A bit of a Rant

First off, I know. I JUST posted. But I really wanted to finish up the Breastfeeding Project I start. And now I really just need a place to vent. And since I started this blog for me first, I feel safe venting here. If you don’t want to read it, I won’t be offended. 

Yesterday I decided to do a double workout. I did 2 one hour classes, back to back with a one hour break in between. It was insane!

The first was a Bellyfit class. In the first half hour of the class, burn mega calories, relieve stress and get the sweat flowing with fun, easy to learn cardio moves infused with the ancient and beautiful fundamentals of Belly Dance, Bollywood and African Dance. During the second half of the class, enjoy sculpting, toning and tightening with Pilates inspired core work, a deep yet relaxing Yoga inspired stretch and mindful Mudra Meditation. 

The second was a Zumba Class. Zumba involves dance and aerobic elements. Zumba’s choreography incorporates hip-hop, soca, samba, salsa, merengue, mambo, martial arts, and some Bollywood and belly dance moves. Squats and lunges are also included. 

It was pretty intense. Today my calf muscles are the only thing that hurts. But they hurt baaaaaad. I decided that I am probably going to commit to doing Zumba twice a week and not do the double workout anymore. At least not right now! 

Yesterday after I finished Zumba, I was talking to the instructor about the class and asking some questions (this is where the ranting part comes in) She asked me if I had enjoyed the class. I answered that yes, I had. I had been doing Zumba before I got pregnant and I was glad to be getting back into it. Of course this led to talking about the ages of our kids, and this is when a friend of mine, we’ll call her Z decided to involve herself in the conversation and state that I wouldn’t be doing Zumba long, as I would be pregnant before Christmas. 

I want to point out here, that based on the spacing of the three kids, if I was having a fourth, Christmas would be the right timing. 

I also want to point out, I have told this friend on more than one occasion we have decided we don’t want a fourth child. 

Than, I am going to point out, this isn’t the first or even the second time she has said something along these lines. It’s constant. 

It bugs me. It makes me feel invalidated and quite honestly, I am sick and tired of hearing peoples comments on the fact I have three kids. And I am tired of people asking me if I am going to have a fourth. And when I say no, I am sick of hearing ‘but don’t you want to have a second girl?’ Um… correct me if I am wrong, but the last time I checked, I don’t get to pick the gender of the baby. 

Maybe it’s just me. But I am seriously struggling with the the constant comments about people expecting me to be pregnant again before Christmas. And right now I am trying to find a diplomatic way to explain this to said friend. 

If you have any ideas, please please please share them! 

Love, hugs, and more to come later!
Lynn

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Supporting T – My Post

Over the last few days I have posted some guest posts that covered some great advice and stories of women’s experiences with breastfeeding. I would like to again thank everyone for their help with my Breastfeeding Project. 

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I didn’t breastfeed my children. This was done by choice. I don’t regret this choice. I feel like I made the right choice for me and my family. And I support each and every mom out there who is feeding their baby. Regardless of how they are doing it. All that matters is we are feeding our babies. 

To T, I want you to know that even though I will defend my choice to formula feed and spout of the reasons why breastfeeding wasn’t best for me, I do support you and your choice. I respect you for making your choice and doing everything you can to achieve your goals. You are going to be an amazing Mom and Baby L is amazingly lucky to have you. I am honored to be considered a friend to you and to consider you one of my friends. I wish you the best of luck in your journey, and I hope to support you and see you be successful! But I also want you to know, if you can’t do it, I support you in that to. Baby L is going to be happy and healthy. 

To everyone else, I want you to know that I support you to. You are feeding your baby when he is telling you he is hungry. To me, that’s success right there! 

Love, Hugs and more to come later!

Lynn

Supporting T – Jessica’s Guest Post

Todays post is from Jessica from Breathing Oxygen. Jessica Fox-Wilson is an educator, poet, writer, and mother to a joyful toddler. Her guest post today is easily one of my favorites which is why I have saved it for the final guest post. Jessica’s post for me discusses the difficulties a breastfeeding mom faces, and some helpful and not so helpful suggestions on how to support a new breastfeeding mom. Thank you Jessica! I hope everyone enjoys this post!

Love, Hugs and more to come later!

Lynn

 

How to Support a New Breastfeeding Mother

 When I was pregnant, I assumed breastfeeding was going to be a snap. I did my research. I read a few good books, but I figured that learning to breastfeed would come naturally. I was clueless.

 I never anticipated the difficulties in establishing breastfeeding. I should mention that I also anticipated a relatively easy transition to motherhood as a whole, which was not the case for me. I was generally clueless about motherhood, but also specifically clueless about breastfeeding.

 This is not to say that breastfeeding (or motherhood) is awful. It isn’t – I love breastfeeding and have continued to breastfeed my now 22-month daughter. And I’m pretty sure I’ll remain her parent for the foreseeable future. I just now know that as mothers, we need to be real about the work that it takes to learn how to breastfeed and parent.

 In that light, I’ve described below 5 challenges that new mothers may experience while establishing breastfeeding and strategies that friends and family can undertake to support her. In my own experience, I’ve found that some of the ways people want to help can (unintentionally) backfire, so I’ve offered suggestions on what I’ve found to be most helpful.

 

  1. Learning how to breastfeed is surprisingly hard to do.

 

  • NOT AS HELPFUL: Telling the mom, “Don’t worry, it will all work out in the end, just hang in there! “

  • HELPFUL: Sharing your own feeding struggles, regardless of the type of feeding you do.

 Your body is sore. You have postpartum hormones racing through your body. And you haven’t slept in two days. Now, try to take a baby who has no head control and teach him to latch to your boob. Right now, while he’s crying.

 It took me about three weeks to learn how to breastfeed. Three weeks where I felt like a failure. Most people just told me some variation of hang in there/you’ll do great/don’t worry. In my postpartum brain, my baby’s entire survival hinged on me learning how to breastfeed and I was failing. One of my turning points came when I posted a status on Facebook, early one morning. It just said, “I’m learning.” One of my friends from college, who I hadn’t really kept in touch with well, wrote me a long private message about her own struggles learning how to feed both of her kids. I needed someone to acknowledge that this stuff doesn’t always come naturally. I felt much less alone after her kind message.

 

  1. Establishing breastfeeding takes a lot of time alone.

 

  • NOT AS HELPFUL: Visiting the new family and wanting to hold, play with, or entertain the baby for long periods of time.

  • HELPFUL: Visiting the new family and cleaning the house or cooking for the new parents.

 When I was on maternity leave, I spent most of my waking hours breastfeeding. Breastfeeding on the couch. On a chair. In bed. Standing up. I watched five seasons of Cake Boss on Netflix while breastfeeding – and that wasn’t the only show that I watched. The key to successfully establishing a milk supply is to breastfeed on demand. It’s lonely, but also necessary.

 Of course, friends and family want to visit with, hold and play with the new baby. But, every visit interrupts the breastfeeding on demand process. As a new mother, you want to entertain and hear what a great job you did building a baby from scratch, but as a new breastfeeding mother, you have to breastfeed often. And you may not be ready to hand over that baby or breastfeed in front of friends, just yet.

 Instead of offering to hold the baby (unless the mom needs a shower – get her to the shower), offer to cook some food, do the laundry, clean the kitchen, vacuum, or set up the nursery. If she is anything like me, she’ll be too polite to ask for it, but she’ll be eternally grateful.

 

  1. Early breastfeeding is exhausting and causes severe hunger.

 

  • NOT AS HELPFUL: Reminding the mom of all the weight she will magically lose, because she is breastfeeding.

  • HELPFUL: Bring the mom a postpartum and breastfeeding survival kit that includes lots and lots of protein-packed food…and chocolate.

 After pregnancy, I thought I understood hunger. But early breastfeeding is a whole other story. When you’re breastfeeding on demand, through growth spurts and cluster feeding, you become a ravenous beast. In the early days, my husband would make pans of Rice Krispy treats slathered in chocolate frosting (because he’s awesome) and I would eat half the pan in a day. I’d eat bowls and bowls of Frosted Shredded Wheat. I would eat literally anything and everything that I could. Needless to say, the weight didn’t melt off as promised.

 One of my good friends, who had a baby six weeks before me, sent me a postpartum care package, filled with protein packed treats. She included nut butters, postpartum cookies with lots of protein and fiber (for those other fun postpartum challenges), dried fruits, and teas to increase milk supply. It was the best, because it was relatively healthy, and it was plentiful. Now, whenever a close friend has a new baby, I pack my own postpartum survival kit for her.

 

  1. Early breastfeeding is painful.

 

  • NOT AS HELPFUL: Telling the mom, “Breastfeeding, when done right, shouldn’t hurt.”

  • HELPFUL: Bring the mom tools for relieving the pain of cracked nipples, engorged boobs, and blebs.

 When researching breastfeed, every book, website, and experienced friend will tell you, breastfeeding doesn’t hurt. And my favorite – if you’re doing it right, it shouldn’t hurt. These people are well intentioned. There is a lot of fear that it will hurt. But, when a new mom hears that it shouldn’t hurt if she is doing it right, then experiences the typical amount of pain associated with new breastfeeding, she begins to doubt herself.

 Let me tell you the truth: it hurts at first and most of the issues that cause pain are easy to solve.

First, your nipples have to get accustomed to constant use. They can be raw, and if you’re not careful, they can crack. Coconut oil applied topically, after every feeding, can solve the cracking. Next, when your milk comes in, your boobs are suddenly sore and rock hard. The solution is to breastfeed often and to apply cold packs after feeding. Eventually, as your supply regulates, engorgement should stop. Lastly, I found that during my first 6 weeks of breastfeeding, I developed several blebs on each nipple. They are very small, but incredibly painful milk blisters. Unfortunately, you have to nurse through them. You can use Epsom salt soaks on your breasts, which softens them. What worked most for me was taking lecithin supplements, which thin out the milk a little. These pills also work for milk duct clogs, which can develop at any time during breastfeeding. Consider adding lecithin, coconut oil, and Epsom salts to that breastfeeding survival kit.

 

  1. Leaving the baby (and leaving the house) is hard at first for a breastfeeding mom.

 

  • NOT AS HELPFUL: Providing opportunities for the mom to leave the house alone.

  • HELPFUL: Providing safe opportunities for the mom to leave the house with the child.

  • HELPFUL: Visiting the mom in the house with exciting treats/gifts.

While staying at home all day and all night with a baby is lonely, it’s even harder to leave the house with a breastfeeding newborn. Since you must remain in close proximity to breastfeed on demand, it can be challenging to time your escape. When I was a brand new mother, my mom took me for a pedicure – which involved lots of planning and a quick return home. My dad sent me a gift card for a massage at a salon, which was fabulous, but meant I was away from home for almost two hours. I had to wait until my baby was four months old, before I could use it. These were generous, very well intentioned treats that stressed me out.

 It’s important for any new mom, but especially breastfeeding moms, to learn how to leave the house with the kid. If you want to drag the new mom out of the house, encourage her to bring the baby and provide her with private opportunities to breastfeed. Not every new mom is comfortable with feeding in public, even the public of another friend’s home, so make sure that there are clean, quite, non-bathroom stall places that the mom can breastfeed in frequently. Alternatively, stop by the mom’s house with things to do. Bring a board game, a DVD (or 10), new books, magazines – anything that can help entertain her for long periods of time.

Of course, all of the above is based on my experience. What helped you most during the early months of breastfeeding?

The Return of the Dance Party – Featuring Drums

You might remember a couple months ago when I wrote a post about Alex waking up at midnight and wanting to have a dance party. If not, you can read about it here

Well last night, Alex did not want to go to bed. At all. We put him to bed at 730 and he sat in his room and played. At 10, I wanted to go to bed. As soon as Alex heard me upstairs he was in my room and asking if he could come cuddle with Momma. I figured, sure why not. Maybe he’ll actually go to bed and we can all sleep tonight. You can all laugh at me here. It was a dumb dumb idea. I should’ve left him in his bed. He might have gone to sleep. Instead, the conversation went like this: 

Me: Goodnight Alex

A: Goodnight Momma.

Hubs: Goodnight Alex

A: Good night Daddy. (it’s quiet for a few minutes) Mom… are you sleeping? (I don’t answer. I know hope if I ignore him he’ll go to sleep.) Momma? Mom? Mommy? /sigh/ Daddy awake? (I guess hubs was working on the same theory I was) /sigh/ /Sigh/ /SIGH/ /SIGH/ (each time he sighed, it was more dramatic than the time before. Finally I couldn’t help it, I laughed) Momma! You’re awake!

M: No Alex. Momma is tired. I want to go to sleep. 

A: Alex sit. 

M: okay. Sit. Stay awake all night. Just let me sleep. 

A: Alex stay awake. Alex needs his drums. Be right back.

H: No Alex. No drums. 

A: Oh. Dance Party. 

H: Alex, be quiet. Mommy and Daddy are sleeping. 

A: *whispers* Alex play the drums. Dance Party. *yells* OH I KNOW!!! 

M: shh!

A: Oh sorry. Alex stay awake. Dance party. Alex watch the Lorax. Mom? wake up mom. Alex wants to go to sleep. Mom? Alex go to sleep? (I want to say, I was biting my tongue at this point, trying not to laugh at him) Alex lie down backwards. (He put his head near our feet) Mom look Alex backwards. /sigh/ Okay. Daddy? Wake up? Alex backwards. Look Daddy. 

H: Alex. Mom is sleeping. You need to be quiet. 

A: Oh. Okay. Sorry Mom. 

At this point he sat up and starting patting my face to make sure I was asleep I guess. When I succeeding in not moving or giggling, he kissed my head and whispered ‘night night momma’ I wish I could say that he then lied down and went to sleep. But he didn’t. He got louder and louder until I finally threatened to put him back into his bed. Then he went to sleep. 

Love, hugs and more to come later!

Lynn

Supporting T – Eszter’s Guest post

Today’s guest post comes from Eszter over atkukolina. Eszter is mom to a 7 month old little boy. She has lived in 5 different countries and she is currently living in a 5 star hotel that her husband manages on an island in Thailand. Her post covers how great she thinks breastfeeding is, and shows what a positive experience she has had with it. Enjoy 🙂 

Love, hugs and more to come  later!

Lynn

 

I Love Breastfeeding So Much
There are things in my life I am proud of.
 
Like getting married (I did not have a boyfriend for a long time).
Like getting pregnant ( we had IUI 10 times).
And breastfeeding!

I heard and read that breastfeeding has its challenges but in my opinion its important to remember one thing:
You can make it work if you do not give up. 

I needed lots of help in the hospital with the positions but I had a mouth I asked for help as many time as I needed it.

At home we had the crib next to our bed. We switched to co-sleeping only later on. If I could turn back time I would start co-sleeping immediately. It makes nursing much easier.

Plugged milk ducts happened to me three times at least. Massage, warm and wet towels help a lot. And patience. It always got better in a few days. It did make breastfeeding less nice but there are things you do not stop doing just because obstacles turn up.

I had a fever when my baby was one month old. I was pretty sick and my husband went to the pharmacy as it was necessary. It was the only time I took medicine and only the type that was alright with breastfeeding. Being sick makes everything a pain in the … But guess who did not become ill even after my husband became sick from the virus that was going around?! Breastfeeding is the best shield for your child.

Our son had to fly on an airplane 7 times. Breastfeeding does its wonders at times like these as well.

I have a happy, healthy 7 months old son. He is being exclusively breastfed. Without doubt, breastfeeding is one of my best decisions I have made. I love it!

Supporting T – Vilma’s Guest Post

Today’s guest post comes from Vilma over at Free but Fun. Vilma is a mother of two toddlers who lives in Helsinki, Finland. The following post is one she sent me as it flowed from her. English isn’t her first language, and while there are some grammatical errors, I didn’t want to edit/correct her post (even though she gave me permission to do so) as I think the way she wrote it shows how she feels about breastfeeding and I didn’t want to take away from that. Thank you Vilma for your contribution. I hope everyone enjoys the read! 

Love, hugs and more to come later!

Lynn

 

The most important that I have learned is, in my opinion, that all babies are different and all mothers are different, don’t stress about it! Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes you have to work to get it working, sometimes it just all goes easily and smoothly, and sometimes it does not work even though you wish it would. One way or another, it is not crucial for being a good mother.

 I breastfed my daughter for 6 months without giving any solids because it was so easy. We were travelling a lot too, so having the food with us in the right temperature and not having to wash bottles was easy. She was also super easy in the way that a long feeding with her was 20 min. Also, she was happy to take the bottle if I had expressed some milk and at about 7 months she also took formula. At 6 months we started giving her some solids, and at 9 months I suddenly realised I had forgotten to offer any boobs, and she had not asked for it for a couple of days. I was already pregnant with baby number 2 so I was happy to have my boobs for myself for a while. 

 

 After 3 months of just breastfeeding my son, I was completely fed up with breastfeeding. One feeding with him would take at least 1hr, from 10 weeks on he ate 6-7 hours a day of which 2-3 hours *without a break* before going to bed. With that amount of food he did, luckily, sleep through the night though. But I was knackered every evening. I guess it didn’t help that this time around I didn’t really have the time to sit that long with him, I also had the 1 yo little big sister. Gone were the days were you could sit comfortably on the sofa supported by pillows when watching a movie while breastfeeding. I fed him on the floor while playing with legos with the older one, I sat on the bathroom floor when sister was on the potty… It is amazing how many things you learn to do while somebody is sucking your boobs! We tried to get him to take the bottle but he wouldn’t so I kept breastfeeding him almost until he was 9 months too (Obviously he started to gradually eat solids before that). I stopped the breastfeeding completely mainly because he then, after having slept through the nights, started to wake up every 45 minutes wanting boobs. My husband decided that it was time this boy learned to fall asleep without boobs, and when hubby started to put him he learned quickly. Even the first night he only protested for like 30 minutes! As I was away from the bedroom for almost a week, he lost interest in suckling me even at daytime. 

 

 So two kids, and two very different ways of breastfeeding. The similarities have been through, that they both to start off with had a good grip and new how to eat, we also immediately found good positions for the breastfeeding. I also always had rather too much than too little milk. 

 

 The problem with mixing breast feeding and bottle feeding was for me that I had so much excess milk that I could not jump over a feeding. If I did that, I had to express it or otherwise I was covered in milk in only a few minutes (also when somebody else baby cried, my boobs started to flow…). Once I missed the first part of my sons evening feeding (he was already eating then) and expressed the excess milk, which was about 4 dl…

 

 If one wants to start breastfeeding, it is good to remember how the “system” works: the more the baby sucks, the more milk you get. When the baby is born, it will be crying and sucking on your boobs for the first few nights almost nonstop, and it is important to let the baby do this so that the milk will rise. When the milk rises, it can be very uncomfortable before the amount of milk settles. If your breasts are too full, it may also be difficult for the baby to drink, so you may have to “empty” a little first yourself (e.g. by striking softly but firmly with your warm hand towards the nipple for a little while). Also, if there is a problem, it may be that the baby has a bad grip which can be helped with e.g. different breastfeeding positions (here in Finland they only teach you to breastfeed lying on the bed at the hospitals but let gravity help you if needed, and breastfeed sitting up) or equipment. At least here there are breastfeeding support people you can call up, if it doesn’t work so well or you have your doubts. Also, there will be certain periods when your baby wants to drink more (e.g. at about 10 weeks) for a few days. It does this to accumulate the amount of milk in your breasts. 

 

 For me breastfeeding was never a really sentimental thing. I did it because to me it was natural, easy with my daughter, and it was something my kids needed. Obviously it was great to hold my babies close too but to me holding them in my lap was just as satisfying. I have friends who describe that breastfeeding bond as something so amazing one can’t put words on it. I think the experience is individual for everyone, and it is a good one as long as Mum is not too tired or too stressed.

 

 Hopefully it all works out well for your friend!

 

 Vilma/ Freebutfun

 

 PS. One more practical tip: As I am one of those Mums who breastfed everywhere (hmm, there might be some cultural differences here? How does it work over there, can one breastfeed e.g. in a cafe?) I invested in proper breastfeeding tops. They look nice and they enabled me to breastfeed discreetly. Also, I often had a scarf, which made it a bit more discreet, and later on it was good for covering the baby so it couldn’t see too much and could better focus on the eating. Not so nice when feeding at a dinner table and baby suddenly lets go to see what is going on and your milk squirts out in somebodies coffee… 😀 

 

Gender Equality and Children

Why is it that when a little girl wants to dress up as something traditionally boy, or pretends to be a boy people make comments about how cute it is and how she is being raised right, but when a boy wants to dress up as something traditionally girl, all hell breaks loose and it’s a big deal?

All over Facebook and the internet I see little girls playing with trucks, dressed up in traditionally boy costumes and playing sports. I think this is great. But what I don’t like is how it seems to compare to boys playing with dolls, dressing up in traditional girl costumes and wanting to dance ballet. 

For example today on Facebook I came across this picture:

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I think it is awesome that this little girl is being encouraged to dress up as whatever she wants to be. The comments on the photo all pretty much had the same theme ‘Parenting Win’ ‘These parents are doing something right’ etc etc etc. 

Then I found this picture on Humans of New York:

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With the caption: “He wanted to be a princess, and I thought it was a little too early to be imposing gender.”

The comments on this picture? Nothing like the ones of the little girl dressed as a transformer. This mom was accused of being a bad mom for allowing it. She was accused of using her child to make a political statement.

Am I the only one who sees something wrong with this? We have started looking at Halloween costumes for the boys. At first Alex wanted to be a pirate. Pirates are an obsession for him. Then he seen a princess costume on the website we were looking at and he decided that he wanted to be a princess. When I replied ‘I thought you wanted to be a pirate?’ His reply? ‘I want to be a Pirate Princess Momma!!’

And you know what? If either of my sons want to be a princess for Halloween, or do ballet, or do any of the other stereotypically female gender typed activities, I am going to let them. And I pity the poor soul who even attempts to call me a bad mom or criticize me for it.  

Earlier this month I read a blog post about a mom who had taken her son into the local Walmart while he was wearing a pink headband. A man did some unthinkable things to this little boy including knocking the headband off his head and calling him a f*cking f*gg*t and saying he would get shot one day. I read her account on her blog, but it has since been taken down due to the high volume of traffic. The mom has allegedly also been hospitalized due to the stress the incident brought her. You can read an account of the incident here.

This disgusts me. Why is it  okay for a girl to be into things that are traditionally boy, but it’s not okay the other way around? I understand this is a controversial topic, and while I welcome comments; Please share your opinions respectfully. 

Love, hugs and more to come later

Lynn