Posts Tagged ‘la leche league’

Sunday Funday Giveaway: La Leche League Pull Over Sleep Bra

Sunday, March 31st, 2013

La Leche League is one of my favorite organizations that provides breastfeeding information and support to women all around the globe! I have attended my local La Leche League group’s monthly meeting for almost 4 years now! I am filled with gratitude for the positive impact LLL has had on my journey as a mother. :)

Did you know that in addition to the wonderful support they provide women, LLL has created a line of nursing bras? And because this organization KNOWS the needs of nursing mamas, you can be assured their nursing bras are top notch! And now Mom’s Milk Boutique carries a variety of LLL Nursing Bras, including this Pull Over Sleep Bra.

The LLL Pull Over Sleep Bra is designed for easy access to mama’s milk with its with cross-over pull down opening. It’s perfect for night time nursing when comfort is a top priority and you are way to sleepy to mess with straps, hooks, and the like. The bra is made from a soft blend of cotton and spandex making it super¬†comfy and with a little wiggle room to grow with changes that occur in breast size during nursing. The bra comes in sizes ranging from small to¬†double extra large.

Would you like to win a FREE La Leche League Pull Over Sleep Bra? Then be sure to enter this week’s giveaway below! One winner will be selected at random on Sunday, April 7. Winner will be notified via email and is asked to reply within 48 hours of receiving email.

Good Luck All!

Sarah
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6 Tips for Gentle Weaning

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending a La Leche League conference¬†with guest speaker Kittie Frantz. She was¬†a wonderful speaker;¬†highly informative, humorous, and included a great deal of audience participation….she even roped in an audience member to demonstrate “laid-back breastfeeding” with her 3 week old baby. It was amazing to witness! I admit I was a bit skeptical about the concept of laid-back breastfeeding, but after watching some video clips and seeing it in person, I am excited to try it with my next baby! :)

While my head was spinning with tons of breastfeeding information upon leaving the conference, the part that stuck with me most was about weaning. It seems as though there is an abundance of information and support available for the early initiation stage of breastfeeding (thankfully!). Although there is far less information readily available on how to wean your child, especially if you want to do so gently. I really liked how Kittie Frantz described weaning as a gradual process. She strongly emphasized the importance (physically and emotionally) of it being a gradual process for both mama and baby. I have condensed the information she presented at the conference into 6 Tips for Gentle Weaning:

At the conference...can you see me? :)

1. Introduction of Solids – Did you know that the introduction of solids is when weaning actually begins? I know when I¬†heard that at a La Leche League meeting for the first time, I was quite intrigued. After all it made perfect sense! Of course baby getting calories/nutrients from a source other than mama’s milk would initiate the weaning process.¬†However, I was surprised that in all the mainstream literature I had¬†read about *how* to introduce solids, none of it stated the direct correlation between introducing solid foods and weaning. Knowing this might change when or how you introduce solids?¬†One common recommendation to minimize the weaning effect is to avoid solids foods replacing a nursing session by¬†nursing your baby immediately before offering them food. In other words think of breastmilk as the main course and the food as the dessert.

2. Don’t Offer/Don’t Refuse – At what age you choose to implement a “don’t offer/don’t refuse” breastfeeding policy is¬†highly individualized. What it means is that you don’t offer the breast to your child, but you don’t refuse if they ask to nurse. With my own children, I have generally started implementing this technique around one year of age.

3. Eliminate your least favorite feeding time¬†- Such a simple recommendation that I think is brilliant, especially during the stage of breastfeeding when the mother is feeling worn out. For example maybe it’s the 3:00am nursing session that you find exhausting? Or the¬†late afternoon,¬†hour long nurse-a-thon to get baby down for a nap? If you could eliminate that single¬†nursing session,¬†perhaps¬†you would enjoy breastfeeding more as well as feel like you could continue on for longer. If you can identify one nursing session that is especially difficult for you and eliminate it, perhaps a rocky breastfeeding relationship can be restored or salvaged? Sometimes we just get frustrated with breastfeeding and want to quit! However¬†this approach of eliminating one undesirable feeding session, may help resolve those feelings. So how exactly do you eliminate a nursing session?

4. Change Routine – How you change your routine will depend on your own unique situation. Sometimes in order to change routine, a change in caregiver is needed. A baby/child may not accept a change in their nursing routine if mama is the one offering the alternative, but will more readily accept change from dad, a sibling, grandma, etc.¬†For example I have recently eliminated our nap time nursing session with my 19 month old. Through a little experimentation¬†I happily discovered that¬†if my oldest son offers my youngest son a sippy cup of water and lays next to him in the bed, he will fall asleep at nap time without nursing. Car rides, babywearing, and stroller rides are other ways to get a baby down for a nap without nursing. Another example from the workshop was¬†in regard to¬†eliminating the morning¬†nursing session. The suggestion was to greet your child right when they wake up with enthusiasm about what you’re making them for breakfast. Serve breakfast right upon waking and make it a delicious and fun meal for them. Be creative and resourceful in figuring out a new routine for your little one.

5. Use Distractions – This goes beyond the don’t offer/don’t refuse stage, in that you are actually refusing, but not with a flat out NO! Instead use distraction to prevent or delay a nursing session. You can distract with toys, food, change of scenery, or activity. Most babies and young children are actually fairly easy to distract so use it to your advantage! Sometimes when my son asks to nurse by signing “milk”, I will tickle him and jokingly say “you put that away”. It then becomes a game between us and he is no longer truly asking to nurse despite signing “milk”. Rather he is simply enjoying our interaction. If you have tried distracting and¬†your child is persistent with asking to nurse, then maybe they really need to nurse in that moment? The beauty is that there are no “rules” when it comes to weaning; let your mothering instinct guide the process and trust that all babies eventually do wean!

6. Play with Your Child- One excellent point the speaker made was that nursing¬†is a very special time with mama. If it is¬†really the only time baby gets mama’s full attention, of course they are going to hang onto it dearly. I know this is especially easy to let happen with your youngest child¬†when you have multiple children. You are constantly moving around and doing stuff to care for your family, that the only time you really stop is to nurse your wee one. The recommendation is to engage frequently throughout the day with your nursling, but not to nurse…to PLAY! Have fun together and offer them¬†your affection on a regular basis. It can help maintain that close connection formed during breastfeeding but allow it to be expressed in new ways. :)

“Remember, you are not managing an inconvenience; You are raising a human being.”¬†Kittie Frantz.

-Sarah

Silent Saturday: The First Time I Ever Nursed in Public

Saturday, July 7th, 2012

Five and a half years ago this picture was taken¬†unbeknownst¬†to me by my mom. It was the very first time I ever nursed my son in public. Initially I had some reservations about nursing in public; however once I did it, I realized it was not a big deal (thanks mom for the encouragement!).¬†When my mom showed me this photo afterwards, I thought it was kind of silly that she took a picture of what at the time seemed like such an “anti-climatic” moment. Although now I am feeling extra grateful to have this picture!

La Leche League¬†promotes the idea of¬†mothering through breastfeeding. For me the moment captured in this photograph depicts just that…letting go of fear/judgement/anxiety and simply allowing my own child’s needs to guide my mothering instincts. It’s something I have struggled with lately and am thankful to have found this photo to serve as a reminder.

-Sarah

Starting Solid Foods with Baby

Monday, April 16th, 2012

The introduction of solid foods into your baby’s diet can be an exciting time! Like with many milestones with baby, it is fun to experience something new together and enjoyable to see baby’s reaction to the experience. However it can also be a somewhat confusing time as well. Unlike physical milestones, such as rolling over, crawling, or cruising, that are driven by baby’s own development, feeding baby relies on a external source (parent or caregiver) to guide the process.

How do I know my baby is ready for solid foods?

The American Academy of Pediatrics, the World Health Organization, and La Leche League all recommend an exclusive breast milk diet until¬†a baby is at least six months old. However¬†there is no¬†”magic age” as to when to start solids. Optimally the process of introducing solid foods into your baby’s diet, will be initiated by following their own readiness cues. Some readiness indicators include:

  • able to sit up well by him/herself
  • has develop a pincer grasp
  • increased frequency in breastfeeding (unrelated to other factors such as teething or illness)
  • seeming less satisfied or satiated by breast milk
  • has lost the tongue-thrusting reflex

One common misconception is that when a baby starts grabbing at other’s food he/she is ready to start eating food. Grabbing at objects is more of a physical and cognitive milestone, than an expression of¬†nutritional need. Around five to six months old babies become more adept at using their hands and become more engaged and curious about their environment. Additionally one important way babies explore their environment is through their senses which includes putting objects in their mouth. When my first son was about six months old he grabbed a piece of food out of my hand and put it into his mouth. A well meaning family member said “get that baby some food…he’s hungry”.¬† And I remember thinking “but he’d grab a dirty sock out of my hand and put that into his mouth too”.¬† :)

What do I feed my baby?

Just as it is important for young children and adults to eat whole foods, it is equally important for babies to eat whole foods!¬†While jars of commercially made baby food¬†can be convenient in a pinch,¬†you might reconsider reducing or perhaps eliminating them from your baby’s diet all together. They are heavily processed resulting in a depletion of valuable vitamins and nutrients as well as flavor. Additionally they are expensive and produce an excess amount of packaging. A mashed avocado or banana can be a simple, nutritious and delicious first food to “prepare” for your baby. Steam, pureed carrots or sweet potato are another great option. Or if the readiness indicators as listed above are present, you might¬†consider skipping pureed foods all together and go straight into finger foods, encouraging baby to self feed.¬†Sticking with low-allergen whole foods in their purest form as possible (no added spices, flavoring, etc) will be easiest for baby to digest as their gut/body gets accustom to new foods. Also it is generally recommended to go slow and only introduce one or two new foods at a time so any possible food reactions can be easily detected.

How does introducing solids effect breastfeeding?

One important factor to consider is that the introduction of solids is the very beginning of the weaning process. This is one reason why delaying solids is a common practice among breastfeeding mothers. Another common practice is to breastfeed baby right before giving¬†him/her¬†food to ensure¬†he/she¬†is still getting a bulk of their nutritional needs met through breast milk. Another consideration to be aware of is the potential impact of introducing¬†solid foods¬†on a mother’s milk supply and/or menses. For¬†some women the introduction of solids into baby’s diet initiates ovulation, particularly if baby is suddenly nursing less frequent or efficiently. Generally the transition to solids begins with more exploration of foods rather than actual consumption of food in quantities that would replace a nursing session. Gradually over time solid food will replace the nutrients and calories in breast milk.

Most importantly try to keep meals with baby stress free and fun for the whole family. Not only are you establishing important life-long patterns of eating for baby, you are also teaching him/her the social fundamentals of foods.

What was your baby’s first food experience like? Any tips to share when it comes to transitioning to solids? Would love to hear from you! :)

-Sarah

5 Tips for Successful Breastfeeding

Monday, January 16th, 2012

Many women often think breastfeeding will come easy because the female body is designed to produce milk to nourish offspring. However breastfeeding often gets off to a rocky start for many, many mothers. There are a multitude of factors that contribute to establishing successful breastfeeding. Some factors are within our control and/or we can strongly influence, however other factors may present us with enormous obstacles to overcome. I would like to offer five suggestions that could positively influence your breastfeeding relationship. These do not cover solutions to specific breastfeeding concerns or issues, rather they provide evidence-based information regarding establishing successful breastfeeding.

1. Nurse on Demand – What does it mean to ‘nurse on demand’? It means following baby’s hunger cues as opposed to following the clock. A rigid feeding schedule¬†often does not meet a newborn’s nutritional¬†or¬†emotional needs nor does it adequately establish a mother’s milk supply.¬†By responding to early hunger cues such as rooting or sucking on hands, you are also likely to have an easier time getting baby¬†properly latched on as opposed to responding to late hunger cues (ie-crying).

2. Offer¬†Milk¬†Frequently – In addition to nursing on demand, you might consider frequently offering your newborn the opportunity to nurse throughout day and night. Newborns are obviously still developing the ability to regulate their hunger and elimination needs, so you don’t want to just passively wait for them to tell you they are hungry. You want to remind them on a regular basis that milk is available to them. Additionally this allows you lots and lots of opportunity to practice positioning and getting baby latched on properly which¬†are much easier to do when baby is calm and peaceful as opposed to fussy and tired.

3. Surround yourself with support - Surrounding yourself with compassionate women who have breastfeeding experience and¬†will positively¬†support you in your breastfeeding journey is invaluable. This may¬†include family members or friends who have older nurslings than you and can offer gentle, loving guidance. However if you don’t already have someone in your life who fits that description, you may seek out such friendships through attending La Leche League Meetings (many of my dearest friends are women I met at LLL). Other places to seek out a community of support might be a breastfeeding class held at a hospital or a local store store that sells breastfeeding accessories might host¬†social and/or informational gatherings for breastfeeding mothers.

4. Understand How Birth Choices Can Impact Breastfeeding РBy informing yourself how certain birth practices can positively or negatively impact breastfeeding, you can make educated decisions that will optimize your breastfeeding relationship. You can also better advocate for yourself and your baby to ensure you receive attentive care that supports best practice for successful breastfeeding.

5. Seek professional help during early stages of struggle – No matter how minor you might feel a breastfeeding concern is, addressing it promptly can ward off further more complicated issues. Therefore seeking out professional help during early stages of struggle is typically a wise investment. It may help you avoid further and more costly complications and ultimately help preserve your nursing relationship. If you wait until there are major problems to seek out support, irreversible damage to the breastfeeding relationship may have already occurred. You can ask your maternal health care provider for a recommendation for a Lactation Consultant or do a search on the International Lactation Consultants Associations website to find a provider near you.

What breastfeeding tips would you give to a new mommy? What helpful breastfeeding tips were given to you? Would love to hear from YOU! :)

-Sarah