Posts Tagged ‘boobs’

Weaned

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

So Caroline is officially weaned as of March 1st  (14 months, 12 days of breastfeeding). She was probably ready to be done a few days earlier but I kept saying “Oh, just one more time!” and drawing it out. I am both ECSTATIC and TERRIBLY SAD at the same time. One second I am doing a jig because I am freeeeeeeeeeee and the next I am wiping away tears because mah baybeeeeeeee doesn’t neeeeeeeed meeeeeeeee. As if all the hormonal stuff wasn’t enough on its own, the mood swings are turning me into a total wreck.

In the end, what worked best for us was cutting out one feeding at a time every few days. First I dropped her post-nap nursing session, then the one before lunch, then first thing in the morning, then the one before nap, and lastly the one before bed. She had been occasionally sleeping through the night, so we just sort of phased out the 2 am feeding as we went. E went in to comfort her a couple times but even when I was doing it she wasn’t nursing for more than 30 seconds so obviously she was just ready. I was worried she wasn’t drinking a ton of milk from her sippy but she does drink lots of water and she still eats like a horse, so I doubt she’s going to end up dehydrated or malnourished. The whole process took about 2 months and my supply regulated itself easily as I decreased the feedings. The weaning wasn’t child-led, but it was gentle and mostly tear-free. I’m happy. And sad. SO CONFLICTED.

One of the things I was most worried about is that we were going to lose all of our cuddle time, since she’s such a very busy and independent toddler. But she’s replaced nursing with being a little clingier – more hugs, wanting to be held, sitting in my lap – which I am HAPPY to oblige. It’s nice to get affection from her that isn’t boob-related. Having someone try to rip off your shirt every time they see you is only flattering for so long, you know?

The end of nursing also meant the end of my extra Weight Watchers points and for a couple days I was a little panicked. I needed those points or I’d be starving all day. But then I remembered, oh yeah, the breastfeeding is what makes me so hungry – SO HUNGRY – and now that I’m not making milk anymore I don’t need to eat like a horse. I’ve also dropped several pounds wicked fast in the last week, something my lactation consultant had mentioned ages ago. My body was holding onto extra fat as a back-up in case my caveman food source ran out and I had to keep my young alive through a starvation period. It’s good for the survival of the human race (I GUESS) but sucks when I was trying to “get my body back” and my body refused to cooperate. But now it’s all “Whatevs, your young can totally fend for herself! Look at her, shoving her face full of a pound of grapes and cheese a day! Go ahead and starve, Mom!”

If breastfeeding wasn’t an all or nothing situation with her (it was with Evan too), I think I wouldn’t have been so ready to wean. Her refusal to take a bottle or a cup was SO FRUSTRATING. I felt like I was trapped. I worried constantly about how she would deal if something happened to me. Would she starve? Would she be traumatized for life? I don’t want to sound over-dramatic but having someone THAT dependent on me often felt like more than I was prepared for. I think part of my problem with anxiety came from the pressure I put on myself to breastfeed – but I ALSO put a lot of pressure on myself to wean before vacation. It was all I thought about. It’s sort of crazy how even though I think of myself as being super laid back and low stress when it comes to parenting – and in a lot of ways I am! Eat food off the floor! Rub your face on the dog! – this is such a stressful topic for me. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE breastfeeding and will absolutely breastfeed my next kid and wouldn’t take back the almost 30 combined months of nursing between Evan and Caroline. But I’m not going to let myself be the only food source a baby will accept again. My mental health suffers too much.

P.S. Caroline VERY CLEARLY asked for nursies on Tuesday around dinner time, so I caved and let her latch for a few minutes. I don’t know if she got anything but she remembered how to do it. I’m not going to pump while I’m gone but if she wants to go back to nursing once a day when I get back I’d be fine with that. Probably.

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Leading Lady Review and Giveaway

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

There’s been a rash of bra-fitting revelations on the internet recently (for a really good laugh check out Mandy’s), where everyone realized wearing a bra in the right size is SO MUCH BETTER. I’ve been thinking about getting fitted for a long time – it’s one of those things I’ve got on my “To Do Now That I’m A Real Grown Up And Stuff” list. But because I’m still nursing I figured I’d have to suffer through a few more months of horrible saggy chesticles before I could upgrade.

And THEN I got an email from Leading Lady that said even though they knew I was weaning Caroline, they loved my blog and thought might enjoy their nursing bras and would I be interested in doing a review?

How about “Yes” and “Hell Yes” and “HOLY COW this might be the best opportunity I’ve ever gotten from blogging.”

I used the size calculator on the Leading Lady site to figure out my size (they even have a cool printable tape measure in case your kids ran off with yours months ago) and told them if we were going for function I could really use something for Stroller Strides but with Valentine’s Day coming up it sure would be nice to have something that wasn’t hideous, pokey, and ripped.

They sent me a Sport Wirefree Nursing Bra and a Lace-Cup Wirefree Nursing Bra. I love them both SO MUCH I actually took pictures of myself wearing them to show you. Then I thought better than to post topless pictures of myself on my baby blog and deleted them. You’re welcome. But I can assure you they make my boobs look awesome. The sport bra really helped control the, uh, bouncing problem I had when it came to jumping jacks at Stroller Strides. It’s the first bra with a full sling (meaning even when you fold the outer part down there’s still fabric across your boob) that I’ve EVER liked – the opening is large enough to nurse without having to yank it all over the place. The lace bra is GORGEOUS and not even the tiniest bit scratchy. It blows the horrible “sexy” underwire nursing bra I bought at a cheap big-box store out of the water. It was so comfortable I even slept in it. I sort of can’t believe I hadn’t heard of Leading Lady before, but will absolutely be ordering from them again.

Leading Lady is a family owned company that’s been selling nursing, maternity and full-figured bras for more than 70 YEARS so they really know their stuff. Their nursing bras range in size from 34B to 48F and their full-figured bras are available from 34A to 56G – which if you ask me includes a lot of women that wouldn’t really like to be considered “full-figured” *ahem ME ahem*. The site offers bras, tanks and sleepwear. They have a great selection – how clever is a nursing bra with a hidden pattern for the baby? You can search by size, type and category, including specialty categories like latex-free and organic. They even have a Breastfeeding A-Z Guide on their site full of really great information. And if you were wondering, I think their prices are extremely reasonable, especially considering what nursing bras from other companies cost. And right now new Facebook fans will receive 10% off by liking Leading Lady between now & Feb. 14, while all fans of Leading Lady can tweet “I Love @LeadingLadyBras” on Feb. 14 and receive a special 10% off code.

Yes, I’m gushing. I promise there was no gushing required when they offered to send me a bra to try (they’re probably super embarrassed by me right now), but I truly can’t help it. I’m so excited to find a company I like so much, has such a great product AND agreed to let me give YOU a free bra!

That’s right, you could win an e-certificate good for one free bra from the Leading Lady collection PLUS free shipping.

Just leave a comment on this post telling me why you NEED a new bra.

For extra entries, you can follow @LeadingLadyBras on Twitter and like Leading Lady on Facebook or you can follow me on Twitter or like bebehblog on Facebook . Just leave a comment telling me what you did (or what you already do). So if you did all five things it would be five comments.

Right now they only ship to the US and can’t ship to P.O. boxes so giveaway is limited to those who qualify (sorry Canadians!) No duplicate comments or cheating of any kind. I’ll draw a winner using Random.org sometime this weekend.

 Disclaimer: Leading Lady provided me with 2 bras so I could give an honest review for my post, all opinions are my own. No other compensation was provided. They didn’t even ask me to include product links or make you like them for the giveaway. Leading Lady is good people.

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Support Breastfeeding Honesty

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

I talk about my boobs a lot, especially here on my blog. It wasn’t something I set out to do – YES! I know what will make me a raging success on the internet! Talking about my SORE, LEAKING NIPPLES! – but when you are breastfeeding a newborn it just sort of happens. In the past three years, I’ve said the word “breast” more times the day than I’ve said my own name. BREAST.

Back in the beginning, when I was really struggling, I spent hours online reading forums and message boards and websites full of breastfeeding advice. Do this, don’t do this, try this, try that, give it time, see a doctor. Some of it was helpful, some of it was scary, some of it was eye-rollingly stupid, and sometimes it stressed me out. But one thing I found invaluable was real-life stories from real-life women. Living, breathing moms with crazy hormones and crying babies and stretched out abdominal muscles. I laughed at their leaky mishaps, cried when their babies were hungry, and sympathized with their pain. Those stories – not the experts – were what got me through the rough start and into happy, 15 month nursing relationship with my first child. I STILL turn to the internet when I have a breastfeeding question and find often myself answering them for others when they pop up on Twitter or Facebook.

There is some worry in the lactivist community that talking to much about the hard parts of breastfeeding instead of just the warm fuzzies and rainbows will discourage women from ever trying to breastfeed. They fear that too many jokes about bleeding nipples and piranha babies will scare mothers away and into the welcoming arms of the nearest can of formula. It is often implied – and sometimes said outright – that it shouldn’t hurt, it shouldn’t be a struggle, it should come naturally, and if our eyes fill up with tears of pain and angst rather than tears of joy as we latch our babies then we are doing it wrong. Shhhhh…don’t talk about that. We’re trying to recruit more women to Team Breastfeeding.

I say that’s a mistake and a disservice to women. This isn’t shirts versus skins – it’s just mothers and babies.

In fact, I say the opposite is true. I say the honesty has led to more breastfeeding. Talking about your personal experience with breastfeeding should ALWAYS be encouraged, no matter how successful or long that experience was. Every single conversation about breastfeeding normalizes it. It becomes just another thing we talk about when we’re discussing babies, like diapers and spit up and tiny socks and why are their nails so SHARP? I have talked about every single bit of my breastfeeding journey, from my giant engorged porn start boobs to using a nipple shield to dealing with thrush and finally, FINALLY having the kind of idyllic, peaceful nursing relationship the books tell you about. As far as I know, I have yet to scare someone so badly they vow to never nurse a baby.

What I DO know is many of my friends who struggled to breastfeed their first child are trying again with their second baby. They are nervous and worried and cautiously optimistic, but they are TRYING. A mother’s feelings about breastfeeding can be so fraught with both internal and external sources of guilt that stopping or quitting, even if it’s the best choice for their family, can be heartbreaking. I like to think my constant willingness to engage in honest boob-talk had a teeny tiny bit to do with their decision.

I am so so proud of these women, whether they try for one day or for a thousand. They are brave for putting it all out there (heh) again and they are all amazing moms. The bottom line is because mothers have found more information and more support and more honesty about breastfeeding there are more babies getting more breastmilk. And isn’t that what lactivism is all about?

 ———————————————————————————–

This post has been in my drafts folder for a few weeks while I worked out exactly how to say what I wanted. Just yesterday I saw the Support with Integrity Pledge posted on my friend Gina’s site. I’m thrilled to see over 1,000 people have signed it already and vowed to support breastfeeding moms without judgment or criticism. You can check it out and sign the pledge by clicking on the badge below:
Support with Integrity

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Like Falling Off a Bicycle

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

I can honestly say that I was TOTALLY UNPREPARED for life with a newborn – mostly because apparently my first child wasn’t a human baby at all but some sort of puking, crying, fussing, alien monster who refused to nurse, stressed us out like crazy with jaundice, and generally made life miserable for at least his first four months of life. Looking back now, E and I are both going “Wow, we REALLY should have complained more to the doctor about that puking thing because obviously we were clueless about normal human babies”.

(Although honestly, we mentioned it ALL THE TIME and all we got was “Meh, some babies throw up a lot“, even from my lactation consultant. Clearly it wasn’t normal but since he was gaining weight no one cared how miserable it made everything in regards to our home life. If I hadn’t spent so much time doing frickin’ laundry the first time around maybe I would have gotten more sleep and not been quite so…well, horrible to everyone. Especially E. It was really sucky y’all.)

THIS baby is an angel. I would take a dozen of these babies. She spends all her time sleeping, only waking herself up with hilariously loud poops to get a new diaper, nurse for a while and then cuddle with anyone who holds her. She falls asleep again without any complicated shushing/swaddling/burping/dancing/begging/crying rituals in her swing or the (broken so it doesn’t actually bounce) bouncy seat or the co-sleeper or lying on the floor. She only requires one outfit a day and 90% of the laundry is a result of my overactive milk ducts and their ability to soak through anything in .43 seconds and not projectile baby puke.  When the baby nurse came to visit last week Caroline had already gained back all but 4 oz of her birth weight and I’m going to go ahead an predict by her 2 week checkup she’s already closer to 10 lbs than 8.

In further attempts to be absolutely nothing like her brother, Caroline has perhaps the world’s strongest latch and no doubts about using it to suck on pretty much anything (I’m hoping this is a good omen when it comes time to introduce a bottle). I’ve had to drag out my old nipple shield to deal with the tenderness and bruising – nothing serious or horrifying, but when she cluster feeds for two hours straight the pinching gets to toe-curling levels of painful. It’s not anyone’s fault – I don’t need a link to “how-to-get-a-better-latch” videos or whatever – just a result of her mouth being small and my engorgement being massive and a few lazy nursing sessions that did a little damage. Fortunately, my body remembered it WASN’T feeding a whole litter of babies this time around and I’m already back to normal nursing sized boobs instead of GIANT PORN STAR WHO STAPLED THESE BASKETBALLS TO MY CHEST??? sized boobs.

ALSO: I have a tip for sore nipples that doesn’t involve buying those super expensive gel pads I loved so much last time. Tea bags. Seriously. The baby nurse suggested it (she’s also an LC) and it’s amazing. Just steep two tea bags in hot water, let them cool off and stick them on your nipples. The tannic acid in the tea combined with the coolness helps soothe the bruising and pinching. The internet backs me up on this with science but my nipples back me up even more with “OMG THANK YOU”.

MORE ALSO: In the debate between “No, breastfeeding should NEVER hurt” and “A little nipple soreness can be normal while you’re adjusting” I am officially in the later camp. I know the difference between a good latch and a bad latch and even when we have it PERFECT I get a little sore after 30+ minutes of constant nursing. It’s definitely improving though, and I bet in 2 weeks I don’t even remember what I was complaining about.

As for the rest of my I-just-had-a-baby recovery, I can barely tell I just had a baby. I hesitate to say that I am AWESOME at giving birth (because someone awesome at giving birth could probably do it naturally in a wheat field at sunset instead of with an epidural) but my BODY is certainly prepared for labor and delivery pushing out an 8+ lbs baby, even if my brain is not prepared for that kind of pain. Like I said in my birth story, even my above average baby didn’t do any damage. She did so LITTLE damage in fact that I don’t even pee my pants when I sneeze anymore, something I was doing at 9 months pregnant. I KNOW. IT’S A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE. The worst part of my recovery was actually the stupid Tdap booster they gave me in the hospital that made my left arm practically useless for two full days and the rhogam shot I got in my left hip that hurt almost as much. That soreness combined with my milk coming in made me want to just hide under the covers and not let anyone touch me ever again – especially a toddler who thinks “jump on mommy” is the best game ever.

Oh but THEN I got another kidney infection, less than 24 hours after being discharged. I spiked a fever in the evening and another in the middle of the night but held off on calling the doctor until office hours and then talked them into letting me do outpatient lab work to confirm (although REALLY? I know what a kidney infection feels like by now. Swearies) and calling in antibiotics to my pharmacy rather than possibly readmitting me. I did NOT want to go back to the hospital, especially with a newborn nursling. I feel infinitely better after almost a week of antibiotics. But this probably means I should reschedule my March kidney stone removal appointment to some time sooner or the infections might keep happening and that doesn’t seem fun.

And now that I’ve told you how well everything is going, don’t be surprised when I take it ALL BACK next week. It’s the first law of blogging and I just broke it. I hope you’re happy internet.

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Saturday, September 19th, 2009

I don’t care if my breastfeeding offends you. I don’t care if your child sees my nipple while I’m trying to get the baby latched on. I don’t care if you think I should use a cover. I don’t care if you think it’s “gross” or “nasty” or “immodest”. I don’t care if you complain. I don’t care if you glare at me. Simply put, your objections sound like a personal problem to me. We can talk about it if you want, but don’t expect me to stop nursing the baby while I school you.

With all the pro-breastfeeding talk and ad campaigns and information out there, you’d think breastfeeding was something people actually supported. It turns out it’s not breastfeeding. It’s just breastmilk. Sure babies should drink human milk – it’s just such a shame it comes from those dirty, disgusting boobs. The worst part is it’s often women, even other mothers, whose delicate sensibilities are so offended by the sight of nursing. Women who themselves have been driven to bottles, either intentionally or subversively, by the sexualization of the word “breast” or the formula industry. (A whole other topic – from shady marketing techniques all the way to influencing government agencies to tone down support for breastfeeding.) Women who are so ashamed of their own bodies that they can’t stand even a glimpse of a breast doing what breasts are supposed to do. You know who was breastfed? JESUS. And I bet Mary didn’t use a Hooter Hider.

“Well then, go ahead. Of course you can nurse in public,” most people will say, “Just be discrete. There’s no need to go flashing your boobs around everywhere.” HAVE YOU EVER ACTUALLY SEEN THAT HAPPEN? EVER? Before I had a baby, the only person I had ever seen breastfeed, anywhere, at any time in my life, was my own mother feeding my baby brother. And you know what? I DON’T EVEN REMEMBER IT. I was seven when he was born and her nursing affected me SO LITTLE that it doesn’t even exist as a memory in my brain. Now I attend a breastfeeding support group, where 8 to 12 women all nurse their babies at once and not a single one of them uses a cover…and I can still count the number of nipples I’ve seen on one hand. Next time you see someone feeding her baby in public, try looking at her face instead of her chest. It’s not that hard, and might keep you from seeing those nipples you’re so worried about.

Part of the stigma of breastfeeding is the straight-to-the-baby delivery system. Our culture is obsessed with food preparation. It’s just how eating is done. You buy food at the store, you bring it home, you mix it and you heat it. Formula is prepared the way we’re used to, the way we’re comfortable with, the way we’ve been raised to understand. Food preparation is so ingrained in our society we think things like unpasteurized milk and the raw foods diet are crazy. But why force a mother to add or subtract or mix or heat something when the perfect food at the perfect consistency and the perfect temperature is available on demand? IF SHE WANTS TO BREASTFEED, let her do it. (And you know what, if she wants to bottle-feed, just keep those opinions to yourself as well. I’m sick of that debate too.)

Believe it or not, my right to feed my child is an actual right. Your right to be offended is not. (Link to breastfeeding laws by state here.) EVEN IF the baby looks “too old” to be doing that. EVEN IF he’s old enough to ask for it. EVEN IF it makes you uncomfortable. EVEN IF you hate babies and never want to have any. EVEN IF ANYTHING.

The next time you see a mom nursing in public – and I challenge you to find one – tell her you admire that she’s doing the best she can for her baby and you support her. I guarantee you will make her day.

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