Tag Archives: breastfeeding

The Beginning of the End: HUTH

I think my half crabby balance post yesterday was stemmed from a milestone that my daughter and I have recently reached and it’s hit me like a pile of bricks. 

Yesterday, I retired my pump.  I hung up the horns and I’m officially partially weaning her.  Right now, as I typed that it became all the more real and upsetting.

I’m sure you’re wondering why I would do this if it was upsetting to me and part of me wonders that very thing.  But, the truth is, I don’t have enough time and balance in my life to continue pumping anymore.  I feel guilt and relief all at the same time about this as I sure many moms before me have.

Why did I really do it? 

I can’t keep up with everything at work and still make the time to pump.  Sure, I’m protected by law for a year but guess what?  It’s been one full year to the day (today) that I’ve been back to work plus being a salary employee means I have oodles of work on my desk that needs to get done, period.

Is there another reason?

I need to get rid of the pressure to get milk for the next day.  There is a constant fear that lingers in a pumping mother that cannot be silenced.  Every single time my daughter has a drop of my precious milk I need to express… the pressure to keep up my supply stressed me out so much some days I couldn’t eat and then I couldn’t pump because I hadn’t eaten.  It’s a vicious cycle.

The Last Time

I nurse my daughter on my lunch hour.  I’m lucky enough that my sister-in-law who watches J during the day lives within 10 minutes of my office.  Now instead of crunching 2 twenty minute pumping sessions and a half hour lunch into my day to go nurse her for ten minutes, while hoping that she doesn’t want to nurse longer, I take a one hour lunch.  I can grab something to eat or prepare what I’ve brought in, drive to see her, play with her, talk with her, then leave to get back to work without being rushed.

How did I wean from the pump?

Well, in the beginning I had to pump 6+ times a day.  Yeah, that’s right.  I had to pump on my way to work, 3 times at work, once on my way home and another time in the middle of the night.  I did this for months just so my daughter could continue to be exclusively breastfed.  As my daughter got older her bottles spread out a little more through the day, then her need for milk when she was away from me decreased so I’d gradually work out a pumping session.  Midnight pumping first, then on my way home, then on my way in, then my middle of the day, then my morning and finally I just stopped.

Luckily, I never had an oversupply so skipping a session or two was never really a big deal for me.  When I wanted to drop a session I’d just pump for 5 minutes for a day or two during that session then the next day I’d drop it.  I’d let me body adjust for 2-3 weeks and then onto the next one.  For the longest time I was down to a morning session and an afternoon session until I finally found a good substitution for milk during the day.

J is lactose intolerant.  I cut dairy out of my diet when her reflux was at its peak and I wasn’t surprised when she threw up after we gave her an ounce of whole milk.  We tried rice milk a couple days in a row one week but she balked at it.  A couple weeks later we tried almond milk but she would have nothing to do with it.  The stress of having to pump and not having something to give her during the day was intense.  I felt like I couldn’t keep up with life and I was drowning.

Then, in a last ditch effort we gave her soy milk.  She loves it.  She loves it so much I was actually hurt that it only took 1 cup of soy milk to sway her.  She does still come to me for “mmmm” (nursing) right away on my lunch hour so I can’t be too heartbroken but part of me really is.  She doesn’t need part of me all day anymore and it’s a weird feeling.

Part of me is happy to see my little independent toddler yet part of me wishes I could have my little newborn baby.  So, this is the beginning of weaning and it stings a little.  But, at least I still have the nighttime snuggles and we’re not giving up nursing anytime soon 🙂

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Bedsharing Saved Us

This week over at Natural Parents Network, they’re talking about the “family bed.” I submitted a post on my experience with our family bed and how it saved my breastfeeding relationship with my daughter. 

Stop by and check it out plus see the other great posts on the benefits of cosleeping past infancy, bedsharing with multiple kids or the Wordless Wednesday post to see cosleeping!

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Getting Over “Extended” Breastfeeding

My daughter is starting to cruise around the house all by herself now, it’s amazing.  On Thursday she’s going to be a year old, unfreakingbelievable!  But, *gasp* I’m “still” breastfeeding

Unfortunately, my youngest sister-in-law, B, has a daughter, A, that is about 4 months younger than J.  I say unfortunately because it seems like everything is a competition and everything I do is scrutinized against how B is doing things.  I really try to avoid getting wrapped up in mommy wars and I try to let people’s comments or pressure to change the way I’m doing things roll off my back (Pass the bean dip!) but I feel like it’s going to get worse over the next few years.

The latest is “Well, B is only going to breastfeed until A is one…”, “You’re still doing that?”, “When are you going to give her milk?” or “When are you going to stop?”  My answers: Oh, that’s cool.  Yep, still doin’ it!  She’s drinking milk right now… and she’ll stop when she’s ready.

My daughter is only a year old.  She nurses for nutrition and for comfort which she is obviously ok with and I’m obviously ok with so why does it matter to you?  What’s the point of asking these questions?  Why don’t you just tell me what’s on your mind instead of beating around the bush?

So, you know what?  Next time anyone asks me when I’m going to stop or if I’m still doing that I’ll simply ask why.  Really, why do you want to know?  What’s it to you?  Yes, my daughter can eat regular food but she still has a need to breastfed just as your son/daughter might need their bottle, pacifier, thumb and/or to be rocked, swayed or bounced. 

Breastfeeding offers amazing immunological and nutritional benefits plus it’s the perfect time for connection after being separated all day when I’m working.  Not to mention children who breastfeed for an “extended” amount of time also benefit from fewer allergies, they’re well adjusted, possibly smarter, AND mother (and daughter, if you have a girl) can benefit from reduced risk of MANY cancers.  (Get the fact sheet here.)

When kids have needs they express them and I believe in “giving in” to those needs not suppressing them with what I’m being told that they should or should not need.  If my daughter has a need to nurse, I let her.  Not because someone told me that was right or wrong but that’s what feels right to us.

I want to know why everyone has such an issue with “extended” breastfeeding because really, is it “extended”?  What is considered “extended”? 

In my eyes my daughter has a need and urge to nurse, so I let her and I’ll continue to let her until she and I are ready to stop.  I think a better way to look at it would be continued breastfeeding.  When is this magical time that it becomes “extended”?  I’m not extending anything and I don’t think my daughter is; we’re simply continuing to breastfeed.

Breastfeeding is natural.  Breastfeeding is normal.  Breastfeeding doesn’t become “extended” it just continues until the need is gone.  So, when you ask me why I’m still breastfeeding I’ll ask you why you’re still breathing.  Oh, because you need to?  Well, my daughter still needs to, too.

What are your experiences with “extended” breastfeeding?  When do you think it crosses over to “extended”?  Is it because of social pressure that you think it is now “extended” or personal beliefs?

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Formula Companies = Marketing Genius!?

With the rise of amazing communities like Best for Babes, Eats on Feets and Kellymom I’m sure Big Formula is feeling the hit.  Obviously since they’re loosing formula sales they need to take a step back and rethink their target market’s needs.  Hence, observe this new spin: Similac Mom

SIMILAC MOM is a nutritional snack or meal replacement to help pregnant women and breastfeeding moms meet their nutritional needs. SIMILAC MOM is to be used as part of an overall healthy diet that includes following doctor’s recommendations for using prenatal vitamins.”

Similac (Similacrap?) Mom

Really?  I mean, really?  Clearly this is a spin off of the product Ensure which is also an Abbott product… but MEAL REPLACEMENT?

If you’re pregnant, planning on becoming pregnant, or you’re a nursing mother please don’t fall victim to this company’s poor marketing tactic.  They’re marketing to moms who are unwittingly wrapped up in the disease called “Perfection” by throwing “meal replacement” in the product description which makes me sick. 

You don’t need this product to be healthy.  You don’t need this product to replace any of your meals.  This product is not a miracle that will forgive all your bad eating habits by simply having it as a snack or in the place of a meal! 

Do you want to have a healthy pregnancy?  Eat real, nutritious food, take a prenatal vitamin, exercise and keep yourself balanced.

Do you want to be a healthy nursing mother?  Eat real, nutritious food, take a prenatal vitamin, exercise and keep yourself balanced.

No disgusting meal replacement/snack smoothie needed. 

I foresee a product geared toward dad and his little swimmers next.  Or, is that too far?

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Breastfeeding is The Most Natural Way…Alies the Challenge

Breastfeeding seemed to be and I’ve always heard that it is the easiest and most natural way to feed a baby.  Like the urge to have a natural birth was just, well, natural – breastfeeding seemed like a given, too.  Maybe I was dense but I didn’t realize that it wasn’t something that was always easy to do until my daughter and I struggled.  In many ways I was (and still become) booby trapped along the way.

During my pregnancy it seemed like 99.9% of my brain was being used for planning the birth of our daughter, learning about pregnancy, learning about babies and getting the apartment ready.  I mean, we took one of those hospital classes, mainly to see the hospital, but other than the 5-10 minutes they talked about breastfeeding I didn’t do much to prepare.

My daughter was born at 7:41 in the morning after about 12 hours of labor.  Needless to say I wasn’t quite thinking straight after she was draped across my chest.  I sat there in a daze just simply amazed with her and myself.  When I think back about that morning I think about all the things I could have done differently that could have helped us.

For starters, I did a great job coming up with a birth plan that worked for us but it really only included the fact that I’d like to breastfeed and not that I’d probably need some help.  I birthed at a Certified Baby Friendly Hospital so I thought that getting help would just be a given, I guess.  I am not the type of person to ask for help with anything unless I really need to and by that point I’ve usually messed up pretty bad.

I didn’t get good skin on skin contact with my daughter right after her birth because I was so excited to have everyone meet her and I didn’t really know about the importance of skin on skin contact.  I mean, I read a bit about it in my Hypnobabies workbook but it went in one ear and out the other.

I remember asking the nurse about 5 minutes after she was born if I should try to breastfeed.  She said sure, you could try and as I put J to my breast I felt this pang of panic.  She didn’t just latch on, or lick, or show any interest at all.  So, I stopped and the nurse took J for her bath (in the room!).  I don’t know why I told her to take her and give her a bath instead of just laying there skin on skin with her for a while.  It’s something that I really truly regret.

Our family members all came in to meet our bundle of joy.  It was a great morning and we were all so happy.  After an hour she started to grunt and protest which got me excited.  Our first real breastfeeding session would be under way!  I put her to my breast and she slurped it up like a champ.  It was pretty uncomfortable but I figured it was because I wasn’t used to the sensations. The nurse told me to let her nurse as often as she’d like but not to go longer than 2 hours while also checking her poops and pees.  I diligently obliged and nursed her on cue like I was told (and I had read).

Things were going great except I noticed that it was every half hour or less

Dad's tuckered out!

that she’d want to nurse.  It seemed like she was on the boob more often than not. The first night together we happily co-slept in my hospital bed and I’ll never forget lovingly gazing at my sleeping husband across the way as my little nursling ate to her hearts content all night. 

I remember in the middle of the night our nurse came in so I asked her if she could help me because I didn’t know if I was breastfeeding right.  She helped my figure out the football hold which was AMAZING.  But,

J sleeping on Mama

when I asked about the latch she told me I’d have to ask the lactation consultant.  The next morning we were supposed to be discharged right away so things with the LC were rushed.  J was sleeping the whole time and I didn’t want to wake her because it was the longest stretch she’d had yet.  So, the LC asked me questions, showed me how to manually express, answered my questions and we were good to go!

I didn’t know we had a shallow latch issue for months. I thought that she just needed to comfort nurse, a lot.  When A’s entire family (seriously, like 9 people) came over on Christmas night at 9:00pm I was pissed, she was fussy, we couldn’t get a good latch the whole time and we damaged my left nipple.  My nipple has never been the same since that.

When people asked me if she needed to nurse again after she just ate I started to doubt myself.  When the first weigh-in at the doctor’s office showed that she’d lost too much weight I really started to get freaked.  I called the hospital lactation consultant and asked questions but I was always leaving messages, not getting calls back and when I did it was something that I already found out myself – or something not really helpful.  I didn’t know any LC’s that did home visits and I didn’t really have money for one.

So, I sat down with my nursling and read a zillion blog posts, articles, kellymom, watched youtube videos, read The Breastfeeding Book, listened to insights from my ONE nursing friend etc. until I could figure out how to get her to latch better.  Once we had a proper latch (which, sometimes I failed at my first round of discipline as a mother and let the lazy latch be ok) most of the time she still wanted to nurse CONSTANTLY unless I was wearing her.  Once I started wearing her in my moby wrap things took a glorious turn.  I felt like I was finally starting to understand her and we were jiving.  I’d know when she was getting hungry during her pre-cues.  It was fantastic.

Now I understand that although breastfeeding itself is natural, the act of it isn’t always a natural one for mother and baby.  Especially for those moms like me that live in a world of assumptions.  To succeed at breastfeeding you need to be informed, be dedicated, be flexible and most importantly have support and USE IT.

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Halfway Crunchy: A working mama’s blog

For those of you who don’t know me (and even for those who think they do) let me introduce myself.  I’m a new mama of beautiful 11 month-old, Juliana Marie, a new wife to my wonderful husband, Adam, and a self proclaimed Halfway Crunchy parent.

Let’s go back to the days before I became a crunchy, somewhat know-it-all mama and wife to get you up to speed.

On April 28th, 2009 I was headed home from work letting my mind race through its random thoughts of the day.  While I was wondering whether or not that last cup of coffee would cause me to pee my pants before I got home or not my mind started to wonder down to my neither region.  Earlier that month I had a couple brain lapses (ok – so I silenced my phone alarm one too many times without actually taking my pill) so the rest of my pills were “no good”.  Did I keep the pack to keep track of when my period should be coming?  Obviously not, that would be the smart thing to do.

That’s when my brain finally stopped and there I was stuck on her.  Where is she?  Why hasn’t she come yet?  It’s really not like her to be late, but, is she really late?  I can’t be late the last time I had one was… ok so I’m late.  I’m not that late though, it can only be like 2, 3, or 4… ok maybe 8 days, tops.  It’s no big deal; I’ll just ask Adam when I get home.

As casually as I could, I meekly asked Adam if he remembered when my last period was.  Cue the eyeballs-bulging-what-the-hell-have-we-done-face followed by “I thought that was your thing to remember”.  We hadn’t really done anything in a while because every day when I got home from work I’d make it to the couch before I’d promptly passed out from an exhausting day of sitting at my desk.  An early symptom of pregnancy would, perhaps, make more sense than my exhausting day of sitting.   Am I pregnant?

Naturally, I sent him to the store to get the pregnancy test because that’s how it’s done in the movies, isn’t it?  Ok, so let’s speed things up and get to the point.  Yes, I peed on a stick.  Yes, it said I was pregnant.  Yes, I was happy.  Yes, I was scared shitless.  Yes, my life was now “over” and a new life was beginning.  No, this was not planned.  Oh well, what’s done is done there’s no changing things now planned or unplanned.

Do I regret getting pregnant?  At this time in my life no way in hell, but, at the time I didn’t even know who I was anymore.  I wasn’t me anymore now I was us.  Do I regret not being more careful?  Yeah, maybe a little bit because I hadn’t prepared my body or mind for this news.  From that day forward I knew that since I hadn’t prepared I would have to work overtime to figure things out.  I’m neurotic and I need to know everything about everything yesterday.

April 28th, 2009 will forever be the day that I took the first step to becoming myself.  This was the day that I stopped living for myself and I started living for us.  This was the day I started onto my journey of becoming a cloth diapering, breastfeeding, babywearing, gentle and respectful discipline loving, self proclaimed Halfway Crunchy parent.

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