Posts Tagged ‘Breastfeeding’

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.

My Baby Isn’t Interested in Solids

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016

My baby isn't interested in solidsThere are as many methods to transition a baby to solid foods as there are baby gurus out there. Cereal first, meat first, nuts, no nuts, baby-led weaning …

No matter the method though, a child cannot live forever on breastmilk or formula alone, and there will come a day when she has her first taste of food.

What if baby isn’t interested in solids? Many people say to have your baby sit with the family during mealtimes, and he will naturally become interested in solids seeing his family eating them, too. This is exactly how things went down with my two younger boys. My oldest, however, Mr. Stubborn, was a different story.

Come six months of age, my mom group friends’ babies were all starting to chow down. There didn’t seem to be a picky eater among them (though the Internet does have a way of glossing over things, doesn’t it?). Mr. Stubborn though, was not interested. In any of it. I packed up the baby spoons and tried again in a few weeks. Nope. By eight months old, he was still growing like a weed, but was still refusing everything but breastmilk. I was exhausted providing all of the calories for a 97 percenter in weight category.

Every reluctant eater will have a different food that will finally start to turn things around. For mine, it was rice husk crackers. I know, there’s not a ton going on there, nutrient-wise, but it was an enjoyable sensory experience for him, which started him finally getting more adventurous on other foods. So don’t give up. Take a break, and keep trying a variety of foods.

Finally, if you have any concerns, make sure to bring it up with your pediatrician. It’s possible that your child may need to see a feeding therapist, particularly if she isn’t growing at a rate your pediatrician and you are happy with.

Meaghan Howard is a stay-at-home mom to three boys (and desperately hoping that they don’t burn the house down someday). She and her family are enjoying living an ex-pat life overseas.

 

 

Brexting

Thursday, August 4th, 2016

IMG_0292When you make the decision to breastfeed your baby, you sometimes commit to a lot of sitting on the couch. For my daughter, it was nursing for 45 minutes, taking small breaks, and then nursing some more. You nurse your baby when you’re doing other tasks. You may be cooking supper. You may be helping another child eat, use the potty, or do some homework.

But, have you ever brexted?

Yes, that’s a word. Brexting is the term in the urban dictionary used for breastfeeding and texting at the same time. You may just be looking at your smart phone, but you are nursing and using your phone at the same time.

For me, this is something I did frequently with my daughter. She would wake frequently in the night, and my phone kept me awake. I sometimes found I sent funny messages on Facebook while sleepy-eyed, but the phone was my companion. With my second baby, I didn’t really do this much. I was too busy entertaining big sister or trying to get other things done at the same time.

There is some controversy with brexting. Some say moms may miss important cues while nursing and being on their phones. The bond isn’t as strong and you may not notice that your latch isn’t as good as it could be. Critics say brexting could cause anxiety or stress for mom and effect nursing with baby. A little distraction is okay, but many warn not to be too distracted.

We all know that moms are multitaskers. We all like to get things done and checked off of our lists. So, it just seems natural to check your email or send a text while feeding your baby. However, be careful not to forget the real task at hand.

One positive note to consider is how some stay-at-home moms feel isolated or lonely. For me, I have never lived near family or friends. I have been fortunate to forge friendships wherever I go. Checking social media or texting has been my way to stay connected in many ways to those I love dearly. So, I say go ahead and do it, mommas.

I don’t think it will hurt your baby if you are brexting. I do think we have to remember our priorities. As moms, we are to be there for our children and meet their needs. Sometimes, this means putting the phone down or taking a break from Facebook.

Karyn Meyerhoff is a mom of two in Southern Illinois right now who loves to text and nurse.

 

Common Foods that Boost Supply

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016

Common Foods that Boost SupplyBreastfeeding, especially if you’re a first-timer, comes with a lot of second guessing, at least for a lot of us. “Is my baby getting enough to eat?” is a question I think almost all of my friends asked at some point. At some point in your journey, you may be wondering how to produce more milk. Among moms trying to build a freezer stash, trying to increase supply beyond what your child/children are using can be tough as well.

Enter the galactogogue. Galactogogue is both a fun word to say and a food that help moms increase their milk supply. They aren’t a magic wand solution, but there are many foods that can increase your supply. Here are some of them:

Oatmeal
I’m pretty sure I had oatmeal for breakfast everyday that I breastfed, which in my case was about two years total. The sight of oatmeal is no longer particularly appetizing to me (ok, oatmeal rarely looks tasty), but it did the trick. It was noticeable if I changed my breakfast habits. If you don’t enjoy eating oatmeal, you can try oats as overnight oats or in oatmeal cookies (I’ve seen tons of moms run lactation cookie businesses, you can find one or just make your own).

Moringa
Moringa is a tree, and it’s leaves are commonly used as a galactagogue in Asia, where I live. Moringa is also commonly available in North America in a supplement form.

Beer
?!? My friend’s German mom insisted she drink one beer per day when she was breastfeeding to keep her supply up. It was a family tradition. There is a bit of research (from Germany, go figure) out finding that polysaccharides in barley—the main building blocks of beer—stimulates prolactin, which encourages milk production. My friend’s mom always told her to look for darker beer; others think hoppy beers (like IPA) are more lactation-inducing. If you decide to try it out, moderation is key, as alcohol can inhibit let down (among other effects). The La Leche League has an interesting article on alcohol and breastfeeding here that you may want to check out before imbibing.

Meaghan Howard is a stay-at-home mom living far from home with her two little boys and very patient husband.

When Baby Won’t Take a Bottle

Thursday, July 21st, 2016

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One day when my son was about 6 weeks old, I left the house for a few hours and when I returned, the kitchen sink was full of various kinds of used baby bottles, tubes, shot glasses and baby spoons.  A baby boy who wouldn’t take a bottle was the guest of honor at the party that went on while I was gone.

I wanted so badly to make breastfeeding work for my son and I.  We struggled as soon as he was born with nursing.  He fought it and it was stressful and uncomfortable for me.  He couldn’t figure out how to latch and would just scream instead of drink milk.  Doctors required me to supplement with formula for 24 hours until he started gaining weight and I was devastated.

Fast forward two months from after he was born and he refused to do anything but breastfeed.

Since breastfeeding was such a struggle from the start, I was too nervous to offer my son a bottle or a pacifier until two weeks before my maternity leave was going to end when he was 6 weeks old.  There were many attempts by my husband and a few friends to get my son to take a bottle of pumped breast milk. They all resulted in him screaming.

Finally, a few days before I needed to return to work and bring him to daycare part-time, my son drank a few ounces from a bottle.  I felt hopeful.  The first two weeks that he went to daycare, I was so relieved that he cooperated.  Then, something happened.  He changed his mind.  He started refusing a bottle from all the staff at the daycare and screamed until I would arrive to nurse him.  We received a lot of advice, but nothing encouraged him to drink from a bottle.  Occasionally, he would drink almost an ounce from a daycare worker if they would sit him in a bouncy chair, sit behind him so that he couldn’t see them and offer him a bottle.  It was a tip we received from a lactation nurse who said that some breastfed babies do not want to be fed by anyone besides their mother.

I lasted 2 months of working and visiting my son at least two times a day at daycare, so I could nurse him there and return to work.  Morning drop-offs were torture for everyone as we knew what the day would most likely look like.  That stress went away when I left my job and became a stay at home mom.  The reality became that I could dump my pump and feed my son on demand once I was home with him all day.  Unfortunately, my schedule was still limited he turned a year old, because I needed to always be available at his bedtime and for other feedings.  But, just like with other baby bumps in the road, we survived.

My second baby refused a bottle also, so luckily I had practice and knew I would get through it.

Sarah Cole is a freelance writer and stay at home mommy to two busy toddlers who wanted nothing to do with baby bottles.