struggling with your weight, here are a few things to consider.You find out you’re expecting and it is so exciting. That moment finally comes when you can wear the stretchy, maternity pants and the loose-fitting shirts. I don’t know about you, but I love the moment when I can finally ditch the jeans with zippers. You go through your pregnancy and have your little miracle baby, and then there is this saggy belly instead of this cute, hard belly.

All of us women have different bodies. We are different sizes and shapes. According to the American Pregnancy Association, these are guidelines for weight gain during pregnancy:

  • Women with a BMI (body mass index) of 18.5-24.9 should gain 25-35 pounds.
  • Women who are considered underweight with a BMI of less than 18.5 should gain 28-40 pounds.
  • Overweight women with a BMI of 25-29 should gain 15-25 pounds.
  • Women who are considered obese should gain 11-20 pounds if their BMI is over 30.

Now we don’t always fit into this magical category. For me, my BMI was around 19 pre-pregnancy and I have gained around 40 pounds with each pregnancy. This time around, I am well on my way.

When baby comes and you find yourself still struggling with your weight, here are a few things to consider.

  1. It takes time. It took you 9 months to gain the weight, so don’t expect it to fall off automatically. With my previous pregnancies, I lost all of my weight except the last 10 pounds easily. Those last 10 pounds were a struggle. I tried Weight Watchers, exercising regularly, and tried to count calories. I can tell you that before each of my three pregnancies, my weight has been within 5 pounds of where it was before. So, don’t stress momma. It will come off.
  2. Nursing helps. If you do decide to nurse your baby, breastfeeding will help your weight come off. One study done by the Danish National Birth Cohort showed that women who breastfeed are more likely to lose all of their baby weight within the first 6 months. As a mom who has nursed both of my babies over a year, let me tell you this wasn’t true for me. It did make me more health conscious, however. I was more aware of what I was eating, since in turn my little one was also getting what I was.
  3. Embrace your new body. Postpartum bodies are beautiful bodies, but even at the same weight, they won’t be the same body you had before. So, embrace your new body. Maybe you have a bigger bust or a booty you never had? It’s okay to not be the same. Treat yourself to some new clothes if you can. Remember, it’s probably been a year or more since you bought non-pregnancy or postpartum clothing. Changing styles can make as big an impact as a changing body.

Get creative with exercise post-baby. There are classes you can take and exercises you can find online that will help you get moving, and will also help you mentally as you recover from pregnancy and birth. Even just going for stroller walks can help. Use this new little person as a reason to get yourself healthy. Try new recipes, find new kid-friendly foods.

Take care of your emotional health, too. Find mom friends, get breaks for yourself, and find a hobby you love. Even if it just means watching Netflix alone after everyone is asleep, take the time to do something that makes you happy.

The weight will eventually come off, and if you’re like me, you may be pregnant again before you know it. You are perfect just the way you are momma, and now you have a little miracle. That’s totally worth the weight!

Karyn Meyerhoff is a mom of two in Northeast Arkansas. She needs to remember her giant baby bump is a blessing, not a burden.

Should We Compliment Other Moms for Breastfeeding?

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

Should We Compliment Other Moms for Breastfeeding? I’m all for the public ‘atta girl and know personally there have been times when perfect strangers may have given me a boost without their knowing. Parenting is tough stuff. Whether it’s troubles with nursing, lack of sleep, the challenges of going in public with one or more children, or life happening around the kids, kids make everything more complicated. A voice of recognition and encouragement can sometimes lift a little weight from the proverbial parenting shoulders.

During World Breastfeeding Week in August I saw the on-going effort of both normalizing breastfeeding in public and encouraging the competence and confidence in mothers to feel comfortable to nurse in public (or however they see fit for their particular preference). It’s a week (month really) that brings excitement into the community of mamas with young ones. I’ve nursed three babes with varying amounts of ease. I’m all for normalizing nursing, whenever and wherever. I am not particularly proactive or stagnant if ever the opportunity comes up to speak about breastfeeding.

We’ve heard the stories. There’s the stranger who pays for a breastfeeding mama’s meal. Recently an older woman came and cut up a nursing mama’s food for her. It’s unclear to me if we are normalizing or glorifying breastfeeding. Let me be clear: I’m all for supporting other moms, dads, families, and… people in general. I’ve spent years nursing babes. I’m all about spreading the love. I’m just not sure where that line blurs into this larger trend of feeling the want/need to compliment complete strangers for their parenting choices and those implications.

I think part of the problem associated with complimenting parenting, here in the United States at least, has to do with a seemingly predisposition toward black-and-white, this-or-that, me-versus-them, right-or-wrong, good-or-bad mentality. I’m not against the complimenting so much as the underlying judgment that often accompanies it. Let’s not pretend I’m observing anything particularly new: Mama drama and parent shaming are common phrases associated with parenting, especially in the early years.

Dr. Amy Tuteur makes a case for not celebrating breastfeeding in a way that becomes, what she calls, moralization. I also wonder if this “moralization” of breastfeeding (cloth diapering, low/no technology, homeschooling, no-schooling, organic, baby-led natural parenting, etc.) encourages a sort of self-deprecating parenting. I sometimes hear things like: “I’m constantly afraid I’m messing up my child” or “it’s a sign that you’re a good parent if you think you’re doing it wrong.” What does that even mean? Many of us are either actually feeling incompetent or not wanting to come across as confident all while feeling the need to dole out approval and appreciation to others. Most of us probably fall somewhere in between.

Every new mother negotiates all of her life experiences when she decides if, how, and when she feeds her child. Part of the conversation is private—we all bring our stuff to the table in how we make our comments and how we receive someone else’s comments. We can’t leave out the public aspect, the culture we contribute to, with all of our collective words, actions, and judgements. So let’s give compliments, but maybe we can initiate reflective complimenting, observing our own selves and intentions as we observe and send judgement out to others.

Lynette is a mom of three children from 5 months to age four. She has cloth diapered all three since birth and enjoys all things eco-friendly and mindful living.