Posts Tagged ‘breastfeeding’

Breastfeeding Expenses are Tax Write-Offs!

Please pardon a brief  interruption to my “professionalism for doulas” series. I like to repost this every year as a reminder to ladies to make sure that you count your breastfeeding expenses when you do your taxes. That means pumps, storage bags, nursing bras, nursing pads, etc. Don’t forget!!! Click here to read more:

Breastfeeding Expenses are Tax Write-Offs!.

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Multitasking While Nursing

I like to try to get things done while nursing. Here are some of my favorite nursing activities:

  • Eat. When you’re shaky from needing food, don’t feel like you have to wait until your baby is done. Grab a plate before you start, set up your baby, then eat one-handedly!
  • Read. How glorious to sit with a book while snuggling in with my little guy!
  • Blog/check email/loiter on facebook/etc. Yes, I am nursing while I type. Even as we speak.You’d be surprised how good you can get at typing one-handedly.
  • Snooze. This might be controversial, but I sometimes take cat naps when nursing my baby while laying down.
  • Pump. While the milk is flowing already, I sometimes try to take advantage by pumping or self-expressing milk on the side from which my baby is not eating.

If you have a woven wrap, you can also do hands-free nursing holds, as shown here:

 This can be great if your little one is a slow eater. Finally, my very favorite activity while nursing is to…

  • Admire  my son! There’s nothing better that soaking up every bit of that tiny little face as you nurse. Make sure you take time to do this each day. Don’t rush those beautiful hours with your child.

What are some things that you have tried while nursing? What’s the craziest thing multitasking you’ve done? Looking forward to hearing what other moms have done!

Resources for Breastfeeding Information and Support

My last post was about the bad breastfeeding advice women so often receive from health care providers, including lactation consultants that work with new mothers in the hospital regularly. The comments I received made me realize that there is, unfortunately, a lack of understanding of the basics of breastfeeding in many moms, and a wide lack of proper support for these new mothers. Without gaining knowledge themselves, or receiving help from those who do have it, it is very difficult for moms to have successful breastfeeding experiences.

Thanks to Stork Stories Blog , Melissa from Luna Lactation, and Jo Martin at I Want to Breastfeed, I’ve been put on to a plethora of resources for breastfeeding mothers. I want to share some of these resources in order to help mothers who want to breastfeed their babies but may not have the proper support to do so successfully. It’s not much, but any little step to spread accurate information and help find local support is a step in the right direction for moms who want to breastfeed.

The International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners has released a video that addresses some of the problems we have discussed. We need qualified  lactation consulants, spread of evidence-based information to mothers who wish to breastfeed, and proper support for mothers to work through breastfeeding challenges and continue breastfeeding for longer periods of time. This is a great short video on these topics.

Best for Babes is a great sight for promoting breastfeeding and finding resources to do so succesfully. It also helps moms avoid the “booby traps” of breastfeeding!

KellyMom is a great site that’s full of articles that address commonly asked questions about breastfeeding, such as pregnancy and breastfeeding/tandem nursing, what is and isn’t safe when breastfeeding, and herbs when breastfeeding. It also has tons of parenting articles covering a variety of topics and forums to discuss breastfeeding and parenting issues with other moms.

Dr. Jack Newman’s website offers lots of breastfeeding help, including informative and clear breastfeeding videos. Videos really helped me out in those early days (and nights) of figuring out how to get my son to latch and nurse effectively.

Finally, we certainly can’t forget La Leche League International as a great place to find local support and tons of  breastfeeding resources for mothers and providers, including publications, links, breastfeeding education, and answers to various nursing questions (including breastfeeding and the law).

This is just a small start, but I hope to keep adding breastfeeding websites to my resource page as I go. It’s a tiny step to improving the information mothers get on breastfeeding. Please feel free to add other resources that you know of in the comment section.

BOOOOO for Bad Breastfeeding Advice!

So, you give birth in a hospital that is very “pro-breastfeeding,” assures you that they will help you overcome breastfeeding challenges and won’t interfere by giving a bottle or pacifier, and even has lactation consulatants frequently available to come to your room and help you. You assume that they will start you on the right foot and you’ll have the general idea by the time you get home, right?

Well, apparently, not always. Two recent stories I heard have left me fuming, and I feel that it’s important to share them so we can try to stop this from happening to more women.

Jocelyn* spent a few days in the hospital after giving birth to a beautiful baby girl. She was determined to breastfeed, so she told the nurses not to give her daughter a pacifier or bottle. She said that her daughter latched well, but was experiencing a lot of pain and her nipples were even bleeding by the third day. When she asked both of the two lactation consultants if it was supposed to hurt, they said, “Yep, that’s the way it is! You just have toughen up, honey!”

But that’s NOT the way it is. It turns out her daughter was latching only onto the nipple, not the whole areola. Some tenderness when beginning breastfeeding is normal. But pain and bleeding is not. I’m not a lactation consultant, so please correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems that perhaps these particular consultants should have spotted this latch and helped to correct it so Jocelyn could have nursed more comfortably.

To top it off, the hospital nurses took Jocelyn’s daughter to the nursery and did not bring her back for two feedings. Afterwards, the baby girl did not latch on to the breast well at all. Jocelyn strongly suspected that the nurses probably gave her bottles during this time, therefore sabotaging some of her earliest efforts to breastfeed. Jocelyn is still determined to make nursing happen despite these setbacks, which is very admirable.

Lily* was working on nursing her son in a hospital that boasted some of the best breastfeeding support available. However, when her milk didn’t come in by the third day, she had nurses telling her that she would have to supplement because her son wasn’t getting enough. (Now, I’m not sure how it works for every woman, but my milk didn’t come in until the end of the fourth day/beginning of the fifth day, and my son is in the 90th percentile for weight.) This was, of course, very upsetting to her. When she started to tear up about the possibility, one lactation consultant remarked, “I’m really glad to see you crying about this. It shows me that you actually care about your son.” Needless to say, this remark was an abysmal thing to say to a brand new mother learning to breastfeed.

Lily was required to drive back to the hospital a couple of times after she came home to do weight checks. They threatened hospitalization and switching to formula if he didn’t gain weight. She supplemented with formula through a tube attached to her breast at home in hopes that it would bring up his weight. Finally, one kind hearted lactation consultant told her that he looked healthy, was eating, pooping, and peeing well- if his ounces were slightly lower than average, it was okay. He wasn’t in a danger zone yet. She told Lily not to worry and to keep up the good work.

Lily kept at it, and her son’s weight finally satisfied the hospital enough that that they didn’t ask to keep him. She is no longer supplementing, and her son is thriving on her milk and filling out beautifully.

Now, I definitely know there are many wonderful lactation consultants out there, some of which I have been blessed to meet. I am so grateful these women are there to help mothers learn to breastfeed successfully. But what about the others? These two stories I shared are, unfortunately, not the only incidents when lactation consultants and nurses have failed to provide the support and advice needed to help mothers successfully nurse. There have been too many mothers who genuinely wanted to breastfeed, and were falsely made to believe they were not making enough or that it just had to hurt badly until they “toughened up.”

What can we do to help stop this from happening and ensure that every mother who wishes to nurse gets the help she needs? Please share your ideas.

*Names have been changed to protect the mothers’ privacy.

Middle-of-the-Line Mommy

I saw a link the other day on the side of a website for a “Natural Parenting” group.  It said something to the effect of, “If you are a co-sleeping, non-circumcising, breastfeeding, babywearing, cloth-diapering, non-vaccinating, attatchment parent, join us!” I am not against or for this style of parenting entirely (and I probably lean more towards this than the other extreme), but here’s my question: do all of these things always have to go together?

I don’t co-sleep, mostly because I’m a very heavy sleeper and I’m afraid I would roll onto my baby or smother him. Plus, I like having my own space with my husband. However, we do let our son into the bed with us in the early mornings when we’re half-awake for a nice big family snuggle. 

We didn’t circumcise our son, mostly because after doing the research on the topic, we decided there wasn’t any real reason to do it. However, we are not anti-circumcision, and I believe it’s a personal choice for you and your family.

I do breastfeed exclusively (my son is 3 months old) because it is the best food health-wise for my baby and I also treasure the closeness we share as he eats. Breast milk is something only I can give him, so that helps us to create our own special bond. I will breastfeed in a public place, but with a nursing cape (even though I know it probably shouldn’t offend people, it still does, and I don’t want to be pushy about it). Also, I have several friends who formula fed their babies, and I have never made them feel guilty for their choice, nor will I ever do so.

I wear my baby in my Sleepy Wrap almost every day, but not all of the time. I use it to get chores done or to go shopping or walking with him. I love being close and providing him a snuggly place close to my heart. However, I also give him plenty of time to play on a mat or in a swing nearby while I work. I still talk to him and love on him while doing so- it’s just that I think it’s important for him to feel comfortable playing on his own too.

I do cloth diaper and enjoy it very much, but we use disposable for traveling. Again, I think this is a family by family choice.

We are vaccinating our son, but on an alternative schedule to avoid some of the possible risks of receiving too many vaccines at once. We also are delaying some of the less important vaccinations until later.

We haven’t let our child cry it out, but we don’t pick him up at every little fuss either. We’re trying to use our best judgment each day regarding this issue.

In short, I think of myself as a “middle-of-the-line” mommy when it comes to these matters. I don’t think it has to be all or nothing, and every mommy should consider each individual aspect of parenting carefully. You may or may not agree with me on every issue above, but that’s okay. I don’t think there is a one-style-fits-all when it comes to parenting. I believe I am trying to make the best decisions I can for my baby as I raise him, but I also know that what works for my baby may not work for every baby!

Motherhood is a journey, not a strict adherence to one particular parenting method. I’m a pretty new mom, so who knows- I might end up changing some of these things as I learn and grow! I hope to be wise and to give my baby lots of love, no matter what.